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
Monday, August 31, 2009
It begins ...
"Wake up, son. It's time to go to school."
"Oh Mom, I don't want to go to school."
"Son, give me two reasons why you don't want to go to school."
"One, the kids all hate me. Two, the teachers all hate me."
"Come on son, you have to go to school."
"Oh Mom, give me two good reasons why I need to go to school?"
"One, you are forty-four years old. Two, you are the Principal."
....Off to school this morning.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Prayer for proper use of technology
by Sr. Mary Kansier, MS
Heavenly Father, Your loving servant Maximilian Kolbe spent his life in service to others, using technology to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.
You crowned his life with the grace to give his life for another, in imitation of Jesus who said, "There is no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend."
Through the intercession of St. Maximilian, may we always use technology for Your Glory and to draw others close to You and Your Blessed Mother Mary.
St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us. Amen.
(A nod to Lisa, a fellow Secular Franciscan.)
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Casting Crowns to be on Huckabee
Tonight, Casting Crowns (one of my favorite Christian rock groups) will be on "Huckabee" - and Governor Huckabee (bass player) will join them to play "Voice of Truth."
Quote of the Day
Frantic faxes and calls to book companies.
A senior teacher looked at me, smiled, and said: "You wanted to be principal."
Friday, August 28, 2009
The debris that haunts me
I was in our parish chapel before the tabernacle, trying to fit in a half hour of prayer before Mass. I was saying a rosary, when I realized my mind had strayed into remembering an inappropriate comedy skit I'd seen on television 30 years ago.
It happens all too often. I'll be at Mass, praying, driving, reading, watching television, and suddenly I'll remember an image, a line of dialogue or from a song, a joke, a skit that taints what I am doing.
When I realize what is happening, I quickly say the Jesus Prayer, or ask God to help me stay focused on what I'm doing or to drive that thought out of my mind.
But there is so much in there. When I was younger I was not always careful about what I read, viewed, listened to. I rationalized it all by saying it wasn't that bad - though, sadly, there are some things I allowed to enter my mind that were bad. I'd say it was just funny, or entertaining, and that it wouldn't lead me astray. I'd say that the sisters, the priests, the parents, the older folks who were trying to warn me were prudes, or were being ridiculous.
And some of it was small, not evil in and of itself.
But the accumulated weight of so much moral debris can desensitize you, can weaken you, can make you less resistant. I know that it helped to pull me down to more evil things at times - as I'm sure it has other people. I have used those things that haunt my subconscious to help excuse my greater lapses. As a parent, I'm ashamed to say I let my children have contact with some of those things, too.
I wish now that I had been more careful back then. I wish I had not allowed all that to stain my mind and my soul.
I wish I could convince others to be careful - but they would probably view me with the disdain or condescension with which I viewed those who tried to warn me. I'm sure there are some people who think of me as a fanatic or too scrupulous.
But here I am dealing with the consequences of not living the kind of life I should have been living, of not being careful and wise in what I allowed to enter my heart and mind. That is very real.
And here I am now knowing the pain that I have caused God, who suffered on the Cross for my choices back then.
I have confessed the things I did that were wrong. I have been forgiven by my loving God. With God's healing grace, I have even forgiven myself (though there are still some pangs of regret).
But the debris will be with me until the day I die.
Bad Haiku Friday: Retirement money!
Labels: bad haiku
Planned Parenthood Exposed
Her efforts have led to Planned Parenthood staff getting fired, and to criminal investigations.
You can read more about what she is doing and see the videos she has released (more are in the works!) at Live Action Films. Her efforts have exposed Planned Parenthood in a number of states. Her picture is now posted in some clinics like a wanted poster!
I've had contact with Planned Parenthood deception twice.
Back when I was a reporter, I covered the effort of the local Planned Parenthood to add a "health clinic" to its headquarters here in Rochester. They kept saying it was not an abortion clinic, but I dug through plans, documents, filings with the state, and found evidence that it did include abortion services. I confronted the local head of Planned Parenthood, who fudged, dodged and basically lied in response to my questions. It all got approved anyway, and now the "health clinic" is one of the main providers of abortions locally.
When I returned to teaching, I was in public school. For sex education, the principal invited Planned Parenthood in to give a presentation.
I listened carefully, and afterwards confronted the Planned Parenthood presenter, pointing out important details she had excluded when it came to birth control - which, of course, she was essentially promoting. She admitted she had left things out. She said she wanted to keep things simple for the students, and did not want to confuse them. (Confuse them with the facts?) I reported our conversation to my principal.
The following year, Planned Parenthood was back, only this time the representative did allude to some of the issues I'd raised -only to mock and dismiss them.
After all, kids will be kids, kids will have sex, and health/mental/emotional concerns are secondary when it comes to providing them with materials to help encourage them to continue having sex - and to help Planned Parenthood make money.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Pope Benedict Gets Environmental
James Marvin, Former (?) Priest, Passes
I used to know a Father James Marvin, so I was curious.
Sure enough, ordained in 1948, served in a number of Rochester parishes, including a stint as pastor of St. Ambrose from 1971-95. That's where I encountered him. After Corpus Christi went off the deep end, I tried out several parishes, including St. Ambrose. We attended there for about a year, but it wasn't a good fit.
Anyway, I quickly discovered why there was no "Father" attached to his name.
"Survived by his loving wife ..." (who, interestingly, had a different last name) "... children ..." three of them listed, all with different last names than their mother or my former pastor. Children of a previous marriage by her?
I vaguely remember him disappearing when he retired in 1995 - I was at the Catholic Courier in those days - then being spotted in the western Finger lakes region (for some reason I recall something about running a real estate agency, but I might be wrong). At the time, it struck me as odd that as a retired priest he did not seem to be assisting anywhere.
I don't remember ever hearing that he had married, or that he was laicized - something significant enough that I probably would have heard at least some rumblings about it while at the Courier (I quit there in 1999). Maybe it happened later?
Ah well, all that is between him and God. The funeral Mass is scheduled for St. Ambrose tomorrow.
Thank you Father for some 47 years of service as a priest. God be with you.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Mother-in-law back In Hospital
Please pray for her.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Another Protestant Church `Jumps The Shark'
Last week, the Evangelical Lutheran Church leadership voted to condone sex outside marriage and to allow sexually-active homosexual clergy.
"Jump the shark" is a term that refers to a point in a television show's or movie series' history in which the plot lurches off into absurd story lines or out-of-the-ordinary characterizations. It usually comes when the show or series is starting to decline and it's often a desperate but futile move to try to add energy or life. The term emerged after an episode in the television show Happy Days in which the character Fonzi did a water-skiing jump over a shark.
The Episcopal Church long ago lost sexual (and doctrinal) credibility - but then, it was a church created to justify sexual impropriety in the first place.
Just as the Episcopal Church's wayward ways has helped to lead some of its disillusioned members back home to Rome, perhaps we might see some ELCA members turn to Catholic Church for steadfast moral beliefs.
Say a prayer for the many good Lutherans who are already troubled by their leaders' decisions.
40 Days For Life - More Cities!
Labels: 40 Days for Life
Daughter begins final year
Communion on the hand still okay
A report at the Catholic News Agency counters that.
According to the August 24 report, "The Press Office of the Holy See today denied reports in the Italian press that Pope Benedict is poised to make changes to enhance the sacredness of the liturgy. The statement added that there are currently no institutional proposals to alter the rites being used to celebrate the Mass."
"The Assistant Director of the Press Office, Father Ciro Benedettini, said that `so far there are no institutional proposals for amendment of the books currently in use.'"
Personally, I have no problem with Communion on the hand, if it is done reverently.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
The Blessed Sacrament - Quotations
Thanks, Planned Parenthood
Well, that brought a response from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood :
"Seems that, if the U.S. Conference had its way, the national health care system would make American women second-class citizens and deny them access to benefits they currently have."
Hmm. Seems to me she is confirming that health care reform does include abortion coverage. She must not have the administration's playbook ("Fabricate, and keep fabricating even if caught. The general public won't catch on.")
I'm not the only one to see that: Father Thomas Eutenauer, President of Human Life International, noted:
"Ms. Richards has done a favor to all pro-lifers and people of good faith in her hate-filled rant against the shepherds of our beloved Church...First, she has reminded everyone that, despite President Obama's recent statements to the contrary, abortion is absolutely going to be covered in any health care reform legislation that crosses his desk."
Thank you, Planned Parenthood. Keep talking.
Labels: Planned Parenthood
Off to daughter's college
For the last time.
Yep, after seeing her two older siblings through college, we are down to the last one's final back-to-school trip: She's a senior.
The next time we go to the campus, it will be to see her graduate.
(That also means I will be away from the computer for a couple of days, so if you post a comment, be patient.)
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Time flies when you're having ... life
Oldest daughter wished my wife happy anniversary.
Wife gave her a puzzled look.
With everything going on lately, neither one of us had remembered that August 22 is our anniversary.
I promised to try to snag some flowers for her at the funeral I'm singing at this morning.
Good thing the Good-Looking-One has a sense of humor.
But marrying me in the first place proved that.
Happy anniversary, dear.
Lay off the President!
Apparently some opponents of health care reform don't feel so limited.
Conservatives for Patients Rights is apparently ready to release some ads criticizing President Obama's family vacation on Martha's Vineyard. According to a report on ABC News, they apparently feel he should just keep on working while health care is being debated.
I think they are being ridiculous. Give the guy and his family a break. You undermine your credibility when you do stuff like this.
I hope he and his family have a good time. I hope he gets some rest.
Besides, with a little distance, maybe the President will get a chance to think about what he is doing.
I don't know whose funeral it is.
My wife took a message from our choir director while I was in Detroit.
It seems the mother of one of our choir members died. She did not get the name.
I called the director when I got back, but only got her answering machine. I said I would be there.
Even though I do not know who the person is, or even who the choir member is, I will gladly sing. It might help to ease the pain of the family to have music, and to know that the choir members support a fellow parishioner and a fellow choir member.
I thought back to the funerals I've had in the past couple of years - my mother and my grandmother. My mother's funeral was small, but a few friends of my parents did attend. I appreciated that. When my grandmother died, though, the funeral was a minimal affair. Few people knew her. She had been in senior residences and nursing homes for years, and was not a social person. At almost 92, she had outlived the friends she did have. The funeral party basically consisted of the six surviving members of my immediate family, my parish priest - who did not know her - the organist and cantor, and one or two other people who knew me. It made the funeral seem even sadder.
So I will gladly sing this morning for the sake of my fellow choir member, her mother, and their family. They already have enough sadness to think about. Maybe a little support will help make it easier for them.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Factcheck.org - It's Obama doing the fabricating
Factcheck concludes ... it's Obama not telling the truth.
The summary of the Factcheck report reads:
"Will health care legislation mean "government funding of abortion"?
"President Obama said Wednesday that’s "not true" and among several "fabrications" being spread by "people who are bearing false witness." But abortion foes say it’s the president who’s making a false claim. "President Obama today brazenly misrepresented the abortion-related component" of health care legislation, said Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee. So which side is right?
"The truth is that bills now before Congress don’t require federal money to be used for supporting abortion coverage. So the president is right to that limited extent. But it’s equally true that House and Senate legislation would allow a new "public" insurance plan to cover abortions, despite language added to the House bill that technically forbids using public funds to pay for them. Obama has said in the past that "reproductive services" would be covered by his public plan, so it’s likely that any new federal insurance plan would cover abortion unless Congress expressly prohibits that. Low- and moderate-income persons who would choose the "public plan" would qualify for federal subsidies to purchase it. Private plans that cover abortion also could be purchased with the help of federal subsidies. Therefore, we judge that the president goes too far when he calls the statements that government would be funding abortions "fabrications.""
The report later states: "As for the House bill as it stands now, it’s a matter of fact that it would allow both a "public plan" and newly subsidized private plans to cover all abortions."
Seems it's not just me calling into question the President's veracity when it comes to abortion.
Morning Viewing: Discipline Of The Eyes
I'm an early morning riser. When I want to catch the news on television, my cable news choices are CNN's American Morning, MSNBC's Morning Joe, and Fox's Fox and Friends.
The networks in general have their political leanings, especially when it comes to the evening talk/news shows. At night I can't watch Fox - too conservative and blatantly anti-Obama - or MSNBC - too liberal and blatantly in love with Obama. CNN leans liberal, but at least it pretends to be covering the news and tries to be more objective. (The one Fox evening exception is the Huckabee Show on weekends. That one I watch regularly.)
In the morning, though, the biases are less blatant on MSNBC, and to a lesser degree, Fox. So I will often check them all out. Whether I keep watching a particular channel depends on what story it is covering, and who the guests are. I'll often switch back and forth.
But lately, I have found myself turning from Fox almost as soon as I turn it on.
You see, the female hosts on both weekdays and weekends are, in my view, less than modest in their attire. The tops are sometimes a bit too low cut. I don't want to be distracted by cleavage.
The women MSNBC and CNN don't seem to have the same problem. They all dress modestly.
I've even e-mailed Fox to suggest more modest attire.
So I practice discipline of the eyes. If I turn on Fox and see what I don't want to see, I switch.
Maybe their attire doesn't bother anyone else. Certainly by the world's standards it's not too bad. But I'm responsible for my own soul.
Hmm. Maybe I should just turn to EWTN. Or turn off the television and say morning prayers or read something spiritual.
Huckabee/Obama gap continues to narrow
Response To An Anonymous Post
"Lee, do you ever have anything interesting to post here at all? Everything you have been posting lately has been either anti-Obama or poetry. I was expecting some real Catholic news and perspectives on a CATHOLIC blog, but I am not seeing that here anymore."
Hmm. Anything interesting? Since this is a personal blog, what I write is obviously of interest to me. Since I get a few regular visitors, they find enough to keep them interested. But I admit that what interests me and what I write is not everyone's cup of tea.
Hey, I was president of the chess club in high school, and I won a letter for being on the bowling team, so I'm used to my interests not being everyone's!
All I have been posting lately is anti-Obama or poetry?
Let's see, 40 Days for Life, my visit to Detroit and the Father Solanus Center, anagrams, the Secular Franciscan profession ...
I will acknowledge there has been a lot about Obama, but then I am pro-life and his policies are decidedly pro-choice. I do take a step back occasionally to wonder if I have said too much. My last post about Obama, for example, was revised from my original draft to take out things that were too harsh. But if I do cross the line, as I'm sure I have, mea culpa.
But the poetry criticism?
This is a personal blog, and I am a poet and English teacher. I've even had a few poems published. I love to write and read poetry, and that is naturally going to show up on my blog.
Real Catholic news and perspectives on a CATHOLIC blog?
Well, again, it is a personal blog, not a news site.
I write a lot about pro-life issues, and that is decidedly Catholic in perspective.
I also write about Franciscans, prayer, confession, spiritual books, devotions, saints and saints in the making, etc. All from a Catholic point of view.
Anonymous, I hope you will not go away. Continue to comment and offer correction - God knows I need that.
But let me repeat: This a personal blog. I write about what is important to me, and my own struggles to be a better Catholic.
A Visit To Venerable Solanus Casey
Some of my personal favorites were represented, including Dorothy Day
and Catherine Doherty.
40 Days For Life Kickoff Event
Volunteers are contacting some parishes and organizations to help get the information out. We are hoping to get fliers in as many parish bulletins as possible the weekends of 9/13 and 9/20 - anyone have any contacts?
Would the TLM folks be willing to have fliers at their Masses?
The kickoff even it scheduled for September 22, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at Our Lady of the Americas (Corpus Christi), 864 E. Main St. There will be prayers, information talks, and it looks like even music! Please consider coming to the event - and taking part in the campaign.
Christmas Poem Of Venerable Solanus Casey
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Obama Errs In Abortion/Health Care Claim
The Family Research Council begs to differ.
It's included in one of the House bills. The Capps amendment explicitly allows abortion coverage in the public health plan and subsidizes health plans that cover abortion. (Passed 30-28 in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, July 30)
Senate Democrats admit it. "[The health care bill] would include, uh, it would include, uh, Planned, uh, Parenthood clinics." (Sen. Barbara Mikulski, July 9, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions-HELP-Committee meeting-Planned Parenthood is the No. 1 U.S. abortion chain.)
Senate Democrats refused to ban it. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah): "Madam Chairman, would you be willing to put some language in [about] not including abortion services? Then I think you would have more support."Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.): "...No, I would not, uh, be willing to do that at this time." (July 9, Senate HELP Committee meeting)
The mainstream media confirms it. ("Government insurance would allow coverage for abortion," Associated Press, August 5, 2009).
The Obama administration includes it in its definition of reproductive health care. "Reproductive health care includes access to abortion." (Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, April 23, House Foreign Affairs Committee)
Every amendment to exclude it from health care legislation was defeated by the liberal sponsors. The following pro-life amendments would have prevented abortion funding or prohibited abortion mandates for covered services:
-Rep. Sam Johnson Amendment in the Ways and Means Committee (July 16)
-Rep. Eric Cantor Amendment in the Ways and Means Committee (July 16)
-Rep. Mark Souder Amendment in the Education and Labor Committee (July 17)
-Rep. Joe Pitts Amendment in the Energy and Commerce Committee (July 30)
-Reps. Bart Stupak and Pitts Amendment in Energy and Commerce Committee (July 31)
-Sen. Orrin Hatch Amendment #227 in the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (July 13)
-Sen. Mike Enzi Amendment #277 in the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (July 13)
Any intelligent person who is aware how government and the pro-abortion activists work - and who is not blinded by faith in Obama or a desire to get health care reform at any cost - can see that unless it is specifically prohibited, the current health care proposals will permit government money to pay for abortions.
Now perhaps President Obama is misinformed.
Maybe he hasn't read or doesn't understand the health proposals.
Maybe he assumes it won't cover abortion and didn't investigate.
Maybe the issue is above his pay grade.
I hope that it is not a case that he is consciously lying.
Back from Detroit - Visited Fr. Solanus
Monday, August 17, 2009
Off to Detroit
To be honest, I dislike conferences more than a drive of that length. I'm not a crowd person. Still, maybe I can pick up a few ideas to help our school.
I hope there will be a free moment to pop over to St. Bonaventure Friary in Detroit. That's where Venerable Father Solanus Casey served for a good chuck of his career and is now buried. The monastery is only about a half hour from the hotel.
That said, I will be away for my computer for several days, so there won't be any posts or comment moderation until Thursday.
All of you: Be good!
For Your Amusement: A Few Anagrams
When you rearrange the letters:
When you rearrange the letters:
A ROPE ENDS IT
(Ah, but from a theological point of view...)
When you rearrange the letters:
THE MORSE CODE:
When you rearrange the letters:
HERE COME DOTS
When you rearrange the letters:
(Hmm. With three daughters - two graduates, one with a year to go - I can attest to this!)
When you rearrange the letters:
CASH LOST IN ME
When you rearrange the letters:
IS NO AMITY
When you rearrange the letters:
LIES - LET'S RECOUNT
When you rearrange the letters:
ALAS! NO MORE Z 'S
A DECIMAL POINT:
When you rearrange the letters:
I'M A DOT IN PLACE
When you rearrange the letters:
(My mother-in-law is actually nice.)
These were sent to me in an e-mail. Add your own.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Secular Franciscan Profession
A beautiful ceremony - with four priests concelebrating. One of those priests was also one of the professed.
I'd post more, but it's so hot - and we have no air-conditioning - I'm afraid of burning out the computer!
I was given my formation packet. I officially begin in September. At some point in the future I hope to be part of another such ceremony in a more direct way.
Pax et bonum - Lee
The ordination dance
you put your right foot out
you put your right foot in
and you shake it all about ...
Saturday, August 15, 2009
40 Days For Life Update
This Fall there will be a record number of cities involved - 208 (last Fall, there were 177).
There will be vigils in 45 states, the District of Columbia, 5 Canadian Provinces, and, for the first time, Denmark.
The 40 Days effort, which began with vigils in just one city in 2004, went national in 2007.
There have been 466 vigils involving 215,000 people in 50 states and four countries.
Thus far, 1,561 babies have been confirmed saved. In addition, 18 abortion clinic workers have quit the clinics because of the campaigns, and three clinics have closed.
I'll post more details as we get going.
But Rochester area readers and bloggers - how about joining together? We can be prayer warriors, and maybe some of us could even volunteer for an hour at Planned Parenthood to pray there. Rochester Catholic, Cleansing Fire, DOR Catholic, Interstate Catholic, Journey to a New Pentecost, Musings from one of the women, View From the Choir and more? Why not!
A milestone missed
I know, there are some blogs that might get that many a week, but as for me ... WHEEE!
Summer's over: How did I do?
On Monday I have to drive to Detroit for a two-day principal's conference, then I have to return to set up the teacher prep days for the following week, make sure all the books have come in, create individual schedules for students, and do some lesson plans.
At our school, the kids are back August 31.
Yep. Summer's over. Back to work.
At the beginning of summer, I set some goals:
"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."
Let's see -
I did go to the musicians institute ( I realized that if I'm going to be a singer I have a lot of work to do)
I lost some weight, but not nearly enough
the Christmas book is partly edited, but there's a lot more to do
I did not add 10,000 words to my novel. Given the darkness of it - it's a horror novel - and my current spiritual directions, I've had reservations about it and had a hard time working up enthusiasm.
The driveway was not touched
ditto the fence - too many rainy days. Maybe this fall?
I am ready the Bible daily
I did some traveling with the Good-Looking-One and got in some mini-pilgrimages (Steubenville, Piffard, Our Lady of Fatima Shrine), but her mother's stroke ate up a lot of time, and forced us to stay close to home
I did read a few good books (but not nearly enough)
The bike still has a flat tire, so ...
I did write a few poems (mostly bad haiku).
I did relax a little.
Not on the list - I hired a contractor to work on our bedroom, I partly cleaned out the storage area that used to be known as the upstairs (boxes of stuff from when we had to sell my parents' house, and when Nana died), I finally scheduled a physical - it's been five years -and found a doctor instead of relying on a health center, I went to Steubenville for the plenary indulgence, I did a lot of soul searching and worked (with God's help) on some character flaws, I visited and decorated the graves of my mother and Nana, I wrote a lot for this blog (too much, probably).
A mixed record. A grade of C?
Oh well, there's always next summer!
Friday, August 14, 2009
I Reported Someone To The White House!
Being a patriotic sort, I reported someone this morning.
This is the e-mail I sent:
I am writing to report some inaccurate information that was dispensed about health care reform.
During his town hall in New Hampshire, President Obama claimed that AARP had signed on to the reform proposals when it had not, that a Congressman had been involved in helping to create the proposals when the Congressman in question had not, and that he, the President, had not said he supported a single payer system when in the past he had said he did.
Hopefully you can do something to help correct these inaccuracies.
Bad Haiku Friday: Bye Bye Summer
Labels: bad haiku
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Naturally, she was upset and worried.
This morning she went back: Everything is fine.
Phew. Thank you Lord.
Then the mail came. I got a package from the Haiku Society of America containing the 2009 members' anthology, A Travel-Worn Satchel. The anthology has a theme of "geography of place or haiku of place." Somehow, one of mine got in.
On page 89:
a break in the clouds
gave way to sunrise -
(Yes, that's one of the poems I posted on August 9 to remember Nagasaki and Hiroshima.)
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Clerihew Published In Gilbert Magazine
The latest issue of Gilbert Magazine, the magazine of the American Chesterton Society, arrived, and one of my clerihews was published in it.
A clerihew is "a humorous, biographical verse of four short lines - two closed couplets - with the first rhyme a play on the name of the subject." (The definition in Gilbert.)
My humble contribution:
When Siddhartha Gautama
Was seeking Nirvana
He refused to settle
For any old heavy metal.
I Got Robocalled!
I listened to the drivel, commenting occasionally at obvious mistruths and spins. The robot just kept talking. But then the robot gave me an opportunity to call my Congressman - RIGHT NOW - by pressing 1.
I got the office of Congressman Massa (newly elected, so he still has that fresh Congressman smell).
A lady - sounded young - asked how I felt about health care reform.
I started off by saying that I actually favor some form of reform to make sure that everyone who is in need gets covered. I even said I'd be willing to pay more in taxes - gasp - if it would insure that people in need get covered.
BUT I said, he should vote for only a bill that includes a clear statement that there is to be no coverage of abortion. Taxpayer money should not be used to pay for abortion, period.
She tried to say that under law it can't be covered, but I countered that agencies have found ways to get around the law - citing the recent case of Planned Parenthood of Spokane that gave abortion pills but listed it as "family planning" (until getting hit with $700,00 in fines). I contended that some of the government money under a health care plan would go toward abortion, so they need to include a clear statement prohibiting.
Second, I said there needs to be a conscience clause, citing the case of the Catholic nurse who was recently given a choice: Assist in an abortion, or face discipline and possible loss of job.
I think it flipped her out that I was citing actual cases.
Anyway, I said that any bill should include a clear statement banning abortion funding, and a clear conscience clause.
I also said that I was offended by the robocall implying that the protests were due to right-wingers and insurance industry efforts. I told her that I'm sure some of that was going on, but that there were also folks on the left doing the same thing - with which she agreed. I added that most of the people are just voters who are upset, and they are not puppets of either side. I cited President Obama saying that they were just exercising their rights as Americans.
I also complimented the way Congressman Massa has been handling his health care town halls. I noted that I had not voted for him, but that some of his decisions and his actions are making me give him closer look, and if he makes sure my two points get included in any health care bill that I might just vote for him next time.
Obama fudges at Town Hall
“I have not said that I was a single payer supporter.”
Well, there's a matter of this clip:
A partial transcript of that 2003 clip:
I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its Gross National Product on health care cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that’s what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that’s what I’d like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately.
Now I suppose he could argue that was then and this is now, and that he had changed his mind (or, perhaps to be more honest, he said that back then to get votes). And he has said different things in different situations, and lately has not been pushing single-payer. But the fact remains that he said he favored it.
At the forum he also said that AARP is on board. Not quite. AARP favors some sort of plan, but it has not yet endorsed the proposed plans because it is waiting to see specifics and whether there are deal killers - such as wording that would affect Medicare.
AARP Chief Operating Officer Tom Nelson issued this statement following the remarks by the President.
“AARP has been working with Democrats and Republicans to fix our broken health care system.
“While the President was correct that AARP will not endorse a health care reform bill that would reduce Medicare benefits, indications that we have endorsed any of the major health care reform bills currently under consideration in Congress are inaccurate."
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Rosaries Around The World This Sunday
As part of the International Marian Festival taking place in France August 14-19, the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary will be prayed on the world’s five continents beginning at 5 p.m. (Paris time) on Sunday, August 16.
The Rosary will be prayed with Scripture readings, plus meditations from John Paul II, who, during a visit to France in 1986, consecrated the world to the Virgin Mary.
According to organizers, the purpose of the worldwide Rosary is “to pray for peace, for the Church, for France, for the world and for the mission of each one of us in particular.”
By the way, 5 p.m. Paris time is 11 a.m. Eastern time and 9 a.m. Pacific time. (With the 11 a.m. time for here in Rochester N.Y., I will be back from Mass in time.)
More information can be found at: http://www.festivalmarial.com
St. Clare's Letter To Ermentrude of Bruges
Monday, August 10, 2009
Planned Parenthood Office Fined For False Billing
An audit has revealed that Planned Parenthood's abortion business in Spokane, Washington, overbilled Medicaid $630,000 for abortions, birth control, condoms, and more between 2004 and 2007. With interest added, the office has been fined $700,000.
According to the audit, state health officials found Planned Parenthood of Spokane was "unbundling" abortion claims and falsely billing for doctor visits when customers were picking up prescriptions.
The audit discovered a number of questionable practices.
One involved "unbundling" post-abortion drugs and billing them to Medicaid as family planning, which is prohibited.
Other cases included billings for pregnancy tests done on women who never said they thought they were pregnant and without any indication the tests were medically necessary.
The office also apparently overbilled on fraudulent birth control prescriptions or for drugs sold without a prescription, billing for more than three times the cost of condoms, and billing office visits to pick up a prescription or get an injection.
One wonders how much the fine would have been if the audit had covered more years?
I'd also be curious to find out if other offices also did this sort of thing.
Labels: Planned Parenthood
Physicist: Guadalupe Tilma Can't Be "Explained"
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Two Haiku: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
noticing the mushrooms –
a break in the clouds
gave way to sunrise –
I have posted these before, but we are marking the anniversaries again.
let not the light of Your love
of Your sacrifice
in the fires of destruction
Government Health Care - A Current Tale
If so, here's a story that shows the potential complications.
One of my middle daughter's friends graduated from college last year. Her family health insurance plan covers children only until they are 21 or graduate from college. So as of last May, she was off the family plan.
The young lady got an apartment with a friend in another city. She had a part-time job she hoped would turn full time. The economy went south, though, and there were layoffs. She did not lose her job, but she did not get a full-time position and did not qualify for company supplied health insurance. She applied for full-time jobs elsewhere, but no luck.
Her income is so low she qualifies for Medicaid.
She has a degenerative bone disorder. Even though she is only in her early 20s, she needs hip replacement surgery soon. She's already using a cane - and lots of pain killers.
To get ready for the surgery, her doctor says she should get an MRI. Medicaid won't pay for it. Her doctor suggested she take the "poor people's" route and go to the Emergency Room to see if she can get one that way. No luck.
They can go ahead with the surgery without the MRI, but the doctor says it would be far better if they had an MRI. Is he right? Or is he just protecting himself from any potential lawsuits? Medicaid certainly does not deem it necessary. Are they right? Who decides?
Her family is already facing some health and money issues - with one member on the list for a heart transplant. They are trying to fight their insurance company to see if they can get her back on the family plan. No luck so far.
Now there's all sorts of issues here. The young lady could move home and give up her apartment. Independence is nice and all, but does it make sense under the current circumstances?
At the same time, though, that would mean giving up the job she has, and it's not clear she could find anything in her home town given the economy. And even if she did move home, she would still not be on the family insurance plan.
Now maybe the family could have chosen a plan that provided more coverage of children - my own unmarried daughters are covered under my plan until they are 25, and under a new state law, that might even stretch until they are 29.
Then again, maybe they could not afford more when they got it. Maybe that was the only plan available to them at the time. Maybe things went along fine for years and they never thought to look for something more or better. Maybe they could not afford to switch because some plans don't cover pre-existing conditions, and that heart problem would not allow them to switch.
As for the current situation, they could go ahead with the surgery without the MRI, but would that be like the surgeon was operating with one eye closed?
On the other hand, thanks to a government health plan, even though she does not have the money, she can get the hip replacement surgery. Without a government program, she might be facing huge medical bills - or being crippled.
And, to be fair, there are stories like this even when the family does have insurance coverage - all that fine print and the cost analysis that goes on.
It's not an easy situation. There are many factors. There may be many more about which I'm not aware. I have no easy answers.
And I'm not trying to paint anyone a villain.
I favor health care reform to make sure low-income people get the health care they need. But in a larger government plan, would there be even more such stories?
Or is that just part of living in an imperfect world?
Saturday, August 08, 2009
Hillary Boogies; Chelsea Has A Potential Suitor
Hmm. The dowery might have gone up if Hillary had been elected President!
NC Register Nails It On Healthcare Reform
Of course, all of those questions are moot if a health-care proposal fails to protect the right to life. Health care that pays for abortion or pressures older patients to forgo necessary treatment isn’t a health-care system at all, but a death machine.
No matter how it is structured or how many benefits it provides to people, Catholics must oppose any legislator who proposes or supports a death machine.
Love and truth demand that.
Go read the rest here.
(A nod to Tom S.F.O. for the tip!)
Call To Read "Called To Be Holy"
The book is based on talks he gave to priests and seminarians when he was the rector of the north American College in Rome. The talks contained in this book were originally published as part of Priests for the New Millennium.
Although originally intended for priests and seminarians, the book, as adapted here, is appropriate for lay people. It is easy to read, folksy and full of anecdotes and quotations and good humor. But it is also spiritually rich.
I'd love to hear him preach!
I had already read his To Whom Shall We Go, and some of the stories are repeated in here. But I did not find that annoying. It was like seeing old friends again.
New York is lucky to have such an archbishop.
Monsignor Ellis: Church Answers
Friday, August 07, 2009
I'll Let the President Have His Say
-- President Obama, August 6, commenting on the economic challenges and rising deficit left by the Bush administration, with a call for opponents of his plans to be less vocal.
If they do too much talking, maybe we are then supposed to report them to the White House.
Jesus, Our Pelican
He So Obama
Thursday, August 06, 2009
Schismatic Priest Plans Book About Dismissed Nun
In the July 25/26 bulletin of the schismatic congregation, Father Callan announced that he is writing a book about Margie Henninger, a former Sister of St. Joseph who was one of the leaders of Spiritus' break with the Catholic Church back in 1998. All of the leaders of the congregation - including Callan and Henninger - were excommunicated.
Father Callan said he wants to have it done in time for June 29, 2010, the 50th anniversary of her becoming a sister. If I remember correctly, Henninger was dismissed from her congregation in 2002 - after they told her to stop calling herself a sister and not to identify herself as a member of the congregation. So it might mark the 50th anniversary of her joining the SSJs, but it will not be a celebration of 50 years as a Catholic woman religious.
I was an active member of Corpus Christi Parish - the Catholic parish he headed before the break. I left in the early 90s when it started straying too far from the Catholic Church. Father Callan even officiated our wedding. So I continue to be saddened by the decisions made by a number of people about whom I still care. I often pray that they will return to the Church.
Knights of Columbus Take A Stand
WHEREAS, during an audience with the Supreme Board of Directors in October 2008, Pope Benedict XVI personally appealed to the Knights of Columbus to “defend the moral truths necessary for a free and humane society, including the fundamental right to life of every human being;” and
WHEREAS, that fundamental right to life is under attack throughout the world in rich and poor countries alike; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. Congress is now considering health care legislation that would accomplish by stealth many of the aims of the so-called Freedom of Choice Act, including federal funding of abortions for the first time since adoption of the Hyde Amendment in 1976; and
WHEREAS, a Knights of Columbus-Marist Poll conducted in May 2009 shows that 86 percent of the American people favor placing restrictions on abortion; and
WHEREAS, the Canadian Parliament will soon consider a measure to legalize assisted suicide; and
WHEREAS, international governmental and non-governmental agencies are attempting to force countries like Mexico, Poland and the Philippines to permit abortion on demand; and
WHEREAS, many other means of attacking and devaluing human dignity, including assisted suicide, euthanasia, and embryonic stem-cell research are becoming more widespread;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Knights of Columbus reaffirms its commitment to unconditional support for the right to life and full protection in law for every human being from conception to natural death; and
FURTHER RESOLVED, that we strongly oppose any effort to repeal the Hyde Amendment and other restrictions on taxpayer funding for abortions in the United States, and oppose any health care reform legislation that does not explicitly exclude abortion coverage for any health insurance plan, public or private; and
FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call upon legislators everywhere to adopt legislation protecting the religious conscience rights of doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, guaranteeing their right to refuse to participate in abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide or any other practice that is destructive of innocent human life or that conflicts with their sincerely-held religious beliefs; and
FURTHER RESOLVED, that we reaffirm our long-standing policy of not inviting to any Knights of Columbus event, persons, especially public officials or candidates for public office, who do not support the protection of unborn children against abortion or who advocate the legalization of assisted suicide, euthanasia and other violations of the right to life, and of not allowing such persons to rent or otherwise use facilities over which we have control, and of not bestowing on them honors or privileges of our Order of any kind, inviting them to serve as honorary chairpersons of events, celebrations or committees, speak at Knights of Columbus events, or hold any office in the Knights of Columbus.
Look at that last one. All you Catholic politicians who vote for abortion, you are no longer invited to K of C events until you stop doing so.
And notice the call for no honors for such politicians. I hope other Catholic agencies follow suit.
Now I wonder if someone will report the K of C to the White House?
A Congressman To Respect: Faith Trumps Politics
Cao said that as a Jesuit he did believe in the notion of social justice.
Now that is true political courage. I wish some of our other Catholic Congressional Representatives and Senators would show similar courage.
I alternate between two parishes, St. Theodore's (my home parish) and St. Helen's, depending on whether I need to drive my daughter to her summer job.
At St. Theodore's, there are the regulars - anywhere between 20 and 40 people - who show up most days. Most are seniors and retirees, though a few of the regulars seem to be on their way to work. (During the school year, I have to be at school by 7:30 - so I can't make it to the 8:30 Mass at my parish, or the 7:30 Mass over at St. Helen's. It would be nice if I could find a 6:30 Mass somewhere between home and work!)
I am amazed at these good people. Some linger after Mass to say more prayers. Some visit the perpetual adoration chapel before or after Mass. Sometimes they pray together from memory prayers that I only barely know or need help remembering - like the Divine Praises.
I am humbled by these men and women.
Huckabee: Healthcare Reform = Elective Abortions?
Big Brother Might Be Watching ... Me!
There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can't keep track of all of them here at the White House, we're asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to email@example.com
Wow. Have a chat with your neighbor about health care and his comments sound "fishy"? Blow him in. Your friend sends you an e-mail opposed to health care and talks about abortion coverage or euthanasia? Turn her in.
What will happen to the offenders? Will there be a list? Will there be payback? I heard a report about one Senator talking against health care reform and his governor getting a call from Washington basically saying if the Senator keeps talking we might just pull some of your stimulus money!
Now thought control that may not be the intention of it, but images of the Red Scare, the Nazis, the KGB, and 1984 cross my mind.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
40 Days Dates Set
We will once again gather prayerfully and peacefully outside Planned Parenthood. Last year in Rochester, the first year for us, we kept up a continuous prayer presence most days from 7 a.m. to 7 pm. (It woudl be great if we could exend te hours locally.)
More than 250 people took part locally. They represented 45 different churches.
In Rochester, 4 babies were confirmed as saved, with the chance there were others we did not know about.
Internationally - the U.S. and Canada -179 cites held 40 Days, with more than 76,000 people involved, resulting in 64 babies being confirmed saved, 8 abortion clinic workers quitting, and one clinic announcing that it was closing. Who knows how many other babies and workers were saved?
40 Days, which started in Texas in 2004 as just a local effort there, has now stretched to not only the U.S. and Canada, but also to Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland joining in.
We don't know yet how many cities and countries will be involved in this fall campaign, but with the Obama administration policies being what they are we may well see an increase.,
The more important thing it organizing locally, though. If you are a local reader of this blog, consider getting involved. That involvement does not necessarily have to be taking part in a vigil. Some people are involved as prayer warriors. Some get involved in community outreach. All such efforts are equally valuable.
You can do it as a group. It can be a parish group, a prayer group, a K of C council, a youth group, a campus ministry group - whatever.
E-mail Roc40DFL@gmail.com to volunteer, or to seek more information.
Abortion Postcard: They Are Okay
(A nod to Cheeky Pink Girl.)
Pope John Paul II
Offering Up For Souls In Purgatory
You know, the kind of slow that comes with understanding something intellectually, but it still does not register.
My slowness has been brought home again in the last couple of days. I went to Steubenville for the plenary indulgence, hearing repeatedly that you can offer it up for a soul in Purgatory.
Being a selfish sort, I wanted it for my own well-stained soul. (I used laundry references to explain it to one of my daughters - stain remover and bleach!)
Even before I went, I thought of my mother, who died in 2005, and my Nana, who died in 2006. The idea crossed my mind to offer it up for one of them. Then I thought maybe the next time I have such an opportunity I would offer it up for one of them. (You can add in my brother, who died back in 1983.)
Then I was reminded that beyond plenary indulgences there are partial indulgences available that offer partial remission of time in Purgatory. There are various lists of actions one can do to obtain such indulgences - including certain hymns, litanies and prayers, reading Scriptures for at least half an hour, rosary on a blessed rosary, and so on.
I could have been doing these for a long time, but it never occurred to me to do so! (Told you I was slow.)
Sorry Mom, Nana, and John. I will begin to do so.