Sunday, August 27, 2006

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Back to Basics

How articulate this Regular Guy is.
I believe that human life is precious above all other life. Each life lost before its time is a tragedy. More simply, most death is a Bad Thing, to be prevented, avoided, or postponed whenever possible.

I believe that life begins at conception, because it is only at conception that something new, which never existed before, comes into existence.

I believe that abortion is the intentional taking of an innocent human life, and that that is always wrong.

I believe, with the overwhelming majority of humankind throughout history, that marriage is the permanent union of one man and one woman.

I believe that the essential purpose of marriage is the procreation and proper rearing of the next generation. Homosexual relationships cannot accomplish this purpose, and therefore cannot be "marriages".

I believe that men and women are complementary, not equal.

I believe in the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church, including its teachings on the nature of God and divine revelation, as regards moral conduct including sexual morality, and as regards its own role in salvation history.

I believe that individuals and societies are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty, self-defense, and the pursuit of happiness. I do not believe that unalienable rights can be surrendered except for the protection of other individuals or society. One cannot more properly commit suicide than sell oneself into slavery.

I believe that the principles stated in the American Declaration of Independence are trustworthy and true.

I believe that when people of goodwill disagree, or find their legitimate interests to be in conflict, that peaceful negotiation and compromise is the best solution.

I believe that the widespread denial of these principles in any society endangers that society.


Monday, August 07, 2006

The Bestiality Bill – We’re Safe, Aren’t We?


In November of last year, 4 legislators from the Massachusetts State Legislature introduced a bill to reduce or eliminate the penalties on several 'archaic' laws.   Which laws you ask?


  • Adultery
  • Fornication
  • Bestiality


Who are these 4 champions of justice?


Cynthia Creem

Robert O'Leary

Michael Festa

David Linsky


Cynthia represents Newton and parts of Brookline and Wellesley.  She is up for re-election this November and has no opponent.


Robert represents several towns on Cape Cod.  He is up for re-election this November and has no opponents.


Michael represents Melrose and parts of Wakefield.  He is up for re-election this November and has no opponents.


David represents Millis and parts of Natick and Sherborn.  He is up for re-election this November and has no opponents.


All of them are Democrats.


The Legislature adjourned on July 31st without letting this bill out of committee so we're safe, aren't we?


News Article


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Adventures in Bible Studies

A few weeks ago, I signed up for the opportunity to study the Gospel of Mark at a neighboring parish.  If the truth be known, I was thinking of leaving my parish and joining this other one.  So I came to the parish center that first night, ready to go!
We all were given a booklet called 'Gathered in His Name' by Margo  Doten of St Anthony Messenger Press  (I bet you can already guess where I'm going with this).  Below are some excerpts from the booklet and its bibliography.

Twenty-first-century Christians may find that it meets our current tastes in reading. The
Gospel is noted for its short sentences and its fast pace. Jesus "immediately"'turns to a
disciple or "quickly" moves to the next town. "Immediately after" one event in the life of
Jesus is recounted in this Gospel another begins. This is a Jesus who is busy, active, hands-on and filled with a sense of urgency.

Reflection Questions (20 minutes)
Leader: For this, and all of the following reflection periods, silently consider your own answers to these questions for a few moments; then break into groups of two or three and share your responses with other members of your discussion group.

1. Share one or two stories about your own ancestors. How do you pass on stories
about your family? Why is it important to keep these stories alive?

2. Share a time when you or someone you know had a real sense of urgency. Why?

At this point, one of the other women wondered when we were going to start actually reading the Gospel...

Fourth Reader: Mark's Gospel is well known for its insistence on "the messianic
secret." Again and again in this Gospel, Jesus tells people not to speak about the wonders they have seen him do. Why? Perhaps because Jesus already knew that his ministry would end in death. He needed as much time as possible with his followers so he could teach them what they needed to know. In order to reach the people to whom he was sent, Jesus wanted to avoid continuing confrontations with the authorities, so he asked those he healed to "tell no one" about the miraculous cures.

Finally, this Gospel is notable because Jesus shows human emotions that the other
Gospel writers do not pursue. At times Jesus is angry, sad, frustrated, delighted. He exhibits an intensity in his teaching that reflects the urgency he feels about his mission.

Our exploration of the Gospel of Mark will be exciting and challenging. More than
any other Gospel writer, Mark presents the bare bones of the life and message of Jesus. This is a raw, immediate and very compelling Gospel. May it be a source of new life and faith for each of us.

Reflection Questions (20 minutes)

1. How does the current time of turmoil in our world affect your faith?

2. How do you see Jesus-as the Good Shepherd, the healer, the one who blessed the
bread and wine, the suffering servant or another image? What image has special
meaning to you today?

Gospel Reading and Reflection Questions (10 minutes)

Fifth Reader: Now I will read the Gospel for next Sunday's Mass. For this and for all
the following Gospel readings and reflection sections, break into smaller groups and
answer these questions:

1. What is the main message of this Scripture passage?

2. How does this gospel message relate to my life today?

Connecting Faith and Life and Closing Prayer (10 minutes)

1. Read the first two chapters of the Gospel of Mark at some point during the next week.

2. Contact someone who is suffering, and let him or her know you care. See if there is
any way you can help.

Closing Prayer
Leader: Now let us close our meeting by gathering in a circle and by praying the Our
Father together.

All: Our Father...

This was the end of our first session.  But I had looked ahead to the Bibliography (below) and knew that I didn't want any more of this.  Luckily, the class on Angels and Devils, thoroughly orthodox, was starting up the following week at my home parish.
Thank God!


Bernardin, Cardinal Joseph. The Gift of Peace. New York: Image, 1998.

Brown, Raymond E. Reading the Gospels With the Church: From Christmas Through
Easter. Cincinnati: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1996.

Castle, Tony, ed. The New Book of Christian Prayers. New York: Crossroad, 1986.

Celebrating the Eucharist, 37:2. Collegeville, Minn.: The Liturgical Press, 2000.

Christie, Agatha. Agatha Christie: An Autobiography. New York: Berkeley, 1996.

Doyle, Stephen C. "Mark's Gospel: Messiah With a Cross." Catholic Update, June
1979, Cincinnati: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1979.

The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition. New York: Oxford
University Press, 1989, 1995 and 1999.

The Jerusalem Bible, Alexander Jones, ed. London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1966,
1967, 1968. .

McBrien, Richard P. Lives of the Saints. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001.

The NewAmerican Bible, St. Joseph Edition. Washington, D.C.: Confraternity of
Christian Doctrine, 1970, including the Revised New Testament, 1986. New York:
Catholic Book Publishing, 1970, 1980, 1987.

Nickle, Keith F. The Synoptic Gospels. Atlanta: John Knox, 1980.

Rohr, Richard, and Joseph Martos. The Great Themes of Scripture: New Testament.
Cincinnati: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1988.

Schnackenburg, Rudolf. The Gospel According to St. Mark, volume 1. New York:
Crossroad, 1981.

There's no place like home. there's no place like home...



The Church Sign

Just testing out the ability to post pictures...

Friday, August 04, 2006

Some good books to read

From the Curt Jester's website, his response to the one book meme...

Chris Burgwald tagged me with the one book meme. Though I am going to have to cheat since the parameter of one book is just too narrow.

1. One book that changed your life:
"Letter to Paul" I don't remember the author who was a priest. I picked it up from the library during my exploration phase thinking it was about the letter of St. Paul. Turned out it was from I think a Norwegian priest writing to his nephew. His discussion of the road to Emmaus and how it relates to the Eucharist hit me like a ton of bricks. It just made everything click for me in seeing that the Eucharist as the Catholic Church teaches perfectly fit.

2. One book that you’ve read more than once:
Frank Herbert's Dune Series. I think I have read them four times and I am sure I will do it again.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island:
Well the Bible's a given so I would pick the Summa Theologica since if you can only have one book it might has well be a real big one.

4. One book that made you laugh:
Anything by Terry Pratchett.

5. One book that made you cry:
The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene.

6. One book that you wish had been written:
A converts guide to the Church explaining what most Catholics take for granted. There should be a guide to tell you the method to easily flex your toe move the kneeler up and down. There is a very specific art form to do this without making noise.

7. One book that you wish had never been written:
Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code.

8. One book you’re currently reading:
How about one book per room that I am current reading?

Tim Powers Declare. Great read and it is kind of a John Le Carre meets the Twilight Zone. I have been reading a bunch of his books recently and I have enjoyed them all.

Roy H. Schoeman Salvation is from the Jews. Probably not on Mel Gibson's reading list, but it should be.

Dwight Longenecker St. Benedict and St. Therese: The Little Rule & the Little Way. Dwight Longenecker is a talented writer and this book makes some great comparisons between these two saints.

And finally I am also listening to Maisie Ward's Gilbert Keith Chesterton. It is in the public domain and I converted it to speech to listen to on my iPod.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:
Fr. Stanley L. Jaki's Science and Creation

Read the whole thing at Curt Jester

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Why I Don't Read the Boston Globe

Diogenes wrote about today's editorial in the Boston Globe regarding Mel Gibson's drunken tirade...

"Anti-Semitism comes easily to those who believe that their faith or political system is the final answer," the Globe informs us. "The very existence of Jews serves as an affront to claims of absoluteness." Huh? That facile statement might apply to totalitarian ideologies. It obviously doesn't apply to religious Jews who see their own faith as the final answer. Nor does it apply to Christians who recognize Jews as our spiritual elder brothers.

Diogenes then summarizes,

To review: If you're a Catholic you're under suspicion of being an anti-Semite. But you still might be OK if you declare independence of Church teaching. The Globe has found a new way to make its favorite argument: that the only good Catholic is a bad Catholic.
This is why I don't read the Globe.  I don't understand why any Catholic who loves their faith does.


Angels and Devils

I'm attending a 6-week session on the topic of "Angels and Devils" right now at my parish.  One of the books we're using is "Angels and Demons" by Peter Kreeft .  The book is a good read, not too difficult but tough enough to cause you to look at ordinary things in a whole new light.  The priest is brilliant, a wonderfully articulate man who talks very fast which causes you to hang on his every word.


Through and through

I want to highlight a wonderful concept that Jimmy Akin had on his blog back in May of this year, a literary discussion of a short story called Through and Through by Tim Powers.

Here's the first few lines...

ALREADY when he walked in through the side door, there were new people sitting here and there, separately in the Saturday afternoon dimness. The air was cool, and smelled of floor-wax.

He almost peered at the shadowed faces, irrationally hoping one might be hers, come back these seven days later to try for a different result; but most of the faces were lowered, and of course she wouldn't be here. Two days ago, maybe—today, and ever after, no.

Here's the link to the rest of the story...

Through and Through