Several weeks ago my wife and I went to mass and it happened to be one where they were going to baptize a few infants. The homily also happened to be on the well timed topic of leaving mass early. The deacon went through reason after reason why we should not leave mass early. I certainly agreed with him. Then my infant son started to act up a little. At this point I got up and walked to the back so that I would annoy as few people as possible. I remained in the back.
A young couple and their friends were waiting at the back until after mass to have their beautiful child baptized ... they talked the whole time despite shshes and glares of death from surrounding parishioners. I had been told in the past that baptism classes are where you meet the Chreaster Catholics -- those who show up only for Easter and Christmas. Well it was clear that this couple and none of their friends had ever spent much time in mass. I felt such sorrow for the grandmother who was just urging them to respect those around them. It just wasn't going to click in 15 minutes what hadn't clicked in 25 years.
After receiving I continued once again to the back to wait until the end of mass. I counted no less than 20 people exit mass early. I wouldn't have thought much of it except that the homily was specifically on that topic. I was floored. I kept asking myself if they were being deliberately disobedient or if they just were not listening. Then I wondered why they even came in the first place.
My wife asked this question to a priest once ... His theory was that the Eucharist is irresistible ... in his words it was "there is just something they cannot put their finger on that keeps them coming". True.
Then I thought of all the middle aged and elderly practicing Catholics that I talk to. I always hear the same thing "I regret not getting serious about my faith until I read Scott Hahn or started watching EWTN". At one time they were irreverent, shunning their faith for every other thing the world had to offer, but in the end they decided at one point to keep coming. It hurts even more to hear them voice regret of having used birth control during their fertile years. I keep hearing, "have children while you can" ....
I ask myself often why you see little old ladies at daily mass. Sometimes I think it takes decades for people to get out of the desert and come home. I think a vibrant church full of only twenty-somethings is a scary thing. I thought that when I was Protestant and I think that now. Where are the people who persevere? Where are the wise we are supposed to learn from? The Catholic Church can seem so desolate to young people because there just are not that many of them in the pews. Once mama isn't taking them to mass they often disappear. In the end, when wisdom gets more control over them they often come back. I pray they all come back sooner. As for me I need to see that the fact that most practicing Catholics are older than me as a gift. It is better to learn from the wise than to be part of the blind leading the blind.
Then again, it could just be my generation. I have much hope for the people younger than me that I see at mass.
It allows you to create a station that you will like almost instantly. Pick your favorite 15 artists -- viola. Good station. You are allowed 6 skips per hour on the free version. You have to pay for unlimited skips. The better thing is that there is a portable device that you can purchase to use with your stations.
As far as finding new music, LAUNCH, Last.fm and Pandora are also excellent and I recommend using all of them. I have found them helpful in different ways and there are free versions of all of them.
Also, if you HAVE a lot of MP3's a service called AnywhereFM allows you to upload them and create a station with YOUR music. They have recently been bought by imeem so keep that in mind.
Lots going on in the Internet music biz .... and I think its really cool.
Take the time - learn about how federal taxes affect others
Friday, February 8, 2008
One of the biggest raises I got in my career is when Bush passed his tax cuts ... thats just reality. I may not appreciate a lot of what the Bush administration has done but when it comes to my bottom line the Bush tax cuts are likely why my financial situation today is MUCH better than it was when he took office the first time.
Yall play with this for a little while ... it will teach you a lot about who pays taxes in this country
I am using standard deduction. Median household income is $48,000 so I am going with $50,000 for the examples. Median income for individuals is $32,000 -- numbers are from 2006 for year 2005
I put a few examples up for review ...
Single $8,750 is the 0% tax point 25k income $2,046 32k income $3,096 median income person pays 10% 50k income $7,586 64k income $10,236 100k income $19,661
Married filing jointly $17,500 is the 0% tax point 25k income $750 50k income $4,093 median income pays 8% 100k income $13,473
Married jointly 2 kids $42,875 is close to the 0% point (pays $8 federal tax) 25k income $0 50k income $1,073 median income pays 2% 100k income $9,773
Married jointly 4 kids $63,000 is close to the 0% point (pays $3 federal tax) 25k income $0 50k income $0 median income pays 0% 100k income $6,073
For those lower incomes I am not even considering EIC which wipes out some of that tax burden. If one considers buying a home and other deductions that effective rate can go down even more.
Consider, wouldn't an average family likely be median income level with 2 kids? ... they are a 2% tax rate. The average single person pays 10% or less in federal taxes.
One more thing to consider ...
During 2006, Tax Foundation economists estimate that roughly 43.4 million tax returns, representing 91 million individuals, will face a zero or negative tax liability. That's out of a total of 136 million federal tax returns that will be filed. Adding to this figure the 15 million households and individuals who file no tax return at all, roughly 121 million Americansóor 41 percent of the U.S. populationówill be completely outside the federal income tax system in 2006.1 This total includes those who pay no tax, and those who pay some tax upfront and are later refunded the full amount of the tax paid or more.(source)
Now some people will complain that the single person making 100k pays more than the married person making 100k. Its not as bad as it appears here. The married person is making money for TWO people. Compare two single people making 50k and the married person making 100k.
Compare two single people making 50k to married couple making 100k Two single people making 50k each will pay $15,172 (7586*2) A married couple filing jointly making 50k each (100k) will pay $13,473 A married couple filing separately making 50k each (100k) will pay $19,094
Also consider that there is a REASON the state wants to encourage marriage. Quite simply children are the future tax base. They are the future of the nation. The state does well to encourage that.
I am not sure what I want you to take from this except that you need to know how the system works. When someone says that a tax cut benefits the rich they are completely right, but that is only because people who are NOT rich typically do not pay income taxes. There is no way to get a benefit from a tax cut when you are not paying taxes. The crime in income taxation is that many poor do not know how to do their taxes or that they should go to someone who does. If they pay more its because they have not taken advantage of the system. The system is not unkind to them. It is VERY forgiving, especially to low and middle income families.
I know everyone is focused on Super Tuesday but tomorrow the story will be what was happening with the weather ... and not that polls closed early.
The death toll is not insignificant. The number of injuries is high. The damage reports seem, initially that is, to warrant the HIGH they issued earlier today. One supercell starting in MS spawned tornadoes into KY (may still be doing so) ... thats over 300 miles. Hockey fans were held in the Nashville area due to that supercell passing through just as the game ended. Memphis has damage. Jackson TN has extensive damage and CNN was even reporting 86 injuries in Jackson alone. Arkansas unfortunately has (last I read) at least 7 dead and I know of at least 3 dead in KY. CNN is reporting 16 dead as of midnight CST.
There is a pipeline burning in TN and reportedly a plane down.
Its late and this post is a mess. I'll followup in the morning (more of the same expected further east) ... Maybe even a derecho tonight? Why not ... everything else seems to have happened.
Prayers for the victims and their families I am sure would be appreciated ... My 6 year old asked that we pray especially for the "little babies" in the path of these storms. Y'all listen to him as well.
UPDATE: See national news. Death toll up to 47 per Fox News/CNN... Super Tuesday results lead both sites. Americans know what is important (see image below).
With daylight I think the real damage assessments will begin. A tragic, tragic event ...
"The only major sporting event without a playoff system to identify its true champion that I know of is NCAA Division I football," said state Rep. Quincy Murphy, D-Augusta.
I happen to agree with them ...
I cannot say I disagree with the sentiment though ... What I would love to see happen is for LSU to finish first in the AP while someone else wins the BCS championship (and next year preferably). That way the current mindset in Baton Rouge that the BCS is the only one that counts will suffer some real cognitive dissonance. Which championship do you throw out? The one when Saban was here or the AP only one? If the AP one doesn't count, what about 1958?
I, for one, would love it. What it really highlights is that LSU won a BCS National Championship twice in this decade and an AP National Championship once. There is a reason that the NCAA now refers to division 1-A as the Football Bowl Subdivision and 1-AA as the Football Championship Division. Its a rather overt way of saying the league that 1-A teams compete under doesn't recognize their championship. Why should they? The system excludes half its teams.
So as far as the NCAA and me are concerned all of the championships at the highest level are mythical ... They sure do sell hats and come with pretty trophies.
Good news for lesbians who want to have biological children related to both parents: a new stem-cell technique could allow scientists to convert female cells into sperm. Use that sperm to fertilize an egg, and voila: children with two female biological parents.
I have been planning to discuss on this blog in-vitro fertilization and other acts that remove the unitive aspect of the marital act. This would certainly qualify.
When your team loses the big game and the only article of clothing you have is a huge arctic coat AND the forecast for the next day is a high of 80 degrees do you still have the responsibility to wear the coat?
Its actually painful that this was a good game. When your team loses and it was a blowout, its easier to deal with. Long battles that are settled in the final moments are painful because it could have gone either way ...
Fans are allowed a certain short time frame to mourn a loss. I don't know how long that is. I am not seething with rage but I am sort of down I admit. I wish I could say that I enjoyed the game that so many people are saying was the best one they had seen. If it had been any team other than New England or New Orleans, I could have enjoyed it from that perspective. It would have been better only for Giants fans ...
That said, I STILL enjoyed the excitement Peyton Manning showed during the game. Eli sure picked the right time to have a coming out party. That play where he escaped the sack and hit the first down (amazing catch as well) is a career defining play. I know its one I won't forget. It put a dagger through my heart because I deep down knew they had that extra intangible that makes champions.
I'll make this analysis easy ... fortunately the local news did all of the work for me.
The Super Bowl is set, and the matchup features plenty of Bayou State talent. The New York Giants and the New England Patriots boast nine players with Louisiana ties in the big game ...(source)
What the local news did not do is perform the hard hitting analysis that will reveal why you should be rooting for New England on Sunday. That is what I am for. First off the MSM neglected to let you in on a little secret. New England owns the sheer number count 5 to 4 over the Giants in this Super Bowl. Below is your list showing even more why everyone in Louisiana (especially those who love LSU) should be rooting for the New England Patriots ...
Only the Roman Catholic Church is authorized to decide what wine can be labelled sacramental, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled on Tuesday. In a lawsuit filed by a wine-producing company against the Church, the court said that the Church has autonomy to decide which wine may be used in Catholic worship.
Apparently a wine maker was suing the Church for the right to label their wines as sacramental wines.
... the label gives the information that this particular wine is good enough even for the Church and the Church freely chooses to use it at the Holy Mass. It may of course give a signal to other customers as well about the quality of the wine. But the absurd argument of the complainant was that he, as a wine producer, is entitled to such permission by the Church for every wine that has objectively fulfilled the criteria set by the Canonical Law.
The article even uses the word transubstantiation.
Sportswriters, Coach Majerus and the battle with Archbishop Burke
Monday, January 28, 2008
Ed Peters hits the nail on the head
But folks, after reading a raft of pep rallies published for Coach Majerus over the weekend, I've reached a conclusion: if sports writers are really qualified to parse Catholic moral theology and ecclesiastical discipline against a world class theologian and canonist like Abp. Burke, then I'm more than qualified to coach college ball. Hey, I've watched some NBA All-Star videos, I saw "Hoosiers" (which, okay, wasn't about college basketball, but so what?),and people still talk about that right hand hook shot I made in the eighth grade basketball camp.
Laugh if you want, but that's about the level of ecclesiastical sophistication that sports writers are bringing to bear against Abp. Burke for his reaction to Majerus' support for abortion and experimentation on embryonic human beings. But let's be very clear about something here: Coach Majerus, not Abp. Burke, violated the wall of separation between Church and Sport, and now it's up to Majerus to repair the damage he did. In the meantime, the more his allies in the sports media try to defend the coach's blunder, the more they show themselves to be way, way out of their league. (source) via Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
I listen to sports radio. There is a air there that reeks of avoidance of the real problems of the world. You are not going to hear anything particularly controversial even on the boldest of sports talk radio. That simply isn't what its for. For most of us its an escape. I want to debate something inconsequential, in the grand scheme of things, so I debate the place of this years Patriots team on the list of best teams ever. I can get riled up at my opponent and get some good manly clashing of ideas. Its almost like a sport of its own. I know the rules and listeners can judge us like a boxing match, scoring points and figuring up a winner -- at least in their mind. In the end how good the Patriots are is not important. Abortion is important. Feeding a family is important. The war in Iraq is important.
Occasionally they dabble in what they consider edgy fare, usually the common slightly dated social themes applied to a specific case in sports. The real battles on those fronts were won by brave souls destined to remain in our history books. Thats not to say that barrier breakers in sports are not important. Its also not to say that current social battles in sports are not important. They are ... just like they are in my career field. Sports hiring and policy is evidence of the fallout of the real social battles. Its hardly ever at the forefront (there are certainly notable exceptions like Jesse Owens). In reality sports talk is pretty much on the same page. After all, everyone is for just minority hiring. Everyone is against steroids. There is just not much to debate there except crossing the t's and dotting the i's. That part is fun. I have an idea, you have an idea. We can be part of the solution.
This story is different though. It matters. It IS at the forefront for our time and our generation. When they teeter into the real problems of the world it makes it quite evident that the focus of their journalism is on everything but ... and that is where their focus should remain because, after all, thats the role they fill for the Average Joe like me.
The kids attended their first ever Mardi Gras parade in Denham Springs. It was a great family friendly atmosphere and I plan to go yearly from now on. Honestly, it was my first parade since middle school (not counting the Catholic school parade last year) ... That would make something like 20+ years for those counting. The only problem was that loud sirens and the ears of young children do not mix well.
My house is currently covered in beads ... its a very colorful and festive place. We will enjoy the moment.
My kids are already asking when the next parade is .... This will be fun!
This is an interesting read on the process of re-opening, merging and closing of parishes that is going on in the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
In February 2006, having absorbed nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in damages to dozens of schools and churches, the archdiocese underwent a forced, temporary reorganization of parish life.
It announced the permanent closure of 10 of its 151 parishes or missions, although it later reduced that number. It shut down all operations in 23 others in Orleans, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes.
Although the 23 church parishes remain technically open, members have been assigned to neighboring parishes for worship, education and other ministries until the archdiocese can sort out the future and develop a long-term plan for recovery.
It is evident that much pain will ensue in the decisions that have to be made. Katrina isn't exactly yesterday to New Orleans like it might be for the rest of the country. We would all do our best to pray for the leaders of the Church that they might be able to navigate the difficult waters of the future and return a city filled with vibrant life to its Catholic roots.
Web page challenge issued 6/4/99: E-Mail me a verifiable quotation from an orthodox Christian theologian who wrote prior to 1900 A. D. in support of contraception. I do not believe that one can be found!
I found a very beautiful quote on the site ...
Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, Paedagogus
We must regard the woman's crown to be her husband, and the husband's crown to be marriage; and the flowers of marriage the children of both, which the divine husbandman plucks from meadows of flesh. 'Children's children are the crown of old men.'
It is not an accident that what happened to me tonight came to pass. I received a tremendous grace from God. I will try to explain it here ...
Last week I brought a book to my adoration hour. I was thoroughly engrossed in it enough to stay awake through my 11pm hour. This week, I planned to bring the same book. When I went to thumb through the books on the shelf I remembered that I had brought the book to work in order to read a few chapters during lunch. That left me feeling somewhat discouraged, but alas I have many books at home I have not read. I grabbed a random one off the shelf ... the topic happened to be marriage.
The book was "Male and Female He Created Them" by Jorge Cardinal Medina Estevez. It starts off listing the many offenses against marriage: fornication, adultery, polygamy, sodomy etc. It was a thoroughly distasteful read. It was followed by a more pleasant exposition of the biblical support for the teaching of the Church on marriage. What I found was that I had forgotten there is so much in the Bible that refers to marriage, especially the Old Testament. It is so very clear the way God intended it -- that is, one man, one woman -- until death. My reading continued and as is often usual in my adoration hour, I fell asleep.
Midnight rolled around and I hopped in the car to head home. Immediately God revealed to me the gift of the wedding anniversary of my in-laws. Today is their 35th wedding anniversary. In their marriage I see an image of the faithfulness of God to the covenants He has made with us. For God, His covenant is forever. It is His people who have been unfaithful. His example, however, is one of faithfulness. For those who remain married are also committed to longevity. It is also a gift that my wife and I were able to celebrate it with them, including our children. In reality, the fruit of their marriage eventually resulted in the joy others saw in our children tonight.
The peace that my wife and I have received in our marriage is one that we received from the example of our parents, both having remained married. It is the basic gift of life my wife received from them, as I did from my parents to support the foundation for all that my children will know of life, love and even God. It is also the great gift of handing on the faith that my wife and I have been able to grow in the grace and love of our Lord forever learning new ways to serve each other and God. So while the world may see insanity in the longevity of marriage, what the Christian sees is a great triumph and even more importantly an image of fidelity that points directly to that even more perfect attribute of God towards each of us.
Blogging has been light ... I am struggling with the writing side of things so naturally I figured firing the head coach is out of the option so I made a big shakeup in the assistant staff. Introducing my "Offensive Coordinator" and new theme: Sainte Chapelle.
There is a reason for this. 1) I have been to Sainte Chapelle. 2) I think it captures my heritage as well as that of Louisiana (i.e. French) 3) Its WAY Catholic -- not that a theme with a picture of the Pope is LESS Catholic 4) AANNNND since the French are not currently on the standard conservative boycott list I figure I can get away with it even with my more conservative readers ;) ... I admit I never could make myself stop buying French wine even when Freedom Fries were all the rage ...
I am curious for those who visit enough to note the change whether or not you find it an improvement. For those who are visiting for the first time I am linking up some crude images showing the difference. There will likely be some minor typeface tweaks (a big ARGH! goes out to "web safe typefaces")
Parks --especially for children -- are hardly made by the state any more, often considered waste. Today they are increasingly made by corporations. Often they allow people to visit their play areas and nice strolls for free. They saw a need that had been eliminated and tried to fill it. Seems like a good deal. We retain the areas for kids payed for by corporate dollars and not tax dollars. A win/win for everyone right? Consider that both major malls in our area have huge play areas. Chick-fil-a, Burger King and McDonald's are regular gathering places for parents looking for a clean place for their kids to play. Every large book store in town has a Thomas the Train set. Now that I think about it, you can even replace your state funded library reading time with a trip to a big box book store but you cannot leave with a book unless you are willing to pay. Meanwhile, the story teller at the library reads to increasingly smaller crowds and local libraries -- a staple for local homsechoolers -- find themselves desperate for usage lest their funding be cut even more. The price of admission to these corporate parks, of course, is the expectation of buying something. So while it may be great for balancing local budgets its terrible for my pocketbook. Over the past year my wife and I traced every financial budget crisis we had to "eating out" ... It costs me, on average $15-20 to feed my family at any of these places. Those excursions we used to take to our modern day corporate parks are slowly coming to an end and we will be left with the increasingly underfunded state options, where you can borrow the books and walk away knowing the dent in your pocket came from the tax money you already doled out in the past. You feel like your dollars are well spent on the parks, even if the rest of the state is content to pay to have their children play at McDonald's.
There are exceptions to this rule of course. The state parks in Louisiana are much improved from when I was a child. Also the BEST kids play park in the area is a city funded park in a small town south of Baton Rouge. Still are we seeing a trend away from state funding or is it just me?
Homily on NFP provokes congregation member to stand up and shout at priest "When are you going to stop?"
After reading much of the commentary I decided to hold off on commenting. It all seems too perfect. Good orthodox priest preaching the truth on a difficult subject. Bad person (a lesbian to boot) stands up to the priest at mass in a public and disrespectful manner. Bishop moves the priest. Its clear the conclusion ... right? The bishop is one of the bad guys ... you know ... the ones that marred the faith with their less than stellar handling of the priest abuse scandal? Most of the commentary I read seemed to suggest that it was all cut and dry. And then a few people with saner heads poked a few holes in the seemingly obvious conclusion. Robert at HMS summarizes these thoughts quite well.
In fact, we don't even know if this is the reason he was moved. I agree that Bishop Doran and the Rockford diocese have a well-deserved reputation for promotion of the pro-life, pro-family Gospel message, so I wonder if there is something else going on here that we don't know about and can't know about. You know, we have to avoid rashly using a post hoc ergo propter hoc interpretation.
We shouldn't jump to conclusions especially when the priest is supportive of the bishop in a manner that sides with what we know about the bishop. Something doesn't add up so I recommend skepticism of the "obvious" conclusion ... besides, my wife made the interesting suggestion that they may be moving him from parish to parish to give the same homily. :)
An 82-year-old child molester, Tommy George, has been given a sentence of PROBATION by a jury here in Waco, Texas. (Read all about it here). How can this happen? A friend and colleague at Baylor offers an answer: "This is a Texas-Jury: `This is a guy we all like from the community; we know his kids; we can't lock him up.'"
My wife went to a talk by a man who handles these types of cases. He told a story about a man that was a neighborhood favorite who was accused of molesting children. They went to arrest him and apparently could not on some technicality so they went back to get their ducks in a row to pick him up the next day. That night he committed suicide. The local residents became irate and blamed the police despite the overwhelming evidence against him. They just refused to believe that such a loved person could commit such crimes. He mentioned that all too often the most difficult process is fighting with friends and family who refuse to believe the truth about these perpetrators. It points out, sadly, how the testimony of a child is hardly considered credible. It also further underscores how on guard we have to be with our children. As my wife likes to say "I bet even Hitler was 'nice'"
I begin this post by pointing out that I have received a few hits in recent days because of the search phrase "Why is the Catholic Church obsessed with sex?" That term hits this blog because of a short post I entered back in 2006. In that post I captured something from a forum I visit that succinctly summarizes other so-called Church obsessions throughout history. The problem is that out of context the post may make very little sense. Also in light of the pro-family demonstrations in Spain generating a flurry of "anti-gay Catholic Church" comments, I felt it best to explain the really quite simple teaching of the Church on sex.
Before I get to the goods, I want to take a short diversion. Shrine of the Holy Whapping pointed out an interesting National Catholic Reporter piece the other day that I think points out something very interesting about Pope Benedict XVI. The concept is what they call "affirmative orthodoxy". A quote from the Pope are in order:
Christianity, Catholicism, isnít a collection of prohibitions: itís a positive option. Itís very important that we look at it again because this idea has almost completely disappeared today. Weíve heard so much about what is not allowed that now itís time to say: we have a positive idea to offer, that man and woman are made for each other, that the scale of sexuality, eros, agape, indicates the level of love and itís in this way that marriage develops, first of all, as a joyful and blessing-filled encounter between a man and a woman, and then the family, that guarantees continuity among generations and through which generations are reconciled to each other and even cultures can meet. So, firstly itís important to stress what we want. Secondly, we can also see why we donít want something. I believe we need to see and reflect on the fact that itís not a Catholic invention that man and woman are made for each other, so that humanity can go on living: all cultures know this. As far as abortion is concerned, itís part of the fifth, not the sixth, commandment: ďThou shalt not kill!Ē We have to presume this is obvious and always stress that the human person begins in the motherís womb and remains a human person until his or her last breath. The human person must always be respected as a human person. But all this is clearer if you say it first in a positive way.(source)
It is from this angle that I will attempt my explanation.
The Catholic teaching on sex can really best be summarized by stating what it IS FOR as opposed to what it is AGAINST. I want to rewind in time before the ready availability of artificial contraception. Conditions during that time make it very clear the intent of natural sex between two persons. Set the stage in your mind and then read the following:
Sex is both intended to be fruitful and to be unitive. If two people are considering the act, they must consider the consequences and prepare for the outcome of its fruitfulness. Every person on this earth has a mother and a father and the Church fights for the right of children to know their parents. This all naturally works within marriage between a man and a woman and with sexual acts rendering the unitive and procreative (fruitful) aspects fully in tact.
This is the very clear and obvious natural order of things. From this everything else flows. As Zippy Catholic recently stated on his blog:
The Church after all tells us that as something falling under the natural law sexual morality is accessible, at least in principle, to our reason. But it also makes the rest of Catholic teaching on sexual morality coherent rather than ad hoc. Immoral sexual acts in general then become of a piece: sodomy is wrong because it is a modified/unnatural sexual act; masturbation is wrong because it is a modified/unnatural sexual act; contraception is wrong because it is a modified/unnatural sexual act; intercourse with a transgendered person is wrong because it is a modified/unnatural sexual act; bestiality is wrong because it is a modified/unnatural sexual act; etc. etc.(source)
It is important to note that ecompassing the natural order of marriage (in a secular sense where persons essentially live together in order to raise children and give them knowledge of their parents) points out why divorce and infidelity fall into the "piece" of immoral sexual acts. That said, the sexual act is distinctly different from the person committing it. Most of society has figured this out in their easy division between the act of contraception and what the Church teaches about them as a person otherwise. The Church could not retain a dissent rate so high on contraception if it were such that people were defined and derived their dignity from the immoral sexual acts they performed. As I have stated in the past
Everyone knows the Church teaches against artificial contraception yet few people think that Catholic Church hates the majority of people in the US for using artificial contraception. However, when a priest in the Church comes out in a consistent manner against homosexual acts then it is clearly because the Church hates gays ... How does that follow? While the acts are obviously different they have some similarities and it can be said that they could be condemned for a common reason. They are both sexual acts that render the procreative aspect null. Both are condemned by the Church. Things I sadly have done in the past are condemned by the Church. If you were to follow the "hates gays" line of reasoning then the Church hates all of us. (source)
But is is clear the Church doesn't even hate gays, despite the insistence of so many that the Church does. In fact, the catechism makes a clear distinction on this point.
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
or as Pope Benedict says in the first quote I cite
The human person must always be respected as a human person. But all this is clearer if you say it first in a positive way.
The Church is not obsessed with sex as much as it is obsessed with the right order of things in terms of the procreation of children and the carrying forth of the Faith. It just so happens that sex is part of that right order. The obsession comes from those who are attached to disordered versions of the act who are bound in their disobedience to claim that the simple image of family depicted by the Church is a direct offense at their worth. After all, if you do not perceive your dignity as being that given to you by God, then you can wrap your dignity up in terms of your actions. That the Church gives all sinners their dignity is inconsequential. Those bent on accusing the Church of an obsession regarding sex are offended because they define their own person, not by God, but by their own actions.
This sort of happened to my LCD yesterday except it wasn't a Wii. It was a wooden sword. It was painful but do laugh anyway. Part of me thinks it was a blessing from God. I have ranted on overuse of TV in the past. Enjoy ...
Argh!!! The Saints lost ... that makes the NFC totally irrelevant to me now. I guess that puts me full time rooting for the Patriots in the post season. Yes I am a Patriots fan. Have been since the 1985 season and even moreso the short few games of Tommy Hodson at the helm in the early 90's.
I am somewhat of an anomaly around here in the land of LSU. I MUCH prefer pro football to college ball. Don't get me wrong, I am going to root for the local team. My wife graduated from there. My family has long ties to the university. I feel somewhat compelled to care because of my upbringing but in reality I don't really care that much. I like Les Miles if that's worth anything. I know that I will watch the national title game. Still, it won't be the same for me ... not like it was when I was a kid. Not like it was when Adam Vinatieri sailed that kick through the uprights for the first Super Bowl win for the New England Patriots in SB XXXVI.
The NFL doesn't suffer from the same dishonesty that NCAA ball, especially the Bowl Division, suffers from. Every year you have grades scandals, boosters caught dropping six figure bundles in the hands of high school coaches and recruits. Of course that never seems to happen at my friends favorite schools, or if it does then it was a teacher with an axe to grind or some other excuse. Everyone knows it goes on and nobody really cares to do much about it. We are talking institutions of higher learning. That is what they are supposed to be right? Now are there problems with the NFL? Certainly, but not to the point that it affects the game. In the highest level of NCAA football 90% of the teams have no legitimate shot at a national title before the season starts and well over 50% don't even have a mathematical shot at a national title each season. You can complain that Hawaii didn't belong on the field with Georgia but the fact is they cannot belong because every recruit knows Hawaii will never play for a national championship. Kind of hurts recruiting you know ... and the system is such that Hawaii CANNOT improve short of being elected to the club.
In the NFL every team has a shot. This isn't just in theory. This is reality. The rags to riches stories in the past few seasons bear testimony to that fact. New England is good. The Saints made the NFC championship game. Tampa Bay even won a Super Bowl. There is a real playoff that decides the winner on the field and there is no shifty underground trying to pay players that you are not supposed to pay. Everyone knows they get paid and that they get paid a whole lot. I think the whole above board nature of it creates a stunningly good brand of football. The cap system has evened the playing field and even though people lamented that this would destroy the dynasties that draw people to the game it has not. In fact, it has created one of the best dynasties that I can recall in the NFL ever. To me, the NFL is in its prime. College football is past its prime and the patchwork BCS is all the evidence I need of that. It was much more interesting to me as a kid. College football would do better to move to a playoff or move back to the days of major bowls with conference tie-ins. Just quit pretending you are crowning a legitimate national champion. I know it looks nice on bumper stickers and hats but the NCAA doesn't recognize it. I wish more fans would do the same.
College ball ... no thanks. I will support my non-BCS alma mater. I will even attend a game or two BECAUSE its my alma mater (after all, its supposed to be about education right?). For the rest of it, I'd rather catch the superior play and FAR superior modern-day competitive system of the NFL. I just wish the NFL would start a minor league system in the spring and start taking kids like MLB and the NBA do. I think it would do everyone a whole world of good including the big money universities AND the young kids trying to make it to the NFL.
P.S. My fantasy team finished 5th, which is about where I hovered in the standings all season ... yuck!
This is a "fresh" blogroll. It tends to list blogs most frequently updated at the top. It will also drop blogs not updated for a few days. Never fear though, if you post, it will show back up. If you are interested in how I did it see this post.