Tuesday, December 23, 2008

If you read it in Huffington Post, it MUST be true...

The little tongue and cheek humor of the title of this post comes from the old Saturday morning cartoon "Garfield and Friends". This can also be applied to the Huffington Post blog that comes from "journalist" Arianna Huffington. I first took note of Ms. Huffington when I was running "The McLaughlin Group" while I was working in master control at my local PBS station in the late 90s. She seemed credible enough at first but started going flaming liberal after she left the show. Now, her staff of writers blog (who doesn't these days?) and post gems like this one, insinuating that all the people in the Team Sarah online community are a bunch of radical right wing under-educated rednecks.

It's funny how the left wing has a tendency to just assume that everyone who doesn't agree with them are like this. Sadly, there are just as many left wing hipsters sitting in Starbucks wearing their Obama t-shirts blogging about how mean the big bad Republican party is, and they're just as uninformed and not as well versed on the subject as some of their counterparts in the right wing.

Of course, they will TELL you that they are, but when push comes to shove, they make up stories to cover their hindquarters.

Look at Huffington Post's way they treated the Sarah Palin Towel Incident. You can say that "Newsweek said..." or "The Daily Worker reported that..." but the plain and simple fact is this: It's gossip. It's heresay after the fact to try to discredit Sarah Palin. If Hilary Clinton or Michelle Obama were the subject of that blog (which they wouldn't be not because they might not do that but because the left would never report on that to begin with), the blogger would once again be uninformed and not smart enough to understand.

The bottom line is this: The Huffington Post is really no more that a gossip paper; an online National Enquirer if you will. And to those people who take what happens on her blog as Gospel, take a good long hard look at yourself. I hope you see that the left is manipulating you like a cheap tool. And if you want to say that you're an individual who comes up with his own opinion, you're really no different that the crowd in this video clip.

Thanks to Clarevaux for pointing this out. I might also add you should drop the author and Ariana a note thanking them for pointing others to Catholics for Sarah, but personally, I'd stick to sources of news that are a little more, well, newsworthy.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Catholic League reports more Christmastime vandalism

What follows just came in from the Catholic League. It never seems to fail, does it? All these morons who bitch and moan about "having religion forced down their throats" are normally the first ones to force their atheism down ours.

If you take the Mary statue from our house, you'll have to answer to me...if there's anything left of you after my wife is through with you.


December 22, 2008

Every year we are flooded with reports from across the nation about nativity scenes being vandalized. This year was no different.

Here is a list of some of the incidents that came to our attention:

· In Sandusky, Ohio a 50-year old figure of the Baby Jesus was stolen from a downtown park; it was found a few days later hanging from a ceiling fan in the apartment of the thief who stole it
· A Christian pastor in Loma Linda, California was beaten and left in critical condition while decorating his church
· In Orange County, Florida a Christian church’s drive-through nativity scene was completely demolished by vandals
· The Blessed Virgin figure was stolen from a nativity scene in front of a home in Colorado Springs, Colorado
· Twice within a couple of weeks, the crèche in Norwood, Massachusetts was vandalized
· A drive-through nativity built by a Christian church in Stone Mountain, Georgia was destroyed
· In Waggaman, Louisiana, a 38-year old man, accompanied by two boys, trashed Christmas decorations at five homes
· A 50-year old statue of a shepherd was beheaded in a nativity scene in downtown Kingsport, Tennessee
· The Holy Family was stolen from a crèche outside of a home in New Albany, Indiana
· The nativity scene in front of a Christian church in Christoval, Texas was splattered with red paint
· Figures of the Baby Jesus were stolen from homes or churches in Memphis, Tennessee; Littlestown, Pennsylvania; Valrico, California; Akron, Ohio; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Andover, New York; Sumter, South Carolina; St. Charles, Illinois; Moberly, Missouri; Lehighton, Pennsylvania; Bismarck, North Dakota; Omaha, Nebraska; Paw Paw, Michigan; North Richland Hills, Texas; Eureka Springs, Arkansas; and Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"See the Face of Jesus in Each One"

Around Christmas just about every year, we see a lot of those people collecting for the Salvation Army in those red kettles outside of major stores, or in the "human interest" story on the news (likely staring and produced by "The B-Crew") they talk about some parish or congregation of some sort having their Christmas dinner for the poor, or perhaps even the Knights of Columbus raising money for their Christmas charity work. And sometimes we stop and put something in the kettle and get our warm, fuzzy feeling inside.

The big questions still remain: Do we have to wait for Christmas to do this? Is it really about that warm, fuzzy feeling you get inside?

Obviously I can't and don't assume that everybody ONLY gives to the poor during Christmas. There are many who are active volunteers with their St. Vincent DePaul Societies, food pantries, and soup kitchens, and do this on a weekly basis. Yet the need is still there; times are extremely tough right now and the need has actually gone up with more people losing jobs and homes in a bad economy, and the giving has went down. Having been impoverished for six months while looking for work, I know it goes. And those who are active in these charities, hat's off to you. Thank you for all the hard work you do. It's just that people who do this 24/7 are hard to come by.

One such person who DID do this 24/7 was a man named Lucious Newsom. He ran The Lord's Pantry on the near westside of Indianapolis from the late 1980s up until his death in August 2008. He was 92 when he passed away, but worked feeding the poor up until he went on to be with the Lord. He was an African American gentleman from Chattanooga, Tennesee. He was a retired Baptist minister who entered the Catholic Church at the age of about 77. He came up to Indianapolis during the Mozel Sanders Thanksgiving Dinner to lend a hand, and afterwards asked "What do these people do the other 364 days of the year?" He decided to stick around and see what he could do to help.

He did this for over 20 years.

If you want a general synopsis of who this man was, watch this video from WISH-TV in Indianapolis, but that doesn't even remotely start to paint the picture of this saintly man. Everybody who worked with Lucious had stories about him. My favorite one is when my sister and I went down to help one Saturday morning, and NFL quarterback Jeff George was also helping. He said afterwards that Lucious had called him early one morning and told him where he could get neckbone and Jeff said "I don't eat neckbone. I eat Perdue chicken, and that's what I'm going to buy for your people." The times I saw Jeff down there, he was always wearing a big smile.

For the record, Jeff George is a stand-up guy all by himself, but being around Lucious brought out that much more of the best in everybody. Lucious just had that effect on people.

I had videotaped Lucious a couple of times when him and his family would do Gospel concerts to raise money for The Lord's Pantry, and also ran audio once for him at my old parish in Indiana. He was one of those kind of guys who did so much good in the community, and in the world, that you didn't mind helping, even if he didn't ask you. You just kind of stepped up and did it. I've hugged this man enough that should he ever become canonized, I'll be a 3rd class relic myself.

And always, BUT ALWAYS, did he remind us to "See the face of Jesus in each one we serve." The dignity of those he served was always paramount to Lucious and he refused to exploit them. He made sure news crews would only tape volunteers and not those being served. I even offered to produce a documentary about him, and all he told me was "No, thank you." For Lucious Newsom, it was never, ever about him. He was never bigger than the message.

Not every community has a Lucious Newsom. Every community has those in need. Get involved, and you too can "See the face of Jesus in each one you serve."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Are We Prepared?

Sorry for the latency in posts. In the last two weeks, we've had three birthdays, a holy day, and other crises that needed to be attended to. I promise to the four or so of you who subscribe to this blog that I will get some new writing out here soon. In the meantime, here's another "rerun", originally taken The Catholic Moment for the week of December 23, 2007...

Are We Prepared?

Advent has always been a season of penance and preparing for the coming of Jesus. For a while, it seemed as if we had gotten away from that. Recently, however, the traditional practices of penance have been coming back and we have many good priests who talk about important things, such as prayer and penance, as good practices during the season of Advent.

It’s really not too difficult to lose sight of this important practice in this day and age. We are constantly bombarded by TV, newspaper and Internet ads screaming “Buy! Buy! Buy!” normally starting sometime around Halloween, and the only preparing that many of us wind up doing is buying an Xbox for the son, an iPod for the daughter, and a high-definition TV for the living room. Not that I have a problem per se with those items, but during Advent, our thoughts and actions are best taken elsewhere.

How often do we actually contemplate what Christmas is all about? I mean, we always hear someone say “Jesus is the reason for the season,” but amidst all the gifts, parties and Christmas food, how much do we really appreciate the fact that Christmas, the Nativity of Our Lord on the liturgical calendar, is when we celebrate the day that salvation came to the world? And are we fully prepared for it?

Confession during Advent is just as important as confession during Lent. It makes sense to me that if one goes to confession before receiving Jesus in the Eucharist at Sunday Mass, then likewise one would go to confession before receiving Jesus into the world at Christmas.

As Advent draws to a close, we need to keep in mind that while we are preparing to celebrate Jesus’ first coming, we need to be ready for Jesus’ second coming as well. If you’ve not been to confession in a while, now may be the time to do so. After all, the greatest gift that any one of us could ever hope to receive is salvation.

The sacrament of confession is a wonderful gift that’s freely offered all year around. It puts us back in harmony and friendship with God. It’s best that we’re prepared to receive the gift of salvation by preparing with the gift of confession.

Believe me, there’s no better gift you’re going to receive all year than that!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mass on Sunday

We registered last week at our new parish, St. Mary's Cathedral in Cheyenne, WY. I had a nice surprise when our priest from Nigeria, used the Latin Sanctus, Pater Noster, Agnus Dei, and part of the Communion prayers in Latin (he may have said the Creed in Latin, but I'm not sure - my daughter decided to start screaming so I had to take her out until she calmed down). This leads me to wonder two things...

  • Do those priests who weren't trained in the West get trained in Latin more often than those who were?
  • Why don't groups trying to get a TLM started in their area approach these priests about it more than they do? If a priest IS trained in Latin already, it couldn't hurt to at least ask.
The first question is kind of obvious. When Una Voce Carmel trying to get our initial permission from our bishop back in Indiana, the idea that most of our priests didn't have a good enough working knowledge of Latin. This didn't set well with me but it didn't surprise me, either, as I remember our bishop actually saying in an article after the passing of Pope John Paul II that he didn't have a very good working knowledge of Latin himself. I'm not thrilled with that, but I understand that learning Latin was de-emphasized in seminaries over the last forty years or so, so no, it came as no surprise.

Granted, more of the orthodox seminaries are beginning to emphasize it once again. The Archdiocese of Denver, for example, requires their seminarians to study four years of both Latin and Greek, and two years of Hebrew in their seminaries. The only vocation crisis they seem to be having is not having enough room to put all the interested seminarians. The younger generation of men in the seminaries want this! They want authentic Catholicism; not the fluff that's been emphasized in the Western Church for the last 40 plus years.

To answer the second question, with three Nigerian priests in my old diocese, I wonder why we didn't ask them. They weren't subject to the same studies after all, and it seems to me that priests who do have a good enough working knowledge of Latin don't seem to have near the issue with learning the extraordinary form. Or at least wanting to. Perhaps we should have looked towards the Nigerian priests there to see if they had the formation in Latin and knew it well enough to send them off to training at St. John Cantius in Chicago.

So perhaps that's part of the answer for those trying to get the Tridentine Mass started up in their area. Perhaps asking those missionary priests from Africa, Vietnam, and India to see if they have enough working knowledge of Latin to be interested in offering the extraordinary form.

It might be the best chance some places have for using the 1962 Missal.