Saturday, December 31, 2005

Winning Big: A New Conservative Justice Strategy

In the wake of recent shootings, bail and sentencing reform could be the next Ontario wedge issue as we approach e-day. It abates the gender gap, moving mothers over to conservative “tough on crime by getting tough on criminals” policies. Here are some facts that should scare voters:

Parole and Early Release
  • Depending on the length of the sentence, offenders are eligible for some type of unescorted release after serving just one sixth (1/6th) of their sentence.
  • Almost all offenders are eligible for parole after serving one third (1/3rd) of their sentence.
  • Except in the rarest of possible circumstances, all remaining offenders (those deemed too dangerous even by the parole board) will be released after serving two thirds (2/3rd) of their sentences.
  • Persons sentenced to life in prison are eventually paroled; no one actually dies of old age in prison.

Bail
Bail is given to people charged with crimes so that they may remain free “on the street” while awaiting trial. As a result of a series of court decisions on section 11(e) of the Charter, it has become quite difficult to actually keep someone in jail while awaiting trial; they generally have to violate their bail before being detained becomes a possibility. The courts are not allowed to deny bail simply because a crime is serious or the public conscience is shocked by a crime. Getting bail has actually become a right, and not the privilege it was once intended to be.

Consider this example: a street gang member gets arrested for robbing a convenience store with a handgun. He makes bail, and gets caught two weeks later violating his release conditions. He makes bail again, with a “stern warning” from a Justice of the Peace (quaking in his Nikes, no doubt). A week later, he gets arrested again for robbery; now he gets DO’d (a Detention Order is issued, his bail is revoked, and he awaits trial on his initial charges in jail).

Now assume eight months elapse during which he is housed at Toronto’s Don Jail before he gets convicted of Robbery and Using a Firearm in the Commission of an Indictable Offence. The minimum sentence is four years in a federal penitentiary - but wait! The defence lawyer uses the Charter to argue that such a severe sentence would violate his client’s Charter right not to be subject to cruel and unusual punishment. This quite often works, but let’s just assume it doesn’t and our gang-banger actually gets a four year sentence.

Now we have fun with the math: The eight months “dead time” he did in the Don Jail is worth three for one, meaning that it actually counts as 24 months towards satisfaction of his sentence. Four years minus 24 months is 2 years. But wait – we’re not done yet! Remember parole? The offender is eligible for full parole after serving one third of his four year sentence (16 months). Poof! His release is just a matter of doing the paperwork and he’s back out on the streets – just like that, right after the community is defrauded into thinking he’s just been put away for four years!

The Fix:
“A conservative government will use the Charter’s notwithstanding clause to ensure that persons charged with violent offences cannot make bail, and to see that any sentence imposed by a court is actually served. Sentences will always be served consecutive to any other sentences and time served awaiting trial. The current system of parole will be replaced with one that ensures offenders will be eligible for release only where public safety can be protected, and the public’s confidence in the administration of justice would not be eroded.”

Make it so.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Best Place for Weekday Mass in Toronto

I often attend Mass when I can during the lunch hour in downtown Toronto. I usually hit St. Michael's Cathedral near the Eaton Centre, and have also enjoyed St. Basil's on Bay Street just north of Wellesley, and St. Patrick's near the Art Gallery of Toronto.

But the best place, hands down? The University of Toronto's very own St. Thomas Aquinas Church attached to the Newman Centre, 50 Hoskin Ave at St. George St. on the U of T campus. Aquinas isn't just a school chapel either - it's a full-fledged Parish of the Archdiocese of Toronto serving the University and surrounding community. The gothic design is inspiring:
The resulting one-storey limestone structure was designed in the style of 15th century Gothic architecture. The exterior walls were composed of coursed broken face Credit Valley limestone and ashlar Indiana limestone, topped by a roof composed of gray slate and copper. The church design features a nave and aisle plan with deep sanctuary and sacristy. The interior of the church is quite beautiful with arch braced trusses and an exposed roof made of dark stained British Columbia fir. The design originally featured white and yellow leaded glass Gothic windows with diamond panes to allow natural light to pour into the interior and two traditional stained glass windows near the entrance of the church honouring St. Thomas Aquinas and Cardinal Newman.
Quiet meditation on the Liturgy of the Hours is not uncommon preceding Mass, and the church clearly acts as the necessary touch-point for the University's Catholic community, with weddings and baptisms being common. Communion is always received under both species (Body and Precious Blood) by all the faithful present during each Mass.

If you find yourself anywhere near the U of T's downtown campus near Queen's Park, be sure to drop by - you won't be sorry.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

CBC no longer biased?

Did I see this right last night in bed with my wife? That was Peter Mansbridge of the CBC tearing Goodale a new one, but good! By the time Mansbridge was through mopping the floor with him, there was nothing left. The little nail in the coffin, of course, was the reference to how Ontario's former finance minister Greg Sobara was honourable enough to step down in similar circumstances. Ouch!

Click here to watch the whole interview again. And again...and again....

An open letter from Paul Martin to Street Gangs

H/T to Kathy, authored by Lost Budgie. Wish I had said it:

Dear Murdering Gang Members,

Please forgive us for making unwed motherhood a financially viable and socially acceptable career choice - for paying generations of illiterate, unmarried seventeen-year-old sluts and their fatherless boyfriends to produce yet more illiterate, unmarried seventeen-year-old sluts and their fatherless boyfriends.

Please forgive us for not hiring you in entry-level food service jobs because you can't fill out the application, make change or report for work on time without smelling of marihuana. Yes, we understand that ganga is part of your religious and cultural tradition. We are trying adapt our society to your needs, but are not always
successful.

Please forgive us for not understanding that murder and violent turf wars are just a normal part of the business of street drugs.Please forgive us for not understanding that you have made a choice to earn your living as violent criminal gang members because legitimate work doesn't pay nearly as well, and we have virtually eliminated the negative consequences of choosing a criminal lifestyle.

Yours truly,

Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Quick - let's build even more community centres!

In light of the recent mass murder attempt on Toronto's Yonge Street yesterday, allow me to make a few, really daring predictions:
  • All the guilty parties will be black males. All of them.
  • They will be in gangs.
  • They will come from broken families allowed to immigrate here by Liberal governments.
  • The usual suspects will cite the usual "root causes": systemic racism, lack of opportunity, white bias in the educational system; the suspects will not be named as being accountable for their actions.
  • Mayor Miller will announce that we need even more funding for community centres.
  • Prime Minister Martin will call for strengthened gun laws.
  • No one will spend more than three actual years in jail for their role in the shootings.

Can we talk about targeting immigration that strengthens the country, instead of tearing it apart yet? How about limiting the use of the Charter to garner exemptions from mandatory sentencing laws on a case-by-case basis, as is now the preferred method for circumventing the will of Parliament?

No? OK, how many more dead are needed until we can? I'm sorry to say it, but Liberal governments are killing us. Just killing us.

Let me reveal the only, true "root cause" of crime: CRIMINALS!

How un-Canadian - Can't let the schools teach this!

Let's face it: a country so keen to destroy its Judeo-Christian heritage by eradicating its institutions (legal, cultural and iconic) in a misguided attempt at multicultural appeasement probably doesn't deserve to have actual martyrs. You know, the founding Christian missionaries who contributed to the building of this nation - and gave their lives in the course of carving a society out of nothing? Never heard of them? That's not surprising, with Canadian history textbooks focusing on how mean we were to the native population of the time. Sigh. Well, you all know how I just hate letting the facts get in the way of liberal attempts to re-write our history into a litany of self-loathing, misogynistic, white oppression - but consider this excerpt from a history of the Canadian Martyrs:

The men known today as The Canadian Martyrs were among the hardy and brave missionaries who brought the Gospel to the Huron and Iroquis people in the United States and Canada. They were martyred by the Iroquis between 1642 and 1649. They were beatified by Pope Pius Xi on June 21, 1925 and canonized by the same Pope in 1930.

The story of Saint Issac Jogues in especially moving, so much so that Francis Parkman in his definitive history of the colonization of America grudgingly mentions him, despite Parkman's strongly Protestant dis-approval of anything or anyone Catholic. In the course of his preaching the Gospel to the Mohawks in Canada, he travelled to the eastern end of Lake Superior, a distance of one thousand miles inland and farther than any other European at the time.

He was taken captive by the Iroquois in 1642 and imprisoned for thirteen months. He was kept as a slave and beaten by the women of the tribe regularily. The Indians considered it a dishonourable and shameful thing to be captured and death preferable to slavery, so keeping the priest as a slave was a worse punishment than merely killing him. Father Jogues did not think so. He welcomed the opportunity to witness to the Indians with his example to submission to God's will, and secretly taught and baptized the other captives and slaves of the tribe.

His greatest sorrow was the torture that cost him the use of his hands. The law of the Church is that whatever other infirmities a priest may have, he must retain the use of his hands in order to celebrate the Eucharist. After more than a year with the Iroquois, he was rescued by the Dutch and made his way back to France. The only passage available was on the open deck of a fishing boat, he slept in a coil of rope.

Once in France, he obtained a dispensation to continue as a priest, despite the injuries to his hands, and eagerly returned to the New World to continue the Lord's Work. During this time, he visited Auriesville, New York and is believed to be the first Catholic priest to set foot on Manhattan Island.

On a third visit to the Iroquois, he was seized by the Bear Clan who, believing him to be a sorcerer, held him responsible for the disease which was ravaging the tribe and for the failure of their food crops. He was tortured and beheaded.

An impressive display of fidelity, affection and resolute character. Of course, the account of their treatment at the hands of native Canadians ensures our school children will never hear of it.

What would these martyrs think of the country today, I wonder?

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Welcome new UCC Blogroll Members!

As some of you may have noticed, I have added a few new bloggers to my Blogroll (well, new to me anyway). As you may know, I only list those blogs I read regularly and do so irrespective of any reciprocal links. Link to me or don't - your call, but you'll wind up on my roll if I like you regardless. Anyway, a warn welcome to:

The Lair of the Catholic Caveman: Don't expect to always agree with this Traditional Roman Rite (but non-schismatic) Catholic, but this good, retired US Marine will argue his case with anyone. It's worth a romp around the Lair, unless you have "SJ" after your name, in which case I'd pass.

Holy Whapping: these Notre Dame students have got a pretty good blog, which I like for its links and - best of all - amazing photography.

New Liturgical Movement: Good place to hear from people who know a heck of a lot more about the Liturgy than you do. Also, some awsome liturgical texts for sale.

That's all for now folks: Merry Christmas to all!

Blogger Prayer for the Faithful

Lord, we ask your blessings be poured out upon we who blog, that we may be given an abundance of the cardinal virtues to guide our hands: fortitude, to suffer fools gladly; temperance, to tame our flames; prudence, to know when enough is enough and justice, that merit might be our guide. To these we ask you add the theological virtues: faith, to keep us steadfast to what is right; hope for salvation of those yet to rejoice in your salvation, and charity, that we may render a good acount of your name in our exchanges with others.

This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, who lives and
dwells with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Amen.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Christmas Meme

Tagged! By Rick at City of God. Well, here it goes:

1. Hot chocolate or apple cider?
Before or after the Scotch?

2. Turkey or Ham?
Ham.

3. Do you get a Fake or Real you cut it yourself Christmas tree?
Fake, with lots of little pieces. Mme. Sallet can't be truly happy unless the tree job is miserable.

4. Decorations on the outside of your house?
Absolutely. As soon as the restraining order expires....

5. Snowball fights or sledding?
Sledding, or as we call it: human curling.

6. Do you enjoy going downtown shopping?
Sure...it's right up there with a colonoscopy and a prostate exam by a 22 year old med student named "Bunny" (true).

7. Favorite Christmas song?
Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid and egg.... Just kidding. Silent Night.

8. How do you feel about Christmas movies?
Love the traditional ones, cartoons included. It's OK to add National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, right? Right?

9. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music?
In elevators or at home?

10. Stockings before or after presents?
Definitely before. You need them for the stick-ups to get the presents....

11. Carolers, do you or do you not watch and listen to them?
Never seen one.

12. Go to someone else’s house or they come to you?
Well, you're pretty much scre*ed either way. I just go where the wife says then seek out other Y chromosomes when I get there.

13. Do you read the Christmas Story?
Yes. Kid loves it. Wife gets copulatory glare.

14. What do you do after presents and dinner?
Scotch & nice cuban cigar.

15. What is your favorite holiday smell?
Pine indoors.

16. Ice skating or walking around the mall?
Why don't I just use a hammer drill on my feet and call it even?

17. Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas day?
Christmas morning.

18. Favorite Christmas memory?
I think there was one in there somewhere where I didn't get clothes. That one.

19. Favorite Part about winter?
Well, I like to ski.

20. Ever been kissed under mistletoe?
I only get dirty looks from my wife under one. I guess she forgets the time when we were under one at her parent' house and we snuck off and...uh, never mind.

Since there wasn't a single question about loudest belches, I'm also going to assume this was written by a XX. Won't tag anyone as it's so close to the day now, but thanks Rick!

Ask a stupid question...

In another stunningly ignornant missive, Haroon Siddiqui of the Toronto Star cries a river for dual Canadian-Iranian citizens being "harassed" at the Canada-US border crossing. For the life of me I just can't figure out why the United States would be so malicious as to exercise increased vigilence when dealing with individuals who have deliberately chosen to retain Iranian citizenship, their recently acquired Canadian citizenship apparently not being good enough for them.

Oh, wait a minute - I seem to recall this and this and this and this.

I guess Siddiqui must of overlooked those inconvenient tidbits. I mean, why should the U.S. want to keep an eye on foreign nationals whose country denies the Holocaust, has a nuclear weapons strategy, vowed to persecute Christians and calls for Jews to be slaughtered and the destruction of Israel.

Notwithstanding Siddiqui's appalling ignorance (or bias - you decide), his closing question deserves an answer::

Why would Canada allow Canadians to keep dual citizenship and then abandon them for exercising that right?
Excellent point. Let's ban this have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too approach to citizenship. Pick your cliche: get off the fence, fish or cut bait - whatever. Either being a Canadian is good enough for you, or it is not. You choose, and we will respect your decision and lobby the U.S. to do likewise. Until then, remember that next time you feel "harassed" at the U.S. border that you chose to be a citizen of a nation with declared, genocidal goals and which is an enemy of the United States.

If that's a problem for you, tough.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

If I could give anything I wanted to my parish...

...I would give these. Is that wrong?

UPDATE: Final selling price was $7900 to a lucky eBayer using the name "liturgy"! Very nice....



Monday, December 19, 2005

Cathedral Prayer Service is a Scandal

I know this is hard to say, but the Toronto Star’s Rosie DiManno is right. Again. It’s been happening a lot lately, so one of us is maturing I guess. In today’s column she eviscerates Toronto’s lefty clergy for a bogus, anti-American “Ecumenical Prayer Service” for the so-called Christian Peacemakers being held hostage in Iraq:
“…from the depths of their faith, a blinding if luminous faith, they bore false witness, disingenuous witness. And that is a grave sin. It wasn't the abductors who were condemned from the pulpit. It wasn't the tyranny of terror that was denounced. It wasn't the gutless tactic of holding defenceless civilians in bondage for the purpose of staging repugnant videotaped theatre that was decried.

“It was the occupation of Iraq that was damned — an exclusive assignment of blame, as if no one else in this agonizing hostage drama is culpable for what has happened: Not the four men who wilfully put themselves in harm's way in the na├»ve assumption that piety and a commiseration with anti-American sentiment would shield them from danger; not the Christian organization that sent them on a mission overseas after minimal preparation with instructions to intervene, to insinuate themselves between occupiers and occupied; not even the little-known militant group, the Swords of Righteousness Brigades, that has claimed responsibility for the abduction, accusing the men of being spies.

“Someone coming in cold to the Toronto service, with no knowledge of the facts, would have been forgiven for assuming it was U.S. troops who had taken these aid workers hostage, such was the thrust of the commentary that accompanied the praying and the hymnsinging. There was barely any reference to the abductors, as if they were merely bit players in a larger narrative, not central to a crime.”
As we have already demonstrated here on Upper Canada Catholic, Christian Peacemaker Teams have nothing to do with making peace, and even less to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Since their abduction by Islamic terrorists 23 days ago, Canadians have had their intelligence insulted by MSM reports quoting CPT members anxious to bend over backwards to top each other in their “Blame America” game. They send an envoy to Iraq to connect with the terrorists to explain how the abductions were all a big mistake; the hostages, he explained, are their friends who hate the Americans as much as they do. Of course, the envoy was also abducted.

They just really, really don’t get it do they? The abductors do not care about human life. They bomb women and school children and weddings. They want to kill every living person on this planet who fails to share their world view, and they care not a wit for their allies among western appeasers whom they would smite with equal fervour. Naturally, the abductions will be blamed on US policy, as will the hostages’ deaths once the body parts start rolling in. The hostage takers are the enemy of Christ, his people and peace. Where are the Christian warriors? (Oh yes, in the USMC - never mind).

As a Catholic, I naturally pray for the intervention of the Holy Spirit, the conversion of the hostage takers to Christ and the safe deliverance of the hostages. I am also ashamed that my Cathedral was sullied by such a wallowing in left-wing nonsense ably abetted by idiotic clergy using the Gospels as cover for an anti-American political agenda. I sign off as Rosie did with my own prayer for the faithful:

“That those who oppose the freedom of the Iraqi people and their supporters here and abroad respond to God’s grace and defend the Iraqi people victimized by terrorism, that Iraqi and Coalition Forces be delivered from harm in their fight for the freedom and security of the Iraqi people and that the terrorists holding the hostages release them in good health and lay down their arms.

The Lord hear our prayers….”

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Support Character in Parliament: Back this Independent


I've written about Bev Desjarlais before; she's the former NDP MP kicked out of caucus and stripped of her nomination in this election for opposing same-sex marriage (SSM) in the recent free vote. By "free vote" I mean free for anyone other than the anti-democratic NDP, which despite its huffing and puffing over the democratic deficit clearly doesn't wish to soil its hands with democracy at the caucus level. But I digress.

Bev has served her Manitoba constituents well for three terms, but now faces a tough three-way race against a provincial cabinet minister's daughter running for her former party, and Tina Keeper (former star of North of 60) for the Liberals. Those of us in the fight against SSM called on MPs from all parties to show character by voting their conscience and doing the right thing.

Bev did that. Now she may be out of a job. How can we ask MPs to show character, then walk away when they do? Well, now it's our turn to show character: cut her a cheque. Today. By all means, as good Tories cut another to this fine fellow carrying our standard in Chruchill, but given local dynamics the best, realistic hope for Parliament lies with denying this seat to the Liberals and NDP and placing it firmly in the hands of Independent MP Bev Desjarlais.

Any donation under $200 will keep your name out of it as far as the candidate's reported contributions are concerned, and any donation under $400 earns you a 75% tax rebate. A $100 donation costs you just $25, so get out the cheque book and send anything you can afford to:
Bev Desjarlais Campaign
c/o Leslie Ellsworth, Official Agent
64 Partridge Cres.
Thompson, MB R8N 1A2
(make cheque payable to "Bev Desjarlais Campaign")

Character is always worth supporting. Merry Christmas everyone.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Real Presence is Real

Nothing is more complex than explaining transubstantiation – the Catholic belief that communion bread and wine actually changes into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ during the Eucharist. This notion of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist is perhaps the single most misunderstood tenet of the Catholic faith, and the one for which we are most often ridiculed by others. The purpose of this exercise is to (hopefully) establish the truth of this mystery by appealing mainly to reason, not faith or scripture. With apologies for the extreme hubris of that stated intention, let us proceed to at least make the attempt.

For the benefit of non-Catholics, we believe that when the priest celebrates mass and pronounces the words of consecration over the gifts (“This is my body”, “This is the cup of my blood”), the gifts are changed into the actual Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. This differs substantially from Protestant denominations which see communion merely as being “representative” of the last supper – a sort of theatrical re-enactment.

Of course, this Catholic belief appears absurd on its face: How can a piece of bread turn into human flesh? How can wine be changed into blood? The lack of any apparent change to the gifts themselves supports this initial incredulity. The traditional way of explaining how transubstantiation works is a bit heavy, but basically boils down to identifying bread and wine in two distinct ways: by substance and accident, the former changing and the latter being retained. “Substance” means what a thing actually is, while “accident” refers to a thing’s physical characteristics. The entire dry-as-dust explanation is here and here. To understand it from an entirely different perspective, however, we need to consider a few important points.

First, we need to talk about the bread and wine themselves. According to the Code of Canon Law, the bread “must be wheaten only, and recently made, so that there is no danger of corruption” and is usually a thin, round wafer cooked to a hard disk that will not crumble. It tastes like cardboard, but dissolves readily in the mouth. The wine “must be natural, made from grapes of the vine, and not corrupt”; it tastes sweet. Next, we need to be clear that after consecration, the gifts retain all the appearances of bread and wine – they look, smell, taste and feel just as they did before consecration.

So, how can Catholics claim a belief in transubstantiation? To answer that clearly (i.e. in a non-Aquinan way), consider the following examples based on common, shared experiences:

A person is much more than the sum of their parts: they exist not just as a body with discernable appearances and characteristics, but as a person – a husband or wife, a labourer or accountant, a mother, a friend and so on. The body can be seen, heard, touched, smelled and yes, even tasted. The true substance or essence of the person cannot be seen by use of the five human senses or scientific methods. Nonetheless, we do not deny the existence of a person within the body, simply because we cannot measure them in any physical sense.

The substance of the person and the physical person can be changed in different ways. The body can gain weight, become disfigured, change hair colour but the person inside does not automatically change as well. Likewise, the person can change – they can love, hate, despair, desire – all the time retaining the same outward appearance. The point of this analogy is not to distract you, but to prove that two different kinds of change are possible – only one of which is physically discernable.

Consider another example: when a woman becomes a mother, she changes (a father too, certainly!). She no longer exists just for her own sake, or the sake of her husband, but for the sake of a family – the centre of which is her new child. What woman would say she “is the same person now” as before she gave birth? She may not be able to articulate it, but she knows – as everyone close to her knows – that she is not the same person she was before the birth. The substance of who the person was is gone, and is replaced by a new person – the mother of a child. This change has two defining characteristics: it could not be discerned merely by use of the five human senses, and it is real.

A final example: death. Juxtapose the instant before death with the instant following it; the former involves a body inhabited by a person while the latter is just a body. The body immediately prior to death has an identical appearance to the one immediately after the soul has departed, yet we know – we just understand at a fundamental level – that the two are completely different. The former is a person – someone with a name, a family, hopes, dreams, sufferings, regrets and everything else of substance that defines who that person is. The latter is just a corpse – there is no substance present. The accidents, if you will, are retained while the substance has fled.

Which brings us full circle to the bread and wine used in the Eucharist, a sacrament of the Catholic Church. A recent post on North Western Winds puts it this way:
“The sacraments are concrete gestures, that make use of materials signs. The sign is always visible, but is always a sign of something of not visible…. There lies the force of the liturgy.”

What does it mean to say “something not visible” - what is the something, and why is it not visible? Consider this: why do people prefer antiques to reproductions? Original works of art to prints? If I like Monet, I could furnish my house with every Monet ever painted using framed prints for a few hundred dollars. A single original would cost more than the house, and you couldn’t tell it from the print without a close examination. So why desire the original? The answer lies in the authentic nature of the original; it was the actual canvass used by Monet; he stood before it in all his creative force, the original has a unique history having been passed from estate to estate, and is the only one of its kind. The owner of an original painting or an antique possesses something authentic and real that can be imitated but not copied. In other words, the accidents of the thing can be reproduced, but the substance cannot – there is only one original and therein lies its authentic substance.

Remember that there are two kinds of change that can happen to matter: both are real, but only one can be perceived. In the case of transubstantiation, as with people, bodies or antiques, something authentic and unique happens to the bread and wine. A priest, validly ordained through an unbroken line of Apolistic succession leading back to Christ Himself, and acting with the full authority of the Church founded by Him, changes the substance of bread and wine into the new substances of Christ’s Body and Blood – all the while retaining the accidents of ordinary bread and wine. This authentic experience happens to the bread and wine – making them different in a real, but not discernable way.

Getting one’s head around the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist does not require the suspension of reason; only the understanding of the nature of change and the limits of the five human senses. Reason, of course, is a gift – just like faith.

But that’s another discussion….

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Toronto priest gets it

For those of you acquainted with Toronto's St. Michael's Cathedral, it will come as no surprise that the priest about to be praised is Zambian-born Fr. Lawrence Malama. The tall, soft-spoken diocesan priest often celebrates the noon weekday masses attended by Toronto's downtown working Catholics. What sets Fr. Malama apart is his have-no-fear, pull-no-punches noon hour homilies. Never working from notes, Fr. Malama weaves simple, short homilies into powerful messages of hope and faith - many of which leave the faithful squiriming in the pews. Like St. Mike's Rector, Msgr. Manny Bianco, Fr. Malama aims both barrels at sin, putting on display a priesthood very much in touch with the stresses and temptations of the average working person.

Consider the following two examples of Malama homilies (paraphrased as closely as I can recall):
  • Looking at the assembled noon-hour faithful, Fr. Malama admonishes himself - then us - thus: "Look at me! Do you think because I am a priest that I get to go to heaven? That I am closer to it than you? Nonsense! Wearing fancy vestments and saying mass everyday doesn't get me to heaven! I must earn it - everyday - by living this mass outside these wall. Just like you. It's nice that you're all here at mass today - but it is what you do when you leave that gets you into heaven. Do not think that you come to mass and get to go to heaven. You will be surprised if you get there by who is there and who is not." I recall the anger in his words - and the love - but he had the Cathedral's total attention.
  • Today, the feast of St. Lucy, was another classic Malama homily: "Tomorrow will never arrive. Never. There is only today. And today is when you must confess your sins. Do not delay, do not put it off. Find a priest and tell him to hear your confession right away. This you must do." This was a man - a priest - gravely distressed by the Damoclean Sword of sin hovering over the necks of so many faithful. He didn't make the usual case for the sacrament of reconciliation, or show off his knowedge of sacramental theology; he just stood there and told us to go to a priest and confess. Today. His meaning was clear - we had the right and obligation to demand a priest hear our confession. I wonder how his colleagues feel about that?
Fr. Malama practices what he preaches: he regularly hears confessions, even "opening up a second lane" when the lineups are too long, and I can vouch for his capacity for imparting the sacrament first hand.

If this is the future of the priesthood, things are definitely looking up.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Christian Peacemaker Hypocrites

You want a hidden agenda? OK, let's put current media-darling Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) under the microscope, shall we? According to their website CPT's mission is to provide "organizational support to persons committed to faith-based nonviolent alternatives in situations where lethal conflict is an immediate reality or is supported by public policy." In fulfilling this mission, CPT has deployed its teams to "get in the way" in Iraq, at the US-Mexico border, in Kenora, Ontario (to escort Aboriginals past racist whites), in Hebron to protect Palestinians from Jewish settlers, and..well you get the idea.

Now for the fun part; let's examine all those regions where "lethal conflict is an immediate reality or is supported by public policy" to which CPT has never seen fit to depoy its legions of ideologically-neutral volunteers:
  • Israel, to escort innocent schoolchildren routinely targeting on public transport by Palestinian terrorists
  • Cuba, to protect political dissenters from beatings and jailings by Communist officials
  • Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, to protect Kurds and others from genocide
  • Serbia, to protect Muslims from ethnic cleansing
  • Iran, to protect and escort democratic opposition supporters from Islamic extremists that control the country
Of course, the list goes on. These "peacemakers" are nothing of the kind. They're just a bunch of left-wing rabble using the Gospels as cover for an anti-American, anti-free market, anti-Israel agenda.

Expose these frauds. Now.

Friday, December 9, 2005

I'm glad Ibbitson said it and not me...

...or I'd be called a racist for sure. On the heels of Toronto's Black community "outing" itself as the source and substance of the recent shootings, Globe and Mail columnist John Ibbitson penned quite the missive today.

Love to link it, but the Globe and Frail has the funny idea that you should pay for the privilege of reading their rag. Go figure. Anyway, Ibbitson called on the federal government to stem gun crime by - ahem - looking more closely at immigration from Jamaica to ensure that prospective arrivals do not display the risk factors associated with poor assimilation and a propensity for criminal behaviour. Those risk factors being what the Black community itself has already identified: babies born to teen girls as trophies, being raised by 25 year old grandmothers in fatherless households that lack cohesion or any sense of responsibility.

Several years ago, then police commander Julian Fantino released stats that showed Blacks accounted for just 11% of Toronto's Jane/Finch area, but 80% of its crime. Naturally, math was racist too. So much for the "systemic discrimination" of our criminal justice system being proven by over-representation of Blacks in jail: if they account for 80% of the crime, you would expect to see them filling 80% of the prison cells.

There are plenty of Christian, Jamaican families that could contribute to Canadian society, but lets leave the gangsta wannabies on the island, shall we?

Too much prayer?

OK - I think I've hit the wall, here. I've been praying three Hours from the Divine Office a day for about a week now and for the most part been enjoying it. Until yesterday. Including the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, here's what I did:
  • Morning Prayer
  • Rosary
  • Confession
  • Penance
  • Midday Prayer
  • Mass
  • Noon Prayer
  • Evening Prayer
  • Night Prayer
I think I'm going to need to scale this back a bit. Balance in everything or in nothing I always say....

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Funny - I don't recall them marching against Saddam's jails

Oh well. No reason to let a little thing like consistency stop these representatives of the Church:
A group of 25 American Catholic peace activists, defying a U.S. travel ban to Cuba, will set out on Wednesday from the Communist island on a 50-mile (80.5-km) trek to the U.S. Guantanamo Navel Base aiming to protest conditions for terrorism suspects.