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
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Liberals and Conservatives - No responsibility?
March for life video (What the MSM didn't show)
I posted this on Facebook before. We just have to keep getting the word out.
Watch out for retirement
I smiled and applauded with the rest of the gathered friends and former coworkers.
Then I began to wonder: Why is it traditional to give a retiree a watch?
After all, the person being honored is leaving the world of work, and so will be less subject to the demands of time. The person doesn’t necessarily have to be any set place at a specific time each day. He can set his own schedule. He doesn’t have to worry about being late.
Moreover, since the retiree is being honored for years of work, we can assume that he did not get repeatedly fired for being late. He must already have some device for telling time. He probably already has a watch. Maybe be a couple.
Being prone to sometimes twisted humor, I wondered if the purpose in giving a watch is to suggest that it’s now time for the retiree to realize that his minutes on Earth are running out. Tick. Tick. Tick.
Or maybe they just hope to give the retire something to do since he has no more work, like check his watch every five minutes. Yep. Five minutes has gone by. Let’s see what time it is five minutes from now.
I began to consider what would be more appropriate retirement gifts.
If his co-workers wanted to be funny, they could give him a month’s supply of prune juice. A nice, warm bathrobe and fuzzy slippers. Or perhaps a down payment on a casket.
Or they could think about what the person hopes to do with his retirement time. A fishing pole might be just the thing. Or a collection of the retiree’s favorite author’s works. Maybe a nice selection of crossword puzzles.
They could be sentimental. How about a framed picture of all the retiree’s former workers? That way he can still see them every day.
Or they can be creative. For example, give him a kite. Imagine the retiree heading out to the park in the middle of warm, sunny day, and working that kite higher and higher into the blue sky with birds singing and circling, while the rest of the world is stuck at desks or behind computer screens or loading semis.
When I retire, I hope they give me a kite.
Or that prune juice.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Mike Huckabee starting to pull away?
He's also leading in the latest national PPP poll of potential GOP candidates for President - beating Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney by 10.
Mike Pence's decision to run for governor rather than President will potentially swing more votes Huckabee's way.
I'm feeling better about Huckabee's chances than I do of the Mets this year!
Of whores and mhores
It wasn't a column about the propriety of the two living together, the negative example they are setting for the people of New York and the governor's teen daughters (who sometimes stay with them), or the fact that the governor flaunts Catholic teaching and goes to Mass and Communion despite his living arrangement.
It was about whether it was appropriate to refer to Cuomo and Lee as "boyfriend" and "girlfriend." Somehow it didn't seem right, Hare opined, given that Cuomo and Lee are both "grownups." Moreover, he noted, those names don't fit in with the dignity they deserve.
I responded that grown ups get married, and since the two just want to play house, boyfriend and girlfriend seem about right.
But another responder referred to them as the Governor and his whore.
That doesn't seem fair.
A whore is a generally defined as a woman who engages in sexual acts for money. It is also used to describe a woman who is promiscuous or of loose virtue.
Now Lee is a fornicator, true, but we have no record of her doing it for money, and certainly not in connection with Governor Cuomo (if it was former Governor Spitzer there might be some questions, though). Nor is there any indication she is currently fornicating with anyone besides Cuomo, or that she's had a series of such sexual relationships. Her virtue may be shaky, but I don't know if there's any evidence it's loose.
But if you are going to use such terms for even women of shaky virtue, then what about the men?
After all, Cuomo is also fornicating, and it hardly seems fair she gets called whore while he gets called Governor.
You can call a man a whore, but that's not common (unlike the activity in which Cuomo and Lee are engaging).
Then I had a sudden Palin moment and created a new word. I noticed that "whore" and "woman" both started with with same letter, so what if I took the first letter of "man" and coupled it "hore" to make "mhore."
Cuomo and Lee could be described as mhore and whore.
I'm not going to use those titles myself. I prefer to focus on behavior and not just call people names.
But mhore and whore do provide a way for Hare to get around his boyfriend/girlfriend dilemma.
Now Hare can get back to writing about less serious issues. Like corruption in the Monroe County government. Or a questionable mayoral election in Rochester. Or whether President Obama really is dying his hair.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Abortion and the media (a personal story)
One Saturday I came in to find a memo about covering abortion-related stories. From now on in our reports we were told to refer to all groups that support or promote legal abortion as "pro-choice," and all groups that oppose abortion as "anti-abortion." We were never to refer to pro-life groups as "pro-life" unless that was part of their official name.
I've spent almost my entire adult life as either a journalist or an English teacher. I'm also a poet and playwright. I'm aware of the power of words. I'm aware that words have not only their literal meanings, but also connotations - added meanings that evoke emotions.
"Pro," for example, immediately adds a little positive spin to whatever it's attached. "Anti" gives a slightly negative spin.
"Abortion" is one of those words with strong negative connotations. "Life" has similar positive connotations.
The forces behind legal abortion are well aware of the power of words. Long ago they concluded that they had to try to control the debate by controlling the language used, and so they sought for more positive word with which to associate their cause.
The chose "choice," a word with strong positive connotations in our society.
Thus they named themselves "pro-choice."
At the same time, they wanted the negative sounding "anti-abortion" label on the opposition. They were adamant that opposition must absolutely not be called the positive sounding "pro-life."
Back to our newsroom.
I contacted my supervisor about the new policy. I said that if the pro-choice groups want to be called "pro-choice," and we were going to respect that, out of fairness shouldn't we extend the same courtesy to the pro-life groups and call them by the name they wanted to be called?
He got back to me.
The new policy as stated was the official policy.
I don't know if that was his decision, or it came from higher up in the organization.
Nor am I sure who pushed for the change in policy in the first place.
But I found it interesting that this policy change came down after Carol Love, the head of the local Planned Parenthood, a business that makes a substantial portion of its profits off abortion, had become the Chair of the WXXI Board of Trustees.
Still, the next time you hear - or don't hear - coverage of abortion or the pro-life cause, you might be wise to wonder who's controlling the news you hear.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
I have been defriended
I have been defriended.
I'm referring, of course, to Facebook.
I have a Facebook account. I post there more often than I do here - largely because it's easy to do it quickly. I have been neglecting this blog. Bad boy.
Some of my posts there, like ones here, are of a controversial nature. Discussing things like abortion, politics and, horrors, religion.
One friend who's noted for quirky posts (as if some of mine aren't!) started in on attacking pro-life people of faith.
I responded, probably more harshly or fiercely than a Franciscan should, but still, not as bad as I've seen (or been guilty of in the past).
I came home tonight to find myself no longer linked to him as a "friend." And several people I'd friended through contact with him have also defriended me.
Boy, I must have ticked them off.
So it goes.
I will continue to speak up for life and faith - though I do have to be more aware of how I do so.
The young at the March for Life
A great video helping to show the young are turned on by the Culture of Life!
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Churches that support infanticide
American Baptist Churches
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Quakers (The Religious Society of Friends)
United Church of Christ
United Methodist Church
Pro-life - a needed morning boost at Mass
He noted that it might be easy to become discouraged, that we seem no closer to overturning that decision and ending the abortion holocaust despite working for years against it. But he said we need to keep faith, to keep praying, to keep trusting in the Lord.
Later that day, I went to the Unitarian Church for a pro-life protest as a conference involving Planned Parenthood and boosters of abortion and birth control was getting underway.
I arrived at the time I'd been told in an e-mail to arrive. I spotted a couple of ladies who looked like they were involved in the conference or the church. They had set up a little table with what appeared to be coffee and donuts.
I looked around. No protesters.
I pulled into a side street to turn around when I spotted a car with a Catholic radio sticker. That gave me hope.
I parked behind it and approached the driver. Yes, a fellow pro-lifer.
We walked over to the church. He had a small sign with him. I didn't have any - I'd hoped that the people who organized the protest might have some.
We two stood there, chatting. The ladies - sporting NOW buttons - offered us hot chocolate. That was nice of them.
Two television crews began to arrive. Two protesters, two ladies offering hot chocolate. This was going to make the evening news!?
One of the reporters asked to interview us. As we were talking, and as I reluctantly agreed to be interviewed by one station, two other protesters arrived (hooray), but they deferred to me.
I spoke briefly, not very articulately. I thought of all the things I should have said afterwards, of course.
The other station interviewed one of the other people (phew), and we began to pray a rosary and a Diving Mercy chaplet.
As we four prayed, the people for the conference arrived. A few shook their heads at us or smirked as they drove by. Most just avoided eye contact and drove in.
The conference started. The two hot chocolate ladies went in.
We finished the chaplet and I left, figuring there would be no purpose to just standing out there now that things had started - and my feet were getting cold.
At first as I stood there I felt - sad. So few of us. And even the person who'd sent me the e-mail about the event didn't show up. Probably had a good reason, and the weather was bad, but still, such a small showing. It was embarrassing.
But as I stood there I recalled Father's words from Mass. Don't get discouraged. Pray. Trust in God.
That was comforting and reassuring.
I will continue to pray. To protest. To speak out. Even if think I'm alone.
Because I'm never really alone.
And because of all the women and children.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
The slug chronicles: 200 slugs
Or, as I jokingly call them, "slugkus."
May God forgive me!
Last year, I wrote the following to help explain what I was doing:
Years ago when I was a reporter at a Catholic newspaper we received a copy of a book by a Rochester spiritual writer, Father Thomas Green, SJ. (God rest his soul.)
The book was Weeds Among the Wheat.
Being a wise guy - and not intending any slight against Father or his book - I quipped that if I ever wrote an autobiography it would be called A Slug Among Weeds.
The Slug part is a given. Slug suggests a slothful, lazy person, an idler. That's me.
It's also a lowly creature. Also me. Some wags might even call me slimy.
I think of St. Francis calling his own body Brother Ass. At least he was worthy of being a mammal.
When it comes to Weeds - I have an affection for them (as my neighbors might attest). I'm not one of those herbicidal maniacs out to massacre every non-grass plant on my lawn. I like dandelions, chicory, Queen Anne's Lace.
From a theological point of view, there are many folks who have been (and are) considered "weeds" by others - lepers, prostitutes, drunks, tax collectors, fishermen, shepherds, pro-lifers, and so on. So A Slug Among Weeds makes sense.
As for the sluggy haiku, well, I think many purists would not consider my 17-syllable scribbles proper haiku, although a few of my creations might flirt with the literary boundaries. I certainly would not submit them to haiku journals.
I'm simply playing with the words and images, having a grand old time, nurturing my Dada side and my inner slug.
And besides, it's better than sitting around obsessing over the perceived sins and faults of others.
I'm a slug, after all.
Since then, some people have suggested that I package some of the poems as a series, and see if a literary magazine just might take them. After all, Japanese haiku poet Ban’ya Natsuishi wrote a series of "The Flying Pope" haiku.
But some people have also taken offense, assuming that I'm using the poems to attack them, or that I'm referring to them as "weeds."
To the first point, I write whatever pops into my head. If I'm writing when something is on my mind, yes, I suppose the poems sometimes grow out of what others have said or done, or out of a particular mood I'm in. But that's not the purpose of the poems, and I certainly don't intend to use them as a weapons.
As for the latter point, weeds is not meant as a pejorative. It's meant to refer to all those people who are considered weeds by others. They are my lepers, and like St. Francis, I embrace them. They are God's children.
So ... I'll continue looking under boards and in damp places for inspiration.
300 slugs? You never know.
Friday, January 21, 2011
What do they mean by "choice"?
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Muslim scholars, mad at Pope, throw a hissy fit
Pro-life event Saturday in Rochester
The church will host a pro-abortion event. We will be praying for them and all the victims of abortion.
Come about 12:30. Dress warmly!
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Boycott FX - and Denis Leary
On a recent Comedy Central television special, Leary performed an anti-Catholic rant that was so offensive the Catholic League issued a protest.
I saw some of Leary's shtick - I couldn't stomach all of it - and the League is right to protest. It was vile.
This from the Catholic League:
The standup special opens with a clip of Pope Benedict XVI talking to a crowd. But there is a voice-over that is dubbed in to make it seem like he is discussing priestly sexual abuse. Leary then appears on a stage with a large illuminated Cross in the background; he prances around extending his middle finger at it. On stage with him is a singing trio of women dressed as nuns in habit wearing short skirts.
The clip of the pope has him screaming, "Heil Hitler," proclaiming, "Oh yeah, I'm the f***ing pope, for Christ's sake, the god**** Fuehrer." The pope then introduces Leary as Father Denis Leary and he proceeds to mimic confession. Here are some of the lines:
· "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned—yeah, pull down my pants and put your penis in"
· "Thou shalt not kill and Thou shalt not lie, and don't drop the soap when the pope is nearby. Cause they may hate gays but they do love the guys"
· "Well, the nuns are goin' down on other nuns, and the priests are chasin' after altar boy buns, and the pope will move you when the damage is done"
· "Jesus, Mary and Josephine, well this church is full of some giant queens, so break out the candles and the Vaseline"
Comedy Central released this hate-filled video right after President Obama called for an end to incivility. In effect, they stuck their middle finger in his face. These people want more than a culture war—they want it to spill over into the streets.
I wrote to the folks at FX to say I was not going to watch their network until an apology is issued and Leary is somehow reprimanded.
Mayor Strong. Hmmm.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Abortion: Leading cause of African American deaths
The numbers are stark. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that African-American women have 35% of abortions in the United States. African-American women have an abortion rate of 33.9 abortions per 1,000 black women of childbearing age. That is more than three times the rate of white women whose rate is 10.8 abortions for every 1,000 white women of childbearing age.
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) finds itself right in the middle of the horrendous destruction of so many African-American babies. As so aptly documented by Dr. Randy O’Bannon of National Right to Life, PPFA’s core market is “poor women of color.” PPFA with its urban strategy has, unfortunately, convinced government officials and a large portion of the public that it is just “helping” people in need. PPFA then pockets all of the government monies and pads its bottom line as the nation’s largest abortion provider.
(From Wisconsin Right to Life's Life Voice Blog)
I think she is right on target: It's racial genocide.
And overall, NARAL gives the U.S. a "D" grade for abortions. I guess a million murders a year are not enough for them.
Monday, January 17, 2011
Back to the hunt for liturgical abuses
Sunday, January 16, 2011
That book addiction - and Blessed Pope John XXIII
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Buffalo's Msgr. Baker Closer to Sainthood
The EU printed three million copies of the calendar. It will distribute them to students who request them.
It seems the de-Chrsitianization of Europe is proceeding full-speed ahead.
For more go to:
New European Union school calendar omits Christian holidays :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)
Friday, January 14, 2011
Pope John Paul II to Be Beatified
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Monday, January 10, 2011
Representative Pence: Defund Planned Parenthood
It's a billion-dollar abortion business. Planned Parenthood should receive no government funding. Thank you Representative Pence.
Labels: Planned Parenthood
Saturday, January 08, 2011
Congresswoman Shot, then Attacked in Print
I went searching for more information about this terrible tragedy. I went to several sites for updates, then went to a conservative Catholic news site, where I found the following headline:
Pro-Abort Congresswomen (D) Shot In The Head
Who cares at this point whether she votes for abortion: The poor woman has been shot. Pray for her. Pray for the other victims. Pray for the shooter.
Act like a Catholic. Act like a Christian. Act like a real pro-lifer.
Not like someone blinded by hatred.
I was disgusted. Such headlines give conservative Catholics and pro-lifers a bad name.
In addition to praying for the people involved in this shooting incident, I am praying for the people behind that news site.
Vatican not working with Discovery’s exorcism series
Vatican not collaborating with Discovery Channel’s exorcism series, says spokesman :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)
Steve Martin offers a hymn for atheists
(A nod to the Papist)
Thursday, January 06, 2011
Rest in Peace Gerry Rafferty
I loved this tune decades ago - and still crank up the radio when it comes on.
Andrew Cuomo: Betrays his faith again
He either does not understand what his Catholic faith teaches, or has complete contempt for the Church.
New Bishop - or just another rumor?
There's a new one though: That as early as today it could be announced that Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Perry will be named as Bishop Clark's successor, and that Bishop Clark will step down before his official retirement date in 2012.
I'd just consider it another rumor, but Thomas Peters of American Papist fame is reporting that he has heard the rumor. He has a track record of picking up on such things.
Still, it could be just another rumor like all the others. We'll see.
[UPDATE: As of 5 p.m., no news. Just a rumor? Or on hold?]
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Cuomo's contempt for Catholicism
During the campaign for governor I pointed out the issues with which he went against the Church - particularly when it came to abortion, gay marriage, and his living arrangement with his girlfriend.
I got booted from his Facebook site. And I got chastised by others for things I wrote here or on Facebook.
His rejection of Church teachings was bad enough, but this Christmas season, things took a nastier turn. He showed up for Christmas Midnight Mass, sitting right up front as if he was a Catholic in good standing. Then after he was inaugurated - and after spending the night at the governor's mansion with his girlfriend - he showed up (with her) for Mass at the Albany Cathedral, and went to Communion.
Such total lack of respect for the Church.
I posted about that, got poo-pooed for doing so.
But now others are paying attention.
Catholic World News picked up on the story. Father Z took note. Canon Lawyer Edward Peters wrote a particularly sharp piece about the situation from a canon law point of view.
And a local television station - Channel 13 - got booted from a fluff event involving the girlfriend for daring to ask about the Governor and not sticking to the happy-happy storyline they were supposed to be covering.
Whether Bishop Hubbard of Albany - who preached at the Albany Mass and has publicly said nothing about the sacrilege involved so far - will ultimately say something, I don't know. Will Archbishop Dolan say anything? I don't know.
Perhaps this story will continue to ripple. Or maybe it will sink.
But I think it's a disgrace to have a Catholic governor show such contempt for the Church.
Implementing the new Missal
What will this mean in our parishes? How will they implement it? What changes wil they make?
What will it mean for parish musicians given the musical portions of this?
Much prayer, thought and work ahead!
Sunday, January 02, 2011
Cuomo commits Sacrilege?
I wonder: Did Bishop Hubbard discretely take the governor aside and point out the moral difficulties of having a Catholic politician like Cuomo at Mass - a politician who has vowed to codify abortion legislation (against Church teachings) and who is living with his girlfriend?
Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy, is quoted as saying, “I think one thing I took away is perhaps if the churches were filled up there’d be less problems in Albany.”
Actually, this bit of political theater today just fits in with the pattern of hypocrisy in Albany.