Vince's face says it all.
I'm going to try really hard to remain civil. I apologize in advance if If am less than perfect in my attempt.
Some of you may have been following the deplorable media frenzy over a certain Russian 'band' that decided to stage a blasphemous protest inside the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. For those of you that haven't, do yourselves a favor and simply skip this particular entry so you can remain blissfully unaware that such disregard for common decency exists in the world.
A couple months ago, members of this feminist group trespassed on sacred Cathedral grounds and brassly went up to the main sanctuary to the soleas (the platform in front of the gates that enclose the altar) and shrieked out an incredibly offensive string of lines aimed at denigrating Christians under the guise of opposing Putin.
Judging from the lyrics (and really... don't search them out unless you really want to upset yourself), they were mostly looking to humiliate Christians and drag our beliefs through the mud. To do this in front of the main altar where Christ is present... oh Heaven! Forgive us this travesty.
When these yahoos were finally brought before a judge, they were found guilty of hooliganism and sentenced to two years in prison.
Of course everyone and their brother cried foul over this. The media kicked into high gear blasting the government for stifling freedom of speech. Instead of being viewed as a hate crime aimed at humiliating Christians, folks painted the picture of innocent women who just wanted to speak out against the injustice of Russian big-wigs.
How anyone could possibly write this off as simply the government trying to stifle free speech is beyond me - especially given that these same women have landed themselves in prison before. The ONLY reason they've attracted so much attention this time around is because of where they staged their antics.
They chose the central Cathedral of Moscow because it'd garner the most publicity. And instead of just staging this in front of the cathedral (where I doubt I'd've had an issue with it), they chose to go INSIDE the church and dare to go up to the sanctuary.
I won't even go near the sanctuary, and I'm a practicing Catholic!
And yet everyone who I've spoke to about this defends these women because the media is portraying this as an issue of free speech. Instead, the media completely neglects the incredibly horrible injustice done to the Christians of that community. Because most folks don't care about the beliefs of these people, they don't CARE that this injustice has been done.
*Shakes head* That really worries me.
An incredible article that details just how distrurbing this is was written by Janice Shaw Crouse of The American Thinker.
In attempting to explain this to atheist / agnostic / disagreeing friends, I likened it to a stunt orchestrated by a Christian in the middle of a homosexual support group. Let's say Bob wants to protest President Obama because he believes President Obama is in bed with the homosexual lobby. Instead of protesting someplace normal and open to the public, he decides to break into a homosexual support group meeting (or support community home) and yell anti-homosexual things.
Should Bob be arrested? YES! For goodness sakes, he trespassed with the willful intent to denegrate homosexuals! He'd be immediately labeled a homophobe, would probably be arrested and charged with a hate crime, and face an extremely publicized trial that would laugh at his attempt to use "freedom of speech" as a defense for his actions.
This is because most folks are in agreement with the homosexual lobby. Most folks would rightly be offended that anyone would THINK to enter such a safe, sacred spot and begin bullying homosexuals in so offensive a manner - even under the guise of raging against the President.
Why, then, is this same outrage not shown to the Christians who are now left with months of restitution to serve in atonement for the treachery committed against their community by these women?
Ah yes - because it's perfectly acceptable to bully Christians. It's perfectly acceptable - respected, even - to humiliate and denigrate Christianity.
Again - this should be HIGHLY alarming to folks. It certainly is to me.
So a wonderful friend of mine left a link on my wall this morning regarding the proposed boycott of Chick-Fil-A that has now extended down to my hometown of Philadelphia.
I had read about it here last night, but it was about 2am and I didn't have the energy to find words for the irritation I felt.
Luckily, Nicole found someone who did it for me and was kind enough to share his words this morning. I'm returning the favor by sharing it with all of you.
Please take a moment (especially if you appreciate Mr. Mendte's common sense) to drop him an e-mail at Mendte@aol.com to let him know. I certainly did.
And remember - this is NOT just about gay rights, this is not about a chicken place, and this is not about our righteous indignation regarding either side of the issue.
This is about our freedoms and how politicians, pundits and yes, even some journalists, are going out of their way to cloud the fact that our liberty is being threatened. Not only is it being threatened, but it's being bullied, battered and spit upon - all in the name of "tolerance."Again... the hypocrisy... it hurts.
Dear Mr. Mendte,
I'm typically ridiculously verbose - pointlessly so. However, your article in the Philly Mag regarding the proposed Chick-Fil-A boycott has left me absolutely speechless.
You, my good sir, are brilliant.
I've thought this many times about your reporting, but I've never felt compelled to reach out and actually tip my hat your way through an e-mail. Now, I am compelled. Your poise, fairness and clarity are so necessary in this confused climate of rhetoric and indignant anger. Thank you for being a voice of reason. Thank you for having the brass tacks to confront the tide of folly and for calling others to do the same.
We need more men - real men - like you in the world (and ESPECIALLY in the field of journalism). May you be blessed immensely in all you do.
Op-Ed piece by Ross Douthat that was run in the NY Times. This one is highlighted by Fr. Z over at WDTPRS.
This on the heels of the NY Times running THIS story that aims to shame other journalists into doing their jobs and not allowing the government (Republican and Democrat alike) to color the news.
Methinks the NYT just garnered a tip of my hat.
Well done, NYT. Well done.
Judaism and Christianity... the two witnesses spoken of in Revelation.
We are the two burning lamp posts which bear forth the Light of the True God to the world.
As such, we are the ones who the evil one attempts to snuff out the most. We're the ones zeroed in on for attack. Ours are the religious freedoms that produce the greatest threat to his darkness.
Germany has just made circumcision illegal (save for medical emergencies). That means that faithful Orthodox Jews can no longer live out their faith without fear of the government taking their children / finding themselves in jail.
Now, truth be told, I'm on the fence regarding circumcision. When Vince was a baby, I'd read up on it and found all sorts of conflicting reports. After talking with three different doctors (two of which said the risk for UTI dropped significantly), I made the decision to go forward with the procedure for Vincent. However, I revisited the issue about a year later and learned even MORE information that made me second guess myself. I even found a blog entry written by a level-headed Jewish man who tackled the topic, too.
Truth is, I'm still on the fence and feel somewhat guilty for having made Vincent go through the procedure just because the majority of people said it was "right" to do.
However, this article isn't about the rightness or wrongness of circumcision. It IS about religious freedoms that are once again being taken away by governments around the world.
For faithful Jews, circumcision is an outward sign of a spiritual covenant with God. Through this 4000+ year old sacred tradition, Jewish boys are accepted into the line of the Chosen Ones.... to remove this sacred custom is to remove their ability to enter into communion with their God.
How is that okay?
The reasoning is that children cannot consent to what is seen as an invasive procedure that has lasting consequences. Does this mean that parents would need to wait until their child is 16 in order to be treated for a cleft lip? *Sigh*Regardless of your feelings on circumcision, this is cause for alarm because it's the government once more revoking personal choice from parents / families. It's once more squashing religious freedom to appease a fickle public opinion.Yet because people no longer understand religious beliefs to be static, they grumble and push for change because, to them (the kings and queens of everything fluid), anything stationary and revered is antiquated. Anything that doesn't fall in line with their newest fad in thinking is seen as unnecessary and foolish.There are simply some religious beliefs that are sacred and rooted in Truth. These unalterable tenets cannot and will not change simply because the public decides it's time for them to. They are God-given mandates and as such, they will not bow out to public pressure.My prayers are with Germany's Jews... just as they lose their rights across the pond, we Catholics here in the US are losing ours to the new mandate. May God have mercy on us.
The Name of Christ is mighty
Apparently the Name of Christ is more dangerous to the public than concealed weapons (which are perfectly legal) in N. Carolina. Nice.I found a seed on Father Z's blog this morning detailing a new policy enacted in N. Carolina regarding police chaplains' ability to use Christ's name while praying at public events.
One chaplain's response was like an arrow to my heart... a beautiful, wonderful arrow of integrity and wisdom.
Pastor Terry Sartain, upon learning of this change, withdrew from the event because, "Jesus is the only thing I have to bless people with." This man understands what so many others do not. The Name of Christ is one of our greatest blessings. It's why we always ask for everything "in Jesus' Name." Christ left us even the grace of His own Name to help shield us from harm. Other religions treat the names of their gods / prophets as unspeakable or curse-inducing utterances. Not Christianity. We were blessed to understand that our God is a loving God who WANTS a personal relationship with us. He WANTS us to know Him intimately. Thus, He blesses us with the comfort of His Holy Name.To remove our ability to call out His blessing through using His Name, this policy effectively steals from us our ability to properly pray. It also forces us to deny the God who gave His Life for our salvation.And I can't help but know with certainly that the developers of this policy fully understood that. I believe Satan and his demons coated this with the sugar of tolerance and unity, but in reality, this is just one more step towards a global "religion" that is no religion at all. It is a dismantling of Christianity in lieu of agnosticism. It is a stifling of our faith... another gentle inoculation to prevent the spread of Christ's Name to new generations of souls. This has nothing to do with tolerance. It is INTOLERANCE that has paved the way for this desecration of religious liberties. But few will see it this way because so many are grateful for the chance to cast aside the trappings of religion. Their own opinions on religion cloud their ability to see beyond the "Don't use Jesus' Name" and realize that it is a tiny cog in a bigger machine that is shooting down a person's individual right to practice their religion as he or she sees fit.Chaplains are VOLUNTEERS. They are volunteering their time to give comfort to the men and women who serve. At a prayer service (if one is requested by the police force), folks EXPECT to hear names like Jesus, God, Buddha or Mohammad. These words do not point a finger at atheists, Jews or Spaghetti Monster believers in an attempt to say "You're going to a naughty place for not believing!" If you invite a volunteer chaplain to one of these prayer services, you're inviting their brand of religion. If you don't want to be stifled by Christianity, find a volunteer who will speak what you're looking for. But do NOT, NOT, NOT attempt to tell someone how they can and cannot pray (publicly or otherwise!). These chaplains (whatever their religion may be) are looking to offer comfort in the form of a universal blessing. Christ does not just bless Christians. He blesses all, regardless of their belief in Him. If someone were to say to me, "May the Spaghetti Monster's blessing be upon you always" I'd say, "Right on, good sir. Thanks for having my back with the warm fuzzies."I would not respond, "Dude, I believe in JESUS, okay? Stop insulting me with your well-wishes!"And yet that's exactly what is being done by this policy. It is ludicrous and is once again an attempt by policy makers to stifle the religious freedoms of folks... folks who are VOLUNTEERING THEIR TIME for goodness sake!*Sigh*It reminds me of this yearly mess... Will this sort of foolishness have no end?
This is a perfect time for the Golden Arrow Prayer. It was given to St. Gertrude the Great by Christ, Himself, who said, "It will wound My Heart delightfully and heal the wounds inflicted by blasphemy."
As I said on Fr. Z's wall, I hope in this case it will heal the wounds inflicted by arrogance, silence and betrayal.
May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and ineffable Name of God be forever praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified in Heaven, on Earth, and under the Earth by all the creatures of God and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Amen.
Judge a tree by it's fruits, man!
I got an e-mail last night from a friend of mine. We had been discussing the current LCWR review. He was under the impression (as so many are) that the Vatican was trying to stamp out the personal freedoms of poor, innocent nuns just trying to live our their vocation serving their communities.I admit I got rather heated at the thought of these women being pitied as a result of the media's false stories of heroism in the face of the big, bad Vatican. These women should never - EVER - be held up as the gold standard for Catholicism. The women in question shouldn't even be held up as a bad example of Catholicism. Many have given up being Catholic long, long ago and just haven't 'fessed up to it yet. Thus, use them as a bad example of Protestantism. Please leave the word "Catholic" out of their mess.Anyway, this friend chided me for my harsh words. He quoted the oft repeated (and incredibly misunderstood) line from Matthew 7: "Judge not lest you be judged."*Sigh*I've already sent this friend an e-mail detailing my feelings on the matter (candidly as I'm apt to do). However, I felt this a topic very necessary to broach with the general population as this quote is so often used by people in an attempt to bow out to political correctness. In my opinion, it's nothing more than an excuse to hide one's insecurities behind a veil of false nicety. Let's say my mother is driving a car. We're about to take a curve too harshly. Considering there's a canyon to the left of us, if she continues speeding, we're likely to tumble into the abyss.
Do I refrain from telling her to slow down because I'm afraid I might hurt her feelings for criticizing her driving?
No. I like my life.
Instead, I'd say, "Hey Mom, you need to apply the brakes because if you don't, we're likely to take a tumble neither one of us will enjoy."
Would I be judging my mother to be a bad driver? No.
Would I be judging her behavior to be bad? Yes.
Might she feel as though I'd judged her to be a bad driver? Yes, it's a possibility.If she feels as though I've passed a negative judgement on her, does that mean I have? No.Even knowing that she might have her feelings hurt as a result of my criticism, should I refrain from suggesting she slow down? NO.As I've said in previous entries, I simply do not have the personality to sit on the sidelines while someone is acting in a way that is either harmful to self or others. I can't. I automatically put a familiar face on these folks and my decision is made - political correctness be damned. That is exactly what we are asked to do as Catholics. The quote "Judge not, lest ye be judged" is often given as a means to stifle this responsibility. However, if we read juuust a little bit further, we'll come to understand that this misrepresented quote (found on everything from billboards to memes to T-shirts) means something much different than the sound byte it's utilized as.Here is the quote in its entirety (from the New American Bible, so the wording is slightly changed):
Jesus said to His disciples: “Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” Matt 7:1-5In other words, use your God-given intellect to discern judgement. It isn't necessarily meaning we should condemn, but it's certainly charging us with the responsibility of properly judging all things with equality. In fact, there are quotes all over the Bible specifically commanding this of us.In the gospels, Luke echoes Matthew in Chapter 6 with "Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven... For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you."John (7:24) relays Jesus saying "Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteously."In Proverbs (3:21), "Preserve sound judgement and discernment."In the Letter of St. Paul to the Phillipians (1:9-11), "And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God."And my favorite (also from Luke 6) stating, "A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For people do not pick figs from thorn bushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles. A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks."
"See the good that we do and give glory to God."
That being said, we have a Christian responsibility to judge that which is presented to us in this world... ESPECIALLY when that which is presented wreaks of evil. We must not allow such evil to continue spreading as a cancer. The Body of Christ - OUR spiritual body - must be protected. If we remain silent as these "religious" continue to misinform, polarize and confuse the general population, we commit a sin of commission. We allow a greater evil to exist both within our ranks, and within ourselves through our silence.
This is exactly how the atrocities of WWII were accomplished. Sure there were plenty of folks who disagreed with the Nazi ideals. However, too many were silent for too long.
First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
I, for one, cannot endure such silence. I cannot wither away behind a false veil of "live and let live" when that includes allowing misinformation to fester and spread to my friends, family and children. No. It is my duty as a Christian to call evil out where it is and shed the light of truth upon the dishonesty and willful desecration of the Faith.
And those Christians among you who read this (be you Catholic or otherwise), this is your duty as well. We must work together to bring the light of Truth to others. We must not allow the lies, the half-truths, the confusion to tear souls away from Christ.
Laws no longer protect but intimidate.
Thanks to Catholic Vote for seeding. This article details the plight of a young photographer who refused her services to a lesbian couple looking to have photos taken of their commitment ceremony (since homosexual unions aren't recognized or legal in New Mexico).
Instead of simply finding another photographer, these miscreants took Elaine (the photographer) to court. Apparently their poor little feelings were hurt because Elaine didn't want to take pictures of their ring-exchange. So what's any rational couple to do?
Silly me, if faced with such a decision, I'd simply type "photographer" into Google. Apparently it's way more entertaining to sue the person. With this being the great country of America, it's incredibly easy to do considering we don't understand our own Constitution!*Grumble grumble grumble*As I said, the homosexual lobby is attempting to manipulate laws into forcing folks to accept their lifestyle choices. Instead of simply finding another photographer to take photos of their "special day," they wanted to drag this woman through the mud to make an example of her in order to put pressure on others who would deny services to protect their consciences.Since when did people become so entitled to having the world conform to their opinions? Are they so really so insecure and desperate for acceptance that they're willing to stoop THIS LOW in order to intimidate folks into a false posturing of agreement?For shame. For absolute shame.
Our 1st Amendment rights as US Citizens... for now.
I'm successfully irritated. My charity level is low to non-existent right now, so I apologize in advance.
There has been yet another striking blow to religious freedoms today... this time in Denmark. All over the world, governments are attempting to put religious freedom to death, and no one is any the wiser. Why? Because it's all being done under the guise of social justice.Danish parliament has just passed a law making it MANDATORY for all churches in Denmark to provide homosexual marriage ceremonies.Take a second and let that process (if you're not too busy hurling).A government is attempting to FORCE entire religious communities to utilize their sacred houses of worship for a ceremony that goes directly against their religious beliefs as a people.I'm beyond disgusted. Once again the issue of religious freedoms is ignored because folks are too busy crying foul over the issue of homosexuality.I don't care if two men want to get hitched through civil unions. Be my guest. I draw the line, however, when those two men attempt making a mockery of our Sacrament by committing such a sacrilege in front of the Blessed Sacrament in a Catholic Church. As I said on Facebook, welcome to the reason I refuse to vote in favor of anyone trying to push this through our court system. As I said in a previous entry, Australia is quickly following suit. The US won't be far behind. I'm all for homosexuals getting hitched in churches that condone it. I am NOT okay with a government stepping in to force ANYONE to accept a union that cannot be recognized by aforementioned religion. Catholic priests cannot "consecrate" a union that is considered abhorrent and inherently sinful. No matter how much a government wants to kick, scream and cry, a faithful Catholic priest cannot (and will not) call a blessing down upon that which is mortally sinful.Even if one tried to, do you think God would say, "Ya know what? Alright... since you asked so nicely, I'll be sure to go against that which I've stated - repeatedly - and reward you for your impressively arrogant disobedience."Again, Lord, mercy.
I love stories like this.
I'm no fan of Westboro Baptist Church, and I honestly feel terrible for the cultish mentality that the children of that family are an unwitting part of.
However, this entry isn't about WBC so much as it is about a brave young man armed with a pencil, paper and love.
Upon seeing the demonstrators rallying with their anti-homosexual posters and signs, this young boy requested permission to write a sign of his own. Playing off their typical "God Hates ..." signs, little Josef simply wrote "God Hates No One."
Amen, little Josef! Amen!
We'd all do well to remember this.
No matter the lifestyle choices, no matter the faith preference, no matter the grievous list of sins we souls have committed, God still loves each of us and wants nothing more than to embrace us in His arms. Search out that love in yourself, as God is a part of you. Search out that love and extend it to everyone you meet.
That snowball seemed so harmless...
See that snowball rolling down the hill? It's getting bigger and gaining ground - fast. Our religious freedoms are being gutted, and increasing pressure is being placed on our shepherds to simply bow out to "modern logic."This must've been how Jews felt when Rome decided to force itself upon their culture. Rome demanded sacrifice to Caesar, Rome stipulated who got to be high priest (and for how long), Rome decided which religious customs could be tolerated and which could not. Welcome to Rome, my friends. We, too, are experiencing audacious governments that shamelessly criminalize religious beliefs and expression, establish laws effectively eliminating charitable missionary work (I'll give you two on this one), threaten the Sacramental foundation of our faith, and label us as traitors simply for defending our right to practice our religion freely.There are those in our hierarchy who, much like the Sadducees of Jerusalem, are going along with these malicious and disgraceful persecutions (whether through silence or even direct disobedience). However, there are also many others (WDTPRS for starters) who are decrying this outright attack on religion
. Catholics need to figure out which side they intend to stand on.We're called the Church Militant for a reason - our job is not to remain silent. Our job is not to remain complacent and oblivious to the obvious signs of persecution our brothers and sisters are enduring throughout the world. We are the Church MILITANT. Our job is to actively fight this evil. Our call is to decry such indignation... to rise up and alert others to the injustice. Our mission is to bear forth the Truth, even in the face of political pressure and man-made law. Our Archbishop said it best in his recent address at the University of Pennsylvania:"... people have a right to bring their beliefs to bear on every social, economic, and political problem facing their community. For Christians, that’s not just a privilege. It’s not just a right. It’s a demand of the Gospel. Obviously, we have an obligation to respect the dignity of other people. We’re always bound to treat other people with charity and justice. But that good will can never be an excuse for our own silence. Believers can’t be silent in public life and be faithful to Jesus Christ at the same time. Actively witnessing to our convictions and advancing what we believe about key moral issues in public life is not “coercion.” It’s honesty. It’s an act of truth-telling. It’s vital to the health of every democracy. And again, it’s also a duty—not only of our religious faith, but also of our citizenship."We are called... COMMANDED... to bear forth the Truth, and as citizens of a democratic world, it is our DUTY to uphold so basic a right.So again... we need to truly ask ourselves where we stand. As the Gospel from this week suggests, we need to take stock. Are we ready? Are you?