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Archive for July, 2006

beardmel1.jpg“I have battled with the disease of alcoholism for all of my adult life and profoundly regret my horrific relapse.”

This apology is fine and good, but I suppose justice requires that he face the legal consequences of his acts just like everyone else. 

He does not deserve the lambasting from the liberal media and Hollywood secularists who are still angry about THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST.  MSNBC casually labeled the film antisemitic today, something he vehemently denied.  I suppose anyone who found inspiration from the film will now be stamped a hater of Jews. 

Mel made a slur about Jews while under the influence of alcohol.  When the man is sober, he is a gentleman who counts Jews among his friends.  The policeman, himself, is ready to excuse it; cops face and hear a lot worse.

The issue should be drunk driving and the danger it is for both the driver and others who could become quick victims.  He was lucky that no one was hurt.

Gibson is a man of faith, but he also never claimed saintliness.  He is a sinner as we all are.  Justice must be served.  But in terms of the man and faith, we must all witness to mercy.

One television critic blamed his beard, and I suppose sick bloggers could draw attention to it, as if one could be possessed by facial hair:

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Hum…no it can’t be the beard, but it has to go, anyway! 

All silliness aside, Mel needs our prayers.  He is a fellow Catholic (albeit a traditionalist) and as a brother in faith he has a claim upon the family of faith.  He gave us a great gift in THE PASSION, and while some of his movies have seriously questionable content and the man himself is plagued by personal demons, he belives in Christ, the absolution of the priest and the saving efficacy of the Mass.

Associated Press:  Mel Gibson’s Remarks

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How To install a wireless security system:

Go to a second-hand store, buy a pair of men’s used work boots, a really big pair. Put them outside your front door on top of a copy of “Guns and Ammo” magazine. Put a dog dish beside it…a really big dog dish. Leave a note on your front door that says something like “Bubba, big Mike and I have gone to get more ammunition – back in an hour. Don’t disturb the Pit Bulls, they’ve just been wormed.”

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birthd.gifHey, I guess Kenny is the big SIXTEEN!!!

Happy birthday to you,

Happy birthday to you,

Happy birthday, dear Kenny,

Happy birthday to you! 

Here is a pic that I stole from his sister’s Blog.

He always seems happy, lots of smiling, endless teeth.

I hope that he will always know joy. 

He is a good young man, helpful to others, a long-time altar-server, and studious and conscientious about his faith and the moral life.

OUTSTANDING! 

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New Line Cinema will be releasing THE NATIVITY STORY in December.  Keisha Castle-Hughes will play Mary.  You may recall her from a few years ago in WHALE RIDER.  Joseph will be Oscar Isaac.  The director is Catherine Hardwicke and the screenplay is from a devout Christian, Mike Rich.  The screenplay was run by Protestant, Catholic and Jewish authorities to help insure authenticity. 

Take a look at the photo gallery and the movie teaser.

The music is haunting.  Maybe they got it right this time? 

http://www.thenativitystory.com/

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There is something quite funny about these pictures that make an appeal based upon a nostalgic patriotism. 

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There is grounds for serious debate here.  How far can the freedom of the press go before the security of a nation and its armed forces are threatened?  Who makes the final call about what should or should not be printed or aired?

CLICK ON IMAGES FOR LARGER VIEW

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A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: “If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee in most cases, just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink.

What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups… and then began eyeing each other’s cups.

Now consider this: Life is the coffee, and the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life, and the type of cup we have does not define nor change the quality of life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided us.

God brews the coffee, not the cups…. enjoy your coffee.

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This came in an email marked as SELF-EXPLANATORY. 

I suppose there is some truth to it.  Although, the Israelis certainly outgun the Palestinians and there have been no shortage of victims when bombs are dropped and troops invade.

Are all the civilian victims, including children, in the Palestinian territory really the fault of their own police and militia?  Do Israeli soldiers always take care not to target baby carriages?

Certainly this was not the case with Old Testament Jews where a Psalm asserts that it was God’s will that they claim the land of the Caanites for their own, going so far as to bash the heads of infants upon the ground.

An eye for an eye…a tooth for a tooth…when will we learn?

…we are all to blame.

PRAY FOR PEACE! 

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Here is the news story: 

Rape victim abortion case polarizes Argentina
Fri Jul 28, 4:01 PM ET (REUTERS)

An abortion case involving a mentally disabled rape victim has polarized Argentina, setting the government against courts in a Roman Catholic nation where terminating pregnancy is mostly illegal.
A top provincial court will decide within a few days whether to allow a mentally impaired 19 year old, four months pregnant, to have an abortion. Both Argentina’s health minister and its most powerful governor back her family’s plea.

Argentine law bans abortions except when a woman’s life is in danger or a “demented” woman is raped.
Two lower tribunals have denied the request, arguing in part the constitutional mandate to protect children’s rights trumps criminal law. One judge also cited the influence of her own religious convictions, according to local media.

“I am very disturbed by these rulings because this is a typical case, which is totally legal under criminal law,” Health Minister Gines Gonzalez Garcia, a proponent of loosening restrictions on abortion, told local radio, “This girl has a mental disability, she was raped, her parents are asking for the abortion. It is incredible that the courts are going in circles on this and giving abstract arguments,” Gonzalez Garcia said. “This is making a tragedy all the more tragic.”

Abortion is illegal in much of Latin America, home to half the world’s Catholics. In Argentina alone, between 500,000 and 700,000 clandestine abortions are practiced each year, the minister said.

Buenos Aires Gov. Felipe Sola was quoted by Clarin newspaper as saying: “We are not in a theocracy. It is within this disabled rape victim’s rights to abort.”

Dear Lord, save us from the tyranny of false compassion!  Separated from the truth and the guidance of God, men are bound to brutalize one another, even in their efforts at compassion. 

A woman will decry the plight of allowing her unborn child to be raised by strangers.  She opts for abortion instead.  Now the child will never know the joy of growing up in this world.  He or she has been deprived of the love of parents, even if adoptive.

A woman is raped, it might be by a stranger, a boyfriend, or even by a family member.  She becomes pregnant and takes out her revenge upon the innocent child in the womb.  A child should not be punished for the sins of the father.  The mother extends her own brutalization to her child and creates another victim.

A woman becomes pregnant from a prison guard while incarcerated.  It is cheaper for the government to pay for an abortion and less problematical than allowing the child to come to term.  A justice system that allows this to happen in the first place is seriously flawed and should not seek to hide its deficiencies by destroying human beings.

A retarded girl has sex with another patient or with an orderly.  Nothing is said about how she should have been protected from such intimacy.  But even Catholic voices are saying that the unborn child would best be terminated.  How is it that we have done such a poor job in the Christian formation of consciences? 

Such is the reasoning in our own country and around the world.  So-called Catholics and Christians in Argentina are arguing for the murder of an unborn baby because the mother is a rape victim and mentally disabled.  The article says that there are between 500,000 and 700,000 secret and illegal abortions annually in Argentina; however, no evidence is shown to back up this figure.  I would not be surprised if it was supplied by Planned Parenthood or some similar pro-abortion lobby group.  Their statistics are not to be trusted.

When Governor Sola says that his nation is not a “theocracy” he is technically correct; however, no nation is above God and no nation can lawfully circumvent the inalienable right to life, even of the unborn.  One wrong does not make legitimate another wrong.  What Sola is really saying is that neither God nor his Church will be allowed any say in the matter.  Every abortion is a repudiation of the Gospel of Life.

Any exceptions that permit abortion are morally wrong.  Everyone has a right to life, even a child that will be handicapped or mentally retarded.  Many are praising the reduction in numbers of people with certain defects; and yet, the reason is not always research and new treatments.  Increasing numbers of children reckoned as imperfect in the womb are being terminated.  The dirty secret is that we can legally kill defective children, if we catch the problem early enough.  The womb has been posted with an open hunting season, but sometimes even new born children are allowed to die through lack of care, nutrition and hydration.

The news article here is from Argentina, but the problem is worldwide.

The mentally disabled woman should be better treated and given proper care.  We disrespect her motherhood.  We neither love the child enough, nor fear the awesome justice of Almighty God. 

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leno.jpgNotice how the late night comedian’s material is so often political, reflecting a pointed social commentary and satire.  This is only a small assortment, but I think it is a good sampling of his material. 

EPISCOPAL CHURCH & GAYS

“You know why Episcopal leaders don’t make good chess players?  They can’t tell a Bishop from a Queen.”

FRENCH ALLIES

“I don’t know why people are surprised that France won’t help us get Saddam out of Iraq. After all, France wouldn’t help us get the Germans out of France!”

“And Starbucks is finally opening a store in France.  You know it’s very hard to get an American store over there because the French are very protective of their culture and their customs and their food.  It took Starbucks years; in fact they kept Starbucks out longer than they kept Hitler out.”

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

“With hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and severe t-storms tearing up the country from one end to another….Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the  Pledge of Allegiance?”

POPULATION

“They always say when there’s no electricity we have a baby boom.  How come the country isn’t overrun with Amish?”

GEORGE W. BUSH

“President Bush was in Texas and raised over $7 million over the weekend. And that was just to hire new fact checkers for next year’s State of the Union Address.”

“President Bush said that he will not send troops to Liberia until he gets some bogus intelligence from the CIA to justify it.”

“All the TV shows are full of Democrats all furious, criticizing President Bush for the State of the Union Address. They said he exaggerated some of the facts. See, that’s something Bill Clinton never did. Clinton never stretched the truth; Clinton never even came close to the truth.”

DICK GEPHARDT

“Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt has fallen short of his campaign fund-raising goal by a million dollars. The goal was to raise a million dollars.”

SADDAM HUSSEIN & IRAQ

“Saddam Hussein’s two daughters have been found living in Jordan. They look just like Saddam, except they have a thicker mustache.”

“Another Saddam Hussein tape came out today where he urged citizens to fight back and feel free to loot state property. I’m sorry, that was Gray Davis’s tape. I’m sorry.”

“As you may have heard, the U.S. is putting together a constitution for Iraq. Why don’t we just give them ours? Think about it — it was written by very smart people, it’s served us well for over two hundred years, and besides, we’re not using it anymore.”

“I guess by now you’ve all seen, the Pentagon today released those graphic photos of Odai and Qusai dead. The pictures were so gruesome, they cut their hair, cleaned them up. I thought I was watching that show ‘Extreme Makeover.’ … To clean them up they used this morticians putty. It’s the same stuff that they use over at ’60 Minutes’.”

“A number of Arabs still say they don’t believe Odai and Qusai are dead. They say they want more proof. So today we shot them again.”

GRAY DAVIS

“The reward for information that leads to Saddam is $25 million. That’s what I love about our priorities — we spend $25 million to get Saddam, and the Republicans are spending $50 million to get rid of Gray Davis.”

“I’m not saying Gray Davis is on the run, but today he released an audiotape on al-Jazeera from his underground bunker somewhere in the Sacramento area.”

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON

“Arianna Huffington’s ex-husband Michael, the [homosexual] ex-congressman, has endorsed Arnold. So this is the second time he’s left Arianna for another
man.”

“Arianna…announced her candidacy for the governorship. They’re now talking about having a debate between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Arianna Huffington, but first they have to agree on a language.”

AL GORE

Over in Liberia, President Charles Taylor resigned from office today and left the country after handing power over to his Vice President, Moses Blah. Vice
President Blah? Wasn’t that Al Gore’s Secret Service name.”

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER

“As I’m sure you know, Arnold was declared the winner last night just one minute after the polls closed.  8:01!  So see that, Florida, at least we can count!  Yeah!”

“President Bush called Arnold to congratulate him today, and after he got off the phone Arnold said, ‘I thought my English was bad.’”

“And former Governor Gray Davis spent the day today revoking the driver’s licenses of all the illegal aliens that didn’t vote for him.”

“You know, if you love the recall, you’re gonna love the recount, that’s what I have to say.  It’s not over.”

“You know at the gubernatorial debate Wednesday night I thought Arnold Schwarzenegger stayed pretty cool during Arianna Huffington’s attacks.  See, apparently he is still under orders not to kill any humans.”

“Arnold Schwarzenegger made public his tax returns.  And there’s already a problem with him stretching the truth.  He put down under occupation: actor.”

JOE BIDEN

“Delaware Senator Joe Biden has released a statement saying he will not run for president.  I understand his supporter is shocked.”

BILL CLINTON

“You know President Clinton is now denying that he is endorsing General Wesley Clark, they thought he was, but no.  You know the difference between General
Clark and Clinton, anybody know?  See the general knows how to control his privates.

JOHN KERRY

“President Bush listed his income as $822,000. You know what John Kerry calls someone who earns $822,000? Not even worth dating.”

“Well the good news for Democrats, now over half the country can identify a picture of John Kerry. The bad news, the majority still thinks he’s the dad from ‘The Munsters.”‘

“John Kerry accused President Bush of catering to the rich. You know, as opposed to John Kerry who just marries them.”

“They say John Kerry is the first Democratic presidential candidate in history to raise $50 million in a three-month period. Actually, that’s nothing. He once raised $500 million with two words: ‘I do.’”

“Senator Kerry recovering very nicely after having shoulder surgery. The doctors said the senator was fully awake, lucid and joking after the surgery was done, but cautioned that that was just the drug. He went back to his boring self soon afterward.”

“The White House begun airing their TV commercials to re-elect the president, and the John Kerry campaign is condemning his use of 9/11 in the ads. He said, it is unconscionable to use the tragic memory of a war in order to get elected, unless of course, it’s the Vietnam War.”

“John Kerry has promised to take this country back from the wealthy.  Who better than the guy worth $700 million to take the country back?  See, he knows how the wealthy think. He can spy on them at his country club, at his place in Palm Beach, at his house in the Hamptons.  He’s like a mole for the working man.”

“Kerry has already begun his search for a running mate. They say that because John Edwards still has $50 million in campaign money, Kerry might pick him. Pick him? Hey, for $50 million, Kerry will change his position on gay marriage and marry him.”

“According to a new study, Botox injections can help back pain. So you see, that’s why John Kerry had all that Botox his back was killing him from all that flip-flopping on issues.”

“The Democrats are all over this. Democratic strategists feel John Kerry’s war record means he can beat Bush. They say when it comes down to it voters will always vote for a war hero over someone who tried to get out of the war. I’ll be sure to mention that to Bob Dole when I see him.”

“John Kerry said today that he wants to get rid of tax cuts for the rich and his wife said, ‘Hey, shut up! What’s the matter with you?! Are you nuts?!’”

“They had a profile of John Kerry on the news and they said his FIRST WIFE was worth around $300 million and his SECOND WIFE, his current wife, is worth around $700 million. His intern (with whom he supposedly had an affair) was worth several more million. So when John Kerry says he’s going after the wealthy in this country, he’s not just talking.  He’s doing it!”

“In his big victory speech last night, Senator Kerry said that he wanted to defeat George Bush and the ‘economy of privilege.’  Then he hugged his wife, Teresa, heir to the multi-million dollar Heinz food fortune.”

“In his speech last night, John Kerry said this was the beginning of the end of the Bush administration. I agree. Sure, it will probably take another five years, but this is it.”
                           
DICK CHENEY

“Although it is beautiful here in California, the weather back East has been atrocious. There was so much snow in Washington, D.C. Dick Cheney accidentally shot a fat guy thinking it was a polar bear.”

“When people found out he shot a lawyer his popularity is now at 92%.”

“After he shot the guy, he screamed, ‘Anyone else want to call domestic wire tapping illegal?’”

“Something I just found out today about the incident. Do you know that Dick Cheney tortured the guy for a half hour before he shot him?”

“Cheney’s defense is that he was aiming at a quail when he shot the guy.  Which means that Cheney now has the worst aim of anyone in the White House
since Bill Clinton.”

HILLARY CLINTON

“In Hillary Clinton’s new book ‘Living History,’ Hillary details what it was like meeting Bill Clinton, falling in love with him, getting married, and living a passionate, wonderful life as husband wife. Then on page two, the trouble starts.”

“Last night, Senator Hillary Clinton hosted her first party in her new home in Washington . People said it was a lot like the parties she used to host at the White House. In fact, even the furniture was the same.”

“CNN found that Hillary Clinton is the most admired woman in America. Women admire her because she’s strong and successful. Men admire her because she allows her husband to cheat and get away with It.”

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The Ethical Issue Involved

At the heart of the moral issue involving embryonic stem cell research is the fact that the embryo is killed so that his or her stem cells can be used for research. Current literature already speaks about destroying the embryo as necessary to “harvest” useful cells for the good of someone else. Since there is an undeniable continuity beginning at conception through birth and the continuing development of life until the natural death of the human person, at what point do we permit harvesting of parts of that living human for someone else?

Embryonic Life is Human

Embryos are at the very beginning of the whole process of human life. We, as human beings, in solidarity with that life, even though it is tiny and undifferentiated at this point, are not free to view it simply as a commodity for our convenience or benefit. When we enter the sacred precincts of human life – when we approach the chamber of life – we are not the masters of the room. We are not the lords of the house of life. While we are called to use our abilities to help heal illness and sustain life, ultimately God alone has the right to determine who lives, who dies, and the life span of each person. We are stewards, not masters of human life. Even when we put on sterilized gloves and work with technologically advanced equipment we do not take on the mantle of arbiter of human life.

In response to the questions: “Why does the Church oppose embryonic stem cell research?” “What harm can it do?” and “Should government funding be used to advance this study?” the reply seems evident.

Living with the Consequences

Our basic human obligation to respect human life comes into force even when we are dealing with the initial stages of human life. Once we place into law the presumption that we can take innocent human life at whatever stage we determine, we put in motion a destructive force. That process can empty technology and scientific advancement of moral and ethical restraint. If our society announces that it will determine at what point a human life can be used for the benefit of another, then all that is left for the next generation to do is decide when – at what age – that principle is applied.

Already there are those who argue that since the embryo is going to be destroyed anyway, we should feel free to do with it what we will. Would that principle apply to anyone who is terminally ill? It is the same offensive principle that was used to exonerate human experimentation on prisoners in concentration camps.

There are those who maintain that scientific advances should not be restrained by moral compunction. We hear over and over the claim that much good will come from this research. The end, we are told, certainly justifies the means that are used. To abandon the longstanding moral imperative that the end does not justify the means puts us on a fast track careening towards moral anarchy.

The issue of embryonic stem cell research brings us face to face with a fundamental human moral principle and decision. We cannot allow our technology to outstrip our ethical reflection. The two need to move forward together. All our capability to develop and use technology and science must always be done within the context of God’s plan – the natural moral order. To be truly human means decisions should reflect the moral order and not be based on the appeal of what seems to work for me right now.

The Catholic Church brings a living ethical tradition to this and so many current issues. It does so with confidence because the Church’s moral reflection is guided by a wisdom rooted in God’s word and directed by God’s Spirit.

Technology can be a blessing yet, like all science, it requires ethical reflection on its use if it is to be truly at the service of all of us who struggle in the human condition. We all so much long for the cures and therapies that can overcome the physical afflictions of life. At the same time, we need as well to pray for guidance that what we do is what we ought to do. What raises our technological expertise to a truly human level is our capacity to reflect on the ethical and moral dimensions of what we do.

For complete article, go to:

http://www.adw.org/news/news.asp?ID=391&Year=2006

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charlottechurch1.jpgDoes everything good have to be polluted?

Is it impossible for Catholics to make a success of it in media today without being corrupted?

The latest tragedy is Charlotte Church.  I have been speechless for several days about it.  I first saw her on PBS and was pleasantly surprised that such a young and small girl could have such a powerful soprano voice.  It was mesmerizing, and honestly, ever so sweet.

Here was a modern girl, practicing her faith and singing Classical and Sacred Music.  Admittedly, she was a fan of popular music, but her nitch was something more sublime and lasting.  It was a sign of hope.

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No matter whether she wanted it or not, many young people saw her as a model and an inspiration.  A number of us older guys and gals prayed that maybe such a phenomenon might be the start of a grand recovery for Western civilization.  Along with the chanting monks, things were looking up.  Maybe the arts, philosophy, religious devotion, traditional values, etc. would follow? 

But it has not happened.   Classical music sections have disappeared from many music stores and vulgar music offends the ears of patrons. People have little sense of history and often they trade their rich cultural inheritance for trite modern fixations or flirt with Eastern occultism.

Anyway, back to Miss Church, here is the release from IGNATIUS PRESS, notifying us that they will no longer carry her materials:

In light of the recent statements and actions of singer Charlotte Church, Ignatius Press will be dropping all of her products. It is with regret that we do this; Miss Church possesses a great gift from God, and in the past she has used her talent often to offer praise and glory to our Lord. She has performed for the late Pope John Paul II, and in many sacred concerts, televised Christmas celebrations, and her many albums were enjoyed by our customers over the years.

But we cannot stand by a young woman who uses her stature in the media to mock the Eucharist, slander the Holy Father, and denigrate the vows of religious women.

Therefore, our catalogs and website will immediately withraw all compact discs, cassette tapes, DVDs and VHS tapes that feature Miss Church. Please join us in praying for this troubled young woman.

There you have it, and no apologist can make it right.  She has cohabitated with her boyfriend, frequented nude beaches, appeared immodestly in photographs and videos, and now she insults the faith directly.

charlottechurch_low.jpgWe all knew she had to grow up.  We also could appreciate that she might be more a sinner than a saint, are not we all?  But she went from a sweet innocent who sang poignant songs of faith to a lewd tramp who derides the Eucharist and impugns the Vicar of Christ.  I searched the web for an apology.  There was none. 

As she got older we could overlook the fact that her voice, while impressive for a child, was increasingly less so for an adult woman.  The mistakes and lack of breath (asthma) did not stop us from buying her CDs because we had watched her grow up.  Maybe we even loved her for her efforts and beauty.  But it is hard to maintain the same kind of loyalty to a girl who gets drunk and gives everyone the finger.  Her beauty falls away when foul words come out of her mouth and she dresses like a prostitute.  How could you have fallen so low, sweet Charlotte? 

charlottechurchvideo1vb.jpgThe proverbial straw that broke the back of IGNATIUS PRESS and our hearts was a pilot talk-television program (filmed on July 12) of a proposed eight-part series.  She called Pope Benedict XVI a Nazi and mocked the Church.  This girl, once labeled “the Voice of an Angel” was costumed as a nun and feigned hallucinations while consuming communion wafers imprinted with smiling faces.  These faces indicate the illegal drug Ecstasy.  She smashed a statue of the Blessed Mother to find a can of hard cider within.  She exclaimed that she worshipped “Saint Fortified Wine,” and stuck gum to a statue of the Child Jesus. 

What a change a few years make.  Back when she was 12, she sang for Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.  Now, at 20, she has traded Classical and Sacred Music for low-grade Rock and mocks the Pope.

She also derided President Bush, calling him, “You twat!”  So, I guess her lack of manners makes everyone and everything a possible target. 

PRAY THAT HER REBELLION WILL NOT CONTINUE TO GET THE BEST OF HER.

PRAY THAT SHE WILL COME TO HER SENSES.

PRAY THAT ONE DAY WE MIGHT FIND A WOMAN IN MISS CHURCH THAT WE CAN RESPECT, JUST AS WE KNEW A CHILD WHO GAVE US INNOCENT JOY, EASY TO LOVE.

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A woman pulled into a crowded parking lot and rolled down the car windows to make sure her Labrador retriever had fresh air. The dog was stretched out on the back seat, and the woman wanted to impress upon her that she must remain there.

The woman walked to the curb backward so her gaze never left the dog, pointed her finger toward the car and said emphatically, “Now you stay. Do you hear me? Stay!”

The driver of a nearby car gave the woman a strange look and said, “Why don’t you just put it in park?”

***

While a good friend of ours was working as a receptionist for an eye surgeon, a very angry woman stormed up to her desk.

“Someone stole my wig while I was having surgery yesterday,” she complained.

The doctor came out and tried to calm her down. “I assure you that no one on my staff would have done such a thing,” he said. “Why do you think it was taken here?”

“After the operation, I noticed the wig I was wearing was cheap-looking and ugly.”

“I think,” explained the surgeon gently, “that means your cataract operation was a success.”

*** 

One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex was staring up at the large plaque that hung in the foyer of the church. It was covered with names, and small American flags were mounted on either side of it.

The seven-year-old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside the little boy and said quietly, “Good morning, Alex.”

“Good morning, Pastor,” replied the young man, still focused on the plaque. “Pastor, what is this?”

“Well, son, it’s a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service.”

Soberly, they stood together, staring at the large plaque.

Little Alex’s voice was barely audible, trembling with fear, when he asked, “Which service, the 9:45 or the 11:15?”

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