Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fr. Epperson's homily...

We went to the walk for life on Saturday and we stayed in Ukiah last night. We went to Mass at St. Mary of the Angels Catholic Church this morning. We had never been in the church, nor had we met the pastor there. To our delight we heard one of the best sermons ever preached. I have not blogged for a while. It kinda did not fit me very well. I needed a place to let people read this sermon, so here I am on this old blog.

Father Epperson’s sermon on the third Sunday in Ordinary Time Jan 23, 2011.

The readings addressed division in the church.

I was so impressed with his sermon, I asked for a copy. He gave me the copy he used on the Altar. I have entered it to this file EXACTLY as he wrote it in his notes with his punctuation and abbreviations. To be fair, keep in mind that it was not intended to be distributed in this way, but rather it was to be spoken by the man who wrote it. Enjoy…

His sermon:

There is nothing more demoralizing and destructive going on in our Catholic Church today than division, and it’s everywhere. Division causes peace and joy to evaporate and replaces them with tension and squabbling.

Recently an article appeared in a magazine for priests. This article was written by a priest. It condemned Pope John Paul as ‘out of touch in scripture and limited in theology, a bad listener.’ Pope Benedict and Pope Paul VI were similarly attacked.

The Priest dissents from various key teachings of the Church, calling them ‘policies’ and consistently refers to the vocation of the priesthood as a ‘job’. All in all, and without exaggeration, this article was enough to make one depressed.

What was totally lacking was love for and trust in the Church. The next article, by another priest, aimed to demonstrate that missing Mass was not a big deal and should not worry us so much, he spoke as though Holy Mother Church had never existed.

Indeed, Chloe’s people were right: My dear brothers, it is clear that there are serious differences among you. // The ‘serious differences’ are really a profound crisis of faith. Catholics are unbelievably confused about the faith. It seems all has boiled down to ‘opinions’ rather than obedience.

There is continual and deliberate spreading of errors in every segment of the Catholic Church by large numbers of priests, religious and laity. The interior disunity of the Church is a bleeding sore which no one seems willing to stem. What a disaster!

And what suffering for those Catholics who know the faith and know how things should actually be in their parishes! Almost entirely gone is any notion of sin and so there is a general acceptance of those who habitually live in sin and there are many who do so.

Confession has all but disappeared as a result of the confusion caused by disobedient priests. All this has resulted in parishes with great attendance at the parish barbeque and small numbers seriously living the Christian life.

As a priest committed to the orthodoxy in faith and morals, in liturgical worship, obedience to Rome and especially, love for the Church, I meet with extraordinary opposition from priests and laity who are strangely angered and even scandalized at me. I believe it is because these priests have somehow come to believe that they have been commissioned to change the Church while I, and many like me, have clung to the apparently outdated notion that we should be letting the Church try to change us.

Pope Paul VI, one year before his death, said: There is a great uneasiness, at this time, in the world and in the Church, /that which is in question is the faith …PVI What strikes me, when I think of the Catholic world, is that within Catholicism, there seems sometimes to predominate a non-Catholic way of thinking, and it can happen that this non-Catholic thought within Catholicism, will tomorrow become the stronger. But it will never represent the thought of the Church. (Paul VI)

From prison St. Paul wrote to implore the Ephesians to preserve ‘the unity of the Spirit’ so that they would not be ‘carried along by every wind of doctrine, at the mercy of all the tricks men play and their cleverness in practicing deceit.’

To Timothy he wrote: The time is sure to come when, far from being content with sound teaching, people will be avid for the latest novelty and collect themselves a whole series of teachers according to their own tastes and then, instead of listening to the truth, they will turn to myths. Be careful always to choose the right course… .

Be careful always to choose the right course! This is not advice; it is a warning – a warning on which depends our relationship with Christ and His Church and, therefore, our eternal future.

Many orthodox priests are anguished by the present state of our Church. Pope Paul VI rightly foresaw that it would become worse in succeeding years. I call upon you, my friends, to be equally concerned and to make every effort you can to learn the Faith and live the Faith of the Catholic Church and to resist anyone, anywhere, who attempts to pervert or misrepresent it.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Catholic? Schools
By Ed Drewsen
Parents are the primary teachers of the faith for their children. If parents graduated from catholic schools they may not have been given the one tool necessary for this task...Knowledge of the faith.
As a graduate of both catholic grade school and catholic high school I well understand the effects of both lack of catholic teaching, and “progressive” falsehoods. During the summer between high school and a short stint at the local junior college my Father learned that the two religion teachers (a nun and a lay woman) had me believing that the holy Eucharist was only a symbol of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus. I argued vehemently against my father’s belief in the true presence of Christ’s body, blood, soul, and divinity in the bread.
I tried hard to find true answers to questions my father raised, and to questions the “Religion” teachers left unanswered. I prepared a list of questions to ask area priests. The main question on my mind was the one about the Eucharist. (I also had questions pertaining to scripture and sexual behavior.) Out of five area priests one claimed to be unqualified to give me any answers. Three of them gave me varying answers boiling down to Sister Barb (my religion teacher) was correct. Only the one priest who was forced into retirement by the Bishop around that time said it is the body and blood without reservations or hesitation.
The problem for me was the inconsistencies in what was being taught. I had been reading the bible passages talking of Christ’s body being real food and His blood being real drink. I had also read about when Christ said his blood was shed for many. I read further about if you do not eat my body and drink my blood you will not have life in you. I wanted to be one of the many. I wanted to have life in me, but the catholic schools and priests gave me so little. I left the Church.
I was praying and seeking truth. God gave me the grace to see his one true Christian Church, the Catholic Church. What seems odd is the way I came to it was sort of from the perspective of a protestant. With regard to faith, I had been taught people's opinions presented as fact. As long as I thought something was OK, for me it was not a sin. Sure, culpability and understanding go hand in hand, but when an adult has the ear of a child they should be forming a strong conscience. Instead My religion teachers gave us the opportunity to make excuses for our behavior by lowering our understanding of what God expects of us. This did reduce culpability somewhat, but not completely. Rather than teaching the very risky lower culpability doctrine, it's too bad they didn't just lay down the law...God's law.
The Church in it’s wisdom has spelled out within cannon law the age of reason to be seven years. Hitler said “Give me your sons until they are six…they will be mine forever”. When will those who have the authority to address this problem in Catholic schools do something from early ages through twelfth grade? Most of the Catholics I went to high school with either left the church completely, or they stay in the church excusing themselves from the doctrines of the church. Some often oppose church doctrines while acting as if they are in communion with the Church.
An example of this is “I don’t believe birth control is wrong”. This is a much easier way to live than self control or openness to life. Yet not one published Roman Catholic document leads one to this belief. Lets give Catholic kids the chance to believe or disbelieve the truth early. If we are given the truth after becoming conditioned to live opposite from the truth, our nature is to make it easy on ourselves by making excuses. If young children and youth learned church teachings earlier they would be more likely to live by them as adults by conditioning themselves to be obedient to them.
When my children were in the local catholic grade school I wanted to see this problem addressed by the principal. I met with him to ask why the school only very lightly touched on catholic teachings. I wanted to know why we were teaching a “watered down version of our faith”. He proceeded to explain that we had too many protestants in the school to teach our faith. “We can’t afford to loose them because of money” he told me. My position was, and still is, if our schools acted Catholic they would receive overwhelming support in multiple ways including financial. Further, my position is we should not be ashamed of our Catholicism. Let’s teach it in our schools in the face of the protestants in our schools.
Why would we hold the beliefs of those who protest Christ’s Catholic Church in higher regard than our Catholic kids?
We are doing our kids no justice when we allow them to graduate from Catholic high schools questioning the sinfulness of premarital sex, abortion, contraceptives, and homosexuality. I was recently on the Facebook of a recent Catholic Graduate of our local Catholic high school. The prominent saying when I visited was something like “Proud to be Lesbian”. It’s hard not to ask the question, what did the So-called Catholic School do to make her understand the sinfulness of her lifestyle? Did they teach her about chastity? Did they lead her to believe what she thinks is good must be good for her? At a young age she could have been taught that we are one body in Christ. We can't just do what we want without it effecting the whole body.
Many of our kids don’t know the Church’s teaching on mortal sin and it’s relationship to receiving reconciliation before receiving the Holy Eucharist. One can take very straightforward answers to Catholic questions and back them up with the long-winded politically correct answers in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The only problem is when a “progressive” priest, nun, or lay teacher twists up the catechism with his or her own interpretation we run into inconsistent voices. I believe God's will is to have one consistent voice within the church. We need something like the old Baltimore Catechism with straightforward answers, which can lovingly be explained to very young students. Today schools and churches can choose from a variety of religious formation curriculums which lend themselves to the particular opinion of those making the purchase. One voice of the church can only come when the Roman Catholic Church provides one approved curriculum.
My father said the cruel old nuns would make them hold their hands palm down on the desk to receive a swat with the edge of a ruler when they did something wrong, or answered a question wrong. I hold out that it was not the curriculum that was flawed in the pre Vatican II schools, rather, it was the approach. What’s wrong with clear answers to clear questions taught with love? At least they had clarity, and they started at early ages.
When Christ taught something he was firm in the teaching. He gave clear answers, which were not popular or politically correct. He laid down the rules, and those who didn’t want to play by them he allowed to walk away. Thus St Mathew’s account of the institution of the Blessed Sacrament includes clear verbiage making known Christ’s understanding that not everyone would believe. “And taking the chalice, he gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this. For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto the remission of sins.” (Mathew 26, 27-28) Our hope is that our children will play by the rules, so they can be part of the many. We must make sure the rules are clear to our kids so they can make informed decisions pertaining to faith.
Our wonderful Roman Catholic Church has clear teachings, which are sometimes made unclear by American Church leaders, and American Catholic School leaders. How about the Orthodox Roman Catholics take back American Catholic Schools?
When I read what is below I was inspired to write what is above. You may judge me, a simple lay person, unqualified to write on this subject. The only problem an American Catholic could have is in taking Christ’s word “many” in a literal context. If you are one of those who want to be on the other side of that debate that’s ok, but you can’t deny that not everyone will accept what Christ has offered them. Lets not let this particular debate get in the way of solving the real problem, which this writing is addressing………………….The Catholic education of our Catholic kids.
SAT - Salvation Aptitude Test
Noel J. Augustyn, From the New Oxford Review
Note: The author of this article, Noel Augustyn, did not provide an answer key. The NOR policy is that it will not write one for him. Consequently, there is no answer key for this test. If you have questions, Please consult your priest, or other religious authority.
Noel J. Augustyn is a lawyer living in Maryland He has taught English in high school and college, and has taught the law of evidence in law school.
What's Your Score On The S.A.T?
(Salvation Aptitude Test)?
Ten years ago a college professor named E.D. Hirsch gained national notoriety for a radical thesis about education. In a book entitled
Cultural Literacy he wrote that a basic purpose of education is to replace ignorance with knowledge. He argued that such fashionable educational concepts as "problem solving," "critical thinking," and "creativity" are empty if students possess no core of shared knowledge.
The passage of a decade - despite the birth of the so-called
Information Age and the supposed building of the Information Superhighway – has only added support to his thesis. At every level of schooling, students are uninformed or ill informed. There is illiteracy and innumeracy; there are science-stiffs and culture clods. There is also - as parents of children in parochial schools are uneasily aware - a parallel Catholic phenomenon that as yet has no name. Should we call it "indogmacy"? In plain English, it is religious ignorance. American Catholic schoolchildren today know very little about their religion.
Last December I was chatting with an honor-roll eighth-grade student, my son's classmate at the parish school. Noting that the boy was scheduled to serve Mass on the day after Christmas, I commented that, like Good King Wenceslas, he would be out and about on the Feast of Stephen.
"Who's King Wenceslas?" he asked.
"E.D. Hirsch, give me strength," thought I. But then I reflected: It's a mild case of Caroling Illiteracy, nothing serious. The lad may not be much of a singer, and, after all, Prague and its Wenceslas Square are rarely in the news these days and, besides, the Bohemian prince and martyr's feast day each September 28 is an optional memorial.
Then the boy said, "Who's Stephen?"
"You know," I replied. "The first martyr."
He thought that over. "What's a martyr?"
"Well," I said, "a martyr is one who gives up his life for his faith -one who imitates Christ completely. You know!"
No light dawned. I thought it might help to mention Saul, who later became Paul. “You know, the one who wrote the Epistles? He was holding the cloaks of those who were stoning Stephen. You know?” All this seemed to be news to him.
"Eight years of Catholic education," I murmured to myself. To him I said, "So, what are you studying in religion class these days?"
"We don't really study the saints," he informed me.
I guess they don't. I've heard a professor at the Catholic University of America joke about the need for a course in remedial Catholicism for freshmen who even after 12 years of Catholic school are religiously illiterate. The students reportedly exclaim, "What? We've got to learn all seven sacraments?" Funny, but maybe the joke is onus. Catholics educated before Vatican II are not, perhaps, better Christians than those educated afterward. The fact remains that we knew "by heart" (a term meaning far more than rote memorization) the Seven Sacraments, the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, the Seven Deadly Sins, the Corporal Works of Mercy, the Precepts of the Church, the Theological Virtues, and much more, including the meaning of "martyr," the story of Saul/Paul, the lives of many saints, and dozens of Bible stories. The gift of faith, of course, is ultimately a mystery, but education is ours to control. Students do tend to learn what they're taught.
Whence comes the decline in religious literacy in Catholic schools?
"Religion" now seems to be but one more subject in a crowded curriculum, rather than a pervasive truth guiding all studies. But why?
One apparent reason is the virtual disappearance of teachers who are religious by vocation. Today's lay teachers are not as scripturally literate as were the Sisters and Brothers of yesteryear. There is not the same ready richness of biblical reference: the sort that would allow a teacher to remind students of the number of days it rained on Noah, or the number of days Jesus fasted in the desert, to reinforce the answer to the math problem "5 times 8"; the sort that would prompt a teacher to hint that a dodecahedron is a figure with exactly as many sides as Israel had tribes and Jesus had Apostles.
Another explanation is the absence of Catholic textbooks in the various subject areas. In the past a number of stories in Catholic school "readers" were based on the Bible or the saints or other areas of Catholic heritage, whereas today there are no such readers, and hence no such stories. History books used in Catholic schools once had a Catholic focus. Today, don't expect your Catholic schoolchildren to have learned about Pope St. Leo the Great or Father Marquette. The texts now used in Catholic schools are identical to those used in public schools, and they have a decidedly secular slant. Indeed, a sixth-grade social studies textbook used in a local Catholic school stiffly offers an arm's-length definition of "monotheism" as that variety of religion, which believes in just one "god." Finally, the decline in religious literacy is related to the religion books themselves, which at least have drawn some critical attention for offering more mush than meat.
So the problem of religious illiteracy is apparent, and causes are easy to find. But what is the solution? There is no resurgence in religious vocations for orders dedicated to teaching in parish schools. No Catholic publishing houses seem to show any interest in producing Catholic elementary school textbooks for "secular" subjects. And any hopes that the Catechism of the Catholic Church would lead to the publication of religious texts apt for schoolchildren are, so far, mostly just hopes.
A possible solution may be to adopt an idea that has recently found favor with educators that of "standards." In standards-based education, you define precisely what students should know at each level, and you test them on those precise matters. "Teaching to the test" remains, of course, controversial, but so do most other ideas in education, and an attempt at standards in religious literacy could well overcome in Catholic school classrooms the absence of vowed religious teachers and the dearth of religiously literate textbooks.
What should the standards be? What should be on the tests? I modestly offer the following as a draft of the sort of exam that I think my eighth-grade friend from last Christmas should have to pass before graduating from Catholic grammar school. Who am I to set the standards? I'm just an ordinary Catholic whose formal training in Catholicism ended in eighth grade over 35 years ago. I don't think that knowledge equals faith (or hope or charity). But I know that the religious literacy I had accumulated, fairly painlessly, by age 13 has enriched my faith during subsequent years and has given me a secure base of knowledge on which to build. The following exam tries to teach as well as to test, and has a number of "think" or "short essay" questions. If it seems easy to you, gentle reader, you might want to try it out on your local Catholic eighth-grader (or high-schooler) before you dismiss it as laughably elementary.
1. One of the prayers at Mass refers to this man as "our father in faith." Both Jews and Arabs regard him as their ancestor. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all consider him to be their spiritual father. Name this patriarch.
2. This patriarch and his wife, Sarah, had a son in their old age. God tested the father by asking him to sacrifice this son but stopped him from doing so at the last minute. Name the son.
3. Years later, this son and his wife, Rebekah, had a son who was to be the father of what became the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Who, was he? (Hint: "Israel" was the name later given to him by God. He had a brother named Esau.)
4. We all know that Moses led the Hebrews (Israelites) out of Egypt in what is called the Exodus. How did the Hebrews come to live in Egypt hundreds of years earlier?
5. When we think of Moses we think, too, of Aaron and Joshua. Identify either Aaron or Joshua.
6. Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. List the Ten Commandments.
7. Pick one of the Ten Commandments and tell why you believe it is especially important.
8. Apart from the Ten Commandments, there are the Two Great Commandments. State them.
9. What is the connection between the Two Great Commandments and the Ten Commandments?
10. State the "Golden Rule."
11. Saul was the first king of Israel. Who was the second? (Hint: He is considered the most important of the Jewish kings, and as a boy he was a shepherd.)
12. The second king of Israel had a son named Solomon. Write something you know about Solomon.
13. After the first reading at Mass we recite or sing prayers and hymns, some of which are very old, so old they are said to have been written by Solomon's father. What do we call these prayers and hymns?
14. There are three books in the Old Testament named after women. Name one of them.
15. Who is Job?
16. In speaking of the Old Testament, we hear the phrase "the Law and the Prophets." Name one of the Old Testament prophets.
17. Write something brief about one of the following: "the Babylonian Captivity" or "the Maccabees."
18. The first four books of the New Testament are the Gospels; their authors are called the Evangelists. Name the four Evangelists.
19. What is meant by the term "the Annunciation"?
20. What is meant by the term "the Visitation"?
21. We all know what we celebrate on the feast of the Nativity (which is also called Christmas), but what do we celebrate on the feast of the Epiphany (which is also called the 12th day of Christmas)?
22. Three places of importance in the childhood of Jesus are Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Nazareth. Pick one and tell why it was important in the early life of Jesus.
23. Who is John the Baptist?
24. Lent has forty days, just as a particular episode in the life of Jesus had forty days, before He began His public ministry. What was this episode?
25. We know that Jesus often taught in parables. Name your favorite parable and tell why it is your favorite.
26. Fill in the blank: One of the most famous of Jesus' teachings is called the Sermon on the ____________.
27. Jesus is often called "the Divine Physician" because He cured people of various illnesses. Write something about your favorite miracle or sign where Jesus cured a sick person or sick people.
28. Jesus taught us to pray what we often call the "Our Father." There is a more formal name for this prayer. What is it?
29. What is "the Transfiguration"?
30. There are two kings named Herod in the Gospels. Pick one of them and tell something about him.
31. Bethany is the name of a village near Jerusalem. (There is another Bethany "across the Jordan," where John the Baptist was baptizing.) Martha and Mary, who were friends of Jesus, lived in Bethany with their brother. Name their brother and tell why he is important.
32. What is "Palm Sunday" all about?
33. Why is "the Passion," from the Gospels, read at Mass on Palm Sunday?
34. Whenever we recite the Creed at Mass, or say the Apostles' Creed, we mention Pontius Pilate. Who was he?
35. Name the person who was forced to help Jesus carry His cross. (Hint: He is remembered in one of the Stations of the Cross.)
36. Pick one of these two terms and tell something about it: "the Upper Room" or "the Garden of Gethsemane."
37. Golgotha is the Hebrew name for the hill near Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified. This place is also known by another name. What is that name?
38. According to the Gospels, Jesus spoke seven times in His three hours on the cross. Choose one of these seven sayings (also called "the Seven Last Words") and quote it, or paraphrase it (that means, put it in your own words).
39. Tell how one of these men is connected to the Crucifixion: Nicodemus; Joseph of Arimathea.
40. Jesus' first appearance after His Resurrection was to a woman. Name her.
41. There is a phrase in common usage -even today that contains the name of one of the Apostles. Fill in the blank: "Doubting ___________" What did this Apostle doubt?
42. Who is called "the Prince of the Apostles"?
43. The last appearance of Jesus to His Apostles after His Resurrection is commemorated annually by a Holy Day of Obligation 40 days after Easter (or on the seventh Sunday of Easter). It is called "the Solemnity of the_____________?
44. Fifty days after the Passover, Jews celebrate God's giving the Ten Commandments to Moses; fifty days after Easter, Christians celebrate God's giving the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and Mary. What is the name of this Christian feast?
45. Before he became a great missionary, St. Paul was a great persecutor of the early Church. He guarded the cloaks of the men who stoned to death the man we call the first martyr. Name this first martyr.
46. St. Paul wrote many letters (the Greek word for letters is Epistles) to early Christians and their communities in the Mediterranean world. In a letter to those at Corinth, a city in Greece, he described what we call "the Three Theological Virtues." The third of these, which is "charity" or "love," Paul called "the greatest." What are the other two?
47. St. Paul and St. Peter were martyred during the reign of the emperor Nero about thirty years after the Crucifixion. They were martyred in the capital city of the empire over which Nero ruled. Name this city.
48. For much of the first three centuries of her history, the Church suffered persecution. Many Christians were martyred and often Christians couldn't worship in public. Then, in the early part of the fourth century, an emperor ended the persecutions. Name him. (Hint: He named the eastern capital of the empire after himself, it was formerly called Byzantium and is called Istanbul today.)
49. Name the Seven Sacraments.
50. Which sacrament does every Christian receive?
51. Name the Corporal Works of Mercy (there are seven).
52. Pick one of the Six Precepts of the Church and tell why you think it is especially important.
53. "Pride" is often' called the worst of the Seven Deadly Sins. Pick another one of the seven and tell why you think it is especially "deadly."
54. A prayer that has been popular since the Middle Ages is called "the Rosary." It now traditionally consists of 15 "decades" where we think about certain "mysteries" in the lives of Our Lord and Our Lady. These mysteries are in three groups of five: the Joyful, the Sorrowful, and the Glorious. Take one of these groups and name the five mysteries in that group. (If you can't think of a mystery's title, then describe what event is remembered in that mystery.)
55. Over her history of nearly 2,000 years, the Church has been divided many times. Some of these divisions have never been completely healed. For example, the year 1054 is when "the Great Schism" between East and West occurred. The year 1517 is often cited as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Say something about either one of these two historical events that have seriously affected Christian unity.
56. Name your patron saint and write something about him or her.
57. Name a favorite saint besides your patron saint, and write something about him or her.
58. Name your favorite Holy Day of Obligation (besides Christmas).
59. In what continent is the Holy Land? A. Europe, B. Asia, C. Africa, D. Australia.
60. Ecumenical Councils are meetings when bishops from all over the world come together. Some Councils have been held in places like Nicaea and Ephesus, in what is now Turkey, or in places like Trent, Italy. The most recent Council was held from 1962 to 1965. What name or title is given to this Council?
61. Since Old Testament times, God's people have practiced "fasting". In Lent, for example, adult Catholics "fast" on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. (And during Lent all Catholics abstain from eating meat on Fridays.) We also "fast" for at least an hour before receiving the Eucharist. What do we mean by "fast" and why do you think we do it?
62. What is the Christian virtue of chastity, and why is it important?
63. The Church has four signs or "marks". The Church is (fill in the blanks): One,_______ , Catholic, and ______________.
64. Why did God make you?
Older readers will note that the last question of this exam is the first question of the old Baltimore Catechism. It's a good question with which to end, for it remains the basic question (and as coaches are fond of saying, success is built on mastery of "the fundamentals"). Not long ago, most Catholic eighth-graders could have aced this exam. Shouldn't eighth-graders today know at least as much? This test was composed without much trouble, largely from the mental residue of my grade-school education, which acquainted me with patriarchs and prophets, judges and kings, emperors and bishops, missionaries and abbots, pagans and polytheists, saints and sinners. As a youngster I was given a glimpse of past and present, history and eternity, the natural and supernatural worlds. My parochial school's insistence on religious literacy made me not parochial but Catholic (in the upper-case and lower-case meanings of that fine Greek word).
"A little learning is a dangerous thing," wrote Alexander Pope. "Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring. There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, but drinking largely sobers us again". For that ancient spring sacred to the Muses, the patronesses of pagan learning, let us substitute the "living water" of Christian faith, the eternally flowing fountain of the truth that will make us free. (Question 65: To whom did Jesus promise living water?) The poet's warning, put prosaically, is that it's dangerous to think that we know a lot when we only know a little. It's a fair warning. But even we Catholics who know only a little about our faith and its history can see that many of our children today know next to nothing. We must give our children a chance to refresh themselves at the perennial spring of sacred knowledge. Perhaps you can't make a child drink, but you can at least lead him to the water.
Source: New Oxford Review's former site, as copied at Rectario

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Author blasts 'purveyors of moral equivalence' for equating Christianity, Islam

This is an article from a conservative news group I subscribe to.

Chad Groening
OneNewsNow.comSeptember 11, 2007

Robert Spencer's new book is called Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn't. The director of Jihad Watch says since that fateful day six years ago, the left has become increasingly vocal in its disgust for American Judeo-Christian values, and pushes the idea that all religions -- particularly Islam and Christianity -- are the same when it comes to violence and extremism.
According to Spencer, the website documents more than 9,000 "Islamic terror attacks" and murders he says were perpetrated since September 11, 2001, in the name of Islam and justified by Islamic texts. He explains that the "left" compares that enormous figure to a few isolated incidents that were not necessarily perpetrated by Christians.
"People like Rosie O'Donnell -- mainstream media figures and purveyors of moral equivalence -- are essentially saying that over 9,000 terror attacks are equivalent to [Oklahoma City bomber] Timothy McVeigh, who wasn't actually a Christian at all, and to a few abortion clinic bombers, of which there have been less than a dozen," he asserts.
Spencer points out that the abortion bombers were repudiated by mainstream Christian groups. "There's no Christian group that is at all mainstream that says that the abortion clinic bombings were justified or right according to Christianity," he notes. In contrast, says the author, there is a "widespread understanding" in Islam that it is part of the responsibility of Muslims to "wage war in order to subjugate non-Muslims."

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hope Rather Than Hate

If America does not come out and vote for conservative polititions in this upcomming election, our country will see a rollover mentality toward terrorism. Without hate, but rather, with hope watch this you tube video and be reminded of one of many reasons why to vote conservative.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Rape of Europe

This article was sent to me via email. It provoked thought in me, so I need to provoke thought in others by posting it.

Subject: Recent article about Islamization of Europe

Recent Article - sent 9/10/2007.
Subject: Europe,
The Rape of Europe By Paul Belien

The German author Henryk M. Broder recently told the Dutch Newspaper "DeVolkskrant" that young Europeans who love Freedom, better emigrate. Europe as we know it will not exist twenty years from now. While sitting on a terrace in Berlin, Broder pointed to the other customers and the passers-by and said, "We are watching the world of yesterday." Europe is turning Muslim..

Broder is sixty years old he is not going to emigrate. "I am too old," he said. However, he urged young people to get out and "move to Australia or New Zealand. That is the only option they have if they want to avoid the plagues that will turn the old continent uninhabitable." Many Germans and Dutch, apparently, did not wait for Broder's advice. The number of emigrants leaving the Netherlands and Germany has already surpassed the number of immigrants moving in. One does not have to be prophetic to predict, like Henryk Broder, that Europe is becoming Islamic. Just consider the demographics.

The number of Muslims in Contemporary Europe is estimated to be 50> million.

It will double in twenty years. By 2025, one third of All European children will be born to Muslim families.

Mohammed is already the most popular name for newborn boys in Brussels, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and other major European cities.

Broder is convinced that the Europeans are not willing to oppose Islamization. "The dominant ethos," he told De Volkskrant, "was perfectly voiced by the stupid blonde woman author with whom I recently debated. She said, "That it is better to let yourself be raped than to risk serious injuries while resisting." Further, she said, It is better to avoid fighting than run the risk of death."

In a recent Op-Ed piece in the Brussels newspaper De Standaard the Dutch (gay and self-declared "humanist") author Oscar Van Den Boogaard refers to Broder's interview. Van den Boogaard says that to him coping with the islamization of Europe is like "a process of mourning." He is overwhelmed by a "feeling of sadness.""I am not a Warrior," he says, "but who is? I have never learned to fight for my freedom. I was only good at enjoying it." Consider that in all of Europe no one under the age of 65 has picked up arms in defense of their country. That task has been borne by the United States since Germany's surrender in 1945.

As Tom Bethell wrote in this month's American Spectator: "Just at the most basic level of demography, the secular-humanist option is not Working." But there is more to it than the fact that non-religious people tend not to have as many children as religious people, because many of them prefer to "enjoy" freedom rather than renounce it for the sake of children. Secularists, it seems to me, are also less keen on fighting.

Since they do not believe in an afterlife, this life is the only thing they have to lose. Hence they will rather accept submission than fight. Like the German feminist Broder referred to, they prefer to be raped than to resist. "If faith collapses, civilization goes with it," says Bethell. That is the real cause of the closing of civilization in Europe. Islamization is simply the consequence. The very word Islam means "submission" and the secularists have submitted already. Many Europeans have already become Muslims, though they do not realize it or do not want to admit it.

Some of the people I meet in the U.S. are particularly worried about the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe. They are correct when they fear that anti-semitism is also on the rise among non-immigrant Europeans. The latter hate people with a fighting spirit. Contemporary Anti-Semitism in Europe (at least when coming from native Europeans) is related to anti-Americanism. People who are not prepared to resist and are eager to submit and they hate those who do not want to submit and are prepared to fight. They hate them because they are afraid that the latter will, in their struggles against the coming oppression, endanger their lives as well. In their view, everyone must submit. This is why they have come to hate Israel and America so much, and the small band of European "Islamophobes" who dare to talk about what they see happening around them. West Europeans have to choose between submission (Islam) or death. I fear, like Broder, that they have chosen submission - just like in former days when they touted the slogan, "Better Red, rather than dead."

Europeans apparently never read John Stuart Mill who wrote: "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing is worth a war, is worse. A man who has nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance at being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

Monday, September 10, 2007

God's Peace

Gus' first Christmas. (2006) You can tell his mind goes so fast. When will mine slow down?

When someone wishes me God's peace it always strikes me.

I am very high strung-ADD-hyper-intense-and more. Even when I am calm my mind is going at warp speed. My brother in law once told me that he thinks all people have a little Bi-Polar dissorder in them. I don't have enough symptoms for a diagnosis, but my mind sure does go faster than it should for good health.

Is God's peace escaping me because I can't slow my mind down? Retorical of course, but not retorical too.

When I was young my body went as fast as my mind. Now by body stays about one hundred thoughts/steps behind.

I wonder if this Blog will take the place of the Harley I want so badly, and can't afford.

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Thirsting and Sonsofday were at our place

Click above post title to go to The Thirsting's Myspace
From left to right: Daniel, (The Thirsting) Joseph, Mary Kate, Matt, (The Thirsting) and Bogden.(Sonsofday)

These guys have a great message for people. I like more traditional music for mass, but this upbeat stuff tells a good story too. Daniel wears the brown scapular and is very old fashioned prayerful. Scotty from Sonsofday is pictured left. the pic was doctored up to look cool by Jessica.

Sonsofday and The Thirsting on stage together while they get ready.

Top: Josh, Tommy, Mat, and Chelsea From The Thirsting. Bottom: Vlad and Roman from Sonsofday.................................................................................................................................

TimmyBaugh stuck his neck out for our community and booked these two bands and only about 40 people showed up. One hundred people were needed to break even. Timmy wrote a check for $350.00 or so from his personal account. Hopefully next time the turnout will be better.