Search This Blog

Friday, September 30, 2016

Catholic Churches are Unfriendly

Catholic Churches aren't welcoming.  How many times have Catholics heard that and then tried to give examples of welcoming activities.  But you know what?  I can see why people say that. When you walk into most Catholic Churches, the atmosphere is quiet and if one looks around, he wouldn't see laughing and back slapping conversations.  So the perception would be that Catholics aren't friendly.

It's a misconception.  In the first place, Catholics go to church to pray, not for socialization.  Catholics have parish activities for that.  Also, parishes usually have many members; we don't know everybody.  Catholics go to Mass at different times and again, see different people.  IOW, how do they know you're new to the parish? There should be greeters/ushers/hospitality people to help you.  They're the ones near the doors with smiles on their faces and outstretched hands.

When a Catholic enters, he dips his fingers in holy water and blesses himself.  Hence, he immediately has been placed in an atmosphere of sacredness.  The holy water reminds himself that he was baptized as a child of God.  With that in mind, the Catholic will genuflect towards the tabernacle before he enters his pew.  Catholics are recognizing the presence of God in the Tabernacle.  Do you still wonder why Catholics are there to pray and not socialize?

Before Mass, Catholics prepare for Mass in prayer.  They are talking to God--not each other.

Mass is the worship service for Catholics.  It is not the time for discussion.

When Mass is finished, Catholics should kneel down and pray in thanksgiving.  Others should know that the atmosphere is prayerful and not to disturb people in prayer.  People should go outside to talk.

Therefore, I conclude that people think Catholic Churches are unfriendly because they're full of people praying, and others respect their prayer time and leave people to their prayers.  If a new person wants to talk, go outside and buttonhole somebody.  There are plenty of smiling faces outside.

St. Jerome: Father and Doctor of the Church

St. Jerome: Father and Doctor of the Church: September 30 is the feast of St. Jerome, a Father and Doctor of the Church. Translator of the Bible into its official Latin version.  He has a reputation of being a grouch, but he had many women friends.  He probably was a gentleman grouch.  By that I mean, he watched his "p's and q's" around women.  And he just may have enjoyed                                 their company.  Click on this link from the blog                                Catholic Fire.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

How Jesuits Elect

Jesuits explain their process for electing new superior general: ROME (CNS) -- The Jesuits have a murmuratio.
unique process for electing a superior general for their order, a process that takes four days of conversation--


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

My Trump Prediction

Wall Street Journal Photo

Let me make it clear that I am not a Trump supporter.  I find it incomprehensible that many of my Lay Dominican friends can even consider him worthy of consideration, never mind vote for him!  Geesh!  Did they forget that you can't worship both God and mammoth?  Or that forgiveness trumps (no pun intended) all, along with mercy?  What about loving our neighbors and welcoming the foreigner?

They dare say "Life" trumps (no pun intended) everything.  But Donald Trump keeps changing his position on abortion, depending on his audience.  See how he changed positions three times in a week.  Trump is such a hypocrite.  He now says he's changed his mind and is "pro-life."  However, changing one's position is the very reason Trump mocked Ben Carson.

Let me also make it clear that I am not a Clinton supporter, either.  I am too pro-life to support her. However, I look at the two of them very objectively.  And besides not liking what I see, I also see an unfair competition.  It's comparable to a professional fighter vs. an amateur.  And everyone roots for the underdog.

Your Average Joe
Hilary is a professional, consummate politician, i.e., experienced, polished, poised, prepared, etc.  Donald is the opposite--and that's his appeal.  People are sick of politicians and want something different.  In fact, his losing the debate (in everybody's opinion but those who think their child can do no wrong), should be used as the excuse for getting out of more debates, and also waved as a banner--"Career Pol vs. People's Choice."

He should proclaim, "I concede the debates to Secretary Clinton.  I cannot compete with her political, polish politesse.  I am a man of the people.  While she, the madam of spin is busy schmoozing, I will be working for the people.  I have places to go and people to meet."

I predict that he will bow out of the debates.  I think it is the smart thing for him to do; he can't win.

Also, for the record, I'm voting for Joe Schriner.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

My Turn for Lectio

Discover the Lectio Divina #800
St. Vincent de Paul (Simon François de Tours, 17th Century) @
It is my turn for Lectio Divina.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016
St. Vincent de Paul
More details
Thru Samaria
When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village. (Lk 9:51-56)
The time for Jesus’ mission to be fulfilled was approaching. He started to go towards Jerusalem. To get there, He had to travel through the land of Samaria, an adversary of the Jews. V 53-4 They did not welcome Him, which is insulting because Middle Eastern peoples have an obligation to be hospitable towards strangers. Not only that, they knew He was a prophet on His way to Jerusalem. This means their refusal to accept a religious teacher was a rejection of His teachings. This is why Jesus’ apostles were angered at such an insult of their rabbi. V. 53-54 Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them? But in V. 55 we see that Jesus did not think or feel as His apostles did. Jesus is the Savior of all mankind, not a castigator. The Samaritans did not know who they were rejecting.

This date is also a memorial for Saint Vincent de Paul. Saint Vincent followed Christ in his treatment of all mankind equally. He built hospitals and shelters for the poor and even convicts. His love of the poor has grown into an international ministry and the Saint Vincent de Paul Society looks to him as their patron. He, along with Louise de Marillac found the Daughters of Charity. He also founded an order of priests, the Vincentians. He is known as “Apostle of Charity.”
There are more and more people today who claim to have no religious affiliation, whatsoever. Should we bother with them? Would you ask God to rain down fire from heaven to consume them? God doesn’t punish. Remember that. Jesus spread divine goodness everywhere He went. Jesus talks to everyone, including Samaritans. The conversation takes place in words and actions, from the stable to the tomb and beyond. If you want to see divine goodness in the world today, look at Saint Vincent de Paul. Saint Vincent’s works are still carried on today by those whom follow his spirituality. They bring divine light, healing, and liberation where it is needed. Our work is to do likewise, the best that we can. With God’s grace we will also spread divine goodness.
O God, who for the relief of the poor, and the formation of the clergy, endowed Saint Vincent de Paul with apostolic virtues, grant, we pray, that, afire with that same spirit, we may love what he loved and put into practice what he taught. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. (Collect from the Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul)
May we always strive to love and serve all of mankind.

Our Lady Mother of Humanity: Apparitions of Our Lady of Gietrzwald

Our Lady Mother of Humanity: Apparitions of Our Lady of Gietrzwald: The apparitions and messages of Our Lady in Gietrzwald, small village in Poland, there were to Barbara Samulowska, 12 years old, and Justyna Szafryna, 13 years old.

This is a new apparition for me.  I found it interesting.  I'll send it to a Polish friend of mine.

Mexicans Defend Marriage -- with Pope Francis' Blessing

Mexicans flood the capital to defend marriage -- with Pope Francis' blessing: Mexico City, Mexico, Sep 26, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- Some 400,000 people filled the streets of Mexico City on Saturday to protest the Mexican government’s attempt to redefine marriage as anything between one man and one woman.  Of course the Vatican would take this stand.  It is necessary for the sake of the future of humanity.

the pope was a pope-donkey -- 9/27/16

And here I thought that current political discourse was the coarsest in history!the pope was a pope-donkey -- 9/27/16 from Delancey Place tells us differently.

Today's selection -- from Martin Luther by Scott H. Hendrix. In his theological split with Catholicism and his verbal war against the Pope, Martin Luther made grotesque caricatures of the Pope. In part, it was because the Catholics were doing likewise to him.  In the sixteenth century, vulgar, slanderous, and coarse polemics were common.  What made this unique, however, was the fact that the printing press allowed the ideas to get out to the public.  A battle of images and words ensued which the laity had never encountered before.  The Church often published in Latin and Luther in the vernacular.  Guess what the laity read.  Luther also bombarded the populace with his publications much more than the church, hence beginning in 1518 an astounding number of people left the church and joined Luther's side.  Read more on the Delancey link.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Archbishop Gomez: It's time to end the death penalty

Yes!  The death penalty doesn't work.  Archbishop Gomez: It's time to end the death penalty: Los Angeles, Calif., Sep 24, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- Californians should vote for Proposition 62, a ballot measure to end the death penalty, the Archbishop of Los Angeles has said in a reflection.  If you're in California be careful how you interpret the ballot.  Read thoughtfully.

The Difference Between Faith And Religion

Faith is what you believe.  Everyone has it, even if one says, "I don't believe in anything," has just stated his belief.

Religion is the systematic organization of thoughts regarding a divinity, prayer, and practices.

They are not the same.  One can have faith and religion but another can have faith and no religion.  Today there are more people that have faith and no religion.  There are different reasons offered.  Laziness and sin are up pretty high on the list.  But it isn't our job to judge; we're not God.  Only He knows what we've been through that makes us who we are. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Responsible Journalism

picture from Zenit

Pope Francis must have finally gotten around to reading Monday's post about "news literacy,"  because he agrees with me. The silliness that passes for news is not worthy of consideration.  What has happened to the profession of journalism?

In an audience today with some journalists the pope expressed what I've been thinking for a long time.  Here are some of his points:

There are few professions that have so much influence on society as journalism does. The journalist has a role of great importance and, at the same time, of great responsibility.

The times change and the way of working of the journalist also changes. Though the printed paper or television lose relevance in respect to the new media of the digital world – especially among young people – when journalists have professionalism, they remain an important pillar, a fundamental element for the vitality of a free and pluralist society. 

I will pause on three elements: to love the truth, something essential for all, but especially for journalists; to live with professionalism, something that goes well beyond laws and regulations; and to respect human dignity, which is much more difficult that one might think at first sight.  

I hope that increasingly and everywhere journalism is an instrument of construction, a factor of common good, an accelerator of processes of reconciliation, which is able to reject the temptation to foment clashes, with a language that blows on the fire of divisions, and, instead, that it foster the culture of encounter. You journalists can remind all every day that there is no conflict that cannot be resolved by women and men of good will.

You have to remember that this is a translation so the written expression isn't as smooth as it should be.  To read the article in Zenit go to this link: 

The Josephs

Lectio:  Amos 6:1a, 4-7
Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts:
Woe to the complacent in Zion!
by MEK
Lying upon beds of ivory,
   stretched comfortably on their couches,
they eat lambs taken from the flock,
   and calves from the stall!
Improvising to the music of the harp,
   like David, they devise their own accompaniment.
They drink wine from bowls
   and anoint themselves with the best oils;
   yet they are not made ill by the collapse of Joseph!
Therefore, now they shall be the first to go into exile,
   and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.

These verses condemn the over-indulgenced Israel. The splendor was over the top obscene.  Woe to the complacent in Zion portrays their leaders as only interested in themselves. They considered that they should be serving their people, not lording it over them.  These degenerate leaders did not see the Josephs. ( Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers.)  These leaders were not made ill by the collapse of Joseph.  The Josephs among their people were not given a thought. And so their punishment will be the "first" to go into exile, just as they put themselves "first."

The prophet Amos anticipates destruction as the result of the leaders' indifference to the "Josephs."  The rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer.  Amos understands that the leaders' prayers and sacrifices don't substitute for sharing their abundant resources with the needy.  God cares about injustice and these leaders have chosen their fate.

Lord, grant me eyes to see the "Josephs" and the means to help them.  May I have the wisdom to know how to serve others best.  Lord, help me to be like You.

Son of God, have mercy on us. Help us to be like You.

Pray for our Elections

This is from the United States Council of Catholic Bishops: Bearing in mind our nation's challenges and the particularly urgent need for wise, moral, civic leadership in addressing them, the Call to Prayer will be adapted Friday, September 9, 2016 – Friday, November 11, 2016 to highlight certain time-sensitive matters of national concern.

On Friday, September 9, the intention highlighted the National Day of Prayer for Peace in Our Communities. The focus for the remaining nine weeks will be on the upcoming elections. 

In addition to the current invitation to fast on Fridays, participants are encouraged to pray one Our FatherHail Mary, and Glory Be for the week's intention and for our civic leaders and upcoming elections.

    May all people understand the moral and
    ethical dimensions of political decisions
    and decide accordingly.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Texting Novenas

What a good idea!  In reading "Confessions of a novena failure," in Aleteia, by Katheryn Jean Lopez, I found a novel way to pray.

Lopez talks about a website that constantly has a novena going in.  It's short and sweet which makes it doable.  Copy the prayer and text it every day for nine days to your prayer buddy.  She likewise, prays and passes it on.

Do you think it will work?

I don't think it will work in my prayer group because 9 out of the 10 people don't have cell phones.  It might work in my Lay Dominican chapter.  We text each other to keep community and what better way to keep in touch than to pray with each other.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Indulgence for Passing through Holy Doors

On Wednesday, October 26, parishioners in my parish are invited to make a pilgrimage to La Salette Shrine in Attleboro, to pass through the Holy Doors of Mercy.

Why should we walk through the Holy Doors of Mercy?  Because Our Holy Father has granted a special indulgence for those pilgrims who pass through the designated doors.

What!!!!!!!  Are there still such a thing as indulgences?  Didn’t the church do away with them?

Yes there are still indulgences.  No the church would not do away with a tried and true way of forgiveness.  God is always ready to forgive, especially for us sinners who go out of our way to seek God’s mercy.

Jubilee years are celebrations which have been well recorded in history.  Slaves were freed and debts forgiven, during jubilee years. The pope is carrying on the tradition.  Pope Francis explains this in his decree (Misericordiae Vultus.)  Essentially, the decree states that through the mediation of the church the conflicting consequences of sin are forgiven.  Yes, the sacrament of Reconciliation works—our sins are truly forgiven.  However, those sins, though forgiven, have left negative thoughts.  Haven’t you also forgiven spouses, friends and children, yet still feel the negative effects? Well, the mercy of God is stronger than sin.  It becomes an indulgence from God, through the Church to pardon and free the sinner from all residues left by the consequence of sin.  With an indulgence, we can freely grow more in love than fall into sin.

When pilgrims consciously pass through the Holy Doors of Mercy with the intent of gaining an indulgence, they gain God’s indulgent mercy. One must also be repentant and receive Communion, at least a spiritual communion, to wish to receive the indulgence. 

For more information regarding indulgences visit the following references: Father Ron Rolheiser’s article in the Pilot,, and

Indulgence for Passing through Holy Doors

On Wednesday, October 26, parishioners in my parish are invited to make a pilgrimage to La Salette Shrine in Attleboro, to pass through the Holy Doors of Mercy.

Why should we walk through the Holy Doors of Mercy?  Because Our Holy Father has granted a special indulgence for those pilgrims who pass through the designated doors.

What!!!!!!!  Are there still such a thing as indulgences?  Didn’t the church do away with them?

Yes there are still indulgences.  No the church would not do away with a tried and true way of forgiveness.  God is always ready to forgive, especially for us sinners who go out of our way to seek God’s mercy.

Jubilee years are celebrations which have been well recorded in history.  Slaves were freed and debts forgiven, during jubilee years. The pope is carrying on the tradition.  Pope Francis explains this in his decree (Misericordiae Vultus.)  Essentially, the decree states that through the mediation of the church the conflicting consequences of sin are forgiven.  Yes, the sacrament of Reconciliation works—our sins are truly forgiven.  However, those sins, though forgiven, have left negative thoughts.  Haven’t you also forgiven spouses, friends and children, yet still feel the negative effects? Well, the mercy of God is stronger than sin.  It becomes an indulgence from God, through the Church to pardon and free the sinner from all residues left by the consequence of sin.  With an indulgence, we can freely grow more in love than fall into sin.

When pilgrims consciously pass through the Holy Doors of Mercy with the intent of gaining an indulgence, they gain God’s indulgent mercy. One must also be repentant and receive Communion, at least a spiritual communion, to wish to receive the indulgence. 

For more information regarding indulgences visit the following references: Father Ron Rolheiser’s article in the Pilot,, and


Don't mess with Mother NatureAbout a dozen faculty from the Catholic University of America and Georgetown University wrote to NIH expressing concern about funding more research involving human/animal chimeras -- mixing human genes with those of different species.  

Turns your stomach? 

 Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.  Your meditation for the day.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Pope Highlights Sanctity of Life in Year of Mercy Visits

Pope highlights sanctity of life in Year of Mercy visits: VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis
donned a green hospital gown over his white cassock and entered the neonatal unit of a Rome hospital, peering in the incubators, and making the sign of the cross.

Monday, September 19, 2016

News Literacy

The other day on Facebook I read a news flash that was ridiculous.  I don’t even remember what it was;   these implausible claims are so obvious that I’m incredulous than anyone even takes more than a moment’s notice, never mind that they seriously believe them.  A few examples:

Hilary dies on Sept. 11
Pope shocks world endorses Trump
Pope shocks world endorses Hilary
Putin endorses Trump

There was even a picture that went viral of the huge crowd of people protesting the pipeline in North Dakota.  Only it turned out to be an aerial photo of Woodstock, taken over 50 years ago!

Who would believe these outrageous lies?  They remind me of those magazine rags that used to be sold in front of the grocery store checkout lines. Nowadays people don’t have to leave their house and go to the store to see dubious rumors, hoaxes and other nonsense.  Satire and/or propaganda, advertisements, entertainment, etc. are masquerading as news on their computers and phones. Many people are shocked, or their curiosity is aroused and then they spread the “news.”

My mother used to say, believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.  Well, that was then and this is now.  Believe nothing until you verify, would be her new mantra I’m sure. If she thought critically then, she’d certainly be shaking her head, now.

She’d probably insist that her children learn news literacy.  What’s that?  That’s the term given to reading the news and discerning whether or not to believe it.  It’s learning to find the truth; it’s checking sources; it’s looking up information.  One has to read other sources than those which just reinforce your own way of thinking.  Reading or listening to talk radio that just reinforces your way of thinking is not thinking critically.  You need to know both sides. You need to detect opinionated writing and flawed reporting.  It’s a life skill that’s necessary in a democracy. 

Unfortunately, today many get their news via the media.  And the media is undergoing growing pains.  It sometimes is hard to determine what is a legitimate news source.  So you can’t depend on one—not one TV or radio station, not one newspaper, not just Drudge Report, Google News, Fark, HuffPo, WashPo, etc.  Check out a few.  There’s also some fact checking sites, e.i.,,, or quickly tweet to @factcheckdotorg .    

Learning news literacy certainly has to be important in school current event classes.  That’s common sense. The populace must be informed and able to see what is biased and outright false.  It’s a necessary skill to keep a free republic.  We seniors can’t be naïve, either.  Maybe we don’t have the digital expertise to surf the net as deftly as our grandchildren, but we should know satire from news.

 Everybody needs to hold our journalists to higher standards.  It’s people that drive the media.  There’s no excuse not be informed.  Read responsibly.  Think!  Maybe even pray before you read; it certainly won’t hurt.  Why not!

Think as you read:

What is the claim?
Look at its appearance and how it’s conveyed—flashy, inflammatory, shocking…
What’s your reaction—how does it make you feel?
Verify—look around at other news sources, if possible go to a fact check site.
                Is it important that people know the truth about this news or falsehood? 
                What possible good could result from people knowing this truth or that it’s false.                                   Decide what action to take.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Father Paco

'Love one another as I have loved you!': It is by Father Paco.  I love Father Paco. I knew him way back when.  He is a wonderful priest.  He ministered to my prayer group when he first came to the USA.  He was an Xaverian missionary priest, at the time. I'll tell you something else about him.  He has the gift of healing.  If you need to be healed and know Father Paco, ask him to pray for you.  If it's God's will, you will see what I mean.  Also, he has a beautiful singing voice and plays guitar.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth Dies

World Famous Exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth Dies at 91: The outspoken Pauline priest had performed over 70,000 exorcisms over the past 30 years.

May the prayers of Father Amorth help us all in our spiritual battles.

Distorted Catholic Teaching on Sanctity of Life

Ads distort Catholic teaching on sanctity of life, says state conference: WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Ads appearing around the country  sponsored by a group "Catholics for Choice," are offensive.  If you are Catholic then abortion can never be a "choice."  It is murder.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Cardinal Schönborn warns of 'Islamic conquest' of Europe

Cardinal Schönborn warns of 'Islamic conquest' of Europe: Vienna, Austria, Sep 14, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has warned that Europe risks forfeiting its “Christian inheritance”.

You have to remember that Cardinal Schönborn isn't American and therefore isn't used to a country proud of its immigrant heritage.  In fact, it's proud of repelling the "foreigners."

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

From Paranoia to Metanoia

From Paranoia to Metanoia: Father Ron Rolheiser explains metanoia in this article.


A Pastoral Approach to Bullying is an article in Homiletic and Pastoral Review.  It's a good article.  I agree with everything the author says.  I approach bullying as a parent.  I think parents need to constantly point out situations for the opportunity to be kind.  Parents need to look for activities that are all inclusive.  For example, send your child to a preschool, day care, etc., where some of the children are handicapped and with special needs.  Praise your child when he is kind.

It starts in the home.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Pope praises bishops' guidelines on helping divorced, remarried couples

Pope praises bishops' guidelines on helping divorced, remarried couples: VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis thanked a group of bishops in Argentina for providing their priests with concrete guidelines for implementing the section of his apostolic exhortation on the family.

You can see that Pope Francis is a pastor and not a theologian.  The Holy Spirit gives us what we need.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Getting a Tattoo in Jerusalem

Aleteia has a good article on getting a tattoo in Jerusalem.  Think old time sailors getting an ear pierced the first time they crossed the equator.  Or a marine getting the marine insignia when he's made it out of boot camp.

Not me.  I don't think of either of those benchmarks.  Tattoos to me mean Nazi's tattooing Jews in concentration camps, or Castro tattooing "undesirables" and sending them to the USA, so they'd be identified and wouldn't be allowed back into Cuba.

My frame of reference has bad connotations.

Besides, I know for a fact that I'd change my mind and wish I'd gotten a different tattoo, or no tattoo.  Look at how I regretted bleaching my hair, getting all those ear piercings, plucking my eyebrows away, etc.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Triptych of Marriage, Family and the Sacredness of Life

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, head of the Pontifical Committee for Life has a book coming out dealing with life issues.  He calls the issues, the "triptych of marriage, family and the sacredness of life."  This is an article in Crux by John Allen.  Paglia explores life issues, especially the way we approach death.  
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia

God Bless You.

It's a new App.  I just tried to get it at the App Store and it's not available--yet.  Just wait.  What is it?  Wouldn't you like to bless your family and friends with a swipe?  How about blessing the world with a sign of the cross?

It's the brain child of Sebastien Poncelet and six others are on board to produce the app.  The Godblessyoo team is currently made up of seven people: developers, experts in marketing and entrepreneurship, and a priest —  Fr. Geoffroy de la Tousche, a parish priest in Dieppe, France.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Missing the Point!

What really frustrates me is "talk radio."  Way too too frequently the call-ins ask a question  and the answer misses the point.  First of all, the caller has to waste precious time saying how much they enjoy the program...blah, blah..., then they come to their question.  The person responding will take one silly aspect of the question and ONLY answer that detail and ignore the rest of the important stuff.

First I want to tell you how much I love your mother, father, children, aunt, etc., always listen and say how much they love you....

Finally they ask, "Nuclear weapons are deadly.  They are a threat to lives everywhere.  Yet the media's attention has been on Iran wanting the capability to posses nuclear weapons.  Why aren't we focusing on Russia, China, N. Korea, etc, who have vast arsenals and are very capable of using their nuclear weapons"

Don't you think the question is "Why is the media focusing on Iran and not the big guns?"

Then, please, please tell my why the response is focused on the country of Iran.

People in regular conversation do this frequently.  In fact, I've had facilitators take me to task for "putting them on the spot," just for trying to bring the topic back to the discussion.

Ugh!  ....If only I were queen!

Finally, they ask,
hington politics. Most Americans know little or nothing about their activities and the media seldom bother to report on them or their profits, even though the work they do is in the service of an apocalyptic future almost beyond imagining.
Add to the strangeness of all that another improbability. Nuclear weapons have been in the headlines for years now and yet all attention in this period has been focused like a spotlight on a country that does not possess a single nuclear weapon and, as far as the American intelligence community can tell, has shown no signs of actually trying to build one. We’re speaking, of course, of Iran. Almost never in the news, on the other hand, are the perfectly real arsenals that could actually wreak havoc on the planet, especially our own vast arsenal and that of our former superpower enemy, Russia.
In the recent debate over whether President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran will prevent that country from ever developing such weaponry, you could search high and low for any real discussion of the US nuclear arsenal, even though the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists estimates that it contains about 4,700 active warheads. That includes a range of bombs and land-based and submarine-based missiles. If, for instance, a single Ohio Class nuclear submarine—and the Navy has 14 of them equipped with nuclear missiles—were to launch its 24 Trident missiles, each with 12 independently targetable megaton warheads, the major cities of any targeted country in the world could be obliterated and millions of people would die.
Indeed, the detonations and ensuing fires would send up so much smoke and particulates into the atmosphere that the result would be a nuclear winter, leading to worldwide famine and the possible deaths of hundreds of millions, including Americans (no matter where the missiles went off). Yet, as if in a classic Dr. Seuss book, one would have to add: that is not all, oh, no, that is not all. At the moment, the Obama administration is planning for the spending of up to a trillion dollars over the next 30 years to modernize and upgrade America’s nuclear forces.
Given that the current US arsenal represents extraordinary overkill capacity—it could destroy many Earth-sized planets—none of those extra taxpayer dollars will gain Americans the slightest additional “deterrence” or safety. For the nation’s security, it hardly matters whether, in the decades to come, the targeting accuracy of missiles whose warheads would completely destroy every living creature within a multi-mile radius was reduced from 500 meters to 300 meters. If such “modernization” has no obvious military significance, why the push for further spending on nuclear weapons?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Attention Seekers!

As a true believer, I am always looking for inspiration for meditation and ways to explain my faith, but it is rare that I find a book that satisfies my needs and that I want to recommend to others.  One of the Few by Jason B. Ladd is one of them.

Ladd’s book is an excellent aide to someone like himself, who was searching.  He came from no faith, suspicious of religion—if not downright disdainful.  Lucky for him, his wife is a good Christian woman.  She must have been inspired to ask the question that made the author stop in his tracks and think.  “What do you think happens when you die?”

Jason Ladd is blessed.  Not only was he blessed to have a beautiful, faithful follower of Christ as a wife, he personally was blessed to have intelligence and an open mind.  Ladd set out like he was on a reconnaissance mission to see (who/what/why) this Jesus Christ.  Was this guy, Jesus, friend or foe?  Was He for real?

One of the Few will encourage the seekers.  The author’s personal sharing and insights along his journey to knocking down all his objections to committing himself  is encouraging.  His approach will especially appeal to men and women who have been in the military.  Ladd was on a mission to search and tease out this presumed God, Jesus Christ.  He compares military training to becoming a good Christian.  If you desire to be the best then train to be the best Christian you can be.  Apathy can kill you physically and spiritually.  Jason Ladd shows you how to become “One of the Few.”

I’ll close with a few quotations that brought me to contemplation.

Parallel with Christianity  --  The Marine Corps has the power to transform.  Marines …rebuilding each person with a new identity as part of a team.

Everyone needs spiritual help now and then   --   I learned that when your life unravels, sometimes it’s best to freeze and let a veteran help correct your shortcomings.

Parallel with Christianity   --  One secret to staying on the right path is maintaining spiritual awareness.

Stay close to God  --   Do you have a worldview to filter out false teachings and poisonous thoughts?  You will want a tested worldview at-the-ready when life pops a canister of tragedy and throws it at your feet. 

Why we have free will   --   A world without free will is a world without responsibility—hardly an accurate depiction of our society where the rule of law demands consequences for human action.

Walk the walk not just talk   --  If what we do in life does not echo in eternity, then it doesn’t really matter what we do in life.

One of the Few by Jason B. Ladd

Although I received this book to write a review, I was not pressured to write a favorable review.  The book stands on its own and is informative and enjoyable.  I am delighted to recommend One of the Few.

Author’s Personal Website:  

Bishops Get $ from Mormons

MRS gets $1 million-plus grant from Mormons for refugee resettlement: WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. bishops' Migration and Refugee Services is receiving a $1.25 million grant from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to aid in its refugee resettlement efforts in the United States. The Mormons, excellent missionaries themselves, don't have any services inside the  USA.  After a fund raising drive the Mormons approached nine resettlement agencies and offered them grants. The U.S. bishops Migration and Refugee Services will receive $ 1 Mill +.  Thank you!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Feeding off Life's Sacred Fire

Feeding off Life's Sacred Fire: See the wise and wicked ones

Who feed upon life's sacred fire

These are lines from Gordon Lightfoot's song, Don Quixote, and they highlight an important truth, both the wise and the wicked feed off the same energy.  This article from Father Rolheiser reminds me of something a confessor once asked me in confession.

Do you realize that your sins are misuses of your gifts?

Apologists, Catechists, Theologians: Wake Up!

MEK Picture
Apologists, Catechists, Theologians: Wake Up!: After perusing the latest Pew Study on why young people are leaving the active practice of Christianity, I confess that I just sighed in exasperation. I don't doubt for a moment the sincerity of those taking the survey.  It's just their objections are so easily answered--hasn't anyone ever addressed them?

I agree with Bishop Barron's article.  I was shocked once when I asked my RCIA class what they wanted to learn.  The first subject was Jesus.  I had always assumed that everyone was Christian and was in my class to become Catholic.  WRONG!  I had Muslims, Buddhists, Wiccan, and once a Satanist, but most were basically nothing.  They were taking RCIA to learn what Christianity is all about.

All catechists have to assume that their students know nothing.  Start                                                                                                                               with Jesus.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

We Chose to Stay

Only sister to survive Yemen attack: despite danger, 'we chose to stay': Vatican City, Sep 3, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- A year before a March 4 attack killed four sisters, the Missionaries of Charity opted not to leave, but to remain with their patients in the war-torn country.

My question is why aren't their patients offered a chance to leave.  If it were a convent, a seminary, a monastery, a friary, a priory, abbey...wouldn't the offer be extended to all the religious living there.  Well, why didn't they offer to evacuate the patients and tell the sisters that their presence is required to be with their patients.  Take them out (the patients).  Too difficult?  How do dying troops get taken out of a war zone?

Oh well, I'm not queen of the world, so it is what it is.   Pity, though.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Today is the Memorial of Pere Lataste

Lectio Divina for   Monday, September 5, 2016:


On a certain sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely to see if he would cure on the Sabbath so that they might discover a reason to accuse him. But he realized their intentions and said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up and stand before us.” And he rose and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” Looking around at them all, he then said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so and his hand was restored. But they became enraged and discussed together what they might do to Jesus. (Lk 6:6-11)

It could be claimed that the Pharisees planted the man with the crippled hand to lure Jesus into breaking the Sabbath’s law against working on this day of rest. That is really not a concern because Jesus is going to use the opportunity to teach that truth and law are meant to free people in life and their worship of God, and not hinder people. God’s law is to help, to open up access for all people, to allow a relationship to develop between God and His people.

6:6 Jesus, as was His custom on the Sabbath, went to the synagogue to teach. Teaching involved reading scripture and explaining the text. In this account, Jesus is shown going beyond the reading by showing how Jesus interacts with people. He literally demonstrates His teaching.

The Pharisees were observing Jesus “closely”. They were not there to learn and enjoy. They were there to find fault. Of course, Jesus knows this, but He has a purpose. He asked the crippled man to “Come up and stand before us.” The poor man, because he was crippled, was probably sitting in the back with the women and children. Those in the back weren’t participating in the lessons; they only listened. But Jesus invites the crippled man to come up and participate in the teaching.

Once the man had risen, Jesus said to the Pharisees, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than do evil, to save life rather than destroy it?” The restoration of a withered hand would indicate the long hoped for restoration of Israel which the Messiah would bring. The way Jesus asked this question—either-or—you can either save a life or destroy it, reveals that there are only two options when it comes to helping the people and being part of the Kingdom of God. Help and you are in the Kingdom. To do nothing is to separate yourself from God. The Pharisees had always debated this law, among themselves. Here Jesus is teaching them the correct answer. People are more important than Jewish law.

Jesus “looked around at them all.” No one answered. Jesus healed the man. Because of the healing, the Pharisees “were enraged.”

This reveals that the Pharisees didn’t see the man. They saw a theological argument. They saw the Sabbath law broken. Worse, they missed seeing God at work. The Pharisees were so intent on catching Jesus breaking the Sabbath that they had closed their minds, eyes, and hearts from showing love and mercy towards another human being.

6:11 The passage ends with the Pharisees plotting evil.

The Pharisees’ not seeing the man with the withered hand as a broken man in need of healing, fits in with today’s memorial for the Order of Preachers. Blessed Pere Jean-Joseph Lataste, O.P. Pere Lataste was beatified in 2012, as the Apostle of Prisons. As a new preacher, he was assigned to give a retreat to the women in Cadillac Prison, 1864. He initially entered Cadillac prison like the Pharisees who didn’t see the man who needed healing. He went into the prison expecting to waste his time on hardened, dissolute women. But Jesus healed these women much like he healed the withered hand. The women were touched and restored. In fact, some of these women, with Pere Lataste, began the religious order, the Dominican Sisters of Bethany. This Order inspires us to forgive, love, hope and have mercy, because former prisoners are welcomed there. The sisters don’t look at withered hands, only the healed present and future hope.

Litany for those in Prison

Lord have mercy on me

When I can’t accept the past: When I feel all locked up: When I despair: When I can’t forgive: When I feel the world hates me: When I am lonely: When the day never ends: When I am overshadow by darkness: When I’ve lost hope: When I have no one: When I hurt: When I fall into sin: When I am afraid: When I see no point to living: When problems overwhelm: When I am judged: When You seem distant:

Closing Prayer

O Merciful God, I see You tortured and thrown into prison. I see You shamed in Your nakedness before the crowd. I see the confused hurt in Your Mother’s eyes. Help me Lord in Your compassion to keep my faith, and hope to be with You in paradise. I love You. You are all I have. It is in Your Eucharist that I taste Your sweetness. We become One. May I have the grace to feel the effects of Your Redemption forever.

Your withered hand does not define you.  You are God’s precious child.

Complex Question Fallacy

 How do you answer a question someone asks you, when the question isn't true?  The question takes for granted an answer that you haven&#...