The nanny state is watching you
Doc, what’s up with snooping? - BostonHerald.com
Yes, I fear the nanny state. ---
This isn't a shock to me although I certainly think it is a very disturbing trend. Increasingly adults are not having children so they see "bad parents" as more of a problem than parents do.
Homeschooling has been questioned with the line of questioning that "what, are the public schools not good enough?"
Nanny state favoring non-parents want the children of the nation to be indoctrinated with the moral relativism of modern thought and its so-called tolerance. Thus the crowbars to pry at the foundations of parental rights are of little or no concern to them. The ends certainly justify the means. What is at stake here is not the intollerence of my children infringing on individual rights but my right as a parent to educate my children as I see fit.
The state wants to teach my children from a perspective of no religion with the grand idea that legislating the moral idea that any infringement, dare I say criticism, of the lifestyle choices of others is the way to a modern utopia. It isn't. I want to teach my children from the perspective of Christ and His Church and my faith teaches me that it is merciful to let you know when you are on the path of wickedness.
To take this even further, our birth choices have been questioned under the thin veil of accusations of us being "bad parents" because we wanted to choose the route that statistically speaking produces the healthiest outcomes. Bad patient!
Doctors have aksed to us (is it a law or something?) with stunning similarity each time we have a child whether or not we would like to stop polluting the earth with our cabon dioxide producing, diaper using kids. "So which type of birth control will you be using?" .. or the ever so compassionate of our dire need to end this madness "Do you want your tubes tied?"
I have ranted here before that secularists will EVENTUALLY lose ground to those who are having children. After all, they tend to be of more conservative values. The only way they can stem the "disturbing" trend of morally conservative youth is to prevent conservatives from doing what they know is best for the future; having more kids. The fact is though that the secular liberals are up to the game. Their solution is the nanny state. I expect greater persecution of homeschoolers in the future. There is nothing more dangerous to the future of secularists than parental rights. How soon is it before we have federally mandated child care starting at 6 weeks? With the increase of hate crime legislation how soon is it before certain things are exempted from "free speech" because of perceived infringement of "individual rights" of others? How soon is it before we are legislating that religions have to hire based on the same principles as businesses? I know a lot of people have faith in the US Constitution to protect us from ourselves. I don't have that faith. It is a document subject to the whims and interpretations of men.
We see where that has gone with some interpretations of Scripture. Why would we expect an institution not guarded by the Holy Spirit not to go off the rails eventually? Laws and elections will not save this country. Only Christ will.
When you have a bad day, look to a child
I have four children. The oldest is six and the youngest is 7 months. My life is difficult at times, hectic all the time and very rarely do I get a break from the world and its demands. It often turns me into a grumpy person. It is easy to see some of the graces of marriage. Couples praying together to work out their problems can often receive a flood of peace driving them towards sensible solutions that bring them closer together. Grace can hardly be so obvious. I think though, given the character of marriage to produce children, it is easy for us to overlook the graces that come with parenthood because of the sacrifices required to take care of them. Having children forced me to grow up, certainly, but it can never be an excuse to remove the joy within us.
I noticed last night that there is never a day that goes by that my kids are not involved in some sort of joyous adventure. My childhood was like that as well but last night I started to notice that their lives contain difficulties as well. Quite often one of them falls down. All three of them want to swing when there is only two swings. The tragedies in the lives of children may seem mild to us, but they are very real to them. The difference lies in how a child reacts to adversity. They get over it almost immediately. When Christ told us to have "faith like a child" I do not think he merely indicated to us to simply believe because. To have faith like a child is to forgive quickly and receive joy quickly. Kids on a playground can often resolve disputes faster than we can seem to resolve much of anything. Its almost as if they do not know to be a crank when things go south.
Today I resolve to forgive quickly and receive joy quickly. I resolve to have faith like a child, not shunning my responsibilities, but accepting life as it comes and being thankful that I have these little graces in my life to remind me what its all about.
Supreme Court: Religious groups must offer employees birth control
Freedom of conscience took a hit today ...
I am short for time but I wanted to mention that the Supreme Court "rejected a petition by the groups arguing that by being forced to offer contraception pills and equipment on their employee health-insurance plans, their First Amendment rights to free speech were violated". Religious groups must offer employees birth control
The correct solution to this, sadly, is to stop providing health care to your employees. That said, an employer could pay the employee what they are paying for their health care and tell them to get an HSA and a high-deductable policy. It would cost about the same and it unties the organization from DIRECTLY making a choice contrary to their conscience.
I found it interesting that other religious groups were supporting the Catholic Church here. They realize what was at stake here. How soon before the state dictates the hiring of priests requiring us to ordain women? How about marrying gays? This won't make a huge splash in the press but it is certainly a big deal.
Dawn Eden on Life On The Rock
Dawn Eden was on Life On The Rock last night and as expected it was excellent. Dawn mentioned the "rebellion" that drew her to Catholicism. I'll quote from a BustedHalo interview with her
Because I had assumed that Christians were just this white bread, Moral Majority, faceless, conformist, mass, they all ruled the world, and that for me to be this rock and roll hipster rebel, I had to be different from them. And what Chesterton put forth, is that there is false rebellion and true rebellion, and the false rebellion is essentially to be a rebel without a cause. The rebelling for the sake of rebelling. True rebelling was the rebelling against the evil that has its grip on the world, so that the Christian is the true rebel. Chesterton also said this in Orthodoxy, when he said words to the effect that Christianity is the only religion where God, in order to be a King, must also be a rebel. And so reading that just opened up my mind, and at first I just thought, well Chesterton must have been the only salty Christian. (source)
Oddly enough the idea of rebellion has never appealed to me but I know MANY people for whom this aspect of the faith would have great appeal.
Anyway, I know you want to see the rest of it and the episode is up on EWTN's site right now. It will be there for a week. Archived Video in RealVideoPodcast version?
- I am taking a chance here. It may be last weeks episode as of the time of this posting. Anyway if you read this within a week or so of my posting it you should have the right stuff.
Vatican Rebuts Euthanasia Charge on John Paul II
Vatican Rebuts Euthanasia Charge on John Paul II
The reference I promised from the post I made earlier regarding this.
Crazy health insurance system
Our Crazy Health-Insurance System
First off, I can't say I disagree with it.
There are more factors involved though. I personally feel the quality of health care has gone down. One factor I witnessed first hand was litigation. When my wife had our last child she was told by her first doctor that she was a perfect candidate for a VBAC. That said, the doctor would not go to the hospital my wife wanted to go to (we had medical outcome reasons) so we changed doctors. Keep in mind we read the ACOG position paper on it and were well aware of the risks and the competency of my wife to deliver a 10 lb baby VBAC. We even had a second opinion from a trusted friend who happens to be an OB. From that point it went down hill as doctors fought tooth and nail to convince us that VBAC was a bad decision and having a repeat section is a GOOD decision. Every shred of medical evidence we can find argues EXACTLY the opposite point. During my wifes delivery the doctor on call came in and literally chewed me and my wife out because he said we were taking a big risk. My wife was in transition at the time. Why was he upset? He was afraid of something going wrong and us suing him. He was very honest in giving that assessment. Now, why does he want to intervene? Because despite the increased risk of intervention, when he goes to court there is more paperwork and more "stuff" done by the doctor. "I did
all I could" sounds much better than "I just wanted to let the labor progress naturally (or I did nothing
Insurance companies do not put pressure on doctors to reduce the number of C-sections in this country. This would reduce cost. Insurance companies are not lining up to support free-standing birth centers across the street from major hospitals. This would reduce cost. They typically do not offer a reduction in premiums for people who choose that route. MOST of my insurance cost is maternity so I presume that a substantial amount paid out by insurers is towards delivering babies. If the birth-center movement had some traction insurance companies would pay out far less because, for one thing, every 3rd delivery would not be a section. Sections cost significantly more than a vaginal birth. A visit to a free-standing birth center costs literally thousands less than a hospital visit. The majority of healthy low-risk women are capable of delivering a baby naturally making a birth-center a great option both for cost and safety.
Now, lets consider this a little further outside of the scope of maternity. What incentives are insurers giving me to shop for price when I am ill? I cannot think of many. I get a list of nearly every doctor and town and am told "Go to any of them and we will pay 90 percent". In my own interests I am likely going to choose the BEST doctor and often times that is the most expensive doctor. It kind of makes me wonder if they are not all that upset with the way things work. After all, the more money they dole out, the more they can legitimately charge us and the more money they TAKE-IN. More money exchanging hands certainly is a good thing for them. Its how low margin, big-box retailers make a living.
Finally, I want to include one more aside on this whole mess. I am an asthmatic whose asthma has been reduced to a single mild attack every 6 months or so. When I was a kid and had it worse I could get an inhaler for $10 and it would last me several months. If I could buy one today it would last me years. The deal is, I cannot buy one over the counter any more. They have been pulled off the market because 1) doctors claim they do not want people self-diagnosing asthma and 2) they supposedly infect the atmosphere with CFC's. I can however, see a doctor and get a more expensive inhaler which, of course, still impacts the environment. I could get on Singulair and take one pill a day for the rest of my life. No asthma for me. Yay! But at what cost am I taking that route? My solution now is to deal with it naturally. My cases are mild and simply calming down and drinking caffeine tends to solve the problem. Its the right solution for me in this day and age. Still, I wish I could buy my old inhaler. I am willing to pay $10. I am not willing to ensure about $400 changes hands on my behalf and put myself at a risk for future higher premiums.
Who really wants to think about all of this though? If your employer is paying for your insurance all you care is what your co-pay is. Its exactly how I was until I spent time paying for my own insurance. If you want to know the truth I wish my employer would ditch my health care benefits and increase my pay by the amount they are paying for me. Then I could get an HSA and a qualifying high deductible policy. This would encourage me to be more responsible with my health care choices and if I remain in good health for a few years the money I won't have to save in subsequent years will result in a raise.
As it is, we have gone down this path for way too long and it isn't going to be corrected overnight.
You have got to check this out ... Good Music is bad!
-- CMR summarizes it as follows
Simple music forms faith. Good music is a distraction. So good music that lifts us up to heaven and God is bad. Instead, bad music is to be preferred because it brings God down to our level.
Huh? You want to talk distraction? The following distractions cause me to recoil in horror every time I see them in the music I am supposed to be singing at mass.
1. (c) 1960-1985
2. Multiple instances of 3/8,6/8,9/8 crammed in various assortments throughout the song. The more instances, the more distracting.
3. Adjacent notes over an octave away from each other.
4. Classic hymns with a word replacement. For example, yesterday we saw "sinner" replaced with "person"
TIME magazine and the claim JP2 was euthanized
Calling a liberal a hypocrite is, in their own minds, one of the worst charges you can level at them. They pride themselves on tolerance and open mindedness yet often the rubber never hits the pavement quite right ... Exhibit A:
TIME magazine making a big deal out of a TV doctor who was not present at the death of JP2 CLAIMING that he was euthanized. Pesky Catholic hypocrites ... An interesting facet of this is that TIME criticized Bill Frist for doing exactly the same thing with Terry Schiavo. Interestingly, they were right the first time. NewsBusters has the goods ...CWN also has a short blurb making the same point.
I read earlier today that Vatican doctors who were there have responded to this. Source forthcoming ...
Episcopalian Bishop to Become Catholic
Episcopalian Bishop to Become Catholic - The third this year
Faced with this very soul-draining stalement between contrasting theologies and contrasting views on Scripture, authority, sexuality, and a host of such issues, the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey N. Steenson, the active Bishop of the Rio Grande, will announce his intention to enter the Roman Catholic Church tomorrow.-- a couple more posts to follow this in a few hours --
Those who claim to be close to the bishop report that, in the face of these many problems and afflictions of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion at large, Steenson has been telling friends for some time, "The answer is Benedict XVI."
In his own (public) words:
Regarding his move to the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop Steenson said, “I believe that the Lord now calls me in this direction. It amazes me, after all of these years, what a radical journey of faith this must necessarily be. To some it seems foolish; to others disloyal; to others an abandonment.”
The confusing meaning of the modern precept - You can't legislate morality
I think most people agree that morality cannot be legislated.
I think a little clarity is in order here.
If one means by this that we cannot legislate morality by passing laws and having a substantial part of society fall into accordance with the will of God then I would agree with this. If they are saying that laws are somehow not legislation of a moral idea, I disagree.
Every law reflects some moral idea, every moral idea reflects some fundamental commitment, and every fundamental commitment is religious-it proposes a god. The Problem With Conservatism by J. Budziszewski
FYI there is a sister essay that goes with this called The Problem With Liberalism
. Both are interesting reads although I gather from reading them that he struggled more writing the Conservatism article. For example, when he chastises the Conservative tendency towards what he calls "traditionalism" he cites the repeated adherence to precedent in upholding Roe v. Wade. Some of the others are tendencies I think are suffered mostly by a certain strain of Protestants who sees the United States as a "city on a hill" and not the Church. That said, he does rake a certain lay group of Catholics insisting that we have a moral obligation to invest ala the parable of the talents.
The latest in fashionable attacks on marriage
Or "the same old things under the sun that have always attacked marriage"Politician's cure for seven-year itch is to put marriage on time limit
That would make my marriage past due. At least she would retain the option to renew your marriage. In my case this expiration would have to have some sort of provision for 4 children. If the point is to save court costs then I don't see how it would help a case with children. It isn't JUST about YOU and YOUR comfort level. Now Polygamy: After Legalizing Same-Sex ‘Marriage,’ More Canadians Want to Redefine Marriage
Its a slippery slope folks.
I have always been of the thought that dating is overrated and that the most effective way to determine 1) whether or not you should be married and 2) who that person should be is to leave it in the hands of God. Dawn Eden has an excellent post up about single websurfers. My advice for anyone who is looking with dread at having to "go through the whole process" of online dating is to do an experiment, just for tonight.
Seriously. If you are single go read it. If you are not go read it. Focus on prayer. Go to adoration. Get closer to God and He will make evident your vocation.
Save the planet, have less children? ... Nah! Spread the Gospel. Have children.
It is interesting that I found these two articles in the same 24 hour period.
One pieces expounds on the idea of everyone not having children in order to better the future of the planet. Let's not wait for climate change, he says. Let's start depopulating right now.
WOW ... what a NOT great idea! It does point out something I have become a bigger believer in recently.
Townhall has another article about number of children as it relates to belief and political ideology. Consider the following
"[there is] a 41 percent fertility gap between religious and secular people."
For the politically conservative out there ... Even worse—if you are a secularist—religious people who identify themselves as politically "conservative" or "very conservative" are having, on average, an astonishing 78 percent more kids than secular liberals, Brooks writes.The Roe Effect
has even more profound effects when you consider it along with the "pill" effect. Predictions of the end of religion by the world are woefully uniformed. Its quite simple actually. A world view that shuns children eliminates its future. One that expresses the sentiment of its founder to "let the little ones come to me" has a bright future indeed.
The last several days at work were intense. I worked for 9 straight days including some late nights and through the first week of the NFL season.
Anyway, work has stabilized some so I SHOULD be able to blog some.
Prayers for those affected by Hurricane Felix
Felix made landfall in an area where torrential rains have historically caused all kinds of catastrophic problems. People seldom hear about what goes on with these type landfalls.
Q: What was the deadliest Atlantic Hurricane in 2005?
Wilma, Katrina, Rita?
A: We don't know for sure although the official death totals put Katrina barely on top. Hurricane Stan killed over 1500 and some estimates are over 2000.
Its OK to admit it if you have never heard of Hurricane Stan. The press didn't cover it that much. It was a Category 1 storm. There just wasn't much hype surrounding it. Just because the press isn't covering post-landfall Felix at the top of every hour does not mean it is not going to be a storm that changes lives forever.
Had to disable contact page ... apparently its not sending me emails
Apologies to those who have tried to contact me but the emails were never delivered ....
Legionaries taking Regain Inc. to court
Since I get visits from people interested in this I feel an obligation to pass this on. Controversial Catholic Group Alleges Critics Stole Inside Info
A controversial Catholic group is taking its critics to court in the latest escalation of the decades-long battle between the Legion of Christ and former members of the Legion, some of whom have accused its founder of sexual abuse.
Former members of the order, known as Legionaries, have formed an online community to discuss, among other things, the sexual abuse allegations against the founder, Father Marcial Maciel.
Last year, the Vatican asked Maciel to give up all of his ministry appearances following accusations that decades ago he molested young priests in training.
The Legion has filed a complaint against one of the organizations, Regain Inc., and its president, a former Legionary, John Paul Lennon.
What freedoms did you gain as a Catholic?
A query for my fellow converts ... What freedoms did you gain as a Catholic?
A few months back I posted something outlining what I gaiend in Catholicism (The freedom of Catholicism
). This was specifically to deny the charge that I traded in a great freedom for a religion of bondage when I became Catholic. The fact is, there is nothing I had as a Protestant that I do not have today. Rather, today I have it in completeness. What that post focuses on what what I GAINED in Truth rather than things that improved upon what I had. Today I wanted to point out something practical that results in greater freedom than I ever had before I became Catholic. It is often considered a burden by our Protestant brethren but I have only come more and more to see how wrong that is. Confession is a gift, as are all sacraments.
First off, I want to point out that what Protestants do in "going directly to God" with their confession is not in and of itself a bad thing. Catholics, in fact, believe that this is a valid way to obtain sanctifying grace even apart from confession PROVIDED that "perfect contrition" is present.
Perfect contrition bestows the grace of justification on the mortal sinner even before the actual reception of the Sacrament of Penance (Sent. fidei proxima) -- Dr. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Dogma -- p. 428 TAN publishers
Now, perfect contrition is that motivated by perfect love of God (charity). A motivation to love God for ones own benefits, for example, is really self-love and not a sufficient motive to be considered perfect contrition.
Practically speaking it is difficult for us to attain perfect contrition. Almost every Catholic convert knows this when comparing his first examination of conscience to his prior confessions in life. When you have to tell it to someone, it all of the sudden becomes startlingly more real that you did something wrong. What the Church gives us in Confession is the ability to confess those sins from our fallen nature and be ASSURED that even in a state of imperfect contrition those sins are loosed in heaven. It is a function of the authority of the Church as handed to Peter and then to his successors. There is never doubt with my reconciliation with the Church. How can I not feel a great freedom from that?
Now, without getting into it, I would also consider the doctrine of purgatory a great mercy.
I'll deal with this later. What about you converts? Are you more free today or do you feel a burden of your Catholic faith just as you were told you would?
Somebody got to my blog from Google maps
If someone can figure out how that is done let me know. I am not paying for advertising on Google. I am not a business. Anyway, an exercise in tedium if someone wants to take up the challenge. I couldn't figure it out in a few minutes of poking.
Bobby Jindal and his conversion to Catholicism
I once saw commentary indicating that Bobby Jindal had converted to Christianity to gain votes. This is a common charge towards people converting to Christianity from other religions, or even from Protestantism to Catholicism. People find it mind boggling that someone would leave the faith they are fond of for something else. That being said, the reason I know Bobby is sincere in his conversion because people GIVE UP friendships, family relationships and good church situations to convert to Catholicism. These converts often find themselves in the desert of trying to figure all out for years after their first communion in the Church. Bobby converted against the will of his parents. This is well known. He risked alienation from his family for ... votes???? Besides those outside of the Christian faith might not realize that his move could actually cost him votes in the long run. If Bobby had converted to get votes in a predominantly Protestant nation he would not have converted to Catholicism because he KNOWS how charged that tag can be. There has only been ONE Catholic President of the United States and some would argue he only got elected because he stated that he would not let his faith interfere with his job running the country. We Catholics certainly get our converts who come over for every bad reason under the sun but in recent years an increasing number of people are entering the Church because they realize they have no place left to go. We don't typically convert despite our objections. In the end we have found no objections where we desired with all our hearts to find many. Converts often go through tremendous fear. We want to stay in that comfortable spot in our lives that contains all of our friends and family happy with where we go to church. It is a sacrifice we make -- our cross to bear. I don't doubt his sincerity because I have read about his faith and I have been in his shoes. Becoming Catholic is unlike any other "denomination" change in Christianity. That is a reality those who criticize Jindal for his conversion must come to terms with.
The Journey Home round table presentation and discussion
The talk went really well. I was excited to hear the stories of other converts. Quite frankly I could do this every week. It is such a blessing to hear of people having gone through the same struggles that my wife and I went through and feeling the same highs and same lows. It was good to hear that everyone struggles through similar logical processes and fights against their conversion at the end. I think few people realize what converts give up. They often convert to Catholicism DESPITE their emotional call to remain Protestant. Trust me, if I had stayed where I wanted to it would have been miles easier but I would have been denying where Christ was leading me.
My notes were 1700 words which alone would have extended beyond my 12.5 minute time limit. I had to leave out large portions of it to hit my alloted time. Beyond the 1700 words I had typed up answers to questions I thought I might be asked. I was asked one question I expected. The question was:
How do you explain the priest scandal and did if affect you during your conversion? The answer to the second part was yes and to the first ... well ... read my conversion story over on the right. :) Something about the people in the pew next to me.
Posted the four articles I wrote for CatholicDaily
The four articles I wrote for CatholicDaily are my most recent submissions. The one just prior to this never made the web site. If you havent read them, take the time. In the future I recommend listening to the CatholicUnderground
podcast. They are copied in as raw HTML so the formatting is not always so nice. I MAY clean them up at some point but not tonight.
CatholicDaily: Discernment on the internet
Discernment on the internet
John 14:6 “I am the truth the way and the life”
The Internet is a truly distributed medium of information interchange riddled
with great treasures and great dangers. In seeking for opportunities to use
this great resource one must lean heavily on their faith to determine what
sites are and are not acceptable to visit. The catechism warns of the dangers
The means of social communication (especially the mass media) can give rise to
a certain passivity among users, making them less than vigilant consumers of
what is said or shown. Users should practice moderation and discipline in
their approach to the mass media. They will want to form enlightened and
correct consciences the more easily to resist unwholesome influences.
Still for those seeking the truth its radiance shines above the fray.
... Truth is beautiful in itself ...
Seeking however is an active process as opposed to the passivity condemned in
the Catechism. One must be ever active in forming their consciences according
to the truths of the faith. It is especially important to inform oneself in
dealing with the problems facing us today as you are most prone to find
yourself defending the faith regarding those issues or directly dealing with
them yourself. Regular spiritual reading, adult education, Bible studies and
other learning of the faith should be a regular part of your Catholic life.
Naturally, learning more about our faith helps us long term but what about
now? Well, prayer is always a good first step. As a matter of course I ask for
Gods protection on a regular basis. We all do when we say the Lords Prayer --
"lead us not into temptation". Second, it never hurts to simply ask for
guidance. Third asking that you FIND the answers you are looking for is simply
affirming a promise given to us in Sacred Scripture.
Luke 11:10 “For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and
to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Furthermore it is important to set your own boundaries based on what you know
of your faith and of yourself. If you remove a potted plant from its pot, the
soil will fall away exposing the roots and eventually killing the plant.
Keeping the plant in the pot maintains a key parameter (boundaries) making
growth possible. The key is to arm yourself and assure your growth as a
Catholic before entering into the fray. Where we are in our journey determines
whether we need to be replanted in a larger pot with greater freedom -- a
freedom which comes only from increased knowledge of Christ.
Philippians 1:9-11 And this is my prayer:
that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of
perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless
for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes
through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God
As youth, our parents manage our input of information (a smaller pot) defining
strong boundaries. The same holds true for ourselves as we grow in Christ.
A few simple boundaries can be defined to assist you in properly discerning
information you encounter on the web. Always compare what you read to what the
Church teaches. Every Catholic home should have a Bible and a Catechism of the
Catholic Church. If you don't know what the Church teaches on a subject use
the moment as a learning opportunity -- seek divinely guided answers where
applicable. As time goes on you will find your decisions informed by knowledge
of your faith even in seemingly innocuous matters. Equally important is to
know your weaknesses. Regular confession of devotion will help you to better
know yourself so that you can make an effort to avoid occasion of sin.
Matthew 18:9 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away.
It is better for you to enter into life with one eye than with two eyes to be
thrown into fiery Gehenna.
There are a few practical considerations I would like to briefly mention. Even
with the precautions of prayer, knowledge of your faith and practical action,
Satan will do his best to ensnare you. A simple example I will give involved a
fascination my son had with automated car washes. I innocently decided to do a
Google search on car wash. The results I saw were staggering. I had to sift
through pages of pornography links before I finally found what I was looking
for, a video of an automated car wash in action. My world was intruded by
evil. Rather than succumb to temptation it is better that we focus on the
beauty and truth of our faith.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think
about these things.
Additionally, parental controls are great especially in homes with children.
There are many choices here and even a sub par one is a step in the right
direction. The Vista operating system from Microsoft comes with parental
controls built-in. Another filter I recommend is called the “eyes from heaven”
control. Put a crucifix near your computer. This serves the purpose of helping
remind you of whose commands you obey –
John 14:15 If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
Finally there is a great resource available for Catholics at CatholiCulture
that rates web sites based on fidelity to the Magisterium.
1 Peter 1:22 "Since you have purified yourselves by obedience to the truth for
sincere mutual love, love one another intensely from a (pure) heart."
CatholicDaily: Balancing technology with the spiritual life
Balancing technology with the spiritual life
In subsequent Digital Catholic articles I have indulged in the glory of
reading numerous blogs and surfing through the near endless Catholic content
on YouTube. In a perfect world each of us would schedule a sliver of time per
day aimed at satisfying a positive spiritual need of learning something new
about our faith. In reality though, we all know that a fine line can be
crossed that sends us on a downward spiral. Tools that we once used to
strengthen our faith we can find a constant distraction standing between us
and our families, employers and worst of all, God.
There are multiple pitfalls with frequent input of information from the web.
First is one of reduced attention span. Researchers have speculated about this
in recent years enough to where studies have been done. Some have come back
positive. Others negative. Still, we all suspect there is something to it. Web
designers focus on attracting people to a site and more importantly in keeping
people at the site. They know what the shortest attention spans are the ones
they are aiming to grab. If they can keep them at their site, they can keep
all of us. Thus our every move on the web is filled with encounters of fast
content designed to have maximum impact. Over time we get used to these power
packed pellets of information slamming our senses. Then, when we find
something that we need to read, like the book of Romans, we find ourselves
agitated that the good writer couldn't squeeze it into a pithy tagline or jazz
The second pitfall is one of simple addiction. Employers became wise to this
years ago and began blocking the common areas of addiction on the web.
Pornography and gaming sites are the top problem areas. Further down the list
however includes news. News is harmless right? Not when it consumes six hours
a day at work or consumes the rare moments you have to talk with your
children. Psychiatrists have even gone so far as to consider naming web
surfing addition a disorder. Relationships and careers have been destroyed by
online time. Another area that can suffer is our involvement in our local
parish and community. It is a very real phenomenon and worth your time to
consider whether you are at risk to have a problem with it.
I spend upwards of eight hours a day on a computer and I have felt the
frustration of a decrease in my attention span and the strong urge to keep
surfing even when deadlines are calling at work. Fortunately our faith is ripe
with avenues to help us combat this whether it is becoming a problem or
already is causing strife in our lives.
First off prayer is always the first step. In the case of reduced attention
span I recommend increasing the amount of contemplative prayer in your life.
Contemplative prayer requires patience which is the antithesis of the
indulgent nature of online content. Second, since reading about your faith is
often the reason a Catholic is online in the first place, I recommend a good
old fashioned book: you know, those bindings filled with leaves of paper with
text on them. Even better, we have the Bible which is well suited to that
purpose. There is absolutely nothing wrong with reading Sacred Scripture in
large blocks. Thirty minutes of reading the Bible is not only indulgenced, it
is a way to develop a longer attention span and less directly a patient
attitude in reading.
Addiction is a more difficult thing to deal with. For most of us, it simply
requires better planning of our time and resources. Many effective amateur
bloggers have blog time usually once or even a few times a day but the time
they allocate to it is limited and they put a good bit of effort into
controlling that time. After all, they have prayers to say, work to do, mouths
to feed and stories to read at bedtime. The biggest key is developing a good
sense of moderation. In addition, I have seen many people give up some segment
of their online lives for Lent. This is an ideal way to discipline yourself at
a very high level regarding your use of the Internet. If the level of
difficulty in pulling oneself away is high then fasting is a good course of
action as it in itself aims to tame the desires of the flesh and bring one in
accordance with the will of God. Failing all of these seeking help from a
priest or licensed professional may be in order.
The Internet is a truly dizzying place filled with caverns of knowledge about
our faith. As with so many good things there is the possibility of taking it
too far and causing problems in your life and with your relationship with God.
With His help you can have a healthy balance of technology and life.
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Catholic Daily: YouTube Evangelists
It sure seems that YouTube is in the news a lot recently. Google buys it for
.65 billion. Telivision personalities like Steven Colbert develop larger
followings by their regular clips on YouTube. Interestingly a not so new trend
has also developed in the world of online video clips -- Evangelism. The first
prominent example that I recall seeing was a stunning video titled
am I Catholic. This video, of course, prompted responses from
non-Catholics about all that was wrong with it but the message remains there
for all to see. The Catholic Church presented in its full glory.
The movement seems to have begun as a grass roots movement. Excited lay
Catholics are eager to get out the message about their fantastic faith.
Several months back an atheist poster on YouTube posted a video titled
"Blasphemy Challenge" which ventured to get folks to deny God and more
specifically the Holy Spirit because, as the Bible says in Mark 3:29 (NAB)
"But whoever blasphemes against the holy Spirit will never have forgiveness,
but is guilty of an everlasting sin." This prompted a host of denial
responses. Lo and behold Protestants and Catholics alike responded to the
challenge but rather than deny their faith, they affirmed it.
The even more wonderful news is that this movement is not limited to the
laity. Deacon Chris Decker from
Challenge which simply affirms our faith and challenges others
to do the same.
Justin Rigali of Philadelphia made a splash in the media when
he started posting Lenten reflections to YouTube and
Bishop's Conference in the Philippines has launched a video log
"in answer to the call of the Holy Father 'to make the internet as a new forum
for proclaiming the Gospel'". The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal helped
begin an independent film company to respond to John Paul II's proclamation:
The film industry has become a universal medium exercising a profound
influence on the development of people’s attitudes and choices, and possessing
a remarkable ability to influence public opinion and culture across all social
and political frontiers.
The company is responsible for the video Fishers of Men which is considered by
some to be the best vocational video of our time.
YouTube quite simply has become a scratchpad for our culture. It isn't limited
to just videos that people make in their homes and post on the web. Often
times, incidents that occur in the news end up on YouTube for easy reference
and reflection by others. A prime example of this in recent weeks was the
Euteneur on the Sean Hannity show. His appearance on the show
made a splash on the Internet and gave voice to the Church on the topic of
contraception. To most of society the topic has been closed for years but here
we had an avenue on a major news network and a topic that frayed nerves in our
culture. Those who took the time to look into the incident further found
commentary from Catholic blogs and others on the web eloquently expounding the
teaching of the Church on openness to life.
Sometimes though, YouTube moments are not so public. They are not about famous
people or to be directly confronting legions in organized movements. A
touching example of this was seen by a
poster who was curious about the Catholic faith. He posted a
request on YouTube expressing interest in the teachings of the Catholic
Church. Catholics responded by suggesting books that attended to his interests
in the faith. The story is ongoing and as is true with many people seeking to
convert to Catholicism, his family is offering much in the way of friction.
Currently he is seeking to attend a good Catholic university.
YouTube is an open dialog and an opportunity in our diolog free society to
engage in proclaiming the Truth. Whether it is priests and bishops shepherding
their flock, lay Catholics responding to challenges against the faith or
personal dialog with a curious youth, YouTube is changing the face of
Evangelism by bringing the mission field even closer to your home. But where
the tools change the mission is still the same. Evangelize.