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It seems Pope Francis needs to brush up on his Tertullian!

It has been reported (in The ChristLast Media, I must note) that the current Pope does not like the phrase "lead us not into temptation...

"Let no freedom be allowed to novelty, because it is not fitting that any addition should be made to antiquity. Let not the clear faith and belief of our forefathers be fouled by any muddy admixture." -- Pope Sixtus III

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Israeli crackup continues apace.

Israeli Couple Attacks Christian Shrine

A distraught Israeli couple, joined by another woman, entered one of Christianity's holiest sites Friday and set off explosions, police said, sparking a large riot in this biblical town in northern

At least eight people, including five police, were injured in the melee, which appeared to be under control by late Friday.

The assailants, who were not believed to be linked to any Jewish nationalist group, were disguised as Christian pilgrims when they entered the Basilica of the Annunciation, police said.

They remained barricaded inside the building for several hours before police broke through a crowd of several thousand angry protesters and took the three away.

A witness who identified herself only by her first name, Rouan, said the church was crowded with worshippers praying for the coming Easter holiday at the time of the blast, which apparently did not cause any major damage.

Police officials said the Jerusalem couple had been treated for psychiatric problems in the past and authorities had questioned them this week and threatened to place their children in foster care.

May God have mercy on their souls.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. No information was available on the woman who was with them.

Israeli Public Security Minister Gideon Ezra said the attack did not appear to have nationalist motivations. He said the husband was Jewish and the wife was Christian. He also said he had been in touch with local Christian leaders to calm the tensions.

The church is at the site where Christians believe the Angel Gabriel appeared before the Virgin Mary and foretold the birth of Jesus.

Nazareth, the boyhood town of Jesus, is in northern Israel. It is inhabited by Christian and Muslim Arabs and religious tensions have boiled over in the past, with the two sides in a dispute over attempts to build a mosque next to the church.


KCCI 8 Iowa: CBS Sportline Offers Free Video Of First Three NCAA Rounds

All 56 games from the first three rounds of the NCAA tournament will be available for free on CBS SportsLine.com.

The site is offering a limited number of VIP passes to the video-on-demand games.

Those who sign up for the video service get real-time live game broadcasts of CBS Sports television coverage of NCAA March Madness streaming on your broadband-connected computer.

To sign up, go to NCAAsports.com

The Theology of the Body: 47. Eros and Ethos Meet and Bear Fruit in the Human Heart

In his General Audience of 5 November 2004, the Holy Father explained that the warning of Christ against looking lustfully at a woman is less an accusation than an appeal, that what the heart desires (eros) should also be what is right (ethos).

Eros and Ethos Meet and Bear Fruit in the Human Heart

On Wednesday, 5 November, the weekly audience was held in the Paul VI Hall. The Holy Father delivered the following message.

1. In the course of our weekly reflections on Christ's enunciation in the Sermon on the Mount, in which, in reference to the commandment, "You shall not commit adultery," he compared lust (looking lustfully) with adultery committed in the heart, we are trying to answer the question: do these words only accuse the human heart, or are they first and foremost an appeal addressed to it? Of course, this concerns an appeal of ethical character, an important and essential appeal for the ethos of the Gospel. We answer that the above-mentioned words are above all an appeal.

At the same time, we are trying to bring our reflections nearer to the routes taken, in its sphere, by the conscience of contemporary men. In the preceding cycle of our considerations we mentioned "eros." This Greek term, which passed from mythology to philosophy, then to the literary language and finally to the spoken language, unlike the word "ethos," is alien and unknown to biblical language. If, in the present analyses of biblical texts, we use the term "ethos," known to the Septuagint and to the New Testament, we do so because of the general meaning it has acquired in philosophy and theology, embracing in its content the complex spheres of good and evil, depending on human will and subject to the laws of conscience and the sensitivity of the human heart. Besides being the proper name of the mythological character, the term eros has a philosophical meaning in the writings of Plato,(1) which seems to be different from the common meaning and also from what is usually attributed to it in literature. Obviously, we must consider here the vast range of meanings. They differ from one another in their finer shades, as regards both the mythological character and the philosophical content, and above all the somatic or sexual point of view. Taking into account such a vast range of meanings, it is opportune to evaluate, in an equally differentiated way, what is related to eros(2) and is defined as erotic.

Connotation of the term "eros"

2. According to Plato, eros represents the interior force that drags man toward everything good, true and beautiful. This attraction indicates, in this case, the intensity of a subjective act of the human spirit. In the common meaning, on the contrary—as also in literature—this attraction seems to be first and foremost of a sensual nature. It arouses the mutual tendency of both the man and the woman to draw closer to each other, to the union of bodies, to that union of which Genesis 2:24 spoke. It is a question here of answering the question whether eros connotes the same meaning in the biblical narrative (especially in Gn 2:23-25). This narrative certainly bears witness to the mutual attraction and the perennial call of the human person—through masculinity and femininity—to that unity in the flesh which, at the same time, must realize the communion-union of persons. Precisely because of this interpretation of eros (as well as of its relationship with ethos), the way in which we understand the lust spoken about in the Sermon on the Mount takes on fundamental importance.

Danger of reductivism and exclusivism

3. As it seems, common language considers above all that meaning of lust which we previously defined as psychological and which could also be called sexological. This is done on the basis of premises which are limited mainly to the naturalistic, somatic and sensualistic interpretation of human eroticism. (It is not a question here, in any way, of reducing the value of scientific researches in this field, but we wish to call attention to the danger of reductivism and exclusivism.) Well, in the psychological and sexological sense, lust indicates the subjective intensity of straining toward the object because of its sexual character (sexual value). That straining has its subjective intensity due to the specific attraction which extends its dominion over man's emotional sphere and involves his corporeity (his somatic masculinity or femininity). In the Sermon on the Mount we hear of the concupiscence of the man who "looks at a woman lustfully." These words—understood in the psychological (sexological) sense—refer to the sphere of phenomena which in common language are, precisely, described as erotic. Within the limits of Matthew 5:27-28, it is a question only of the interior act. It is mainly those ways of acting and of mutual behavior of the man and the woman, which are the external manifestation of these interior acts, that are defined "erotic." Nevertheless, there seems to be no doubt that—reasoning in this way— it is almost necessary to put the sign of equality between erotic and what derives from desire (and serves to satisfy the lust of the flesh). If this were so, then the words of Christ according to Matthew 5:27-28 would express a negative judgment about what is erotic and, addressed to the human heart, would constitute at the same time a severe warning against eros.

Many shades of meaning of "eros"

4. However, we have already mentioned that the term eros has many semantic shades of meaning. Therefore, wishing to define the relationship of the enunciation of the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:27-28) with the wide sphere of erotic phenomena, that is, those mutual actions and ways of behaving through which man and woman approach each other and unite so as to be one flesh (cf. Gn 2:24), it is necessary to take into account the multiplicity of the semantic shades of meaning of eros. It seems possible, in fact, that in the sphere of the concept of eros—taking into account its Platonic meaning—there is room for that ethos, for those ethical and indirectly even theological contents which, in the course of our analyses, have been seen from Christ's appeal to the human heart in the Sermon on the Mount. Also knowledge of the multiple semantic nuances of eros and of what, in the differentiated experience and description of man, at various periods and various points of geographical and cultural longitude and latitude, is defined as erotic, can help in understanding the specific and complex riches of the heart, to which Christ appealed in Matthew 5:27-28.

The "ethos" of redemption

5. If we admit that eros means the interior force that attracts man toward what is true, good and beautiful, then, within the sphere of this concept, the way toward what Christ wished to express in the Sermon on the Mount, can also be seen to open. The words of Matthew 5:27-28, if they are an "accusation" of the human heart, are at the same time, even more, an appeal to it. This appeal is the specific category of the ethos of redemption. The call to what is true, good and beautiful means at the same time, in the ethos of redemption, the necessity of overcoming what is derived from lust in its three forms. It also means the possibility and the necessity of transforming what has been weighed down by the lust of the flesh. Furthermore, if the words of Matthew 5:27-28 represent this call, then they mean that, in the erotic sphere, eros and ethos do not differ from each other. They are not opposed to each other, but are called to meet in the human heart, and, in this meeting, to bear fruit. What is worthy of the human heart is that the form of what is erotic should be at the same time the form of ethos, that is, of what is ethical.

Ethos and ethics

6. This affirmation is important for ethos and at the same time for ethics. A negative meaning is often connected with the latter concept, because ethics bears with it norms, commandments and prohibitions. We are commonly inclined to consider the words of the Sermon on the Mount on lust (on looking lustfully) exclusively as a prohibition—a prohibition in the sphere of eros (that is, in the erotic sphere). Often we are content merely with this understanding, without trying to reveal the deep and essential values that this prohibition covers, that is, ensures. Not only does it protect them, but it also makes them accessible and liberates them, if we learn to open our heart to them.

In the Sermon on the Mount Christ teaches us this and directs man's heart toward these values.


1) According to Plato, man, placed between the world of the senses and the world of Ideas, has the destiny of passing from the first to the second. The world of Ideas, however, is not able by itself to overcome the world of the senses. Only eros, congenital in man, can do that. When man begins to have a presentiment of Ideas, thanks to contemplation of the objects existing in the world of the senses, he receives the impulse from eros, that is, from the desire for pure Ideas. Eros, in fact, is the guiding of the "sensual" or "sensitive" man toward what is transcendent: the force that directs the soul toward the world of Ideas. In the Symposium, Plato describes the stages of this influence of eros: the latter raises man's soul from the beauty of a single body to that of all bodies, and so to the beauty of knowledge and finally to the very idea of Beauty (cf. Symposio 211; Repubblica 514).

Eros is neither purely human nor divine: it is something intermediate (daimonion) and intermediary. Its principal characteristic is permanent aspiration and desire. Even when it seems to give freely, eros persists as the "desire of possessing." Yet it is different from purely sensual love, being the love that strives toward the sublime.According to Plato, the gods do not love because they do not feel desires, since their desires are all satisfied. Therefore, they can only be the object, but not the subject of love (cf. Symposio 200-201). So they do not have a direct relationship with man. Only the mediation of eros makes it possible for a relationship to be established (cf. Symposio 203). Therefore, eros is the way that leads man to divinity, but not vice-versa.

The aspiration to transcendence is, therefore, a constituent element of the Platonic concept of eros, a concept that overcomes the radical dualism of the world of Ideas and the world of the senses. Eros makes it possible to pass from one to the other. It is therefore a form of escape beyond the material world, which the soul must renounce, because the beauty of the sensible subject has a value only insofar as it leads higher.

However, eros always remains, for Plato, egocentric love. It aims at winning and possessing the object which, for man, represents a value. To love good means desiring to possess it forever. Love is, therefore, always a desire for immortality, and that, too, shows the egocentric character of eros (cf. A. Nygren, Eros et Agapé: La notion chrétienne de l'amour et ses transformations, I [Paris: Aubier, 1962], pp. 180-200).

For Plato, eros is a passing from the most elementary knowledge to deeper knowledge; at the same time it is the aspiration to pass from "that which is not," and is evil, to what "exists in fullness," and is good (cf. M. Scheler, "Amour et connaissance," Le sens de la souffrance, suivi de deux autres essais [Paris: Aubier], p. 145).

2) Cf., e.g., C. S. Lewis, "Eros," The Four Loves (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1960), pp. 131-133, 152, 159-160; P. Chauchard, Vices des vertus, vertus des vices (Paris: Mame, 1965), p. 147.

I get mail from brave anonymous apologists for child murder...

Responding to my post entitled Big Babykilling is on the run the unimaginatively named

Anonymous said...

yeah, and I bet you've never been 1) raped, 2) raped by your daddy, or 3) pregnant.

Notice how the endarkened totalitarian minds of our "liberals" work. It's the baby's fault her daddy is a sick pervert and criminal. Therefore, chopping up innocent children conceived in criminal acts is a good thing.

#3 is simply the first refuge of the intellectually vacant: The Unmarried Marriage Counselor argument. You'll never get out of junior high using that one.

May God have mercy on your soul, you poor fool.

SEX IS DEATH. (Wegenics)

The Michael and Cathryn Borden Memorial Book of the Day.

I came to Carthage, where I found myself in the midst of a hissing cauldron of lusts. I had not yet fallen in love, but I was in love with the idea of it, and this feeling that something was missing made me despise myself for not being more anxious to satisfy the need. I began to look around for some object for my love, since I badly wanted to love something. —St. Augustine, Confessions

Better for All the World : The Secret History of Forced Sterilization and America's Quest for Racial Purity by Harry Bruinius

Mr. Bruinius' book sounds like a chronicle of ignorant protestantism and one of its logical conclusions. Ain't it funny how faithful Catholics don't get mixed up in this sort of horror?

Honestly, I have never, ever been tempted to treat my fellow humans like racehorses.

Here's a review by Christine Rosen of Opinion Journal.

Ms. Rosen is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and author of "Preaching Eugenics: Religious Leaders and the American Eugenics Movement" (Oxford, 2004).

In 1927, physicians at the Virginia Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded in Lynchburg sterilized a young woman named Carrie Buck. Although doctors at state institutions across the country had performed sterilizations before, Carrie's case was unusual. Her sterilization had received the imprimatur of the U.S. Supreme Court. In Buck v. Bell, the court upheld the state of Virginia's right to sterilize, forcibly, so-called feeble-minded individuals. "It is better for all the world," Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. wrote for the majority, "if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind." Holmes concluded: "Three generations of imbeciles are enough."

Ahhh...the smell of endarkened liberal "thinking". It smells like...brimstone!

I am happy to report Justice Holmes now knows who the real imbecile is.

Harry Bruinius takes the title of his book about eugenics, "Better for All the World," from Holmes's now notorious opinion. Eugenics, a term coined by British scientist Francis Galton in 1883, means "good in birth"; (Ironic, no? - F.G.) its adherents hoped to improve the human race through better breeding. The notion proved particularly appealing to Americans in the early 20th century, as they confronted waves of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe and fretted about the "purity" of the native Anglo-Saxon American population.

Many states passed marriage-restriction laws, barring the feeble-minded and epileptic from obtaining marriage licenses, and laws requiring the compulsory sterilization of the feeble-minded residing in state institutions. State fairs even featured "fitter families" contests, where judges assessed each competing family's eugenic merit. In 1924, Congress passed an immigration-restriction law based on eugenic principles, assuming that certain national groups possessed better "germplasm"--or heritable traits--than others. Progressive politicians, intellectuals and religious leaders supported eugenics, seeing in it an enlightened, scientific attempt to cure humanity's ills.

Ha! "Progressive". As St. Augustine said, he was looking for an object of his love. Is it difficult to believe people with disordered beliefs could so fall in love with an imagined "ideal" of humanity that they can justify the most horrific of crimes against real live humans?

Nazis among us, indeed.

It was an important episode in American history--ending only when a combination of economic depression, the horrors of Nazi genocide and the discoveries of genetic science proved the hollowness and danger of eugenic pseudo-science. But it is not an unknown one. Mr. Bruinius's subtitle--"The Secret History of Forced Sterilization and America's Quest for Racial Purity"--is misleading: There is no secret. Decades of work by scholars such as Daniel Kevles, Philip Reilly, Edward Larson and Diana Paul have produced thorough studies on the subject. Nor is their work inaccessible to the general reader. Parts of Mr. Kevles's book first appeared as a series of articles in The New Yorker.

Actually it is a secret. America's genetic nazis have been covering it up for years. See Margaret Sanger and Planned Babykilling.

Mr. Bruinius's intention is to humanize the story of eugenics by exploring the "age-old passions and human desires" behind the movement. He offers portraits of men like Aubrey Strode, a progressive-minded state senator from Virginia who sponsored the sterilization law that was eventually upheld by the Supreme Court; Charles Davenport, a biologist who notably secured funds from Mrs. E.H. Harriman, the widow of the railroad magnate, and from the Carnegie Institution to fund eugenics research in the U.S.; and Harry H. Laughlin, the superintendent of the Eugenics Record Office in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., who advised Congress during debate over the 1924 Immigration Restriction Act and, as a major supporter of sterilization, assessed Carrie Buck's pedigree and declared her "shiftless, ignorant, and worthless."

Who would have guessed this could happen if you deny the existence of free will while at the same time glorifying the primacy of "conscience"? Why, the Catholic Church, that's who.

Although Mr. Bruinius is a conscientious narrator, he does not always illuminate his subject. He frequently draws parallels between eugenics rhetoric and the Puritan desire to build a "city on a hill," which leads to dubious pronouncements. He declares, for instance, that a popular chronicle of the Jukes family, aimed at showing a genetic tendency toward crime, fed "into a long-held American fear, a prophecy of doom which threatened that if [Americans] did not obey the moral precepts of their God, they would become a story and a byword in the world, and be consumed out of this good land." This is perhaps overstating the matter a bit.

I am going to have to compare Rosen's book to Bruinius' book. I fear Miss or Mrs. (I really hate that ms. thingee.) Rosen may be underestimating the dangers of false religious beliefs.

But mostly Mr. Bruinius takes a personalized approach. He spends considerable time describing Charles Davenport's stern and strictly religious father and Harry Laughlin's energetic, progressive mother, implying that the adult beliefs of both men derived largely from their relations with their parents. A speech by Davenport is said to have been "driven mostly by his own psychological needs and intellectual longings." The book provides many such speculations and many miniature psycho-biographies, but they cast little light on the motivations of eugenicists and do not explain why so many ordinary Americans found the eugenics message appealing.

Try this explanation on for size: Fear and loathing of Catholicism. That is only one manifestation of rebellion against God and his good order. If one rebels against Order, one will naturally find it necessary to create an alternative. Is it really surprising these rebels went from trying to preserve the status quo (where they were dominant) to stopping Catholic immigration, sterilizing "imbeciles", legalizing contraception, mandating contraception, and building baby-toirs in black neighborhoods?

Mr. Bruinius is better at humanizing the victims of eugenic sterilization policies--women like Carrie Buck and countless others who often come across as one-dimensional figures in other histories. Many of these women were told that they were having an appendectomy and never knew that they were being robbed of their ability to have children. Their stories serve as a warning about the abuses a liberal democracy can inflict on its citizens when under the sway of "enlightened" scientific ideas.

True science and The Truth can never be in conflict. They have the same Author. It really is that simple, kiddies.

So the next time someone quoting a "scientist" at you says we're really stand-up apes and therefore there is no such thing as God, simply make the Sign of the Cross (for him and you) and quickly walk in some other direction.

If Mr. Bruinius's book helps to introduce readers to this dark chapter of American history, it will be, whatever its flaws, a useful contribution to the literature of eugenics. The "age-old passions and human desires" for improvement that Mr. Bruinius describes exist in all of us. In a world where new genetic technologies offer even greater opportunities for shaping human life, it is worth remembering that moral scruples and a respect for human dignity are not as widely shared.

Amen to that, Sister Rosen. May God have mercy on all souls, especially those with the power to inflict their defective wills on others.

Part 1: SEX IS DEATH. (Stories for Boys) is here.
Part 2: SEX IS DEATH. (Distaff Death) is
Part 3: SEX IS DEATH. (Joyously dispensing death) is
Part 4: SEX IS DEATH. (Sex is depression) is
Part 5: SEX IS DEATH. (When self-pleasuring becomes self-destruction) is
Part 6: SEX IS DEATH. (Sex is theft) is
Part 7: SEX IS DEATH. (A review of Bareback Mountain) is
Part 8: SEX IS DEATH. (What is the ultimate penalty?) is
Part 9: SEX IS DEATH. (Haven from reality) is
Part 10: SEX IS DEATH. (Sin-redemption-reasons-reason) is
Part 11: SEX IS DEATH. (Mommy loves you) is
Part 12: SEX IS DEATH. (George Gilder offers a clue) is
Part 13: SEX IS DEATH. (Post-killem depression) is
Part 14: SEX IS DEATH. (Whither womanhood) is
Part 15: SEX IS DEATH. (Saving psychology 1) i
Part 16: SEX IS DEATH. (Saving psychology 2) is
Part 17: SEX IS DEATH. (Fear of the boomers) is
Part 18: SEX IS DEATH. (The battle continues apace) is
Part 19: SEX IS DEATH. (Hot for teacher) is
Part 20: SEX IS DEATH. (Kids do the darndest things) is
Part 21: SEX IS DEATH. (Defects) is
Part 22: SEX IS DEATH. (Privates' privacy) is
Part 23: SEX IS DEATH. (National Condom Week) is

Brigadier General Robert L. Scott, USAF (Retired), Requiescat in pace.

America has lost another hero.

Man, I love that book.

The sky was blue Monday morning, with a whisper of wind and barely a cloud in the sky.

It was a good day for flying.

I'm sure Scotty would have approved of the day God called his co-pilot home.

It was on such a day 85 years ago Robert L. Scott took his first flight from the roof of a house on East Napier Avenue in Macon.

Imagine an adventurous boy, laughing in the face of gravity with a pair of homemade wings.

Then imagine the boy tumbling to the ground into a bed of Cherokee roses. The state flower, no less.

It was the only time the retired brigadier general ever crashed during his distinguished flying career. The famed aviator and war hero logged more than 33,000 hours in the air, including hundreds of missions over Burma and China during World War II.

To know this man, even from a distance, was to revere a man who believed in swallowing every drop from the cup of life.

And he did, right up until that life ended Monday, just 44 days before his 98th birthday.

He was one of the most energetic, enthusiastic and charming men I have ever met. He was an icon in Warner Robins, where the mere mention of his name has always commanded the greatest respect. Even civilians saluted him in the grocery store.

He was a tireless promoter and fund-raiser for the Museum of Aviation. His fingerprints are everywhere in that impressive facility. A six-mile stretch of Ga. 247, near Robins Air Force Base, is named in his honor.

A friend of mine, George Fisher, once called Scotty the "reddest, whitest and bluest American on this planet." George, who is now serving with the 48th Brigade in Iraq, co-founded the Robert L. Scott Fan Club Association in 1975, when he and friends Guerry Bruner and David DeVore were sixth-graders at Lane Elementary School in Macon.

The three boys read a library book about Scott and wrote him a letter. He graciously replied. Then those "snot-nosed boys grew up to become three men who still believe he is the greatest fighter pilot in the world and that he did, as a matter of fact, hang the moon."

A fan club was born. There are now more than 200 members from nearly every state and as far away as France, China, Thailand, Australia and Canada.

It was through George that I got to know Scotty. We nibbled on egg rolls one day at a Chinese restaurant on Russell Parkway. He told me about walking the Great Wall of China. He carried a sand wedge as his walking stick.

He was 72 years old when his footsteps covered the nearly 2,000 miles from Tibet to the Yellow Sea. It took him three months and 1,400 oatmeal cookies. He later wrote about his adventure in Reader's Digest magazine.
He reminisced about writing his autobiography, "God Is My Co-Pilot," and the 1945 premiere of the movie at the Grand Theater in Macon, now the Grand Opera House.

He also talked about the embarrassment of getting pulled over for speeding one night in his Ford Thunderbird on the Robert L. Scott Highway. We laughed about that.

Growing up, he was forever fascinated with flying. He dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot. He once rushed to watch Gen. Billy Mitchell, the pioneer aviator, land his plane in Macon. They refueled here on a flight to Miami, but not before he and some of the other Army pilots stopped downtown for a bite to eat at the Dempsey Hotel.

Scott tried to stow away in one of the aircraft's compartments, but a mechanic discovered him and sent him home.

Still, by far my favorite Scotty story is the one about that first flight as a 12-year-old working on his Boy Scout aviation badge.

One day, he walked the five blocks from his home on East Napier to the former Tattnall Square Baptist Church, which is now the Newton Chapel at the northwest corner of Mercer University's campus.

He climbed the steeple, captured a few pigeons from the belfry and released them during a particularly fervent prayer at a nearby tent revival. The preacher was not amused. He had the boy arrested for disturbing the peace.

Scotty vowed to get revenge against the "holy rollers and the old preacher." Early one morning, while delivering The Telegraph on his bicycle, he used a razor to cut a section of the canvas from the revival tent, leaving a gaping hole.

He hid the canvas in the woods. It came in handy when he decided to build a glider. He designed it like the Wright Brothers' plane at Kitty Hawk. He stretched the cloth across some pine boards and painted an American flag on the "fuselage."

He recruited two friends to stabilize his wings while he launched himself into space from the roof of a neighbor's large antebellum house. It was not far from the home of Viola Ross Napier, who was Georgia's first female state legislator.

When the spar snapped, the wings buckled and he crash-landed in the Cherokee roses. He later claimed the roses probably saved his life, although the thorns left an impression. His father rescued him from the bushes, then ordered him to disassemble the flying machine.

He kept right on flying, though.

We send our own roses today.

He lived a full life, and a remarkable one.

I thought about that Monday as I watched a jet stream disappearing against that blue sky - a perfect day for flying.

I reached for a Bible, turned to the second chapter of Timothy and remembered Scotty with these words:"I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith." (Thanks to Ed Grisamore of the Macon Telegraph for this remembrance.)

Today is a Day of Abstinence.

The law of abstinence requires a Catholic 14 years of age until death to abstain from eating meat on Fridays in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday. Meat is considered to be the flesh and organs of mammals and fowl. Also forbidden are soups or gravies made from them. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted, as are animal derived products such as margarine and gelatin which do not have any meat taste.

On the Fridays outside of Lent the U.S. bishops conference obtained the permission of the Holy See for Catholics in the US to substitute a penitential, or even a charitable, practice of their own choosing. They must do some penitential/charitable practice on these Fridays. For most people the easiest practice to consistently fulfill will be the traditional one, to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. During Lent abstinence from meat on Fridays is obligatory in the United States as elsewhere.

Those who are excused from fast or abstinence
Besides those outside the age limits, those of unsound mind, the sick, the frail, pregnant or nursing women according to need for meat or nourishment, manual laborers according to need, guests at a meal who cannot excuse themselves without giving great offense or causing enmity and other situations of moral or physical impossibility to observe the penitential discipline.

Aside from these minimum penitential requirements Catholics are encouraged to impose some personal penance on themselves at other times. It could be modeled after abstinence and fasting. A person could, for example, multiply the number of days they abstain. Some people give up meat entirely for religious motives (as opposed to those who give it up for health or other motives). Some religious orders, as a penance, never eat meat. Similarly, one could multiply the number of days that one fasted. The early Church had a practice of a Wednesday and Saturday fast. This fast could be the same as the Church's law (one main meal and two smaller ones) or stricter, even bread and water. Such freely chosen fasting could also consist in giving up something one enjoys - candy, soft drinks, smoking, that cocktail before supper, and so on. This is left to the individual.

One final consideration. Before all else we are obliged to perform the duties of our state in life. Any deprivation that would seriously hinder us in carrying out our work, as students, employees or parents would be contrary to the will of God.
---- Colin B. Donovan, STL

Saint of the Day and daily Mass readings.

Today is the Friday after Ash Wednesday, a day of Abstinence. Healthy adult Catholics must abstain from eating meat today.

Today is the Feast of St. Katherine Drexel. From age 33 until she died in 1955, this daughter of a prominent Philadelphia family dedicated her life and personal fortune to helping American Indians and former slaves and their descendants. Pray for us, all you angels and saints.

Today's reading for the Feast of St. Katherine Drexel is
Hosea 2:16-17,21-22.
Today's Responsorial Psalm is
Psalms 45:11-12, 14-15, 16-17.
Today's Gospel reading is
Luke 10:38-42.

[Links to the readings will be from the NAB until I can find another chapter and verse searchable Douay-Rheims Bible on-line.]

Everyday links:

The Blessed Virgin Mary
The Rosary
Our Mother of Perpetual Help
Prayers from EWTN
National Coalition of Clergy and Laity (dedicated to action for a genuine Catholic Restoration)
The Catholic Calendar Page for Today

Just in case you are wondering what exactly Catholics believe, here is

The Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.


Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession,was left unaided.Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins my Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy clemency hear and answer me. Amen.

St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse, pray for us.

Prayer to St. Anthony, Martyr of Desire

Dear St. Anthony, you became a Franciscan with the hope of shedding your blood for Christ. In God's plan for you, your thirst for martyrdom was never to be satisfied. St. Anthony, Martyr of Desire, pray that I may become less afraid to stand up and be counted as a follower of the Lord Jesus. Intercede also for my other intentions. (Name them.)


St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the divine power, thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

New fervor among young Italian Catholics

From the CSM (via Laura Ingraham) comes a sign of what may be a return to Reality.

Dissatisfied with material life, 550 Italian women became nuns last year - up from 350 two years before.

In 2003, Cristina Pavone, left her Dublin, Ireland, apartment, her boyfriend, and her steady job with Hertz Rent-a-Car, and went home to Italy to join a Franciscan order. Last summer, she took her final vows and became a cloistered nun.

Today, Sister Cristina, 31, lives with 179 other monks and nuns at a small red-brick monastery north of Rome. She reads, does chores, meets visitors, and prays five times daily, starting at 3 a.m.

"I was far from God," she says quietly, wrapping her hands around a hot mug in the monastery's drafty dining hall. "I experimented with everything you can experiment with to find happiness. Now that I've left everything, I've found everything."

She isn't alone in her devotion. A small but burgeoning group of young Italians are turning to Catholicism with new fervor, suggesting a reversal of Catholicism's decades-long decline in Italy.

Sister Cristina is one of 550 young Italian women who joined the country's 7,500 cloistered nuns in 2005 - a dramatic increase from the 350 who became nuns in 2003. Vatican officials say the sudden rise in Italian monasticism mirrors a resurgence in Catholicism among young Italians during recent years.

There's no recruitment to monasteries - each person enters for personal reasons. Some want to live with people who share their values; others are drawn by the structured worship that punctuates each day. The decision comes after much reflection, says Sister Ilaria Magli, who first considered becoming a nun as a teenager and took her final vows in 1997, at age 29.

Now, she scarcely sets foot outside the towering battlements of Monastero Santi Quattro in central Rome. Food is delivered, and the nuns remain behind gates and barred windows. Occasionally, they meet visitors, but only in a special room divided by a long table that separates them from their guests.

"There's a culture of renunciation [to monastic life]," Sister Ilaria says, "but you choose something, too: happiness. It's like falling in love - everything else vanishes from your senses."

Citing drug use and materialism, she says young Italians' misguided pursuit of happiness has led to a crisis of values. "All young people seek happiness," she says. "Unfortunately, the world offers a happiness that ends quickly, like candy melting in your mouth."

Vatican officials say young people's thirst for moral direction is driving a resurging interest in Catholicism. "There's a reawakening after a time of secularization," says Sister Giuseppina Fragasso, vice president of the Vatican's association for cloistered monks and nuns.

The number of Catholic clergy has dwindled worldwide since peaking in the late 1960s. In particular, it's getting harder to attract new blood to the priesthood. According to the Vatican's statistics office, monasteries have been closing too fast for their researchers to keep track. While other Christian sects attract priests by allowing them to marry and by inviting women to ordination, the Catholic church still prohibits such activities.

But the tide is turning in Italy. Nearly half of adult Catholics attend mass at least weekly, up from 35 percent who did so in 1980.

Clergy credit much of young people's interest in Catholicism to the late Pope John Paul II, stressing the impact of the World Youth Days he started in 1984. Catholic fervor reached a crescendo with his death in April 2005. "This pope really brought the faith closer to young people; there was a strong bond between him and us," affirms Giovanna, a young biologist praying by John Paul II's tomb in Rome.

However, not all young Italians are so swept away by Catholicism. Even those who are draw limits on the role of religion in the public sphere.

While the church wields enormous moral power - in June 2005, it successfully lobbied Italians to boycott, and thus invalidate, a referendum on embryo research, artificial insemination, and egg and sperm donation - Italians remain strongly against its involvement in politics. A December 2005 poll found 41.5 percent of Italians are totally against church influence in politics.

It's also questionable whether the church has attracted many converts, says Franco Garelli, professor of social and political sciences at the University of Turin. Rather, he says, the church has mainly succeeded in impassioning young people already firm in their faith. "Ten to 20 percent [of the people attending World Youth Days] are not already Catholic, but the rest are."

Brother Paolo Crivelli, who leads Sister Cristina's Franciscan community, is skeptical of the World Youth Days' showy religiosity, which he worries obscures the substance of faith. "[The young people] are more interested in feeling part of a group than in [Christianity's] true message."

But Sister Cristina and her fellow nun Sister Chiara del Ben point out that Jesus embraced large crowds in his ministry, and maintain that such inclusiveness is important. "A characteristic of our community is receiving visitors," says Sister Chiara. "Many people open up when they feel themselves welcomed." Brother Paolo concedes the point.

Many monasteries reach out to ordinary people, offering them the opportunity to pray, receive advice, or even share in the cloistered life for a few days. "They're a visible sign ... of taking the gospel seriously and letting it shape your life," says Father Raymond Studzinski, a professor of religious studies at the Catholic University of America.

Increasingly, cloistered orders have their own websites and e-mail addresses, easing the transition to the monastic life but also helping to spread their message. Sister Ilaria fields daily e-mails requesting prayers, counsel, and organized visits to the monastery.

"Monasteries can be a beacon, a light for the community," says Sister Ilaria. "One sees a great desire [among young people] to understand God."

Laura Ingraham beat cancer and is still gettin' it done.

Laura knows how to spot the important stories:

A new paper signed by a dozen writers warns against the new Islamic threat to free expression in the aftermath of the mayhem and rioting that followed the publication of the Prophet Muhammed cartoons. Signed by Salman Rushdie and others, the letter says: "After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new global threat: Islamism." Read More.

That Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey combo in Dirty Dancing was so hot 20 years ago that now it's going to hit the London stage. Can we come up with anything new?! Unreal. Read More.

They grow in number every day -- the myths about the war in Iraq, our goals, and the future. You are going to want to print this one out.

The Wall Street Journal
Something momentous is happening here in the home of prairie populism: black flight. African-American families from the poorest neighborhoods are rapidly abandoning the district public schools, going to charter schools, and taking advantage of open enrollment at suburban public schools. Today, just around half of students who live in the city attend its district public schools.

The Theology of the Body: 46. Power of Redeeming Completes Power of Creating

In his General Audience of 29 October 1980, the Holy Father continued his catechesis on "adultery in the heart" by examining the three forms of lust ("of the flesh," "of the eyes," and the "pride of life") spoken of by St. John (1 Jn 2:15-16), in relation to the skewed pictures of man presented by Freud, Marx and Nietzsche. The truth of his humanity, the ability to love, is deeper than the three lusts.

Power of Redeeming Completes Power of Creating

On Wednesday, 29 October, the Holy Father delivered the following address to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square for the weekly General Audience.

1. For a long time now, our Wednesday reflections have been centered on the following enunciation of Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Mt 5:27-28). We have recently explained that these words cannot be understood or interpreted in a Manichaean way. They do not in any way condemn the body and sexuality. They merely contain a call to overcome the three forms of lust, especially the lust of the flesh. This call springs precisely from the affirmation of the personal dignity of the body and of sexuality, and merely confirms this affirmation.

To clarify this formulation, that is, to determine the specific meaning of the words of the Sermon on the Mount, in which Christ appeals to the human heart (cf. Mt 5:27-28), is important not only because of "inveterate habits," springing from Manichaeism, in the way of thinking and evaluating things, but also because of some contemporary positions which interpret the meaning of man and of morality. Ricoeur described Freud, Marx and Nietzsche as "masters of suspicion"(1) ("maîtres du soupçon"). He had in mind the set of systems that each of them represents, and above all, perhaps, the hidden basis and the orientation of each of them in understanding and interpreting the humanum itself.

It seems necessary to refer, at least briefly, to this basis and to this orientation. It must be done to discover a significant convergence and also a fundamental divergence, which has its source in the Bible, and which we are trying to express in our analyses. What does the convergence consist of? It consists in the fact that the above-mentioned thinkers, who have and still do exercise a great influence on the way of thinking and evaluating of the men of our time, seem substantially also to judge and accuse man's heart. Even more, they seem to judge it and accuse it because of what biblical language, especially Johannine, calls lust, the three forms of lust.

The pride of life

2. Here a certain distribution of the parts could be made. In the Nietzschean interpretation, the judgment and accusation of the human heart correspond, in a way, to what is called in biblical language "the pride of life"; in the Marxist interpretation, to what is called "the lust of the eyes"; in the Freudian interpretation, to what is called "the lust of the flesh." The convergence of these conceptions with the interpretation of man founded on the Bible lies in the fact that, discovering the three forms of lust in the human heart, we, too, could have limited ourselves to putting that heart in a state of continual suspicion. However, the Bible does not allow us to stop here. The words of Christ according to Matthew 5:27-28 are such that, while manifesting the whole reality of desire and lust, they do not permit us to make this lust the absolute criterion of anthropology and ethics, that is, the very core of the hermeneutics of man. In the Bible, lust in its three forms does not constitute the fundamental and perhaps even unique and absolute criterion of anthropology and ethics, although it is certainly an important coefficient to understand man, his actions, and their moral value. The analysis we have carried out so far also shows this.

To the "man of lust"

3. Though wishing to arrive at a complete interpretation of Christ's words on the man who "looks lustfully" (cf. Mt 5:27-28), we cannot be content with any conception of lust, even if the fullness of the psychological truth accessible to us were to be reached; we must, on the contrary, draw on the First Letter of John 2:15-16 and the "theology of lust" that is contained in it. The man who looks lustfully is, in fact, the man of the three forms of lust; he is the man of the lust of the flesh. Therefore he can look in this way and he must even be conscious that, leaving this interior act at the mercy of the forces of nature, he cannot avoid the influence of the lust of the flesh. In Matthew 5:27-28 Christ also dealt with this and drew attention to it. His words refer not only to the concrete act of lust, but, indirectly, also to the man of lust.

4. Why cannot these words of the Sermon on the Mount, in spite of the convergence of what they say about the human heart (2) with what has been expressed in the interpretation of the "masters of suspicion," why cannot they be considered as the foundation of the aforesaid interpretation or a similar one? Why do they constitute an expression, a configuration, of a completely different ethos—different not only from the Manichaean one, but also from the Freudian one? I think that the analyses and reflections made so far answer this question. Summing up, it can be said briefly that Christ's words according to Matthew 5:27-28 do not allow us to stop at the accusation of the human heart and to regard it continually with suspicion. But they must be understood and interpreted above all as an appeal to the heart. This derives from the nature of the ethos of redemption. On the basis of this mystery, which St. Paul defines as "the redemption of the body" (Rom 8:23), on the basis of the reality called "redemption" and, consequently, on the basis of the ethos of the redemption of the body, we cannot stop only at the accusation of the human heart on the basis of desire and lust of the flesh. Man cannot stop at putting the heart in a state of continual and irreversible suspicion due to the manifestations of the lust of the flesh and libido, which, among other things, a psychoanalyst perceives by analyzing the unconscious.(3) Redemption is a truth, a reality, in the name of which man must feel called, and "called with efficacy." He must realize this call also through Christ's words according to Matthew 5:27-28, reread in the full context of the revelation of the body. Man must feel called to rediscover, nay more, to realize the nuptial meaning of the body. He must feel called to express in this way the interior freedom of the gift, that is, of that spiritual state and that spiritual power which are derived from mastery of the lust of the flesh.

That good beginning

5. Man is called to this by the word of the Gospel, therefore from "outside," but at the same time he is also called from "inside." The words of Christ, who in the Sermon on the Mount appealed to the heart, induce the listener, in a way, to this interior call. If he lets them act in him, he will be able to hear within him at the same time almost the echo of that "beginning." Christ referred to that good beginning on another occasion, to remind his listeners who man is, who woman is, and who we are for each other in the work of creation. The words Christ uttered in the Sermon on the Mount are not a call hurled into emptiness. They are not addressed to the man who is completely absorbed in the lust of the flesh. This man is unable to seek another form of mutual relations in the sphere of the perennial attraction, which accompanies the history of man and woman precisely from the beginning. Christ's words bear witness that the original power (therefore also the grace) of the mystery of creation becomes for each of them power (that is, grace) of the mystery of redemption. That concerns the very nature, the very substratum of the humanity of the person, the deepest impulses of the heart. Does not man feel, at the same time as lust, a deep need to preserve the dignity of the mutual relations, which find their expression in the body, thanks to his masculinity and femininity? Does he not feel the need to impregnate them with everything that is noble and beautiful? Does he not feel the need to confer on them the supreme value which is love?

Real meaning of life

6. Rereading it, this appeal contained in Christ's words in the Sermon on the Mount cannot be an act detached from the context of concrete existence. It always means—though only in the dimension of the act to which it referred—the rediscovery of the meaning of the whole of existence, the meaning of life, which also contains that meaning of the body which here we call "nuptial." The meaning of the body is, in a sense, the antithesis of Freudian libido. The meaning of life is the antithesis of the interpretation "of suspicion." This interpretation is radically different from what we rediscover in Christ's words in the Sermon on the Mount. These words reveal not only another ethos, but also another vision of man's possibilities. It is important that he, precisely in his heart, should not only feel irrevocably accused and given as a prey to the lust of the flesh, but that he should feel forcefully called in this same heart. He is called precisely to that supreme value that is love. He is called as a person in the truth of his humanity, therefore also in the truth of his masculinity or femininity, in the truth of his body. He is called in that truth which has been his heritage from the beginning, the heritage of his heart, which is deeper than the sinfulness inherited, deeper than lust in its three forms. The words of Christ, set in the whole reality of creation and redemption, reactivate that deeper heritage and give it real power in man's life.


1) Cf. Paul Ricoeur, Le conflit des interprétations (Paris: Seuil, 1969), pp. 149-150.

2) Cf. also Mt 5:19-20.

3) Cf., for example, the characteristic affirmation of Freud's last work: S. Freud, Abriss der Psychoanalyse, Das Unbehagen der Kultur (Frankfurt-M. Hamburg: Fisher, 1955), pp. 74-75.

Then that "core" or "heart" of man would be dominated by the union between the erotic instinct and the destructive one, and life would consist in satisfying them.

For the dimbulbs out there, here's another reason why sport matters.

Autistic teen's 20-point night touches all

You don't need my idiotic comments on this one, kiddies. Just read it and smile.

GREECE, N.Y. -- Jason McElwain had done everything he was asked to do for the Greece Athena High School basketball team -- keep the stats, run the clock, hand out water bottles.

That all changed last week for the team manager in the final home game of the season. The 17-year-old senior, who is autistic and usually sits on the bench in a white shirt and black tie, put on a uniform and entered the game with his team way ahead.

McElwain proceeded to hit six 3-point shots, finished with 20 points and was carried off the court on his teammates' shoulders.

"I ended my career on the right note," he told The Associated Press by phone Thursday. "I was really hotter than a pistol!"

In recent days, McElwain's phone has hardly stopped ringing. When his family went out for a meal, he was mobbed by well-wishers. A neighborhood boy came by to get a basketball autographed.

McElwain, 5-foot-6, was considered too small to make the junior varsity, so he signed on as team manager. He took up the same role with the varsity, doing anything to stay near the sport he loves. Coach Jim Johnson was impressed with his dedication, and thought about suiting up McElwain for the home finale.

His performance was jaw-dropping: 20 points in four minutes, making 6-of-10 3-point shots. The crowd went wild.

"It was as touching as any moment I have ever had in sports," Johnson told the Daily Messenger of Canandaigua.

McElwain didn't begin speaking until he was 5. He lacked social skills but things got easier as he got older. He found many friends and made his way through school in this Rochester suburb, although many of his classes were limited to a half-dozen students. And he found basketball.

On the varsity, he never misses practice and is a jack-of-all-trades.

"And he is happy to do it," Johnson said. "He is such a great help and is well-liked by everyone on the team."

Even though McElwain was in uniform for the Feb. 15 game, there was no guarantee he would play -- Athena was battling for a division title.

The fans, however, came prepared. One section of students held up signs bearing his nickname "J-MAC" and cutouts of his face placed on Popsicle sticks.

The Trojans opened a large lead against the team from the nearby Spencerport. With four minutes left, McElwain took the court to deafening cheers.

The ball came to him almost right away. His 3-point shot sailed completely off course, and the coach wondered if he made the wrong move. McElwain then missed a layup. Yet his father, David, was unruffled.

"The thing about Jason is he isn't afraid of anything," he told the newspaper. "He doesn't care what people think about him. He is his own person."

On the next trip down the floor, McElwain got the ball again. This time he stroked a 3, all net.

He was just warming up.

"As soon as the first shot went in that's when I started to get going," he said.

On the next attempt, he got another 3-pointer. Then another, and another. In fact, he would have made one more 3, but his foot was on the line, so he had to settle for 2 points.

Greece Athena won 79-43, and pandemonium reigned. McElwain signed autographs, posed for pictures and was hoisted by his teammates.

The Trojans begin sectional play Saturday and McElwain will be on the bench again, wearing his usual shirt and tie.

It doesn't bother him. More important, he said, is "trying to win a sectional title for the team."

McElwain will soon be done with high school basketball, then enroll in business management this fall at Monroe Community College.

"I'll go on to college and I'll try to hoop there," he said. "I just love it, it's one of the greatest sports in the world."

Ok, just one. Can you believe some people think Jason and folks like him have lives that are not worth living?

Shame on them.

From The My Genius Italian Cousins Department:

A couple of good ones from the old country. There are a few good men left in Europe, but their numbers are dwindling.

Daily Times (Pakistan): Italy’s ‘theo-cons’ rally against ‘Islamist threat’

ROME: Senior politicians in Italy’s government launched a policy manifesto on Thursday vowing to protect Western civilisation from what they said were the twin threats of Islamic fundamentalism and a moral vacuum.

Marcello Pera, speaker of the Senate and a friend of Pope Benedict, said people in the West were ashamed to stand up for their values and often blamed themselves for being victims of terrorism. “The West has difficulty recognising itself,” Pera told a news conference to launch the manifesto. “As Pope Benedict said: ‘the West doesn’t love itself any more’,” he said.

The document, entitled “For the West, Force of Civilisation”, begins: “The West is in crisis. Attacked externally by fundamentalism and Islamic terrorism, it is not able to rise to the challenge. Undermined internally by a moral and spiritual crisis, it can’t seem to find the courage to react.”

Pera, a member of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, wants centre-right politicians to sign up to the manifesto ahead of an April general election which polls say the centre left, led by Romano Prodi, is more likely to win.

Many politicians and some business and media figures have expressed support for the text, which calls for the spread of Western civilisation’s “universal and inalienable principles”.

Berlusconi himself has yet to sign the document, Pera said, adding however that the prime minister backed the project.

Pera’s manifesto was launched to a background of protests throughout the Muslim world against cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) published in European newspapers.

Many of the protests have turned violent and at least 11 people died in a riot outside an Italian consulate in Libya last week. Pera said the bloodshed could not be blamed on Europe.

“I don’t think this can be seen as a response to something which happened in Italy and the West,” he said. “In those places, fundamentalism was already getting ready and waiting for someone to put a match to the gunpowder.”

Violence by Islamist extremists in Britain and France had shown those countries had failed to integrate immigrants into society, Pera said, insisting Italy must make newcomers respect the Italian way of life.

Pera denied any suggestion that his rallying cry to the tendency Italy’s media has dubbed the “theo-cons” — available online at www.perloccidente.it — was in any way inflammatory. “There’s nothing that suggests a clash of religions or a clash of civilisations in this document,” he said.

Berlusconi, who in September 2001 outraged Muslims by saying the West was a superior civilisation, gave an interview to Arab TV station Al-Jazeera on Wednesday where he dismissed talk of any clash of civilisations and condemned the Muhammad (PBUH) cartoons.

Fox News: Italy's Prime Minister Promotes War on Terror to Congress

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi received a warm welcome from Congress on Wednesday during a speech emphasizing the need for Italy and the U.S. to stand firm in the fight against terrorism.

Berlusconi's address to Congress came after his meeting Tuesday with President Bush. The Italian leader faces a tough re-election campaign at home, and his U.S. trip is seen as an attempt to parlay into votes his closeness to Bush, even as his main rival tries to score political points by attacking U.S. policies.

Berlusconi spoke first in Italian, with lawmakers reading a translated copy of his remarks, then briefly in English. He was interrupted several times by loud applause and, at the end of his speech, a long standing ovation...

"It is only by joining the efforts of all the democracies on all continents that we will be able to free the world from the threat of international terrorism, from the fear of aggression by the forces of evil," Berlusconi told the joint session of Congress.

Berlusconi said he has worked hard to make sure Europe and the United States remain strong allies, even as public opinion turns against the war in Iraq.

"We cannot ignore the danger that a united Europe might seek to define its identity in contrast to America," Berlusconi said. "The necessary political and institutional integration of Europe must not mean the creation of a 'Fortress Europe,' closed to the rest of the world."

Non-surprising Headline of the Day.

ABOVE: Pope John Paul the Great moments after Our Lady saved him from being another victim of communism.

CNews: Italian commission says Soviet Union behind 1981 shooting of John Paul II
An Italian parliamentary commission has concluded "beyond any reasonable doubt" that the Soviet Union was behind the 1981 attempt to kill Pope John Paul II, claiming to solve an enduring mystery that the pontiff himself addressed in his last days.

You know The Church is in trouble when...

...there are only two Ash Wednesday Masses in a parish of over 1,200 families...

...a pair of conga drums has become a permanent fixture next to the

...and a theology teacher in a Catholic school teaches that The Christ did not actually perform any miracles.

(Thanks to Glenn Beck for the heads up on this last one. He's a convert to mormonism who sends his daughter to a Catholic high school. Sadly, just getting your kids out of the government indoctrination centers is often not enough. Pay attention to what "they" are putting in your kids' heads regardless of who "they" are. BTW, is it too much to ask for teachers in Catholic schools to be orthodox Catholics?)

I get mail from Greek university students...

...and I'm not talking about your friendly neighborhood Lambda Chis or Delts, kiddies.

Responding to my Stay In The Wars Until We Win 'Em

Christoforos said...

Hallo wake up men!!! You must not be serious........

Naturally, I was not sure how I should respond. What about that "men" thingee? Is it just a slight error in his use of English (He still writes better than I did in college.) or is he appealing to all men everywhere? (If that's the case, Chris baby, you came to the wrong blog. )

Or, a more sinister possibility presented itself. What if he is studying abnormal psychology over there in Greece and he was trying to warn me about some kind of split-personality thingee he has noticed by observing my twitchy little corner of Bloggerdom?

Then there is the "You must not be serious..." line that I get all the time from family, friends, co-workers, strangers, She Who Must Be Obeyed, health professionals, mental health professionals, clergymen, government officials, Sam's dog, et cetera...You get the picture. (I was thinking of updating that to "You get the JPEG", but didn't.)

The post in question was pretty serious. At least until I took a couple of shots at Mr. Jaffa near the end. War is war, kiddies, and we haven't won one outright since 1945. And it's time to live up to that Superpower status thingee.

Chris, baby, Americans don't give rat's ass about the freedom of Iraqis or Afghans per se. We mostly want to eat fatty foods, watch tv, and chase women descended from women who came here from countries like yours generations ago. (I know a girl whose father's grandfather was from Greece and her mother's mother was from Ireland. WOW will have to suffice.)

But it is in our interest to free them and perhaps others in the future. Why? Because we don't want the goat rapists killing innocent people here. So we go out and kill them there. Simple.

From looking at your blog, Chris, I doubt you are a goat rapist. You probably don't even know any goat rapists. And I can understand you being a little resentful about living in a country that hasn't done anything in a couple thousand years. (Welcome to the club. My Italian cousins have a similar track record. If you don't mention Mussolini, I won't mention Metaxas.)

We don't have to wipe out radical moslem murderers. We want to. If you don't buy the whole freedom and justice thingee, that's cool. (It might be better for everyone if the whole world thinks the good ol' USA is only motivated by vengeance.)

If countries like Iraq and Afghanistan are improved in the process, that's a bonus. And if countries like Greece stay free (I'm guessing here. Ugly Americans like feta cheese and olive oil and don't think much about Greece after that.) well, that's a bonus too. You're welcome.

BTW, you're also welcome for that whole WWII thingee.

Or, you can ignore all I have typed so far and just ponder this:

Get out of Cyprus, you filthy imperialists!

Saint of the Day and daily Mass readings.

Today is the Feast of St. Agnes of Prague, also known as St. Agnes of Bohemia. She was the daughter of the King and Queen of Bohemia. She was a member of the Poor Clares and she was a thaumaturgist (a miracle worker). Pray for us, all you angels and saints.

Today's reading is
Deuteronomy 30:15-20.
Today's Responsorial Psalm is
Psalms 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6.
Today's Gospel reading is
Luke 9:22-25.

[Links to the readings will be from the NAB until I can find another chapter and verse searchable Douay-Rheims Bible on-line.]

Everyday links:

The Blessed Virgin Mary
The Rosary
Our Mother of Perpetual Help
Prayers from EWTN
National Coalition of Clergy and Laity (dedicated to action for a genuine Catholic Restoration)
The Catholic Calendar Page for Today

Just in case you are wondering what exactly Catholics believe, here is

The Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.


Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession,was left unaided.Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins my Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy clemency hear and answer me. Amen.

St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse, pray for us.

Prayer to St. Anthony, Martyr of Desire

Dear St. Anthony, you became a Franciscan with the hope of shedding your blood for Christ. In God's plan for you, your thirst for martyrdom was never to be satisfied. St. Anthony, Martyr of Desire, pray that I may become less afraid to stand up and be counted as a follower of the Lord Jesus. Intercede also for my other intentions. (Name them.)


St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the divine power, thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Theology of the Body: 45. Realization of the Value of the Body According to the Plan of the Creator

In his General Audience of 22 October 1980, the Holy Father clarified the meaning of lust, in his catechesis on Theology of the Body. Christ warned against lusting after a woman, not to condemn the body as evil (Manichaeism), but to condemn the devaluation of the body in its nuptial meaning, i.e., the manifestation of communion in spirit.

Realization of the Value of the Body According to the Plan of the Creator

On Wednesday, 22 October, Pope John Paul delivered the following message to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square for the weekly audience.

1. At the center of our reflections, at the Wednesday meetings, there has been for a long time now the following enunciation of Christ in the Sermon on the Mount: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery'. But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her (towards her) in his heart" (Mt 5:27-28). These words have an essential meaning for the whole theology of the body contained in Christ's teaching. Therefore, we rightly attribute great importance to their correct understanding and interpretation. In our preceding reflection we noted that the Manichean doctrine, both in its primitive and in its later expressions, contradicts these words.

It is not possible, in fact, to see in the sentence of the Sermon on the Mount, analyzed here, a "condemnation" or an accusation of the body. If anything, one could catch a glimpse of a condemnation of the human heart. However, the reflections we have made so far show that, if the words of Matthew 5:27-28 contain an accusation, it is directed above all at the man of lust. With those words the heart is not so much accused as subjected to a judgment. Or better, it is called to a critical, in fact a self-critical, examination: whether or not it succumbs to the lust of the flesh. Penetrating into the deep meaning of Matthew 5:27-28, we must note, however, that the judgment it contains about desire, as an act of lust of the flesh, brings with it not the negation, but rather the affirmation, of the body as an element which, together with the spirit, determines man's ontological subjectivity and shares in his dignity as a person. In this way, the judgment on the lust of the flesh has a meaning essentially different from the one which the Manichaean ontology presupposes and which necessarily springs from it.

Body manifests the spirit

2. In its masculinity and femininity, the body is called "from the beginning" to become the manifestation of the spirit. It does so also by means of the conjugal union of man and woman, when they unite in such a way as to form one flesh. Elsewhere (cf. Mt 19:5-6) Christ defended the inviolable rights of this unity, by means of which the body, in its masculinity and femininity, assumes the value of a sign—in a way, a sacramental sign. Furthermore, by warning against the lust of the flesh, he expressed the same truth about the ontological dimension of the body and confirmed its ethical meaning, consistent with his teaching as a whole. This ethical meaning has nothing in common with the Manichaean condemnation. On the contrary, it is deeply penetrated by the mystery of the redemption of the body, which St. Paul will write of in Romans (cf. Rom 8:23). The redemption of the body does not indicate, however, ontological evil as a constituent attribute of the human body. It only points out man's sinfulness, as a result of which he has, among other things, lost the clear sense of the nuptial meaning of the body, in which interior mastery and the freedom of the spirit is expressed. As we have already pointed out, it is a question here of a partial, potential loss, where the sense of the nuptial meaning of the body is confused, in a way, with lust, and easily lets itself be absorbed by it.

Transformation of conscience and attitudes

3. The appropriate interpretation of Christ's words according to Matthew 5:27-28, as well as the praxis in which the authentic ethos of the Sermon on the Mount will be subsequently expressed, must be absolutely free of Manichaean elements in thought and in attitude. A Manichaean attitude would lead to an "annihilation" of the body—if not real, at least intentional—to negation of the value of human sex, of the masculinity and femininity of the human person, or at least to their mere toleration in the limits of the need delimited by the necessity of procreation. On the basis of Christ's words in the Sermon on the Mount, Christian ethos is characterized by a transformation of the conscience and attitudes of the human person, both man and woman. This is such as to express and realize the value of the body and of sex, according to the Creator's original plan, placed as they are in the service of the communion of persons, which is the deepest substratum of human ethics and culture. For the Manichaean mentality, the body and sexuality constitute an "anti-value." For Christianity, on the contrary, they always remain a value not sufficiently appreciated, as I will explain better further on. The second attitude indicates the form of ethos in which the mystery of the redemption of the body takes root in the historical soil of human sinfulness. That is expressed by the theological formula, which defines the state of historical man as status naturae lapsae simul ac redemptae (the state of fallen, but at the same time redeemed, nature).

Question of detachment

4. Christ's words in the Sermon on the Mount (cf. Mt 5:27-28) must be interpreted in the light of this complex truth about man. If they contain a certain "accusation" leveled at the human heart, all the more so they appeal to it. The accusation of the moral evil which desire, born of intemperate lust of the flesh, conceals within itself, is at the same time a call to overcome this evil. If victory over evil consists in detachment from it (hence the severe words in the context of Matthew 5:27-28), it is only a question of detaching oneself from the evil of the act (in the case in question, the interior act of lust), and never of transferring the negative character of this act to its object. Such a transfer would mean a certain acceptance—perhaps not fully conscious—of the Manichaean "anti-value." It would not constitute a real and deep victory over the evil of the act, which is evil by its moral essence, and so evil of a spiritual nature. On the contrary, it would conceal the great danger of justifying the act to the detriment of the object (the essential error of Manichaean ethos consists in this). It is clear that in Matthew 5:27-28, Christ demanded detachment from the evil of lust (or of the look of disorderly desire). But his enunciation does not let it be supposed in any way that the object of that desire, that is, the woman who is looked at lustfully, is an evil. (This clarification seems to be lacking sometimes in some Wisdom texts.)

Knowing the difference

5. We must, therefore, specify the difference between the accusation and the appeal. The accusation leveled at the evil of lust is at the same time an appeal to overcome it. Consequently, this victory must be united with an effort to discover the true values of the object, in order that the Manichaean "anti-value" may not take root in man, in his conscience, and in his will. As a result of the evil of lust, that is, of the act of which Christ spoke in Matthew 5:27-28, the object to which it is addressed constitutes for the human subject a value not sufficiently appreciated. In the words of the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:27-28) which have been analyzed, the human heart is accused of lust (or is warned against that lust). At the same time, by means of the words themselves, it is called to discover the full sense of what, in the act of lust, constitutes for him a value that is not sufficiently appreciated. As we know, Christ said: "Everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Adultery committed in the heart can and must be understood as "devaluation," or as the impoverishment of an authentic value. It is an intentional deprivation of that dignity to which the complete value of her femininity corresponds in the person in question. Matthew 5:27-28 contains a call to discover this value and this dignity, and to reassert them. It seems that only when the semantic significance of Matthew's words is respected they are understood in this way.

To conclude these concise considerations, it is necessary to note once more that the Manichaean way of understanding and evaluating man's body and sexuality is essentially alien to the Gospel. It is not in conformity with the exact meaning of the words Christ spoke in the Sermon on the Mount. The appeal to master the lust of the flesh springs precisely from the affirmation of the personal dignity of the body and of sex, and serves only this dignity. Anyone who wants to see in these words a Manichaean perspective would be committing an essential error.

55 members in good standing of The Party of Blasphemy, Buggery, and 'Bortion claim to be Catholic too.

Sadly, Washington's other newspaper didn't print all the names of these moral giants who have found a way to reconcile Jesus and chopping up their children.

Still reeling from the attacks on Sen. John F. Kerry's brand of Roman Catholicism during the 2004 presidential race, 55 House Democrats issued a joint statement yesterday on the central role that the Catholic faith plays in their public lives.

The signers said they were fed up with being labeled "good Catholics" or "bad Catholics" based on one issue -- abortion. They said their religion infuses their positions on many issues: poverty, war, health care and education.

"Some of us are pro-choice and some of us are pro-life," said Rep. William J. Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.). "But we respect each other and we're going to defend each other, because we're all operating in good conscience."

The statement stressed that all of the Catholic Democrats share the goal of reducing the incidence of abortion.

That is what is known as a lie, kiddies.

"We envision a world in which every child belongs to a loving family and agree with the Catholic Church about the value of human life and the undesirability of abortion -- we do not celebrate its practice," the statement said. "Each of us is committed to reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies and creating an environment with policies that encourage pregnancies to be carried to term."

The statement also said that though the Catholic Democrats "seek the Church's guidance and assistance," they "accept the tension that comes with being in disagreement with the Church in some areas."

They say "being in disagreement". I say "mortal sin".

I can live with that, but they can't.

No, really. They can't.

Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.) said the Catholic Democrats "have decided to stop letting others define us." But Tom McClusky, a Catholic who is acting vice president for government affairs at the Family Research Council, predicted they would fail.

Yeah, honey. It's so unfair when priests, bishops, the pope, and two thousand years of tradition get to define what a Catholic is. And isn't.

"What is at the core of being Catholic is the life issue, and that's something the pope has never strayed from," he said. "While other issues are important -- such as helping the poor, the death penalty, views on war -- these are things that aren't tenets of the Catholic Church."

Happily, these power-mad acolytes of Big Babykilling were actually dimwitted enough to issue a press release and sign it! From under the rock of Congressthing Rosa L. DeLauro comes the greatest Catholic document since John Kerry's concession speech! (Never fear, kiddies. I'll help you get through it with my usual wit and wisdom.)


House Democrats Release Historic Catholic Statement of Principles


Expresses Commitment to Dignity of Life and Belief that Government Has ‘Moral Purpose’


WASHINGTON, D.C. – A majority of Catholic Democrats in the U.S. House led by Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro (Conn.-3) today released a statement of principles. Signed by 55 House Democrats, the statement documents how their faith influences them as lawmakers, making clear their commitment to the basic principles at the heart of Catholic social teaching and their bearing on policy – whether it is increasing access to education for all or pressing for real health care reform, taking seriously the decision to go to war, or reducing poverty. Above all, the document expresses the signers’ commitment to the dignity of life and their belief that government has moral purpose.


The full text of the statement and the complete list of signers follow.

Statement of Principles By Fifty-Five Catholic Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives

As Catholic Democrats in Congress, we are proud to be part of the living (DINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDING! Code word alert! See "living constitution". - F.G.) Catholic tradition -- a tradition that promotes the common good, expresses a consistent moral framework for life and highlights the need to provide a collective safety net to those individuals in society who are most in need. As legislators, in the U.S. House of Representatives, we work every day to advance respect for life and the dignity of every human being. We believe that government has moral purpose.

Uh...Democrassolics? The Church exists to save souls, not to support your latest food stamp bill....in case you haven't heard...or forgot...or don't really care.

We are committed to making real the basic principles that are at the heart of Catholic social teaching: helping the poor and disadvantaged, protecting the most vulnerable among us, and ensuring that all Americans of every faith are given meaningful opportunities to share in the blessings of this great country. That commitment is fulfilled in different ways by legislators but includes: reducing the rising rates of poverty; increasing access to education for all; pressing for increased access to health care; and taking seriously the decision to go to war. Each of these issues challenges our obligations as Catholics to community and helping those in need.


Uh...is this thing on?


We envision a world in which every child belongs to a loving family (And if nobody loves that child, just kill him. After all, there's a 50% chance he'll grow up to be a Repansycan. - F.G.) and agree with the Catholic Church about the value of human life and the undesirability of abortion B (I haven't changed a single letter in this release. The lack of proofreading means two things: 1) They are dumbasses and 2) They think nobody will actually read it. - F.G.) we do not celebrate its practice. (Except when it will get us votes. - F.G.) Each of us is committed to reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies (Contraception is a mortal sin too, dumbass. Oops! I forgot you guys and gals are only playing at being Catholic. - F.G.) and creating an environment with policies that encourage pregnancies to be carried to term. (Unless anybody anywhere wants to kill that kid. - F.G.) We believe this includes promoting alternatives to abortion, such as adoption, and improving access to children=s (Honestly, these morons can't find the apostrophe key. And these are the folks who tell you the government schools are working while sending the kids they haven't personally killed to the best private schools. - F.G.) healthcare and child care, as well as policies that encourage paternal and maternal responsibility.

In all these issues, we seek the Church=s guidance and assistance but believe also in the primacy of conscience. (DINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDING! Instant translation: Luther was right and two thousand years of the best the human race has to offer is wrong! We can kill whomever we choose whenever we choose! To hell with conscience! Will über alles! - F.G.) In recognizing the Church's role in providing moral leadership, we acknowledge and accept the tension (WTF??? Are these Democrassolics looking for a back rub? Are they coming on to me??? - F.G.) that comes with being in disagreement with the Church in some areas. Yet we believe we can speak to the fundamental issues that unite us as Catholics and lend our voices to changing the political debate -- a debate that often fails to reflect and encompass the depth and complexity of these issues.

As legislators, we are charged with preserving the Constitution, (Oh, puleeeeeeeze! Even Ruth "Gator" Dimsburg doesn't buy that one anymore. - F. G.) which guarantees religious freedom for all Americans. In doing so, we guarantee our right to live our own lives as Catholics, but also foster an America with a rich diversity of faiths. We believe the separation of church and state allows for our faith to inform our public duties.

As Catholic Democrats who embrace the vocation and mission of the laity as expressed by Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Exhortation, Christifideles Laici, we believe that the Church is the "people of God," called to be a moral force in the broadest sense. We believe the Church as a community is called to be in the vanguard of creating a more just America and world. And as such, we have a claim on the Church's bearing as it does on ours.

I'm not sure "bearing" is the word the braying jackasses were looking for. But then again, it does not really matter because they are sophists and the definitions of "living" words are fluid things.

Not a single word about The One, True Faith handed down by their families for generations. That would be amazing if I didn't know what motivates these clowns.

They are going to have fun trying to explain their signatures on this particular bit of flapdoodle when they get to the Pearly Gates.

(I will now single out those who appear to have some connection to Madre Italia. What I like to call heritage Catholics.)

Rosa L. DeLauro (Possible dumb dago babykiller.)
David R. Obey
Wm. Lacy Clay
Hilda L. Solis
James R. Langevin
Bart Stupak
Anna Eshoo
Bill Pascrell (Possible dumb dago babykiller. You missin' a vowel there, pal? "The Pascrells make the revolution and the Pascrellis pay for it." See my favorite Leon Trotsky story plus me being ultra serious here.)
Betty McCollum
Gene Taylor
Raul M. Grijalva
Carolyn McCarthy
John B. Larson
Ed Pastor
Joe Baca
William Delahunt
Tim Ryan
Silvestre Reyes
Mike Thompson
Linda T. Sanchez
Charles A. Gonzalez
Xavier Becerra
Diane Watson
Michael H. Michaud
Nydia Velazquez
Jim Marshall
Frank Pallone (Definite dumb dago babykiller.)
John T. Salazar
James P. McGovern
George Miller
Tim Holden
James L. Oberstar
Dale E. Kildee
Patrick J. Kennedy
Cynthia McKinney
James P. Moran
Michael Capuano (Definite dumb dago babykiller.)
Richard E. Neal
Mike Doyle
Peter A. DeFazio (Definite dumb dago babykiller.)
Maurice Hinchey
Dennis A. Cardoza
Joseph Crowley
Jim Costa
Lucille Roybal-Allard
Loretta Sanchez
Robert Brady
Marty Meehan
Grace Napolitano (Possible dumb dago babykiller - marriage?)
Luis V. Gutierrez
Jose Serrano
Stephen Lynch
Edward J. Markey
Nancy Pelosi (Possible dumb dago babykiller by marriage?)
Lane Evans

About Me

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First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.


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