Archive for August, 2006


The CORPSE BRIDE promotion really has nothing to do with this article, although the film did remind viewers about sacrifice and “until death do we part,” albeit in a morbid way. 

The post is an OPINION piece for me, and maybe I am wrong, but here are my two cents worth. 

I recently read an article where a renown and orthodox philosophy professor argued that Catholic priests should not perform marriages as civil officials of the state.  Right now in the United States, a wedding witnessed by a priest is both recognized by the Church and by the civil authorities.  The couple must have a license and the priest signs it after the service, giving the couple their segment, keeping a copy for Church records, and sending the third page back to the courthouse for formal registration.  The professor argues that given the disparity in how the State and the Church defines marriage, the priest taints himself and undermines the sacrament. 

  • Obviously, the divorce culture has compromised the notion of marriage, and the absurdity of homosexual marriages has definitely complicated matters; however, should the Church isolate herself as an ideological, cultural and civic ghetto or safehaven? 
  • Would this not surrender the public institution of marriage to secular humanists and hedonists? 
  • Would we forfeit our right to enter into the national debate on marriage? 

The priviledge of a priest witnessing legal marriages is not just a sign of overcoming past prejudices, but remains a steadfast witness that legal marriages reflect the natural law and that couples are called to holiness and fidelity.  The priest and the Church offer preparation classes on marriage, the state does not.  There is also a safeguard in the two-tiered program in that State and Church records help to confirm the freedom of people to marry.     

The good doctor says that Catholic priests should witness sacramental marriages only. He adds that if the newlyweds want to get a civil law marriage certificate as well, that is left to them.

  • Does a priest really compromise his office by witnessing marriages that are recognized both by the State and the Church? 
  • Given that such a statement were true, would this not mean that “every” priest and bishop would be compromised and guilty of serious sin?  
  • If we permitted sacramental weddings that were not licensed by the state, would we not endanger the permanence of marriage further? 
  • Would our married people be stamped with the stigma of cohabitation and lewd conduct in the eyes of non-Catholic believers and secular persons with high morals?  
  • Since the state would not recognize such marriages, and common law marriages are no longer recognized in most places, could not such couples easily separate (even more so than with No-Fault Divorce) with little if any civil recourse?  

Some countries require two ceremonies, a civil one before a judge or notary public and a ceremony before a priest and two witnesses. This is a possible eventuality, although it increases the likelihood that some couples would dispense with the Church service entirely. If the couple attempted to consummate the civil contract before engaging in the marital covenant, then they would commit mortal sin. Every such marriage would become a validation.  Giving the Catholic minister the faculties to perform both a civil and an ecclesial wedding is a small insurance that this eventuality need not happen. I do not even want to imagine what the implications would be for inheritance, health insurance, pension and other benefits. Critics would contend that the problem is not the priest and his role for the Church and State; the trouble is that Catholic couples, who are the true ministers of the sacrament, are not keeping their promises. There is also an “intentional” difficulty with Catholics going to a hall or court after the Church wedding. First, it might undermine the full reality of the sacrament, as if there is something constitutive that is missing. Second, given whatever ritual that may be used, it may constitute “simulation” which is forbidden regarding the sacraments. (Marriage renewals must always adjust the vows to recognize that there is a distinction with the original and true marriage.) Remember, that while the notion of permanence has been compromised by divorce, the vows used by civil officials are often the same used at Church weddings, and stipulating “until death do we part”.  Schizophrenic or not, such is the situation.  For the Catholic there is no such thing as a parallel marriage, once the deed is done, it is done.  Two ceremonies tends to harm this appreciation.

marriedstiffs.jpgIf one argues that state marriage is an entirely different species from Church weddings, then what about the marriages of Protestants and other non-Catholics by civil magistrates?  Not bound by Catholic law, we always considered those marriages valid.  However, by extension, the professor’s argument would seem to infer that such marriages, even between men and women, would have no more reality and substance than that of gays and outright fornicators.  Of course, I am probably wrong here, and he would likely  contend that “properly disposed” people would still be able to confect a suitable bond, even if only a natural one. 

As a postscript, I have a priest friend (on the faculty of a seminary) who vehemently disagrees with me.  He thinks that the Church should get out of the marriage business completely and hand the whole mess over to the state.  Obviously, I would very much object.


Here is a recommended book that continues the discussion about the tension and disconnect between Catholicism and contemporary American society, particularly the Democrat Party:


Agree or not with it, the book makes interesting reading and will surely inspire lively discussions!

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ohio.jpgHow to be an Ohioan

(The guy who wrote this must be originally from Meeeeshigan.)

After several decades of living in Ohio, I know how to be an Ohioan. While I was learning, written guidelines would have been helpful. So I’ve written some to assist others:

1. Know the state casserole.

The State casserole consists of canned green beans, Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup and dried onions.

You can safely take this casserole to any social event and know that you will be accepted. In fact, Neil Armstrong almost took this casserole to the moon in case he encountered alien life there. NASA nixed the plan out of concern that the casserole would overburden the Apollo rocket at liftoff.

2. Get used to food festivals.

The Ohio General Assembly, in an effort to grow bigger offensive linemen, passed legislation years ago requiring every incorporated community to have at least one festival per year dedicated to a high-fat food. Thus, Sugarcreek honors Swiss cheese, Troy’s delights in Strawberries, Bucyrus has a bratwurst celebration and Gahanna, seeking an edge over other towns, has recently introduced the Triglyceride and Low-density Lipoprotein Festival. It is your duty as an Ohioan to attend these festivals and at least buy an elephant ear.

3. Know the geography….of Florida, I mean.

I’ve run into Ohioans who couldn’t tell you where Toledo is but they know the exact distance from Fort Myers to Bonita Springs. That’s because all Ohioans go to Florida in the winter, or plan to when they retire, or are related to retired Ohioans who have a place in Sarasota. We consider Florida to be the Lower Peninsula of Ohio.

4. If you can’t afford to spend the winter in Florida, use the state excuse, which is that you stay here because you like the change of seasons. You’ll be lying, but that’s OK. We’ve all done it.

5. Speaking of Ohio weather, wear layers or die.

The thing to remember about Ohio seasons is that they can occur at anytime. We have spring-like days in January and wintry weekends in October. April is capable of providing a sampling of all four seasons in a single 24-hour period. For these reasons, Ohio is the Layering Capital of the World. Even layering, however, can pose danger…Golfers have been known to dress for hypothermia and end up dead of heat stroke because they couldn’t strip off their layers of plaid fast enough on a changeable spring morning.

6. Don’t take Ohio place names literally.

Upper Sandusky is below regular Sandusky.

Circleville is square.

East Liverpool has no counterpart to the west.

Also, if a town has the same name as a foreign capital… Lima or Berlin or Louisville, for example…you must not pronounce it that way lest you come under suspicion as a spy. Hence, it’s not LEE-ma as in Peru, but LYE-ma as in bean, and it’s BER-lin, not Ber-LIN, like in Germany. Louisville in Ohio is pronounced Looisville, not Looeyville as in Kentucky.

7. Become mulch literate.

Ohioans love mulch and appreciate its subtle differences. Learn the difference between hardwood, cypress and pine bark at a minimum. Researchers think the state affinity with mulch derives from its relatively flat terrain. People have a subconscious need for topography, and when it can’t be supplied naturally, they are more likely to make little mulch hillocks in their front yards.

8. In order to talk sports with obsessive fans in Ohio, you have to be knowledgeable on three levels — professional, college and high school. The truly expert Ohio sports fan knows not only the name of the hots hot quarterback at Abercrombie Fitch High School, but also what college he’s interested in, how much he bench-presses, who he took to the prom and what he got on his biology quiz last week.

9. Remember that Ohioans are never the first to embrace trends.

When we do embrace them, we do so with a Midwestern pragmatism. For example, if you see an Ohioan with a nose ring, there’s a good chance he’s had it undercoated to guard against rust.

10. The best way to sell something in Ohio is to attach the term “Amish” to it. The product need not be genuinely Amish.

This would explain the existence of Amish moo shu pork.

I hope you found this guide to be useful. If it offends you, please let me know and I will bring green bean casserole to your home to make amends.

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Iranian president Mohamed Ahmadinejad calls President Bush and tells him, “George, I had a wonderful dream last night. I could see America, the whole beautiful country, and on each house I saw a banner.”

“What did it say on the banners?” Bush asks.

Mahmud replies, “ALLAH IS GOD, GOD IS ALLAH.”

Bush says, “You know, Mahmud, I am really happy you called. Last night I had a similar dream. I could see all of Tehran, and it was more beautiful than ever. It had been rebuilt completely, and on each house flew an enormous banner.”

“What could you see on the banners?” Mahmud says.

Bush replies, “I don’t know, I can’t read Hebrew.”

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“Who’s packing your parachute?” Charles Plumb was a U.S. Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience.

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kittyhawk. You were shot down!” “How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb. “I packed your parachute,” the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked !” Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said ‘Good morning, how are you?’ or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.” Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?” Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory – he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.

Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.

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Golfer: “Think I’m going to drown myself in the lake.”
Caddy: “Think you can keep your head down that long?”

Golfer: “I’d move heaven and earth to break 100 on this course.”
Caddy: “Try heaven, you’ve already moved most of the earth.”

Golfer: “Do you think my game is improving?”
Caddy: “Yes sir, you miss the ball much closer now.”

Golfer: “Do you think I can get there with a 5 iron?”
Caddy: “Eventually.”

Golfer: “You’ve got to be the worst caddy in the world.”
Caddy: “I don’t think so sir. That would be too much of a coincidence.”

Golfer: “Please stop checking your watch all the time. It’s too much of a distraction.”
Caddy: “It’s not a watch – it’s a compass.”

Golfer: “How do you like my game?”
Caddy: “Very good sir, but personally, I prefer golf.”

Golfer: “Do you think it’s a sin to play on Sunday?”
Caddy: “The way you play, sir, it’s a sin on any day.”

Golfer: “This is the worst course I’ve ever played on.”
Caddy: “This isn’t the golf course. We left that an hour ago.”

Golfer: “That can’t be my ball, it’s too old.”
Caddy: “It’s been a long time since we teed off, sir.”

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Male or female, this is funny… 

I’ve seen two shows lately that went on and on about how mid-life is a great time for women. Just last week Oprah had a whole show on how great menopause will be… Puhleeeeeeeze!

I’ve had a few thoughts of my own and would like to share them with you. Whether you are pushing 40, 50, 60 (or maybe even just pushing your luck) you’ll probably relate.

Mid-life is when the growth of hair on our legs slows down. This gives us plenty of time to care for our newly acquired mustache.

In mid-life women no longer have upper arms, we have wingspans. We are no longer women in sleeveless shirts, we are flying squirrels in drag.

Mid-life is when you can stand naked in front of a mirror and you can see your rear without turning around.

Mid-life is when you go for a mammogram and you realize that this is the only time someone will ask you to appear topless.

Mid-life is when you want to grab every firm young lovely in a tube top and scream, “Listen honey, even the Roman empire fell and those will too.”

Mid-life brings wisdom to know that life throws us curves and we’re sitting on our biggest ones.

Mid-life is when you look at your-know-it-all, beeper-wearing teenager and think: “For this I have stretch marks?”

In mid-life your memory starts to go. In fact the only thing we can retain is water.

Mid-life means that your Body By Jake now includes Legs By Rand McNally — more red and blue lines than an accurately scaled map of Wisconsin.

Mid-life means that you become more reflective…You start pondering the “big” questions. What is life? Why am I here? How much Healthy Choice ice cream can I eat before it’s no longer a healthy choice?

But mid-life also brings with it an appreciation for what is important. We realize that breasts sag, hips expand and chins double, but our loved ones make the journey worthwhile.

Would any of you trade the knowledge that you have now for the body you had way back when?

Maybe our bodies simply have to expand to hold all the wisdom and love we’ve acquired. That’s my philosophy and I’m sticking to it!

Send this post address to four women and you will lose two pounds.

Send this to all the women you know (or ever knew), and you will lose 10 pounds.

If you fail to share this post, you will gain 10 pounds immediately.

(That’s why I had to post this– I didn’t want to risk it! :)

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Jay Leno…

Hillary has called for a Senate inquiry to review the credibility of the intelligence used to justify the war and if people were misled. And if there’s one thing the Clintons won’t stand for, it’s misleading the American people.

A&E is going to make a Hillary Clinton movie called “Ice Age 2.”

UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix said that he might write a book about his search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That’s gonna be a fascinating read. “Day one, we found nothing. Day two, we found nothing. Day three, nothing here.”

Tuesday, NASA launched the Mars rover to probe the Red Planet. We sent a rocket to Mars. Apparently the CIA gave them reports Mars has weapons of mass destruction.

Yesterday 14 members of the House of Representatives got stuck on an elevator together. The situation ended badly: They got out. But we saved a ton of money while they were in there.

Proponents of this election to recall Governor Gray Davis claim they now have 988,000 signatures. Isn’t that amazing? I didn’t realize that many Californians spoke English! Where are they?!

Happy Birthday to President Bush. Turned 57 years old. If you haven’t gotten him a gift yet, you can’t go wrong with an economic plan. He doesn’t have one of those.

A new category was introduced at the Oscars this year: Best Non-Supporting Director.  It went to Michael Moore. As you know, Michael, who won an Oscar for best documentary, then made some anti-war statements during his acceptance speech and got booed.  He was really mad when he was giving that speech.
I haven’t seen him that angry since he was charged for two seats on a Southwest airplane flight.

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.

The leader of Iran has offered to resign because so many citizens are angry with his government. He told the people, “If you don’t want me, then I will just go.” And today Governor Gray Davis said: “Shut up. Quit saying that!” 

How ’bout Jerry Springer? He announced in Ohio he is going to run for senator. Gosh, I wonder if there’s anything sleazy in his background?

Today in Africa, the Secret Service arrested a guy who made it onto the white house press plane traveling with President Bush, with absolutely no credentials. They think it might have been Geraldo.

A man in Arkansas spent 19 years in a coma before he finally regained consciousness. So there’s still hope for Al Gore. There’s still a chance.

The only other person from Arkansas that didn’t know what was happening for 19 years was, of course, Hillary Clinton.

Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were both captured today. I guess this is true, it was in the New York Times.

How many watched that stupid “Hitler” movie last night on CBS? The guy playing Hitler was so good that during the broadcast French TV viewers actually surrendered.

Congrats to a New York horse — Funny Cide has won two legs of the Triple Crown. He won the Preakness this weekend down in Baltimore. A New York bred horse, now has won the second jewel. He’s a gelding; the gelding procedure was done on him to calm him down. Today Hillary Clinton said, “You can do that?”

We had a lunar eclipse last night. Total darkness for like an hour. Here in California people just assumed it was another Gray Davis energy screw-up.

According to a CBS news poll, 66 percent of Americans cannot name a single Democratic candidate running for president. The other 34 percent are Democratic candidates.

David Letterman…

Top Things Heard In Line To Buy Hillary Clinton’s Book:

“At last we’ll cut through the lies and get to the embellished, politically motivated truth.”

“Hey, the Whitewater chapter is all shredded” “Why ain’t your husband king no more?”

“Hillary Clinton? I thought it was the new Harry Potter book.”

“That Barnes and Noble cashier looks a lot like Al Gore.”

“I hear the section about Bill is a pop-up book.”

“The last time I was at one of these, Rosalyn Carter showed up drunk.”

“Twenty-eight bucks for a book? That Lewinskys.”

“I feel weird doing this with your wife right there, Mr. Clinton.”

Top Things The Iraqi Information Minister Has Admitted Since Being Captured:

“Okay, Iraq didn’t win the war. It was a tie.”

“Iraq’s weapons scientists were secretly developing our own Hulk.”

“Tariq Aziz had Botox.”

“Saddam Hussein’s not the innocent angel everyone thinks he is.”

“Dr. Germ looks really hot when she’s synthesizing VX gas.”

“You picked the right guy for the ‘Queen of Clubs,’ if you know what I mean.”

“Howard Dean will win the 2004 election.”

“Uday Hussein’s birth name — Gary.”

“I’ve been offered a job as editor of ‘The New York Times’.”

Top Most Common Questions Asked Of The White House Switchboard Operator:

“You guys find Saddam yet?”

“Can I get some of them little square hamburgers delivered?”

“Hey, it’s the President. I lost my wallet again. Can you tell the guy to let me in?”

“You guys find Saddam yet?”

“How ’bout Osama — found him yet?”

“I work next door. Can you guys turn down the Lynyrd Skynyrd?”

“It’s Al Gore — has anyone called for me?”

“Do you accept unsolicited ‘West Wing’ scripts?”

“Aren’t you too busy to answer your own phone, Mr. President?”

“This is the President — any idea how I’d get a hold of Cheney?”

Argus Hamilton…

President Bush got up early Friday morning in Kennebunkport and went fishing off the coast of Maine with his father in the family cabin cruiser. It’s called the Fidelity II. The Bushes can’t even christen a boat without elbowing the Clintons.

Al Sharpton’s Ford Explorer may be repossessed over a $3,600 bounced check. His response to the story was a statement that he doesn’t drive or have a driver’s license. One look at him and you know he traded oil for food long before Saddam Hussein ever did.

Barnes and Noble said Hillary Clinton broke its one-day sales record [last] Monday. That’s not all. Other broken records in the book include politics of personal destruction, vast right-wing conspiracy, and out-of-control overzealous prosecutors.

Barbara Walters’s chat with Hillary Clinton was a ratings smash Sunday. It was the third most-watched show all week. The interview trailed CSI and Everybody Loves Raymond but Hillary Clinton defeated Law and Order, and not for the first time.m for the next century.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was nearly killed Friday by a falling stage beam in Philadelphia. She’s the swing vote. If that beam had fallen an inch to the left, gay couples who smoke in public restaurants would never get into Michigan Law School.

The White House offered a twenty-five-million-dollar reward for information leading to the capture of Saddam Hussein. So now, the fugitive dictator will kill anyone around him who acts the least bit suspicious. It will be like old times.

Congress sent its Medicare reform bill to conference last week. No one likes it, but everyone wants it, and no one wants to pay for it. Right now, Americans can’t imagine how our lives could be any more frustrating and complex, but Congress can.

Hillary Clinton raised eyebrows by celebrating the Fourth of July in England Friday. She must be blind to appearances. Every August Hillary celebrates the anniversary of her marriage to Bill Clinton with the Kennedys at Martha’s Vineyard.

The Governing Council of Iraq met for the first time Sunday. It was politics as usual. They didn’t make any decisions on police, infrastructure or economic development but they did get three hundred signatures to recall Governor Gray Davis.

The House voted to fund four sexual research projects. They include studies of Asian hookers and the sex habits of older men. The money was needed because the research may require congressional fact-finding trips to the Moonlight Bunny Ranch.

The Transportation Security Agency said that passengers will no longer be required to take off their shoes at airports. It’s no secret why. Now that the scanners can
see completely through clothes, no one wants to look at your feet.

Iran test-launched its Shahab-3 missile … that is able to reach Israel. Iran says they built the rocket and guidance system using their own expertise. So it’s just a coincidence that Shahab is the North Korean word meaning This Side Up.

West Nile virus surfaced in a South Carolina pond … to begin this summer’s plague. You can’t make it up. One week after the September 11th attacks the U.S. government grounded all crop dusters, and now we’re all going to die of bug bites.

Colin Powell met with Crown Prince Abdullah in Riyadh and toured Saudi Arabia last week. He wasn’t impressed by their crackdown on al-Qa’ida. On the motorcade in from the airport, he saw three billboards advertising Osama bin Laden Live at the Dunes.

The Pentagon admitted Monday al-Qa’ida prisoners are being subjected to eight straight hours of the theme song from Barney. Talk about making more bin Ladens. The exact same experience has driven more than one parent to want to blow something up.

Democrats held a presidential debate in Iowa in front of a union crowd. It was quite a show. The candidates spent ninety minutes discussing ways to prevent corporations from making profits so we can get this economy moving again.

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