What is Good?

21 08 2013

What is Good?.

An insightful question from a new blogger, and my attempt at a response.


The Church hates Science…

9 05 2013


religion dark ages2

This ain’t exactly a list of “nobodys”, folks.

It’s exceedingly difficult to read this list and continue to assert that the Church is opposed to Science™ with a straight face.  Especially once one counts the number of influential scientists who lived in those so-called “dark ages”.

I also get a giggle at how, in an attempt to strip our calendar of its’ Catholic roots, anti-Christians still use the birth of Our Lord as the marker for the start of the “common era”.

Reality is something one discovers…

29 04 2013

…not something one creates at whim.


In related news – I’ve been drafted as the new Seahawks’ star quarterback in defiance of the Seattle Seahawks!

We play on our own field, but the good news is – I have plenty of Season Tickets for sale.

That’s pretty much on par with what Rosemarie Smead just did.

Why is it that, when it comes to the Catholic Church, the media see fit to ignore, misrepresent, or malign the Church so long as it serves as a convenient backdrop to push their own agenda?  There are not several issues that I have with this article – the entire presupposition of the writer is what I have an issue with.

The writer, who is not alone in the Media, has likely never read the text of Ordinario Sacredotalis or any of the related Church documents.  If she had, she would realize that the Church cannot “lift the ban” on women’s ordination because there is no ban to lift.

Ms. Smead doesn’t have to “worry about excommunication” because she excommunicated herself by her action – just like a man who sleeps with another woman doesn’t have to wait for his wife to catch him for it to be considered “cheating”.

Sadly, Ms. Smead must have gone a lifetime missing out on all of the amazing female saints, like Catherine of Sienna, who’s feast day is celebrated today.  It is further confounding that with her theology degree she would have missed the lives of the Saints, not to mention the Mother of God, and think the Church wanted to “keep the voices of women silent”.  (Further – the entire Church is referred to as “she”.  It would be a feat indeed to keep female voices silent as all throughout Catholic tradition we refer to her as “Holy Mother Church”).

The idea that “Jesus was only acting according to the customs of his time” is asserted and has been asserted for some time.  The problem is that if that assertion were true, then it implies that He was not the God who created the Universe and Everything in it.  Even if someone wished to cling to the idea of Jesus as merely a “good teacher”, it ignores the fact that his breaking with the “customs of his time” was exactly why he was crucified.  It’s an assertion that falls apart with even a halfhearted challenge.

That statement is also shockingly ignorant of the actual “customs of the time”.  If Jesus was in fact, so constrained, he would have *MOSTLY* had women priests, because priestesses were de rigueur in Greece and Rome throughout the centuries of early Christianity (ever hear of the Vestal Virgins?)

This attitude that the Church needs to “get with it” will no doubt continue.  Her opponents continue to ridicule and spit at her, because to do otherwise would mean chancing being caught in her vast, rational, and ever-lasting traditions.  It is easy to be ignorant of the Church.  It is impossible to be Neutral.


A thought to ponder

18 01 2013

Human beings encounter a rather powerful emotional obstacle while contemplating the Existence of God.

It is not, as commonly supposed, that an Atheist rails against the notion that he owes his existence to God – that he is made of nothing and therefore worth nothing apart from the Love of God.

The Atheist already sees himself as nothing more than stardust, randomly combined through incredible improbability. We are infinitesimal specs of lint on the tapestry of space – thinking of oneself as nothing is rather a prerequisite for Atheism (despite Bill Mahr’s egotism to the contrary).

What is more difficult for the Atheist to swallow – what really makes God emotionally unpalatable – is the thought that we are each individually held in existence by God because we are each individually of infinite worth. For some, sure, it may be hard to look in the mirror and think such a thing. But for most I think it impossible to fathom that someone in his life, someone who hurt him so badly, would be allowed continued existence by a Loving God.

He must not be Love at all.

He must not exist.

Daniel Dennett ‘We Are Meaningmakers’

2 12 2012

Dan Dennett may be challenging the existence of the Americultural “God” because he totally stole his beard! I can’t say that I blame him for doing so, the bearded, authoritarian “God” he lambasts doesn’t interest me much, either.

I wonder when he’ll finally challenge Santa…

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.

%d bloggers like this: