Thursday, July 31, 2003
 A letter to Andrew Sullivan

Andrew Sullivan had some rather choice words for the Vatican's statement on homosexual marriage as released today. I took a few minutes and wrote Andrew an email, and I'd like to post it here.
Mr. Sullivan,

What exactly did you expect from the Vatican?

The doctrine of the Catholic Church has not changed in two millenia. Major ideas have never been compromised, even during threat of dissent around the Reformation and other periods of schism. The sacrament of "marriage" -- what it means for man and woman to join together in the eyes of God -- is no exception. The Church obviously believes that she holds the key to Christ's message, and thus she believes she has a hold on morality. Seeing as how Church teaching never changes and that the Church believes herself to be infallible in terms of doctorine, why do you express such disbelief when the Vatican comes out to re-enforce teachings and precepts that have shaped Western civilization for 2,000 years?

I believe you -- and any gay rights activist traditionally on the left -- do yourself a grave disservice when you draw out a religious body that takes issue with homosexuality. The Judeo-Christian tradition as a whole will never accept gay unions. There are too many textual, traditional elements at work which forbid these individuals from accepting acts of homosexuality. It's a cold, hard fact that the gay community is better served accepting, and then carrying on in spite of this fact. To rally against conservative institutions like the Boy Scouts for their exclusion of gays or the Catholic Church for their anti-marriage stance in the name of acceptance is retro-active because it only widens the gap between mutual acceptance. It's also representative of the ever-growing liberal slogan ("We're the party of the people! We accept all religions, all views and lifestyles! Bring us your minorities and your fringe and your poor! [footnote: so long as they agree with our political views and will support our party aims]) that has turned this 23 year old off.

On another note, thanks for providing all of us with such an incredibly interesting blog. I've only been a reader for a couple of months, but you are definitely a daily stop on my blogroll.

I don't expect to hear anything back, but there's nothing like writing in order to develop ideas.
posted by Josh at 11:07 PM

 Stalin wasn't a John Wayne fan, apparently

MSNBC: "Stalin plotted to kill John Wayne"
In the first attempt, two Russian assassins posing as FBI agents tried to kill Wayne - born Marion Morrison on May 26, 1907 - in his office at Warner Brothers studios in Hollywood.

But the plot was uncovered and the would-be killers captured, the book says, citing several sources including director Orson Welles.
To loosely quote the Duke: "Well I'll be darned."

posted by Josh at 9:30 PM

 Blog*Spot is the best!

Upgrade if you can afford it, and if, of course, you run a Blog*Spot blog. These guys do good work.
posted by Josh at 5:54 PM

 Politicians (ahem, Dick Durbin): Opposition to same-sex unions is your MORAL DUTY

Vatican Says Catholic Politicians Must Oppose Gay-Marriage Laws
``Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development,'' the Vatican said.
How wonderfully said...
posted by Josh at 2:35 PM

 Miracle in the Host?

Catholic Light has an interesting post today about a possible miracle forming in the host. I'm always skeptical of these things -- as is the Church -- so I hope to read reports of scientific study soon.
posted by Josh at 2:25 PM

 Where the Vatican stands on same-sex unions

Considerations Regarding Proposals To Give Legal Recognition To Unions Between Homosexual Persons

Nice read that lets us see exactly where the Vatican is coming from. No surprises really, but it's still worth the time it takes to read.
posted by Josh at 2:03 PM

 Bush says, "Not on my watch..."

Reuters: Bush Rejects Calls to Legalize Gay Marriage
posted by Josh at 3:25 AM

 Thoughts on Novus Ordo Watch

Thanks to Mark Shea, I came across Novus Ordo Watch today. While I can appreciate what they are doing over there at Novus Ordo Watch, I have to be a bit disappointed with what they're doing on the whole.

Certainly, the Church must be protected from those who aim to do her harm, both internally and externally. There is a large amount of material for us to justifiably debate and discuss. But Novus Ordo Watch takes this to such silly extremes that I sincerely questioned whether or not their site is intentional satire.

An example of this is the "JAW-DROP!" near the top of the page which contains outrage about "The Picinic Basket Tabernacle."

I am not offended by this tabernacle in the least. As a matter of fact, I think the symbolism behind the imagery is more than appropriate and, dare I say, beautiful.

Take last Sunday's gospel reading, for example:
So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat."
Jesus thus fed the multitudes out of a simple basket that contained an inexhaustible amount of bread. How perfect this is for the image of a tabernacle! For the Eucharist is certainly our spiritual food, the never-ending presence of Jesus Christ himself, available to us until the end of time. He is our Food of Plenty.

I won't get in to some of the other rather silly images on this site, as Mark Shea already has a lively discussion going on about the Star of David above an altar. But it's rather easy to see that the folks at Novus Ordo don't hesitate to make a mountain out of a mole-hill.
posted by Josh at 1:26 AM

 Blog*Spot Blues 2.0

This is week two in my struggle to register for an upgraded Blog*Spot account. I have the modified template ready to go that adds a graphic element to the start page. I have the credit card ready. Yet Blogger can't seem to get it together long enough for me to give them my money.
posted by Josh at 12:53 AM

 Archbishop Chaput

I second the sentiments of Oswald over at Catholic Analysis; Archbishop Chaput does good work.

I recently sent him a letter of appreciation in regards to his article on the Dick Durbin/William H. Pryor debacle, and he was kind enough to email me back, personally, with his thanks.

He didn't have to do that, but he did. And it's the small things on top of the big things (like his writing of that article) that win over hearts.
posted by Josh at 12:51 AM

     Wednesday, July 30, 2003
 O the irony!

Reuters: Dead Man Pens Hope Obituary for New York Times
posted by Josh at 11:40 PM

 Proof that everybody and their grandmother is running for California Governor

Georgy Russell For California Governor

If you'll notice, she's even selling "Classic thong" underwear in her "Merchandise" section.

I can't quite figure out if this is an honest attempt at a campaign, or just some mad publicity stunt to sell merchandise.

This attractive young lady also keeps a blog, but any respect that I might have had for her candidacy is lost when she writes, "We yoga obsessed, soy eating Californians need to wake up and smell the chai."

posted by Josh at 11:27 PM

 Another to file under my bulging "Things Willl Change Because They Have to and Should" folder

Christian Science Monitor: New guard in US Catholic church
posted by Josh at 6:04 PM

 I'm suspicious of this, but who knows...

Catholic Herald: Founding Fathers anti-Catholics?

It sounds to me as if he's on to something rather trivial, but interesting nonetheless.
posted by Josh at 6:00 PM

 Please, Keep Your Toddlers Off the Roads...

Reuters: Crashes Dad's Car Twice in Four Days
posted by Josh at 5:24 AM

     Tuesday, July 29, 2003
 Progress Catholic Panel Reports Progress on Abuse Probe

This is precisely what I have been saying in the past: progress is being made, folks.
posted by Josh at 8:06 PM

 Only 7...

...and he's addicted to porn.

Poor kid.
posted by Josh at 4:16 AM

 Catholic Blogs

catholic blogs

(I think Fr. Bryce Sibley did this to raise Google awareness of his presence. Whatever his motivations, I figure, hey, "everybody's doing it!")
posted by Josh at 4:07 AM

 An Open Letter to Dick Durbin

Mark Shea of "Catholic and Enjoying It!" posted yesterday on the William Pryor judicial confirmation hearings. Seeing that one of my senators, Dick Durbin, was in the middle of the flap, I wrote him the following email:
I like you. As a matter of fact, I voted for you in the last election. You were the only Democrat that I supported. I find you to be, in general, a fine leader. As a matter of fact, I hope you run for President in 2008.

With that in mind, I would like to point out a few things in reference to your judicial confirmation hearing pertaining to William H. Pryor.

You stated: "The Catholic Church is opposed to the death penalty. Pryor is in favor of it. I'm not going to ask Senator Sessions to make a judgment as a Methodist whether that makes him a good Catholic or not."

John Paul II is opposed to the death penalty because he feels that we have moved in to an era where it isn't really needed, and I agree with this sentiment. I am also against the death penalty. BUT, this is NOT the official stance of the Catholic Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church grants this authority to individual states:

"...the Church has acknowledged as well-founded the right and duty of legitimate public authority to punish malefactors by means of penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime, not excluding, in cases of extreme gravity, the death penalty (CCC #2266)."

Therefore, to attack Pryor's "Catholicity" by bringing up his support for the death penalty is unwarranted and flawed.

The fact of the matter is that you -- and your party -- are laboring hard against Pryor for the same reason you collectively pushed against Miguel Estrada: he's a pro-life Catholic. Anyone who calls himself a Catholic must understand and agree with the Church fathers, who wrote extensively on abortion as far back as 100-150 A.D (the Epistle of Barnabas).

I find it hard to understand, how you can publicly call yourself a Catholic without realizing that there is no moral middle-ground. Tertullian, in his "Apologeticum," circa 197 A.D., makes this clear:

"For us, since murder has been forbidden, it is also not permitted to dissolve what is conceived in the womb while the blood is being formed into a human being. It is an anticipation of murder to keep one from being born; nor does it make a difference whether one takes the life of one already born, or disturbs one in the process of being born: even the one who is going to be a human being is one."

I'm not asking you to embrace pro-life philosophies in the public forum, even if you should go on calling yourself Catholic. But please, respect those who follow the teachings of the Church and see it as their responsibility to live the faith actively.

posted by Josh at 3:44 AM

     Monday, July 28, 2003
 A TRUE Legend Dies

Legendary Entertainer Bob Hope Dead at 100

Apparently, a mass was said for him in his room before he died. Bob did a great deal for our country, and I am sorry to see him go.
posted by Josh at 2:08 PM

 Vatican to Join Fight Against Gay Marriages

ABC News: Vatican to Campaign Against Gay Marriages

Go Vatican go!
posted by Josh at 2:06 PM

     Sunday, July 27, 2003
 A Legend Dies
posted by Josh at 5:24 PM

     Saturday, July 26, 2003
 I Got the Gold Star!

Fr. Rob Johansen, at Thrown Back, has an interesting discussion going in relation to our efforts involving democracy in Iraq.

Fr. Rob has been echoing my sentiments exactly. So read his posts on the Iraq question and you'll see where I stand too.

(and hey, anyone who has a liking for single-malt scotch and good cigars is great in my book ;))
posted by Josh at 4:24 PM

 Colorado Nuns Going to Prison

Reuters: Nuns Sentenced to Prison for Colo. Nuclear Protest

These are some pretty hard-core social activist nuns. Judging by their ages, they're not hippie-cast offs. Still, over two years confinement for protesting seems a bit steep. Our penal system has its priorities screwed up, me thinks.
posted by Josh at 12:32 AM

     Friday, July 25, 2003
 Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't

Reuters: Arabs Shocked by TV Images of Saddam's Sons

Wasn't it just a day ago that Arabs were skeptical about the deaths of Saddam's two boys? Our commanders were hoping that the news would curb future attacks on American troops, but still, Iraqis did not believe.

So our government did what they thought they had to do: they gave undeniable proof that the boys no longer walk amongst the living.
"Although Uday and Qusay are criminals, displaying their corpses like this is disgusting and repulsive. America claims it is civilized but is behaving like a thug," Saudi civil servant Saad Brikan, 42, told Reuters in Riyadh.

Another civil servant Hasan Hammoud, 35, said: "America always spoils its own image by doing something like this. What is the advantage of showing these bodies? Didn't they think about the humanitarian aspect? About their mother and the rest of their family when they see these images?"
My question for you, Hasan: Did you complain when Iraqi soldiers displayed our dead troops in grotesque postures for cameras? Did you complain when Al-"we hate America"-Jazeera displayed these images to the entire Arab world?

Of course you didn't. And which is more reprehensible, Mr. Hammoud? When Iraqi soldiers display dead American troops in grotesque form, or when the U.S. provides images of two known, ruthless dictators in order to provide proof that they are no longer a threat to the Iraqi people?

Is there no higher moral ground here?
Mohammad Emara, an Egyptian Islamist scholar, told Al Jazeera television that displaying the bodies publicly was against Islamic Sharia law.

"Under Islamic law this is rejected. America wanted to boost the morale of its soldiers so it resorted to this illegal act which is denounced by all religions.
Stick to Islamic scholarly studies, Mohammad, because you apparently know very little about the world's religions. Taking a picture of a deceased corpse isn't exactly against the tenants of Christianity. I have a couple pictures of St. Anthony of Padua, Padre Pio, and Cardinal Newman around here if you want proof of that.

Sure, the corpses were disgustingly disfigured by the battles, but in the pictures that Arabs are suddenly complaining about, the corpses have been professionally worked over in a respectable, dignified fashion. It's not like we cut the corpses up and put them on pikes.

It's not like we put them on carts and wheeled them through the streets for all to see. We haven't moved to the realm of grotesque. But Iraq sure did, with their pictures.

Where was this Mohammad Emara to complain then? Surely, God creates laws for all of his people under Islam, right?

And yet, not everybody is convinced!
"American credibility has been questioned for a long time in the Arab world, as well as other parts of the world. This is making a lot of Arabs doubt the authenticity of what the photos or the video show," Rashwan said.
What more does it take to convince Arabs in this region that they are dead?

Then, the final ridiculous point made in this article by some talking-head Middle Easterner:
"I don't understand why the Americans say it is the former Baath Party people who are killing their soldiers. All Iraqis want to kill the Americans because of the way they act," said shopkeeper Muhammad Abbas.
So, Muhammed, would you rather that Saddam continued on as leader of your country? It looked to me that thousands of Iraqis were rejoicing in the streets when the big Saddam icon fell.


I pray for the Iraqi people. They're always in my prayers. But unfortunately, most of the time I'm hoping that God will give them one very simple thing: a clue.

posted by Josh at 11:29 PM

 Virgin Mary, Come Unto My Window

Providence New Bedford Ch. 10 News: Church Says Virgin Mary Image Not Miracle

Church officials studied the image and talked to window specialists before concluding that the image was caused by chemical deposits building up inside the window.

The Rev. Christopher Coyne, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said miraculous images in the Roman Catholic faith usually are connected with healing. If an image can be explained by a natural cause, the church does not find it to be a miracle.
If you play the image slideshow available through the article, you'll see a picture of another window people are claiming that they see a fetus in.

I could be mistaken about what really caused the image, but I do know that it just looks like a bunch of crap on a window to me.
posted by Josh at 4:17 AM

 From the Big House, to a Really Small Tent Prisoner Released To Tent, Wants Back In Jail

I'm adding this to my bulging "Sorry God for finding this humorous" file.
posted by Josh at 4:09 AM

 Catholics Need Not Apply

WMTW News: Ads claiming anti-Catholic bias may be aimed at Maine's senators

And these are Republicans getting in the way of this Catholic judge.
posted by Josh at 4:05 AM

 Hong Kong Bishop Under Fire

MSNBC: China paper says HK Catholic bishop making trouble

The state-controlled Beijing media has a problem with this bishop, apparently:

The newspaper said Zen was among a few leaders of the local Catholic church who were overstepping their limits and turning the diocese into ''something like a political organisation.''

''(They) have violated Jesus Christ's principle: 'Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's'...they have been playing the role of Caesar by fanning up disputes and conflicts and sowing the seed of discord everywhere.''
Classic misinterpretation of scripture there by our Chinese friends. Nowhere does Jesus Christ say that politics and religion should be divorced. This is a complete misrepresentation of that verse.
Zen had sounded a warning that, that under one of the original bill's wide-ranging provisions, the Roman Catholic church in Hong Kong risked being banned because it was illegal in China, but the government recently bowed to pressure and dropped that clause.
Aha! Now we're getting closer to the truth of the matter. How does one not play politics when political games threaten your existence?

I hope Hong Kong serves as an example to the Chinese people at large concerning the way things can work.

posted by Josh at 4:00 AM

     Thursday, July 24, 2003
 More on Cohabitation

USA Today: Should clergy endorse 'living in sin'?

I've been reading a lot about this issue, so I found this article interesting.

Rabbi Zelizer acknowledges the fact that cohabitation isn't causing a higher divorce rate. He acknowledges that it isn't necesarilly contributing to social decay. It's what he does with these acknowledgements that I don't agree with:
Cohabitation is here to stay and on the increase, whether we like it or not.

Clergy members, therefore, should move beyond the moral condemnation of cohabitation to more practical approaches. We should encourage those who choose cohabitation to restrict their relationship to someone they intend to marry. That will maximize their chance for an eventual, successful marriage.

At the same time, clergy members should build on the many existing programs in churches and synagogues designed to deepen the stability of marriage. This would allow us to adjust to the reality of cohabitation before marriage in a manner that will fortify fidelity and stability in marriage.
Just because the number of individuals who view pornography is increasing thanks to the Internet, it doesn't make it morally acceptable from a religious viewpoint! What is acceptable and what is sinful in the eyes of God doesn't magically change just because mankind reaches a consensus in favor of it!

The rules governing interaction between men and women work the same way. We have rules that we must follow, and I would never violate those laws with a shrug of the shoulders just because "we're in love, and God understands."

I played those mental mind games once, and it left me in bad shape.
posted by Josh at 1:14 PM

 The Idea Catches On

Reuters: Do-Not-Spam List Finds Favor as Senate Vote Nears

If the "Do-Not-Call" registry that limits telemarketing is so effective, why not do the same for e-mail? I like it.
posted by Josh at 3:32 AM

 A Reader Writes...

I found this email in my inbox today from a very nice individual. He writes at his site, servant-striving.

I've just discovered your blog while clicking on those "most recently updated" links at the Blogger front page. I wanted to pass along a story that one of your archived entries reminded me of.

A little background: I wasn't brought up in the church, or anything resembling a church. At the age of 16, I found Buddhism, and began studying. I took the vows of a monk at 17. I continued studying until I was 22, learning Sanskrit and Pali along the way.

When I was 25, just before the big Y2K New Year's day, I was reading a book a friend lent me. He and I had a conversation a week earlier about end-of-the-world books and movies (that was when Deep Impact ad Armageddon were out in the theaters, and everyone was freaked that Y2K meant the end of civilization). He told me I should read this one book, called -- you guessed it -- Left Behind.

The Left Behind series may be some of the most poorly written fiction ever set in type in all of human history. I put it in the literary category of trashy romance novels and celebrity biographies. However, while I was reading it, almost 3-and-a-half years ago, I had a very profound experience. Do you remember how the character Buck is headed for a meeting with Nicolae at the UN, and he ducks into a janitor's closet and receives Christ for the first time? At that paragraph, at 2am, reading in my bed, I had the epiphany that no amount of studying or meditating would ever get me to God. That Jesus had been alongside me my whole life, had given up His life for mine, and I experienced the most palpable, all-encompassing love. Everything fell into place in a second. Overwhelming gratitude, joy and peace filled my heart. I was in love! And for the first time, recognized that I'd been saved, and I was nothing without Christ.

I hadn't gone to church, hadn't talked too much with my friend about God, and hadn't done any theological inquiries. I wasn't interested in Christianity, but God chose the moment of reading that paragraph in that ridiculous book Left Behind to be the instrument of revealing my salvation.

If I ever meet Tim Lahaye or Jerry Jenkins, I don't know if I should tell them this story. I don't want to encourage them to keep putting those books out. And yet, nevertheless, here I am, saved.
I responded to him in private email, and I would like to post that response here as well.
Excellent observations.

I suppose I was being a bit harsh when I wrote that post in my blog, and
I'll tell you why:

The "Left Behind" series was one of the first exposures I ever had to Christian teachings, or for that matter, Christian writing. And I identified with the struggles of Buck, who had basically left Christianity in the background somewhere. He wasn't concerned with it, and left it up to his wife and kid as their thing.

Obviously, neither one of us had a sign so obvious as the "rapture" to help spur along our faith, but that doesn't mean that we're obvlivious to the struggles that those "left behind."
I suppose that the Left Behind series is beneficial if it helps to bring us closer to faith. So I agree with him on that. My only reservation with the series is that it is written by an obvious anti-Catholic who claims -- like so many individuals since John Milton and the Fifth Monarchists -- that the end is near, and that we're living in the end times now. This is a claim that I do not buy, and I also do not believe that End Times hysteria really benefits the Christian faith.

But like I wrote to this gentleman, it does not mean that we can't identify with the characters and get at least a little something beneficial from the series.

Thanks again for the email!!

posted by Josh at 1:13 AM

 "She Does Not Serve as Judge."

Those words were spoken to me by a great nun, who happened to lead my RCIA class.

Mark Shea has an interesting thread going on whether or not we should pray for Saddam's sons. This debate revolves largely around the ongoing dialogue between John da Fiesole and Steven Riddle.

In a nutshell, Riddle believes that we should pray for the souls of the pair, while da Fiesole says that our prayers aren't warranted and won't get Saddam's sons anywhere anyway.

I'd like to throw my hat in to the ring on this one, adding a couple personal observations:

1) The nun above was right. The Church does not serve, ultimately, as judge. She knows better. For any individual in the Church to condemn someone to hell is like condemning themselves. We shall not stand as a body that judges, lest we be judged by our own standards.

2) During the celebration of the Mass, we often say a prayer for "all of those who have died." This does not exclude any particular individual, no matter how sinful. It is our duty to pray for them, and it is ultimately God's job to sort things out.

3) The fatima prayer is, as Mark Shea points out, a prayer for all souls. Not just the souls we deem worthy here on earth. It is neither our place or our responsibility.

4) I am reminded of a great priest I knew at the University of Illinois, who, in a homily, remarked that it was difficult for him to LOVE the terrorists who took out the WTC, but he knew as a Christian that it was his duty to do so. He's right -- it's difficult. But it is necesarry, because it is demanded of us by God.
posted by Josh at 12:37 AM

     Wednesday, July 23, 2003
 Israel Wants Peace...

Reuters: Poll: Most Jewish Settlers Would Leave for Peace

...and this has been my theory all along. Israelis are willing to compromise so that they don't have to worry every time they step on to a bus or go shopping at a mall.

The real question is whether or not the Palestinian population will ever be willing to compromise. Jews are the Great Other, a group that (along with the United States) has been scapegoated amongst the Islamic population as the cause of the region's ills.

Peace can only be won when people work together and put bigotry aside. My major question is whether or not Palestinians are ready to take up their side of the process.
posted by Josh at 4:58 AM

     Tuesday, July 22, 2003
 CD Review: Masked and Anonymous Soundtrack

Well, I went out and bought my birthday present to myself: the new soundtrack from the upcoming Sony Pictures Classic release, Masked and Anonymous. This is one of the most interesting soundtracks I've ever encountered. The first thing that drew me to it is that all songs (besides the traditionals "Dixie" and "Diamond Joe") are written by Bob Dylan. Even though he only performs on four of them, I had to get this album.

My thoughts on individual tracks:

1) "My Back Pages" performed by the Magokoro Brothers -- This combo reigns from Japan, and appropriately, this song is entirely in Japanese. A very traditional arrangement musically, the sounds of the words are interesting to listen to. Dylan in a foreign language that you don't speak is only half-fun, because half of the fun is in the lyrics.

2) "Gotta Serve Somebody" performed by Shirley Caesar -- Caeasar recently did a little work with Dylan on the Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan release. A classic soul rendition of a song that was always meant to be sung that way, even if Dylan wasn't necesarilly capable of it himself upon its original release.

3) "Down in the Flood" (new version) performed by Bob Dylan -- This is more rockin' version of the classic, which was a laid-back, country rock song. Bob's band, as always, makes this a stellar song.

7) "Diamond Joe" performed by Bob Dylan -- Fantastic arrangement of the traditional arrangement. One of my favorites off of the CD, quite simply because there aren't enough simple songs with Dylan's old rough-and-gruff voice accompanied by drums and a banjo. Those who enjoy traditionals/Americana will certainly enjoy this one.

8) "Come Una Pietra Scalciata" ("Like a Rolling Stone") performed by Articolo 31 -- A hip-hop rap arrangement. Articolo 31 basically "samples" Dylan in this song. The original 1965 hit resonates in the background as the chorus comes up - Bob sings the immortal lines, "How does it feel? How does it feel? To be on your own...With no direction home..A complete unknown...Like a rollin' stone") Meanwhile, all of the verses are sung in very quick, rap-like Spanish. For a guy who does not like hip-hop, I admit that I like this song.

10) "Non Dirle Che Non E' Cosi" ("If You See Her, Say Hello") performed by Francesco de Gregori -- An Italian contribution here, this is one of my favorite songs from what Rolling Stone calls "the greatest album on love and loss ever made." Not exactly the best recording on the album, but the music is true and it's interesting to hear a song like this in a foreign language.

11) "Dixie" performed by Bob Dylan -- Another traditional arrangement, this one feels good too. These are songs I'd imagine Bob sings to himself on the porch in the middle of the mountains somewhere. Very simple musically, but also very precise.

13) "Cold Irons Bound" (new version) performed by Bob Dylan -- This is my favorite song off of 1997's Grammy-Award winning Album of the Year, Time Out of Mind. In the original version, Bob does a brilliant job of creating a sort of psychological turmoil with the music. The organ does an incredible job of conveying the sense that the narrator has committed murder (probably in Chicago, and is quite possibly headed towards Joliet prison, a few miles from me). Even though the narrator never comes out and says it, Dylan shows it in the song. This new arrangement, like "Down in the Flood," is certainly more up-tempo and more "rock" than the original. Still a good song, but I prefer the original to this new interpretation.

Who should buy this album? Any BobCats (as we are called) out there, definitely, but also people who enjoy solid work by musicians who are often glossed over because they don't go out there and shake their half-naked bodies about the place. I happen to appreciate music that is interested in creating something artistic, instead of selling a whole boatload of albums to pimple-faced teenie boppers. But that's just me.

Anyway, there you have it. I don't tend to stray from my Catholic ramblings on this blog (too much), but I stop the presses for something like this that has always interested me.

I'll do it again on August 2nd, when I see Bob (with the Grateful Dead) live, here in Joliet.
posted by Josh at 3:02 PM

 Covenant Eyes

Is the Internet just too tempting for you? Do you (like me) spend way too much time on the Internet? Well, lucky for you, Covenant Eyes is here!

This program/software apparently keeps a log of every Internet website you visit, and gives a timed report of your activities online. The log is then sent to a friend of yours -- a pastor, family member, dogsitter, etc -- so that they can see what you have been doing.

I guess this is one way to foster accountability on the Internet, but I wonder if people can't do a little bit better for themselves. By, you know, just avoiding temptation.

I may not be a huge John Milton fan (although I respect his Paradise Lost) because of his anti-Catholic beliefs (which were, by and large, misrepresentations of the True Faith), but he did get it right in Areopagitica: man only proves his righteousness when, faced with temptation, he ignores it. When he gives that temptation up to God, it is true praise and a declaration that he believes in God and his laws. But if we're never faced by temptation, never come to know this pressure, how can we be righteous individuals?
posted by Josh at 1:21 PM

 Eiffel Tower Burning

Wow, what a birthday! First Iraq, now France!
posted by Josh at 12:58 PM

 Saddam's Sons Found?

U.S. Officials: Saddam's Sons May Have Been Killed

Unfortunately, it looks as if they've been killed.
posted by Josh at 12:29 PM

 I'm 23 Today!
posted by Josh at 2:24 AM

     Monday, July 21, 2003
 Hypocrisy at its Finest.
posted by Josh at 10:02 PM

 Liberal Hypocrisy? Say it Ain't So!

FoxNews: Little Notice Paid to Stark Outburst

Not in dispute over the events that led up to the House debate that ensued are the heated remarks by Stark, D-Calif., who was left in the committee room to hold down the fort while Democrats strategized on their game plan.

While no cameras recorded the event, a stenographer took down every word Stark uttered. Republican Rep. Kenny Hulshof recited them back on the House floor.

"'You little fruitcake, you little fruitcake, I said you are a fruitcake,'"Hulshof, R-Mo., read from the unofficial transcript.

Stark directed the word - considered by many to be a gay slur - at Republican Rep. Scott McInnis, who is married and by all accounts not gay.

Republican sources also claim that during the chaotic scene in the committee, Stark fired another gay slur in the direction of Chairman Thomas. The word is too vulgar to print in full, but the last half of it is "sucker."
So where are the gay rights activists to bash their boy Stark? I think it's fairly obvious that what Mark Foley says is true:
"I trust that you would understand that if a Republican said that, there would be a public lynching," Foley said.
Exactly. This is why liberals are losing, folks. They're losing because anbody with a nickel's worth of common sense sees the hypocrisy.

Furthermore, I'd like to know why the media - besides the admittedly conservative Fox News Channel - hasn't latched on to this story. Could it be because the largely liberal media wants nothing to do with it? You'd think a sensationalist publication like the New York Times would be all over a story where the cops were pulled in to break up a congressional argument.

I just heard some NPR liberal blow-hard on Fox News arguing that "fruitcake" simply means "nutty." Ok, maybe it does. It's also a flame against homosexuals, i.e. "fruits." But when you combine "fruitcake" with "----sucker," I think you get exactly what Stark the Hot-head was trying to say.

posted by Josh at 6:13 PM

 Changes in Mass Coming to Chicago

Chicago Tribune: Catholic mass gets fine-tuned

The mass I attended last night -- a "contemporary" service with drums, guitar, flute, organ, and piano -- would be all but destroyed by these new regulations. I wonder if these rules apply to all masses, or just to the traditional settings?
posted by Josh at 12:57 PM

 Well, At Least I'm Not Headed for Hell...

The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very High
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Low
Level 2 (Lustful)High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Very Low

Take the Dante's Divine Comedy Inferno Test
posted by Josh at 4:14 AM

 You're The Man Now, Dog
posted by Josh at 3:58 AM

 BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology

I ran in to an old classic tonight while perusing the local bookstore. Masters' work is one of those titles that were immensely popular prior to WWII, but fell out of fashion in the post-modern era.

That's probably why I've never read any of it, in my free time or in my literary studies.

Masters was a Chicago lawyer and "uninspired poet." But this one work is certainly a masterpiece.

Spoon River Anthology is a set of poems that take place in Spoon River, a midwestern town resembling the one where Masters grew up in Kansas. The narrator resurrects the townspeople that he knew, and comments upon them or they speak for themselves. Academic research has concluded that these people were very real to Masters, and he knew them in life.

In scanning the poems briefly, I've come across one that is very Catholic-praising:


You are over there, Father Malloy,
Where holy ground is, and the cross marks every grave,
Not here with us on the hill -
Us of wavering faith, and clouded vision
And drifting hope, and unforgiven sins.
You were so human, Father Malloy,
Taking a friendly glass sometimes with us,
Siding with us who would rescue Spoon River
From the coldness and the dreariness of village morality.
You were like a traveller who brings a little box of sand
From the waste about the pyramids
And makes them real and Egypt real.
You were a part of and related to a great past,
And yet you were so close to many of us.
You believed in the joy of life.
You did not seem to be ashamed of the flesh.
You faced life as it is,
And as it changes.
Some of us almost came to you, Father Malloy,
Seeing how your church had divined the heart,
And provided for it,
Through Peter the Flame,
Peter the Rock.
Lots of good poems here. And like Stephen King says, good literature is like crack for the brain. So read Masters if you are in to that sort of thing.

posted by Josh at 1:15 AM

 BlogSpot Blues

I'm ready to take the plunge. I'm ready to pay to get rid of the annoying ad at the top of this blog. I'm ready for the option to add images. I'm ready, Blogger, but for some reason, you guys have your BlogSpot Ordering page in construction. So I'm in the lurch, and have been since Thursday.

Sorry. Just had to get that out :-).
posted by Josh at 12:39 AM

     Sunday, July 20, 2003
 From One Side of the Aisle...

Carolina Morning News: Cuttino: Shouldn't we all be catholic?

...we have individuals like Cuttino who try and explain away what doesn't fit neatly in to their System of Thought. Bass (see posting below) seems to have figured this out a long time ago.
posted by Josh at 3:55 PM

 From Anglican to Catholic Priest Married priest BR's first

When intellectual honesty can't allow you to hold back, you take the plunge:
As part of his research for a class he taught on early Christian theology, Bass said he began to believe that all of the characteristics of the original Christian Church, the church founded by Jesus Christ, were present in the modern Catholic Church and that there was an unbroken line of teaching and belief that was easily traceable through 20 centuries of history.

"You can see historically, even from the year 100, a continuity of faith and doctrine that has never changed," Bass said.
This is precisely what brought me in to the church. Glad to see another priest in the ranks.

posted by Josh at 2:54 PM

 Howard Dean Pandering

From Catholic and Enjoying It, I found this horrible quote by Howard Dean:
"It takes a white leader to stand up and explain to my people about why racism is wrong," Dean said in his speech at the recent NAACP conference. (Frontpage Dean takes grovelling award from Lieberman)
I have no time for this condescending, idiotic state of mind. We don't need you, Howard, to tell us that racism is wrong. The evils of racism are something that we all know about. Especially my generation, where it's ingrained from birth by the educational system and popular media.

Mark is right: this is why liberals are losing.

posted by Josh at 2:25 PM

     Friday, July 18, 2003
 Reason #130234023 I'm Happy Not to Be French

MSNBC: France bans term 'e-mail': Government officials told to stick to French 'courriel'
posted by Josh at 2:35 PM

     Thursday, July 17, 2003
 Marriage: A Heterosexual Institution

National Review Online: The Stakes: Why we need marriage.

Some highlights from this article:
The good news is that a marriage recovery appears to be on its way: Rates of divorce have dropped, illegitimacy is leveling off, marital fertility is on the rise, adult commitment to marital permanence is increasing, and the next generation's dislike of divorce is rising; the consensus that children do better when parents get and stay married is now broad, if shallow.

The bad news is that gay marriage will gut this marriage movement, and reverse these gains. Marriage will no longer be a carrier of the message that children need mothers and fathers. Instead the law will legitimate the principle of family diversity: that adults get to form the families they choose and children will resiliently adjust. Or not, but who cares? If the law embraces this message, government will become its carrier and promoter. School textbooks, teen-pregnancy programs, and abstinence education (to mention just a few venues) will all be forced to carry this new unisex marriage vision. Religious people and social conservatives (not to mention marriage advocates in general) unwilling to champion this message, will retreat from the public square. Will a society that is unwilling to abandon unilateral divorce legally enforce Catholic marriage contracts, as John O'Sullivan suggests? Dream on. A nascent and promising movement for social recovery will be strangled at birth.
This is one of the most accurate articles on the issue I have seen. Maggie Gallagher expresses me opinion perfectly.
posted by Josh at 5:36 PM

 The Liberal Clap-Trap

Chicago Tribune: U. of I. same-sex benefits likely

Regardless of my moral reasons for opposing this, I simply want to point out the classic double-standard that such a policy creates.

If my Alma-Mater opens up benefits for the homosexual "domestic partners" of the staff, then doesn't it only follow suit that they do the same for heterosexual couples?

Perhaps this is in the provision already, but I doubt it. The article makes no mention of it. And if this is indeed the case, the University of Illinois falls in to the classic liberal clap-trap: in an effort to boost the rights of the fringe, they elevate the fringe to a level not to be obtained by the norm. I see this in race and religious activists today, but nowhere does this silliness exist more than in homosexual "rights" pushers.

posted by Josh at 3:50 PM

 Holy War!

AP: New Purported Saddam Tape Urges Holy War

It's a shame to see Saddam playing off of misguided religious bigotry. We need to get away from this sort of thing as a world.

But this just proves my point that Iraq -- and the Muslim Middle Eastern world at large -- are suffering from a pre-Enlightenment stage of development in a world that has passed them by.

As Tony Blair just said at his joint address to Congress: "You can't teach peace and preach hate."
posted by Josh at 3:38 PM

 Sleep in Beds, Folks...

Reuters: Man Dies Rolling Off Roof in His Sleep

I definitely feel guilty for being amused by this.
posted by Josh at 4:17 AM

     Wednesday, July 16, 2003
 RSS Feed Added!

So add me! (Information to the left of the screen).
posted by Josh at 7:55 PM

 Morale Plummeting Soldiers Stuck in Baghdad Feel Let Down
Reuters: U.S. Soldiers Complain of Low Morale in Iraq

Hang in there, boys and girls. You're fighting a good fight.
posted by Josh at 3:42 PM

 When Will They Get it?

Iraq is obviously a pre-Enlightenment nation. The population at large does not have access to a free-thinking, open forum. And that's why we get comments like this one:
"We are happy because this is an occupation," said Mansour Badri, a teen-ager who lives nearby. "The Americans lied to us when they said they would save us from Saddam. They just want to occupy our country." (Reuters: U.S. Soldier, New Mayor Killed in Iraq)
I assure you, Mr. Badri, that our government - and our people - would love to get their tails out of town. It's costing us money, and it's costing us lives.

But we're not going anywhere. The job isn't done, and a majority of Americans believe that the job must be completed before we leave Iraq.


Enough said.

posted by Josh at 3:24 PM

 God Isn't "Cool"

During tonight's episode of Big Brother 4 (yes, I am ashamed to admit that I watch this show -- but there's something about the format that keeps me watching), one of the characters (and yes, they are nothing more - or less - than characters, since we get a formatted, edited view of their personalities) named Alison criticized Nathan for "talking about God."

Nathan is easily the most attractive male on the cast. He has a wholesome, All-American boy quality to him. Alison, who lists her personal hero as Britney Spears, was engaging in "girl talk" with some of the other characters about the attractive nature of some of the housguests when her criticism surfaced.

She said that she herself went to church, but was apparently turned off by Nathan's blatant faith (cut to a scene of Nathan reading the bible in a room).

One of the other houseguests, Dana, asked if he was Mormon, and in a classic display of silliness, one remarked that he was whatever they are in Oklahoma.

All of this points towards a trend I see in my peers. It's not "cool" to have faith. It's not "cool" to read the bible or talk about God. And I understand this view fully; in my teens, (I'm 23 in a week), I would make these same sort of comments about people motivated by any sort of religion. I know now that these types are to be applauded, because at least they're seeking a spiritual truth.

Additionally, it was interesting to see that CBS edited this in to their program. They had days of events to pack in to a 45 minute television program, but they chose this conversation.

I think it says a lot about the culture we live in, where faith is seen as a weakness of character rather than a virtue. In becoming closer to the Church in the past couple of years, though, I find it very encouraging that some segments of the population still see faith as the key.

Sometimes I think it's the mass and the prayerful efforts of our monastaries that keep this world from falling apart at the seams.
posted by Josh at 1:51 AM

 Cardinal for the Cardinals!

St. Louis Post Dispatch: Chance of getting cardinal here may be dwindling

I like St. Louis well enough. Minus their football and baseball teams, of course. Chicago Jr., as we Chicago'ers like to call St. Louis, really should have a cardinal. Why not?
posted by Josh at 1:07 AM

 Bits and Bytes Key to Nature?

Reuters News: Bits and Bytes May Encode Nature's Secrets

Sounds both interesting and plausible to me.
posted by Josh at 12:57 AM

     Monday, July 14, 2003
 Should We Pray for Soldiers?

Corpus Christi Caller-Times: Catholic man says prayers for soldiers should end

The answer, my friends, is yes. Even though the Church was against the war in Iraq, the cold, hard fact of the matter is that we are there. And as a result, we have to pray for those who are in danger.
posted by Josh at 11:47 PM

     Sunday, July 13, 2003
 One for the Car

Anti-circumcision bumper stickers
posted by Josh at 7:54 PM

 View The Passion Trailer

Thanks to Catholic Light, I found a link for the trailer.

Download it here.
posted by Josh at 5:10 AM

 Highlights From The Passion Trailer


I'm going to offer a few reasons for all of you to find this trailer somehow. I don't know if the studio has officially released it yet, but a friend of mine passed it along to me. Here are some reflections from the first moving shots I've seen of the movie:

1) THE SOUNDTRACK - Intense and certainly unsettling. It really sets the mood for what we're watching on the screen.

2) THE GORE - It's certain that the crucifixion wasn't without bloody messes, and Gibson makes sure we have just that. Why is this important? Because of the emotional reaction it provides. We see our Savior in a great amount of pain, and I think we suffer right along with him in this film. And that's what we should do.

3) MARY - Obviously, Gibson felt the need to portray the loving, gentle nature of Mary in this film. My heart skipped a beat near the end, in the pieta scene where Our Lady holds a dead Christ. The actoress' gaze is perfect. It's everything I've always imagined in my mind's eye.

4) IMAGERY - There is, at least in this trailer, a "Good vs. Evil" theme. A snake makes its way out of the shadows in once scene, and after the crucifixion, is crushed by a boot.

5) GRANDEUR - Christ isn't sent before an audience of 20 in this movie. He is convicted by the masses. Lots of extras, lots of chaos.

I'm not afraid to admit that I cried after viewing this trailer. The guttoral, aesthetic reaction that these scenes produce are just incredible.

I can't wait for the movie.
posted by Josh at 4:07 AM

     Saturday, July 12, 2003
 I Saw The Passion Trailer!

Saw it tonight for the first time. A friend of mine obtained it from somewhere and sent it to me. Let me tell you, folks... This is going to be an awesome movie.
posted by Josh at 9:44 PM

 Reflections Upon This Evening's Mass

I went to mass this evening because I am, by design, a late-riser. I decided to try a parish I had only visited once before, me being new to the area.

St. Mary Immaculate in Plainfield is very beautiful, and also very contemporary. I'm typically not a fan of the newer churches that tend to hide the tabernacle over in the corner somewhere because it doesn't quite look right with the ultra-modern alter. But the design of the place really works for me.

Anyway, the music was top-notch. Enjoyed it.

The most significant thing about the mass, though, and the thing that prompts me to write about it now, is that right after the Eucharistic prayer, the priest held the hosts up to the faithful and stressed the true presence of Jesus.

One of the biggest problems I see in members of the Church is either a denial of that true presence or an ignorance of it. Either they don't know, or don't believe. And that's sad.

So hats off to this priest for taking a minute to stress why we were there in the first place.
posted by Josh at 7:47 PM

 Chance to Take Action

From Your Catholic Voice:
Dear fellow Catholics:

This is a call for solidarity among Catholics. President Bush nominated Alabama Attorney General William Pryor, a devout Catholic, for the US Court of Appeals. His confirmation in the Senate is being opposed mainly because he has answered the call of the Church to "faithful citizenship". We urgently need your help by calling your senators' offices right away. The timing is urgent. A vote is scheduled in the Judiciary committee on Thursday, July 10 and a full floor vote will follow closely behind on July 16.

Please forward this call for solidarity to your Catholic family, friends and neighbors.

During his confirmation hearing a couple weeks ago they asked Bill Pryor the expected stinging questions about his past criticism of Roe v Wade and his defense of the rights of the unborn. They really tried to make him squirm, but not Bill Pryor. "I stand by that comment," he told one senator. In case they didn't understand him, he clarified with another senator, "I believe that abortion is the taking of human life." The senators were stunned. Never had they heard such candor. They had run into Bill Pryor, a Catholic "faithful citizen".

The campaign to deny confirmation to this accomplished public servant with a stellar record of public service and competency in the law is now in full swing. After the hearing, opposing senators did something unheard of. They submitted to him over 250 complex legal questions requiring detailed, lengthy answers. That is harassment.

Personal phone calls to your two US Senators' offices are the only way to get Bill Pryor's nomination confirmed. Each call is critically important, because senators are not used to hearing from Catholic voters.

Please tell your senators' offices that you are a Catholic and you are asking for your senator to vote for his confirmation. Tell them Bill Pryor is an accomplished and honorable man that deserves to be seated on the Court of Appeals.

To find your senators and phone numbers for their Washington office, visit

If you wish to call your senators state offices, the number is listed in your local phone directory. Email to let us know when you called your senators. Please list their names and any insights you may have gained from the call. We will not be able to acknowledge every email, but be assured your call will make a big difference in this process.

Bill Pryor is being opposed because his political life is led by a conscience informed by his Catholic faith. To deny him a seat on the appeals court would be a chilling precedent for this nation whose founding was informed by Judeo-Christian principles such as the understanding that rights, like the right to life, were an endowment from our Creator.

As Pope John Paul II has told us in an address to ambassadors from around the globe, "disqualifying the informed Christian conscience from political life would open the road to moral anarchy...The oppression of the weak by the strong would be the obvious consequence." Oops - isn't that what abortion, euthanasia and embryonic research are all about?

Join Your Catholic Voice at Receive information on the teaching of the John Paul II and information for coordinated Catholic social and political action related to our Four Pillars of Life, Family, Freedom and Solidarity.

We are Sincerely Yours in Christ.....

Ray Flynn
Your Catholic Voice

posted by Josh at 7:36 PM

 Saying Goodbye

Herald & Review: Just like Starting over: St. Patrick says a fond farewell to priest, while Shelbyville church says joyful hello

Fr. Don was a great help to me at St. Pat's, when I had decided to come in to full communion with the Church. I know that he was very saddened to leave, but he'll do well with his new assignment. I owe him a lot.
posted by Josh at 3:12 PM

     Friday, July 11, 2003
 More For Our Growing "Why Change Will Happen" Files... U.S. Catholic Leaders Hold Private Summit

The heat is on. U.S. Bishops acknowledge this. American laymen desire and NEED change. And that's precisely why Mary McCarty's editorial (see post below) is totally off-track.

(oh, and yes, I borrowed the title for this post from Mark Shea -- imitation is indeed the best form of flattery.)
posted by Josh at 3:50 PM

     Thursday, July 10, 2003
 Classic "Ignore the Good Stuff" Editorial..

The Day: Despite Promises, The Catholic Church Hasn't Changed

It never ceases to amaze me that folks like Mary McCarty write articles like this without acknowledging those who are ACTIVELY promoting change. She totally ignores the favorable reception generated by the appointment of Bishop Sean O'Malley to the Archdiocese of Boston. She doesn't do what most freshmen rhetoric students know to include: a counter-point. Furthermore, comments like this irritate the hell out of me:
It would be a fitting penance for a church that too often prefers to pretend that nothing ever happened.
I think the American Church has already suffered, acknowledged her wrong-doings, and is a) trying to fix those mistakes and b) attempting to move on.

The lack of thought that goes in to a piece like this leaves me shaking my head.
posted by Josh at 6:12 PM

 Venezuelan "terror laboratories" target Church?

Venezuela's Electronic News: Venezuelan Roman Catholic Church prepares for smear campaign against bishops and clergy

This is an odd article.
posted by Josh at 6:01 PM

     Wednesday, July 09, 2003
 When Adults Sound Silly - and Stupid

Idaho Mountain Express: When adults sound silly—and stupid
Start with the leader of Arizona Catholics, Bishop Thomas O'Brien, of Phoenix, whose car struck and killed a pedestrian. O'Brien didn't stop, he later said, because he thought he had hit a dog or large rock.

O'Brien's explanation was lame from the get-go: before police tracked him down, the bishop had two days to examine the windshield, half of which was splintered and caved in, which was certainly more damage than an errant rock or dog could've inflicted. Even if a dog had caused such damage, wouldn't a compassionate prelate of the Catholic Church stop for a poor animal he might've injured or killed?

The Vatican forced O'Brien, who faces a criminal trial and perhaps prison time, to resign. Worse for O'Brien, he has the reputation of covering up sex crimes by predator priests and stonewalling law enforcement investigators. What a jury would swallow his dog-or-rock excuse for hit-and-run?
1) I don't buy O'Brien's excuse. He got scared and he left the scene of an accident, knowing full well what he did. Ask yourself how the laws of physics would allow for a dog to do windshield damage, and you're left with only one conclusion: the dog had to be flying. The rock excuse is also lame. How could you even bring this up with the dog excuse? There's a huge difference between striking something organic and getting clinked by a rock.

2) O'Brien didn't personally cover up anything that I know about. From what I understand, he took the blow for the diocese at large. I could be wrong, but this shouldn't damage his credibility if I have the story straight.

posted by Josh at 2:55 AM

 Good News From Our Manilla Bishops

Manilla Bulletin Online: Bishops pledge to reject contributions from corrupt

Glad to hear it.
posted by Josh at 2:47 AM

 Go See Therese if You Can

Official Homepage of Therese: The Story of Saint Therese of Lisieux

This film sounds like it's pretty good. So go see it if it's playing in an area near you. Always nice to support Catholic film-makers, Mel Gibson included.
posted by Josh at 2:37 AM

     Monday, July 07, 2003
 Stem-Cell Research, the Church, the EU, and Me

Financial Times: Catholic nations may reject stem cell guide

I hate this issue. I don't like it because it's sticky and very uncertain in my mind. I agree with the argument that "life begins at the stage of fertilisation, any research using tissue from human embryos runs the risk of lending abortion a veneer of scientific respectability," but I also have to wonder about what they're doing with those embryos, and what the alternatives are.

I know that in vitro procedures produce multiple embryos. Many of these are discarded after successful relay to the mother. They're discarded. Thrown away. They have no viable use anymore. And while I find this to be both horrible and tragic, I wonder if it wouldn't be better to use these embryos for the saving of lives.

The people who do these procedures obviously don't respect life at this stage. The in vitro procedures are going to continue, whether I like it or not. And thus, more embryos will be produced than are developed. So if the choice is between throwing them away or keeping them to help benefit the lives of others, I choose the latter.

Like I said, tough subject.

posted by Josh at 6:10 PM

 My State Now Covers Contraception

ABC 7 Chicago: Governor signs bill requiring insurers to cover contraceptives

I'm not proud of this at all. I had hoped for better from my state. My favorite quote on this comes from a Chicago Liberal:
Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, a sponsor of the bill, said Illinois becomes the 21st state to mandate such coverage.

"Women are forced to make very, very tough decisions because of all of the out-of-pocket expenses that they have to incur to cover contraception," she said. "Today ... we changed things."
Let's unpack this and figure out exactly what it means.

It means that we, in our culture of death (I use that term knowingly, with a historical perspective behind me), have become hyper-sexual. Sex is such a basic, intrinsic part of our lives according to Feigenholtz, that she can't imagine women having to choose between contraception and whatever else one might need during the course of a basic month.

I first heard about this story while driving today, and a femi-Nazi did a prototypical "This is freedom for women! Down with the male establishment!" speech that always leaves me angry and laughing at the same time.

If this is freedom, then I guess I don't want any part of it. Thank God for the Church and her common-sense stance on such basic issues.

posted by Josh at 5:56 PM

     Sunday, July 06, 2003
 Destructive Competition

BBC News: Hackers compete to deface sites

These kids need to find something better to do with their free time, I think. Even if I do admire the technical skill/knowledge required...
posted by Josh at 7:51 PM

 Sad News

AP: Roman Catholic priest gunned down in Pakistan

I hope we all put in a special prayer for those priests who serve in "hot spots," especially in the Middle East. May God protect them.
posted by Josh at 2:24 AM

     Saturday, July 05, 2003
 Bob & Chronicles

I'm a huge Bob Dylan fan, and like many, I've been awaiting his autobiography, Chronicles, for quite some time. The New York Times carried a cute comic strip on what's taking the editors so long to publish. Check it out here.
posted by Josh at 1:38 AM

     Friday, July 04, 2003
 The True Danger of Beer

Worth a good chuckle.

posted by Josh at 2:59 PM

 Catholic Fourth Reading Possibilities...

CatholicNews: Catholic's role in establishing U.S. freedoms outlined in new book

Sounds like it might be worth checking out to me.

posted by Josh at 2:43 PM

 Happy Fourth!

Hope you all have a good one.
posted by Josh at 2:28 AM

     Thursday, July 03, 2003
 Holy Boiling Holy Water!

Reuters: Bishops Boil Holy Water to Protect Fish

Whatever it takes to keep things clean...
posted by Josh at 7:49 PM

 Giving Us the Finger...

Fr. Bryce Sibley gives us the finger today.

That thing looks like it should belong in a wax musem... What do I know, though.

posted by Josh at 7:42 PM

     Wednesday, July 02, 2003
 Sexuality as Identity

Due to a recent post on Catholic Light, I started ruminating over old thoughts I've had in the past on human sexuality and how it defines us.

I don't have any problem with homosexuality. Whether the cause is biological or behaivoral (or a combination of the two, although I have never encountered sound data to suggest that the cause has anything to do with genetics or biology) does not really concern me. It's an irrelevant question so far as I am concerned because people are what they are, in spite of the intrinsic cause.

My problem, though, comes from the fact that certain individuals allow their sexuality to define who they are. Instead of sexuality representing a single aspect of personal definition, some allow it to dominate their lives. While this condition is not exclusive to the homosexual population, I see it most in this facet of society.

Take the people in these pictures
(**WARNING: Nudity, most of it not flattering**) as an example of what I'm trying to get at here. Because homosexuality is such an overwhelming factor in their sense of self, these individuals take to the streets in lewd and boisterous displays.

Is this kind of public display necesarry for the average heterosexual? Perhaps not, because heterosexuals represent the majority. We do not have the need to put our sexuality on parade. But now, I ask, why should the homosexual who has come to terms with his sexual preference find the desire to do this? Why is it necesarry to show the world how "proud" you are to be gay and "uncloseted"? I do not put my heterosexuality on display, and I think it's reasonable for me to request that you refrain from such displays yourself.

posted by Josh at 11:17 PM

 New Species?

MSNBC: Giant sea specimen baffles scientists

Could be. This thing looks massive.
posted by Josh at 4:10 PM

 Uncle Jesse, Guide Us

What Would Uncle Jesse Do?

Ammend the common "WWJD?" to "WWUJD?" and now you're talking.
posted by Josh at 1:30 AM

     Tuesday, July 01, 2003
 King Gets it Right

Book Magazine: America the Literate

I've read Jonathan Franzen's Corrections and How to Be Alone, and I must admit that I bought in to a few of Franzen's social critiques. I was, at one time, amongst those who rallied behind the "damn-the-Internet-smash-your-TV's" cry in a psuedo-intellectual attempt to explain "the dumbing down of America."

In this beautifully satirical essay, Stephen King shows us why we don't really have anything to worry about. My favorite point from the article:
Let us begin with Ulysses, James Joyce's tale of Leopold Bloom's big day. In 1998, eighty-one million copies of Ulysses were sold - not worldwide, but in the United States alone. ince there are roughly 290 million people in America, the math works out to one copy of Ulysses for every three and a half Americans. I think even Mr. Franzen would have to admit that, when it comes to serious literature, "Ulysses pretty much wrote the book." And in the vernacular of sales, these are mighty tall tickets.
King is dead on. If we are truly seeing the Death of Literature, so called "high art," who the heck is responsible for the sales of Joyce?

Good one, Steve.

posted by Josh at 11:17 PM


Today, I had the pleasure of speaking to a very nice diocesan priest about various religious vocational programs.

It was a pleasureable experience, and I hope other young men who wander upon this blog might at least discuss their options with a vocational director of some sort. We can't arrive at any conclusions unless we consider what's available...

posted by Josh at 5:39 PM

saint some days

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me
Nor do I really know myself,
And the fact that I think I am following your will
Does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you
Does in fact please you.
And I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this,
You will lead me by the right road
Though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though, I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, And you will never leave me to face my struggles alone.

-- Thomas Merton


  • 02.04

    Catholic/Christian Blogs
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