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Archive for September, 2006

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Marvel Comics missed an opportunity with this one!

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I hear the dogcatcher is now using kryptonite!

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My friend from the Knights of Columbus was driving and we were returning from a council meeting to the rectory on Ritchie Road when we were hit hard from behind.  My friend’s bumper is damaged but it is raining too hard to see what else.  The culprit was driving too fast and in wet conditions…he took off…yes, a hit and run!

Now my neck is already hurting.  I have a history of back trouble and so did not need this.  Darn!  People are so inconsiderate on the roads around here.  They refuse to yield, never share the road, throw litter from their windows, and drive way too fast.  People die on Ritchie Road in Forestville, MD every year and nothing is done about it. 

We frequently have accidents at the intersection for the church driveway.  Our church sign was hit and the truck driver totalled his vehicle and never made good on the sign.  Parishioners have had major crashes and a woman died right in front of the parish house one Monday when she veered slighly and hit a truck coming from the other direction.  Her Geo was scattered everywhere and her dead limp body rested on the road for hours, even after the debris was taken away.  A dead pedestrian was found in the church woods alongside the road, no doubt brushed by a car.  Of course, people walking the street around here are crazy, too.  They are African-Americans, wear black, and walk in the middle of the street at night.  What are they doing, daring someone to kill them?

Dozens of crashes have happened since my coming here six years ago.  A few weeks ago we had a sports vehicle hit a small car and the young man banged on his truck and screamed and made a scene.  I guess his car was new or belonged to someone else.  He should have been more worried about the woman he hurt.  They took her away by ambulance.  While the medics were working and firefighters blocked traffic, a van broke through the road block, struck a paramedic and drove off at high speed.  The police told me that they had not caught him even by that evening…despite having the tag number.  Maybe the van was hot, or there was drugs, or someone was wanted…who knows?

Like I said, the traffic here goes way too fast!  A school bus was rear-ended at the end of last term and kids were taken away by ambulance, again in sight of the Church.  

I have had stolen vehicles left on the property.  Trespassers make whoopee in their cars while parked here at night.  We even had one car set on fire in front of the Church.  I slept through that one, despite parishioners telling me that firefighters tried to awaken me. 

Better go now and put a compress on my neck, I pray that tomorrow morning will not find me a cripple.  Sorry for the rant, but hey, it is my blog.

Drive responsibly, and stay safe.  Goodnight!

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WHAT WE SEEM TO FORGET

1 – First Important Lesson – Cleaning Lady.

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:

“What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall,
dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name?

I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

“Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say “hello.”

I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

2. – Second Important Lesson – Pickup in the Rain.

One night, at 11:30 P.M., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.

She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came ! on the m an’s door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached.

It read: “Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away… God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others. Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.”

3 – Third Important Lesson – Always Remember Those Who Serve.

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.

“How much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked.

“Fifty cents,” replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.

“Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?” he inquired.

By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient.

“Thirty-five cents,” she brusquely replied.

The little boy again counted his coins.

“I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies.

You see, he couldn’t have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

4 – Fourth Important Lesson – The Obstacle in Our Path.

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the
peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand!

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

5 – Fifth Important Lesson – Giving When it Counts.

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.

I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, “Yes I’ll do it, if it will save her.” As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.

He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away?”

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

Most importantly… “Work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt, and dance like you do when nobody’s watching.”

NOW more than ever – Peace…Pass It On…

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Reports are unclear and have used various words for what Archbishop Milingo did in Washington, DC last Sunday, saying that he either installed or ordained four men.  One thing is for certain, he follows the rhythm of his own drum, no matter how out of sync with the universal Church. 

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What the news media is missing about the Milingo fiasco is that all the men that he ordained (or consecrated) were in their own estimations, already bishops!  If so, why would they go through this ritual with the Zambian archbishop?  Scuttlebut says the following:

1.  Archbishop Milingo himself was concerned that some of the independent bishops with whom he had found affiliation might not be validly ordained as bishops.

2.  These men themselves often go to great lengths to convince others that they are true bishops.  However, one has to wonder if they are not guilt-ridden and unsure themselves?  Now, with an authentic Roman Catholic archbishop backing up their pedigree, they can put doubt to the wind.

It is also interesting to note that our own George Augustus Stallings, Junior seems to be moving back toward a more “orthodox” Catholic theology.  He talks about the sacrament of penance again, although back in the early 1990’s he dismissed it.

Who are these men who have flocked to Milingo?

george_stallings.gifGEORGE STALLINGS – Imani Temple, 1015 I St., Washington, DC 20002

George Augustus Stallings, Jr. was born in 1948 and like Milingo has an Asian Moonie wife.  He was a priest for the Archdiocese of Washington, DC and for many years was the popular pastor of St. Theresa’s Church.  He was known for his lavish lifestyle and expensive tastes.  Ordained in 1974,   he founded the Imani Temple African American Catholic Congregation in 1989.  He claims to have been ordained a bishop in 1990 and elevated (himself) to archbishop in 1991.  He told a young girl on the Oprah television show that blacks are God’s chosen people and that people of color will be resurrected first in the heavenly kingdom, a tenet I think he shares with some of the Black Muslims.

brennanpeterpaul.gifPETER PAUL BRENNAN – 151 Regent Place, West Hempstead, New York 11552

Peter Brennan also started out as a Catholic and he claims membership in a whole assortment of ecclesial communions, none of which is truly Catholic:  The Ecumenical Catholic Diocese of the Americas, the African Orthodox Church and the Order of Corporate Reunion.  He attended Catholic seminaries, like Stallings, and was a professed Religious before his defection from true Catholic unity.  A member of CORPUS, the issue of a married priesthood is also high on his agenda…much more so than fidelity to the sacred promises he once made.  His bio says that he was ordained a priest in 1972 by Bishop Marchenna.  He had himself ordained again in 1974, and later as a bishop in 1978, 1979, and twice in 1987.  Evidently many of these were conditional ordinations in case it did not take the first time…try, try again…bingo, Milingo (2006)! 

trujillo.gifPATRICK TRUJILLO - 6020 Newkirk Avenue, North Bergen, NJ 07047

Pat Trujillo belongs to the Old Catholic Church, you know the group that also ordains the gals, now– just like George Stallings!  They might have a nice liturgy, but that alone did not spare them increasing doctrinal divergence and heresy.  He claims to be the ordinary of the Archdiocese of Our Lady of Guadalupe, New Jersey (despite the name, we are talking about a very small operation)!

I do not know much more about him.  Maybe that is for the best, now that he is one of Milingo’s pals.

gouthro2.jpgJOSEPH J. GOUTHRO – 925 Felix Palm Avenue, North Las Vegas, NJ 89032

Joe Gouthro is a Las Vegas hack for quickie weddings!  I guess it gives Catholic patrons who are married “out of the Church” that religious feeling that it is okay, despite being married before and not really practicing anyway.  

Like all the rest, he makes a point of telling us that he was “ordained and consecrated in valid Apostolic Succession” by some peculiar group called Catholic Apostolic Church International– a bogus Catholic group if ever there was one.  He advertises on his shingle that he “officiates Catholic, interfaith, non-denominational, cross cultural and civil weddings.”  Ah, and you should see his rates!

His website reports:  “He will customize your ceremony according to your wishes. The ceremony can be officiated according to the Roman Catholic Ritual or the Anglican Book of Commom Prayer.”  Look at this, he plays both Anglican and Catholic priest…oops, I mean, bishop!

What are his real credentials?  He served three cruise lines as a coordinator.  He must be the LOVE BOAT Bishop!  And forget about the requirement of a Church wedding, he says he will marry you anywhere…golf clubs…hotels…nature sites…even Elvis marriage chapels with neon light glory!

I guess he has reservations about his holy orders like the other men, so Milingo made him official. 

I wonder if all the ordinations were conditional and not absolute?  Were all of these guys ex-Catholics, and if so, how much did the excommunications matter?

All four men claim affiliation to the breakaway Synod of Old Catholic Churches.  “We are not only validly ordained Catholic bishops, but we are ordained Roman Catholic bishops,” George Stallings explained.

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milingobw.jpgArchbishop Emmanuel Milingo (of Zambia) was excommunicated on Tuesday, September 26 by the Vatican for his break with the Church in celebrating an unauthorized episcopal ordination and/or installation.  He was already in trouble for an “attempted” marriage to Marie Sung, a Korean acupuncturist (which took place in 2001).  I say “attempted” because marriages that break the rules in the Catholic Church are considered null-and-void.  He is only feigning marriage and any sexual activity is fornication.  He reconciled with the Church, claimed he was brainwashed, and then left again. 

He used to perform unauthorised exorcisms and large scale healing services.  He was known for being flamboyent and outspoken.  But it looks like the Catholic Church will have the final word.  This week he participated with George, wannabee Pope, Stallings in the installation of four men as bishops.  His campaign, called MARRIED PRIESTS NOW! seeks to end compulsory celibacy for priests. It has been at least 20 years since such a highly ranked clergyman has been excommunicated. 

The Vatican described the archbishop as “spreading division and confusion among the faithful,” and so censure was necessary and we need to pray fervently for healing and fidelity during “these moments of ecclesiastical suffering.”  The archbishop was guilty of “irregularity and of progressively open rupture of communion with the Church.”  Both Milingo and Stallings were participants of the mass wedding celebrated by Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church in New York back in 2001.  Moon picked out Asian women for both men.

Susan Gibbs, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Washington, said Archbishop Milingo’s actions in attempting to name bishops without Vatican approval were “clearly illicit.”  (Unfortunately, this does not mean that the bishops are necessarily “invalid”!)  The event took place on Sunday at the Imani Temple on Capitol Hill, which is operated by pseudo-Archbishop George Augustus Stallings Jr., a former Catholic priest who defected back in 1989.  Stallings must have had some concern or doubt about his own episcopal orders because he was one of the men consecrated by Archbishop Milingo.  The others were Peter Paul Brennan of New York; Patrick Trujillo of Newark, N.J.; and Joseph Gouthro of Las Vegas.

Some have suggested that Milingo is demon-possessed.  Back in the 1970’s his healing services were so wild that he was warned by Rome.  He incorporated local customs and it was said that his rituals resembled voodooism.  He was told to stop but refused.  Ordered to Rome in 1983, he continued his bizarre ministry and became a celebrity drawing thousands to services and for exorcisms.  Now he suffers from automatic  “latae sententiae” excommunication for participation in unauthorised ordinations.

It is all just too sad.  Note that while the various News services assert in headlines that the Vatican excommunicated him, the truth be said, he did it to himself.  All that Rome is doing is declaring the obvious, stating a fact to insure that faithful Catholics are not fooled into thinking Archbishop Milingo and his cronies are in good standing. 

FATHERJOE:  Milingo & Schism

WASH POST:  Milingo Excommunicated By Vatican

Below is a Spanish parody of the issue, not recommended for everyone, okay, maybe not recommended for anyone!  I thought Spain was more respectful of the Church.  You have been warned:

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Adam said to God, “Why did you make Eve so beautiful?” 

God said, “So you would love her.”

Adam said, “Why did you give her such gorgeous hair?”

God said, “So you would love her.”

Adam said, “Why did you give her such a great figure?”

God said, “So you would love her.”

Adam said, “But, God why did you make her so dumb?”

God said, “So she would love you.”

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noah_s_ark.jpgIn the year 2006 , the Lord came unto Noah, who was now living in the United States, and said, “Once again, the earth has become wicked and over-populated, and I see the end of all flesh before me.

Build another Ark and save 2 of every living thing along with a few good humans.”

He gave Noah the blueprints, saying, “You have 6 months to build the Ark before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights.”

Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard – but no Ark.

“Noah!” He roared, “I’m about to start the rain! Where is the Ark?”

“Forgive me, Lord,” begged Noah, “but things have changed. I needed a building permit. I’ve been arguing with the inspector about the need for a sprinkler system. My neighbors claim that I’ve violated the neighborhood zoning laws by building the Ark in my yard and exceeding the height limitations. We had to go to the Development Appeal Board for a decision.”

” Then the Department of Transportation demanded a bond be posted for the future costs of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions, to clear the passage for the Ark’s move to the sea. I told them that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear nothing of it.”

“Getting the wood was another problem. There’s a ban on cutting local trees in order to save the spotted owl. I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the owls – but no go!”

“When I started gathering the animals, an animal rights group sued me. They insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will. They argued the accommodation was too restrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space.”

“Then the EPA ruled that I couldn’t build the Ark until they’d conducted an environmental impact study on your proposed flood.”

“I’m still trying to resolve a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on how many minorities I’m supposed to hire for my building crew.”

“Immigration and Naturalization is checking the green-card status of most of the people who want to work.”

“The trades unions say I can’t use my sons. They insist I have to hire only Union workers with Ark-building experience.”

“To make matters worse, the IRS seized all my assets, claiming I’m trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species.”

“So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least 10 years for me to finish this Ark.”

Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched across the sky.  Noah looked up in wonder and asked, “You mean you’re not going to destroy the world?”

“No,” said the Lord. “The government beat me to it.”

Picture is Noah’s Ark by Edward Hicks, c. 1846

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I have heard about one being the butt of jokes, but this is ridiculous!  The Franciscan Monastery has bushes shaped as various religious symbols, but this is truly original.

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2006 Fall Philosophy Lecture Series at CUA  

Christopher Cullen, Fordham University
“Real Humanism: Bonaventure’s Philosophy of Human Nature”

moongirlsmile.jpgI was pretty tired and must admit I dozed off a little with this talk.  I may have even started dreaming during the lecture, so I am not sure what I heard and what I “imagined” hearing.  Given that I was lost in space, the notes are pretty poor this week, and remember, I refuse to take notes.  There was no abstract on the website, and I think it was Fr. Wipple that asked the question as to how it fit in with the series on Augustine.  Fr. Cullin remarked about Bonaventure’s use of Aristotle, but St. Augustine was not really in evidence.  Important things were discussed, although I am still unclear about the “innate” knowledge business in St. Bonaventure. I got the sense that it was a talk the speaker had handy but not one that was really topical to the series. 

The first half of the talk made such frequent critical reference to a book by by Professor John Milbank, that the lecture started to sound like a book review.  The book is entitled, THE SUSPENDED MIDDLE:  HENRI DE LUBAC & THE DEBATE CONCERNING THE SUPERNATURAL.  De Lubac claimed that all humanity was “naturally” orientated toward God or the supernatural.  Somewhat abusive to Hans Urs von Balthasar the book tends to take de Lubac’s notion to the extreme.  The speaker uses the book as a long preface to discuss Bonaventure’s appreciation of the vestiges or shadows of God in creation and particularly in rational creatures. Milbank is himself the leader of a movement called “radical orthodoxy” and they tend to challenge the deconstructionism of many modern thinkers, particularly theologians.  

stargoddess.jpgIt was at this point I think I detected snoring other than my own.  The seminarian-philosophy students, who oddly try to sit next to the prettiest girls, had themselves started to battle heavy eye-lids.   Not even the goddess-muse of philosophy, she who must not be named, could keep them interested. 

The gist of the talk struck me as a bit odd, because St. Bonaventure saw himself in the Augustinian tradition.  There was so much that could have been said about this.  One of the questioners went one further and asked if St. Bonaventure was even a philosopher, or just a theologian who used convenient philosophical language.  As with so many answers to questions, the speaker failed to give a definitive answer.  It might have been implied, though, that St. Bonaventure confused the two disciplines.  I would argue that the great doctor merely saw philosophy as a science that was subservient to the greater subject of faith and revelation.

The speaker talked about the distinction between image and likeness and attributed to St. Bonaventure the traditional distinction that image had to do with the soul (imagination, intellect [mind] and will) while likeness refered to the life of grace.  He also spoke about an understanding of the soul as form and matter, although the matter is spiritual (conceptual?) and not corporeal. The soul bears the mark of our Creator God, and it is in reference to this that he spoke about an innate appreciation of God, a kind of natural beatific vision.

childearth.jpgHe went into an extended discussion as to whether an absolute nature that is directed to God but which could not attain its object without grace was really complete.  St. Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle again were referenced and the critique was rendered that too great an emphasis upon human nature and its orientation toward the Transcendent seem to imply a kind of semi-pelagianism.  The fact that every creature bears the fingerprint or mark of God was quickly mentioned and the fact that the soul was made in the image of God. 

St. Bonaventure would as a good Augustinian view the situation as such:

  1. There is a movement from the world of the senses (the external world) to the intentional and interior world of the mind.
  2. Next, there is a movement from the intentional and temporal to that which is eternal.
  3. Simultaneously, the mind maintains an innate idea of the divine (that is how the mind is created).

As the professor spoke he made references to various ways of speaking, propositions and such, which reminded me of the linguistic analysis that is pursued by some philosophers.  But then I recalled that he had worked in the philsophical area of semiatics.  Bonaventure’s semiatics gives us various signs:

  1. “For a creature is called a shadow based on its properties which point to God in some type of causality in an indeterminate way. But a creature is called a vestige based on properties which point to God as triple cause–efficient, formal, and final cause; for example, the properties: one, true, and good.”  Every is marked by God the First Cause and is dependent upon him.
  2. Rational creatures (angels and men) are properly images of God because our intellectual powers are directed toward the pefection that is God, the Creator and First Principle.
  3. Rational creatures are in the likeness of God in that they are disposed and receive divine grace, humbly obedient toward God’s law and providence.

chriscullen.jpgThe lecturer spoke about the neo-scholastic “two-tiered” understanding of nature and grace.  He advanced that St. Bonaventure provides a kind of middle ground between this and those who would argue that nature is complete in itself, in otherwords, the pelagian view that we might save ourselves.  Professor Milbank discusses this in regard to de Lubac.  It seems to me that separating the two ends, the natural and supernatural, would also set the groundwork for such theories as Limbo where unbaptised infants can be naturally happy but left in perpetual ignorance of God.  The problem is that we were made for God.  The ends cannot be utterly separated.  God’s fingerprint as the Creator is already upon us all.  Our true end and final and lasting happiness is in God.  Anything else, it seems to me, is hell.  The teaching that grace is simply added to a human nature complete in itelf, preserves the notion that it is a gratuity, but ecclipses the more ancient view that human nature is naturally orientated with a desire for divine life and friendship, the beatific vision, as Fr. Cullen explained.

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