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.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Planned Parenthood willing to conceal rape - yet again

Lila Rose caught Planned Parenthood - the billion dollar abortion business - once again willing to break the law, this time a clinic in Birmingham, Alabama. Once again, a PP worker basically says they will not report a rape - sex between an adult and a minor - and is willing to fudge the law to allow a non-guardian to approve an abortion, even though Alabama law requires the consent of a guardian.

This is the seventh Planned Parenthood she's caught. How much tax payer money goes to PP? How much of our money goes to help concealing rape?


Father Mike Mahler goes home

I heard at Mass this morning that Father Mike Mahler died Monday. He was only 63.

Father Mahler had just been appointed to a second term as pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Ithaca. Previously, he had been a longtime chaplain at Cornell University.

I don't know the cause of death - I got the impression from the priest saying Mass this morning that Father Mahler had been ill.

I went to the Ithaca Journal and found a brief obituary.

According to the obituary, "Funeral arrangements are incomplete and will be announced in a complete obituary. Bangs Funeral Home will be in charge of arrangements."

Rest in peace, Father.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Priest Encourages Prayers for Women Priests!

An anonymous commenter alerted me to this. (Thank you!)

I know to raise the issue of women and married men to be considered as priests is unacceptable for some among us…not for me…I pray that wherever priests come from that we as God’s family would be open to allow people to serve…if you feel only male celibates should be ordained, fine, encourage and pray for that…if you feel women or married men should be considered, encourage and pray for that…wherever the vocations come from, let us just pray and accept them to serve.

My prayer for this Year of the Priest is that all in our Church would be open to consider the many fine Deacons who could be ordained to Ministerial Priesthood…that we would not be afraid to open ourselves to other Married Men becoming candidates…that our Church would use this year to study and examine whether women should be ordained as deacons…that we would consider the possibility that God has planted the vocation to Priesthood in women’s lives and we would seriously try to discern that…that even for Bishops, we would return to the traditional process where the people of the Diocese had a say in offering candidates…I am sure that these ideas are not a part of Pope Benedict’s plan for this year, but as long as we are going to focus on Priests, let’s consider all the dimensions of Priesthood and the real need our Church has..

This is from the June 28 bulletin of St. Louis Parish . The author is Father Kevin Murphy. Having met him during my years at the Catholic Courier, I am not surprised that he would write this. But when it comes to the issue of women's ordination he would be wise to heed the example of Rochester's first Bishop, Bernard McQuaid, and how he handled papal infallibility.

Bishop McQuaid argued against the idea of papal infallibility at Vatican I, but once the doctrine was promulgated he humbly accepted it and did not raise his voice in opposition. And he did not encourage others to cling to false hopes.

Bishop McQuaid knew that that was the proper response for a cleric and a representative of the Church when "Rome has spoken."

Some Monday Homily Thoughts

At Mass this morning for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Father Steve noted that one idea that keeps popping up in the readings is that of "rescue".

In the first reading (Acts 12: 1-11), and angel rescues Peter from Herod's prison. The Psalm response is "The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him." The reading from 2 Peter includes, "The Lord with rescue me from every evil and save me for his heavenly kingdom" (2 Peter 4:18).

Father observed that many of us have also be rescued by God. He mentioned various ways people are rescued by God, including from sickness and sin.

I thought of my own life and the many ways God has rescued me. One way combines both sickness and sin.

So many members of my family have been afflicted by addictions - among them addictions to food, alcohol, tobacco and drugs. I watched as so many of my relatives and friends were harmed and even died because of these addictions. Early in life I sensed the same predispositions in myself. Though I flirted with dangerous things when I was young and stupid, there was always something in me that stopped me from going too far. A voice saying: Don't. Be careful. Think of your family's inclinations.

Whether that voice was God or the guardian angel he assigned me I don't know. But I do know it is because of God's love that I did not fall prey to these addictions. It also helps me to be sympathetic to those so afflicted. It is only by God's grace that I did not fall.

And knowing my family's predispositions in that way, I must remain prayerful and trusting in God's grace until the day I die.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Confession: A Gift

I got to confession yesterday. It's scheduled for 3:45 - before the 4:30 Mass. I got there about 3:50.

One woman was sitting there praying, having gone. A person was in with Father.

I had already thought ahead about what I wanted to confess, so I just prayed.

The person who was in with Father came out. I went in. I said what I needed to say.

I came out. There was no one in line. I went over to a pew to pray. After a few minutes, Father came out, looked around, saw no one was waiting, and went to the sacristy.

I waited for a while longer and said a few prayers. No one else showed up outside the confessional.

Sad. When confession is available, only three of us that I'm aware of took advantage (unless someone was there before I got there). This is one of the gifts of the Church. I am grateful for it. I pray that more people might take advantage of it. Perhaps if they realized what a freeing experience it is, and how much it can help, more would do so.

Confession needs to be promoted - by those preaching, and by the laity. One way would be to hold it more often. One of the things I liked at Our Lady of Victory was that there was Confession before every Mass I've ever attended there. What if we had it before at least every weekend Mass? That would be a step in the right direction.

As for me, Thank you Lord for the opportunity. Thank you for your forgiveness and mercy. Help me to continue to wrestle with the sins to which I'm prone.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

St. Francis: Respect Christ's Body and Blood

At our Secular Franciscan meeting last night we considered several letters of St. Francis.

In these letters, he charged the ordained - priests and deacons - to show greater care for the Body and Blood of Christ, and for the sacred vessels and the churches under their care, or for the Scriptures.

He also had some strong words for those who do not show proper respect when receiving the Eucharist.

In "A Letter to the Entire Order" he wrote: "For a person despises, defiles, and tramples on the Lamb of God when, as the Apostle says, he does not recognize and distinguish the holy bread of Christ from other foods or actions or eats it unworthily or indeed, even if he were worthy, eats it unthinkingly or without the proper dispositions, since the Lord says through the prophet: Cursed is that person who performs the work of God fraudulently."

We reflected on the times when perhaps we received unworthily, or were distracted and not thinking about what we were about to receive. I know there have been times I have to catch myself because I am caught up in noticing the people, or in thinking about what I'll be doing later, or even about something I'm writing or plan to write. My attention should be on the Body and Blood of Christ that I am about to receive.

This is certainly something I need to keep in mind in the future.

New links

While waiting for the tree guys to arrive (grr) I decided to add a few blogs to my links list.

These are blogs that I stop by regularly. You might enjoy them as well.

Little Portion Hermitage

Interstate Catholic

Poetry, Prayer and Praise

Young Fogeys

Can't Blame Vandals for This!

We had some pretty strong thunderstorms in Rochester Friday. Even though I was in the house, I did not hear part of the tree behind our fence fall over our new fence.

It damaged the fence.

It also slightly bent one of the Good-Looking-One's bird feeders. (The birds are not happy about it.)

I'm now waiting for the tree crew to arrive.

Maybe God's trying to get my attention - and the eggs weren't enough!

The Litany of Anonymous

Just because a priest has been called be God doesn't mean he'll turn his back on him later in life (which Bishop Clark has done since becoming Bishop of Rochester)

For the times our words have offended Thee -
Lord Have mercy.

(Father Holland) is on drugs. There is no other explanation. Has he been witnessing the Diocese of Rochester become rubble all around him, or is he too busy smoking the reefer to see the damage being done?

For time times our words have offended Thee -
Forgive us, Oh Lord.

I know that Bishop Clark would hate the idea. He is more interested in closing most of the parishes and selling the properties for the $$$$.

For the times our words have offended Thee -
Lord Have mercy.

Words fail me ... God forgive me, but (Father Lawlor) is totally full of it (and you know what I mean). Who died and made him God? Oh, yes, I forgot ... he's his own deity. God help us

For time times our words have offended Thee -
Forgive us, Oh Lord.

I'm lost, what the heck is wrong with Bishop Clark? Does he have any beliefs anymore? Does he believe anything his Church teaches?

For the times our words have offended Thee -
Lord Have mercy.

Shame on Fr. Gagnier and Bishop Clark. Come out and admit what you are planning to do, you two cowards!

For time times our words have offended Thee -
Forgive us, Oh Lord.

The sad part is Bishop Clark just doesn't care. He is looting our diocese and destroying beautiful parish communities.

For the times our words have offended Thee -
Lord Have mercy.

Mark Hare pretends to be a Catholic as well.

For time times our words have offended Thee -
Forgive us, Oh Lord.

Bishop Clark has done so much damage to the Diocese of Rochester and his own Priests and parishioners during the past 30 years. …

… Any man that can do this much damage to so many poor souls, and I don't care if the man is a migrant farm worker. a bishop or Jesus Christ himself, this man is the closest thing to the devil that you will ever see on earth.

For the times our words have offended Thee -
Lord Have mercy.

We have to expose these female lay administrators who are doing so much damage to our Church.

I would like to see pictures and all legal and published information about them, their husbands and family, posted on a Blog. I want to know where they live and where their husbands work.

For time times our words have offended Thee -
Forgive us, Oh Lord.

The one who should go to confession is Bishop Clark. With all the souls he has driven from the Catholic Church, he may have one foot in Hell as we speak.

For the times our words have offended Thee -
Lord Have mercy.

(Father Holland praising Bishop Clark) One heretic showing love for another. Pulls at the ol' heart strings, doesn't it?

For time times our words have offended Thee -
Forgive us, Oh Lord.

The good news is that the Bishop who acts like a dictator will go away soon and his name will quickly fade away.

For the times our words have offended Thee -
Lord Have mercy.

… Rochester's malcontent in a miter chimed in on the homosexual marriage bill on the cusp of passage in New York state

For the times our words have offended Thee -
Forgive us, Oh Lord.

Does Bishop Clark believe anything that the Church teaches???

For the times our words have offended Thee -
Lord Have mercy.

This sounds just like the Father Clifford I've come to know and loathe. Please excuse my boldness but his arrogance (IMHO) is unbearable at times.

For time times our words have offended Thee -
Forgive us, Oh Lord.

Dear Lord, it is so easy to fall into the traps of rash judgment and detraction, even calumny. It is so easy to allow our frustration, anger, resentment, jealousy and pride to control our words and thoughts. Dear Lord, forgive us, have mercy on us. Help us to be more open to your healing grace and love. Help us to remember to show respect for the reputation of others and to provide needed correction in charitable ways. Help us to remember that as disciples we are called to “put away all malice and all guile and all insincerity and envy and all slander ( 1 Pet 2:1) ). Help us to bridle our tongues (Jas 1:26), and to “put on the new man” created after your likeness “in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph 4:24) We humbly ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


The above comments are all actual comments compiled from various blogs. The comments were all posted anonymously, and were not the comments of the bloggers themselves. I have added names in a couple of cases to make it clear at whom the comments were directed.

The prayers are mine, and I need to keep them in mind in my own blogging as I have fallen into some of these traps myself. Forgive me Lord. Have mercy on me.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pro-Choice Violence: Assault with a deadly weapon

From the Chico Enterprise-Record, June 26, 2009 -

CHICO — A man who allegedly used an SUV in an attempted to run over an anti-abortion protester Wednesday outside of the Planned Parenthood office, has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

Matthew R. Haver, 40, was arrested by Chico police for allegedly trying to hit James Cantfield, 69, of Chico.

A Chico police press release says officers were called to the Vallombrosa Avenue location at about 10:35 a.m.

Witnesses said a man driving a 1991 GMC sport utility vehicle had attempted to strike a protester, according the release.

Canfield moved out of the way and was not seriously injured during the incident, but clearly shaken by the experience, Chico Police Lt. John Carrillo said.

Someone had taken down a license number, and officers were able to trace the vehicle to Haver.

They then went to the suspect's home on Hooker Oak Avenue, where Haver was taken into custody. ...


The story goes on to note that the Haver may have gotten upset about the graphic picture of an aborted baby Cantfield (or Canfield? the article has it both ways) was holding. I have never liked those pictures - they strike me as a kind of violence with which I don't want to associate - but that does not justify assault.

I pray for Haver - and Canfield.

But this also has me thinking. Given the violent behaviour I have seen shown by pro-choice counter-protesters, I would not be surprised some day if I or some other local pro-lifers might face potential physical threats.

Haiku: with vacant eyes

evening twilight -
girl leaves abortion clinic
with vacant eyes

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Bad Haiku Friday

Walmart's June specials -
wedding gowns, rice
and shotgun shells


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Married Priests: The schism suffers a schism

The schismatic group Married Priest Now!, started by Archbishop Emmanuel Milango back in 2006 when he validly but illicitly ordained four married men as bishops, has apparently suffered its own schism.

The four men he so ordained back in 2006, plus another illicilty ordained man, have now broken with Milango's group and formed one of their own: Married Priests USA.

In a press release, they announced that as of June 15, 2009:

The five bishops of the Married Priests Now! Catholic Prelature hereby withdraw from the Prelature and disassociate themselves from Archbishop Milingo for philosophical and theological differences. Our new organization for Married Priests for the United States will now be called Married Priests USA.

The five involved are Archbishops Peter Brennan (NY), Joseph Gouthro (NV), Patrick Trujillo (NJ), George Stallings (DC), and Bishop Joaquin Perez (FL).

Also involved in Rochester's illicit married priest, Ray Grosswirth, who is going with the schismatic schismatics.

Let's see. Rev. Denise Donato leaves the schismatic Spiritus Christi to start her own little church (though apparently not breaking with Spiritus), now this break-up of the married priests group.

I wonder when there will be more breaks?

Glad I didn't say that

U.S. Senator John Kerry was telling a group of Massachusetts business and civic leaders in Washington about the strange tale of how South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford had taking off for several day and claiming to be hiking along the Appalachian Trail - prior to our discover of where he really was and what he was really doing.

“Too bad,’’ Kerry said, “if a governor had to go missing it couldn't have been the governor of Alaska. You know, Sarah Palin.’’

Classy guy, that Kerry.

No wonder he lost in 2004 to one of the worst Presidents in our history!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Maybe it's all those New Yorkers living there...

Governor Mark Sanford, perhaps following the lead of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, admitted Wednesday that he's been having an affair with a woman he visited on a secret trip to Argentina.

He said he'll resign as head of the Republican Governors Association. He has not said if he will resign as governor - as Spitzer did after his fondness for hookers was revealed.

Lots of New Yorkers have moved to South Carolina. Maybe they brought their moral values with them.

Or could it be transplanted Real Housewives of New Jersey?

Sanford was a darling among some social conservatives, that there was talk of him running for President in 2012.

Forget that now. It's taken a decade for the moralists of the right to even begin to overlook Newt Gingrich's adultery.

Sanford, who is 49 and the father of four, has apparently been carrying on the affair for about a year.

The affair was uncovered after he disappeared last week - and even missed Father's Day with his children. Originally, aides said he'd gone on a hike of the Appalachian Trail, but then it was discovered he had gone to Argentina.

I bring him up not to celebrate his fall. It's a sad thing, and terrible for his family.

But he had been talked of as a potential rival - or running mate - for Governor Huckabee in 2012.

Senator John Ensign of Nevada, another potential 2012 GOP hopeful, admitted an affair last week and has resigned from the GOP leadership.

Meanwhile, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal laid an egg when he delivered the GOP response to Obama earlier this year, and Governor Sarah Palin has been fighting ongoing battles with the media - including the idiotic David Letterman - the father of her grandchild, and enemies pushing ethics charges that may not be credible but with which she has to deal.

Huckabee meanwhile is topping the GOP polls (with Mitt Romney close behind), and Obama is slipping in the national polls.

I'm looking forward to 2012 for a different reason than some of my fellow Rochester Catholics!

Summer/Mother-in-law updates

Still 214 lbs.

460 words on the novel so far.

Created the Christmas file in which to work on the stories and poems.

Have finished James and First Peter. Now in Second Peter.

My mother-in-law has been moved to a stroke rehab center. She is doing all kinds of therapy right now. They are also giving her all sorts of information about changing her diet to help deal with the diabetes. At 81, she's not sure just how much she wants to change her lifestyle. My poor wife is wearing herself out running over to the center to spend time with her mother, and with working. I'll be helping with some of the running around.

Nursing homes/rehab has been a part of my life for four years now - with Nana, and Dad, and now my Mother-in-law.

There's something to be said against modern medicine!

And now: School work. More book orders for next year.

Ah, summer vacation!

A Litany of St. John the Baptist

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven,
Have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.

God the Holy Ghost,
Have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, One God,
Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary,
pray for us.

Queen of Prophets,
pray for us.

Queen of Martyrs,
pray for us.

Saint John the Baptist,
pray for us.

St. John the Baptist,
precursor of Christ,
pray for us.

St. John the Baptist,
glorious forerunner of the Sun of Justice,
pray for us.

St. John the Baptist,
minister of baptism to Jesus,
pray for us.

St. John the Baptist,
burning and shining lamp of the world,
pray for us.

St. John the Baptist,
angel of purity before thy birth,
pray for us.

St. John the Baptist,
special friend and favorite of Christ,
pray for us.

St. John the Baptist,
heavenly contemplative, whose element was prayer,
pray for us.

St. John the Baptist,
intrepid preacher of truth,
pray for us.

St. John the Baptist,
voice crying in the wilderness,
pray for us.

St. John the Baptist,
miracle of mortification and penance,
pray for us.

St. John the Baptist,
example of profound humility,
pray for us.

St. John the Baptist,
glorious martyr of zeal for God's holy law,
pray for us.

St. John the Baptist,
gloriously fulfilling thy mission,
pray for us.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

Pray for us, O glorious St. John the Baptist,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let Us Pray
O God, Who hast honored this world
by the birth of Saint John the Baptist,
grant that Thy faithful people
may rejoice in the way of eternal salvation,
through Jesus Christ Our Lord.

Haiku: Mass for Life

I can't make tonight's Mass for Life. Here's a haiku from a previous Mass:

Mass for life -
tearful woman prays for
child she did not have

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Disappointed by OLV Daily Mass

I was unable to get to daily Mass at my parish this morning, so I figured I'd check out Our Lady of Victory's noon Mass. I'd been there for a couple of Masses for pro-life events, but not for daily Mass with Father Antinarelli.

I know there are folks who tout the parish and Father Antinarelli, but to be honest, the last pro-life Mass and today's Mass left me feeling, well, disappointed.

When I have heard him preach, Father Antinarelli has not impressed me as a gifted speaker - though I have certainly heard worse. At the pro-life Mass, he jumbled information about St. Anthony of Padua. And at today's daily Mass he did not even preach a homily. I don't recall the last time I've been to a daily Mass at which the priest didn't at least say a few words about the readings.

At the last two Masses I've attended with Father as the celebrant he may have been following all the rubrics and doing everything as they should be done, but I got no sense that he was "celebrating" Mass. It all seemed so rote.

Maybe these were just off days for him. Maybe he is a wonder on Sundays. Maybe he was in a hurry today because of some pressing issue. But so far I've seen nothing that would make me want to leave my parish.

Nothing against Father, by the way. He may be a good and holy man. But when I have been there he has not distinguished himself, certainly not in any way that warrants the praise I've seen written about him - other than that he says Mass by the rules, unlike some other priests I've encountered.

Let me be clear, though: I don't go to Mass to be entertained. I go to praise God, to be spiritually nourished, to hear God's word proclaimed, to celebrate God's gift of salvation and sacrificial love, to be be part of the worshipping Catholic community.

I'll probably give it another shot at OLV at some point this summer, but if it's not better next time I'll look for a different alternative Mass when I can't make it to daily Mass at St. Theodore's.

(ADDED LATER: One big positive - Father heard confessions before daily Mass. Every time I've been there he's heard confessions before Mass. I think that's wonderful - I wish more parishes would do that.)

June 24 Mass for Life

There will be a Mass for Life at the Focus Pregnancy Center June 24 at 6:30 p.m.

Father Jacob Konath, who according to a flier, "knew Mother Teresa," will be the celebrant. I don't know him personally, and I've never attended a Mass he's celebrated. Anyone out there have any information about him?

Afterwards, the will be food a refreshments.

The center is located at 86 University Avenue.

I won't be able to make it due to a family commitment, but it might be a good way for someone who feels the urge to get more involved with the Rochester pro-life movement to dip in his or her toes.

Haiku: Praying Pro-Lifers

praying pro-lifers -
girl entering the clinic
avoids eye contact

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Haiku: At The Clinic

nurse avoids looking
in garbage pail she empties -
abortion clinic

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St. Thomas More: Secular Franciscan

Today is the feast of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More. I have ties to both.

I graduated from St. John Fisher College, named after that Bishop of Rochester, England, who refused to sanction King Henry VIII's adulterous marriage, and who refused to subscribe to the Act of Supremacy, which sought to undermine the Pope's authority and made Henry the head of the Church of England. Cardinal Fisher was executed for his stand on behalf of the Church.

More also died for refusing to sanction the marriage or the Act of Supremacy. He is a saint I have long admired for his courage - and for his writing (Utopia).

And he was a Secular Franciscan.

More was born Thomas was born in London in 1478. He was a devout youth, and although he studied to be a lawyer, he considered becoming a priest - either as a Franciscan, or a Carthusian. He became a Secular Franciscan around 1498, and he lived with the Carthusians for four years, but decided that his vocation lay in marriage and working in the world as a lawyer.

Although he was a busy lawyer and had a growing family, he was continued various pious practices, and for attending daily Mass. He was reproached by some for attending daily Mass when he had so much work to do, but he reportedly replied, "You are advancing the very reasons for the need for frequent holy Communion. If I am distracted, holy Communion helps me to be come recollected if opportunities are offered me each day to offend my God, I arm myself anew each day for the combat by the reception of the Eucharist. If I am in special need of light and prudence in order to discharge my burdensome duties, I draw nigh to my Savior and seek counsel and light from Him."

In addition to his career as a lawyer, he was a noted humanist and writer. His most famous work is the satire Utopia - the name of which entered the English language - which pointed out evils in Church and the state.

King Henry VIII brought More into the Royal Court, where he rapidly became one of the king's councillors and a judge. But even as he rose in the Court, he continued to care about the poor. He often invited poor neighbors to his home, and at his own expense he rented a house to provide shelter for the poor, sick and elderly.

Eventually, More became the Lord Chancellor of England. Henry was in the process of trying to obtain a divorce and to marry Anne Boleyn. He pushed the Pope to declare his first marriage null, but the Pope refused. Then Henry declared himself the Supreme Head of the Church in England. More resigned.

In 1534, Parliament passed the Act of Supremacy that repudiated papal authority in England, and which required an oath. More refused to take the oath. He was imprisoned for 15 months, but continued to refuse to take the oath., and was beheaded. He was canonized in 1935.

In Henry's day, most bishops remained silent or openly supported the King, and most politicians went against their Faith to accept and support what the King wanted and to keep their positions. Sts. Fisher and More provide examples of how our Bishops and Catholic politicians should act.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Huckabee leads poll, closes on Obama

A new poll from Public Policy Polling has Mike Huckabee edging closer to Obama - whose numbers are dropping. Huckabee now gets the highest numbers when matched against Obama (43 %) and is the closest of the potential GOP candidates listed in the poll, trailing Obama by only 7 points.


Barack Obama (D-inc) 50% - Mike Huckabee (R) 43% (7 points)

Barack Obama (D-inc) 49% - Newt Gingrich (R) 41% (8 points)
Barack Obama (D-inc) 48% - Mitt Romney (R) 40% (8 points)
Barack Obama (D-inc) 52% - Sarah Palin (R) 40% (12 points)

I still have my Huckabee buttons from 2008!

Remember: It's a marathon.


Sunday Morning Weigh In

214. Six pounds lost.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

More Reports of Pro-Abortion Violence interviewed Fr. Tom Euteneuer, of Human Life International, about pro-choice violence. Here are some of his responses:

In the days when I was more actively doing sidewalk counseling, I was threatened with death twice by abortion clinic workers, threatened with physical harm numerous times by boyfriends and others who accompanied women to the clinic and several times I was assaulted by people in vehicles trying to run me over. The verbal harassment is too numerous and gross to recount, especially when directed against a man of the cloth. ...

In Kenya an abortionist tried to poison our director;
in Mexico, the HLI director found a knife covered with red blood-like liquid stuck in his couch with a message to stay out of abortion;
in Austria the anti-lifers have sued our affiliate (without success) and the city government of Vienna created special laws against them;
in the Philippines there are attacks against the character of our pro-life people and one parliamentarian called for the deportation of HLI’s Dr. Brian Clowes when he did a speaking tour there;
in Ecuador our affiliate leader was threatened with death, satanic graffiti was put on the door of a church against us, the severed head of a dog was thrown into a church with a desecrated Sacred Host in its mouth. ...

There has only been intimidation of family members like my father who stands in front of the local Planned Parenthood. It is regular fare: he has insults hurled at him and bottles thrown from cars. ...

The behaviors have always been irrational, but the new element seems to be an occult element that I believe we will see more in the future. “Death-scorts” seem to be more prone to curse and "pray" against pro-lifers probably due to so many of them being involved in New Age and witchcraft. Some of it is overt and some not. The abortion clinic owner in Rockford, IL periodically comes out of his place dressed in a devil outfit, for example. He also puts blasphemous images of Jesus and religion in the window of the clinic. One abortionist in FL some years ago shook blood from his abortion instruments on the pro-lifers after a morning of killing. We will see much more of this in time.

Go to here for the full interview.

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Egging Me On

My house was egged.

I spotted the egg shell debris and scattered fluids when I was taking out the garbage.

My first thought was that we had been the random target of one of the many roving packs of knuckle-headed teens who wander our neighborhood.

But then I thought, what if it wasn't random? And what if it was perpetrated by other sorts of knuckleheads?

After all, I am pretty out-spoken on this blog. I have offended a few folks along the way. And my home address is not exactly a secret.

I have been openly pro-life and critical of the pro-choice cabal. I have attacked the statements and policies of President Obama. I have opposed homosexual marriage and echoed Church statements that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. I have admonished schismatics for abandoning the Faith and distorting its teachings. I have fulminated against certain liturgical abuses and New Age practices. I have chided progressive Catholics for twisting or watering down the Faith. I have reproached traditional/conservative Catholics for the uncharitable nature of some of their actions and comments. I have berated Episcopalians for gradually straying even further from the Faith that their over-sexed founder abandoned and taking in over-sexed former Catholic priests. I have echoed the Church's opposition to the death penalty in most cases. I have called the Iraq invasion unjust and President Bush and his cronies war criminals. I have defended contemporary liturgical music and guitars in church. I have written bad haiku. I have been prone to humor and satire.

There's lots of material in this blog to offend fanatics.

And some of those fanatics - such as the pro-choicers - have a history of violence.

Of course, it could be individuals motivated to egg my house for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it was pro-choice pro-homosexual marriage progressive Catholic/schismatic Obama supporters - in other words, the kinds of folks who attend Spiritus Christi, or are on the staff at certain parishes. Or maybe it was pro-Iraq invasion pro-death penalty anti-guitar-at Mass traditional Catholics taking a break from writing (in Latin) to the Vatican. Maybe it was New Age literary critic Episcopalians who don't have a sense of humor.

I'm still inclined to think it was knuckle-headed teens.

But I'm keeping an eye out for cars with tell-tale bumper stickers - like "Women's Ordination Conference" or "It's Better In Latin" or "Obama" - that slow down in front of my house.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Gilbert Magazine's Strong Pro-Life Editorial

Gilbert Magazine, the magazine of The American Chesterton Society (i.e. G.K. Chesterton), has posted a strongly worded pro-life editorial in its June 2009 issue.

The title, "Reining in the Baby Butchers," makes it clear where they are heading.

The editorial focuses on the Freedom of Choice Act, which, as it notes, Barack Obama told Planned Parenthood, "The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That's the first thing I'd do."

FOCA is an attempt to codify Roe vs Wade. It would abrogate any state or federal laws banning partial birth abortion and the use of taxpayer money for abortions, or calling for parental notification and "informed consent." And there's no conscience clause protection for health care employees or agencies. "Catholic hospitals would have to permit abortions or shut down. Catholic doctors would have to perform abortions or find another line of work."

The editorial points out that "Under FOCA, there would be no restrictions whatsoever on abortion."

Of course, it has to get voted on by Congress before the man they refer to as the "Abortion President" can sign it - and Congress - fortunately - has not acted on it yet. But the editorial warns that it may eventually do so.

Meanwhile, the editorial notes, copycat bills are popping up around the country in state legislatures. The editorial cites the example of Illinois legislation - bringing up again the Abortion President's "one legislative achievement when he sat in the Illinois State Senate ... he blocked legislation that would have made it a crime to kill babies who survive an abortion."

The Illinois "FOCA" bill was the target of "highly-organized pro-life groups" who had the support of Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, and is, for now, dead. Legislators who supported it initially, the editorial says, abandoned it as pressure mounted.

This defeat shows, "that pro-abortion legislation can still be defeated, even in today's extreme pro-abortion climate.

"The baby butchers and their enablers would do well to keep that in mind."

Bravo to the editors of Gilbert Magazine. Bravo to them for not mincing words.

They are right: Pro-lifers have to be vigilant, for the pro-abortion forces and their governmental minions like Obama will not stop.

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Bad Haiku Friday

Laura at Catholic Teacher Musings is away. In her honor, I plan to keep up her tradition of posting bad haiku's on Fridays!

truck's bumper sticker
"Watch for Motorcycles"
above large dent

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Swedenborg: The Novel - Another Goal

One of my goals for this summer is to add another 10,000 words to my "Christian horror" novel. My goal last summer was more ambitious - 18,000 words to get it up to 35,000 words. By late August I'd made it: 35,028.

Then I got caught up in school, becoming principal, the Secular Franciscans, and more. So I haven't looked at it since then! (Some writer, eh?)

45,000 words total by August. That works out to about a thousand words a week. Doable.

I still don't have a title for it - though I refer to it as "Swedenborg" because I'm using some of his ideas as a jumping off point (he's the fellow above).

Over the next couple of days I'll be rereading what I've written so far. I hope to start writing next week.

More Morning James

As I've been reading The Letter of James, I paused at this section of James 4:

11 Do not speak evil against one another, brethren. He that speaks evil against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you that you judge your neighbor?


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pro-choice violence and threats

The violent pro-choicers are keeping up their actions.

Such pro-life leaders as Jill Stanek, Troy Newman, and Father Frank Pavone have been receiving death threats, according to a report at Lila Rose and Jenn Giroux have received violent and threatening e-mails.

"Pro-life leaders have uniformly been forced to increase security measures to address threats of violence. In recent days Stanek has been placed under continuous police and federal protection following email threats to kill her at church or as she left her home."

"When questioned about security, Fr. Frank Pavone, founder of Priests for Life, said that he needs armed escorts at speaking engagements to guard him against disruptive pro-abortion demonstrators. Individuals from groups such as NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and Catholics for Choice are often bussed in to derail these presentations. Even peaceful prayer vigils, so common to the pro-life movement, can be dangerous. Fr. Pavone was leading a prayer service in Bellingham, WA when someone confronted him and spit in his face. Prior to his appearances, local groups Fr. Pavone calls, "pro-abortion radicals and anarchists," often signal their intent to lead violent demonstrations; but in recent days he says he’s gotten more serious messages."

"Father Frank, It would make me very happy if someone were to respond to this by snuffing YOU. No fooling. Right-to-lifers, in my book, no longer have a right to life."

"At the Priests for Life blog, another anonymous writer said: "Killing Father Frank will not be murder. It will be justifiable homicide."

You can read more here.

I've also received a violent message back on May 31 ("Kill a right-to-lifer--any right-to-lifer--TODAY!")

I don't want to paint pro-choicers with a broad brush. The vast majority of them, while they are misguided, are non-violent people (even though they support killing babies).

But there is a lunatic fringe to that movement that has been guilty of far more person-on-person violence than that committed by abortion opponents (anyone who kills does not merit the title "pro-life").

Interesting comments about the liturgy

The news is out that Pope Benedict XVI has named Father J. Augustine DiNoia an archbishop and secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

"I think the liturgy should give us a sense of the heavenly liturgy; it's about God, not us," Archbishop-designate DiNoia said to Catholic New Service June 16.

Looking at liturgy today, Archbishop-designate DiNoia said, "The great danger is when the focus is on the celebrating community" rather than on God.

It's about God, and not "community." Interesting.

I wonder what he will have to say in the future?

James: Advice for bloggers (and comment posters)

James 3 -

1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all make many mistakes, and if any one makes no mistakes in what he says he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses that they may obey us, we guide their whole bodies. 4 Look at the ships also; though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So the tongue is a little member and boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire!

6 And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is an unrighteous world among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the cycle of nature, * and set on fire by hell. * 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by humankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue--a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brethren, this ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening fresh water and brackish? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good life let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity. 18 And the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (RSVCE)

I especially like -

6 And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is an unrighteous world among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the cycle of nature, * and set on fire by hell. * 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by humankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue--a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brethren, this ought not to be so.

A good reminder for me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Umm, Father ....

I turned on the radio and it happened to be tuned to station that carries a local talk show host, Bob Lonsberry. What he was saying caught my attention.

He was explaining that he'd not been on the air Monday because he was attending the funeral of a local public official from Mt. Morris, where he lives. The funeral was at the Catholic church. (I checked. St. Patrick's is located in Mt. Morris, and there was indeed a funeral there Monday for a local public official.) Lonsberry is an outspoken Mormon.

He made a point of noting that the priest - whom he did not name, but described as gray haired - gave a terrific eulogy/homily, and then the priest - twice, Lonsberry emphasized - invited everyone, no matter what religion, to receive Communion.

Lonsberry joked that the Vatican might not be too pleased (you think?), and that he remembered as a youth when he went to church with Catholic friends he knew that he was not allowed to receive Communion. He said he did not feel comfortable doing so yesterday, so he didn't. But he noted that a number of people whom he knew - and anyone in that small community might know - were not Catholics did go up to receive.

He described it as a neighborly thing for the priest to do.

Neighborly? Maybe, but clearly a violation of Church teachings.

Wonder which priest it was? There is an older priest who serves that parish (which has a Male Lay Administrator), and knowing a little about that priest's leanings in the past, it would not surprise me if he would say something like that - but I can't say for certain he was the offending priest.

Of course, not only did that priest lead the people attending the funeral astray and violate the teachings of the Church, his story has now gone out on a large radio station for thousands more people to hear and to be confused.


My mother-in-law remains in the hospital. She is still weak on her left side. They've determined she has partly clogged arteries, so a procedure will have to be done eventually. She also has diabetes - which we didn't know. A change in diet is in the works.

I don't consider my summer break as starting officially until Thursday - too much left to do at school yet. But I have started a couple of my summer goals. I'm reading the Bible daily (currently reading James). I've also begun to work on my weight - cutting back on food and especially snacks, and getting out for walks. Already down from 220 to 216.5 - but the first pounds are always the easiest to drop. Let's see what happens by late July!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Top 10 Priest Movies

I snagged this from over at the National Catholic Register site:

For the Year of the Priest, here are the “Top 10 Priest Movies” from our Top 100 Catholic Movies List (the full list is always under “Resources” above):

1. The Scarlet and the Black (1983)
2. The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945)
3. The Mission (1986), mature audiences
4. Going My Way (1944)
5. The Keys of the Kingdom (1944)
6. On the Waterfront (1954)
7. I Confess (1953)
8. Boys Town (1938)
9. Molokai: The Story of Father Damien (1999), mature audiences
10. Angels With Dirty Faces (1938)

(This list represents movies whose main character is a priest. It omits movies focused on a bishop or a pope.)

- My spin. I like many of these movies, and we own several of them. The Scarlet and the Black, Going My way, and The Keys of the Kingdom are ones I've watched repeatedly. The Mission is powerful; I have to be in the right mood. Does the priest in On the Waterfront count as the main character? (Brando might argue that he's a contender for that title.) I have never seen I Confess, so that's one I have to dig up. To be honest, I find Boys Town and Angels with Dirty Faces dated.

What about good priest movies that did not make the list? Hmm.

Diary of a Country Priest (1950) is the only one I can think of off the top of my head.

There's plenty of hagiography movies of saints who were priests. Many of them are decent and pious, but not great.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

That Dreaded "Stroke" Word Again

I'm home now for a while - though I don't know for how long. After Mass this morning I had to rush over to my mother-in-law's to help her out to my car and then drive her to the emergency room. She could barely walk. A stroke.

She's not in any immediate danger, but we don't know how weakened this will leave her. She was already a bit unsteady on her feet.

After spending a couple of hours at the hospital I stopped home earlier, then went to visit my dad (a stroke put him in a nursing home). Now I'm waiting for my wife to call to let me know what room her mother will be in (because of swine flu fears, the hospital only lets one person at a time in the emergency room with patients).

My grandfather, both my grandmothers, my father, my uncle, my father-in-law and now my mother-in-law - all have suffered strokes.

Potential clustering of parishes seems less important right now.

UPDATE: She's in a room. Physical therapy begins tomorrow!

She's apparently had a series of mini strokes stretching back weeks. Hopefully we've caught the problem soon enough that she won't have a big one like my dad, who failed to heed warning mini strokes and now is confined to a wheelchair.

The Dreaded "Clustering of Parishes" Warning

This morning at Mass we got an update on Pastoral Planning for the Gates-Chili area - an update that confirmed what I'd been speculating.

It contained the phrase"clustering of parishes."

The bottom line is that we have five parishes in our region, and we've been informed that due to retirements - and no ordinations for the next three years - we will have only four priests to serve those parishes as of 2010.

We already will already have a pastoral administrator at one parish (St. Pius Tenth) at the end of this month. One parish is currently headed by a priest who is not the official pastor. (at he wasn't the last I heard). Next June, we have another pastor retiring.

The update notes a Catholic Council made up of representatives of the five parishes had been meeting, and "By May it became evident that some form of clustering of parishes would be necessary." A cluster could involve up to three parishes - and who's to say we won't have two clusters - one of two parishes, one of three parishes. Indeed, the update observes, "With the continuing decrease in priests available for ministry and the experience of other parishes in our diocese, it is likely that eventually there will be no single parishes as we now know them."

The update also points out that notes (in bold) that, "For now, and for the foreseeable future, all five parishes will remain open under any of the parish configurations being considered."

For now.

For, as the update admits, "Clustered parishes in our diocese over time generally work toward becoming a single parish, often with multiple worship sites."

There will also be more joint ministries. Will we have one youth minister to serve several parishes? One religious education coordinator? One summer school program? One sacramental preparation program? Will Masses be dropped? Will we have to rotate where we have special Masses, such as Midnight Mass on Christmas, or the Easter Vigil? Will choirs and music groups (such as Rock of Faith) serve multiple parishes? Or will members of different parishes join together for a cluster choir located at one church?

I'm sure I could come up with more questions if I wanted to.

For now, we are waiting to hear the actual plan.

The update says the timeline sets a goal of September for a draft plan to be developed by parish councils and staffs, and by the Catholic Council; for parish town meetings in October to suggest ways to improve the plan; for revisions of the plan to take place in November and December; then for a final plan to be sent to Bishop Clark in January or February of next year for approval.

I'm waiting to see what they come up with before I get all worked up.

But boy, we do need more priests here!

And he's off!

I'm already beginning to work on my summer goals.

Yesterday, I weighed myself for the first time in months. 220. Grrr. How about 190 by August 30th?

I've already cut down on snacking, and this morning (5:30 a.m.) I went for a walk around the neighborhood.

It's a good time to say the rosary - and to enjoy the singing of the birds. I whistled back at a few of them.

Next up: A bit of Bible reading before taking a shower, then off to Mass.

Former Father P. David Finks, 1930-2009

I caught in the obituaries today that P. David Finks - the former Father Finks of Rochester - died June 10 in North Carolina.

Finks was a priest of this diocese from 1956 until he resigned from the priesthood in 1973 and later married.

Under Archbishop Fulton Sheen in the 1960s - when Sheen was Bishop of Rochester and was trying to implement Vatican II with mixed results - the then Father Finks served as Vicar of Urban Ministry and executive director of the Office of Social Ministry. He worked with Saul Alinsky, the godfather of community organizing, who was in Rochester to help Rochester’s black community organize. Finks later wrote the first biography of Alinsky, The Radical Vision of Saul Alinsky.

Finks also served on the staff of the U.S. Catholic Conference in Washington, where he helped to create the Campaign for Human Development.

After he left the priesthood, he remained involved with various community and social service activities.

I'll have to dig out my old articles, but I vaguely remember either interviewing him or using some of Finks' previous interviews back in the mid 90s when writing my series on Bishop Sheen's time in Rochester. I didn't know him personally. Perhaps some of my readers remember him and what he was like as a person and a priest. (Please, keep it positive.)

May he rest in peace.

An observation

At yesterday's March for Life in Rochester, I noticed something.

Red Sox paraphernalia (including my Red Sox cap) outnumbered Yankee paraphernalia 2-1.

Now I don't know if that means that Red Sox fans are more likely to be pro-life than Yankee fans, or that pro-lifers are more likely to be Red Sox fans than Yankee fans.

Maybe it doesn't mean anything at all.

Just wondering.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Father Weslin's Arrest Poster

I found this posted over at American Papist. It was too good to pass up! (Father Weslin was arrested for protesting President Obama's speech at Notre Dame.)

A Franciscan Moment - St. Anthony of Padua

Due to graduation at school running late, general exhaustion, and still being under the weather, I did not go to the Secular Franciscan meeting last night - my first miss since September.

But I had a Franciscan treat before today's March for Life.

It was the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua, so that great Franciscan saint was the focus of the Mass and the homily at Our Lady of Victory. There was a large statue of the Saint and the Holy Infant to the side of the altar. In addition, Father Ron - who pointed out that his middle name is Anthony and that St. Anthony is his patron saint - had a relic of St. Anthony which he placed on the altar during Mass, and which we were able to venerate after Mass.

Thank you for that gift, Lord!

A Prayerful March for Life

We held our March for life to Planned Parenthood this afternoon.

It was prayer and peaceful. But then, there were no pro-choice counter-demonstrators to provide some of their usual forms of violence.

The march followed noon Mass at Our Lady of Victory Church. We processed silently and prayerfully through downtown Rochester to Planned Parenthood.

We got a few honked horns, waves and thumbs up along the way - including from a large group of motorcyclists rumbling through downtown. Hmm. Bikers for Life?

At Planned Parenthood, we said a rosary, and prayed for the Pope's intentions.

This march, I purposely did not slip into my reporter mode and limited my picture taking, focusing instead on prayer.

Sadly, only about 40 people took apart, and only one priest or deacon that I recognized - Father Tony Mugavero. That's way below what we've had in the past when the weather was bad. One person speculated that maybe it was too nice a day! Or that people had other events - like a funeral at his parish that prevented his pastor from joining us.

In the back of my mind, I also wondered if the murder of Dr. Tiller might have made some people nervous about pro-choice violence.

Whatever the reason, we were there and we prayed for life, for the women faced with hard choices and fear, for our nation, and for ourselves.

Prayer and love are what will fuel our fight for life.

What are your plans for the summer?

Today is the first day of summer for me. Sort of.

Our graduation ceremonies were yesterday. I will not face students again until August 31.


But, I will be in school next week. Principal duties. Packing some text books that will not be used next year. Ordering new books and science supplies. Making sure all the student documents, including end-of-year report cards, are put in student files. Filing reports with the central office (in our case, in Detroit). Meeting with the CEO over some budget issues. Cleaning my classroom and the office.

A few days worth of work. But nothing bad.

Then summer vacation.

Every year I get asked the same basic question (usually with an edge of jealousy or even resentment): What are you going to do with all that vacation time?

Well, besides taking part in hiring interviews for school staff, finalizing individual student schedules for next year, flying to Detroit for a principals' conference, reading the text book and writing lesson plans for a new course I'll be teaching ...

I plan -

to attend a summer institute for church musicians

to lose the weight I put back on

to edit the Christmas book I hope to have ready for Christmas this year

to add 10,000 words to my novel.

to fix part of our driveway that's collapsing

to stain the stockade fences

to begin reading the Bible daily

Oh, and in between to do some traveling with the Good-Looking-One, get to daily Mass, read a few good books, make a couple of mini pilgrimages, ride my bicycle, write a few poems, relax.

Maybe I'll even sleep in a few days instead of writing blog posts at 6 a.m.!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bad Haiku Friday

graduation day -
staff barely contains glee as
SHE crosses the stage

March for Life in Rochester

We will hold a March for Life to Planned Parenthood's headquarters in Rochester tomorrow, June 13 at 1 p.m.

The March will begin at Our Lady of Victory Church, 210 Pleasant Street, after the noon Mass (hint). It will proceed prayerfully and peacefully through downtown Rochester to the Planned Parenthood offices and abortion clinic at 114 University Avenue.

Previous marches - when the weather wasn't nice, as in the picutre above - have drawn more than 100 participants.

In the past, the pro-choicers have generally not been there. One time they were there (about 20 of them) for one of our marches they were loud and confrontational - as per usual. Given the Tiller murder, however, there may be some this time again. But the pro-lifers will remain peaceful - as per usual.

It would be great if we could get even more pro-life marchers this time - 200 would be nice. Be there if you can. If you can't, please pray for life.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Red Flags A-Flyin!

As I was skimming the local daily (Democrat and Chronicle), I came across a piece by columnist Mark Hare.

"Saturday walk celebrates joy of peace work"

A red flag went up.

From the headline, it sounds like a good effort. But unfortunately it's also the same day we are holding Prayer March to Planned Parenthood, so my first thought was that it would compete. Too bad both marches couldn't take place on separate days.

Then I started reading.

It's sponsored by the Assisi Institute of Rochester.

A Franciscan connection. But as a local Secular Franciscan, why have I not heard of this Institute?

Hare goes on to describe St. Francis (hooray), then mentions the director of the Institute, Craig Bullock. I knew Bullock tangentially years ago in Catholic circles, but, to be honest, I don't recall much about him. That's not a mark against him: There are many good people I've met who have slipped through my leaky brain.

He is described as "the former pastoral administrator at that now-closed Sts. Peter and Paul Church." Sigh.

Then he is quoted as saying "We try to bring the mystical traditions of the East and West together ... at an essential level all religious traditions are drinking from the same stream."

Multiple red flags!

The walk will benefit the institute (hmmm) and area nonprofits. One of the organizations involved is St. Joseph's House of Hospitality, a Catholic Worker House that holds prayer services led by folks from various local religious groups and communities, including the schismatic Spiritus Christi, and which once declared that a future woman priest would serve the St. Joe's community.

Yet more red flags.

I went to the Assisi Institute site

"The Assisi Institute serves the process of spiritual enlightenment through the practice of Kriya Yoga and a harmonious integration of Eastern philosophy and Western mysticism."


I'm having a hard time holding all these red flags.

"A community of people committed to God-realization, mutual support, and selfless service, the Assisi Institute exists for the sole purpose of assisting spiritual pilgrims on their interior journey to God. We seek to nurture a contemplative environment that brings people into the intuitive awareness of God’s presence. We foster a culture that encourages a balanced, healthy, holistic lifestyle that naturally supports the spiritual process.

With Kriya Yoga and the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda as our cornerstone, the Assisi Institute integrates Eastern and Western spirituality, with a special emphasis on Christian mysticism. We honor the saints and sages of all traditions, and in the spirit of Saint Francis of Assisi, we welcome all sincere spiritual seekers regardless of religious affiliation."

The site also contains this gem:

"One of Yogananda’s direct disciples, Roy Eugene Davis, director of the Center for Spiritual Awareness, ordained Craig Bullock as a teacher of Kriya Yoga. Craig went on to establish the Assisi Institute ...."


Now maybe its just a poor choice of words, but he is a former pastoral administrator, so shouldn't he have been sensitive to the use of that word?

And at one point Bullock writes:

"The blissful, liberating knowledge of God is not a complicated process. We don’t have to embark on a grand and complicated search for a remote deity. The Divine Presence is within all of us, as the Soul of all souls, as the very ground of our being. In the words of Paramahansa Yogananda, “You are all gods. If only you knew it; behind the wave of your consciousness is the sea of God’s presence. Everything we seek is already within us, right now.” Gloria in Excelsis Deo!"

We are all gods! Gosh. Though I seem to recall some story involving eating some fruit in a garden somewhere.

Oh well, he did toss in some churchy Latin.

Anyway, some of the charities to be helped by this march are worthy - I already support one of them, Bethany House.

But there's too many red flags raised by this Institute. Further study is warranted.

As for me, this Catholic boy I will be going to Mass, then marching and praying for life on Saturday.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Letter writer misrepresents the faith

There was a sad letter in today's Democrat and Chronicle.

The writer seemed to be arguing that it's okay to disagree with the Church on some important issues just becuase a number of people break Church teachings.

In response to the June 1 letter writer who claims Catholics cannot pick and choose what they want or do not want to believe: Well, that's exactly what most Catholics do.

Okay, many Catholics do violate the teaching of the Church. But that does not make their actions right.

They believe in birth control; the church does not.

If they practice birth control, they are violating Church and natural law.

They believe that gays and the divorced should receive the "body of Christ"; the church does not.

Actually, the Church does not say homosexuals and the divorced can't receive Communion. Catholics who commit homosexual acts, or get divorced and remarried without an annulment should not receive, but just being homosexual or divorced does not preclude receiving.

They believe that priests should marry; the church does not. (The reason being that the church did not want the priests' children to inherit the land.)

First, there ARE married priests. Second, the Catholic and Orthodox churches that allow married priests require that they be married before they are ordained, and say they can't marry once they are ordained. Third, the reason they are prohibited had nothing to do with inheriting the land. That is false history.

Most churchgoing Catholics do pick and choose what they want to believe but continue to support a church that they disagree with.

Again, just because they choose to violate the laws does not make their actions right. Many people drive above the speed limit, talk on cell phones while driving, steal from their employers, illegally download music, etc. Surely this letter writers would not argue that because so many people break these societal laws that it's somehow okay?

All this is simply a sign of the sinful nature we all share - a nature with which the Church is trying to help us deal.

Could be worse

Still sick. Had a hard time talking in class yesterday - maybe not a bad thing, at least from the students' point of view.

But with finals this week, book orders for next year due by Friday, the end-of-the-year newsletter to get out, a final teacher evaluation to be written up, awards to be decided, and graduation Friday, can't miss time.


At least the Mets beat Philadelphia last night.

And Boston beat the Yankees.

Oh, and I got word one of my haiku has been accepted for a Haiku Society of America Anthology.


Cough. Cough. Wheeze.

Three more days ...

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Pro-choice violence

The murder of Dr. Tiller was a crime. It has no defense.

But the amount of violent crimes committed against abortionists and their supporters is dwarfed by the volume of violence committed by pro-choicers.

Human Life International has documented more than 8,519 acts of violence and illegal activities by pro-abortionists. These crimes include:
1,251 homicides and other killings
157 attempted homicides
28 arsons and firebombings
904 assaults
1,908 sex crimes (including 250 rapes)
106 kidnappings
420 cases of vandalism
290 drug crimes
1,616 medical crimes

And that does not include the approximately 50 million babies killed.

Man Guilty in Catholic Ponzi Scheme

Richard Piccoli has pleaded guilty to conducting a Ponzi scheme that targeted Catholics and has resulted in millions in losses.

The 82-year-old from Amherst - over Buffalo way - plead guilty to using ads in Catholic newspapers (including Rochester's Catholic Courier) and his membership in the Knights of Columbus to get people - including priests and women religious - to invest millions in his Gen-See Capital Corporation.

He promised them large returns for their investments. Now some people have lost most or all of the money they invested -including in some cases all their retirement money.

A Ponzi scheme is one in which early investors do receive return on their investments - but the money comes from later investors, who often end up with nothing. In this case, the estimated losses to hundreds of people are in the $20-25 million range.

He faces up to 25 years in jail.

I was always taught if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.

In this case, it was.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Rev. Ragsdale cracks a joke (?)

On the murder of abortionist Dr. George Tiller:

“This is about the loss of a man who was a saint and a martyr. He was a prayerful man who put his life at risk to protect others and died for it." - Rev. Dr. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, new president and dean of Episcopal Divinity School.

Dr. Tiller may have had a warped sense that killing of unborn children was a moral thing to do - I leave it to God to read his soul - but to have a church official, someone charged with training future Episcopal priests, calling him a saint???

It would be nice if this was just a joke.

Given recent actions by the Episcopal Church - including its ready acceptance of Father Alberto Cutié - this statement just adds to questions about this denomination's credibility. It's certainly getting harder to take it seriously.

My Brain Hurts

I normally don't grouse about not feeling well.

Tough guy stuff. John Wayne didn't grumble, right.

But yesterday I got hit with either the worst summer cold or the worst case of allergies I can remember in my life.

Head, ears, eyes, teeth hurting. Congestion. Runny nose. Nausea.

All while trying to get the finals ready for this week.

Still miserable this morning. I'll tough it out.

The Duke would.

Of course, he's also dead now.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Sunday Morning Coming Down

(Not me)

It's Sunday morning. Mass is in 2 hours.

But the guitar will stay home.

Withdrawal time.

The regular choir is off for the summer.

I feel like I should be doing something more to get ready for Mass but ...

No tuning required. No checking to make sure I have the music. No more leaving for church early to make sure the music stands are out and the guitar amp is plugged in.

Is there a Choir Anonymous program out there?

Hi. My name is Lee. I'm a church musician.

At least they would probably have coffee available at a C.A. meeting.

Maybe I'll play something just for the pleasure of playing and singing. Maybe something not even churchy.

Let's see, what do I know? How about "Bottle of Wine?"

Oh, yeah, wine.

Any other church musicians get the summer hiatus blues out there?

At least I now get to sit the pews with the Good-Looking-One. I can sing in the muted way people in the pews tend to do. Or I can let loose, startling the people around me, and maybe also listen for the voices of other choir members scattered about the church.

Choir's summer break -
melodies and harmonies
scattered through the church

Maybe she and I can go out for coffee after.

Gotta feed at least one addiction.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Sarah Palin in Auburn

The Good-Looking-One and I ventured down to Auburn to see Alaska Governor Sarah Palin there for Founder's Day.

The celebration marks Alaska's 50th anniversary as a state. Secretary of State William Seward of Auburn was the person who agitated for the purchase of Alaska from Russia back in 1868.

We got there just in time to catch Palin (with Todd and Willow) pass by in the parade.

Then we got to see her speak at city hall. There were a number of "McCain/Palin" and "Palin in 2012" signs. My favorite was one suggesting that New York trade governors with Alaska.

There were also a few anti-Palin signs from animal rights people, and a couple of Obama supporters. That's part of living in a democracy!

Amid occasional cheers of "Sarah" and "Run Sarah Run," she delivered a cookie cutter speech. It was a Founder's Day Celebration for Auburn, not a political rally, so her remarks were appropriate for the event.

Palin got the key to the city, which she showed to Todd.

Lots of people there, many obviously there to see her. She'd also been in town a couple of days, so she did a lot of visiting to places like the Women's Rights Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls and the Harriet Tubman House in Auburn. Pressing the flesh. Making contacts.

Overall, a good move on her part politically. Upstate New York has the potential to be a Palin stronghold in 2012.

The Good-Looking-One, who is not a Palin fan, was motivated to join me because it meant a road trip - something she loves - and because it was a way to spend time with me (maybe working on a plenary indulgence?). I might have to go to a Hillary rally some day in compensation. (Sigh.) There was also the promise of a stop at the Montezuma Winery on the way back (several bottles were purchased - including some mead).

But she did say that she'd rather have Palin as our governor than David Paterson, who has cut funding for vet programs among his other missteps. She also noted that Palin is in remarkable shape for a woman who has several kids, and is very attractive, as, she added, is Todd.

Hmm. I might convert her yet!

A fun trip. Now I've seen Palin. Who know what will happen between now and 2012.


Coffee, donuts, exams, bzzzzz

chocolate donuts
coffee with extra sugar -
final exams time

(Thanks to Catholic Teacher Musings for the "Bad Haiku" inspiration. Happy Birthday Laura.)


Friday, June 05, 2009

Obama got it wrong - again

"Those who speak out against stem cell research may be rooted in admirable conviction about the sacredness of life, but so are the parents of a child with juvenile diabetes who are convinced that their son's or daughter's hardships can be relieved." - Barack Obama, Notre Dame

During his speech at Notre Dame, President Obama addressed the issue of stem cell research. Unfortunately, he once again distorted the pro-life position.

Pro-lifers, especially Catholic pro-lifers, ARE NOT opposed to stem cell research.

The Church endorses ethical stem cell research - such as that which uses adult stem cells. Moreover, adult stem cell research is the form of stem cell research that is showing promise and producing results. That child with juvenile diabetes might well benefit from a cure discovered through the type of stem cell research the Church endorses.

What Catholic pro-lifers opposes is embryonic stem cell research. Obtaining those stem cells requires killing the unborn child.

Further, despite the popular notion inherent in the President's statement that somehow pro-lifers are stopping embryonic stem cell research - though, to be honest, we would like to see it stop - and thus preventing results, such research has been going on for years. But it has not produced results.

The kinds of results that other forms of stem cell research - forms the Church endorses - are producing.

Forms and results that are making embryonic stem cell research and the killing of unborn children to obtain their stem cells unnecessary.

Obama created an inaccurate impression of what Catholic pro-lifers believe.

Now Obama's "Outraged"?

NY Bishops Oppose Homosexual Marriage Law

Bishop Matthew Clark of Rochester has joined his fellow New York bishops - including the new Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan - in issuing a public statement opposing a proposed homosexual marriage law currently being considered by the state legislature and supporter by the governor.

Statement of the Catholic Bishops of New York State on Marriage

We face today the prospect of a law in New York which would radically change the timeless institution of marriage. As pastors of citizens from every corner of our great state, we stand unified in our strong opposition to such a drastic measure.

Throughout history, different cultures have had different customs regarding marriage. But the one constant has been the conviction that marriage is the union of a man and a woman in an enduring bond, ordered for the procreation and stable rearing of children. Regrettably, the state Assembly has voted to redefine what nature and our common heritage long ago defined for us. We fervently pray that members of the state Senate will stand firm in opposition to this ill-advised legislation, and we call on Catholics and all New Yorkers to contact their Senators to make their voices heard.

Our opposition to this bill is based not only on Catholic teaching regarding human sexuality and the Sacrament of Marriage. Just as importantly, it is based on reason, sound public policy, and plain common sense, as we stated in our 2008 pastoral statement on same-sex “marriage.” To briefly reiterate, the state has a compelling legal interest in promoting marriage between men and women in order to create stable families and provide for the safety, health and well being of children. The state has no such compelling legal interest in recognizing a relationship between two people of the same sex.

If there are injustices against those in relationships other than marriage, those injustices can certainly be reformed and corrected in a way other than by drastically redefining marriage.

We close with a final point from our 2008 statement:

“(W)e want to make absolutely clear that our firm beliefs about marriage … must not be misconstrued to be in any way a condemnation of homosexual people or an attack on their human dignity. Our Church teaches, and we affirm, that we must treat our homosexual sisters and brothers with dignity and love, as we would all God’s children. Indeed the Catechism of the Catholic Church warns that any form of prejudice or hatred – “every sign of unjust discrimination” – against homosexual people should be avoided. (CCC 2358)

I wonder if the Rochester's Catholic Mayor Robert Duffy, who recently came out in favor of the law, will read what they had to say, and maybe recant.

I can always dream.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Beatles - Birthday

Yeah, it's today.

Maybe I'll put a shot of whiskey in my coffee.

Liturgy as poetry

"The liturgy is a poem celebrated by the priests."

- Hugo Ball, Catholic Dada Catholic (written in his diary before moving from Dada to Catholic again)


Liturgy as a poem?

As a drama?

As a song?

As a dance?

Just some nascent morning ruminations ....

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Palin in Auburn Details

The itinerary is out for Governor Sarah Palin's visit to Auburn Saturday.

At 11 a.m there will be a parade, with her waving that little campaign wave. From noon to 1 there will be speeches, including one by Palin. Then from 1-3 there will be a garden party with Palin at the Seward House Museum.

I still plan to go. I'll give her my campaign wave. I'll be good and not wear one of my Huckabee buttons.

Don't know if I'll hang out for the garden party. I'm not much for small talk.

Besides, there's mead for sale over at the Montezuma Winery!

I voted for McCain/Palin - in part because she was on the ticket, and in part because I feared what Obama was going to do (he hasn't proven me wrong yet!).

I will consider her in 2012, especially if Huckabee does not run. I think she needs more seasoning, but given the likely alternative on the Democratic ticket, I'd willingly vote for her again. I'd even consider registering as a Republican to vote for her in a GOP primary as I did to vote for Huckabee in 2008. (Independent now as the Right to Life Party is no longer an official party in New York.)

Maybe I'll get a "Nobama" sign and ask her to sign it. It's my wife's birthday on Monday and ...


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

What else happened on Pentecost?

On Sunday, my mind was originally not on events in Wichita.

It was Pentecost Sunday, and the final Sunday for the regular choir before our summer break. I will miss the choir, though Rock of Faith will continue to practice, and is scheduled to play at least once.

Deacon Angelo preached. I love to listen to his down-to-earth homilies. This Sunday, part of what he talked about was taking part in the annual Good Friday Stations of the Cross in Reparation for Abortion - the same event in which I take part each year. How ironic given what would be happening just a few hours later in Wichita.

It was also Asian Pacific American Heritage Family Day at the Memorial Art Gallery. Amid the dancing, crafts, and music, there was a reading of haiku.

I was one of the readers.

The members of the Rochester Area Haiku Group explained what haiku is, and members read some of their haiku.

I love to hear the other poets' haiku. Several of the local poets have international reputations - one just came back from doing a haiku workshop in India! - and I learn so much from just listening to them.

My own haiku lack the depth of some of the others, but I do provide a bit of humor.

arrive at work
lunch still on kitchen counter -
foggy morning

I also often add a bit of faith.

Ash Wednesday -
the check-out girl
wipes her forehead

after sunrise
one star still visible -
Christmas day

I am lucky to have such a group here in Rochester.

Good preaching at Mass - good music - good poetry - so many ways to be inspired.

So many ways to be touched by the Spirit.

So many ways to spread God's message.


Monday, June 01, 2009

40 Days for Life Head Condemns Dr. Tiller's Murder

"As a nationwide organization dedicated to peaceful and prayerful solutions to the crisis of abortion, 40 Days for Life is shocked and dismayed by the shooting death of Kansas abortion provider George Tiller. Such violence against a fellow human being is never justified, and 40 Days for Life condemns this senseless act. We encourage people of faith to join in prayer for all those affected by this unconscionable action."

David Bereit
National Director
40 Days for Life

Pro-choicers exploit the murder of Dr. Tiller

Preliminary reports are that the man accused of killing Dr. George Tiller had no ties to the pro-life movement.

Let me repeat that: He was not part of the pro-life movement.

But that's not preventing pro-choice groups from exploiting this crime.

Scott Roeder reportedly had ties to a militia group, and was described by his ex-wife as suffering from mental illness. He also spent time in jail.

His only contact with the pro-life movement apparently was that he posted comments on an Operation Rescue site - but was never a member of that or any other pro-life group.

Even though there are no indications that he was a pro-lifer, that hasn't stopped the propaganda arms of pro-choice groups from using this crime to attack pro-life groups.

They are trying to use this tragedy to make the pro-life movement looking bad, and to build up fear and further limits on pro-life activities.

I haven't seen reports of any yet, but I would not be surprised if we soon see fund-raising letters and appeals from them as well.

Give them time. They always seem to act when there's money to be made.

But you can bet they will not acknowledge statistics that show pro-choicers and the abortion industry actually have committed more acts of violence against people than pro-lifers - and that's not including the abortions themselves.

Such honesty could hurt their bottom line.