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Friday, October 31, 2003

The Thrill is VERY Gone 

This is my last Halloween-related post, I swear. I was flipping through the channels and came across Michael Jackson's mini-monster movie/music video for the song "Thriller". I was 14 at the time it came out, and the "Thriller" album and the videos that went with it were the hottest thing to come along in music in quite some time. His songs were heard blaring out of boomboxes and passing cars, and anyone who didn't own the record or cassette was perceived by many to be just out of touch with what it was to be a teenager at the time. Michael was the height of cool for an awful lot of kids of my generation. The music was great, the videos were slick and entertaining, and the man's sense of showmanship (particularly his physical appearance and dancing ability) deservedly made him the king of pop, if not entertainment in general. That was 1984.

Fast forward nineteen years to 2003. That dynamic showman in the "Thriller" video has been erased from the face of the earth. In his place is a very troubled and freakish human being, whose reputation has disintegrated and whose talent has gone to seed. I shudder to see the man everytime he comes on the TV. I wonder what further damage he is going to do to himself or others through his words and/or actions. It's like watching a very sad slow motion train wreck.

It all boils down to one simple question: WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?

It's Amazing What People Would Rather Have Than Money 

Ghost Hunters by Edward D. Murphy of the Portland (ME) Press Herald tells of people who actually slaim to be real life ghostbusters. Knowing how skeptical the typical Mainer is of those who peddle "snake oil remedies" I can only assume that their clientele is made up mostly of people "from away" with vacation homes here.

Maybe I should hang out a shingle and pick up a few bucks in my area of the state with this "profession". Nah. I couldn't keep a straight face long enough to pull it off!

"Don't Much Cayah How Big a Stah Ya Think Ya Ahh, Mista!" 

That's got to be what the Maine cop said (and phonetically how he said it) in this case: Actor Aidan Quinn Charged With Drunken Driving in Maine City from Foxnews.com. Up around these parts, the law is for everyone, Mister Man.

Hey, wait! That's not funny! 

Yet another reason to believe that clowns are not to be trusted: Police Say Woman Dressed as Clown Robs Virginia Beach Bank from WAVY TV.

Anti-Americanism Hidden behind a Catholic Facade 

French Catholics fight Halloween with Cake from UK Reuters via Yahoo News. From the article: "France's Catholics are trying everything to fend off a Halloween celebration they say is an ungodly U.S. import." (My added emphasis, by the way.) That emphasized portion speaks more about what's really behind this than anything else in the whole article, except maybe for a quote from a French baker in the article who says "Halloween isn't French at all." Clearly strident nationalism and sour grapes on a massive scale.

Granted, there are aspects of they way Halloween is celebrated that can be troubling to some. If it had been any other country, I might have thought their motives were pure, but it's FRANCE again. If it's not French, they don't like it, and that's what is driving this. They won't even use the term "e-mail" because they didn't come up with it. As much as I try to give them the benefit of the doubt, they just keep making it harder and harder for me to not think they are a nation of jerks. What's most bewildering is that they claim up and down that they cannot understand why so many of us Americans hold that opinion of them.

I wonder how they'd react if we placed a total embargo of all things American on them for a year, and also refused to import any of their goods and services? Maybe even implement a travel ban like we have with Cuba. Just cut them off totally on a cultural and economic level for only a mere 12 months, and then see what song they are singing. I suspect that after a week without Jerry Lewis movies, they'd be crying in their Chardonnay.

I'll try harder to be charitable tomorrow.

Preventing "Jack-O-Lantern Smile Syndrome" 

On this All Hallow's Eve, I located this interesting story on Foxnews.com entitled 'Healthy' Treats Play Dirty Tricks . The gist of the article is that many well-intentioned people handing out raisins or granola bars on Halloween instead of chocolate bars for the sake of the children's teeth are actually doing more harm than good. The problem is the soluability of the sugar. In other words, how STICKY the treat is. Chocolate is sugary, sure, but it dissolves in your mouth in a relatively short period of time. Sticky, gooey things like those rubbery fruit snacks will remain in contact with the surface of the teeth longer, causing more potential damage.

As with all things, even these gooey things are fine in moderation, but a thorough brushing of the teeth not long after consumption is definitely recommended. Maybe a friendly reminder to your young visitors at the door tonight to avoid eating too much and to brush their teeth soon after eating candy would be a nice thing to do. Does anyone reading this have any clever alternatives for safe items to hand out on Halloween in leiu of candy that will still nonetheless delight the little monsters? Leave your ideas in the comments box.

It seems like the majority of people in my grandparents' generation wore false teeth, and no small number of those in my parents' generation (early baby boomers) have at least partial falsies, if not an entire set. The gen-Xers and younger have been fortunate to grow up in an era of great advances in dental technology, not the least of which are flouride treatments and increased dental education in schools. Let's help our young people from looking like jack-o-lanterns in smile and shape by helping them eat candy in moderation and to use good oral hygeine.

Just some friendly suggestions from a guy who has invested several thousands in maintaining the health of his choppers, so he can keep them for the long haul.

EXCEEDINGLY Dumb Halloween Jokes 

These are "wicked lame" as we'd say here in Maine, but this list of very stupid jokes is my contribution to the Halloween festivities around St. Blog's.

Q: What do you get when you divide the circumference of a jack-o-lantern by its diameter?
A: Pumpkin Pi.

Q: How do you make a witch stew?
A: Keep her waiting for hours.

Q: How do ghosts begin their letters?
A: "Tomb it may concern..."

Q: What happened to the guy who couldn't keep up payments to his exorcist?
A: He was repossessed.

Q: What do you call a person who stabs his Corn Flakes?
A: A cereal killer

Q: How do you mend a broken Jack-o-lantern?
A: With a pumpkin patch.

Q: What is a ghost's favorite ride?
A: A roller ghoster.

Q: Why are there fences around cemeteries?
A: Because people are dying to get in.

Q: Why was the mummy so tense?
A: He was all wound up.

Q: What kind of street does a ghost like best?
A: A dead end.

Q: How can you always tell if a ghost is lying?
A: You can see right through him.

Q: Where do vampires live?
A: At the Vampire State Building.

Q: Why don't witches like to ride their brooms when they're angry?
A: They're afraid of flying off the handle.

Q: Where do ghosts go on vacation?
A: Lake Erie.

Q: Why didn't the skeleton dance at the Halloween party?
A: It had no body to dance with.

Q: What do you say to a ghost with three heads?
A: Hello, hello, hello.

Q: What is a witch's favorite subject in school?
A: Spelling!

Q: When does a skeleton laugh?
A: When something tickles his funny bone.

Q: What tops off a ghost's sundae?
A: Whipped Scream

Q: What has a black hat, flies on a broomstick, and can't see anything?
A: A witch with her eyes closed.

Q: Why is a ghost such a messy eater?
A: Because he's always goblin.

Q: What happens when a ghost gets lost in a fog?
A: He's mist.

Q: Where does Count Dracula usually eat his lunch?
A: In the casketeria.

Q: Where did the goblin throw the football?
A: Over the ghoul line.

Q: What do you call a ghost with a broken leg?
A: Hobblin' Goblin.

Q: What did the ghost eat for dinner?
A: A boo-loney sandwich.

Q: What do you get when you cross a were-wolf with a drip-dry suit?
A: A wash-and-werewolf.

Q: What did the papa ghost say to the baby ghost?
A: Fasten your sheet belt.

Q: Who does a ghoul fall in love with?
A: His ghoul friend.

Q: What is a vampires favorite mode of transportation?
A: A blood vessel.

Q: What do you call a dog owned by Dracula?
A: A blood hound.

Q: How do you picture yourself flying on a broom?
A: By witchful thinking.

Q: Why did the vampire's lunch give her heartburn?
A: It was a stake sandwich.

Q: Why did Dracula take cold medicine?
A: To stop his coffin


Believe it or not, there are some others more lame than this that I took off the list! Share these with your friendly neighborhood seven-year-old, since they would likely be the only ones to see the humor in most of them. Also caution them that, if they overdo it on the Halloween candy, they'll end up like this character:

Bleaaaaaaagh!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Possible Saint Names for my Newborn Nephew 

My nephew, who was born this morning, seems to have drawn the short straw on possible saints whose memorials coincide with his birthday. His parents had his name and the nickname he would go by (R.J.) picked out as soon as they learned of his gender a while back, and it's a good thing. If they had gone with the names of saints whose memorials are on October 30, these would have been their choices (really!):

Alonso
Angelus
Artemas
Besas
Germanus
Macarius
Marcellus
Maximus
Saturninus
Serapion
Talacrian
Theonestus
Zenobia
Zenobius

If they had slapped one of these handles on the poor kid, it would have had the same effect as naming him "Stuff Me in a Locker" by the time he got to middle school age. I also think my sister-in-law would feel rather foolish calling him inside to dinner (when he's old enough to go out and play, of course) by yelling "Talacrian! Talacrian! Time to come in!"

IT'S A BOY! (Of course, we knew that months ago) 

My youngest brother and his wife became the proud parents of an 8 pound, 2 ounce baby boy this morning at 10:52, just over four hours after labor was induced. That's the exact same weight that his dad was when he was born (another memorable day in my life, since he is over ten years younger than me). Mother and child are doing exceptionally well, and father is starting to get the color back in his face and the feeling back in his extremities. This baby was due a couple weeks ago, but he just didn't want to come out! Something tells me this kid is going to be a tough one to rouse from bed in the morning (also like his dad).

My nephew, "R.J.", is the second gift of life from God given to our family this year, as my now ten-month-old firecracker of a niece was born to another brother and his wife in January. We are overjoyed and very thankful to the Heavenly Father for a healthy, uneventful pregnancy, a safe delivery, and especially for a healthy and beautiful little boy.

If you've ever questioned or waivered in your committment to pro-life positions, just hold a newborn baby in your arms. Your beliefs will snap back into their proper place in less than an instant. Babies are surely among God's greatest creations!

From: God; To: California Residents; Re: Get OUT of there!; Date: October 30, 2003 

First, God gives them Arnold as governor. Then, he tries to burn the state down. Next, he hurls a solar storm at it (and the rest of us), and now this morning there are reports of an earthquake in the wildfire zone. Somebody in California seems to have really upset the Man Upstairs BIG TIME!

At times like this, Idaho must look pretty good to many Golden Staters.

In all seriousness, California is suffering greatly right now, and the state needs our prayers. Having been there in the past, I can personally attest that it is a truly beautiful place with many, many more wonderful people than just the kooks who often get the press coverage. Let us pray that the fires are brought under control, and that the people of the state of California can start healing from the many wounds they have been dealt lately.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

A Prayer for All Saints 

All Saints Day has always been one of my favorite holy days in the Church, and it is coming up at the end of this week. It's not a holy day of obligation in the U.S. this year, since it falls on a Saturday, but that does not mean we should forget about it.

Perusing the EWTN website, I came across this prayer to the saints, which may be a nice addition to your prayer life in the days leading up to and including All Saints Day, and maybe beyond. (I tweaked the last line slightly, since it seemed unclear on the site. You can see the original at the link.)

PRAYER TO HEAVENLY SAINTS

O Saints of Heaven,
I am the least of all creatures.
I know my worthlessness, but I also know how noble and generous hearts love to do good.
Therefore, O blessed inhabitants of the heavenly city, I entreat you to adopt me as your child.
All the glory you may help me to acquire will be yours; deign, then, to hear my prayer and obtain for me your love and intercession before the Heavenly Father.
Amen

Would You Stick It on a Bill? Would You Stick It on a Hill? 

Dr. Seuss to Appear on Postage Stamp from the Associated Press via USA Today. This man certainly deserves to be on a stamp. Not only was he the creator of some of the best and most fun children's books ever, he was the originator of the term "nerd". Really. If that doesn't earn one a place in postal history, I don't know what does.

AP Photo/Nathan Martin via Yahoo News

When NOT to Answer the Door on Halloween, Tip #1 

When you see this outside the window:
AP Photo/Tom Uhlmanages via Yahoo News

Dead Men Wear No Seatbelts 

If you have read this blog at all in the past, then you know that I enjoy a good offbeat news story. We talked about purple polar bears, sausage-bashing, cows attacking a car, Underdog, dog-eating catfish, "Talk Like a Pirate" Day and Roman paper pants, to name just a few.

The week leading up to Halloween seems to be peak season for them. I've been inundated with them, but only choose to post the very cream of the crop. This has got to be one of the strangest news stories I've seen so far this week: Traffic Chaos as Hearse Ejects Corpse from Reuters via Yahoo News. Granted, it sounds more like a scene from a Three Stooges short or a Marx Brothers film than a real life event, but it really happened. The report says the undertaker was slightly hurt, but sadly, the corpse remained dead at the scene.

Praise for My Parish Priest 

I regularly attend the one daily Mass a week that does not conflict with my work schedule. It's a typically small affair in the parish chapel, with between twenty and thirty parishoners attending. Up until recently, our priest would come down into the congregation from behind the altar during the sign of peace to shake hands with all of the worshippers present. About three weeks ago, this stopped, and I was curious as to why. It doesn't take all that long, since there are typically so few of us, and I thought it was a nice personal touch. Didn't he like us anymore?

Then I stumbled across this article from Zenit.org, entitled Can Priest Go Down Aisle at the Kiss of Peace? The answer is, according to the revised G.I.R.M., that the priest should always remain in the sanctuary and greet the ministers and other in the sanctuary with him. In the dioceses of the United States of America, for a good reason, on special occasions (for example, in the case of a funeral, a wedding, or when civic leaders are present) the priest may offer the sign of peace to a few of the faithful near the sanctuary.

Reading this made me all the more grateful for our parish priest. He's not only a very pleasant person and a talented homilist, but always has been very careful to stick closely to the rubrics of the celebration of the Mass. This change in his personal ritual, apparently in response to discovering this portion of the revised G.I.R.M., reassures me that he takes it seriously and follows the directives it contains over his own wishes and inclinations. All parishes should be so lucky as to have a priest as willing to do what is directed of him in the documents of the Church as ours. I give thanks to God regularly for sending our good priest to us.

Isn't the Ability to Think a Prerequisite? 

Democrats Open New Liberal Think Tank from FoxNews.com. "The Democratic vaccine to what center supporters say is a plague of conservatism now dominating America." is what they're calling it.

Fortunately for the rest of us, the liberals are of the impression that a "think tank" is a large home aquarium one person at a time can sit in to ponder how to save the whales or legalize marijuana. I believe they have erected a pyramid over it, and play lots of Yanni music in the background.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Finally! Someone the French Aren't Afraid to Take On! 

Paris Police Watch Abducted Gnomes Gather Dust from Reuters via Yahoo News. The Garden Gnome Liberation Front rears its ugly head once again.

The French police allegedly surrendered to the gnomes at first, but after a few days they realized that they were only made of plaster and let their guard down (at least a little bit).

(I realize this post is not the most politically correct in the world, but I ask that you not send the sensitivity police after me through your comments. I'm in a bad mood tonight and just don't want to hear it. I readily admit that France has made vital contributions to the world like rudeness, Marcel Marceau, making b.o. mainstream, and the ongoing maintenance of Jerry Lewis' popularity on the 364 days of the year that are not Labor Day.)

News from Red Sox Nation: Grady's Gone 

The Red Sox have ejected manager Grady Little, and I don't like it at all, no matter what happened in game seven of the ALCS. Should one questionable decision overshadow the hundreds of excellent ones Grady Little has made as manager of the Sox over the past two years? Red Sox management swears up and down that it wasn't that decision to keep Martinez in the game that fateful night that caused them to choose not to renew Little's contract, but, come on. "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing," Bob Dylan once sang. Who do they think they're kidding?

In the world of Beantown baseball, you are either a hero or a goat. There's no in between. If you go back over the most successful seasons the Sox have had in the last quarter-century or so, you can almost always pinpoint some one person whom the Boston sports media has branded as the reason the Sox didn't go all the way. It's Bucky Dent, or Bill Buckner, or Grady Little, and if no one else can be dragged through the mud, then dredge up the ghost of Babe Ruth. There seems to be this NEED to have someone specific to blame for the Red Sox not winning the World Series.

I look at it this way: It takes a team of people, from the head office right down to the batboys, to get the Red Sox to wherever they end up in a given season. No one person is singly responsible, not even the manager. It took a team to get to game seven of the ACLS, and it took a team to lose that last game. Sure, Grady Little should have pulled Pedro Martinez sooner, but Martinez should have been more up front about how his arm was feeling, putting the good of the team ahead of his ego. Blame Tim Wakefield for throwing the pitch that gave up the game-winning home run for the Yankees. Blame Boston's hitting for not padding the lead more in that game. Or, more appropriately, blame the New York Yankees, for simply playing a better game than the Red Sox on that particular night.

Overall, the Red Sox played masterfully this season, and especially in the postseason. No one team member could rightfully be labeled as "the one", the reason why the Sox blew it. That's why Pedro or Wakefield or any other players who may have had a misstep or two along the way are not swinging from the gallows in Boston today. The case against them just isn't there. It's not there against Grady Little either, but where he was not an ace pitcher, a power batter, or spectacular playmaker, and where he WAS an authority figure, he drew the short straw to quite literally "take one for the team". Grady Little is a convenient sacrificial lamb for the 2003 Red Sox.

If the Sox make it to the postseason and blow it again next year, mark my words, another scapegoat will be found. It's easy to give a whole team credit in good times, but in bad times, it's easier to find fault with one individual. I love the Red Sox as much anyone in Red Sox Nation, but the hard truth of the matter is this, as much as it pains me to say it: The Yankees were simply the better team this year. (Though not by very much!) It's not what the Sox weren't, it's what the Yanks were.

Thanks for all you've done as part of the team that is the Red Sox, Grady! Any baseball team would be lucky to have you on board as manager. God bless.



And ok, I'll admit it. Buckner did deserve the goat label.

Today is the Feast of the Apostles Jude and Simon 

When you ask someone to recite the names of the twelve apostles, these guys are usually at the end of the list, or forgotten altogether. Their names have been overshadowed in history by their more famous and infamous contemporaries who held the same names.

St. Simon image from www.catholic-forum.com
St. Simon, ora pro nobis.

Simon held the same name as the man Our Lord later renamed Peter, who was essentially Christ's deputy and the earthly leader of the apostles and the Church after the Ascension. Talk about casting a huge shadow! This Simon whom we celebrate today is often referred to as "Simon the Zealot", which is hardly an endearing moniker. The name "zealot" in this case does not signify that he belonged to the party of Zealots (a pretty nasty organization active in Christ's time), but that he had zeal for the Jewish law, which he practiced before his call. (Terrific. A zealous lawyer. Good thing he's on our side.) Sadly, it seems that Simon is very rarely referred to in the Church today. This is a shame, because according to legend, he spent his ministry preaching the Good News of Christ in many areas of the middle east, most notably Egypt and Mesopotamia, and was martyred for his troubles. A true soldier for the Faith. There are conflicting reports as to whether he was crucified or sawn in half. Either way, he gave all he had for his Lord and Savior. He is the patron of curriers and sawmen. (The latter being further proof that pontiffs throughout history have had senses of humor.)

St. Jude image from www.catholic-forum.com
St. Jude Thaddeus, ora pro nobis.

Because he held the same name as the man who betrayed Jesus, Judas (his real name) is usually redubbed Jude, Jude Thaddeus, or just Thaddeus in the gospels and historical texts. He seems to have kept a relatively low profile during Christ's earthly ministry, and is thought to be the brother of St. James the Less, who also is commonly forgotten when one is asked to list the Twelve. Jude is reported to have been a blood relative of Jesus, probably a cousin, and is said to have been close in physical appearance to the Lord. That would make him one of the "brothers" of Christ referred to in the gospels that causes so much confusion. Jude teamed up to preach with Simon the Zealot in Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia, and was also martyred for his troubles. They say he was clubbed to death, and then beheaded afterward. (Talk about adding insult to injury!)

One of the best things to happen to St. Jude's legacy was his being named a patron of lost causes. It is for this patronage that he is best known today. According to www.catholic-forum.com, "his patronage of lost or impossible causes traditionally derives from confusion by many early Christians between Jude and Judas Iscariot; not understanding the difference between the names, they never prayed for Jude's help, and devotion to him became something of a lost cause."

Jude is one of my all-time favorite saints due not only to his patronage for lost causes, for which I have turned to him in prayer countless times, but also for the fact that he is among the most obscure and unfairly maligned of the apostles. I've always had a soft spot for the underdogs.

Despite their relative obscurity, there must have been something absolutely extraordinary about Saints Jude and Simon for Jesus to have placed them in this world during His time and to have chosen them to be among the twelve fathers of the Catholic Church. Sure...Peter, James and John get a lot of the attention and glory, and deservedly so, but let us not forget the others hand-chosen by Christ to be trusted to carry His message to the ends of the Earth. When you remember the saints on All Saints Day this year, remember especially Jude and Simon. Offer thanksgiving to God for providing them as models of the Faith and pillars of the Church, and pray to them for intercession before the Lord Jesus, particularly when you might be feeling forgotten, invisible, ineffective, or underappreciated. These holy men will certainly be able to relate!

Monday, October 27, 2003

Well, He's Got it in the Bag Now 

I imagine the lobbying for this endorsement was very heavy, but the "Dude, Where's My Car" dude has spoken and...

Sen. John Edwards endorsed by Ashton Kutcher from The Drudge Report. (It's not from a British tabloid either!) Now if he could just sew up the endorsement of Vin Deisel, it would be smooth sailing all the way.

I bet Karl Rove didn't sleep a wink last night.

(Please read the intended extreme sarcasm into this posting.)

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Sticky Birthday to You! 

Bubble Gum Celebrates 75 Years from Reuters via Yahoo News.

It was invented by Philadelphia accountant Walter Deimer in 1928, and the undersides of school desks and movie seats haven't been the same since.

Question for Readers of this Blog 

A friend at another blog who also reads this one contacted me recently with some questions about possible flaws in the layout of my blog. It seems that the way this blog appears on my own computer screen and the way it appears on his are very different. I certainly don't want to continue with a layout that is cumbersome for readers. How are you seeing it? Do the e-mail, dedication, links, etc... appear above the postings, or alongside them (as they are supposed to)? Is it slow to load?

I'm just curious, since I only see this blog on my own screen as a rule. I will undertake some serious tinkering with the layout of M.C. & B. if it's not reader-friendly as it is now.

Things I Learned After it was Too Late, Installment #791 

Putting down the toilet seat cover not only makes the females of the household happier, but it also makes it more difficult to accidentally drop your toothbrush into it at six in the morning.

And You Think the Pews at YOUR Church are Uncomfortable! 

It seems like the week before Halloween is a good time to post on the topic of the "bone church", also known as The Ossuary Chapel of All Saints in Sedlec, Czech Republic. It's an amazing feat or architecture, as the entire interior of the chapel is constructed of human bones! As gruesome as it sounds at first blush, it really is a beautiful place. It was first established as a buiral place for vicitms of the Black Plague around 1400, and was made what it is today by a local woodcarver who worked meticulously on the project starting in 1870 and continuing over a period of years.

It really has to be seen to be believed, and the best resource I have found on the Internet can be found at this link. Be sure to check out the photo gallery links near the bottom of the page.

Bone Chalice photo from http://www.ludd.luth.se/users/silver_p/Sedlec/kutna-02.jpg

Another Leftist Nut 

Man Accused of Stealing 440 Left Shoes from the Associated Press-Asia via Yahoo News.

Archbishop Sheen in Cyberspace 

Hmmm...that headline sounds like the title of a bad sci-fi movie from the fifties. I may change that.

At any rate, www.catholicculture.org (formerly PetersNet.net) is featuring a favorable review of this website dedicated to the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

Given that Archbishop Sheen came out as the winner in a recent poll on this blog on which late Catholic you would like to spend an afternoon in conversation with, I thought it was appropriate to post the link here. It's very good. Give it a look, whether you are a Sheen devotee already, or are just curious.

Run-Up to All Saints Day 

All Saints Day is coming up this Saturday, November 1. Because it falls on a Saturday this year, it is not a holy day of obligation in the U.S., but is still a day to commemorate and pray to the holy men and women God has set before us as examples of how to live His Word. Though we aren't obligated, it is a day when we should certainly try to make it to Mass if it is possible. Many parishes offer a daily Mass on Saturday mornings, and most offer a Sunday vigil Mass on Saturday afternoons or evenings. One of those could be your opportunity to give thanks to God and meditate on the works of the saints if a specific All Saints Mass is not being offered near where you live.

Nicole over at the Notes to Myself blog brought an excellent website to her readers' attention on the subject of All Saints. It's The Feast of All Saints site, with a wealth of information. I recommend it a a place to visit online throughout this week to get your mind and spirit in tune for All Saints Day.

Results of Last Week's Poll on the Six Month Waiting Period prior to Marriage in the Catholic Church 

The question this past week was: "Is the six month waiting period between contacting your priest with your intentions to marry and the actual ceremony necessary, and does it reduce the number of unions made within the confines of the Faith?"

*YES it's necessary, and NO it doesn't reduce the number of Catholic marriages (40.0%)

*YES it's necessary, but YES it does reduce the number of Catholic marriages (25.0%)

*I don't know/No opinion (20.0%)

*NO it's not necessary, but NO it doesn't reduce the number of Catholic marriages (10.0%)

*NO it's not necessary, and YES it does reduce the number of Catholic marriages (5.0%)


I voted for yes it's necessary, but yes, it hinders couples to marry Catholic. I have seen it happen many times with friends, acquaintences, and even relatives in recent years. Many marry as young adults, the same age in life where they are yearning to assert their independence (at least to some degree) from the institutions that they have had to be subordinate to for most of their lives (their parents, the church, etc.). Combine that with the widespread prediliction for instant gratification in our society these days, and you get an inordinate number of young couples who either aren't willing to wait six months, or are not willing to go through with the pre-marriage counseling with a priest that the church asks.

That being said, I do think that both the waiting period (you could almost call it a "cooling-off period") and the counseling with a priest (or better yet, a married deacon or trained lay person) is a good idea. With the divorce rate in the U.S. at around 50%, moving slowly and deliberately to make sure that the marriage will be a fit for a lifelong match, is time well spent.

I think a better way would be for priests or other religious counselors to determine the length of time for preparation on an individual basis after meeting with each couple a few times. Some couples will require more than six months, but others will reqiure less. The six month period was likely established so that there would be time for couples to set a date and put together the elaborate Broadway productions that pass for weddings in America these days. Changing it may make it more difficult for the mother of the bride to rent The White House for the wedding and hire The Rolling Stones to play at the reception, but since when is the Catholic Church more concerned with the secular than the spiritual, especially in matters of a sacrament?

Standard disclaimer: This is not a scientific poll, just a snapshot of the sentiments of visitors to this blog in the past week who have chosen to take part. You may only vote once from a given computer, and neither the polling service nor I can track the origins of votes.

Poetic Justice in Baseball 

FLORIDA MARLINS WIN WORLD SERIES OVER THE NEW YORK YANKEES

Saturday 10/18: Florida Marlins-3, New York Yankees-2
Sunday 10/19: New York Yankees-6, Florida Marlins-1
Tuesday 10/21: New York Yankees-6, Florida Marlins-1
Wednesday 10/22: Florida Marlins-4, New York Yankees-3 (12 innings)
Thursday 10/23: Florida Marlins-6, New York Yankees-4
Saturday 10/25: Florida Marlins-2, New York Yankees-0

Marlins win series, 4-2.

Three upsides to this:
*The team that eliminated the Red Sox lost.
*A wild card, underdog team won.
*For Maine fans, there is consolation in the fact that many of the Marlins players played minor league ball with the Portland Sea Dogs, who were a Marlins affiliate for nine years before this season.

I still wish it had been the Sox.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

The Power of Prayer 

The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban. Terri Schiavo's feeding tube reinserted. Patricia Ireland dumped from the YWCA board. 46 miners trapped underground in Russia are found alive and rescued. The Holy Father's strength and fortitude to perform his duties during one of the most strenuous periods of his pontificate. If anyone doubts that prayer can make a concrete difference in our world, these are but a few examples.

Pope John Paul II himself made mention of the power of prayer in a homily at a Mass concelebrated with the thirty new cardinals earlier this week. You can read about it here at Zenit.org.

Say a few for me, I'll say a few for you, and we'll all be better off.

God Delivered Manna to the Jews in the Desert, so is He Now Delivering Pumpkins to the Tahuyans on the Floodplain? 

Pumpkins Found Floating Along Rivers from the Associated Press via Yahoo News.

Maybe this is an "extreme sports" version of bobbing for apples gone awry?

Dying is a Good Career Move for Some, Apparently 

Elvis Rules Forbes List of Top-Earning Dead Celebs from Reuters via Yahoo News.

The Top Five:
1. Elvis Presley (king of rock and roll)
2. Charles Schultz (Peanuts cartoonist)
3. J.R.R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings author)
4. John Lennon (of The Beatles)
5. George Harrison (also of The Beatles)

I've tried lying around night and day doing nothing to make a living, much as these people are doing, and discovered it doesn't work for everybody. The money went out, but it didn't come in. I guess this method of accumulating wealth only works for certain folks.

Friday, October 24, 2003

I'm with the Apostle St. "Doubting" Thomas on this One 

Tree Stump Virgin Mary Draws Faithful from Reuters via Yahoo News. Our Lady appeared in glory and splendor at Lourdes, Fatima, Guadaloupe, etc. Why would she appear in an old stump in Passaic, New Jersey? I just doesn't seem like her style. It's not that I don't want to believe that such apparitions occur, it's just that this one just doesn't jive with me.

From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
co·in·ci·dence
Pronunciation: kO-'in(t)-suh-din(t)s
Function: noun
Date: 1605
1 : the act or condition of coinciding : CORRESPONDENCE
2 : the occurrence of events that happen at the same time by accident but seem to have some connection; also : any of these occurrences

Are You Sure It Wasn't a Democratic Caucus Meeting? 

Man Caught Keeping Variety Of Snakes In NYC Apartment from WNBC-TV, New York.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

The Tax Dollars You Gave Up Promoting the Tax Dollars You Soon Will 

By now, I'm sure you've seen the ads on television or in print promoting the newly minted $20 bills. The U.S. Treasury Department has made some changes to make counterfitting more difficult, such as using different colors of ink, light-shifting ink, new watermarks and the like. The changes are important and make good sense (though I still think the bill looks like those five "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" guys got their hands on the design).

Despite the changes, it remains pretty obvious that the new version of the bill is legitimate cash to anyone who has ever seen an American $20 before. So why does the Treasury Department think that the citizens of the U.S. need a $32 MILLION educational ad campaign about it? That means 1,600,000 of these new bills are going toward promoting themselves! Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) President Tom Schatz is quoted as saying yesterday "The cost of the government's ad campaign is equal to 74 percent of all the counterfeit money circulated in the United States in 2002." Your government bureacracy at work!

I was irked when I first started seeing the ads, and was even more so when I saw a very good treatment of this waste of taxpayer money in a "Fleecing of America" report on NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw Wednesday night. (Hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day!) Strangely, the MSNBC website has no reference to that report to which I could link. The "mainstream" media does a rare good piece of investigative journalism, and then they hide it away. You can read all about it here at the Citizens Against Government Waste website.

The new $20 from http://www.moneyfactory.com

Let it Snow? 

Like most of the adults in the area where I live, I winced in horror when I looked out the window this morning. We beheld three or so inches of very wet snow on the ground, covering the not-yet-raked leaves and causing the branches of the trees, most of which still have the lion's share of their leaves attached, sagging to the point of breaking.

All day long, as the white stuff fell from the sky, I heard the typical comments: "I hate to see the snow." "This is depressing." "I just want to stay inside until May." and most commonly "This weather stinks." I had to agree with most them. This was not a good thing in any way.

As I drove home from work late in the afternoon, I noticed several young children playing on a small hill in their yard in my neighborhood. They were bundled up to the hilt, laughing and screaming and having the time of their lives in what have become nothing more than a mixture of slush and fallen leaves. Muddy snow angels were made, a very dirty and lopsided snowman made his debut, and sleds were moving very slowly down a very slight slope across a path of snow, gravel, leaves and grass. The children were tumbling all over the place, drenched to the bone and laughing their heads off.

The contrast between how the adults I encountered today viewed this snowy weather and how the children down the street did really struck me. The adults saw the beginning of months of shoveling, driving on icy roads, dead car batteries, short days and long nights, and perpetually cold feet. The children, on the other hand, saw snowmen, sledding, snowball fights, and the building of tunnels and forts in the soon-to-be accumated banks of snow.

For the children, it was as if Christmas had come early. For the adults, it was as if it had been cancelled.

Second Snow of October photo from kim101 via Weather Underground Photos

Pondering all this, I was reminded of a passage from the gospel of St. Matthew, chapter 18, verses 2-4: "[Jesus said] 'Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like a child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'"

The world would be such a better place if we just took the time to look at things through the eyes of a child more often. It's not so hard if you try. After all, we were all kids once. Taking the perceived lemons life hands us and making lemonade where we can must be what Our Lord would want us to do.

I still would rather be looking at fiery colored autumn leaves covering the ground, but maybe those children had the better idea of how to deal with this early season snow, which is as much a part of God's creation as the spring's flowers, summer's showers, and fall's bountiful harvest. I don't think I'm about to run outside and made a snow/leaf/mud angel any time soon, but maybe taking the dog for a quiet evening walk through our newly-acquired blanket of snow tonight wouldn't be so bad after all.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

A Great Editorial Rant on the Residual Effects of Political Correctness 

Killing the Good Samaritan by Wendy McElroy from FoxNews.com tells of how paranoid our society has become after years of subtle and not-so-subtle vilifying of the "evil, straight, white male". It's a great editorial. As one of them, I can tell you firsthand that the suspicion against us is palpable and real. (Think quick: A male manager and a female aide are working late, alone in a locked building. What pops into your head first?)

Instead of erasing unwarranted paranoia against certain groups of people, the "P.C. Police" have instead added another group to the roles of those discriminated against unjustly. It's the typical liberal "modus operandi": Don't empowering those in need. Rather, disempower everyone else. That way we can all suffer together.

It's Official...The Sports World is Out of Good Ideas 

Would you believe Extreme Ironing? The BBC has this little article with some intriguing photos at this link, and the "sport" itself, as governed by the "Extreme Ironing Bureau", has its own official site at this one.

In my version of the world, it's extreme to iron in my laundry room at 6:30 in the morning. These guys put me to shame!

Party's Over 

Pope John Paul's Silver Jubilee has been celebrated. Mother Teresa has been beatified. 31 new cardinals have been installed. Am I the only Catholic who feels the way most everyone does on January 2 each year?

If You Want Something Done Right, You've Got To Do It Yourself 

From Matt Drudge: "Director Mel Gibson has opted to market and distribute his controversial film 'The Passion of Christ' through his own company, Icon Entertainment, the LOS ANGELES TIMES is reporting on Wednesday. The film will be released nationwide on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2004."

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

So a Priest Walks Into a Bar. "Ouch!" He Says, "Who Put This Bar Here?" 

Two nuns in traditional habits with the high starched headpieces and the whole bit were sitting in the stands at a football game. Behind them sat two sportswriters, who were having a hard time seeing some of the action because of the bulky headwear the nuns were sporting.

"Why don't they go to China?" one sportwriter said. "I've heard it's only 5% Catholic there."

"Better yet, why don't they go to India?" said the other sportswriter said. "I think it's only 2% Catholic there."

At this, both nuns turned around, and one of them said sternly "Why don't you go to hell? There are no Catholics there!"

Good News on Terri Schiavo! 

Gov. Jeb Bush called a special session of the Florida legislature, and he now has the legal backing to order Terri's feeding tube to be reinserted, which he has done. There is no word as of this writing whether that order has been complied with or not.

God bless Gov. Bush (a Catholic member of the Bush family), and the lawmakers of Florida for having the courge to stand up against the Culture of Death. Jeb for Prez in 2008!

And a great big, wet, nasty raspberry to the "mainstream" media, who have only now decided to take up prominent coverage of Terri Schiavo's plight. I guess it really does take an act of Congress (or in this case, an act of the Florida legislature and governor) to get them off their rear ends to cover a pro-life story.

Land of the Free??? 

Boy's Internet Research Snags Him in FBI Web from the Baltimore Sun.

It seems that a middle-schooler whose real name is John McLean (remember the movie Die Hard?), was doing a legitimate school report on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, and was conducting some online research to gather some data on the structure. The next thing you know, the FBI is pounding on the door of the boy's private school. Fortunately, the whole thing got resolved, but it really makes one seriously wonder about some things.

How far is too far for the government to go in order to maintain homeland security? In the big picture, I'd rather have them erring on the side of caution, but still, it's hard to see our constitutional freedoms held in such low regard. Juxtapose this story with that of the college kid who was able to smuggle the boxcutters, bleach and clay onto a couple of aircraft where they weren't discovered for two months, and it becomes even more disconcerting. Who devised this homeland security plan, Wile E. Coyote or Roscoe P. Coltrane?

Bruce Willis as John McLean in Die Hard
Yippee-ki-yay, Mr. Ashcroft and Mr. Ridge.

Folks at the Vatican are Seeing Red 

Well, more red than they did before today at least. 31 new cardinals were given their red caps by the Holy Father in Rome this morning.

Pope John Paul II Installs New Cardinals from the Associated Press via Yahoo News.

Some critics accuse John Paul of "stacking the deck" in favor of getting a successor who is ideologically simliar to himself. Personally, I don't have a problem with that. The continuity and flow from one papacy to the next is very important, especially when 25+ years of hard work is at stake. It is understandable that the Holy Father would want the Chruch to continue in the direction that he has steered it with the guidance of God. We need only look to the death of John XXIII during the Vatican II Council to see the results of what happens when a pope with a clear vision for the Church is not succeeded by another who shares it. Confusion, divisiveness and bitterness reign, and good ideas get distorted and sometimes go bad.

Pope John Paul has had the luxury, if you want to call it that, of seeing the end of his papacy coming, and has been fortunate to be able to make provisions so that the church he has shaped under God's direction over the past quarter century can continue along the same path. To use a secular analogy, many of know the turmoil and anxiety that ensues when a longtime boss in the workplace leaves and is replaced with another with a radically different personality and philosophy. JPII is trying to spare the Catholic Church that turmoil at this critical point in history where it is needed more than ever to be a strong presence for Christ in the world.

The next pontiff will be different, and there will be changes, no doubt. That is normal, healthy and to be expected. However, thanks to the current Holy Father, the Catholic Church will not be suffering "spiritual whiplash" when the new successor to St. Peter takes the throne.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Barbara Bush is Just Too Cool! 

I've been a big fan of Mrs. Bush ever since she was our nation's "second lady" during the Reagan administration. She's a real firecracker, and someone with whom I imagine life is never, ever dull. Mrs. Bush is my personal favorite first lady of all time, and must be at least in the top five most beloved first ladies among all Americans.

She was interviewed on NBC recently, and the old gal still hasn't lost her spunk. You can read about it at this link to a Reuters News article entitled: Barbara Bush Calls Democrat Line-Up a 'Sorry Group'.

Barbara Bush reminds me of a combination of the stern but lovable Mother Superior many of us new in our parochial school days and Estelle Getty's character Sophia (Bea Arthur's mom) on the TV sitcom The Golden Girls. Some say that the American president is the most powerful person in the world, but with a lady of this mettle as his mother, you know that Barbara Bush is really the most powerful person in the world. Long live Mother Bush!

I Knew Potato Chips Weren't Healthy, but THIS is Ridiculous! 

Chip Maker Finds Bombs Among Potatoes from the Associated Press via Yahoo News.

And here I thought the jalepeno-flavored chips were painful!

Forget Kindergarten, try Maennergarten! 

Men Happy at Adult Kindergarten from UK Reuters via Yahoo News.

Lead: "HAMBURG, Germany (Reuters) - German men dropped off at an experimental "kindergarten for men" by their wives say they were happy to avoid the tortuous boredom of shopping by spending Saturdays playing with mates instead."

After reading what it's all about, I think I'd be happy there too!

A Wrap Up on News of Mother Teresa's Beatification 

Pope Beatifies Mother Teresa in Front of 300,000: Founder of Missionaries of Charity Honored from Zenit.org.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, ora pro nobis!

Sunday, October 19, 2003

A Tribute on World Mission Sunday 

One of the most famous missionaries in Maine history is the martyr Father Sebastian Rasle. Here is his story, Sebastian Rasle, A Friend to the Abenakis of Norridgewock, as researched and reported by young Jill Cole and Kasey Knowles, students at the middle school in a fine school district where I once taught.


Father Rasle was a Catholic priest originally from France, who lived in Norridgewock, helping the Abenakis.

Letters that Father Rasle had written to his his nephew have been gathered with the purpose of keeping for further generations to read and learn about the past.

Father Rasle wrote the following to his nephew from Nonrantsouack, meaning Norridgewock,

"For thirty years I've lived in the midst of the forest and with the savages. I have instructed them and informing them to their Christian virtues. I'm in the district that lies between Acadia and New England. By mixing berries with an equal quantity of tallow, you can make beautiful candles that are firm and excellent for use. I have composed some prayers to alter the minds of the savages. These prayers are of the natures. I teach catechism to the children and young people. The rest of the morning is set for listening to the people that need to talk to me. Usually people want to talk to me about their pains, their anxieties, jobs, their marriage and personal affairs. In the afternoons I visit the sick and check the cabins to check who needs some special attention. At night, for dinner we have huge feasts, which whoever is invited MUST bring one plate of wood or bark and then I give the benediction upon the meats. Some nights I hardly have time to say my prayers and get rest. The savages go to the sea in pursuit to find geese and birds. Then they build a church on the island, which is next to their little cabin for their residence. My food is simple and light. I've never been able to taste meat and smoked fish, my nourishment is nothing, but Indian corn."

Father Rasle was a strong believer in Christianity. Not only did he teach religion, he devoted his time totally to the well-being of the Abenakis. Father Rasle lived among the Norridgewocks for thirty-four years.

Father Rasle built a chapel and furnished it with objects needed for celebrating mass. He was an artist and he painted pictures of religious subjects. The natives were fond of a bell that Father Rasle had. The natives wished that when they rang the bell, it sang as sweetly as it did when in Father Rasle's hands.

One day the English took his strong box full of incriminating letters . These letters were to said to have encouraged the Norridgewocks to fight against the English. The English felt that Father Rasle was stirring up the Native Americans and encouraging them to be violent against them. Father Rasle wanted to represent the wishes of the Abenakis and be their spokesman to stand up for what was right. The definition of land ownership was very different for the English than the Abenakis so land deals never worked. The Abenakis believed that the lands were there to share, and to hunt on, as needed to to live but the English wanted to own it and keep anyone off that they chose.

Finally, the English under the leadership of Captain Moulton and Harmon, decided in 1974, to leave Swan's Island to go up the Kennebec and attack the village of Norridgewock. On the evening of August 21, the soldiers surprised Chief Bomazeen and his maiden. They killed the woman and a child, and Bomazeen ran to warn the others in the village. He was shot down in the river where it is still today called "Bomazeen Rips". Around noon on the 22 day of August, the soldiers encircled the small village. They found that most of the men were out hunting and the only ones left were the women, children and the old people. They opened fire and the sight that followed was terrible. The Abenakis ran towards the river and were all shot down turning the river red with blood. Eighty innocent people were killed that sad day.

None of Moulton or Harmon's men were killed. They took a few captive young boys and 28 scalps including Father Rasles to parade around Boston and brag of the killing.

The Abenakis went back to Canada after that but returned years later. However, the village was never the same, and eventually they all went to other parts of Maine. ~END


May God bless the souls of all missionaries for the Catholic Faith who have died in their missions for Him, and may He protect and guide those selfless and devout men and women who continue to spread His word through missionary work in all parts of the globe today.

Stained Glass Window of Fr. Rasle at Notre Dame de Lourdes Church in Skowhegan, Maine from http://skowhegan.com/notredame
This stained glass window depicting the martyrdom of Father Rasle is in the church I attended for nearly five years while living in that area, Notre Dame de Lourdes in Skowhegan, Maine. I frequently sat in a pew right beneath it.

Rejoice and Be Glad! Today is Mother Teresa's Day! 

Through the grace of God and the Holy Father's willingness to break a few rules in order to do the right thing, Mother Teresa of Calcutta will be beatified today in a ceremony at the Vatican, just a little more than six years after her death. This is a day of celebration for the Catholic Church throughout the world.

The haste in Mother Teresa's canonization process could possibly be a rare Vatican concession to the instant gratification needs so prevalent in today's world. Clearly, Mother Teresa was a saint. Even non-Catholics and non-Christians admitted it openly during her lifetime. However, with the fast pace of the world today, it is possible that the vivid example of modern-day holiness that Mother Teresa set will fade and its luster lost or even forgotten by some as her lifetime on Earth moves further into the past. By expediting her cause for canonization, the Vatican could be working to show the world that, yes, even in this world of information overflow, questionable morals becoming accepted in the mainstream, and a growing gap between the "haves" and "have nots", there are saints among us. They are people we in this age can choose to emulate, an alternative to the flavor of the week in sports, entertainment, or politics.

Mother Teresa is surely not the only modern-day saint. They are all around us. We just have to look for them. They could live in your family, in your parish, in your town, or in your state. Chances are, they are not major media figures as Mother Teresa was, but they are no less holy and will receive no less of a reward from Our Lord. Expediting the process of canonization of a woman that most of us remember in action during our lifetimes reminds us to seek out the holy people among us and to emulate their words and deeds.

Beatifying Mother Teresa, and eventually canonizing her as a saint is not for the holy woman. She is receiving a greater reward beyond all our comprehension with the Lord in the next life. Raising her to "Blessed" and then to "Saint" is for those of us here in this world. John Paul II is very savvy about today's culture, and no doubt he realizes that many view saints as ethereal men and women who lived long ago, experienced or worked impressive miracles, and devoted every fiber of their being to their relationship with God. Many of them set seemingly impossibly high bars to reach. How can we compare to such giants as Therese of Liseaux, Francis of Assisi, or Joseph, the foster father of our Lord? They seem iron-clad, as different from us as the angels.

We must remember that, other than the Blessed Mother, no saint was perfect or sinless. Paul persecuted Christians and send many to their deaths, Mary Magdelene was thought to be a woman of questionable reputation, Augustine was a reckless youth and a constant worry to his poor mother, and Peter, the Rock upon which the Church was built, was a pretty "rough around the edges", impulsive kind of guy throughout his entire life. Remember when he chopped off the slave's ear in Gesthemene? We don't do ourselves any favors by idealizing saints as "perfect people". The only two perfect people to walk this Earth were Jesus and His mother Mary.

While Mother Teresa is a highly visible example for us, bear in mind that there are other saints among us right now, and not only should we follow their examples, but we should also strive to become saints ourselves. We don't have to be perfect. We just need to seek Christ's forgiveness and make a concerted effort to avoid sin and put God's word into action in our everyday lives.

The Eternal Word Television Network has an excellent and comprehensive site about all aspects of Mother Teresa. It is well-worth visiting, especially on this day of her beatification. Remember to include her in your prayers, that she may intercede on behalf of your intentions.

Mother Teresa and child photo from http://magnificat.ca
"Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness."~Mother Teresa

Pray for Terri Schiavo 

I have not posted anything about the case of Terri Schiavo, the comatose woman in Florida whose feeding tubes have been taken out upon the instructions of her husband. There has been quite a brisk legal battle over whether her husband has the right to do this, especially given that he stands to gain a rather large sum of money upon her death. This same husband has been denying his Catholic wife any sacraments or visits from priests or religious for several months now, despite the best efforts of some.

Needless to say, the Florida judiciary has upheld the Culture of Death, and Terri's feeding tube was taken out a few says ago, thus beginning her slow death from starvation. It should be noted that Terri never left any instructions to be taken off life-support if she should ever be incapacitated, and her family and friends have been adamantly opposed to her being removed from her feeding tube as well.

Others at St. Blog's have posted more completely and with more articulation on the subject of Terri's plight than I ever could. I would recommend Mark Shea's Catholic and Enjoying It, Amy Welborn's Open Book, Fr Rob Johansen's Thrown Back, The Mighty Barrister, and Times Against Humanity for some excellent postings that can fill you in on the whole story, to name only a few. You can also visit Catholic News Service's site for more information.

You can click on her photo below or at this link to go to http://www.terrisfight.org to see what you can do for her cause and the cause of life. At this point, I personally fear thhat there is not much we can do now to save Terri, though we may be able to prevent other such murders in the future.

Terri Schiavo photo from http://www.terrisfight.org

Admittedly, I do not live in front of the television or read a dozen newspapers a day, but the silence from the "mainstream" media has been deafening on this case, at least from my point of view. I cannot recall seeing any reports or commentary of any kind in the secular national media. St. Blog's members and Catholic news sites seem to be the only ones bringing it to the attention of the masses in general, and with all due respect to them, they aren't nearly enough.

This is another classic case of what I call the "mainstream" media's ongoing sins of omission. The slant in ideology in the topics they do cover is only a small part of how they shape and mold public opinion to their own (usually liberal) leanings. Their most common weapon for advancing their agenda is leaving out coverage of issues such as this. I'm sure that if Terri Schiavo's predicament was made known more fully to the general public, the outcry would be immediate and immense. As it is, even in Florida the coverage has been downplayed, and nationally it seems to be nonexistent.

Meanwhile, Terri slowly starves to death. She will likely make it only a few more days at most. Let us pray for her, and for the eradication of this Culture of Death that is perpetuated by those who control the flow of the majority of information to our society.

10/18 UPDATE: Pete Vere from Catholic Light is at the vigils outside Terri's hospital in Florida, and is providing regular, insider updates on the blog as to the situation there. It's compelling stuff, and well worth a visit and some prayers.

A Word on the New Poll about the Waiting Period 

I am terribly curious to find out the final results of this poll. Please think about it and register your vote, and encourage others to do so as well. The larger the sample, the clearer the picture we can receive on this issue. After the voting has ended next Sunday morning, I'll create a posting so you can share your particular thoughts on this subject if you wish.

Results of Last Week's Poll on A Conversation with a Prominent, Deceased Catholic of the 20th Century 

The question this week was: "If you could spend an afternoon alone in conversation with one of the following prominent Catholics of the 20th Century who have since passed away, who would it be?"

*Archbishop Fulton Sheen (38.5%)

*Blessed Pope John XXIII (23.1%)

*Pope Pius XII (11.5%)

*St. Maximilian Kolbe (11.5%)

*St. Edith Stein (7.7%)

*The Children of Fatima (3.8%)

*Other (3.8%)

*Mother Teresa of Calcutta (0.0%)

Archbishop Sheen photo from http://www.catholicsinamerica.com
THE WINNER!

Voting was brisk this week, thanks in part to some cross-promotion of the poll on other Catholic blogs. My vote was for an afternoon with Blessed John XXIII. I'd love to hear was his vision for the Church was when he called Vatican II into session, and to find out how it compares to what the Church has become almost 40 years since the council ended. I believe that Vatican II was a good idea, and necessary, however I also think that the outcomes of the council have been twisted and reinterpretted by liberals in the Church (especially in the first fifteen years following the council) to suit their agendas. I also see John XXIII as a warm, endearing person who would be enjoyable to spend time with in conversation even if he wasn't a pope. My devoutly Catholic grandmother, a major influence in shaping my faith, was very dedicated to John XXIII and his memory. Some of that must have rubbed off.

I think Mother Teresa got no votes because she is one of the most recent of those on the list, and the most visible in the multimedia world. I don't see it as a reflection on her stature among us. Many of us probably feel we know a great deal about her and her views already. Looks like she'll have to order a table for one that afternoon. Maybe John XXIII and I will go over and join her.

Standard disclaimer: This is not a scientific poll, just a snapshot of the sentiments of visitors to this blog in the past week who have chosen to take part. You may only vote once from a given computer, and neither the polling service nor I can track the origins of votes.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Woof. 

It's been a while since we've had an innocuous little quiz here, and I thought this one was kind of fun. (Plus I actually agree with the results. I don't publicize quizzes that give me bogus results or show me in an unflattering light anymore. I've learned my lessons the hard way there!) Give this one a try. Which cartoon dog are you? It only takes about 60 seconds, and you've got nothing to lose.





What cartoon dog are you?




Some might say I even resemble Mr. Peabody's apearance somewhat (minus the tail). "Set the Wayback Machine, Sherman!"

Soo-prise! Soo-prise! Soo-prise! 

(That was my tribute to Gomer Pyle.)

Woman Gets Very Big Shock -- a Baby from Reuters UK via Yahoo News.

Lead sentence: "An Australian woman got the shock of her life when she gave birth to a healthy baby boy just three hours (my emphasis) after learning she had been pregnant for nine months."

Way Uncool 

Lieberman Heckled at Arab-American Political Conference from FoxNews.com.

I am a firm Bush supporter and will continue to be, but Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) earned my respect as an intelligent and decent man during the 2000 presidential campaign. I don't agree with him on a number of things, but I believe that he is by far the best and brightest of the bunch in the current crop of Democratic presidential candidates. I'd hate to see the anti-Jewish attitude so prevalent in the Islamic world spill into this presidential campaign, even if it's directed at a candidate I am not supporting. Hate has no place in the political process.

Almost Lost in the Hubbub 

The good and holy Cardinal Francis Arinze delivered an address at the Omni San Antonio Hotel to those assembled for the National Meeting of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, October 7-11, 2003. I hope the liturgists in attendance had their ears and minds wide open, their pens taking copious notes, and their tape recorders running. This is the man to whom Pope John Paul has entrusted "the buck to stop" in matters liturgical. Only the pope's words can override Arinze's on liturgical practice.

The text of Cardinal Arinze's address, entitled "Some Highlights of the Liturgical Renewal Initiated by Sacrosanctum Concilium" can be found at EWTN's site.

Here is my favorite passage: "The danger is that some people seem to think that inculturation in the liturgy encourages free and uncontrolled creativity. They imagine that according to Vatican II the progressive, modern and enlightened thing to do in liturgical celebrations is to be creative, to be original, to introduce something new, to do it yourself. Pope John Paul writes that 'it must be lamented that, especially in the years following the post-conciliar liturgical reform, as a result of a misguided sense of creativity and adaptation, there have been a number of abuses which have been a source of suffering for many '"

Count me among those "many".

The S-word has been Uttered by Maine Meteorologists for the First Time This Season 

Yes, they said "snow". Just scattered snow showers, only somewhat of a possibility and not enough to even accumulate on the ground. Nonetheless, between this pronouncement and the Red Sox loss on Thursday, summer is now officially dead.

I don't entirely mind winter though. I was born in the middle of a blizzard and have lived though 34 Maine winters, so I can take it in stride. As an acknowledgement of the first forecast of snow of the season, I hearby proudly post the rarely seen (and real) photograph of "The Pope on the Slope".

Pope on a Slope photo from http://www.myfathershouse.com

"Uniquely Maine" News for October 18, 2003: Significantly Higher Education... 

...altitudinally speaking, of course. This news release was in this morning's Bangor (ME) Daily News, but not on their website, so I went to the University of Maine at Presque Isle's website and copied it in its totality (I did add the cartoon myself).

21 October, 2003 (Tuesday)

8:00 pm
UFO: The Hidden History
A lecture by Robert Hastings that is based on previously classified documents that have been secured they concern U.S. Government cover-up of UFOs.

On the whole, the documents confirm, beyond a resonable doubt, that UFOs do exist, and despite repeated public deniles over the years by official spokesmen, these mysterious objects are of the greatest concern to the highest level of the intelligence community.

OCTOBER 21 2003 WIEDEN AUDITORIUM 8PM FREE TO UMPI STUDENTS WITH VALID ID 2$ FOR UMPI FACULTY/STUFF WITH ID AND 5$ FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC


Image from  www.art.com/asp/ sp.asp?PD=10016495

Maybe Agents Mulder and Scully will be there! This is hooey if you ask me. I hope the price of admission covers this loon's speaking fees, and not my tax dollars or the tuition dollars of the majority of U.M.P.I. students who will not attend and likely think this guy is a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

Today's Reading from the LETTER of St. Paul to Timothy 

As a youngster, I never quite understood why the letters of the New Testament were called "letters". They didn't sound like the letters with which I was familiar at the time. They sounded more like sermons to me. To some small degree, this perception has followed me into adulthood, although I now realize that the New Testament letters really were, for the most part, sermons, only they were delivered by messenger instead of by the authors in peson. Thus the denotation of "letters".

The first reading for today's daily Mass (2 Tm 4:10-17b) is one that I wish had been pointed out to me as a child, since it really does sound like a letter as I knew it at the time, a handing on the latest news from one person to another:
"Beloved:
Demas, enamored of the present world,
deserted me and went to Thessalonica,
Crescens to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.
Luke is the only one with me.
Get Mark and bring him with you,
for he is helpful to me in the ministry.
I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus.
When you come, bring the cloak I left with Carpus in Troas,
the papyrus rolls, and especially the parchments.

Alexander the coppersmith did me a great deal of harm;
the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.
You too be on guard against him,
for he has strongly resisted our preaching.

At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf,
but everyone deserted me.
May it not be held against them!
But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength,
so that through me the proclamation might be completed
and all the Gentiles might hear it."


You almost expect him to finish by writing "Remember to check that the gas is turned off and that the doors are locked when you leave. See you in a few days, and have a safe trip. Best regards, Paul. P.S.-Luke says hi."

Things I Learned After it was Too Late: Installment # 540 

When transporting groceries home in the back of your car, make certain that the bag containing the eggs is very secure before moving your car. Anyone got a remedy to get the smell of egg-yolk out of the carpeting in my trunk?

Today is the Feast of St. Luke 

Considering he is one of the better-known saints, there is remarkably little factual information known about St. Luke. A traveling companion of St. Paul, Lukeis believed to have been a doctor, as well as the author of the gospel that bears his name and the Acts of the Apostles. He is also known as the only Gentile gospel writer. Biographically speaking, his writings give us the most complete picture of Jesus' life on Earth, from the annunciation of his pending birth to Mary to his ascension into Heaven forty days after his resurrection.

St. Luke image from http://www.catholic-forum.com

St. Luke is the patron of many causes, including: artists, bachelors, bookbinders, brewers, butchers, glassworkers, goldsmiths, lacemakers, notaries, painters, physicians, sculptors and stained glass workers. You can read more about him here at www.catholic-forum.com.

Friday, October 17, 2003

On the Lighter Side... 

I was looking at a photo of Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in Newsweek recently. He's been prime minister over there for quite a while. Seems like a good guy, amiable, intelligent, and leading a competant government which is helping Japan's economy bounce back from a long dry spell. Hosted President Bush on his trip to Asia this week.

This is what Prime Minister Koizumi looks like:
Photo from http://www.kantei.go.jp

I just have one question that I haven't heard anyone ask: Is that a wig or what? Something is seriously up with that hair!

Here's a Place to Direct Our Petitions to God 

A tragic ending to a search in New Hampshire's White Mountains that has been in the news here in New England all week: Authorities Find Body of Missing 10-Year-Old Boy from Foxnews.com.

May God welcome the soul of young Patric into His loving arms, and provide comfort and healing for all of Patric's family, friends and loved ones in this time of terrible grief. There are few sadnesses equal to that felt upon the loss of a child.

Was it MY Fault They Lost? Am I Boston's Version of Steve Bartman? 

I did not pray for the Boston Red Sox to win. Not once. I love the Sox and wanted them to win more than you could know, but they were not in my prayer intentions, and have not ever been during my adult life. Now before Gov. Pataki calls from New York offering me asylum in the Empire State, let me explain myself.

As a rule, I don't pray for teams or individuals to win sporting events, unless it is someone I know personally who has an emotional stake in it. If my nephew were playing in a Little League Championship Game, and I knew his heart would break if his team lost, then I'd probably pray for a win, but other than that, I think our prayer intentions should be reserved for offering thanksgiving to God, offering penance to God for our sins, or for asking him to provide for our "needs" (and those of others), not our "wants".

I wanted the Red Sox to beat the Yankees. I didn't need them to. The poor of this world need to be relieved of their suffering. This is not just a personal want of mine, but a necessity that I include in my prayers daily.

It seems to me that we should be wary of falling into the trap of subconciously treating God like our own personal genie in a bottle, sending up our fondest wishes to him in our prayers. I also think we as a Church should make a more concerted effort to teach our children not to petition God in their prayers in the same way they would petition Santa Claus in the mall at Christmastime.

As it is now, I want the Florida Marlins to beat the snot out of the Yankees. Do I need this? No. Will I pray for this? No.

What do you think about how we should choose our personal prayer petitions?

"There is no Joy in Mudville" 

10/16: New York Yankees-6, Boston Red Sox-5 in 11 innings. Yankees win the series 4-3.

I'm not going to go all "sour grapes" here on this loss. The Red Sox have given their fans an INCREDIBLE season, and have proven themselves a force to be reckoned within the annals of baseball. In my opinion, the two best teams in the American League were battling for the pennant, and they took it just as far as they could before one team nudged slightly ahead of the other. Taking the post season series to the limit each time, coming back from the brink on numerous occasions, well-rounded performance of the entire team all indicate that the Red Sox deserved to go as far as they did, and were no fluke. The same applies to the National League Championship as well, where the Cubs and Marlins were both evenly matched and well-deserving of the places they achieved in baseball this season.

The World Series is intended to be a match between the best teams in each of the leagues. The New York Yankees and Florida Marlins proved that they are the best teams in their respective leagues, and have rightfully earned their spots in the Fall Classic. Red Sox fans and Cubs fans can take comfort in the fact that neither championship team was given a free ride. Both had to prove themselves against very formidable opponents to get to where they are today.

Of course, for the sake of New England heritage, I'll be routing for Florida to take out the Yankees in the World Series, but I contend that in the end, the best men won in both leagues, even though the Sox and Cubs really made them sweat for it.

Game 1 of the World Series is Saturday night at 8:00 on Fox, live from Yankee Stadium.

I think I speak for countless other fans when I say THANK YOU for an extraordinary season Boston Red Sox, and JUST WAIT 'TIL NEXT YEAR!

Thursday, October 16, 2003

A Neat Blog has Come to my Attention 

Nicole DesOrmeaux's Notes to Myself blog is a corner of St. Blog's Parish I had not discovered until today. It seems like a wonderful place of Catholic reflection and commentary with a light touch. Plus, Nicole is not at all as smarmy as I am, so that's got to work in her favor. I've added her blog to my blogroll. Visit it today!

25 Glorious Years on the Throne of St. Peter! 

VIVA IL PAPA!

Photo of Pope in San Antonio by Craig H. Hartley

From the Holy Father's homily today: "I renew, in the hands of Mary, beloved Mother, the gift of myself, of the present and the future: everything will be done according to your will. Supreme Pastor, stay among us so that we can proceed with you securely to the house of the Father."

This is National Cut-Up-Your-Credit-Card Day 

It's a real holiday, established, ironicially, by a billionaire who never needs a credit card. Read about it here in the Bangor (ME) Daily News.

Though I poke fun, it really is a good idea to cut back, if not cut up the plastic. I've always thought merchants make use of credit cards far too easy. The only economic theory I've ever developed on my own in my entire life can be summed up thusly: You should have to sing a silly little song over the store's intercom or stand on your head while drinking a glass of water or something like that whenever you use a credit card, just to make it more difficult. That would drop credit card debt in this country like a stone.

Why don't we all celebrate National Cut-Up-Your-Credit-Card Day by taking a friend or loved one out to dinner? Oh...wait...ummm...how would we pay for it? Never mind.

Things are Looking Up in Africa 

Imports of Secondhand Underwear Banned in Tanzania, also from Reuters via Yahoo News.

This is a good example of when I would fully support increased federal regulation.

"My Darling, You Have the Breath of a Schnauzer" 

Apparently, in Britain, you really shouldn't take the comment "dog breath" as an insult. Rover's halitosis may be nothing compared to more than half the population's.

Dog Beats Man in Breath Freshness Test from Reuters via Yahoo News.

Maybe Prime Minister Tony Blair should institute a program of aerial spraying of Scope.

The Lady Tom the Cartoon Cat Should Have Called 

He would have had that slippery mouse Jerry in the bag in no time if this spunky old gal had been on the job!

80-Year-Old Woman Knocks Rat Unconscious from Reuters via Yahoo News.

A Fascinating Look Back at one Magazine's Look Ahead in the Fall of 1978 

This editorial appeared after Cardinal Karol Wojtyla's elevation, in the November 10, 1978, issue of National Review. It concerns what the editors saw as the potential political impact of John Paul II's papacy. They were dead on.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Prayers are Needed for A Friend of St. Blog's 

Kathy the Carmelite from Gospel Minefield checks in with an e-mail to another blog about her difficult life situation. May God preserve Kathy, her marriage, and her Catholic faith through these times. It's all a part of His plan, as incomprehensible at it can sometimes be for us as mere humans.

Post Season News from Major League Baseball and Red Sox Nation 

News from Wednesday, October 15, 2003:

Wednesday 10/15 A.L.: Boston Red Sox-9, New York Yankees-6. (Series tied 3-3) It looked like the Yankees were going to hand it to them on a plate with the bases-loaded walk that put the Sox ahead by one run. The two runs they came by on their own in the ninth made it a real win. The final game of the best-of-seven ACLS is at trash-strewn Yankee Stadium Thursday at 8:00 on Fox. A Sox win tomorrow in that setting under these circumstances would be pure sports poetry!

Wednesday 10/15 N.L.: Florida Marlins-9, Chicago Cubs-6. (Marlins win the pennant.) The Cubs put up a valiant fight throughout the whole postseason, and I feel were clearly the better team of the two in this series. I'm at a loss for words to explain. I was hoping that the Cubs would make it, even if the Red Sox didn't. Now the safety net is gone, and it's all on Boston's shoulders tonight. Chicago should still be proud of fielding one of the best teams I've seen in a long time.

Photo from http://www.cnnsi.com

Four-year-old Darren Baker, son of Cubs manager Dusty Baker (seen above last year in his dad's SF Giants days), put it best and most simply last night: "The Cubs will win next year."

Photo from http://www.capuchin.com
This photo of Archbishop O'Malley is my Red Sox good luck charm now.

Mystic, Maverick, Saint 

Today is the memorial of St. Teresa of Avila, who lived from 1515 to 1582. During one of the most trying times in the history of the Church, Teresa managed to stand her ground for her faith in the face of obstacles from which many of us would have backed away. The Protestant Reformation was in full swing during her lifetime, and the corruption in the Catholic Church that sparked it was stubbornly hanging on as well. Through it all, Teresa persevered in a simple life of poverty devoted to prayer, and founded convents in spite of fierce opposition from within and outside the Church. Her writings about her spiritual life are considered seminal works today, but in her time, they got her hauled in front of the Spanish Inquisition, which cleared her of heresy, but only just barely.

St. Teresa of Avila image from http://www.carmelitedigest.org

The woman's life story is amazing, and one I cannot do justice here. I'd recommend this link to Catholic Online's Saints Pages to read a biography of this woman who in 1970 was one of the first, along with Catherine of Siena, to be named a Doctor of the Church. She was originally canonized in in 1622, and among other things is the patroness of headache sufferers, which makes her a friend to many of us in these trying times of our own.

But Will You Serve it if the Salmon has Soapy Spots? 

Not Much Sparkle in Dishwasher Cooking by J.M. Hirsch of the Associated Press via the Times Herald Record of New York.

"Still Good! Five-Second Rule!" 

If there are children in your life, you probably know exactly what that headline means. For years, many kids (and adults) have believed that if you drop food onthe floor and it's there for less than five seconds, it's still good to eat. Well, now from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign comes this insghtful study into the validity of the Five Second Rule.

Eat it and weep? Is 5-second rule safe? By Dru Sefton of Newhouse News Service via the Houston Chronicle.

If you have a toddler under five, or a really hungry kid over five, it's all irrelevant. They'll eat it anyway, even if it's beenon the floor for five hours.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Seen on a Sign in the Stands at Fenway 

Thaw Ted now!

St. Babe?!?!? 

I should hope not, although God has shown no sign of being a Red Sox fan since 1918! But not all agree that the "Sultan of Swat" is not in a place to intercede for the Yankees, as evidenced in this article from Reuters via Yahoo News: Baseball Fans Turn to Babe Ruth for Intervention

If the Bambino has achieved sainthood, then there's definitely hope for all the rest of us!

By the way, is there a patron saint of baseball? Our Lady of the Bleacher Seats, pray for us?

In the Glare 

It's been building up for a while now, but this week especially we are going to see the the Holy Father in the glare of the liberal media like never before. The news cycle is relatively quiet (partisan sniping over Iraq is about the only other news, Kobe and Rush not withstanding), and JPII's 25th Jubilee is a good story. However, it's the first time in the "post-O.J./post-Lewinsky era" of media ethics that the pope has had to withstand such intense media scrutiny. Sure, he's been active and visible throughout the years, but his visibility has not been this high in in the eyes of the press and to the world at large in quite some time.

The consequences of this are very predictable. Here's a primer of what we will be seeing and hearing from Rather, Jennings & Brokaw and company, and of course the Clinton News Network. Expect lots of the following:
*Endless handwringing over the Holy Father's health
*Reports on how "stiflingly conservative" this pope is and has been
*More endless handwringing over the Holy Father's health
*Interviews with the cardinals, clerics and theologians who we would least like to see in the limelight (i.e.-the liberal-types) whining about how far back JPII has set the Church
*Still more endless handwringing over the Holy Father's health
*Possible successors to JPII
*Even more endless handwringing over the Holy Father's health
*Reports on the pope's many travels around the world
*Would you believe even more endless handwringing over the Holy Father's health?
*The pope's role in the collapse of Communism
*The Holy Father's health (and the endless handwringing over it)
*Continuous subtle and not-so-subtle references to the clergy abuse scandal in the American Church
*The health of the Holy Father and the health of those with hands calloused from all that wringing
*Ongoing jabs at the pope's refusal to consider ordaining female priests or dropping the priestly celibacy rule
*The health of the Holy Father and how those born without arms express their concern without having hands to wring
*Tales of JPII's "stacking" the college of cardinals with men of similar mindset to his own
*Live coverage of the International Handwringing over the Holy Father's Health Competition
*Pictures of nuns in horn-rimmed glasses left over from the fifties, zealous teenagers filled with enthusiasm to the point of almost seeming creepy, and tipsy American tourists to Rome wearing "John Paul II for President" t-shirts and hats covered in dozens of pope-related buttons and pins
*Handwringing over the Holy Father's health...ad nausem.
*Reports on brisk sales of "Pope Soap on a Rope" and other such memorabilia on the Italian streets
*We'll probably hear a word or two about how the Holy Father is feeling these days too.

May God give John Paul II the strength and stamina to carry out his duties in the coming days and weeks, and give us the strength to put up with the liberal media's almost certain mistreatment of him and his monumental lifetime of good works.

I think I'll rely on EWTN and the Internet for my news from Rome during the next couple of weeks, and turn to the "mainstream" media only when I want a review of "Mother Teresa, the Musical" or to see how my stock in the company selling toy Popemobiles is doing.

From the "At What Point Did THIS Sound Like a Good Idea?" File... 

Yes indeed, it's Mother Teresa, The Musical. Read about it at
Rome rocks to Mother Teresa from UK Reuters via Yahoo News.

Now I know what at the top of my list of things NOT to do when visiting Rome.


Martinez fined $50,000 while Zimmer fined only $5000?!?!? 

I think Don Zimmer came across as a class act with his apology to the Red Sox for the loss of his temper during Saturday's game. We all lose our cool from time to time (though hopefully not to that degree on national TV), and I can accept that apology. I also think Pedro Martinez should apologize as well, although I feel he was acting in self-defense and showed considerable restraint in a very heated situation by just tossing Zimmer aside and nothing more. I don't know if I could have been as under-control as Pedro under such circumstances.

The fines levied against the two by Major League Baseball Inc. do not seem proportional, given the circumstances. The image of the roly-poly old baseball veteran sprawling on the ground after an almost effortless toss by the superstar pitcher seems to have struck more emotions with the baseball commissioner than the fact of who instigated the attack (Zimmer). Emotion triumphs over logic once again.

In light of Zimmer's apology and Martinez's lack of one, I think they have been fined equally, and somewhere between the two figures at which they were actually fined. I think $10,000 each would be fair.

MSNBC.com has a decent article about the whole thing that you can read by clicking here.

Monday, October 13, 2003

John Paul the Great 

Will that be the moniker we give Pope John Paul II as he becomes a part of history? I think so, and have for some time! Mark Shea over at Catholic and Enjoying It! brought this well-written article from New York Newsday to my attention, and I wanted to put a link to it here as well. It's a well-balanced look back at the legacy the Holy Father has left over the past 25 years, and is one of the few recent press write-ups that does not allude to his health in at least every other paragraph.

The article, written by Bob Keeler of New York Newsday, can be found here: A Giant Among Popes

The final paragraph sums up the great man in a few words better than any I've seen: "In the end, whether history dubs him John Paul the Great or not, he is likely to be accounted the most dominant pope of the 20th century and remembered as the best pope ever for the Jews, the worst pope ever for communists, and the first -- but almost certainly not the last -- pope to travel the globe preaching the Gospel and exerting a powerful moral force."

Sunday, October 12, 2003

The Faith Breathes Strong in the Old Sod 

Despite some Irish government decisions over the past few years that run contrary to Catholic teaching, a recent survey shows that Catholicism is alive and well in the land of my ancestors.

Few countries have suffered for holding fast to the Catholic Faith over the centuries as much as Ireland has. I could go on and on about this issue. Especially about how millions of mostly Catholic Irish citizens starved to death or were forced to emigrate to the U.S. and Canada (often with fatal results on the voyages in so-called "coffin ships" across the Atlantic) in the 1840's. At the same time, wealthy British landowners (Catholics could not own land at that time of British rule in Ireland), supported by their Protestant government in London, shipped tons of food grown in the country out of Ireland for sale elsewhere. There are some who refer to the Great Irish Potato Famine as a British attempt at genocide against Ireland's Catholics. The resentment and anger about this still simmers between Catholics and Protestants, especially in Northern Ireland, to this day.

It's probably best I don't get going further on this, lest I start sounding like the press secretary for the I.R.A. Suffice it so say, my great-great grandparents were fortunate enough to survive the voyage and start a new life farming in New England, and one of the many results of that is that I am sitting here typing this today.

Ireland Still Shows Signs of a Strong Faith Though Mass Attendance Is Lower Among the Young from Zenit.org.
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