Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Memento Mori

Shut up! Shut up, you American.
You always talk, you Americans.
You talk and you talk and say
'let me tell you something' and
'I just wanna say this'.
Well, you're dead now, so shut up!

Memento Mori. Remember your Death, for on that day,

The written book will be brought forth,
in which the whole (record of evidence) is contained
whence the world is to be judged.

Therefore when the Judge shall sit,
whatever lay hidden will appear;
nothing unavenged will remain.

Yeah, I'm looking forward to that, aren't you?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Well that was off topic...

Ahh, the long arm of the internet... There's a neat little video that talks about the chemicals used to make the smoke from papal ballots burning turn black or white. The top two comments?

"Why bother with a new pope anyway? Do we really need a 70+ year old silly hat wearing virgin to tell us what to do with our genitals and to discriminate against gays?"
"I feel bad for those people. Its the ones who survive because of science then attribute it to god who make me mad."

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Laborers in the Vineyard

As I begin this post on humility, allow me to say that I called it. That is, from almost the beginning, I had a sense that Pope Francis would be very challenging to us Catholics, to all of us Catholics. Challenging in a good way, calling us out into greater holiness and spiritual maturity, but nonetheless challenging.

I was right.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

De Maria Immaculata Conceptione

I was reading comments on a picture posted to the Facebook group Things Jesus Never Said (almost always a mistake). I saw some questions about the Virgin Mary, and of course thought, "Hey, rather than get caught up in a forum where charity and good will are almost impossible, how about I blog about it!!!" What could possibly go wrong?

I've already written on the topic of Mary here, but I will certainly never exhaust all there is to be said about our Blessed Mother.

I want to take a moment to remind you all that when I speak of prayer, to and honoring of Mary, we are speaking of "Hyperdulia," that is, an exalted form of the reverence and veneration given to the Saints (dulia), which is distinct and lower than the adoration and worship given to God alone and to the Sacred Eucharist which is the very Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the Second Person of God (latria).

I was listening to the Catholic radio station where I live (Iowa Catholic Radio @ 1150 AM, 88.5 FM, & 94.5 FM in central Iowa) when I heard someone speaking on the topic of Mary and Her Immaculate Conception, and I wanted to share that.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Responsible Communication

The fact that
"to infer"
and "to imply"
mean different things
betrays the awful truth that
we are responsible
both for what we say and how we say it,
but also for what we hear and how we hear it.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Well Deserved Reproach

My people, what have I done to you How have I offended you? Answer me!

I led you out of Egypt, from slavery to freedom, but you led your Savior to the cross.

For forty years I led you safely through the desert. I fed you with manna from heaven, and brought you to a land of plenty; but you led your Savior to the cross.

What more could I have done for you. I planted you as my fairest vine, but you yielded only bitterness: when I was thirsty you gave me vinegar to drink, and you pierced your Savior with a lance.

For your sake I scourged your captors and their firstborn sons, but you brought your scourges down on me.

I led you from slavery to freedom and drowned your captors in the sea, but you handed me over to your high priests.

I opened the sea before you, but you opened my side with a spear.

I led you on your way in a pillar of cloud, but you led me to Pilate's court.

I bore you up with manna in the desert, but you struck me down and scourged me.

I gave you saving water from the rock, but you gave me gall and vinegar to drink.

For you I struck down the kings of Canaan. but you struck my head with a reed.

I gave you a royal scepter, but you gave me a crown of thorns.

I raised you to the height of majesty, but you have raised me high on a cross.

My people, what have I done to you How have I offended you? Answer me!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Habemus Papam!

Miserando atque eligendo.

Lowly yet chosen.
By showing compassion and by choosing.
(Thanks to Fr. Z for the explanation!)

So begins the 266th pontificate of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church founded by Christ 2,000 years ago.

I'm especially struck today by the pope's role as "Pontifex Maximus." Pontifex comes from pons (bridge) + facere (to make), so "bridge builder." The Pope is the great bridge builder, between us and God via Papal infallibility, but also the bridges that bind human society.

There is a particular bridge that immediately popped into mind with the fact of a Jesuit Pope who was also the ordinary of the Eastern Catholics in Argentina. It has been said that the Society of Jesus was founded (or at least used frequently) to combat Protestantism and Islam. He's basically been drowning in both western and eastern theology for some time now, in a certain sense "breathing with both longs of the Church" even though he only has one himself.

To state that more succinctly, I am curious to see what if anything he does to continue the creation of ordinariates and other forms of outreach to bring Protestants back into the fold, and to encourage the conversion of our Muslim brothers and sisters.

No matter what, I'm looking forward to seeing what His Holiness Pope Francis will do.

V. Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco
R. Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.

Deus, omnium fidelium pastor et rector, famulum tuum Francisco, quem pastorem Ecclesiæ tuæ præesse voluisti, propitius respice: da ei, quæsumus, verbo et exemplo, quibus præest, proficere: ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Christum, Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Friday, March 8, 2013

So it's that easy, huh?

Who knew it was this easy? According to Democratic strategist Zerlina Maxwell, guns aren't the answer, it's reeducation.

Answer to what, you may ask? Rape, of course!

<sarcasm> Ms. Maxwell apparently thinks that the hundreds of thousands of women who get raped every year just aren't saying "no" loud enough. </sarcasm>

For any man, or for any boy, a simple no should be more than enough. However, we have bad people, and we have people who let themselves go to drugs and alcohol, so personally I think a woman should be free to back up her no in whatever way is necessary, but maybe that's just me.

Now, I will admit that what she says in the video isn't quite as bad as it may seem. She's not stupid, just myopically naîve. She has a good point to make but in classic partisan politic form, she ignores the supporting points, focusing on only one aspect of the issue of rape. It's not that she's wrong in her solution per se, but rather in thinking that hers is a sufficient solution.

Enough chattering, roll film!

So yeah... Now, as to Hannity's comment on ball point pens, I think he underestimates their effectiveness, and I think that any woman should be able to defend herself with a ballpoint pen should the need arise. I however also agree with him and his guest that should said woman rather be packing heat, go for it.

Ms. Maxwell is right, of course, that we need to do more to stop rape at the societal level. Kind of like this. We all have the responsibility to change society, to hold ourselves and others accountable, and I too would rather the woman not need to defend herself in the first places. Of course, thinking that that is enough requires closing one's eyes to reality.

One of the most pathetic parts of this is that Ms. Maxwell is not alone in her thinking! And it gets worse, as the politicians mentioned in this article over at PJ Media are essentially arguing that not only are societal fixes sufficient, but that the victims are responsible for not doing enough to mitigate their risks.

We all know that if they were Republicans, the media would be all over them, but that just means it is up to us to bring their misogynistic and dangerous stupidity to light.

So, to sum up: Yes, we need to do more to reduce the situations that put women at risk; however, at the same time we must not take away anything which she may wish to use to defend herself. Work for the better world, but recognize that the one we're in has got some serious ugly.

P.S. Read this Wikipedia article on anit-rape devices. Discuss.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

And this is why we need more Latin.

Hoo boy... This one is perhaps a little more understandable than r/atheism's "do inanimate objects have souls" question, but seriously...

Lemme back up a second. I started noticing a lot of references to an entity known as "Jesus is Savior." Thought I'd check it out. Wow...

As someone in the field of software and the internet, let me start by saying that first off, the 90's called, they want their terrible web page back. It just goes on and on and on with random links and pictures, all over some random cosmic backgroundy thing and yellow links with dire portent (and also the picture of a Pope and a protestant presenting the NIV along with Satan - because someone is really good with history I guess...)

I cannot stress enough how much of an eyesore this page is.

Go ahead, click the picture.
I dare you...

Anyway, I clicked on the link of the Pope presenting the world with the NIV (wow... I almost can't type that without cracking up). After all, I have my own issues with the NIV, so let's see if we can find some common ground.

No, probably not.

Most of the little snippets are pretty obviously simple translational differences, more than likely the choice of idiom vs. exact translation. That or things where with a little digging, you find that the KJV is completely wrong (like how they put the entirety of the Lord's Prayer in Luke, but it's actually not all there... Whoops!)

The one that really caught my attention though was under the heading "The NIV perverts Jesus Christ into Lucifer!" The complaint is that the NIV renders "Lucifer" as "Morning Star" in several places, such as Isaiah 14:12:

Quomodo cecidisti de caelo, Lucifer, qui mane oriebaris?
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning? (Douay-Reihms Translation)
How you have fallen from heaven, O Morning Star, son of the dawn...(NIV Tranwslation)

I vote for maintaining Lucifer, personally, but here's why the NIV isn't wholly wrong.

Lucifer is a title, just like Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. For an angel, their name, their title, is their calling. Michael means "who is like God?" That is to say, the meaning of his existence is to point to the strength and power of God. When Michael casts Lucifer into hell, it is not by his own strength, but by showing God's strength.

So what does Lucifer mean? Well, it's Latin, a compound of "lux" and "fero", that is of "light" and "carry." Lucifer means "light bringer." It is a title: the angel who fell to become the prince of darkness was called to be the one bringing God's truth. Ironic, no? In any case, this light bringer that arises in the morning was also typified as the "morning star." Or rather, the morning star was also called a (the) light bringer.

Upon Satan's utterance of "non serviam" (which is nicely contradicted by Mary's "Fiat"), the eternal second person of God takes upon himself the mantle of light bringer, and with it the title of "lucifer."

Fun fact, the last stanza of the Exsultet references Christ as "lucifer" several times:

Flammas eius lúcifer matutínus invéniat:
ille, inquam, lúcifer, qui nescit occásum.
Christus Fílius tuus,
qui, regréssus ab ínferis, humáno géneri serénus illúxit,
et vivit et regnat in sæcula sæculórum.

I leave the translation of that passage as an exercise for you, dear reader, in preparation for the upcoming feast to which it is proper. Enjoy!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Who wants to live forever?

I do.

One could almost understand contracepting when fornicating with that special someone whom you love with all your heart and are willing to share a dwelling with but are unwilling to commit to.


We've told ourselves a lie that there is a perfect time to have a child, and that until then you shouldn't, and also we're afraid of commitment, so we push back marriage, but we've also bought into the lie that sex is essentially required in any type of meaningful relationship, so while we're not yet married we're going to act like it and live together and pay bills together and have sex, but contracept so that our play-acting at marriage doesn't yield the natural fruit of marriage...

Because that makes sense.

But what about contraception in marriage? Consider the following paraphrasation of odd exchange I had with the woman who gave me my last haircut.

Me: I have a daughter who's almost three, and a son who's almost one. How about you?

Her: I'm getting married in May, and we're not having any kids.

Oh? Why not?

I was a surrogate for a gay couple when I was 20, I've been through pregnancy, once was enough for me.

I did not comment on this. Later in the conversation...

Our friends who have six kids...

Six kids? Weird.


My mom's one of five.



My dad's one of thirteen.


The first and most obvious question is whether she missed the day at cosmetology school where they covered not insulting the client's friends and family. Of course, maybe the school skipped that class because it should be obvious that labeling someone's family size as "weird" - especially after stating that you're not having any because being a surrogate for two men who practice and promote homosexuality, and who are calling their cohabitation a marriage - is rude, not to mention a little crazy. In the order of human human history and genetics, that mindset misses the mark.

But it's more than that. Around the world, our population is in decline. Married couples regularly have at most two children, maybe three (if the first two were both boys or both girls). Population in the so-called modern world is declining. Why? How did we go from my grandfather with 10 sons having no cause for shame when he debated at the city gates (Psalm 126(127)), to being weird?

Well, I think the Prof answers this one pretty well:

Ultimately, I suspect it is pessimism, a succumbing to despair. We have seen what this world has to offer, and the world has been found wanting. We have been told by the secular world that there is nothing else after this, and told by too many religions that the hereafter is just an idealized version of this. Neither of those is appealing! Neither of those are things I want to subject my children to, let alone become immortal in.

For what are children but immortality? In his children, Abraham is alive today. The Patriarch of Israel was given immortality both in this life and the next because of his faithfulness to God.

Already I see my wife and I in our children. The arrows in my quiver are weapons which I shall loose upon this world to make my mark upon it and reshape it. They are my ultimate weapon against the spread of secularism, socialism, and every other belief which is contrary to the truth - if you can't convince 'em, outbreed 'em! I shall live on in my children as my father lives on in me, and his father in him. If I am faithful and acquit myself as a father, my children will spread the truth I have come to love, with their own (and hopefully even better) understanding.

Why do I have the desire to conquer this world? Because I know what comes next. I know that it is beyond my wildest imaginations, and I know that my children will have their own chance to inherit that kingdom too.

Let us be prayerful, and responsible, but not swayed by the empty promises of this world's "perfectly sized family". The perfect size is the one which God calls us to have, be it 1, 2, or 18; whether those arrows are yours genetically or through adoption. But no matter what, let us not fear to have that 4th child, or fifth child, or even the first. Let us face it with a spirit of courage and adventure, knowing not where it will lead, daring to put our mark on the future.

To live forever.