Sunday, December 28, 2003

Merry Christmas!

I hope everybody enjoyed it this year. I had a fantastic time, with family who spoiled me to death (really, folks, when I ask for clothes because that's about all I am going to be able to take with me in August, that's what I need.... but I'll take all the other fun stuff too!!).
posted by Josh at 12:03 AM

     Tuesday, December 23, 2003
It's About Time

AP: Lenny Bruce Pardoned for 4-Letter Offense
posted by Josh at 8:20 PM

     Sunday, December 21, 2003
Right Now...

...I'm only contemplating one thing: what's the origin of "The Coffee Kid," ca. 1972?

Only Chris at Maine Catholic and Beyond truly knows.
posted by Josh at 6:53 PM

This Blows My Mind

Reuters: New Infrared Telescope Lifts Universe's Dusty Veil

The image released in this news article is from a galaxy 72,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles away. The light from Messier 81 - and thus, the image we are looking at - is approximately 12,000,000 years old.

posted by Josh at 1:36 AM

     Thursday, December 18, 2003
The Sleeper!

Reuters: Nader Looks to Another White House Bid in 2004

Don't look now! Ralph Nader is going to sweep it all up in 2004!
posted by Josh at 10:47 PM

Dems Scream "Conspiracy!"

The Washington Post: Albright's joke joins growing list of Bush theories
Madeleine Albright, the secretary of state in the Clinton administration, in a conversation with Morton Kondracke, executive editor of Roll Call and a Fox News Channel political analyst, suggested that Osama bin Laden has been captured by U.S. forces and will soon be produced to the public.

"Do you suppose," she asked, "that the Bush administration has Osama bin Laden hidden away somewhere and will bring him out before the election?"

Mrs. Albright said last night she was kidding. "She was not smiling when she said this," Mr. Kondracke said.
This is getting hilarious.
posted by Josh at 2:07 PM

What Better Not Be In My Stalking

Crooners with funny haircuts and no song-writing/instrumental ability just aren't my style.
posted by Josh at 12:30 PM

"They're Still Not Doing Enough!"

AP: Drop in Jobless Claims Boosts Dow 55
posted by Josh at 12:25 PM

Grasping at Straws

AP: Wesley Clark Says Jobs Aren't Coming Back
BERLIN, N.H. (AP) - Democratic presidential hopeful Wesley Clark said Thursday that even though the economy appears to be getting back on track, jobs aren't coming with it and President Bush doesn't appear to know how to fix the problem.

As Clark criticized the Bush administration for lacking a program to create jobs, the Labor Department reported that new claims for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week and reached their lowest level since Nov. 1.
Who takes this guy seriously?
posted by Josh at 10:35 AM

Why This is Filed Under "Oddly Enough," is Anyone's Guess

Reuters: Pope Likes Mel Gibson's Film on Christ's Passion
posted by Josh at 10:29 AM

     Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Papa Gives The Passion 2 Miters Up

According to the Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan, John Paul II's reaction is simple: "It is as it was."
posted by Josh at 11:30 PM

     Tuesday, December 16, 2003
The Best Thing You'll Read This Week

From the December issue of Crisis: The Problem of Evil
posted by Josh at 11:15 PM


More on Affirmative Action Bake Sales

Fox News: The Conservative Cookie Rebellion
The university allowed a handful of violent students to decide which political views could or could not be expressed on campus. This is called a "heckler's veto"; it is the last resort of those who cannot win an argument through facts or reason.
Unfortunately, the "heckler's veto" is becoming, more and more, the predominant tactic of the left. Liberal Democrats are losing completely in the forum of ideas, so their natural response is often to perpetuate violence or promote some act that takes away the individual's right to free speech. Remember the Liberal Mantra:

"We're the party for All Races, All Religions, All Classes, All Sexualities, and All Moral Perspectives. We Protect Freedom of Speech from the Evil Republicans (tm) Who Wish to Take Away Your Rights to Freedom. In Short, We Protect YOU!"

(So long as you agree with our political agenda. Failure to do so negates any or all of the aims above.)

posted by Josh at 4:39 PM

The Culture of Death Gets More Ammo

Reuters: US Considers Nonprescription 'Morning-After Pill'
posted by Josh at 12:11 AM

     Monday, December 15, 2003

Why Has Nobody Else Made This Connection?

Theodore Kaczynski

posted by Josh at 11:47 PM

Hilarious Piece of Satire

From Jeff over at the Curt Jester. Enjoy "A Day in the Life of a Married Priest"
posted by Josh at 5:22 PM

The Always-Intelligent Oswald Sobrino...

Gets it right on Iraq, the Pope, and Aquinas.
posted by Josh at 2:27 PM


The Mass as Sacrifice

One of the biggest gaps in my Catholic education is the long-held notion that the Mass is comparable to the Holy Sacrifice paid for us all in the crucifixion. The Church seems to have played down this extended metaphor following Vatican II, and this beautiful idea has fallen out of fashion.

And that's a terrible shame. Young Catholics like myself are thirsty for not only the spiritual in a world that continues to move more increasingly towards the secular, but also for Orthodoxy; we want to be able to connect to the Church of the Ages, represented throughout the history of Western Civilization.

With that in mind, I was fortunate enough to have picked up St. Alphonsus de Liguori's The Holy Eucharist this week, and have drawn a great deal of invaluable information from it. Since the complete and unabridged copy of the Doctor's work has fallen out of print, I wanted to share an essential (yet small) chapter from it (emphasis is mine). After St. Alphonsus describes the basic parts of the Mass, he goes on to say:
In order to hear Mass with devotion, it is necessary to know that the sacrifice of the altar is the same as that which was once offered on Calvary, with this difference, that on Calvary the blood of Jesus Christ was really shed, but on the altar it is shed only in a mystical manner. Had you been present on Calvary, with what devotion and tenderness would you have attended that great sacrifice! Enliven your faith, then, and consider that the same action is performed on the altar, and that the same sacrifice is offered not only by the priest, but also by all who attend Mass. Thus, all perform, in a certain manner, in the office of priests during the celebration of the Mass, in which the merits of the Passion of our Savior are applied to us in a particular manner.

It is, moreover, necessary to know that the sacrifice of the Mass has been instituted for four ends. 1. To honor God. 2. To satisfy for our sins. 3. To thank God for his benefits. 4. To obtain the divine graces. Thence arises the following considerations which may aid us to hear Mass with great fruit:

1. By the oblation of the person of Jesus Christ, God and man, to the Eternal Father, we give to God infinite honor; we give him greater honor than we would receive from the oblation of the lives of all men and all angels. 2. By the oblation of Jesus Christ in the Mass, we offer to God a complete satisfaction for all the sins of men, and especially for the sins of those who are present at Mass; to whom is applied the same divine blood, by which the human race was redeemed on Calvary. Thus, by each Mass, more satisfaction is made to God than by any other expiatory work. But although the Mass is of infinite value, God accepts it only in a finite manner, according to the dispositions of those who attend the holy sacrifice, and, therefore, it is useful to hear several masses. 3. In the Mass we render to God an adequate thanksgiving for all the benefits that he has bestowed upon us. 4. During the Mass, we obtain all the graces that we desire for ourselves and for others. We are unworthy of receiving any grace from God, but Jesus Christ has given us the means of obtaining all graces, if, while we offer him to God in the Mass, we ask them of the Eternal Father in his name, for then Jesus himself unites with us in prayer. If you knew that while you pray to the Lord, the divine Mother , along with the whole of paradise, united with you, with what confidence would you pray? Now when you ask of God any grace during Mass, Jesus (whose prayers are more efficious than the prayers of all who are in heaven) prays for you, and offers in your behalf the merits of his Passion.

You will do well, then, to divide the Mass into four parts, as follows:

1. From the Beginning to the Gospel: Offer the sacrifice of the Mass to honor God, saying: My God, I adore Thy majesty. I would wish to honor Thee as much as Thou deservst; but what honor can I, a miserable sinner, give Thee? I offer Thee the honor which Jesus renders to Thee on this altar.

2. From the Gospel to the Elevation: Offer the sacrifice in satisfaction for your sins, saying: Lord, I detest above every evil all the offences that I have given Thee: I am sorry for them above all things, and in satisfaction for them I offer Thy Son, who sacrifices himself again for us on this altar, and through his merits I pray Thee to pardon me, and to give me holy perseverance.

3. From the Elevation to the Communion: Offer Jesus to the Eternal Father in thanksgiving for all the graces that he has bestowed upon you, saying: Lord, I am unable to thank Thee; I offer Thee the blood of Jesus Christ in this Mass, and in all the Masses that are at the moment celebrated throughout the world.

4. From the Communion to the End: You will ask with confidence the graces that you need, and particularly sorrow for your sins, the gift of perseverance, and of the divine love; and you will recommend to God in a special manner the persons with whom you live, your relatives, poor sinners, and the souls in purgatory. I do not find it amiss if you recite vocal prayers during Mass, but I desire that you should not fail at the same time to fulfill the four duties to God that I have pointed out for you; namely, honor, expiation, thanksgiving, and prayer. I desire you to hear as many Masses as possible. Every Mass heard in this manner will obtain for you a treasure of merits.
How beautiful is this system given to us by St. Alphonsus? Sometimes I have a hard time "getting in" to a Mass, but with this framework to help support me a bit more, I think I should be able to grow in love with the Most Blessed Sacrament and the celebration of the Mass, something I already love beyond description.
posted by Josh at 1:54 PM

monkthought: Unique Christian perspective

I just wanted to draw attention to monkthought :: servant-striving, a great blog kept by a Christian who has a unique Buddhist perspective. Not too many of that sort around in the blogosphere, so keep him on your radars.
posted by Josh at 12:45 PM An adventure in to the bizarre

This amazing website has a list of children raised in difficult social situations, including being reared by animals. Many of the stories contained herein are tragic, and in some cases represent horrible neglect.
posted by Josh at 12:35 PM

Tell him George says howdy... Let's negotiate, Saddam says
"He said: 'I'm Saddam Hussein, I'm the president of Iraq and I'm willing to negotiate'," recalled Major Brian Reed, operations officer for the first brigade of the Fourth Infantry Division.

Major Reed said he responded to Saddam: "President Bush sends his regards."

posted by Josh at 12:28 PM


Priestly Politics

Due to a comment on a post I made a couple of days ago concerning Zell Miller, I began thinking about the role politics plays for the priest, both internally and externally.

Jason from Discernment Group writes:

As far as the Democratic/Republican debate, I am a Republican. But, at the same time, as a priest, one cannot let a political ideology cloud their thinking. Actually, as a priest, one would probably need to keep their political leanings to themselves. Why? Because it effects our ability to be a neutral critic. Our credibility as a critic would be questioned, as well. We have to be able to stand strong against whatever ills may come. From the pulpit, it'd be fine to speak out against abortion and the like. But, to say "Vote for Bush," that would be illegal by canon law, and we'd have to talk about losing not-for profit status with the government. Christ is so much more than can fit into an ideology and political party. I often struggle with how my strong political feelings will effect me or my preaching.
Jason is essentially correct that a priest's aims are higher than any one political ideology. This sits well with me, because I have never considered myself to "be" a Republican/Democrat. I'm not registered with any party (yet), because I have minor problems with every political group, even the Republicans.

Jason is also correct in that the priest cannot openly - in a church forum - endorse a candidate. What a priest can do, however, is remind his parishioners that they have a moral obligation to choose their candidates wisely. While not endorsing any particular candidate directly, a priest in his homily can mention the obligation we as Catholics have to make solid, educated decisions regarding the election of our leaders. To me, this is enough; promoting awareness to moral issues and how they effect leadership in individuals is an effective way of getting the point across.

And your average weekly Mass-attending Catholic - who knows well the battle we fight against, say, infanticide - is going to get the gist of what we mean by encouraging political awareness.

posted by Josh at 11:40 AM

Zell Miller again

BPNews: Senator's change of heart: from pro-choice to pro-life

Ahh, Zell. One of the few Democrats with a remaining conscience.
posted by Josh at 10:57 AM

Goin' Through Changes

Because this blog isn't viewable (at all) with Netscape or Mozilla (which I have recently switched to, due to improved loading times), I've re-worked the template for the blog. Hopefully by tomorrow I'll have restored all buttons and links.

Most of the archives will still look horrid on other browsers, but that'll have to do; I'm not really all that excited about changing the size of the opening line on each entry.

I'm back!
posted by Josh at 2:20 AM

     Thursday, December 11, 2003
Zell Miller Rules

From a life-long Democrat, to paraphrase part of an interview on Hannity and Colmes this evening:

"Basically you have two groups in the Democratic party nowadays. The far-far left, and the far-left."

The Democrats almost won my vote when I first voted for president, but this simple fact, as Zell Miller wonderfully articulates, becomes more evident by the day.
posted by Josh at 1:37 AM

     Monday, December 08, 2003
 All I want for Christmas... a GloFish!
posted by Josh at 2:20 AM

 That stupid statue still drawing debate

The Topeka-Capital Journal: WU statue protested

It appears as if the statue mocking the bishop's miter as a phallic symbol, installed at a Kansas university, hasn't been removed. Strange that the university maintains its position.
posted by Josh at 1:33 AM

 False accusor gets jail time

nZoom (New Zealand): Jail sentence for false abuse claim

It is clear that there are other victims of the recent scandals...
posted by Josh at 1:28 AM

 Sticking it to 'em

La Crosse Tribune: Conservative Catholic group targets Doyle, Johnsrud

The American Life League's Crusade for the Defense of Our Catholic Church appears to be doing good work.
posted by Josh at 1:26 AM

 The Role of the Church in the Holy Land

The word out of Jerusalem is that Catholics have the responsibility to push for reconcilliation and the promotion of peace in the Holy Land. I agree totally with these aims and goals. It's hard not to.

What I do disagree with is a portion of this statement as reported by Zenit:
"In the case of terrorism," it adds, "there are two guilty parties: first, those who carry out such action, those who plan and support them, and second, those who create situations of injustice which provoke terrorism."
I fail to see how any injustice is ultimately to blame for the acts of the terrorist, who kills innocent individuals in the name of a Higher Cause. This view extends from crackpots who blow up abortion clinics or governmental buildings to the fanatical Muslim populations.

We hear a lot from certain individuals that America Was to Blame! (tm) for 9/11, and this nonsensical view of thing provokes immediate anger from your humble blogger; terrorism is never an acceptable mode of political/religious statement. Therefore, I say blame for terrorism rests solely upon those "who carry out such action, [and] those who support them."

Otherwise, this is a fine declaration by our Arab Catholic brothers and sisters.
posted by Josh at 1:23 AM

 Umbert the Unborn rules!

umbert 65

I heard earlier in the week on "Morning Air with Jeff Cavins" about this comic strip, which now runs daily on Definitely a cute pro-life statement. Check him out!
posted by Josh at 12:57 AM

     Saturday, December 06, 2003
 #11 Illini Roll


Roger Powell, from my old high school, slams one down for the Illini.

Go Illini. College basketball is great - in theory, no over paid egos. Flaunting anything results in a technical. The game is about team play versus a couple superstars dribbling down and shooting. I strongly dislike the NBA, but college basketball is where it's at. Oski-Wow-Wow!
posted by Josh at 2:55 PM

 It's December already?!

Man oh man, it's hard to believe that we're already in to Advent and the Holidays are right around the corner. For the most part, I've been taking it easy while trying to earn a few dollars here and there (and fitting enough time in to the schedule for blogging or keeping up on the Mark Shea arguments even, but I am still around) and have been spending a lot of time in prayer as I approach The Decision about my vocation. I grow more excited and more peaceful about it every passing day.

I hope all of you are having a great Advent so far!
posted by Josh at 12:40 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


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