A Perfect Storm

9 05 2013

For many of you, this video will not be news, but once you’ve seen it the collectivist parent-stripping, government-empowering idea is something that has still been buzzing in the back of your mind.



Now consider where this issue might travel when vocal opponents begin to denounce their Christian homeschooling as an “ideology machine”, as in today’s article in the Guardian.   The same media moguls will happily hype the handful of adults who question their upbringing and be granted celebrity victim status.

All of this becomes particularly concerning in the wake of the Romeike case.


Fr. Marcel Guarnizo relieved of duty

12 03 2012

You can read much more about it at The Deacon’s Bench.

There are a lot of unanswered questions.  My first one for the Archdiocese is, “Why now?”  It’s pretty obvious that Barbara Johnson and others will mark this as a “win”.  Hopefully, answers will be provided in due time.

Priest Does His Duty or…(UPDATED)

7 03 2012

“Lesbian Woman Publicly Denied Communion at her Mother’s Funeral”

That’s how the headlines are reading. And it’s true, apparently every word of it. Barbara Johnson was attending the Funeral Mass for her mother where she was denied receiving Holy Communion by the pastor, Rev. Marcel Guarnizo. She was first in line to receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ in Holy Communion – and was denied.

He covered the bowl with the Eucharist with his hand and looked at me, and said, “I cannot give you communion because you live with a woman and that is a sin in the eyes of the church,”

For this, Ms. Johnson received a formal apology from the Archdiocese of Washington, but still insisted on a formal apology from Fr. Marcel, and “his removal from Parish life” (a.k.a. fired and banished to some remote monastery).

Apparently his head on a platter was unavailable.

I do not mean to downplay the very real hurt that she must have felt. I do not deny that LGBT persons, including personal friends, have been mistreated on the basis of their orientation, which is absolutely wrong and against Church teaching. However, the Catholic Church has not been shy about her stance on Same-Sex-Attraction or the receiving of Holy Communion. If Barbara Johnson had grown up Catholic, the issue most likely came up at least several dozen times whether it was in a loving, Christ-like manner or sadly otherwise.  One of the things that makes the Catholic Church visible and distinct is her teaching.  The all-male and celibate (in the Latin Rite) priesthood, prohibition of contraception and abortion, and opposition to same-sex relations are all issues the Church is constantly being criticized for.  In fact, most non-Catholics know the Church only by these controversial issues!

Let us say, however, just for the sake of argument, that the issue had never come up. Let us argue that Barbara never owned a physical copy of or read the Catechism of the Catholic Church online (the Church’s official teaching on, well, everything). Let us argue, also, that she was unfamiliar with her parish Missal and also failed to open it and read the instructions inside, specifically, those pertaining to who may and may not receive Holy Communion. Let us assume that she was completely unaware that homosexual relations are considered a mortal sin, and/or she was unaware that it is graviora delicta (read: big “no-no”). This assumes a lot. It assumes that she missed being properly taught in the Church, that she neglected to discover Church teaching on her own, whether through reading or personal experience, throughout her entire life.

I am quite new to the Catholic Church, but I have discovered that this sort of thing happens far more than it ought.

This is exactly the reason why Fr. Marcel should have done exactly what he did. This is exactly the reason why he is bound by Canon Law to do so. His job is to pastor, to teach, to lead, and to guide his flock by speaking the truth in love (Eph 4:15). Could he possibly have done that better? Yes, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

First, I realize that some readers are now flipping out that I just argued how Fr. Marcel showed Barbara the “truth in love”.  I realize that some readers are rather angry that I would do anything other than join the Media in condemning Fr. Marcel before hearing his interpretation of the events, because his view must be irrelevant.  I mean, he is a priest, right?

ABC News attempted to put a fig leaf over their bias when they reported that “public reaction is mixed”. They apparently interviewed a half-dozen people in a strip mall parking lot. Their expert reactions ranged from, “I don’t think they should deny anybody Communion!” to, “Well, he has his personal beliefs and she has hers, so I can understand both sides of that.” The sentiment of our inclusive, democratic, American culture feels the Church should be an inclusive, democratic, American Catholic Church. American culture does not well understand or tolerate Tradition. It does not see Tradition as being the haggard and tested winner against the attacks of billions of critics from countless civilizations over millenia, but hard to understand and, well…so intolerant.

In fairness, Catholic teaching is not easy to understand.  Holy Mother Church has never been known for bumper-sticker sized beliefs. The Code of Canon Law, for example, is around 3,000 pages and the Catechism another 1,000. It is this law that Priests are supposed to know and live. It is this law, amongst other things, that the Priest is charged with passing on to the faithful, a faith Barbara Johnson claims to belong to. It is the intricacies of these laws that most people, including life-long Catholics, have a hard time understanding.  The Guidelines for the Order of Christian Funerals, for example is not exactly coffee table reading. Perhaps this is why ABC failed to report that eulogies have long been prohibited at Mass and instead only reported,

Johnson…composed herself enough to give her mother’s eulogy, but then he was shocked at what happened next. The priest left the altar, Johnson said, and didn’t return until his sister was nearly finished speaking.

Most people are unaware that becoming a Priest can take as long as it does to become a medical doctor.  And the pay is…well, modest in comparison – especially if you’ve taken a Vow of Poverty.  On the other hand, the respect you get as a Priest is…oh, wait…never mind.

The Catholic Church predates our country by nearly 1,800 years and as such has never been in anything remotely resembling lock-step with American culture. This is often annoying to many Americans, but it in no way should be a surprise. One might expect that such an ancient and venerable institution would receive at least an attempt to be understood. No media source, however, has contacted Fr. Marcel or displayed the full text of the letter from the Archdiocese. Our modern and presumably well-informed viewpoint sees only a bigoted priest denying a faithful Caholic her “right” to Holy Communion because she’s gay, then in his intolerance, leaves the altar during the eulogy.
If nobody ever reports why that charge is highly likely to be preposterous then that viewpoint is exactly what will prevail.

Could Fr. Marcel have approched Barbara Johnson before the funeral to let her know that she was not eligible to receive Communion? Yes, he could have and should have if he knew her situation at that time. According to one report from someone in a meeting with Fr. Marcel, he did exactly that, and Barbara Johnson isn’t telling the whole story.

Regardless of what Fr. Marcel’s take is, the Media has and continues to blunder ignorantly into intolerance against Catholic and other Christians (can you name any other Baptist churches besides Westboro “Baptist”?). I am writing this in hopes that true Tolerance will prevail. I am writing this in hopes that the meaning of the words “tolerance” and “open-minded” do not apply only to a leftist, liberal, anti-religious viewpoint. I write this in hopes that the Media’s shocking intolerance and ignorance in these matters will someday be realized and addressed. I write this to announce my coming out of the closet – the prayer closet – in hopes that discussion can begin on how there is misunderstanding and hurt all over the place.  There was a certain phrase that got results in terms of tolerance for a group of people.  I’d like to steal it:

We’ve been here. We’re Catholic. Get used to it.


It turns out that Barbara Johnson hasn’t even considered herself Catholic for, oh, 25 years!  This might be because she has a particular distaste for the Church and Her teachings.

See this comment
Her Website
This Article 

Catholic, Pro-Contraception, Rational (pick two)

17 02 2012

I just read Karalen Morthole’s “Why I’m a Catholic for Contraception” on CNN’s faith blog and I facepalmed so hard I actually hurt myself.  Oh, wow, I even made my nose bleed!

Oh, wait – wait…False alarm.  That stuff coming out of my nose is just a steady stream of dead brain cells who committed suicide after being unable to process her immense ignorance of her own Church’s teaching.

What manner of Orwellian DoubleThink allows a person to call herself “Catholic” but deny the 2,000 year-old universal teaching of the Catholic Church? If you consistently protest against the unanimous voice of your bishops and the Pope that makes you – a Protestant!  In fact, not following the Pope and Bishops is the only thing that unites all Protestants together.

I know, I was one for 30 years. Looking back, I remained Protestant in no small part due to the opinions and witness of those like Karen who treated her Faith like it was Civics class.

“I have been a Catholic my whole life. Baptized as a baby and confirmed in the seventh grade, I attended weekly catechism classes and received a Jesuit education. Never once did the opinion of the church on a person’s use of contraceptives surface.”

It’s the appeal to innocence via ignorance found so commonly in lazy schoolchildren and employees. The common cry: “No one ever showed me that!” I have heard throughout my life in school and beyond.  As a manager, I had one employee who insisted her lack of culpability, even after I showed her her own initials on the training check-list.  There is a very difficult phrase for some people to utter.  It is only three words, but it is a magical key to learning:

“I was wrong.” 

It’s reminiscent of Dave Ramsey’s “Just Say No” rant.  Like the word, “no” it’s something our culture has forgotten how to say.  “No” is something we have forgotten how to say when it comes to spending, and it’s something we have forgotten we ever could say to sex.  I grew up not knowing I could, and apparently so did Karen.

“Birth control, condoms and emergency contraception have all served their purpose in my life, because each work in different preventative ways.”  Condoms are the only real preventative measure there, as hormonal birth control and emergency contraception are both actually abortifacients.  One of those other inconvenient Church teachings is the recognition of the scientific fact that a new human life begins at Conception, but maybe her “Jesuit education” was lacking in basic Biology as well.

After pleading ignorance of Church teaching and then extolling all the virtues of having ignored it, she then proceeds to recognize that the Bishops do, in fact, prohibit contraception.  However, instead of asking why the teachers of her faith would prohibit contraceptives and then answering that simple question, she instead settles on, “I do not feel immoral using it.”

At this point I’m going to have to assume that Karen stopped taking her birth control just before writing this piece, because she swore earlier that, “I am able to think more rationally because of [it].”

Your momma had to use that ancient magic word “no” when you were about to hit your brother because you felt he had it coming.  She used it when you were about to touch the stove, because you didn’t see the problem.  Part of being rational is realizing that there are many things in this world that you may not immediately intuit.  If you are going to stand in judgement over your Pope and all your Bishops, do yourself a favour: don’t base it on a feeling.  While many Catholics have used or still use contraception, don’t think that you’re part of “the 98%”.  As Twain said, There’s lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Besides, last I checked, 100% of Catholics were sinners.  Taking your favourite sin and calling it good, however, is called a Scandal.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church contains the instructions that all “official Catholics” are called to follow.  The section on the Sixth Commandment starts in 2331, but I’m going to break it down a little smaller:

The virtue of Chastity comes under the cardinal virtue of temperance, which seeks to permeate the passions and appetites of the senses with reason…

Chastity represents an eminently personal task; it also involves a cultural effort, for there is “an interdependence between personal betterment and the improvement of society.”

Chastity presupposes respect for the rights of the person, in particular the right to receive information and an education that respect the moral and spiritual dimensions of human life.

The outcry against the HHS mandate is not one that fails to respect “the rights of women to take care of our bodies”.  It’s not even primarily about “conscience”.  It is truly about the right for Catholics (Catholics who behave and believe…well, Catholic) to be able to believe, live, and teach that the Human Person is a moral and spiritual being.  Other faiths who do not have any problem with contraception recognize how this mandate fundamentally undermines the ability of any person of faith to be able to take his or her views into the marketplace of ideas and rationally argue for them.

This mandate communicates a fundamental principal of Relativism that is offensive to any person of Faith.

“You may believe as you wish, as long as you do not allow that belief to enter the public square in any way.  Just agree that your Faith is completely irrelevant in day-to-day life, and we can all get along.”

This is why we cannot and will not comply.

Stand in the Place Where You Are…

2 02 2012
…Or the Big Pink Stink

There has been a lot of crosstalk about the Susan G. Komen foundation pulling the plug on Planned Parenthood.  The funny thing is, Komen hasn’t said peep about it until today.  Planned Parenthood leaked the story and Jill Stanek says she knows why they have been first to punch the press on many occasions.  I can’t say it’s shocking, in fact the best defence is a good offence, and Planned Parenthood has increasing reason to be defensive as several States have pushed for defunding and tighter (or any) regulation.

What seems inconsistent in the crosstalk I’m hearing is that Planned Parenthood supporters who have long cried, “But look at all the good they do for women’s healthcare!” don’t seem willing to extend that same benefit of the doubt to Komen.  Threats of cancelling donations and, “I’m burning anything pink – from now on, screw Komen!” have abounded, and yet – donations are up.

According to a conference call from Komen’s VP, donations have gone up over 100% in the past two days.  If pressure from pro-life activists are behind Komen’s change of heart, it seems they’re at least the generous sort of “hurtful bullies”.  Planned Parenthood’s donations are up, too.  In fact, they’ve been pledged more than Komen ever gave them.

If only every culture war issue resulted in both sides vindictively donating to charity…

The mass media still reports its’ biased view of the March for Life  as this article from Reuter’s shows.

With this kind of media bias, it understandably shocks a lot of people that pro-lifers could effect such change – “It must be bullying and coercion!” is the only logical conclusion.  I mean, we’d know if nearly half a million people were marching to the Capitol, right…right?

Pick a place to stand:

Susan G. Komen -or- Planned Parenthood


300,000 Ninjas Stealthily March Past Reporters During the 39th Annual March for Life

27 01 2012

…However mere “thousands” were spotted – and deemed unimportant

One would think that even 10,000 people marching on our nation’s capitol any weekend during the summer would be picked up by the Major Media. The newshounds seem to love a good march whenever it comes up. The Occupy Wall Street protesters, for example, started with a mere 1,000 marchers before being picked up by the news, who followed the movement for months. The highest estimates place the total number of protestors around 30,000 and they received worldwide coverage.

This past Monday, in nearly freezing temperatures and rain, an estimated 300,000-400,000 protestors marched through the streets of Washington D.C. up to the Capitol steps – and went largely unnoticed.

Though the March for Life has occured annually for 39 years and consistently had numbers over 250,000 every year since 2003, The New York Times never even mentioned it. No story, no pictures – it didn’t happen if you’re a Times reader.

In fact, it hasn’t even had a mention in 5 years.

Those news sources that did actually run a story, had headlines such as, “Thousands March to Protest Roe” and give the opposition the final word:

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement that politicians supporting the March for Life were ignoring more pressing issues.
“Anti-choice politicians and their allies promised to focus on creating jobs, yet they are attacking a woman’s right to choose at near-record levels,” Keenan said.

“Near-record levels” is quite true, though you wouldn’t know it from the way the Major Media tells the story.

I was in 6 hours of Physical Therapy on Monday, listening to the March on Sacred Heart Radio using the TuneIn Radio app on my phone. The TV was on in the gym side all day. I didn’t see a single mention of it on King5 (NBC) news. I would be surprised if they even mentioned the local March for Life in Olympia a few days back.

I can understand a reporter hitting a story with bias – even heavy bias – because we all have some. Not reporting a story at all due to bias against it is just plain Orwellian, and a bit creepy. I will add that I dislike Fox News for the same reason. Creating competing news outlets makes “news” into a product to be sold to consumers who only want to hear what their burning ears’ desire.

My primary concern does not stem from a single news outlet missing the story. It does not even stem from gross bias like that displayed by CBS, for I have come to expect that sort of bias. It does not originate in my recent conversion to and empathy for the ProLife movement. Any one of these issues alone touches me. However, the Gestalt, more even than the sum total, of all of these factors, combined with an increasing observance of the lack of Logic, Rhetoric, and willingness to engage in friendly, or even tolerant debate amongst our citizenry moves me to write. I am increasingly concerned that my fellow Americans neither know how to engage in debate, nor are they willing even to examine or understand their own convictions. Many are capable of Sophistry, though most seem to prefer Apathy. This seems to be equally consistent on both sides of a party, religious, or idealogical line.

We are a Media generation: Television, YouTube, and Twitter. We want our ideologies in 30 minutes or less (including commercials). We want our arguments in 10 minutes or less (usually done by webcam). Our ideas, sadly, have become limited to 120 characters. The Essay as a form of argument is going the way of the dinosaur (and no, I don’t mean it’s going to become a Discovery Channel series with awesome CGI).

That the major media sources ignored or misrepresented what happened on this 39th anniversary of Roe v Wade is unfortunate for the Pro-Life movement. It is, however, a symptom of a far greater problem. A problem for every American of any race, creed, or persuasion: What good will Freedom of Speech accomplish when only agendas are advanced, and not truth?

UPDATE 1/28/2012
CBS has relented and included pictures of pro-life protesters in their gallery!

UPDATE 2/2/2012
Apparently I stole my headline from BadgerCatholic who stole it from Lauren E last year!

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