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Archive for March, 2008

Thomas Beatie might legally be regarded as a man. However, from the perspective of the Church and nature “he is still a “she”. The DNA is female and that is not altered by so-called sex-change operations. Beatie opted to keep the vagina and now with reproductive therapies, and no doubt, sperm donation, is pregnant.

A LIST OF IMMORAL ACTS 

  • Homosexual activity = sin (immoral)
  • Sex change mutilation = sin (immoral)
  • Artificial insemination = sin (immoral)
  • Donor sperm = sin (immoral)
  • Abortion = sin (immoral)
  • Invitro fertilization = sin (immoral)

Beatie is NOT the first pregnant man! It is the pregnancy of a mutilated woman made to largely resemble a man. The union with his wife is not a true marriage but is a lesbian relationship. This is wrong on so many levels, I do not know where to start. It is a sad and sickening story. Two previous pregnancies were terminated and this one is precarious. If the child survives, such parents will probably confuse the child and pervert any normal development.

Meanwhile, the story is paraded on the news and talkshows as a cute oddity.  In truth, the whole business is monstrous from beginning to end.

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Paul Scofield died from Leukemia on March 19, 2008 at the age of 86 at a hospital near his home in Sussex, England.

Taken from an entertainment news show…

MAY HE REST IN PEACE!

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One of the most influential and vocal Muslims in Italy became a Roman Catholic at the hands of Pope Benedict XVI at the Holy Saturday liturgy for Easter!  You have to give it to this Pope, he is afraid of NOTHING and NO ONE!

Magdi Allam traveled to Mecca as a child but as a man he came to Rome and made it his home.  The deputy editor for the newspaper CORRIERE DELLA SERA, his commentary for non-violence and toleration had already earned him the death sentence from radical Islamic voices.  Now there are renewed cries from the terrorists for the death of the Pope!

Of course, although both his parents were Muslim, he made no secret that he had never really practiced his faith.  Having gone to a Catholic boarding school in Egypt and later attending La Sapienza University of Rome, his religious formation had always been more Catholic than Muslim.  This might seem to mitigate against the sensationalism, but we need to remember that Christians and Muslims do not view faith in the same way.  While we would put great emphasis upon practice and sacraments, the Islamic world still considers Magdi Allam as Muslim because his father was Muslim.  Islam really makes no provision for defection and conversion to another faith.  Having said this, the old code also stressed that once baptized a Catholic, always a Catholic… even if a bad one.  In the eyes of the radical Islamic world, Agid Allam is a traitor and has gone from being a “prominent” Muslim to a “detested” one. 

The more reasoned voices acknowledge that this was Magdi Allam’s personal choice, and not a concerted effort by the Church to compel conversion upon Muslims.   Ironically, Christians continue to face serious persecution in Islamic nations and forced conversions are a daily occurrence.  

Allam stated, “Undoubtedly the most extraordinary and significant encounter in the decision to convert was that with Pope Benedict XVI.” He became enamoured by the Holy Father’s precise depiction of the connection “between faith and reason as the basis of authentic religion and human civilization.”  In other words, this was no conversion for convenience sake or because of emotionalism, but rather because of reason and the nature of reality.  It was the TRUTH that brought him to this step.  Jesus is Lord and the Church is his saving community.  We believe as Christians that it is this Truth that will set us FREE.

The Holy Father baptized and confirmed Allam after offering the following reflection during the homily:

We no longer stand alongside or in opposition to one another.  Thus faith is a force for peace and reconciliation in the world: distances between people are overcome, in the Lord we have become close.

Along with six others, he later received holy communion.  His marriage to a Catholic wife was transformed from a natural bond to a sacrament.  He received in all, four sacraments that Saturday night.

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NEW TEXT FOR TRAD LATIN GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE (translation):

Let us pray for the Jews. May the Lord Our God enlighten their hearts so that they may acknowledge Jesus Christ, the savior of all men. / Almighty and everlasting God, you who want all men to be saved and to reach the awareness of the truth, graciously grant that, with the fullness of peoples entering into your church, all Israel may be saved.

PREVIOUS TEXT (1962 MISSAL) FOR TRAD GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE (translation):

Let us pray also for the Jews: that almighty God may remove the veil from their hearts; so that they too may acknowledge Jesus Christ our Lord. Let us pray. [Let us kneel. Arise.] Almighty and eternal God, who dost also not exclude from thy mercy the Jews: hear our prayers, which we offer for the blindness of that people; that acknowledging the light of thy Truth, which is Christ, they may be delivered from their darkness. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

PREVIOUS TEXT (BEFORE 1959) FOR TRAD GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE (translation):

Let us pray also for the perfidious Jews: that Almighty God may remove the veil from their hearts; so that they too may acknowledge Jesus Christ our Lord. Almighty and eternal God, who dost not exclude from thy mercy even Jewish faithlessness: hear our prayers, which we offer for the blindness of that people; that acknowledging the light of thy Truth, which is Christ, they may be delivered from their darkness. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The new wording for the petition in the traditional Latin Good Friday service brought criticism from both the Jewish and the traditionalist camps. I am not going to say much about the Latin traditionalists. I am all for a restoration of the old rites as an act of religious freedom and to enhance the organic development of the revised liturgy. However, I hold little hope that the majority of rigid (breakaway) Latin traditionalists will come home to full Catholic unity. There are serious issues that are not resolved: their intransigence toward the validity of the reformed rites, a practical dissent and lack of humility to the full authority of the Pope and the living Church, a general lack of respect and air of belligerence, bigotry toward Protestants and Jews, etc.

There is no winning this issue with the Jews. The Holy Father offers a decent Latin prayer that avoids pejorative language and he is still criticized.  Abraham Foxman, the ADL National Director said: 

We are extremely disappointed and deeply offended that nearly 40 years after the Vatican rightly removed insulting anti-Jewish language from the Good Friday Mass, that it would now permit Catholics to utter such hurtful and insulting words by praying for Jews to be converted. This is a theological setback in the religious life of Catholics and a body blow to Catholic-Jewish relations. It is the wrong decision at the wrong time.

It appears the Vatican has chosen to satisfy a right-wing faction in the Church that rejects change and reconciliation.

What he seems oblivious about is that he, himself, has slammed the Catholic-Christian faith.  We believe that Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life”.  There is no other way to the Father.  His is the saving name.  He is the universal redeemer.  There is no other.  Jews can disagree with this, but they have no right to dictate Catholic doctrine. 

Passive bishops and liberal teachers who have worked in past consultations are partly to blame for this current situation.  Some talk as if there is one covenant for Jews and another for Christians.  This is absurd.  Cardinal-priest Avery Dulles has rejected this notion as without merit.  Christ is the fulfillment of the Messianic promise.  The Catholic Church is the new People of God, the new Jerusalem, the new Zion.  It is not the fragmented Jewish religion as such and despite the contentions of orthodox Jews, Protestant fundamentalists and Jews for Jesus, neither is it the modern political state of Israel.  God has established one covenant, and while God has not forgotten his promises to the Jewish people, that covenant has been transformed and renewed in Christ.   

Bishops have made all sorts of guidelines and restrictions regarding Christian outreach to Jews.  They can come to us but we are generally forbidden (despite the Gospel admonition) to take the Gospel to them.  This policy has upset me for many years because it inherently devalues the Good News and the desire of Christ for all men to know him and to be saved.  Such a policy would have aborted or brought to miscarriage the primitive Church in Jerusalem.  All the first Christians were Jews and the initial proclamation was not to the Gentiles but to other Jews. 

References to Jewish fault for the passion and death of Christ are also regularly featured in the news.  Modern translations and omissions seek to soften the blow of Scripture on this point.  However, it is a serious error to absolve the Jews of all guilt for the death of Christ.  The Council of Trent made very clear that Jesus was crucified by the accumulative sins of ALL MANKIND throughout ALL HUMAN HISTORY.  We are all at fault.  We are all guilty of deicide.  We all have the blood of Christ on our hands.

The new prayer offered by the Holy See is far superior to the one currently used in the text and ICEL translation of the reformed liturgy.  The English text talks about a generic love of God and the hope that Jews will “arrive at the fullness of redemption” but without mentioning Christ as the redeemer.  It is implied, but so gently that it might be dismissed.  It states:

Let us pray for the Jewish people, the first to hear the word of God, that they may continue to grow in the love of his name and in faithfulness to his covenant. / Almighty and eternal God, long ago you gave your promise to Abraham and his posterity.  Listen to your Church as we pray that the people you first made your own may arrive at the fullness of redemption.       

passion_59_f.jpgFoxman makes a serious mistake when he says that the Church has utterly rejected what he calls “supersessionism  – the notion that Christianity supersedes Judaism as the true religion….”  All we have said is that Judaism, as far as it goes, is a true religion.  What God has instituted and revealed in the past has a lasting quality.  However, whenever the Church speaks about the fullness of revelation in Christ, we are acknowledging the doctrine that Catholicism is also a true religion, and one that is built upon the promises first given the Old Israel.  Technically, the Jews here want us to make claims for Judaism which they know full well they cannot make for Catholicism.  They do not consider Catholicism a true religion, but one that deifies a Jewish man, violates dietary regulations and laws about such matters as circumcision,  and which dismisses or subtracts from the Decalogue on both the Sabbath and the use of images.  We think that Jews are wrong about Jesus.  Jews think Christians are wrong about everything beyond the Old Testament or Hebrew Scriptures.  Orthodox Judaism, not the reformed branches which are sometimes more secular than religious, are the spiritual heirs to Saul of Tarsus who approved of the stoning of the deacon Stephen.  They see Christianity as a Jewish heresy.

To revise the prayer in question so that Foxman and others would approve means a repudiation of Jesus and the range of his saving work.  The ADL is so concerned about bigotry against Jews that they are blind to their prejudice and slander against the heart of Christianity.  They would make Jesus superfluous.

IMAGES from THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST

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gorbpope.jpgFormer Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev was baptized as a Christian, albeit into a heretical offshot of Orthodoxy where milk is used instead of wine for the divine liturgy. They are mockingly called “The Milk Dunkers”. However, in practice, Gorbachev was both an athiest and a communist, facts we should not be too quick to forget.

This weekend he reaffirmed his athiesm after news agencies inaccurately interpreted his visit to the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi in Italy as a witness of Christian, and even Catholic faith.

The initial story broke on March 19. He stated:

It was through St. Francis that I arrived at the Church, so it was important that I came to visit his tomb.

Reporters noted that he seemed to pray at the grotto for at least 30 minutes.

He corrected and clarified later:

Over the last few days some media have been disseminating fantasies – I can’t use any other word – about my secret Catholicism, citing my visit to the Sacro Convento friary, where the remains of St. Francis of Assisi lie. To sum up and avoid any misunderstandings, let me say that I have been and remain an atheist.

The late President Ronald Reagan thought that Gorbachev was a closet believer. He had a close friendship with Pope John Paul II and gave the former pontiff much credit for the positive changes and freedom that came to Eastern Europe. There were rumors that President Gorbachev had confessed his Christian faith to the Pope but had insisted that it must be kept secret for political reasons. Given recent events in Russia, maybe he feels there is some need to continue the secrecy? Or, he may simply be as he says, a non-believer who has left us many ambiguous signs and words… despite the new clarification?

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08wright_293x360.jpgHis wife resports that Sci-Fi author John C. Wright entered the Catholic Church this past Easter. A fellow Marylander, he majored in philosophy and went to law school, but never practiced.  His journey is one from athiesm to Christianity.

He is one of the younger writers of the Science Fiction genre so I have to admit that I do not know much about him.  However, what I do know about him sounds most impressive. 

I have posted a list of his writings so that we might all become aquinted with his literary output. 

I like to remark about such things because in some circles such religious faith and conversion stories are considered antithetical to science fiction and fantasy, despite the notable exceptions. 

Publications: 

  • Farthest Man from Earth (novella) Asimov’s Science Fiction Vol. 19 # 4 & 5, No.229-230, April 1995.
  • Guest Law (novella) Asimov’s Science Fiction Vol. 21 # 6, No.258, June 1997
  • Year’s Best SF 3, ed. David G. Hartwell, HarperPrism, 1998
  • Not Born a Man, (short story) Aberrations #24, October 1994
  • Forgotten Causes, (short story) Absolute Magnitude #16, Summer 2001
  • THE GOLDEN AGE (novel) Tor Books, April 2002
  • THE PHOENIX EXULTANT (novel) Tor Books, April 2003
  • THE GOLDEN TRANSCENDENCE (novel) Tor Books, November 2003
  • LAST GUARDIANS OF EVERNESS (novel) Tor Books (August 2004)
  • MISTS OF EVERNESS (novel) Tor Books (March 2005)
  • ORPHANS OF CHAOS (novel) Tor Books (October 2006)
  • FUGITIVES OF CHAOS (novel) Tor Books (June 2007)
  • TITANS OF CHAOS (novel) Tor Books (March 4, 2008)

He writes on his online journal [March 21, 2008]:

After three years of prayer, thought, and debate, and an honest attempt to follow where the spirit leads me, I am joining the Roman Catholic Church this Easter. Normally, I would keep this private, since I am not inclined to stir up sectarian debates between the two or three parts of the shattered church; but since several people on this website have said I was Catholic, and since I corrected them and said I was not Catholic, I did not want anyone who trusted me what I said that, to be surprised when that information turns out to be out of date.

For my Protestant friends, all I can do is assure you that that Church you broke away from in centuries past has been reformed of the abuses you complained of at that time. The Pope no longer sells indulgences. The theological differences are minor enough that Christly love, if you imitate His love, will cover them. I was raised Lutheran, and drank in anticatholicism with my mother’s milk, so I assure you I am aware of most or all the objections, subtle and obvious, which you consciences in good faith might raise. The shock that came to me when I looked into Catholicism is that the Catholics do not teach what my teachers told me they teach. In any case, Protestant friends, I will be closer to you than I was when I was an atheist, so please consider this progress.

For my pagan friends, rejoice! My Protestant friends tell me my Catholic friends are pagans anyway! So I will be closer to you than I am now. And there is certainly some truth in the idea that Catholicism is a child of Jewish and Hellenic thought: the ancient civilization of Europe is still alive in the Catholic Church. If you worship Brigit, and I revere St. Brigit, this will be a common bond between us.

For the Atheist friends, give thanks! You may think of Catholicism as the most backward and obscurantist of the Christian sects. Not so! Not only does the Catholic Church acknowledge Darwinian evolution, the approach of at least some of the writers (St. Aquinas, for example, or St. Justin Martyr) is as rigorous and as rational as even the best of atheist writers, and darn mile more clear and rational than the worst of atheist writers (who are the only ones we hear about these days). Catholicism, in many of its branches, is not given to the religious enthusiasms of revivalism that so many atheists find disquieting. (Whether this lack of revivalism is a good thing or not, I leave for the reader to decide. Certainly more enthusiasm and crusading spirit would not be a bad thing for this Church at this hour of history.)

The subject of science fiction and religion is one close to my heart.  Much of the genre seems to portray Christianity in a negative fashion, if at all.  Wright speaks about this in an article at SF SIGNAL Mind Meld – Is SF Antithetical to Religion?:

I assume most readers would not regard that as a proper science fiction speculation. Eastern mysticism is not more scientific than Western, but it is more novel to us, so we wonder at it.

It is telling that there is not a single science fiction story where Eastern gods or Eastern mysticism is treated as false and contemptible. In Star Trek, if an Indian, excuse me, a Native American, introduces a starship captain to his “spirit guide”, this spirit never turns out to be a computer in disguise or a lying energy being. On the other hand, if anything remotely like the Christian God shows up, Spock shoots him with the forward phaser battery. This is because Progressives do not (as yet) regard any religion as antithetical to their world-view aside from Christianity. Perhaps Christianity is hard to tame.

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http://orthometer.blogspot.com/2008/02/nominate-me-or-else.html

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The competition this year was steep, especially for BEST PRIEST’S BLOG, and I do not advertise the blog in the parish.  However, even in my passivity about the blog lately, I fared well against my rival from last year.  When you’re done reading my blog, you can take a look at his. 

I am not number one in any category, but there is one consolation, neither is my competition. Alas, I think he has paid a heavy price for his road kill comedy. Ah, how low the great have fallen. Head to head I beat ORTHOMETER in all but one category.

Best Apologetic Blog – FATHER JOE (16) / ORTHOMETER (7)

I hate to gloat, but heck anti-Catholics run from me afraid for their lives, thinking I will take their bibles away from them!

Best Blog by Clergy – FATHER JOE (23) / ORTHOMETER (11)

Okay, I might not be at the top of the list, but look, I beat Father Erik! Does anyone want to kiss my hand? Um, only my hand…

Best Designed Blog – FATHER JOE (14) / ORTHOMETER (5)

Subjects are arranged by both category and dates, it is truly an impressive site, even if I do say so myself. One hardly needs to look elsewhere on the Internet.

Best Individual Blog – FATHER JOE (11) / ORTHOMETER (3)

How was it that ORTHOMETER competed in both BEST GROUP and BEST INDIVIDUAL Blog? That was one way for him to win, to pick categories where I could not compete.

Best Overall Blog – FATHER JOE (9) / ORTHOMETER (1)

Cough, cough, and excuse my dust.

Best Political Blog – ORTHOMETER (11) / FATHER JOE (10)

Pretty close, given that I try not to be political. Okay, I will grant you this one shallow victory.

Best Written Blog – FATHER JOE (13) / ORTHOMETER (3)

Just call me the Shakespeare among the clergy!

Funniest Blog – FATHER JOE (12) / ORTHOMETER (6)

Hahahahahahahahaha!

Most Spiritual Blog – FATHER JOE (10) / ORTHOMETER (2)

Excuse me while I levitate. Amen!

Hey, what’s that sound, I think ORTHOMETER terrorists are at the back door. I have to run get the holy water! See ya!

Father Joe

TO THE AUTHOR & READERS OF ORTHOMETER:  “Have a happy and blessed Easter season!”

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