Ugh Saints! Go Patriots!! and *pthth* NCAA football
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!
What is transubstantiation?
I was reading about the doctrine of the Eucharist last night and I realized that many non-Catholics have great difficulty understanding just what the doctrine of transubstantiation teaches. Dave Armstrong gives a nice summary, including the necessary explanation of accidents and substance which are the key to understanding this great mystery.
Transubstantiation is predicated upon the distinction between two sorts of change: accidental and substantial. Accidental change occurs when non-essential outward properties are transformed in some fashion. Thus, water can take on the properties of solidity (ice) and gas (steam), all the while remaining chemically the same. A substantial change, on the other hand, produces something else altogether. An example of this is the metabolism of food, which becomes part of our bodies as a result of chemical and biological processes initiated by digestion. In our everyday experience, a change of substance is always accompanied by a corresponding transition of accidents, or properties.
In the Eucharist—a supernatural transformation—a substantial change occurs without accidental alteration. Thus, the properties of bread and wine continue after consecration, but their essence and substance cease to exist, replaced by the substance of the true and actual Body and Blood of Christ. -- from CHN
A common objection of detractors of the Church is that when the consecrated host is subjected to scientific inquiry, what is observed is no different than bread prior to consecration. This is of no shock to Catholics. As Frank Sheed noted in Theology For Beginners:
One is occasionally startled to find some scientist claiming to have put all the resources of his laboratory into testing the consecrated bread; he announces triumphantly that there is no change whatever, no difference between this and any other bread. We could have told him that, without the aid of any instrument. For all that instruments can do is to make contact with the accidents, and it is part of the doctrine of transubstantiation that the accidents undergo no change whatever. - Theology for Beginners (c) 1981 by Frank J. Sheed, Chapter 18 referenced online at EWTN
A good summary of what the Church teaches regarding doctrine of transubstantiation can be summarized as it is in Ludwig Ott's Fundamentals of Dogma
Christ becomes present in the Sacrament of the Altar by the transformation of the whole substance of the bread into His Body and of the whole substance of the wine into His Blood.
The accidents of bread and wine continue after the change of the substance.
Be careful when discussing this doctrine with others not to insert into it understandings beyond what is taught.
The 2007 Full Circle Year in Review
First off I want to wish the readers who stop by here an early Happy New Year ... its been a busy one for me as many attempts to keep this blog up have come and gone, yet, here it is. Its the end of the year and surely one of my resolutions will be to write more. I hope I can follow through this time.
The major news sites will look back and review their top stories of the year ... most of those stories were not covered here.
I decided to be a crowd follower and post a year end summary of my top stories (newsworthy items that is) ...
To begin one of the biggest stories on the pro-life front was a new advance in stem cell research. I called this reprogramming method of stem cells a step in the right direction but offered a tempered skeptical outlook on the whole issue. In a small blurb I lamented a hit on freedom of conscience when the United States Supreme Court stated "Religious groups must offer employees birth control". Major Catholic stories I ignored
In eccumenical news I noted that the Pope gets radical and woos the Anglicans. I also noted that a Vatican-Orthodox commision agreed on the primacy of Pope. When patristic evidences fail, certainly a recent news story verifying the primacy of the Rome from the eastern churches will have to suffice. In futher eccumenical news we had a story that tied in with the Regensburg speech that made headlines early in Benedict XVI's pontificate. We had an unprecedented Muslim call for peace with Christians. Many are skeptical but I find myself in the camp of optimists who see the Regensburg speech and its aftermath as a moment ripe with the possibility of being a major turning point in history, especially for religious freedom. The final eccumenical news item I blogged on was the Catholic Church saying it is "the One" -- that is THE Church founded by Jesus Christ. To religious liberals this was a tell tale sign that this Pope has ushered in the turning back of the clock on Catholic doctrine after all the good that was gained by Vatican II. Further evidence that the Church is in a freefall back to the days of Vatican I was the release of the Motu Proprio relaxing the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass. The move invited much liberal hand wringing.
In conversion news, and this is the blog of a convert, we had an Episcopalian Bishop to Become Catholic. In fact this same thing happened a few times this year. The biggest conversion of the year, however, is likely that of former president of the Evangelical Theological Society Francis Beckwith. He Could No Longer Explain Why He Wasn’t Catholic.
The rise of "new" atheism
Anti-Catholic movies make a big splash ... or not in the case of the Golden Compass.
Tony Blair's conversion to Catholicism .. quite simply because I do not see the parallels the press sees when they say he is the biggest convert since Cardinal Newman.Personal "Best of" awards
1. Best six bucks spent all year
Winner goes to purchasing 48 longer wood screws than the cheap ones our builder decided to use in hanging the interior doors at our house. Now when a 40 lb child hangs on a door it doesn't submit to gravity quite as easily.
2. Almost best new parenting idea
Winner goes to flushable diapers. Greener than disposables as it reduces landfill space. Almost as inconvenient as cloth because you still end up washing the outsides. Likely more expensive than both methods combined yet I found myself doing it whereas cloth diapering left me longing for the glory days of disposables.
3. Biggest waste of time for Full Circle blog technology
Winner goes to using Jott to create blog entries. Yes, I can call in blog entries. Its not worth the hassle I put into it as I only used it during the test phase. But if I ever liveblog something ....
4. Best use of time for Full Circle blog technology
Winner goes to Google Reader Live Blogroll. IMHO it still stands ahead of the feature created by Google themselves and I never have to maintain my blogroll other than adding new favorites to my Google Reader which I would do anyway.
5. Best gift Santa brought to the kids
Winner goes to AutomobloxThe year in our family
Our entire lives leading up until February of last year can be summarized in the Birth story of Peter
. Our lives since have been dominated by caring for our little bundle of joy and the tough decision to homeschool and then to NOT homeschool our oldest son. Next year we MAY homeschool. Stay tuned.
One of the things I have noticed since becoming Catholic is that there is a tyranny of perfectionism that infects certain circles of orthodox Catholicism. It is a strong sense of pride that I think it is easy for all of us to fall prey to. I have in the past, as has my wife and we have both suffered many ill effects from it. The basic source of it is in fact that it is pride. In finding our Catholic faith we find that it presents the Truth. This quickly leads us to a sense of pride in having found the "right" religion, but at what expense if we hold so strongly to that rightness? The fact it is right should not detract from our need to be humble about it. After all, if not for the grace of God we would not have been able to find it. It is, after all, a gift from Him. This sense can then extend into other aspects of our lives and you find yourself judged for having too many kids, or not homeschooling, or supporting this candidate over that or even how you rear your children. In the end lifestyle and other non-doctrinal choices take on dogmatic force because after all, if you are right about your religion you find yourself empowered and clearly incapable of being wrong about anything else.
It is even further exaggerated by the call of our faith TO perfection through Christ Himself. Nothing unclean can enter the Kingdom of Heaven. We MUST become perfect. This can often get us into the fray of placing a very high level of expectation on our lives and soon scrupulousness is an unwelcome companion in our lives. Often false idols of "perfection" come into our lives to rule and oppress us. In the end we can find ourselves disillusioned with our faith for seeing it more like a list of burdens and rules. Pelagianism can then reign supreme in our mind and rather than finding ourselves happy that we received a gift we find ourselves disappointed that we fall short of the false "perfections" we think we are called to. The fact is, we are on a journey and it is one where we are COMPLETELY dependent on the grace of God -- something that demands a call to repentance and to humility. It isn't about the things we ourselves do alone. It is about our participation with grace -- something we would do best to ask for frequently. We fall short because we are not there. As my wife said, it would be like calling yourself a failure in one year of homeschooling because you failed to impart your entire education into the brain of a child in one year. No, that is unrealistic.
Our faith and its expectations should not distract us from the prize but rather serve to keep us humble and away from the pride of rightness and perfectionism. Oh how often we find even in our rightness how wrong we are. Humility is a better friend for the long haul and a truer path to sane living in Christ.
Google Reader Favorites as blogroll
originally posted Monday, May 21, 2007 -- updated --
OK, I like the blogroll concept and Google Reader doesn't have that (it does now)
. So I just wasted a few hours coding the capability in PHP of a Google Reader "live" blogroll. I am not the only person in the world who would like that feature. I have even seen a few people say that is the only thing keeping them on Bloglines. **Thats a hint Google Reader development team.
"Freshness" is defined as "in the last 25 pages of my favorites" which appears to be in the last 4-5 days ... maybe a week. Also it is only as live as Google deems it live ...
There are two Feed URL's. One is a PHP script that generates the RSS feed information when it is accessed. I subscribed to that one with Google Reader so that Google would hit the feed on occasion. That link takes about 10 seconds to run. Google is patient so I am letting them hit that feed. That script also generates a file which I can also access. It returns nearly instantly and is much better for use as a blogroll.
The "live" blogroll is on the right. If anyone is interested in the junk PHP code I wrote leave a comment here or use the Contact me feature of the blog and I will post it here.
Google has implemented a blogroll feature on Google Reader making this code nearly obsolete, that is, except for the "freshness" of it. I am including two feeds below so you can compare the differences. My feed will be the first, the second will be Google Reader.
You will notice that the first column only has a subset of the Google Reader blogroll. The ones in that list which are not in the first you will note have either ceased updating or have not been updated in a while. If I put my own blog on my blogroll it would fall off occasionally. I consider it a feature so I will stick with mine until Google adds a similar control feature.
Adding Personal and Family content to Facebook
There is a neat RSS application that allows you to add a feed into your Facebook profile. Naturally, most of this stuff is severely dated. Now all I have to do is categorize it as "Personal and Family" and it will show up on my profile. I like Facebook so much more than MySpace.
Britain has become a Catholic country
Britain has become a 'Catholic country'
Roman Catholics have overtaken Anglicans as the country's dominant religious group. More people attend Mass every Sunday than worship with the Church of England, figures seen by The Sunday Telegraph show.
The reasons are simple ... as I said in Stoopid Katlic breedur
Bishop Schori quite simply fails to realize that American Catholics do not tend to heed Mother Church on this particular teaching. In fact, Catholics contracept at the same rate as the rest of the nation. Fortunately this concerns our bishops who released the first document on the topic since the late 1960's in recent days. That would lead me to think that most new Catholics are NOT coming from large orthodox families with 12 kids. They are coming from conversions and from replacement rate Catholics. Furthermore, the Catholic Church in the United States is increasing in numbers despite the fact that ex-Catholics would supposedly make up the second largest Christian church in the US if they were all together in one denomination.
So our members are leaving in droves, contracepting just like the rest of the crowd and yet our numbers rise?
Care to explain those dwindling numbers again?
I'll give you a hint. The GROWING churches in this country have something in common and it has nothing to do with the birth rates of its members (a few of them being -- Assemblies of God, Orthodox, Catholic, Southern Baptist) ... The majority of churches whose memberships are decreasing also have something in common (a few of them being -- United Methodist, Evangelical Lutheran, Episcopal, Presbyterian Church USA, United Church of Christ)
Truth is important ... Pseudo-knowledge
Last night my wife told my son that she would not give him Egg Nog in his sippy cup until he had eaten his pizza. My son responded by bouncing up and down while protesting in a slightly muffled whine. Of course his response led to the logical conclusion that he did NOT eat his pizza. The problem was he already ate the pizza and I was a witness to this fact. In this case a failure to communicate led to a misrepresentation of the facts that could have had dire consequences for my son. He would not get his Egg Nog! I point this out because of the essay that I read yesterday on the date of Christmas from Mark Shea (linked below). Something similar happened there but the result of the exchange was far more extensive.
So how did it become "common knowledge" that Christmas is really just a warmed-over pagan festival? It happened through a series of ironies capped by yet another example of pseudo-knowledge.
The first irony is the reaction of the Christians of the late Roman Empire to Aurelian's attempt to co-opt Christmas and make it a pagan day of celebration. Instead of fighting with Sun-worshipers who were trying to rip off their feast, early Christians simply "re-appropriate[d] the pagan 'Birth of the Unconquered Sun' to refer, on the occasion of the birth of Christ, to the rising of the 'Sun of Salvation' or the 'Sun of Justice.'" Mark that, because we shall return to it.
The next irony happens in the 17th and 18th centuries, when the myth of "pagan Christmas" really took hold.
Paul Ernst Jablonski, a German Protestant, wished to show that the celebration of Christ's birth on December 25th was one of the many "paganizations" of Christianity that the Church of the fourth century embraced, as one of many "degenerations" that transformed pure apostolic Christianity into Catholicism. Dom Jean Hardouin, a Benedictine monk, tried to show that the Catholic Church adopted pagan festivals for Christian purposes without paganizing the Gospel.
In the Julian calendar, created in 45 B.C. under Julius Caesar, the winter solstice fell on December 25th, and it therefore seemed obvious to Jablonski and Hardouin that the day must have had a pagan significance before it had a Christian one.
Note that: Jablonski began, not with evidence, but with an assumption that the winter solstice must have had a pagan significance before it had a Christian one. In other words, Jablonski simply noticed a correspondence between the Julian calendar's solstice and Christmas and assumed the pagan feast must have been the prior one even though he had no proof for his theory. Meanwhile, Hardouin, rather than challenge that assumption, simply went along with it. And it's upon these two authors that the entire myth about Christmas being a warmed-over pagan Sun-worshiping feast is based.
The same thing holds true for another "fact" of history that I have mentioned on this blog before. Luther most likley never nailed anything to the castle Church in Wittenberg.
It was like a slap in the face when the catholic Luther researcher, Erwin Iserloh, asserted in 1961 that the nailing of the theses to the door of the Castle Church belonged to the realm of legends.Everybody knows that the date for Christmas was determined by Christian adoption of a Roman pagan "feast of the Sun"Everybody knows that Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the castle Church
The facts are convincing, the first written account of the event comes from Philipp Melanchthon who could not have been an eye-witness to the event since he was not called to Wittenberg University as a professor until 1518.
Also, this account appeared for the first time after Luther's death and he never commented on 'nailing anything up' in 1517.
Announcements of upcoming disputes were supposedly regularly hung on the door of the Castle Church. But, openly hanging the theses without waiting for a reaction from the Bishops could have been seen as a clear provocation of his superiors. Luther would not have done that because he only wanted to clear up some misunderstandings.
It is also worth noting, that there was no open discussion of the theses in Wittenberg and that no original printing of the theses could be found.
I am interested in other examples if you have them.
Using Firefox 3 ... its WAY faster
and has some cool features but some of my favorite Add-Ons do not work ... Take a look if you dare.
From Catholic Dads
"Honor and Respect My Wife, loving her as Christ loves his church and faithfully demonstrating my lifelong commitment to providing for her needs."
Excellent ... I have always thought that if more men read the part of Ephesians 5 directed at them their wives would be more prone to pay attention to the part directed at them. Unfortunately too many people want to read the part directed at their spouse.
The date of Christmas and its so called pagan origins
This whole entry at Mark Shea's from last December is fascinating. Apparently I missed it last year but fortunately Jeff Miller
relinked it this year ... Everybody knows that Christmas is really just a warmed-over Celebration of the Feast of the Sol Invictus
Guess what? Everybody's wrong!
The short version is Christians had been trying to determine the date of the birth of Christ long before it was officially tagged a pagan feast "instituted by the Roman Emperor Aurelian on 25 December 274".
...an important reference in the "Chronicle" written by Hippolytus of Rome three decades before Aurelian launched his festival. Hippolytus said Jesus' birth "took place eight days before the kalends of January," that is, Dec. 25.
The source of the pseudo-knowledge everybody knows? Catholic-Protestant apologetics. A Protestant trying to show the pagan origins of Catholic distinctives makes an assertion and rather than attacking the assertion itself as false, the Catholic apologist defends the assertion as if it were a fact.
Followup to my use of deadly force post
Auto Owner Gets 10 Years For Killing Would-Be Tire Thief
And rightfully so. The use of deadly force was not necessary. The thief was fleeing the scene when he was shot. See my original post Protection of property with deadly force
for more details on when this type of force is appropriate to use.
B16 apparently now foe of environmentalists
Pope launches surprise attack on climate change prophets of doom
It is important for assessments in this regard to be carried out prudently, in dialogue with experts and people of wisdom, uninhibited by ideological pressure to draw hasty conclusions, and above all with the aim of reaching agreement on a model of sustainable development capable of ensuring the well-being of all while respecting environmental balances.
How is this not sensible and why is it considered an attack? I will never get why environmentalists to get all bent out of shape when asked to simply be prudent
regarding the changes they ask governments to make. I am asked to be prudent in my life choices regarding my use of natural resources. It only makes sense that changes are phased in such that the PEOPLE those changes affect are considered FIRST.
Of course the Popes comments could easily be aimed at things like the rash suggestion of a "baby tax" mentioned in the previous post.
Totally off topic ... I am also following What can we learn from the megachurches?
over in Rich's blog. I may comment about this later ...
Baby tax needed to save planet, claims expert
Goodness, I actually thought of this a few days ago and dismissed it in my mind as something society would never stoop to. Then again, the idea from some is simply that is isn't fair that they have to pay taxes while I pay LESS given the same income. For them it has nothing to do with the environment.
Decent societies know that the future depends on ... well ... a future
. With birth rates approaching numbers too low to support an economy for decades on end what we really ought to be doing in encouraging increased family sizes and let God deal with the outcome of faithfulness, not shortsighted "experts". You never know, we might populate Mars :) --hint, hint, necessity breeds invention--
Of course that propaganda won't work on our children. We have four kids (6,4,3,10 mos) and they love each other and continue to hint that more siblings would be a welcome thing.
Yeah, a "just 2" requirement will go over like a lead balloon to them.
HT Closed Cafeteria
Extraordinary conversion - hell comes at us in obvious and sometimes unexpected places
Originally posted May 21, 2005
Tonight I read an incredible conversion story
. Frighteningly, I recognized something that happened to this woman that also happened to my wife and I, but in the most unlikely of places. First, this is what she described
but as the conversation went on I began experiencing something I did not expect---- in fact it was something that I had never experienced before nor have I since.
As the conversation went around the table I began to feel this heaviness around me--- The best way to describe it is to say it was like all the light and air were being sucked out of the room --- it was a very heavy oppressive feeling like as if gravity had just gotten five times stronger and the sun ten times dimmer. I was feeling very uncomfortable and was desperately looking for an excuse to leave when my pager went off giving me the perfect out. As I said goodbye one of the women chuckled and said as she pointed at me “don’t think we’ll be hearing from you again” --- during the conversation I had unconsciously turned my body toward the exit and away from the table--- My body language was pretty obvious--- I did not want to be part of the group. I mumbled something about letting “D” know my decision” and quickly excused myself.
On the drive home it was difficult to shake the feeling of oppressiveness that had lingered with me--- I was baffled by what happened—and in fact I had no clue what it was that had happened. It wasn’t until years later when discussing the experience with my spiritual director that it began to make sense. You see at the time I didn’t believe that there was an evil being or force per se--- humans in my mind were the cause of evil--- so---I felt no fear dabbling in the things I was dabbling in---to me Satan was just a mythical creature designed to scare Christian folks---I was too sophisticated to believe in such nonsense and so because of this dangerous and erroneous attitude it seemed that I had been allowed to experience the presence evil---- not that I believe any one person there was evil --- but that because of our openness to the occult I believe evil, just like water, will always seek the path of least resistance---Still whatever my beliefs after that experience I knew I didn’t want to see those people again--- and I didn’t. In a few days I had relegated it to just a weird experience --- negative energy--- and let it go.
This description sent chills down my spine because my wife and I experienced almost exactly the same thing at an Engaged Encounter weekend in spring of 2000. Let me set the stage. My wife and I were the only non-Catholics in the Engaged Encounter. At the time we were Episcopalian (well I wasn't yet). The priest who was going to marry us suggested that we make an Engaged Encounter weekend in the Lafayette diocese of the Catholic Church. We thought it was odd, but we went anyway. Overall, we had a very positive weekend. Engaged Encounter can be a very awesome experience but it depends on the angle that the presenters go at. Our couples focused on very important aspects of marriage and dared to include topics on contraception and cohabiation. Both of those sins eat away at marriage and are a prime underlying cause for future divorce (i.e. lack of trust and division of sex from marraige increasing the risk of behaviors leading to adultery) ... Anyway, that weekend there was a time when all of the couples sat in the round and a couple of questions were asked. The questions were about cohabitation and sex before marriage. The responses included"I'll call you a liar if you say that you are not sleeping together before you get married"
"After all, you wouldn't buy a car without a test drive, I don't see why getting married is any different"
"We would be living together but my future father-in-law threatened to kill me if that happened""The everyday difficulties of life require us to live in sin"
and the gem of the evening. "We are all sinning and know it but we know Jesus is going to forgive us anyway so what is the point"
During the airing of grievances against the Church, my wife and I distinctly feel a deep darkness fill the room. It felt like a giant python filling every gap in the room, constricting the air out of our lungs. It was clear to me that this spirit was one of destruction. I felt like there were people laughing at us for being the different ones. I was stunned and didn't even know how to handle myself. I was being called a liar. My beliefs were being ridiculed.
Fortunately the priest and the couples running the evening DID know how to handle it and they did combat such error with charity and with the teachings of the Catholic Church. I still felt more like we needed an exorcist in the room. All but two couples were living together out of 23 and not a single one seemed to show any remorse over the matter.
Afterwards my wife and I stayed and talked to the young couple. This was their first Engaged Encounter weekend and clearly they were shaken up by what had taken place. The wife of the couple was in tears and was comforted by the fact that we stayed to talk to them. She mentioned that at their EE weekend nobody would have admitted to living together even if that was the case. It was taboo and even those who were doing it felt bad about it. She openly wondered what had happened in six years to make such behavior commonplace and acceptable. The attitude was one of total defiance. My guess is that we witnessed an unusual weekend. At least I pray that is the case.
That weekend likely prolonged our return to the Catholic Church by at least a year, if not two. I placed the blame for such ignorance on the Church rather than on the individuals present that weekend. I did come to terms with it and thus I will blog on the people in the pew next to me at a later time.
Kudos to Happy Catholic
for highlighting this on her blog.
Many apologies for the light posting. My laptop has some issues making it difficult to transport so that gives me WAY less time to actually post things. When I HAVE brought my computer with me it was usually to deal with something work related.
I hope to get things cleared up soon. I expect posting to be light until after the new year. (watch me put up 50 posts between now and the end of the year) ...
Early Texas Tech Lead Proves Insurmountable for Bulldogs
Early Texas Tech Lead Proves Insurmountable for Bulldogs
OK, I hate to type this as this is one of the most painful Bulldog losses I can remember since the days when I was one of the chosen few watching a 2 win team in the TAC. Still, this headline bothers me. There is no way to sugar coat this. "Early Lead" was 22-12. Then Tech failed to score a single basket for nearly HALF A GAME (19 minutes to end the first and start the second half). Texas Tech went on a 42-1 run in that time frame.
I don't think the early lead had much to do with it unless you consider "early" the first 3/4 of the game.
Protection of property with deadly force
Still no charges against Pasadena man who killed suspected burglars
(you can hear the 911 call through this link as well)
A man who told police he planned to kill two men he believed were burglarizing his neighbor’s house shot them only when they came on his property and he felt threatened, his attorney said Monday.
Lambright’s description is partly at odds with the 911 call in which a dispatcher urges Horn to stay inside his house and not risk lives.
“Don’t go outside the house,” the 911 operator pleaded. “You’re gonna get youself shot if you go outside that house with a gun. I don’t care what you think.”
“You wanna make a bet?” Horn answered. “I’m gonna kill ‘em.”
After the shooting, he redialed 911.
“I had no choice,” he said, his voice shaking. “They came in
the front yard with me, man. I had no choice. Get somebody over here quick.”
We were discussing this case on a forum I frequent. Initially I argued:
To me the very clear right thing to do was stay in the house and let the police deal with it. Even if they had gotten away the chances of them getting caught is pretty good.
In the end, the cops may have done the same thing but I would be willing to bet they have experience dealing with a situation like that where you or I is going to lose it pretty fast. Also there is a distinct difference between ...
1. "Hey you guys are stealing" and shooting them
2. "Uh oh, they are armed and attacking me" and shooting them
I think the 911 call paints a picture much closer to 1 but that is one tiny piece of the pie. The forensic evidence should make it VERY clear what happened.
If he was not a "legitimate public authority" he really had no business outside his home. Nor do I think killing them was proportionate to the crime that was being committed at the time which is a sentence he rendered when he walked out that door to protect his neighbors property with a gun. The situation was almost certain to turn ugly. I am sure the two men he encountered felt threatened when they saw him walk out with a shotgun. Like the 911 operator said "no property is worth killing someone over". Finally, if he was not "defending his life" he was wrong. Period. I do not think there is any way to defend that (possible) action from the teaching of the Church (and of course as wrong as I am willing to be, the onus is on others to justify killing these men, not me) ... In the call at the end you get the impression he felt threatened so I'll grant him the benefit of the doubt which I feel he rightly deserves.
2264 Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow
2266 Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense.
CCC 5th commandment
However my initial response needed some modification ... Aquinas wrote
On the contrary, It is written (Exodus 22:2): "If a thief be found breaking into a house or undermining it, and be wounded so as to die; he that slew him shall not be guilty of blood." Now it is much more lawful to defend one's life than one's house. Therefore neither is a man guilty of murder if he kill another in defense of his own life.
I answer that, Nothing hinders one act from having two effects, only one of which is intended, while the other is beside the intention. Now moral acts take their species according to what is intended, and not according to what is beside the intention, since this is accidental as explained above (43, 3; I-II, 12, 1). Accordingly the act of self-defense may have two effects, one is the saving of one's life, the other is the slaying of the aggressor. Therefore this act, since one's intention is to save one's own life, is not unlawful, seeing that it is natural to everything to keep itself in "being," as far as possible. And yet, though proceeding from a good intention, an act may be rendered unlawful, if it be out of proportion to the end. Wherefore if a man, in self-defense, uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repel force with moderation his defense will be lawful, because according to the jurists [Cap. Significasti, De Homicid. volunt. vel casual.], "it is lawful to repel force by force, provided one does not exceed the limits of a blameless defense." Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense in order to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one's own life than of another's. But as it is unlawful to take a man's life, except for the public authority acting for the common good, as stated above (3), it is not lawful for a man to intend killing a man in self-defense, except for such as have public authority, who while intending to kill a man in self-defense, refer this to the public good, as in the case of a soldier fighting against the foe, and in the minister of the judge struggling with robbers, although even these sin if they be moved by private animosity.
Context Article 7. Whether it is lawful to kill a man in self-defense?
Shooting to kill has the intended consequence of killing when hurting would have sufficed. Fright would be preferable to injury which would be preferable to death. Catholic Encyclopedia also expounds on the topic ...
II. Defense of Property
It is lawful to defend one's material goods even at the expense of the aggressor's life; for neither justice nor charity require that one should sacrifice possessions, even though they be of less value than human life in order to preserve the life of a man who wantonly exposes it in order to do an injustice. Here, however,we must recall the principle that in extreme necessity every man has a right to appropriate whatever is necessary to preserve his life. The starving man who snatches a meal is not an unjust aggressor; consequently it is not lawful to use force against him. Again, the property which may be defended at the expense of the aggressor's life must be of considerable value; for charity forbids that in order to protect ourselves from a trivial loss we should deprive a neighbor of his life. Thefts or robberies, however, of small values are to be considered not in their individual, but in their cumulative, aspect. A thief may be slain in the act of carrying away stolen property provided that it cannot be recovered from him by any other means; if, for example, he can be made to abandon his spoil through fright, then it would not be lawful to shoot him. If he has carried the goods away to safety he cannot then be killed in order to recover them; but the owner may endeavor to take them from him, and if the thief resists with violence he may be killed in self-defense.
Source 1914 CEOf course I still strongly disagree with his actions on the following basis ...
I feel he showed a lack of prudence (a cardinal virtue) in this case by simply walking out the door. It is unlikely that his neighbor was not carrying some form of homeowners insurance. In our society today I feel this devalues nearly every possession we own below what I would label "of considerable value". It would make far more sense centuries ago where someone could lose their livelihood in a theft. In fact, the short snippets of moral theology I have read on the matter gave examples of considerable value to be things like "your arm" or "your chastity". I would think strong weight must be given to this point. Second, the "other means" to prevent the thieves from leaving with the stolen items did not appear to take place here. He mentioned he was going to kill them and very little time occurred between him putting the phone down and saying "You're dead". I understand we are dealing with thieves possibly armed with guns and that certainly would need to be considered (which is further why he shouldn't have put himself in a position to have to make a life and death decision). Third, no matter how creepy those guys were some weight needs to be given to the possible motive of the thieves. "The starving man who snatches a meal is not an unjust aggressor". It is very well possible (although not necessarily likely) that is the case here. In any case`the outcome tragically produces a widow and an orphan as opposed to stolen items and an insurance claim.
This might be the point of legitimate disagreement between Catholics. I am interested in more input if anyone has some.
You're either FOR the terrorists or AGAINST the terrorists
I just love how people can take a difficult decision, like the one to go to Iraq and boil months if not years of data input, debate and difficult moral calculus down to a simple slogan.
Its a wonder we have wars, after all you are either RIGHT like me (and thus the height of GOOD) or not me ... and thus evil. I think its time I burn your mailbox down .... terrorist.
I guess the "logical" response to this is
You're either FOR killing or you're AGAINST killing.
Reprogramming method of stem cells a step in the right direction
Vatican approves growing stem cells from skin: report
I am cautiously optimistic. Never underestimate the need of evil to twist the facts to let us know that embryonic stem cells are a BETTER way than this reprogramming method. "They're cheaper" will be the first battle cry provided they can attach some arbitrary high expense to the PROCESS of reprogramming. Sooner or later they will come up with some toned down term to associate the "killing babies" alternative: Something like "envigorated stem cells" vs. "reprogrammed stem cells" ... You know, kind of like "death with dignity" has come to be the preferred term for the process of eliminating those undesirables who are feasting on our hard earned Social Security dollars.
In the mind of the world, the end justifies the means.
OK ... you might call me a pessimist after that blurb .... at least this morning.
Ron Paul talk ... or why not Rudy part II
Astonished, Yet at Home!
and Mark Shea
both reference Joe Healy's Evaluation of 2008 Presidential Candidates Against US Bishops' Criteria
The purpose is to quantify stances of presidential candidates that line up with the bishops criteria. The final analysis (see the points awarded below) is as follows ...
1. Ron Paul (R): 99 points
2. Alan Keyes (R): 70 (not on the ballot in all states)
3. Mike Huckabee (R): 69
4. Duncan Hunter (R): 50
5. Tom Tancredo (R): 48
6. John McCain (R): 36
7. Chris Dodd (D): 25
8. Dennis Kucinich (D): 22
9. Mitt Romney (R): 10
10. Joe Biden (D): 5
11. Fred Thompson (R): 4
12. Hillary Clinton (D): (-11)
13. John Edwards (D): (-13)
14. Bill Richardson (D): (-15)
15. Barack Obama (D): (-15)
16. Rudy Giuliani (R): (-28)
The bishops produced a massive tome regarding Faithful Citizenship
during this upcoming voting year. As a man who has a hard enough time putting 5 lines on my blog occasionally it is a daunting task to get through it. I hope to in the next year or so. Still, the points are summarized in Healy's analysis.
The "intrinsically evil" (10 points each) issues were: * Protect all unborn (no exceptions; unborn protected under the Constitution) * Oppose Euthanasia * Oppose Research that Results in Embyonic Destruction * Oppose all Human Cloning * Oppose targeting of Noncombatants (Use of nuclear weapons or landmines) * Marriage is One Man, One Woman; Oppose "domestic partnerships" * Oppose Use of Torture * Oppose Racism
The other issues (1 point each) were: * Oppose the Death Penalty * Support a "Responsible Transition" in Iraq & Afghanistan * Work to avoid war and promote peace while dealing with terrorism * Ethical treatment for undocumented immigrants & family reunification * Temporary worker program with clear path to permanent residency for immigrants * Secure borders from illegal immigration * Support responsible use of media * Affordable health care * Health policies allow for conscientious objection * No contraceptive or abortive mandates in health programs * Choice in education * Support for religious schools * Support fair wages & programs to decrease unemployment * Support affordable housing * Welfare should reduce poverty & dependence * Support good social security program * Support sustainable agriculture & food security for all * Good environmental policies that respect God's creation * Support faith-based groups * Work to alleviate global poverty * Promote religious liberty and other basic human rights worldwide * Peaceful resolution in Israel, support Palestinian State & Lebanon's sovereignty
This seems to give some good support to the Catholics for Ron Paul
movement. What I find even more interesting
in this simple exercise is that it demonstrates quite clearly how a level headed orthodox Catholic could REALLY contemplate the idea of voting for Hilary over Rudy Giuliani. It isn't enough to say that she is THAT BAD when the Republicans actually have the capacity to put forth a worse candidate. The R behind his name isn't going to automatically get my votes -- as Astonished Yet at Home so hilariously labelled, I am not a follower of Jesus W. Christ, R-Nazareth
-- I am a follower of Christ and His Church. The response to "you can't seriously expect me to vote for Hilary" might be "Umm, yes" -- Vote for Hilary as the lesser evil or join the new movement "pro-lifers for being quantified in the third party vote" this election. Then wait for 4 years until the Republicans put up a candidate worth flipping the switch for.
Of course some of the more important "1 point" issues in the above post, as a parent, revolve around freedom issues regarding the decision to educate your children. Ron Paul is right up my alley on this. Rich Leonardi posts a quote from Thomas Woods in A little something called subsidiarity
On education and home schooling, Ron Paul is the clear winner. Fred Thompson, John McCain, and Duncan Hunter all voted for the execrable No Child Left Behind Act, and Governors Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney have both come out in favor of it. Ron Paul – as did the Republican Party itself not so long ago – opposes any federal role in education, which is the responsibility of parents and local communities.
In other words, Ron Paul believes in a little something called subsidiarity, which happens to be a central principle of Catholic social thought. Subsidiarity holds that all social functions should be carried out by the most local unit possible, as opposed to the dehumanizing alternative whereby distant bureaucratic structures are routinely and unthinkingly entrusted with more and more responsibilities for human well-being.
This makes Ron Paul and intriguing candidate at the minimum.
And another Episcopalian bishop to Rome
Oh that wonderous modern music in our liturgy
Why Gregorian Chant is Making a Comeback
The renewed emphasis on chant in liturgy is a call for humility above all else. Musicians are being asked to serve rather than perform.
I brought my children to the cathedral a couple of weeks ago. The music was gorgeous and even included some chant. Humility is certainly the virtue on display from those performing the music. When you compare that to your average mass littered with odd works from the 60's and 70's ... well ... it just doesn't compare. Modern liturgy, especially the music, drudges up the most comical aspects of the 60's and 70's. The problem is, I don't want to be reminded of those decades. The abuse of children in the Church was at its highest. The attitude of free sex was rampant and the clothing was ... lets just not go there (language alert)
. I just can't stop thinking of 70's sitcoms. "The Brady Bunch", "Taxi" and "All in the Family" during mass
For example (example from DCF
Here I Am, Lord (Dan Schutte)
Sing it with me -
Here I Am, Lord
It is I Lord
And I'm bringing up two very lovely girls.
I hope I haven't ruined it for you.
I liked the 80's though. That was my childhood. Still, I would never recommend stacking 30 synthesizers behind the altar an belting out the best in 80's synth pop riffs covered by the latest verbage in fad theology. Its just not right (logistical issues aside). Even as much as I would think that an interesting novelty, I too need humility ... and the sublime lifting towards heaven. That is why I want a return to traditional music. Because I need it as well. Must ... stop ... thinking ... about .... electronic ... mass.
My children want to return to the cathedral regularly. There is something magical to them about it ... and trust me, its not just the donuts after mass.
See also: Sacred music safeguards tradition of the Church and is of greater value than any other art, Pope saysNote: I realize it is an act of humility for me to work through my strong dislike of music in modern liturgy ... At times I used to not receive because liturgical abuse or bad music put me in a state unworthy to receive. I feel I have made great progress here ... but I still yearn for better music.
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Pope gets radical and woos the Anglicans, Vatican-Orthodox commision agree on primacy of Pope