17 April 2010

Dei verbum: God's Self-revelation

The key to reading and understanding the documents of Vatican Two is reading and understanding the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei verbum.

Christ is the Fullness of All Revelation:  In His goodness and wisdom God chose to reveal Himself and to make known to us the hidden purpose of His will by which through Christ, the Word made flesh, man might in the Holy Spirit have access to the Father and come to share in the divine nature. Through this revelation, therefore, the invisible God  out of the abundance of His love speaks to men as friends and lives among them, so that He may invite and take them into fellowship with Himself. This plan of revelation is realized by deeds and words having in inner unity: the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation manifest and confirm the teaching and realities signified by the words, while the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them. By this revelation then, the deepest truth about God and the salvation of man shines out for our sake in Christ, who is both the mediator and the fullness of all revelation (DV 2).

Divine Revelation through Created Realities:  God, who through the Word creates all things and keeps them in existence, gives men an enduring witness to Himself in created realities. Planning to make known the way of heavenly salvation, He went further and from the start manifested Himself to our first parents. Then after their fall His promise of redemption aroused in them the hope of being saved and from that time on He ceaselessly kept the human race in His care, to give eternal life to those who perseveringly do good in search of salvation. Then, at the time He had appointed He called Abraham in order to make of him a great nation. Through the patriarchs, and after them through Moses and the prophets, He taught this people to acknowledge Himself the one living and true God, provident father and just judge, and to wait for the Savior promised by Him, and in this manner prepared the way for the Gospel down through the centuries (3). 

Revelation through the Inspired Word and the Word Made Flesh:  Then, after speaking in many and varied ways through the prophets, "now at last in these days God has spoken to us in His Son." For He sent His Son, the eternal Word, who enlightens all men, so that He might dwell among men and tell them of the innermost being of God. Jesus Christ, therefore, the Word made flesh, was sent as "a man to men." He "speaks the words of God," and completes the work of salvation which His Father gave Him to do. To see Jesus is to see His Father. For this reason Jesus perfected revelation by fulfilling it through his whole work of making Himself present and manifesting Himself: through His words and deeds, His signs and wonders, but especially through His death and glorious resurrection from the dead and final sending of the Spirit of truth. Moreover He confirmed with divine testimony what revelation proclaimed, that God is with us to free us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to life eternal (4).


God spoke the Word of Creation.

He sent the Word Made Flesh to redeem His Creation.
And we have the Word of Witness in scripture, an account of Christ's words and deeds.

At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit gave birth the Church, the living Body of Christ, thus making the Church the living, breathing, thinking, acting Word in the world--the Sacrament of God's Self-revelation for all to see and hear.

In Christ, we have the perfection of God's Self-revelation -----> the Church on pilgrimage in history
In created realities, we have the divine revealed in the natural -----> reason, science
In scripture, we have a record of our ancestors meeting God -----> words, deeds of the faithful

Why did God reveal Himself in these different ways?  

One reason:  to proclaim that "[He] is with us to free us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to life eternal."


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16 April 2010

Coffee Bowl Browsing

That Icelandic volcano with the Klingon name is still spewing.  If this keeps me from going home in June, I will be most disappointed.

Why is it that Dems only seem to fret about anti-government rhetoric when one of their guys is in the White House?  We need to distinguish between "anti-gov't rhetoric" and "anti-administration" rhetoric.  I'm a big fan of republican (little "R") government.  Just not a big fan of the B.O. administration.

Changes in the tax law and B.O.'s budget proposals will reduce charitable giving.  This is planned.  If charitable organizations go bust, guess who gets to pick up the slack:  Big Government!

Report on the embarrassingly weak turn-out for the Tea Party Crashers.  Like most lefty astro-turfing it was all blow and no hard.  Also, the Partiers shunned the GOP Washington hierarchy, thus putting the lie to the MSM meme that the T.P. is all about Republican astro-turfing.

Hmmmmm. . .forget the Kindle and the iPad. . .what sort of handgun would be right for the discerning friar?

An interview with the woman who helped dioceses and religious orders hold their clergy accountable to the norms in sexual abuse case:  "Several men I know have “tested” the CDF (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) and found no tolerance for sexual abuse in the priesthood and no sympathy for the cleric who disagrees with programs of prayer and penance. Evidence of where Pope Benedict XVI stands can be found in the following examples:  here."

102 Things to Remember if you ever become an Evil Overlord.  My fav is #34:  "I will never turn into a snake.  It never helps."  Hey, that's just good practical advice for every day living.

Foreign Accent Syndrome. . .I wonder if there's a part of the brain you can whack that will  start  you speaking French?

According to complexity evolutionists, if you leave them alone for a billion years they will eventually grow into a real boy.

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15 April 2010

Order your HancAquam post!

Here's your chance to order up a HancAquam post!

When  I started the blog five years ago, my only purpose was to post the texts of my homilies.  With the encouragement of my boss at U.D.'s campus ministry, Denise Phillips, I moved to podcasting.  My natural soap-boxing tendencies compelled me to comment (sometimes crankily) on all things liturgical, theological, and political.  Then, I started getting questions from readers about doctrine, history, pastoral problems.  Eventually, HancAquam turned into an all-purpose Catholic blog with a daily average of about 450 hits.

Since my public preaching has been reduced to a once a week thing with the promise of an un-preached Sunday homily in there somewhere, the original focus of HancAquam has shifted rather dramatically. 

I want this blog to be user-friendly.  As a Dominican preacher and teacher, I want readers to go away knowing more about their faith then when they arrived.  

So, if you could order up a HancAquam post. . .on most any subject. . .what would you order?  I can't promise to fulfill your order, but there's a good chance you'll get your wish!

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Christian, brilliant, and probably teaching near you

A list of the 20 Most Brilliant Christian Professors in the U.S. 

The subject of my thesis, the Rev'd. John Polkinghorne is listed, so is the legendary U.D. English professor, Dr. Louise Cowan.

Also, note the number of accomplished scientists on the list.

H/T:  Newadvent

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Coffee Bowl Browsing

And yet another reason for the U.S. to either ignore the U.N. entirely or withdraw:  proposal to institute "eco-thought crimes."

Sensible suggestions for dealing with Tea Party crashers.  The idea of crashing a Tea Party is to provoke Partiers into angry/violent reactions that get caught on video and provide "evidence" to the MSM that their stereotypes are true.  Since it is clear that crashers are not interested in reasoned political discourse, rhe absolute best way to deal with them is quick exposure and ridicule.

Another tactic that Partiers ought to adopt: proudly embrace the "Tea Bagger" slur as your own.  It worked for the gay rights movement.  Yes, I know what "tag bagging" is. . .but English is a nearly infinitely malleable language.  It will contain the multitudes.  (NB.  Ten brownie pts to anyone who can identify the allusion in the last sentence.)

I am quite proud of the fact that lawyers in my home state of Mississippi are attacking ObamaCare with a novel legal theory:  individual mandates violate privacy rights.

A reasonable clarification from the Vatican on Crdl. Bertone's controversial remarks.

Diogenes asks:  "Now, did you ever wonder why so many Irish bishops were forced to resign within weeks of the Irish report on sex abuse while no US prelate resigned after the release of the John Jay Report?"

Great Moments in Alternative American History:  the battle G. Washington never fought. 

This pic thawed my normally icy heart.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. . .

Beautiful butterfly sculptures made from beer cans.

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14 April 2010

Truth spoken and done in the light

2nd Week of Easter (W): Reading
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
SS. Domenico e Sisto, Roma

What does it mean to live under a spirit of salvation? First, let's think about what it means to live “under a spirit.” If we take “spirit” to mean something like “what animates one's mind and body,” or “the vital force of a person,” we understand spirit to be a neutral term, being neither negative nor positive. One's mind and body could be animated by a spirit bent on destruction. And a person's vital force could be sacrificial love. Some Christian communities use phrases like “a spirit of sickness,” “a spirit of rebellion,” “a spirit of mercy,” to describe basic personality traits in individuals, enduring dispositions that characterize a person and describes the condition of a soul. We might think too about how one's spirit constitutes a fundamental way of taking in the world, processing the information our senses gather up, and using all that data to make decisions, choose actions. Medieval physicians often used the theory of humors to classify types of diseases. Depending on the relative levels of the four humors in your body, you could be sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, or melancholic. This theory has the advantage of diagnosing the overall condition of the person by accounting for both the state of the body and the state of the soul. Though we no longer use the humors to diagnose disease, we still talk about someone's melancholic or sanguine spirit. Given all these different uses for the notion of the spirit, what does it mean the Christian soul to live “under a spirit of salvation”?

John teaches us that “. . .God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned. . .” Anyone who believes in His Son is given eternal life; they are saved from eternal perishing. But before those who have been saved from an everlasting death die their natural deaths they live on and do so under a spirit of salvation. If we are saved in Christ—who is the way, the truth, and the life—then we are participants in his truth, intimate players in the life of human salvation. Christ's truth is not a warm bath to lazily soak in, or a prize bed for us to linger in but an active, enlivening force, a vital spirit that animates us to not only speak the truth but to act truthfully as well. To speak and act out of the fullness of his truth that fills us to overflowing. If our truthful speech and acts are to be ministerial, a service to others, then they must be done in the light for all to see.

John writes, “. . .whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.” The apostles have been imprisoned by their religious enemies. The Lord sends an angel to free them. This same angel instructs them on how to use their newly gained freedom: “Go and take your place in the temple area, and tell the people everything about this life.” They do exactly that. For those who have been freed from the prison of sin, those who would walk the way of Christ's truth, their words and deeds must be spoken and done in the light so that a witness may be given. This not to be playacting or street theater but a genuine expression of a soul living under the spirit of salvation, the words and deeds of one who is infused to the bone with the truth of Christ's saving mercy. The spirit that animates you as a person, the vital force that drives you must be the spirit of Christ resurrected—a new life risen from death, freed from sin, given to you so that you can bring those enslaved by darkness to the light. 

Lest we bear false witness to those whom God loves and intends to save, we must be Christ's truth always and always in the light.

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13 April 2010

Cardinal Bertone is Mistaken

The AP is reporting on controversial remarks made by the Holy Father's right hand man, Crdl Bertone in Chile:

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's secretary of state, made the comments [linking pedophilia to homosexuality] during a news conference Monday in Chile, where one of the church's highest-profile pedophile cases involves a priest having sex with young girls.

"Many psychologists and psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relation between celibacy and pedophilia. But many others have demonstrated, I have been told recently, that there is a relation between homosexuality and pedophilia. That is true," said Bertone. "That is the problem."

If the translation of Crdl Bertone's comments is correct, then I believe he is mistaken about there being a link between homosexuality and pedophilia. 

Some distinctions are necessary to make his mistake clear.  The very definition of the word "homosexual" is "one who is sexually attracted to one's own sex," perhaps even exclusively so attracted.  "Pedophilia" is a sexual attraction to children (pre-pubescents, non-adolescents) with no indicated preference for one sex over another.  Psychologists do not distinguish between "homosexual pedophiles" and "heterosexual pedophiles."  If any such term were to be used, it would be "bisexual pedophiles."

Pedophiles tend to be opportunistic, molesting when the chance to do so arises.  Generally, they also regard certain physical characteristics (hair and skin color, precociousness) as the most important in choosing their victims.  

The sexual attraction to adolescents is called ephebophilia.  In the U.S. clerical abuse cases, the overwhelming number of victims were adolescent males, mostly in the 15-17 year old range.   In classical Greece a sexual relationship between an adult male and an adolescent male was called pederasty and was accepted as a positive stage in the younger male's education as a citizen.  Once the boy became a man, the relationship stopped.  If it did not, the couple was often subject to public humiliation and risked being socially ostracized.  There was nothing more damning to a Greek man's virtue than to be though of as a woman.

It is clear from the evidence gathered by the John Jay Study on the Church's abuse scandals in the U.S. that there is a direct link to be drawn between sexually active homosexual priests and the sexual molestation of adolescent males.  This does not mean that all homosexual priests are molesters.  Nor does it mean that most homosexuals in the general population are molesters.  In fact, the overwhelming majority of molesters in the U.S. identify as heterosexual.

The media persists in calling clergy involved in the abuse of adolescents "pedophile priests" b/c they are loathe to draw attention to the politically incorrect fact that a vast majority of abusers were "ephebophile priests," thus avoiding an emphasis on the link between the sexual abuse cases and clerical homosexuality.  

By the same token, some in the Church have wrongly concluded that a homosexual inclination (exclusive of behavior) is a sufficient reason to exclude a man from seminary or religious formation.  This sort of exclusion fails to take into consideration that not all homosexual men experience their sexuality in exactly the same way.  The "kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out" approach to excluding same-sex attracted men from seminary is uncharitable and unjust.  By excluding homosexual men who are capable of living chastely in sexual continence, the Church is depriving herself of the service of potentially exemplary priests and encouraging those called to priesthood to begin their ministries under a shadow of deceit.  The emphasis in formation needs to be squarely and heavily placed on chaste, celibate continence, regardless of sexual orientation. 

It is entirely possible that Crdl Bertone is confused about the terminology he is using, or perhaps he is trying to point out that the current crisis is mostly about sexually active homosexual clergy.   Whatever he may have intended, it is wrong to suggest that there is a link between homosexuality and pedophilia.  They are two completely different burdens.

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Wow. . ."the public and obstinate betrayal of religious life"

Tom Peters, the American Papist, excerpts portions of a speech given by Archbishop Raymond Burke, the "Chief Justice" of the Church's Supreme Court.  The excerpted portions speak boldly to an old and on-going problem in the Church:

[...Our joy today is] overshadowed by the public and obstinate betrayal of religious life by certain religious. Who ever could have imagined that religious congregations of pontifical right, would openly organize to resist and attempt to frustrate an apostolic visitation, that is, a visit to their congregations carried out under the authority of the vicar of Christ on earth, to whom all religious are bound by the strongest bonds of loyalty and obedience?

Who could imagine that consecrated religious would openly, and in defiance of the bishops as successors of the apostles publicly endorse legislation containing provisions which violated the natural moral law in its most fundamental tenets – the safeguarding and promoting of innocence and defenseless life, and fail to safeguard the demands of the free exercise of conscience for health care workers?

We witness a growing tendency among certain consecrated religious to view themselves outside and above the body of Christ as a parallel institution looking in upon the Church with an autonomy which contradicts their very nature. We have certainly come a long way from the total loyalty to the Roman Pontiff which was at the heart of the foundation of the Society of Jesus and of every religious congregation. Religious life lived in the heart of the Church, and for that reason religious congregations are, by their very nature, bound in strictest loyalty to the Roman Pontiff. It is of course an absurdity of the most tragic kind to have consecrated religious knowingly and obstinately acting against the moral law.

The spiritual harm done to the individual religious who are disobedient and also the grave scandal caused to the faithful and people in general are of incalculable dimensions.

[Do not doubt the influence of consecrated persons] … Was not the Speaker of the House [Nancy Pelosi] glowing to report that so many religious sisters were in support of her proposed health care plan? Was not a religious sister [Sr. Carol Keehan, President of CHA] one of the recipients of a pen used by the President of the United States to sign the health care plan into law?

Now is the time for us all, and in particular for consecrated persons to stand up for the truth and to call upon our fellow Catholics in leadership to do the same or to cease identifying themselves as Catholics.

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Address change. . .

Since I will be visiting my family in Mississippi in about two months, I have changed the shipping address for my Amazon WISH LIST.

So, if you have been flinching at paying $13 for international shipping, now's the time to earn my gratitude and a place on my daily prayer list by sending me a book for the dissertation!

USED books are perfectly OK with me. 

I thank you.  My measly book budget thanks you.  And my provincial bursar thanks you.

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Without reservation we must proclaim the Risen Lord!

2nd Week of Easter (T): Readings
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
SS. Domenico e Sisto, Roma

If there were ever a day in our lifetimes to believe the apostle's witness to the resurrection of the Lord, it is today. And not just today but tomorrow as well. And then again tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. If we failed to believe yesterday, or fail to believe even now, today is the day to set aside doubt and worry and choose to believe the ancient and living testimony of Christ's friends. The Lord is risen from the tomb! His grave is empty. Resurexit sicut dixit, Alleluia! This is the solemn witness of generations, of centuries of men and women who have lived their lives and died their deaths, walking the passionate path of Christ's Way. They followed him to Jerusalem and to the Cross. To Corinth, Thessalonia, Alexandria, Rome, and on to Lagos, Las Angeles, Tokoyo, Mumbai, Melbourne, and Moscow. And when and if the time comes, we will follow him out into the stars and plant the church on truly alien soil. Our solemn witness is a proclamation for all of creation to hear: the Lord is risen indeed! Therefore, we must speak of what we know so that all may come to believe.

Jesus himself confirms the necessity bearing witness when he answers Nicodemus, teaching him that all men must be born again in order to enter heaven. When Nicodemus expresses doubt about how such a rebirth is possible, Jesus answers, “. . .we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony.” We speak. We know. We testify. And yet our testimony is not believed. Jesus doesn't argue with Nicodemus, or perform a miracle, or offer a naturalistic explanation for what he knows to be true. Instead, he says, “No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. . .so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” How does anyone come to believe if there is no one to give witness? A word cannot be heard unless it is spoken. The Word made flesh and risen from the tomb must be spoken by those who believe, by those who know because they believe.

Among the first witnesses to the empty tomb were apostles, men and women who went out and gave their voices to the truth of Christ's resurrection. Luke tells us in his Acts of the Apostles that these faithful souls founded communities of believers who were of one heart and mind, holding everything in common, they claimed no possessions of their own. Bearing witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, God's grace flowed freely among them and they received His gifts with thanksgiving. From these small, local communities God's Word spread like a forest fire, burning away anguish, despair, and the futile longing for worldly prizes. Thousands were set free in the Spirit and then sent to free thousands more. They bore under the burden of witness, they spoke of what they knew so that all may come to believe. 

Thomas the Twin doubted and Christ showed him the truth. Nicodemus doubted and Christ taught him the truth. Today, perhaps more than any other day in our lifetimes, we too are confronted by doubters, sometimes hostile and violent doubters. Today, the integrity of the Church's witness is attacked from within and without, by doubters among us and doubters separated from us. To the degree that we have failed to bear faithful witness to the Risen Lord, their doubt is our burden to bear. For those who doubt despite our faithful witness, we can nothing better for them them than to remain steadfast in the preaching and teaching of the gospel the apostles have given us. If we remain one body with one heart and one mind, speaking the One Word of God, proclaiming without reservation or fear of rebuke, the integrity of our witness will be invincible. To do anything less is retreat and surrender.

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12 April 2010

Yup, that's about right. . .

Michael Ramirez

Pulitzer Winner in Poerty

Not many HancAquam readers are into contemporary the way I am, but for those few out there, here's this year's winner and finalists for the Pulitzer Prize:

Winner: Versed, by Rae Armantrout (Wesleyan University Press), a book striking for its wit and linguistic inventiveness, offering poems that are often little thought-bombs detonating in the mind long after the first reading. 

Finalists: Tryst, by Angie Estes (Oberlin College Press), a collection of poems remarkable for its variety of subjects, array of genres and nimble use of language.

Inseminating the Elephant, by Lucia Perillo (Copper Canyon Press), a collection of poems, often laced with humor, that examine popular culture, the limits of the human body and the tragicomic aspects of everyday experience. 

I've not read any of these poets. . .been out of the poetry loop for too long. . .sigh.

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Scuba Becky update

Good News:  Scuba Becky is out of the hospital and already back at work.  She seems to think that the bank where she works will self-destruct if she's not there.

My thanks for all the prayers and kind comments/emails.  She's promised to stay out of the hospital for at least a year.

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Destroying the smoking gun case of abuse out of Oakland

John Norton of the OSV does an excellent job of summarizing, in plain English, all the errors of the alleged "smoking gun" case of sexual abuse in Oakland, CA.

This is the case where the headline blared something like "Pope delayed punishing priest child molester."

With journalists like the ones working for the NYT and CNN, we don't need the National Inquirer or Jerry Springer.

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Question for Geeks

A techy question for my Geek Readers:

Why is it that when I watch videos and enlarge them to full screen size, my mouse scrolling function is disabled? 

I have to empty the cache every time I finish a video in order to restore the scrolling function.

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No problem with the media when they do their job

Because there seems to be some doubt on this issue, let me say this as plainly and as clearly as I possibly can:

I have no problem whatsoever with the media reporting on the facts of the Church's sexual abuse scandal.  None.  Zero.  Zilch.  In fact, I credit the media with breaking the story and pushing the Church toward dealing with the problem. 

I have no problem with the media reporting on the Holy Father's involvement in the scandals if he was in fact involved.  None.  Zero.  Zilch.  Truth is truth and the truth sets us free.

What I object to is shoddy reporting based exclusively on material leaked to the media from the lawyers of alleged victims.  Any reporter worth her journalism degree should know that lawyers are advocates for a paying client.  There is only one side to any story when you're paid to tell your employer's side. 

What I object to is media habit of relying almost exclusively on Church dissidents, disgruntled former Catholics, and anti-Catholic "experts" to comment on the scandals.  Are Joan Chittister, Richard McBrien, and Thomas Reese the only Catholics in the media Rolodex?

What I object to is the media's obvious obsession with using the scandals to advocate for changes within the Church that cannot/will not happen.  Reporters report facts; they do not advocate for reforms that suit their political and ideological goals.

What I object to is the woeful ignorance of the media when it comes to the Church's history and her canonical processes and their apparent invincible unwillingness to learn.  What's so difficult about reporting that Crdl Ratzinger didn't take over the investigations of sexual abuse cases until 2001?  What's so difficult about reporting that canon law underwent a substantial reform in 1985?

So, let me say it again just in case: I have no problem whatsoever with the media reporting on the facts of the Church's sexual abuse scandal. None. Zero. Zilch. 

What I object to is the media spreading misinformation, distorting the facts, and outright lying. 

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11 April 2010

Hitting the Holy Father where he is strongest

Let me draw your attention to an excellent article by Sandro Magister of Chiesa Espresso.

Magister outlines six charges that have been made against the Holy Father since he took the Chair of Peter five years ago.  Magister points out that all six charges leveled against BXVI have struck at areas where this pope has tried to bring Christian clarity and charity.

These are exactly the areas where one would expect the Devil to focus his attention in an effort to derail true progress.

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Coffee Bowl Browsing

More happy consequences from those who bring us gov't run health care. 

Hmmmmm"The eurozone area and wider European Union is now “on the brink” of disintegration unless Germany steps up and provides loans at below-market rates to Greece, George Soros, the hedge fund manager, has warned."  I have no love for the E.U. as a political entity, but the collapse of the euro would devastate the economies of the zone.  Another reason to scrap the whole bloated, over-priced edifice and allow nation states to be. . .ya know. . .sovereign.  Of course, Soros, a leftist billionaire, wants the collapse so he can make the case for the U.N. (or some other unelected body of elites) to grab control of the global economy.

The "Tea Parties Are Really Just Racist Confederates in Disguise" meme is gaining steam in the Old Media.  Only the woefully historically ignorant would buy such nonsense.

Completely flushing what little credibility he has left, whiny atheist biologist, Dick Dawkins, threatens to arrest the Pope when the Holy Father visits the U.K. in September.  Note to the Holy Father:  "Your Holiness, if you need a 300 lbs. Dominican to watch your back--one with years of experience dealing with the mentally unhinged--, I live fewer than two miles down the road from place.  Just let me know."

A run-down of the likely 2012 GOP presidential candidates.  Looks like a very fallow field.

Maureen Dowd, the NYT's resident self-loathing Catholic, sees the Taliban when she surveys her Church.  So, the obvious question is:  Maureen, why are you still a member of this horrible woman-hating institution? Diogenes has an intriguing proposal for Dowd. . .one I doubt very much that she will entertain.

The Anchoress spanks the "Women are Oppressed in the Catholic Church" meme and, in the process, exposes the self-loathing sexism of our Cultural Betters.  

Speaking of privileged feminists. . .one of my fav TV actors has died:  Dixie Carter.  When I was Big Liberal back in the 80's, her character on Designing Women, Julia Sugarbaker, was probably one of my top ten lefty heroes.

A new low in anti-average American politics:  an organized effort to crash Tea Party protests with racist signs.  Watch the MSM lap this up. 

Wow. . .and Catholics complain that our bishops can be wimpy when faced with difficult decisions.

Doing what the MSM can't be bothered to do:  Fr. Z. does a little fair and balanced reporting on clerical sexual abuse. . .among non-Catholic clergy.

John Allen throws a small cup of cold water on the smoldering hopes of those who see Archbishop Jose Gomez's appt. to replace Crdl. Mahony as a conservative revolution in the making. Generally speaking, BXVI is not appointing conservatives to the American episcopate.  Rather, he is appointing pastorally astute, sensibly orthodox men to serve the Church in the U.S. . .which is exactly what we need.

Of course men are happier than women.  Here are about 30 reasons why.  My fav: "Your underwear is only $8.95 for a three-pack."  Heck, if you shop at WalMart you can get a 10-pack for $9.00. 

Ooooooooooo. . .I need one of these to get around Rome's sidewalks when it rains!

Also, check out the updated WISH LIST.  A few new books added for the dissertation.  Grazie!

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"What can I do about the scandals?"

I've received many emails and comments asking for advice on how individual Catholics can deal with the current spate of media reports on the Holy Father's alleged involvement in obstructing investigations into clerical sexual abuse.
The requests for advice all more or less ask:  what are those of us in the pews supposed to do?

I suggest three things:

1).  Fast and pray
2).  Seek the truth and never fear it
3).  Live in hope

Fast and Pray

Fasting and praying in times of spiritual distress is the natural Catholic reaction.  We seek out the voice of God for comfort, guidance, and to accept His blessings to endure with strength.  Fasting with the intention to repair the damage done by clerical sexual abuse is not only worthy but necessary.  If there were ever a time for the laity to exercise their baptismal priesthood, it is now.  By offering the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, lay Catholics fulfill their priestly vows made at baptism and renew the spiritual heath of the whole Church.  So, pray for the victims and their families; the predators; the lawyers and therapists who aided in the cover ups; the bishops who failed to be teachers and pastors of the faith; the Holy Father, and for the Church as a whole.  I believe the intercession of the Blessed Mother is particularly called for in this current crisis.  Nothing works quite like prayers to focus the soul on what's essential to one's spiritual health.  When one part of the body is sick, the whole body is sick.  When one part of the body is healed, the overall health of the body improves. 

Seek the truth and never fear it

We know that the truth will set us free.  There is nothing for the Church to gain in hiding from the truth of these scandals.  Priests, bishops, religious sexually molested children and teens.  Some bishops and diocesan curial officials worked overtime to hide the abuse and spent millions from the collection plate to keep it all a secret.  The result?  An even bigger, deadlier scandal.  Whatever the motives for trying to hide the abuse, hiding these sins only made them more poisonous to the Body.  Like an infected wound on the body, the scandals must be thoroughly cleansed, competently medically treated, bandaged and left to heal.

If seeking the truth means exposing the scandals to the disinfectant of sunlight, then we  must look to the media for support.  However, the media have proven themselves again and again to be a voice for anti-Catholic bigotry in the cultural war against the gospel.  Because professional journalistic standards have given way to ideological advocacy and propagandizing, we are saddled with the difficult task of reading their reports with a healthy dose of suspicion.  No one denies the fact that children and teens have been abused by clergy.  No one denies that bishops have tried to hide this abuse.  In so far as the media have brought these terrible crimes to light, we should thank them.  We are not, however, obligated to thank them when they print and broadcast outright lies, distortions, or misleading omissions.  Nor are we to thank them for failing to take the time to learn something about the canonical procedures of the Church or her history.  Nor are we to thank them for using the scandals as an excuse to advocate for suicidal reforms to the Church's internal structure.  

The media's current campaign to fabricate a direct connection between the Holy Father and the abuse scandals is nothing more than a smear campaign designed to destroy his moral authority at a time when globalist secularism is fighting to move the Church out of the public square.  The ministerial hierarchy of the Church must be called to seek out the truth and proclaim it.  No matter how difficult, embarrassing, or expensive.  Likewise, the anti-Catholic media must be called upon to return to their professional journalist standards and restrict themselves to reporting verifiable facts.  The media's malpractice only serves to further erode what little trust they have with their readers and viewers.  At some point, we simply stop listening.

Live in hope

Even as the Church is pounded on all sides by those who would see us silenced, we must always keep in mind that our faith, our trust firmly rests in Christ Jesus.  No scandal--financial, sexual, political--can dislodge Christ as the head of his Body.  Our strength as the redeemed children of a loving God comes from an eternal source, the unshakable rock of ages.    Popes come and go from Rome.  Bishops rise and fall in a diocese.  Priests ebb and flow out of parishes everyday.  We lose buildings, vestments, books, vessels, ancient treasures nearly everyday.  None of these can be the source and summit of our faith.  Even the Church herself is an impermanent sacrament, a means of seeing, hearing, tasting God's boundless grace while continue our pilgrimage here on earth.  Given the hard realities of human sin, it is inevitable that filth will leak in and poison the body.  And it is just as inevitable that the body will heal and continue on.  Do we need to review the bloody persecutions of the first two centuries of Church history?  Or the Church's expulsion from France, England, China, Russia, Mexico, the Middle East?  The martyrs of Africa, Vietnam, Japan, even North America?  How about the near genocidal persecutions of Christians by Muslims in Nigeria and the Sudan?  The faithful have died, yes. . .but the faith never has and never will. 

As followers of Christ we are promised trials and persecutions.  Being a faithful Christian isn't for the easily spooked, or for the squeamish.  The core spiritual strength of Christ's faithful is the rock solid conviction that God has already won His battle against evil.  Our hope isn't a gamble against the odds of losing, but rather the assurance  of God's loving-care and that the final victory is ours.

Whatever you do don't allow those who are using these scandals as an excuse to leave the Church discourage you.  If the poor will be with us always, so will those who stand on the sidelines and whine about every inconvenience, every perceived slight, every imagined insult.  Pray for them as you would a faithful brother or sister, but pay no attention to their discouragement.  They are as free as any of us to choose hope over despair!

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