Danger! Falling Brainwaves 



Dedicated to making a public display of whatever falls out of David Ancell's brain, from one of those happily Catholic types.



I just heard that Blogger has a new interface and had to test it out. It's pretty cool, but I like Moveable Type better. Remember, you can find my real blog at:


I switched when I got tired of Blogger going down.


This will probably be my last post from Blogger. However, I have not stopped Blogging!! The new site can be found at:


Please come visit me there. I've moved almost all of the old posts and comments there so that everything will be on that site.


Okay, so I've updated this post. Man, this site runs slow. I'm glad I don't use this anymore.


Trouble with the Blogger
I'm trying to change software, but it's a pain. Please be patient as this site may not always be up this week.


American Catechism
Interesting . . . . very interesting . . . . I was reading the HMS blog, and one member cited this article about the development of an American catechism. According to the article:

"The national adult catechism for the United States will be a work that will address both the ways in which the Catholic faith reflects and respects the various cultural traditions and their manifestations in the United States and the ways in which the faith challenges our modern, highly secular culture," Bishop Wuerl told his Vatican audience.

Also in the article is a mention that it will target young adults who "form so much of the focus of the new evangelization today."

On the one hand, I applaud this. First of all, Bishop Donald W. Wuerl is the man for the job. I say team him up with Chaput and Bruskewitz, and you'll have the basis for the best formation that has ever been found in the United States. Also, as one reader has stated, there is a lot of the American culture that needs to be addressed in a catechism. I would add to this things like modesty in dress and the purchasing of explicit-lyric music and other immoral entertainment. It would be great to have a catechism that says "I'm talking to you." and helps us to live this Christian life that we are so fortunate as to be called to live.

On the other hand, my fear is the same as the post referenced above. Will we get something that will truly show us the love of God and our need to reform our lives to conform to the Gospel? Or will we be stuck with something that already conforms to our lives? I hope that this catechism has to have Vatican approval, and I hope that they scrutinize it carefully and give the people involved a swift, charitable kick in the real estate if they stall this thing because they don't want to have to publish something containing orthodox Catholic doctrine.


About Blogging
By now, you may have read that Tim Drake has decided to quit blogging. Tom Abbott proceeded to comtemplate quitting but then decided to stay with it but without an overriding concern for the number of hits he got.

Of course, I wish to continue blogging because I have a pretty good time with it. Pretty soon I'll be changing software if my host gets my account changed to that UNIX server. Everything will be hosted here, including the comments. This means that it won't go down too often, and it will allow me to provide better quality content. If my project in Nashville ever gets finished, I should be back to daily blogging.

A good day for me would be 10 hits. While I'd really like to have more hits, I don't want to start acting in an uncharitable manner in an attempt to improve my count on Site Meter. Sometimes I feel that others have done so in an attempt to get cheers from others. I started this blog both in an attempt to preach the Gospel and because I like to share my thoughts. I have plenty of ego. However, I am aware that if motives were a college course, it would be a graded course. If I really try to preach the Gospel, but there is that side of me that wants the HMS blog to quote me, I could still get a B. I'd rather have an A, but at least I did some good. Rarely are anyone's motives pure, especially mine. If there is any good that I can do, I need to go ahead and do it.

Development of Doctrine
I was in awe earlier today when I read the second reading from today's Office of Readings by St. Vincent of Lerins. Here are some excerpts:

Development means that each thing expands to be itself, while alteration means that a thing is changed from one thing into another.

In ancient times our ancestors sowed the good seed in the harvest field of the Church. It would be very wrong and unfitting if we, their descendants, were to reap, not the genuine wheat of truth but the intrusive growth of error.

I need not say that the present crisis in the Church is the result of many having reaped error. It is sad to see that many (e.g. early benefactors of Catholic schools) planted good seed only to find their children prefer the weeds instead of the true harvest. Yet, those of us who can find the harvest will reap abundantly. We can nourish the seeds to continue to grow for the next generation. The scandals of today may even make a greater call to holiness than anything else would.

Mark Shea on The New Apologists
Mark Shea takes on the Fr. Thomas Rausch critique of the new apologists. Of course, I haven't read the full article, and I'm not about to subscribe to America magazine. My table top by my couch has a glass surface, so I don't need any more coasters.

Bottom line: what is needed is the teaching of the real Catholic faith rather than the cheap substitute that his order bears some responsibility for presenting. There is truth, and it is up to us to proclaim it. Just in the small Frassati Society in my parish, I've been amazed at the people who are being turned on to true Catholic teachings.

There's a good blog on the blog from John Schultz. In reading his post, I'm reminded of the irony of these ivory-tower intellectuals who talk about how the Magisterium is "totally oblivious to the way people live." It seems as though they are the ones who are oblivious to the real needs of the people. If the teachings of the Church are far from how we live, then it just might be that our lives are filled with sin.

Why ICEL Needs To Be Fixed . . . . FAST!
Here is the traditional version of the Memorare on the HMS blog.

Here is the ICEL version of the same prayer. One must wonder what someone smoked, snorted, or otherwise ingested before attempting this translation.

A Needed Word of Encouragement
Of course, it's on Catholic Exchange. This is one lesson that I still need to learn.


Vote Pro-Life
I just found this in my e-mail about a site that identifies pro-life candidates. This is very useful indeed. Unfortunately, I haven't really learned much about Tennessee politics even though I've been here for three years. I do, however, have a solid commitment to choose the most pro-life candidate regarless of the "other issues."
10/10/2002 11:57:00 PM

Who Would Think This Would Come from Domino's Pizza?
Check out this post from Gerard Serafin about Ave Maria University. Thomas Monaghan sold Domino's Pizza and used the proceeds (after providing for his family) for the Ave Maria Foundation. Would that all business men like him be concerned with the salvation of souls? Yet, it is so difficult to make it if you are committed to Christ because sooner or later someone is going to want you to do something that isn't compatible with your faith. How good it is to see the success of someone so concerned with souls!


Does Anyone Screen Their Stuff?
While away on business, I've had a chance to check out the local Catholic bookstore. Quite a sight it is. I was able to pick up the new Suprised by Truth 3, and I noticed that there are some stories of people whom I recognize and am ready to read.

This store contained a lot of stuff from Sophia Institute Press, Ignatius Press, and some things from TAN. There were some solid resources by John Hardon, Benedict Groeschel, etc available. However, what struck me was that often, right near the good stuff, there was a lot of stuff that I wouldn't touch with a 1,232,634,987,275 foot pole. They featured Fr. Richard Rohr, Fr. Richard McBrien, Monika Helwig (complete with false teaching on the Eucharist), and Fr. Andrew Greeley (I am not joking.). There were also books on the Enneagram.

I'm glad that at least there were good resources available, but why put those dissident books (e.g. Christ Among Us) in there as well? I have to wonder if these people (They were nice people.) realize what they are doing. They could use someone with a bit more discriminatory tastes.


Light, If Any, Blogging Mode
I hate to keep doing this, but it looks like we will have light, if any, blogging this week. I'm back to my old business again.

However, I want to leave you with some things to read.

First, check out the latest Deal Hudson article on Catholic Exchange about Voice of the Faithful. What is the deal with these guys, anyway? Don't forget to pray for their conversion.

Second, I've been reading Fr. Benedict Groeschel's From Scandal to Hope. It's an excellent thesis on what has gone wrong and what can be done. I do wish I could have pulled something more out of it as to what I can do, but it's a great book. Fr. Groeschel takes on the whole problem and its root, not just the prevailing symptom.


Respect Life
October is Respect Life Month. Today, members of my parish were part of the Life Chain on a busy corner of Memphis. It is a time to pray for the protection of the unborn. It is a peaceful, prayerful demonstration. Every day, abortionist commit nothing less than a horrible deed of violence. We respond by peacful prayers of petition and repentance. It was pretty hot out there today, and I offered the discomfort in reparation for the evil done in our nation.

On a practical level, I can see horrors caused by the legalized killing if the current trend continues. Instead of coming up with innovations to help the unborn who may have disabilities, the doctor can simply pressure the parents into abortion. Instead of providing palliative care for the terminally ill, only a lethal injection may be offered. If these seem far-fetched to you, please note that it may take no more than a few major insurance companies making a decision not to support the care of those who are difficult and/or expensive to care for to make this a reality. The greed and consumerism in our society have reached in extreme. You can see this in the corporate scandals of the day.

However, as horrific as the above may be, the eternal consequences are even worse. Who knows how many people could be buring in hell because of contraception, abortion, euthanasia, or embryonic stem cell research? I do not know; I hope no one, but as much as is going on, it is difficult to fathom that no one is. We must pray for the conversion of all who believe in or are involved in abortion.

How many saints, expert scientists, artists, musicians has the world lost? Many of these could have been great missionaries who would have saved countless souls.


How To Tell If It's Time To Review the Zoning Ordinances
I couldn't resist taking a picture of this in Nashville. This was inspired by a couple of coworkers of mine.

Oh, and do take a look at last Thursday's post again (can't link to it yet). I've got the Chili's parking sign scanned and posted.

It Works, I Think
I finally got my archives back. It turns out that Blogger hadn't generated an archive index for the last three weeks. I had to go in and manually update an index and then manually upload it. I think Mark Shea was right when he said that this was "Yesterday's Technology Tomorrow."

I guess you can tell that I've been playing with Blogger all day today. I still can get the darn thing to upload my archives to the right place. Oh well, I'll keep trying.

Well, Almost
Ok, the site has almost been successfully moved to http://www.cdavidancell.com/weblog/, but the archives don't work. You can go back to the old page and view the archives until I figure out what to do. I hope to fix this soon.

I've got my web ring listing updated, and I'll let Mr. Serafin know to update my address later.

Moving This Blog
Ok, I've decided that as a preliminary step, I'm going to move my blog to a new address. Therefore, the cdavidancell.blogspot.com won't be updated any more. I leave it here at least for a while so you can find me, but my blog will now appear at:


This will at least allow viewing of my site when Blogspot is down. I'm going to look into other software as well. It looks like, per technical support, I'm going to have to upgrade my account. However, I've found some great features.

Of course, if you are viewing this from the new location. Sit back and relax.

The Catholic Answers That I Needed
A day or two ago, I received my October 2002 issue of This Rock magazine from Catholic Answers. I'm a big fan of Catholic Answers, and this has got to be the best issue that I have seen. It's like God intervened with the staff just for me.

The articles include such things as why being faithful isn't the same as being rigid. The author was once told that he was seeing everything as black and white because he insisted on following the Church's teaching. I've had a similar experience though not by a priest. While it's true that not everything is black and white, it isn't true to say that nothing is black and white.

There's an open letter by Rosalind Moss on the document issues by the U.S. Bishops' committee on evangelization of Jews (or lack thereof). There's also a refutation of a Jack T. Chick tract. David Mills also writes about the Holy Spirit using the "rules" of faith to domesticate us. Turn to the question and answer section, and you'll get an excellent treatment of the question of whether or not athiests can go to Heaven.

Oh Blogger . . . What Can I Do With Thee?

I've been having trouble with Blogger now for two weeks. It keeps telling me it can't load my template. I'm going to think about using something else and hosting the blog on my own site. This will allow me to get a lot of those value-added features that Blog Spot Plus and Blogger Pro advertise without paying anymore than I'm already paying. I'm hardly using what I've paid for on my web host.

Uh, oh . . . I just checked into the upgrade. It looks like my account may not be suited for it. I'll have to check into this.

Back again . . . . I was able to install everything on my server *except* the database component. This is a major problem since that's what stores the posts. I'm going to work with my host. If it doesn't work, I guess I can just stick with Blogger.

Meanwhile, I found some good software that's perfect for updating a blog. It's called wBloggar. I can just load this software, and it will let me enter my blogs without my having to go to the web page. The only problem is that there is only a "Post & Publish" for publishing. I can' t just publish.


Catholic Exchange Letters
If you've been reading my blog, you probably know that Catholic Exchange is one of my favorite sites. Once again there are some great letters. I admire the people who grow in their faith despite the Catholic ministry. I didn't until I got away from that place. In fact, although I was not aware of it, I think I was in the midst of no small amount of confusion. I pray for the revitalization of campus ministry. People go there hoping to learn something about the Catholic faith and are often presented with a counterfeit.

Mark Shea's dialogue with another reader is also well worth reading. There's not much more I can say to that.


Crushed and Melted
I just got back from Nashville tonight, and I am really tired. I won't let it stop me from blogging. There's a Chili's near Vanderbilt University that has a parking garage under it. There's a sign in the garage that says "Parking Chili's Customers Only other cars will be crushed and melted." Either they are extremely serious, or someone has a strange since of humor.


Amy Welborn Does It Again
Once again, we have another great Amy Welborn article on Catholic Exchange. Those of you with small children will likely appreciate her analogy.


Heartfelt Grief
I am grieved to see what has happened to ruin the reputation of Gerard Serafin (see below and on his blog; his name was posted on the "list" of the Archdiocese of Baltimore). On top of that, there's some guy who won't even post his contact information making downright mean-spirited comments.

We don't know what he did, and he has a right not to tell us. As far as anyone can see, he has repented and lived in holiness. He has also suffered much. Remember that St. Augustine was first a great sinner. Let's pray for him to be able to forgive and to bear this cross. Let's pray that his reputation can be restored.


This is Funny
You've got to read this. I feel sorry for anyone who falls for it.

Really, it bothers me to see stuff like this. Haven't people figured out that anything that is spread through e-mail is most likely a hoax? Besides, if the anti-virus detector can't detect the worm, why can it detect that "imitation worm"?

Another Blogging Note
Blogger keeps giving me that "unable to load template file" error. So if you don't see my posts for a while, it may be because I can't post them.

Make Up Time
Ok, so I guess I'm making up for being gone last week. Well, next week will be light blogging, too. In fact, it may be a while before I'm back to my old self again.

Truth or Cynicism
We live in a relativistic society. Our society has lost its belief in absolute unchanging truth. We also live in a cynical society (no exception to be made for myself) that doesn't trust anyone or expect anything good to happen. I think these are one and the same problem. When we lose our belief in absolute truth, then what's to stop us from trying to do each other in. Then, loss of trust sets in, and therefore cynicism. Besides, if anything can be disputed, it's impossible to have a supreme cause for which one commits one's life.

What a Can of Worms!
I can't believe this . . . . I just want to open my window and yell so loud that the entire Memphis metro area hears me. How could someone do this? I am so outraged.

What am I talking about . . . . check out this site. Supposedly, the Archdiocese of Baltimore has posted a list of all priests "accused" of sexual abuse. From what I gather, some of the priests are deceased. To disclose the sin of another, whether living or dead, without a serious reason is detraction (Let's hope for a lack of sufficient reflection.). What can possibly be a serious reason for telling the public the sin of a deceased priest?

I have a great fear for the soul of Cardinal Keeler in having done this. While I have no right to question the Cardinal's motives, nor can I know his culpability with certainty, I can see what has happened as no more than the work of Satan himself. Please, I beg of you, pray for the Cardinal and the Archdiocese. Pray that either I'm wrong.

What I Need to Do
Here's what I need to do, and I would encourage you to do the same:

Contact Bishop Wilton Gregory and urge him to put the matter of a plenary council up for a vote in November. I'm doing this by letter as it would be too easy for someone in the chancery to delete an e-mail:
Bishop Wilton Gregory
Diocese of Belleville
The Chancery
222 South Third Street
Belleville, IL 62220

It appears that someone up at the USCCB is stalling the idea, if not trying to kill it outright. We need the root causes of this crisis examined and the faith revitalized in our nation. Pray that God's will be done in this matter.

Review of Triumph
Having been away from my computer for several days now, I'm noticing stuff that I hadn't seen. I saw this great review of H.W. Crocker's Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church: A 2,000-Year History. I've read parts of the book, and it is well worth having if you are interested in the history of the Church.

The reviewer does make reference to his comments on the use of guitars in the Mass. FYI, I am not against the use of acoustic guitars at Mass (ever heard John Michael Talbot). The electric guitar is a different story. How in the heck am I supposed to pray with one of those things blasting in my ear?

Pretended Piety
I just read this article on Catholic Exchange as well as this one. My greatest fear in life is to die and find that I have been a fraud. Whatever I may be, I wish to really be.

I do like how the first article talks about externals. Too many people act as though externals are now unnecessary because of the teaching of Jesus. Well, Jesus didn't make external devotion unnecessary; he made it insufficient. If external devotion were sufficient, then gunpoint evangelization ought to be considered a holy thing. After all, why would it matter that a person repented only because there was a gun to his head if external repentance sufficed?

Although external devotion can be practiced without interior belief, I do not believe that the opposite is true. We need to dress modestly, dress appropriately for Mass, genuflect if possible when before the Blessed Sacrament, say our Rosary, etc. Even if our interior disposition is not at its best, maybe Jesus will use these things to bring us closer to him.

Good evening . . . . I'm back, for the time being.

I wish to write about prayer. A friar at Franciscn University of Steubenville gave me his outline on prayer when he heard my confession. One of the important points on it is that in prayer we must seek conformity with God's will. So . . .

Don't pray to get God to do what you want; pray to get yourself to do what God wants.

Oh, how simple this is to say, but so hard to do. I'm not against prayers of petition; I do a lot of this myself. However, have you ever seen those novenas that "never fail" or anything like that. Don't fall for it. It's superstition. In other words, it's an attempt to manipulate God. I've never fallen for this, but I have fallen for my own lines of thought such as "If I pray like this, maybe then God will do what I want."

I'm in a state of life, having lost an uncle and a former co-worker, that I'm starting to wonder about God's ways. They seem a little strange. I need to keep in mind last Sunday's Gospel. God's ways are not our ways; they are high above our ways. We see a very small picture; God sees all eternity.


Do the Jewish people need Jesus?
I am not against the Jewish people. I do not believe that Jesus abolished the Jewish faith, but fulfilled it. However, I find it to be a holy thing to invite a Jewish person to the fullness of faith in Jesus Christ and the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

I guess it's no secret that the delegates from the Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs (BCEIA) released a controversial document. I haven't posted anything because I haven't read the document. However, of all that I have read, this article appears to be the most balanced on the document.

Catholic Exchange has a good Dear Grace column on cooperation with evil posted. Check it out.


A Tough Week
As I've said, it's going to be light, if any, blogging next week. I had a tough week last week and expect next week to be the same. I had long work hours during a week that ended with the death of an uncle of mine. I'll be missing the funeral, but I plan to visit my family next weekend. My work is taking a lot out of me, but I'm enjoying this. I'm in charge of my end of the operation, and I'm slowly learning how to be in charge. Lucky for me, I've been sent there with two excellent people who also have an awesome sense of humor.

I was grateful to the Lord that my uncle was able to be baptized a few weeks before dying. The Lord gave me the grace to call him and suggest it. I hope it did the trick, but I have a feeling it did. It may seem unfair to some that it takes what may seem like so little to save him, but we could never save ourselves anyway. It's all grace. He died young, but perhaps this was for the good of his soul. As hard as it is to take, it will be for the best if he is enjoying eternal life with the Lord.


Liturgical Pet Peeves
Maybe I'm just a crank . . . I don't want to go to Mass to criticize it. Even in some of the worst liturgy I've seen, Jesus is still there. That alone should fill my heart with joy. I wish I could easily just offer it up when I see what I'm about to list below. Unfortunately, I'm bothered by these things.

My basic view is that a priest should stick to the book when saying Mass. When we go to Mass, we are entering something that is so sacred and so much greater than ourselves that no one, including the priest, has a right to alter it according to his personal tastes. It's also a question of faithfulness and obedience. If a priest isn't obedient in such a simple matter as reading words from a book, then I wonder what else he is doing.

I just don't know how to deal with it when one of the following happens (in no particular order):

1. We are invited to "greet one another" before Mass starts. (read this for more info)

2. The priest says "Good morning!" (or anything else, for that matter) before making the Sign of the Cross.

3. The Penitential Rite is introduced with no mention of calling to mind our sins (e.g. "Let's take a moment and think about what impresses you most about Christ as a person." - I kid you not; this happened.) What's the point of the Penitential Rite if we aren't calling to mind our sins?

4. The words "The Lord is with you" are used in place of "The Lord be with you." This cheats us out of a prayer. In fact, I wish for none of the words to be changed unless it is permitted by the rubrics.

5. The Scripture readings and/or the hymns are changed to reflect "inclusive language" or some other form of political correctness. Honestly, the renderings are not always bad, it's just the fact that someone thought he/she needed to do this.

6. During the preparation of the gifts ("Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation . . .") the bread and wine are prepared together. (Uh, hello, the separation of the blood from the body symbolized death.)

7. Holding hands during the Our Father. Just what is the point of that? I don't think it's diabolical, just pointless.

8. Part of the Mass is rendered in Latin, but I don't have the text in front of me when I'm supposed to sing. Actually, I really do like Latin, but I don't know it. I need the text to follow along.

9. Right before Communion, the priest says "Happy are we who are called to his supper" instead of "Happy are those who are called to his supper." Uh, did you ever figure that those words refer to all of the Church throughout the ages. Besides that, they also refer to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb at the end of time. We cannot and should not presume that we will be called ot this. (Read this excellent book by Fr. Francis Randolph for more information.)

10. The final blessing consists of "May Almighty God bless us . . . " instead of "May Almighty God bless you . . ."

11. People leaving right after communion.

12. People leaving during the singing of the closing hymn. I know some people need to leave, but surely not all of them.

13. The host is not elevated at the consecration. Yes, I have seen this.

14. Talking in the Church. I have no problem with a simple acknowledgement of our brothers and sisters, but extended conversations need to go into the narthex.

15. Ushers trying to seat someone during a prayer or time of reflection. Hey! Just wait a second. Seriously, I've had this problem before, and I mentioned it to the usher after refusing to move until the prayer was finished.

16. Music that isn't prayerful.

17. Things being done that give the appearance of having been taken out of book entitles "Cool Things to Do At Your Liturgy" written by people with absolutely no concept of authenticity. For example, at Pentecost Sunday, the first reading at a Mass I was at was read in French. On Holy Thursday in another parish, the readings were read "dramatically" (like a play-just what was the point?); then, at the same Mass, we had the washing of hands instead of the washing of feet.

18. Walking into the Church and having difficulty locating the tabernacle or confessional.

19. References to sin before the Penitential Rite that do not mention God. For example, one priest said before the penitential rite "Let's take a moment to call to mind those times we've failed to love and forgive each other." I have no problem with a priest saying ". . . love God and one another." This makes sense.

20. Having the dismissal consist of "Let's go out in to the world and serve one another." Why not say "Let's go out into the world to serve God and one another."?

Let me add that my point is not to judge the intentions of the people who do these things. Only God can do that. However, I long for a recovery of a sense of the sacred. Things that are treated as a toy to be played with are not being treated as sacred.

I bemoan the difficulty in finding understandable reading on what liturgy is about. I know there are some good books, like the one mentioned above and Cardinal Ratzinger's The Spirit of the Liturgy, but I know of little else. I'm about to start reading The Eucharist: Essence, Form, and Celebration by Johannes Emminghaus. I hope it is good. It seems like the Mass is often regarded as "whatever you want it to be," so materials on its objective meaning are hard to find.

I'm Back . . . for a while
Well, I've had a most hectic week. Next week promises more of the same. Expect light, if any, blogging. Don't worry. I plan to come back in full swing. I really enjoy this, but sometimes I just can't.


Renewal Will Come
Speaking of renewal . . . . check out this article. I found it linked to on Amy Welborn's blog spot, but she had a different take on it than I do.

I have a friend who is a seminarian for the Diocese of Memphis at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO. I had the opportunity to talk to him about the scandals. He said that there is a lot of resolve among those studying in his seminary to preach the truth and live holy lives. Hopefully, this is the case all around the world.

Of course, there's another important renewal that I hope will start . . . . my own. I hope that each of you are beginning your own renewal as well. If "We Are Church", then we all need reform. I wonder if many dissent from Church teachings because they've never seen the joy of living them out. I know that I held some indifference to Church teachings until I came to Memphis and met people, including people my own age, who believed the Church's teachings.

Do you ever feel that you've done the Lord's will only to feel hurt or regret of some kind? Does following Christ's commandments seem oppressive? Such moments must have occurred often throughout the history of Christendom. Maybe it's because we didn't do God's will, but what if we did?

No matter how bad we feel, we must remember that God knows what is best for us. God wants what is best for us. After all, we don't know what would have happened if we had turned the other way. Things probably would have been worse. At least in the long run, our ultimate happiness is secure by following God's will.

Oh, so easy this is to write, but how hard it is to live!

Canon Fire Ahead
Here's the New York Times on canonical issues with the "zero tolerance" policy towards "pedophile priests". I think the paragraph quoted below says it all:

The canon lawyers' most frequent criticisms of the American bishops' policy are that it denies due process to accused priests, ignores the statute of limitations in canon law, defines sexual abuse too broadly, and imposes the same harsh punishment — permanent removal from ministry — on every offender, regardless of the severity of the crime.

As I've said before, I hope the Vatican bounces this like a basketball. Then, I hope that better plans are drawn up. I hope we will have plans, not only to combat the scandal, but to renew the Church. It may take years for renewal to begin; it will take more years for a full renewal to take place, but I'm not going to lose hope.

Light Blogging Coming Up
Just a notice . . . once Monday rolls around, it'll be light blogging for me, if there is any blogging. I may have something to say later in the week, but I may be too darn tired. No, I'm not in Steubenville. I haven't achieved "somebody" blogger status yet. My business will be job related. Let's just say I have a lot of work to do.


What a Day!
If you were looking for my blog tonight, I'm afraid I've not much to say. My brain is crispy fried. I had to do some work in Nashville today. I left here at 5 AM, and arrived at my destination at about 8:15 AM. I got home about an hour ago (about 10:45 PM).

So what is this all about? I'm grateful to the Lord for protecting me and getting me home safely. I just wish I had had more confidence in him during the trip. Well, one day I'll get it. I'm not much on the get up early and then stay up late the same day routine. Maybe I'm just getting too old for this.

Well, maybe I'll muster the energy to give you just a little food for thought. I desire very much to have priests and bishops in our Church who boldly preach the Gospel, including the difficult teachings. That boldness can also be used to proclaim God's love. While we hope that the terrorists are stopped, God's love demands that we hope for their salvation. At the same time, God in his love will forgive your sins if you come back to him.

To really understand God's love, we must have an appreciation for the horror of sin. Then we can know how much God loves us, that he forgave our sin. Let's not forget that the cross wasn't pretty.


See No Evil
I went to noon Mass today in a nearby parish. The priest gave a great homily on how we as a society have lost our ability to see evil. He needs to give that homily to the NEA. As I have stated earlier, one would think 9/11 would be enough to convince them of the existence of evil, but I guess not. When we can't see evil, it's bound to continue.

September 11
Today is the anniversary of the worst evil that I've seen in my lifetime. I was in the gym of my apartment complex when I saw it on the television. It changed my workplace that day as we couldn't ship our drug due to the cancellation of flights. However, this was extremely trival compared to what the people of New York experienced.

What caused this? I do not know. Many, whether intentionaly or not, have used the disaster to further their ideas. They told us that this was caused by anything from "American intolerance" to "American tolerance for [insert evil here] that caused us to lose God's protective hand."

How did this affect people's faith? I don't know this either. There was a surge in attendance at the noon Mass in my church that day. There was a lot of emotion, but I'm afraid that once the emotion wore off, many people returned to their former lives. However, if even one soul was saved because of this, then God brought a great good out of a terrible evil.

All I can offer now is prayer and penance. Pray for the victims and their familes. Pray and do penance for the terrorists, for the conversion of the living and the souls of the dead. Christian charity requires that we desire no one's damnation. Pray for all travelers for their safety.


More Fun with Lawsuits

Gregory Popcak blogged a good one. Unfortunately, the link appears to point to the wrong article, but read his excerpt here. Apparently, teenagers have begun to sue McDonald's because they have health problems from eating their food.

I guess it shows that we are really over-lawyered in today's society. What's next? Will someone who is late for work sue the person who drove in front of him/her for driving too slow? We already have parents suing teachers for their child's poor performance in a class. Maybe the teachers should start suing the students for making bad grades. Better yet, maybe we orthodox Catholics could sue dissidents for misrepresenting the Catholic faith.


Our Response to Evil
Yesterday and today we've had some pretty interesting Scripture readings about how we are to respond to evil. Sunday, we had Ezekiel 33:7-9 and Matthew 18:15-20. Today at daily Mass, we had 1 Corinthians 5:1-8. All of them speak in their own way about our duty to speak against evil. The Gospel of Matthew says to first approach the matter privately, then bring a friend, and only after that hasn't worked do you bring the whole Church.

One of my greatest struggles is trying to reconcile this and the teaching of Jesus against the judging of others. It seems that all I see are extremes. Some people are so critical that they probably think that "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" is corrupting the minds of young people because it'll make them think that farm is spelled "e-i-e-i-o." I wonder what good they think they are doing. Others act as though the only sin is to say that something is a sin. The irony is that in saying that it's wrong to judge others, they judge all of those people whom they perceive to be judging others.

What is the proper attitude towards sin? For example, how should we respond if we see someone having spent all of Mass out in the narthex talking to someone else? Bring this up, and invariably someone will shrug you off and tell you that you are being judgmental. However, this person didn't satisfy his/her Mass obligation, and this person's soul may be in danger because of it. We don't appreciate seeing someone treat our family and friends with disrespect after being invited over to their houses. Why shouldn't we be concerned when we see our beloved Lord taken so lightly?

On the other hand, some of those who preach against sin act as though they are looking forward to seeing the sinners burn in Hell. Why not exercise some fraternal correction? Speak up, and try to help the person like Jesus said to do in the aforementioned Gospel.

I want to fight against sin, both in my own life and in others. Jesus did say that once we've removed the log from our own eye, we can see clearly to remove the speck from our brother's eye. I pray that God will grant me the prudence to know how to go about it.


Diabolical Plot
It's late on a Sunday night, and I'm here pounding at the keyboard. Several thoughts are in my mind. Actually, some of this is always present. Forgive me if I'm hard to follow tonight.

As long as I have been Catholic, I knew there was some really strange disparity between what I read in solid materials and what was actually preached in the churches I went to. It seems like there was a lot of this "nice" Catholicism being taught. It felt pretty good, but something didn't seem right. Eventually, I began to lament the fact that actual Church teaching was hard to come by. I rarely noticed some kind of blatant lies, but I rarely noticed substantial teaching.

I'm thinking about a thought that came to mind in a conversation that I had yesterday. We talked about a television talk show that was "nice." In other words, it wasn't the "I sleep with anything that has a pulse and at least one leg" mentality. However, it was a new age, secular humanistic kind of thing.

So what am I getting yet? I have this fear that it's the "nice" stuff, rather than the blatant immorality, that is the work of the Devil. The Devil is smarter than most of us want to give him credit for. Besides that, the Devil is a gentleman. He tries to make us think evil is good. He knows that there are some people out there who don't enjoy stuff that is obvious filth. However, many of those people will buy subtle, "nice" sounding ideas that actually lead us away from the Gospel.

Do you know people who think it is nearly impossible to go to Hell? Do you know people who make light of sin because of God's mercy? Surely, you know people who have a rather rigid interpretation of Jesus' words about judging others that they think it is wrong to speak strongly against evil deeds. These are all examples of potentially diabolical ideas. May the Holy Spirit grant us true wisdom.

It has been said by some that the Church's teachings or Mass is not relevant to real life. The real problem is that what passes for real life is often not relevant. If the Mass or the teachings of the Church do not seem relevant to your life, then it's time to change your life.

There's a great article on Catholic Exchange about Modernism. The article seems to suggest that modernism isn't as widespread as it used to be, but I seem to be able to find traces of it around. I've heard my share of people who seem to think that dogma is a contraint rather than a light.

Ironically, it's dogma that gives us the ability to grow in our knowledge of the Lord. If every generation has to erase and start over, then no one will get very far. Having the centuries of Tradition to build upon ensures that growth is possible.

Furthermore, most people know that it is ridiculous to say that believing the law of gravity restricts our ability to grow in science. Gravity is there whether we believe it or not. Science that doesn't take it into account is junk science. The same is true for dogma. It is true regardless of our belief. A defined belief is a dogma is no more restrictive than our belief in gravity.


Letters to Donahue and Oprah

Here is the e-mail I sent to Phil Donahue (donahue@msnbc.com) just minutes ago:

Dear Mr. Donahue,

I am writing in regard to your interview with Oprah Winfrey in the September 2002 issue of Oprah Magazine. In it, you gave a graphic description of an abortion that you filmed.

In this, you describe the unborn child as "the birth matter in the jar" as though it were a disposable object being described. That which was in that jar was nothing less than the mortal remains of a human being just like you and me. If you had been aware that someone had planned to gun down someone else on the street, would you have filmed it?

You noted that half of the people to whom you showed the film in a room were crying when they saw the abortion. No doubt they recognized that this was the murder of an innocent human being. I am saddened to hear that your response to them was "Well, that's the procedure--15 minutes," as though they were viewing a normal medical procedure. Many of them, are aware that an abortion is, for many people, not just a 15-minute procedure. It is the killing of a human being. Many women will suffer for a lifetime because of the evil they know they have done. On top of that, many suffer from medical complications as a result of their abortion, including infertility and infection from incomplete removal of the unborn child.

I would hope that you would become more respectful of human life in the future. I will pray for as much. However, if you have determined that you will not be so, please be more sensitive to those who are suffering from regret for what they have done. Such depictions as these can bring back very painful memories in these women.

Your attention to this matter is appreciated.


David Ancell

My e-mail to Oprah Winfrey (youropinions@hearst.com) is very similar, but here it is:

Dear Ms. Winfrey,

I am writing in regard to your interview with Phil Donahue in the September 2002 issue of Oprah Magazine. In it, Mr. Donahue gave a graphic description of an abortion that he filmed. I am disturbed that you would print such a thing.

In this interview, he describes the unborn child as "the birth matter in the jar" as though it were a disposable object being described. That which was in that jar was nothing less than the mortal remains of a human being just like you and me. Would you have been so willing to print the interview if he had described filming a murder of someone on the street?

He noted that half of the people to whom you showed the film in a room were crying when they saw the abortion. No doubt they recognized that this was the murder of an innocent human being. I am saddened to hear that his response to them was "Well, that's the procedure--15 minutes," as though they were viewing a normal medical procedure. Many of them, are aware that an abortion is, for many people, not just a 15-minute procedure. It is the killing of a human being. Many women will suffer for a lifetime because of the evil they know they have done. On top of that, many suffer from medical complications as a result of their abortion, including infertility and infection from incomplete removal of the unborn child.

I would hope that you would become more respectful of human life in the future. I will pray for as much. However, if you have determined that you will not be so, please be more sensitive to those who are suffering from regret for what they have done. Such depictions as these can bring back very painful memories in these women. In fact, I would ask you to consider having a show about post-abortion trauma. It is a side of abortion that is rarely depicted in the secular media.

Your attention to this matter is appreciated.


David Ancell


Moral Theology Lesson for the Day
I may not be a theologian, but I won't let it stop me. Since I blogged the appeal to support the law to protect pharmacists from being forced to dispense abortifacient drugs, I thought I'd post a couple of reflections.

First, in some of the articles I've read concerning conscience clauses for pharmacists, a question has been raised. It goes like this: What if you are the only person available to "provide the service" (to dispense abortifacient medication)? The thinking of many of these people is that a pharmacist who objects to abortion should be obliged to "provide the service" because otherwise the patient's "rights" would be violated. However, Catholic moral teaching would actually state that the pharmacist would have a greater obligation not to dispense the medication. The reason for this is that the pharmacist's cooperation would become necessary to the performance of an objectively evil action.

The second reflection may seem to make the first one a moot point if you haven't been reading pharmacy "ethics" literature (most of which is stinky relativism, hence the quotes). In fact, the only reason that I brought up the second point was due to literature I had read. Pope John Paul II stated in his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae that formal cooperation in an abortion is never morally acceptable, even under the guise of "I don't impose my values on others." See the quote from article 74 of the encyclical below:

In order to shed light on this difficult question, it is necessary to recall the general principles concerning cooperation in evil actions. Christians, like all people of good will, are called upon under grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God's law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. Such cooperation occurs when an action, either by its very nature or by the form it takes in a concrete situation, can be defined as a direct participation in an act against innocent human life or a sharing in the immoral intention of the person committing it. This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it. Each individual in fact has moral responsibility for the acts which he personally performs; no one can be exempted from this responsibility, and on the basis of it everyone will be judged by God himself (cf. Rom 2:6; 14:12).

This is pretty powerful stuff from the Holy Father. It speaks of truth in an age of moral relativism. It is my hope and prayer that more people will follow suit.

Another Appeal
Once again, I am urging my dear readers to consider action. As a pharmacist, I am concerned that one day I may have to give up my profession because I will not be involved in abortion, euthanasia, or other moral evil. Please consider writing a letter support the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act that is being considered in the House of Representatives. As a pharmacist, I can say that we are forgotten almost every text on medical ethics that I've read. We need protection, too. Although I am fortunate enough to have an employer who doesn't deal in these products (we are a specialty pharmacy), who knows where I'll be in the future.

It's a bit disturbing to me that I was not able to find any mention of this on the Tennessee Pharmacist Association web site (of which I am a member). I didn't find anything on the site of the American Pharmaceutical Association either (of which I am not a member). In fact, a search of "abortion" on their site revealed this garbage.

Interestingly enough, many people who consider themselves "pro-choice" do not want to extend that choice to health care providers. This is one more reason why I prefer the label "pro-abortion." In any event, please support our pro-life pharmacists.

Is the Voice Faithful?
Here's another article on Catholic Exchange by Deal Hudson. In case you haven't seen it, they have a new web site. The article in Catholic Exchange suggests that the web site doesn't accurately represent what's going on inside the organization.

Is War Against Iraq Just?
Our Sunday Visitor has had a recent article suggesting that an attack against Iraq would have moral problems with it. The HMS blog took it up. Here's the Greg Popcak view vs. the Emily Stimpson view. Who wins? I don't know.


Cathedral of Controversy
There are a few comments going around on other blogs about the new Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles. Honestly, I don't like it a bit. If I passed it on the highway, I would hardly be able to tell it's a Catholic Church. The depiction of their conference center looks like an office park.

I feel fortunate to live in Memphis. Our Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception was renovated, and it is beautiful. In fact, it appears that almost every piece of artwork was preserved. The web site is found by clicking this link, but I had trouble finding a good picture of it.


An Important Appeal
In the HMS blog, Gregory Popcak asked readers to pass this on. Apparently, there's an interview with Phil Donahue in the September 2002 issue of Oprah magazine where Donahue talks about the time he filmed an abortion. Beware that there is a graphic and disturbing description at the bottom of the post. I am contemplating writing to both Donahue and Oprah about this. I would urge you to do the same. If you're a subscriber to Oprah magazine (I am not, nor will I ever be.), I would also encourage you to write to the companies who advertise in that magazine.


Where's the Tabernacle?
Did I mention that I enjoy reading Emily Stimpson's blog? Many of her posts have been about issues dear to my heart, like this one on tabernacle placement.

Here's my philosophy: If you have to have a sign to tell people where the tabernacle is or if one has to ask directions to find it, it's in the wrong place (large cathedrals excepted). I only know of one church like this in the Memphis area, but there's another one that has the tabernacle in the back corner of the church. Our cathedral has a separate Blessed Sacrament chapel, but you can see it from the pew.

What Have I Been Watching?
Truthfully, I watch very little television and very few movies. However, going to the Defending the Faith conference in Steubenville made it hard to resist purchasing Steve Ray's video in his Footprints of God series entitled Mary, Mother of God. Steve Ray's talk at the conference was outstanding, and so was this video. It has footage of the places where various biblical events occurred. In fact, there are churches built over most of them. In addition, he includes some nice apologetics to help you explain Marian dogmas to non-Catholics. I want to go out and buy the video on St. Peter.

CCC Study Posting
Finally, I made my first posting to the forum on the Catechism of the Catholic Church Internet Study Group. We're discussing Scripture and Tradition. Some time in the future, I plan to write an article for my main site on why I don't believe in Sola Scriptura. Here's an excerpt from my post:

I am a convert who has been Catholic for 11 years. I had never belonged to any church before. Perhaps it was because of this that the idea that revelation does not come from Scripture alone was one of the easiest things for me to accept as a Catholic. The idea of there being a Tradition made perfect sense.

I knew well that the Bible did not drop from Heaven, nor was it written by Jesus himself. Further, many Christians lived and died before the Bible was even completely written, and more lived and died before it was compiled.

Either an outside authority (the Magisterium) affirms the inspiration of the Bible, or the Bible is the word of God because the Bible says it's the Word of God. In the latter case, every book that says it's the Word of God would then become the Word of God. It was the Church who declared which books went in the Bible. Even if a book in the Bible stated which books are inspired, how would you know that book is inspired?

Tradition and Scripture form the Deposit of Faith. I understand Tradition as that within which the Scripture must be understood (do correct me if I'm wrong). We have a body of teaching, and therefore we know that anyone whose interpretation of that Bible contradicts that teaching has an erroneous interpretation.

I have grown much in my understand of Scripture through reading, praying, thinking about the Scripture, and listening to some talks when available. God blessed me with a desire to read the Scriptures more often before I even started the RCIA process. All of the aforementioned must be done in light of the Tradition of the Church.

Oh! The Times We Are Living In

I found this label on a loaf of IronKids brand bread:

Parents: The name "IronKids" is in reference only to a children's fitness program and has no reference to either extra iron in this bread or to the bread resulting in superior strength or performance.

This reminds me of the sun shade designed for a car windshield that says "Remove from windshield before driving." or the stroller that says on the label "Remove child from stroller before folding for storage."

We get this stuff in the pharmacy world:

A guy who graduated a year ahead of me told me that they have a label on some head-lice shampoo (key word: shampoo) that says "For external use only." Apparently, some parents were giving it to their kids orally.

When I was in my first semester of pharmacy school, a professor told us to always put "Unwrap and insert . . ." on the label of a suppository. Otherwise, we'd have a patient come back and say "That foil really hurts!!"


I finally got some links to other blogs posted on my template. I put the names of the people instead of the blog titles because I was afraid it would be too hard to read on my template. One of these days, I'll make my own template.

Any suggestions of other blogs that I should link to? The ones I've picked are the ones I most often read.

September 11 Indoctrination Contest
I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I read stuff like yesterday's New York Times article about September 11 lesson plans. Someone please explain the meaning of this one:

Among what Mr. Newberry called "100 gentle lessons" in the N.E.A. curriculum is one where middle school students make color wheels to relate color to how they feel.

Um . . . okay . . . so what color are you feeling today? If some teacher made me do this when I was in middle school, there would be smoke coming out of my nostrils. Then, I'd be dismissed as the school crank.

Here's the response of Jerald Newberry, Director of the Health Information Network for the NEA, to critics of their suggestions:

The criticism to the lessons on tolerance, Mr. Newberry said, is thinly veiled bigotry. "If you boil down the concerns of the opposition, what I would call the far right, ultimately it boils down to is: `I am not comfortable with my child being in school with someone who's different. I want to keep my child surrounded by people who are identical to me. The world is getting too diverse, and I'm scared.' "

I must wonder if it ever occurred to the folks at the NEA that the problem with their lessons is that we don't see the need to use this time to rehash every wrong done at the hands of an American. Our country is not perfect. However, regardless of the black marks on American history, what these guys did on September 11 was wrong. I agree that we shouldn't tell our children that Islam is to blame, but we don't need to hide the fact that the terrorists were Muslims. I wonder when the NEA will develop a lesson plan that says that we shouldn't blame Catholicism for the sexual abuse of children by clergy. The principle is the same.

Really, I see a much broader problem involved. The NEA lesson plans are based on the principles of secularism and moral relativism in which tolerance is the only virtue and intolerance (i.e. declaring that some action is a sin) is the only sin. Therefore, considerations of good and evil were ruled about before September 11 ever happened. Along comes September 11, and a deed is done that can hardly be described as anything less than horrific evil. One would think that this would be enough to make someone believe that real evil exists, but for some this is not the case. In fact, they are attributing the terrorist act to the only evil they know . . . INTOLERANCE.

Sadly, secularists cannot see the whole picture. We as Catholics can. We know that evil is a reality. While we are horrified by September 11, we are not driven to despair. We have hope in a time that seems beyond hope. Our gracious and loving God will win in the end. The hope that we have enables us to see the day when we are united in Heaven, and none of this evil will ever happen again.

Vegetarians for a Free Choice
If you haven't read this little classic on Catholic Exchange, you are missing out. It's the best article I know that points out the absurdity of calling yourself Catholic and pro-"choice" at the same time.


What Can I Say?
Gosh, I was so busy yesterday that I didn't get around to blogging. I'm not going to do much better tonight. If you want something to feast on, read this piece by Mark Shea.

There's another piece available if that wasn't enough, but this one isn't too nice. It's about how HMOs may encourage assisted suicide to save money. In pharmacy school, we had a lot of classes that dealt with the idea that the health care system was going to have to find ways to save money. It scares the living daylights out of me to think of what could happen if assisted suicide becomes legal. Insurance companies may refuse to cover palliative care, stating that euthanasia is available at a much lower price. Given the greed in today's society, I would not rule this out as a possibility.


Fr. Johansen Comments on "Grip and Grin"
If you haven't read Fr. Johansen's viewpoint on the practice of greeting one another before Mass, it's long, but well worth reading. I'm going to print a copy when I get a chance. We need more priests like him.

There's another blog by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. related to the subject. He also mentions the practice of priests saying "Good morning" at the beginning of Mass, which I find irritating. I feel a much greater sense of reverence when the Mass begins with nothing more than a reverent Sign of the Cross and the sacred greeting.

Let's Take a Moment to Greet One Another . . . . NOT!!

Once again, I'm throwing in my two cents on a St. Blog's discussion. This time, it's on Fr. Rob Johansen's blog. His pastor has introduced the practice of turning and greeting one another before Mass starts. Supposedly, he wants to foster a "sense of community."

However, well-intentioned people may be in implementing the practice, I just can't find a cuss word bad enough to describe how I feel about it. If we want to make the Church more friendly, having people greet one another for no other reason that they are told to do so won't work. It's fine to greet people as they walk into the church. By all means, acknowledge the people you see around you in the pews as you walk in (but please take your long conversation outside the church). These things are more genuine. However, the Mass is not the time or place for meet and greet. We gather together to pray and to worship. In a meet and greet before Mass, we either already know the person, or we will likely quickly forget the name of the person.

The sense of community in the Mass should come from the praying and singing as a body, the silent prayers said in preparation, and most of all from the Eucharist. A community must be built around a cause. We are not together just because we feel like getting together, but because God has called us. We get together at other times to share meals, study Christ's teaching, and to work for the poor or the protection of the unborn. We get to know each other by standing together for Christ. We share common belief and have a common destiny. In so doing, we build a real community. If we stink at hospitality, it's likely because we don't believe all of this. Getting people together to learn the faith and strengthening belief in the Real Presence will work must better than a "meet and greet" before Mass. Besides, if a person won't participate in the ministry of the Church, what makes one think that he/she will become more cordial by shaking hands with a person before Mass.

I have a greater concern about all of this emphasis on "seeing Christ in one another." I realize we are supposed to see Christ in one another, but I think it has been carried to an extreme. In our current atmosphere, one could be forgiven for thinking that the only real God is the God "in our hearts" (by our own design) or that the "Spirit" is what we create when we get together. Not everyone will go this far, but some probably have. This may be why a lot of Catholics don't believe in the Real Presence. Some of you may feel that I'm exaggerating, but remember that the Devil never asks that our first step be a big one.

Some other good reading on this subject:
On Mark Shea's website
This blog by Emily Stimpson
This other blog by Emily Stimpson


And Now . . . my Dreher Article Commentary

I'm sure you've all been eagerly awaiting what this poor sinner has to say about the Rod Dreher article that has been the talk of St. Blog's. Let me assure you, dear readers, that I do not claim to know exactly how the Church should be run. I will also admit that I have had little contact with anyone involved in the recent scandal. While I agree that this scandal is horrific, my concern is also with the loss of the authentic Catholic moral teaching that led to this.

My reading of the Dreher article suggests that his thesis is that since that the Pope, by failing to use his governing authority when his directives have ignored, has failed to govern the Church and seems to care little for our Church. From what I gather, he seems to have seen a lot of the hurt that the scandal has generated. I will not doubt his sincerity in wanting something done. I do not know him, and I do not intend to judge him.

I have been Catholic for 11 years. I have, in various ways, often wondered just what the heck was going on in the Church. My memory of my college years is one in which the basic message of the Church was "All these laws and doctrine don't really matter. We're all just one big happy family. Just do what is 'most loving.'" Somehow I sensed that this wasn't right. I had both an anger and a sense of lukewarmness that I never began to address until my last semester of pharmacy school in 1999. I never stopped believing or going to Mass, but I do think my prayer-life suffered greatly. I did stop praying the Rosary for years. I have been striving to overcome my former state of faith, only to have this scandal hit and be reminded of everything that's going wrong. I can't help but think that something should have been done about this a long time ago.

Here in America, we live in a fast-paced society. We expect swift, sure solutions. Just look at how popular the "lock them up and throw away the key" mentality is when it comes to criminal justice. It is understandable that some would want the Pope to just come in here and kick some Bishops square in the tail. Whether or not this is prudent, even now, is a judgment that I'm not qualified to make. However, I will offer my humble opinion.

At some point, I think it may be necessary to remove a Bishop (or a few Bishops). I don't think that removing Bishops will necessarily cause schism, as others have suggested. The Bishops who have been charged with doing nothing to prevent this scandal aren't likely to attract a following.

However, I do think that removing them from office would give them the easy way out. The problems would then be dumped in someone else's lap. I think that the Pope is expecting them to do their duties (in accordance with the Final Communique) and holding their feet to the fire. I hope that the Bishops will be given at least one last chance (but not too many more chances) to do this.

The other problem with forcibly removing many Bishops is that it could create more confusion than it would solve. Due to the very lack of authentic teaching that helped lead to this problem, many people would only perceive this as a power struggle. I'm not against doing things that may anger people, but prudence should be used. Remember that we are seeking to convert people's hearts, not just kick their rear ends. Forcing merely external conversion will not save souls. A conversion of hearts takes much longer and involves serious risks, but remember that this is exactly how God treats us. God didn't even strike Hitler or Stalin dead immediately despite the evil that they did.

So, what's my bottom line? The Pope does appear to be moving slowly, and the time has come (and possibly past) for stronger action. However, the Pope may have done so because of his desire for authentic conversion. Only time will tell whether or not his actions were in the best interest of the Church, but I still want to give him the benefit of the doubt.


I Guess I Really Need to Come Up With My Own Stuff
Ok, from the title you might think that I'm about to complain about what others have done. Quite the contrary. It's just that I've spent time these past couple of days reading others' stuff and passing it along rather than writing my own rants. Here's what I've read today on Catholic Exchange:

I missed this book review by Amy Welborn on The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Catholicism the first time around. I'm glad I found the link. She confirmed what I thought about the book when I perused it in a local bookstore. The book used my favorite pet peeve of a statement that goes something like "Don't get too caught up in the rules; it's love that matters. It also said that Vatican II allowed you to dissent from Church teachings among other things. I've only had one RCIA meeting this year, and I've already told people to avoid this book because it contains false teaching. Now I have a resource to use.

Onward to this Dear Grace column on self-communication. I like how she mentions that communion is not taken, but received. Christ is the initiator of the giving of the gifts of grace, not us. I am often blind to this fact and act as though everything depended on me.


My Reading for Today
In addition to reading the aforementioned How to Resist Temptation book, I've done a little web site reading.

For those who may not be aware of the controversy behind the English-language translation of our Liturgy, there's a site called What Does the Prayer Really Say? It reveals how our Liturgy has been translated in a way that sacrifices beauty and elevates our minds and spirit in favor of a "friendly" translation. Let's pray that we get a better translation of the new Roman Missal.

Gregory Popcak posted a great blog on how to pick our battles. This is something that I need help with.

I'm still not ready to send out my comments on the aforementioned Dreher article. However, once again I wish to turn your attention to Gregory Popcak. My comments will likely contain something along similar lines.


The Talk of St. Blog's
Finally, the Rod Dreher article that has been the talk of St. Blog's Parish is available on line. I haven't read it yet, but I hope to have a response to it up within the next week. I doubt it will be today because I've fallen behind on my Catechism reading.

Another article that appears insightful is this March 7 article by Dave Armstrong. I haven't read this yet, either. It's quite a bit longer than the Dreher article.

I have, however, read this insightful response to the Dreher article by Fr. Rob Johansen. Be sure to scroll up the page after reading it for further responses.


Not a Pretty Chick
I was baptized almost four months before my sixteenth birthday on March 30, 1991. Just before Pentecost Sunday of that same year, I received a Jack T. Chick tract. I knew right then that this guy didn't know squat about the true teachings and practice of the Catholic Church. Now, we see that he has been republished with some alterations:

Here's a judgement day scene.

How about some beer.

The latest argument against Sola Scriptura.

Whoa!! Nihilly
I just looked again at Nihil Obstat's blog. It's time to have fun. Notice that Dr. Obstat doesn't provide the opportunity to comment, nor does Dr. Obstat provide an e-mail address. I wonder what would the comments would be if he/she did.

Now, all I have to do is get his/her attention by making a simple spelling misteak or too.


I got tired of my comments server being down half the time, so I'm switching to Haloscan to see if it is any better. Unfortunately, this means that previously posted comments are erased. Haloscan gives me the power to delete comments, but I won't delete your comment just because you blast me.

Oh, Darn It!
I figured this would happen sooner or later. I've been discovered by Nihil Obstat. Oh well, am I really going to be concerned with someone who doesn't even attach his/her real name to the blog? Besides, I can edit the blogs, and those errors won't even be there anymore. HA HA HA!! Actually, this will work just as well for me.

Oh, good
I see that Gerald Serafin has listed me on his list of Catholic blogs. I need to return some favors here and get some links on my template. Maybe this weekend . . .

Speaking of Subjects Not Often Brought Up
This one may get me in some real trouble, but I must speak. The excerpt below is from Casti Connubii, the encyclical letter of Pope Pius XI on Christian Marriage written in 1930.

I was speaking with a couple of friends in my Frassati Society. How many times have we heard a homily preached on the teaching against contraception? In 11 years as a Catholic, I've only heard it mentioned twice. One of those was at a daily Mass. Now, I'm not suggesting that it be mentioned every Sunday, but it is a known fact that this teaching is widely misunderstood and widely ignored. It is also a known fact that artificial contraception is an objective mortal sin. I'm aware that there are children in the church during Sunday Mass, but one can mention that people take medicine to prevent children from being born without explaining how they got there. Children are aware that women get pregnant and have babies. Anyway, note what paragraph 57 has to say about the matter.

56. Since, therefore, openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition some recently have judged it possible solemnly to declare another doctrine regarding this question, the Catholic Church, to whom God has entrusted the defense of the integrity and purity of morals, standing erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds her, in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, raises her voice in token of her divine ambassadorship and through Our mouth proclaims anew: any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.

57. We admonish, therefore, priests who hear confessions and others who have the care of souls, in virtue of Our supreme authority and in Our solicitude for the salvation of souls, not to allow the faithful entrusted to them to err regarding this most grave law of God; much more, that they keep themselves immune from such false opinions, in no way conniving in them. If any confessor or pastor of souls, which may God forbid, lead the faithful entrusted to him into these errors or should at least confirm them by approval or by guilty silence, let him be mindful of the fact that he must render a strict account to God, the Supreme Judge, for the betrayal of his sacred trust, and let him take to himself the words of Christ: "They are blind and leaders of the blind: and if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit.[46]

NOTE: I'm aware of at least one (and I'm sure there are more) instance where this encyclical was used against Natural Family Planning. This is not meant as an endorsement to that view, which is contrary to Humanae Vitae.

How to Resist Temptation
Lately, I've been reading How to Resist Temptation, by Fr. Francis J. Remler. It's book like these that remind me of Important Stuff We Don't Hear in Homilies Today. I'm about a third of the way through the book, and I'm learning about the difference between temptation and sin, stages or parts of temptation, and causes of temptation. The book is worth reading just for the basic catechesis on temptation and sin.

If only the content of Sophia Institute Press materials would be preached in homiles and taught in our religion classes on spirituality, then we the laity would be on our way to a true spiritual renewal. Indeed, I've leared much of the true depth of Catholic spirituality from their books. No cheap contemporary substitute or counterfeith Catholicism here, but they are still loyal to the Church as she stands today as well.

HMS Getting Back to Normal
Finally, it looks like the HMS blog is posting real content again. I was getting worried about them ever since they tried to marry off Emily Stimpson. Speaking of Miss Stimpson, check out this piece about how she plans to write about how she fell in love with the Catholic Church.


Do You Like Your Job?
Interesting article that says that only half of Americans like their jobs.

RU-486 Recall Petition
Three groups have file a citizen's petition with the FDA requesting the recall of RU-486 on grounds that it is unsafe. Truthfully, someone dies every time this drug is used, so of course it is unsafe! I truly wish that this satanic concoction would be relegated to the Lake of Fire where it belongs before it takes a lot of lives and ruins a lot of souls.

The most sickening part of this entire RU-486 fiasco is that the drug was approved by an accelerated development and review process. This process allows needed drugs to be approved based on a "surrogate endpoint" (e.g. laboratory findings) instead of actually waiting for mobidity and mortality data. For example, several drugs to treat HIV were approved more quickly so that people didn't die waiting for them to become available. They were needed medications for a life-threatening illness. I can hardly fathom such an urgent need for RU-486. The good news about it having been approved by accelerated development and review is that the drug still has to get full approval. Until that point, it can be more easily withdrawn from the market.

Although I'm not holding my breath for FDA action any more than for a dividend check from Enron, perhaps with prayer this evil can be defeated.


Be Careful Whom You Link To
You just might be in violation of a site's link policy. Seriously, the link on this post is a site named "Don't Link to Us." They search for sites with ridiculous linking policies saying that you have to get permission to link to them or that you can't link to certain pages in the site. Then, they link to those pages.

I'd like to see these sites enforce their linking policies. Honestly, I liken these policies to a publisher suing someone for saying that they should look at page 58 of their book instead of reading the entire book.

By the way, I found this link on Overlawyered.com. Check this site out if you have a strong stomach and don't have high blood pressure.


People Have Sense, and They Ain't Buying It
Hats of to the teachers who have more sense that to buy the NEA education curriculum that cites American intolerance as a reason for terrorist attacks. After all, it seems unlikely that some act of intolerance set off a surge of energy that jammed airplane controls and caused them to crash into the World Trade Center.

Let's face it, it's quite likely that one problem that these extremists have with Americans is what we do tolerate. I'm not saying that filthy movies are the reason for the terrorist attacks. Rather, I'm saying that there are so many things that we tolerate that they find evil that it is doubtful that intolerance is an issue for them.


Want to Study the Cathechism?
Check out this Internet study group. I don't know how much I'll be able to post here, but I plan to be around for this. Some of my thoughts may also appear on this blog.


Tridentine Mass
This morning I attended the Tridentine Mass (the old Latin Mass) at Blessed Sacrament Church in Memphis. If you haven't been to a Tridentine Mass, it's a worthwhile thing to do (just make sure it's approved by the Church, as the one at Blessed Sacrament is). While I think I'll go back on occasion, I don't think it's something I'd do every Sunday.

I've heard people say it's a more reverent Mass. I didn't think it was necessarily so, but I noticed a big difference in the reverence that the people showed compared to most places I've been. Even the children were exceptionally well-behaved. They could sit still better than I could. The people to whom I talked were very nice as well. I wish people were like this at all Catholic churches, regardless of the Mass used.

This being said, there are parts of the Mass where I prefer the older way of doing things. I think having the priest face the same way as the people during the Liturgy of the Eucharist is a beautiful symbol of our movement together towards God. It makes a much better show of unity (or even "community") that the "church-in-the-round" structure in some modern churches which serves only as a symbol of a community that is closed in on itself.

During the Tridentine Mass, we also knelt at some kneelers (a make-shift communion rail?) for communion. Given that this is the Lord himself whom we are receiving, I can't understand why we aren't kneeling at every Mass when we receive him. It would be a great way to reinforce the dogma of the Real Presence.

It's my understanding that both of these things that I've mentioned can be done at a Novus Ordo without violating a single rubric. My question is: Why don't we?

Will the Vatican Reject . . . . Part 2
It looks like there's been a response from the Vatican saying that no decision has been made on the U.S. Bishops' policy. In fact, it seems that some bishops are awaiting the decision from Rome before taking drastic action, wisely, in my opinion (which differs from the authors of the linked-to article that says that some bishops "have not yet lived up to that promise.")


Will the Vatican Reject the Bishops' Plan?
Catholic World News seems to have some information to suggest that the Vatican will send the U.S. Bishops back to the ol' drawing board. Here's another article on Catholic Exchange concerning not only this, but also the document on evangelization of Jews. I don't know why that particular document was deemed necessary at this moment, and I admit I have not read it.

Anyway, as much as I dread seeing the nasty media backlash complete with full commentary by Frs. Richard McBrien and Andrew Greeley, I hope the "zero tolerance" policy comes back with a big red "X" on it. I find it less than Christian to depose priests who committed a single offense 25 years ago and have been penitent ever since. One might argue that we don't know if they'll ever abuse again, but the fact is that we don't know for sure whether or not any priest will abuse someone, regardless of his past.

We need our Bishops to make their judgement, and then stand by it regardless of public opinion. This goes for teaching as well as judicial matters. How will this be accomplished? Well, remember that the apostles often misunderstood Jesus. When Jesus was lead off to be crucified, Peter denied him three times. All of the apostles except John made a run for it. However, after Jesus rose and ascended into Heaven, something happened that changed the apostles. They became bold preachers who (with one exception) were violently put to death for their faith. What was it that happened? The Holy Spirit descended upon them. This is what we need to pray for today, not just for our Bishops, but for all people in the Church.

Weekend Rambling
I'm sure there are a some people visiting me for the first time. Mark Shea was kind enough to announce the existence of my blog on his yesterday. I'm also now part of the webring St. Blog's Parish. Maybe it seems a bit self-serving, but what's the point of me doing this if no one reads it?

Weekends give me a time to think and write more. I work a full-time job doing second shift, so my weekday stuff is often written quickly while I try to get to work or to bed. I do want to post one thing that may have easily gone unnoticed. In the midst of the "contest" to find Miss Emily Stimpson a suitor, it's possible that this great reflection on Christian singleness got missed. I must admit that I do appreciate the time that I have, being a single, but I tend to think that I would learn be more self-giving in another vocation. I need to pray that God will grant me the clarity to know what he wants me to do, and the courage to do it.


But Do Let Me Clarify
Oh, and do please let me clarify my last post. I don't just want to be an attack dog. I want to support all that is good and holy as well. If all I do is complain, I will be one bitter man when I grow old (which will be a long time from now-I'm only 27).

Strong Statements
If you've been following other Catholic blogs, you've probably noticed a lot of strong statements. My own blogs may be regarded as some as such. I've sought some advice as well as e-mailed a couple of other bloggers whom I like to read. We all seem to have, to some degree, a struggle. How do we make strong statements when needed and still be charitable?

Like many Catholics, I have my share of frustration regarding what's going on in the Church. I love the Church and her teachings. However, even before I was baptized in 1991, I had some sense that the Church's teachings weren't really being taught. People in the Church didn't seem to know or understand them. If anyone spoke in the Church against her teachings, little was done about it. It was like the NAACP invited a Ku Klux Klan member to speak and then didn't try to refute what he said. Now, this has culminated in this sexual abuse scandal that we see all over the news. Then, when the time comes to address it, the symptom (the sexual abuse) is treated (in the wrong way, in my opinion), but the disease (lack of proclamation of authentic Catholic teaching) and its cause go unaddressed. I cannot explain the grief in my soul.

My flesh wants to lash out and say uncharitable things, often in the name of making my blog entertaining. However, I really want to be an authentic, charitable Christian man. I don't want to be an obstacle to someone's acceptance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his Church. At the same time, I don't think that all strong statements are uncharitable. Sometimes, the truth needs to be strongly proclaimed. I've heard people say that Jesus wouldn't make strong statements, but Jesus forcefully drove the money changers out of the temple. If you look at an excellent book by David Mills, The Seeker's Guide to Knowing the Real Jesus, you'll see that the early Christians had some colorful words for the heretics.

So what's my point . . . . I, like some others I have talked to, am struggling to discern how God wants me to use this blog. I try to attack bad ideas, not people. I do not want to commit a sin of rash judgement by judging someone's intent without objective evidence of it. I really don't want to be involved in detraction or calumny. Bishop-bashing is something I want to avoid like the plague. At the same time, I want to preach against the evil of our day, whether going on in the Church or elsewhere, but I have to be careful to do this without forgetting the evil in my own life for which I need repentance.

Any ideas? Comments? Please feel free to write.

Pre-Nup, Anyone?

Here's a blog from Gregory Popcak on pre-nuptial agreements. I had some strange wondering as to whether such an agreement could make for an invalid marriage. It appears that it would.


The Media's Faithful
One should always be very suspicious of "Catholic" groups that are endorsed by the media. Here's a report on Catholic Exchange about Voice of the Faithful. I've looked at their website, and they go out of their way to look like a cordial group trying to help the Church. However, I'm naturally suspicious of these groups, and reports that I've seen show my suspicion to be well founded.

With the above being said, there is great temptation to forget that God does love these people. We must pray for their conversion.


He is Really Risen!
If you aren't a subscriber to the Words of Encouragement by Mark Shea and Jeff Cavins, I would encourage you to do so.

Take a look at today's entry. You can easily go to any secular bookstore and buy books on the "new and improved Jesus" by these "scholars" who have the "historical Jesus" figured out. The aforementioned Word of Encouragement gives the perfect illustration of just how absurd their whole premise is. Did it ever occur to these guys that the people who lived at the time of Jesus probably knew more about what he said and did than they with their Ph.D. earned over 1900 years later?

While you're at it, you might as well pick up a copy of Mark Shea's book By What Authority (scroll down the page to find it, but do check out his other stuff, too). It gives an awesome overview of the real grounds for believing in the inspiration of Scripture.

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