Sunday, December 31, 2006

It ends with a bang and a wimper, apparently

So ends Saddam Hussein. Wonder what Iranian and North Korean leaders are thinking right now?

(Caution - video is graphic).

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Cardinal Flunks Catechism 101, Supports Saddam

From today’s news at Associated Press:
A top Vatican official condemned the death sentence against Saddam Hussein in a newspaper interview published Thursday, acknowledging the crimes of the ousted Iraqi leader but reiterating that capital punishment goes against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Cardinal Renato Martino, Pope Benedict's top prelate for justice issues and a former Vatican envoy to the United Nations, said that Saddam's execution would punish "a crime with another crime" and expressed hope that the sentence would not be carried out. In the interview with Rome daily La Repubblica, Martino reiterated the Vatican's staunch opposition to the death penalty, saying that life must be safeguarded from its beginning to its ``natural" end. "The death penalty is not a natural death. And no one can give death, not even the State," he said.

My my my. The Vatican has a "staunch opposition" to the death penalty, does it? Violates the "teachings" of the Catholic Church? Really?

not so much. The teachings of the Catholic Church are, in fact, publically available to anyone who cares to instruct themselves in such matters. In the case of the death penalty, the church does not now, nor has it ever, opposed capital punishment, per se – viz:
Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

So, while it would be fair to say that the Catholic Church is not a big supporter of the death penalty, it does not hold that capital punishment and the Christian faith are mutually exclusive, nor does it teach that the death penalty in and of itself violates the teachings of the Church.

Sigh. Maybe the red hat’s too tight or something, but wouldn’t be nice if the man responsible for propagation of the Church’s teachings on justice issues had actually, you know, read the Church’s teachings on justice issues?

UPDATE: The wicked witch is dead.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas instructions for Christians

A few parting instructions for fellow Christians this Christmas, to help you all navigate all the Political Correctness (PC) out there – not to mention all those workers busy relocating Christmas trees back and forth, depending on where the PC roulette wheel landed:

1. No matter your church affiliation, for the next few days, if religion comes up just say you are a "Christian" – not Baptist, or Catholic, or Methodist. If you are a loyal member of the
United Church of Canada, however, you’re still required to answer either "Pagan” or "Atheist." Sorry.

2. Being a Christian in a pluralistic democarcy does not mean your belief system gets suppressed in favour of minority views. It means that CHRISTmas gets celebrated with no less joy and tolerance than everything else.

3. Wish people a "Merry Christmas" and mean it, unless you know for certain they belong to another faith tradition. Err, in other words, on the side of Christ.

4. Attend at least one real Christmas Concert. I know, I know – you’ve already been to your kid’s "Winter Celebration" where all that stuff about Jesus is hummed instead of sung, but just once track down a real Christmas Concert with all the traditional carols and attend – and no, it doesn’t matter if it’s at a church other than yours. Yes, even if it’s an Anglican Christmas Concert, just go.

5. Pray, just once, for everybody – especially for people you can’t stand. Storm the gates of heaven for them. Forgive them everything. Please.

6. Create or visit a Nativity. They’re disappearing and if you don’t normally have one as part of your family tradition, start one. Make one.
Buy one. Whatever.

7. Most importantly, no matter what anyone else thinks, just act like a Christian. Tell someone how happy you are that Christ was born. Let people see you being a good Christian. True ecumenism is conversion by example - not that water-down-that-convert-all-nations crap. As St. Francis said, "Preach always – if necessary, use words."

8. And have a Merry Christmas everyone: Eat, drink, hug your kid, make love to your wife/husband, pray – and feel free to mix up the order.

I’m doing it all....

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Surrender Monkey for PM?

Stephane Dion thinks there is nothing wrong with the Prime Minister of Canada being a foreign national. Stephene Dion, the self-styled nationalist, refuses to dispense with a foreign citizenship.

Either Stephane Dion is stupid, or he thinks we are. Does this man seriously not understand the most elementary concept of citizenship? A citizen owes a legal and fiduciary obligation to the nation affording him citizenship, period. When present in a country of which he is a citizen, he becomes subject to all of the requirements demanded by that citizenship from time to time.

Conscription. Tax laws. Laws pertaining to treason, sedition, political activity – everything. And folks, the French (unlike Canada) take their citizenship very seriously. Just ask all those car-burning Islamic guest workers.

Election slogan? Easy – “Vote for the Canadian”

Dion. Is. Toast.

It’s over baby….

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Murder Bias

Why is it then when a man commits murder-suicide the media (quite rightly) don’t immediately start lamenting about his problems or mental health issues, but instead focus on the innocent victims of his heinous criminal act – usually his wife and children. When a woman commits exactly the same evil crime, however, everyone suddenly becomes a pop psychologist and trips all over themselves trying to hand her a harp and strap a pair of wings on her.

The media’s collective mind is so open to every mitigating theory of the crime, brains are falling out all over TV. Just look at the language being used to describe this killing: the baby wasn’t thrown off the bridge, they “plunged” or even worse he “jumped with his mother.” It wasn’t even a murder at all in most reports, but a “tragedy”, as if they’d been killed in a traffic accident or something. Not a single article appears without some kind of authoritative quotes from medical experts about depression, despite the fact that they know as much about these two people and their circumstances as you and I – not a bloody thing.

So you will please excuse me for offering this nowhere-else-to-be-found alternate theory of this week’s latest murder-suicide-by-mother: Maybe she was just an evil, murdering, twisted killer who’s choking back the flames in that special corner of Hell reserved for parents who betray the ultimate trust bestowed upon them.

The true facts will become known in the coming days, weeks and months. But until they are known, the above theory is just as supported by the known evidence as all the crap filling our morning papers.

And until we know differently, I will pray for Sunna Genua. He’s the little boy murdered this week by his mommy.

As for his mother…I will defer to His perfect judgement in such matters.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Paging Mrs. Dion

Anyone know why the new Liberal leader's wife or daughter wasn't on stage with him, or anywhere with him at the convention? Why they never appear together?

Hey, just askin...I'm one of those backward voters who like their chosen political leaders to be family people, etc.

So I'm...just askin.

OK, I found a pic of Dion embracing his family on stage after winning the leadership, as is always the case:

OK, so you can't really see them all that well, but they're there. Trust me.

As for his passion, well just check out these embraces:

Letters, Redux

Welcome to a new feature here at Upper Canada Catholic, where we will apply the "turnabout is fair play" rule to the most moronic, left-wing letters to the editor we can find. For our inaugural letter, here is Joe Tatarnic's passing contribution to sodomite sophistry in today's Toronto Star:

Beware Shrill Protests on Same-Sex Marriage

Unedited original:
With the re-opening of the same-sex marriage debate in Parliament next week, we must expect the possibility of well-organized campaigns calling for the legislation's reversal. Do not be swayed by their shrillness. These events will be organized by well-financed minorities who, due to their social conservatism or religious bias, have a vested interest in overturning the same-sex marriage bill and curtailing other people's freedom and rights.

Thanks for clarifying that Joe - we now understand that there are no religious views or values which can legitimately inform public policy - just religious "bias." Also, we appreciate the fact that our views can be dismissed because they come from "minorities"; this is a new liberal position we haven't heard before. Tell us, Joe, which other minorities is our allegedly democratic society allowed to dismiss out of hand? The list, please...we'd really like to know what the hidden liberal agenda is here.

Joe, because you choose to support same-sex marriage not by defending it directly, but by launching vapid sophistry missiles at people who oppose it it, your letter has been chosen to be rewritten by Upper Canada Catholic editors.

The New and Improved Version:
With the re-opening of the same-sex marriage debate in Parliament next week, we must expect the possibility of well-organized campaigns calling for the legislation's approval. Do not be swayed by their shrillness. These events will be organized by well-financed minorities who, due to their sexual preferences or anti-religious bias, have a vested interest in saving the same-sex marriage bill and curtailing other people's freedom and rights.

Next time, Joe, try making an actual argument.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Cardinal's latest pastoral letter rocks Toronto

Every now and then people ask me why I became a Catholic. Well, if I had to give the shortest possible I would simply say that this is the reason. Or, if you like, this. This also serves as an excellent example of the very same reason – because Catholicism speaks the truth – to me, and to everyone else.

Let us take the latest example of an exceptionally articulated act of truthful leadership from the mouth of non-other than our very own Toronto Archbishop,
Aloysius Cardinal Ambrozic. His most recent pastoral letter, Religion and Gain, is arriving in Toronto households this week and speaks directly to the abuse of the word values in today’s society:
The reason for my negative reaction seems to lie in the fact that the talk of values strikes me as very neutral. The word admits that for someone else my value may be quite valueless. The term communicates, in fact, our acceptance that what we take as valuable may be quite meaningless in somebody else's eyes. In other words, I react negatively to the word simply because it contains a possibility of relativism and meaninglessness. …There is the attitude that the dialogue takes place without any attempt to change anyone's mind. All discussion of values is useless. Any attempt to change anyone's mind is, in fact, unacceptable and even unecumenical.

His Eminence is just getting warmed up, however, for a full-frontal assault on today’s big lie – that there are no set morals or values which are true for all people in all times, and which ought to be obeyed. I share the Cardinal’s view that we are living in a time where nothing is true, and the greatest virtue is the pursuit of new truths we create for ourselves:
It seems that the only value that is universal in our society is that of the glorified ego. The notion predominates that all our views must be measured by our sovereign likes and dislikes. This notion seems to be at the basis of our democratic conviction and practice; my ego is thought to be the only authority which counts. There is no truth and value apart from what I like or dislike. The difficulty is, however, that this sovereign ego is not a neutral value -- just because it is generally accepted. It is, clearly, a one-sided myth.

This, of course, has very practical consequences for all of us and the society in which we live – and die:
If we wish to have proof of the mythical quality of our sovereign ego, it lies in the fact that it is quickly becoming something else, that is to say, a productive ego, a unit of economic utility. It is this productive human being whose "value" is beginning to fray at both ends of the life spectrum. Our society has already accepted the principle of abortion, and there is a growing number of people defending euthanasia. Whatever the reasons proclaimed by them, children learning from this type of society will get rid of their old people as soon as they become economically unproductive.

Cardinal Ambrozic pulls no punches – his next target is another sacred cow of western civilization – democracy, or more particularly the perversion of it into an instrument of selfishness:
The notion very much at home in some of our media and the programmes of some political parties, seems to be basic and unquestioned, though it can hardly be said to be neutral, that the well-fed, fully employed and economically secure individual will remain honest and democratic. However, this self-seeking and self-justifying individual, seeking his own economic advantage, will hardly proclaim the values of honesty and respect for others. The point we must stress again and again is that our society is basing itself on an ideologically un-neutral notion of the sovereign individual. …Before I feel that I must be honest, I must be convinced that there is a God who demands that honesty. God is greater and far more important than democracy and financial honesty. Should democracy become an end in itself, should we have no reason whatever apart from our "social" obligation to be honest and non-violent, self-controlled and tolerant, then we become victims of our own prejudices and predilections. The only way for democracy to survive is to accept the two great commandments which Jesus has given us, the love of God first, and the love of neighbour. It is only if we know that God is greater than us, that God is greater than anything else in the world, that we can then accept His commands, whether they serve us or not, whether they are useful to us or not, that we shall live in true freedom and democracy.

It is said that in today’s world, mass communications should be written at a grade six reading level. I’m told that most major dailies follow this plain language rule, and it is refreshing that our local Ordinary feels no such compunction. He consistently produces homilies and pastoral letters of the highest, truthful character that if followed would make this City one of the best places in the world.

Dominus Vobiscum Cardinal

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ailing Toronto Cardinal Celebrates Special Mass

I had the good fortune to attend last Sunday's official dedication and consecration of St. Gabriel’s Passionist Parish in Toronto. His Eminence Aloysius Cardinal Ambrozic, Cardinal Archbishop of Toronto (pictured left, swiped from the Parish site), celebrated the special Mass consecrating the new church building during the well attended Mass.

The Cardinal was in good spirits, his obvious health issues notwithstanding. He even cracked a joke about being given the bum's rush when the lights dimmed accidentally during his homily. My own impression was that this great man was imitating the example of the late John Paul II whose attention to duty and service would not be circumscribed by debilitaing health issues or obvious pain and ambulatory issues.

Bottom line: it was a good Mass in a nice, new (although very monastic) church, celebrated by an ailing Ordinary setting the best possible example for his flock.

Stewardship indeed.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Maybe Toronto does suck after all

It just does, sorry. My main reasons are here, but at least I did go vote today, although I'm not too sure why. This election's such a sleeper I'm sure the news copy is already written and off to the presses: "All incumbents were re-elected with wide margins, 30% turnout lowest ever, blah blah blah."

Anyway, I couldn't stomach voting for Pitfield, even though she's running on the platform most closely aligned with my own take on things. Trouble is, Jane doesn't believe any of it. She's just taking opposite sides to whatever Miller says in the faint of winning votes from everyone Miller's pi**ed off in the last three years. If I honestly thought she believed in anything other than getting elected Mayor, I'd have voted for her. Honest.

Anyway, I voted for
this Toronto blogger instead. WTF.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Throw in a dozen Krispy Kremes and you got a deal

Firing the host who made the death threat was probably the right thing to do, but the Catholic League is right to call CBS on its double standard:

After comparing Mother Teresa to Charles Manson, Jillette again said she “got her [sexual] kicks watching people suffer and die.” He concluded by saying, “Paris Hilton. You’re so much better than that. Don’t take the gig. Keep making good wholesome porno films. Just do that. Do what you’re cut out for. Don’t lower yourself to playing Mother Teresa.”

Subsequent to Jillette’s remarks, John London, a radio talk-show host on KIFR/San Francisco (a CBS station that carries Jillette’s show), said that he would offer “$5,000 to the person that kills Jillette” for his attack on Mother Teresa. He added that if Jillette “suffers, I’ll make it $7,000.” London, and his producer, Dennis Cruz, were then fired by the CBS management in New York.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Reason # 512 to send your kid to Catholic school

"A grade three teacher in BC has developed a lesson plan ostensibly to teach schoolchildren 'tolerance,' encouraging the message that same-sex attraction is healthy and normal, as depicted in the homosexual cowboy movie Brokeback Mountain."

James Chamberlain, notorious for taking the Surrey School Board to the province's Supreme Court so he could incorporate same-sex story books like One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dads, Blue Dads into his kindergarten curriculum, encourages teachers to first take their classes to see the film."

H/T to Kathy.

Friday, April 7, 2006

City Council assumes queer new mandate... meddle in things not normally associated with municipal jurisdiction.

Ready for a laugh? I mean a real laugh? OK - have a look at San Francisco's municipal resolution condemning the Vatican, passed unaminously by council (which includes Catholics). I especially like the reference to the Inquisition. Can't be anti-Catholic without mentioning the Inquisition. Everyone knows that.

This, of course, is a total slam dunk. I wonder how San Francisco's ratepayers feel about the nice, big cheque they're going to write to the Catholic League? Might help fund many, many more of these.

Hilarious. Absolutely hilarious. The Gates of Hell are indeed wide enough....

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Her kid can play with my kid anytime

Sorry Anchoress, lock your kid in his room until he writes "I promise to accept the Sacrament of Holy Orders" 500 times. I mean, he's already a priest in the ways that matter, so he should make it official, don't you think? The following is from the mouth of a 16 year old boy, as related by his mother. Check it out:
“How exactly,” Buster asked me. “I’ve read that the Eucharist has been stolen for use in black masses - but what do they do with it, actually?” I don’t like talking about this stuff, but I related a little - that some have put the Consecrated Host upon an “altar” and stabbed it, or sliced it, so as to “stab” Christ. “They believe, as we do, that the Eucharist is the actual, physical Presence, the Body and Blood of Christ,” I explained. “That’s why Wonder Bread and Grape Juice won’t do. They want the Consecrated Host - they know what it is. Sometimes the desecrations can be tearing it up and stomping on it, or doing disgusting things to it. And sometimes the Host is even abused sexually. Just as sexual abuse or rape is about power and control and domination, someone who sexually abuses a Host, sees it as controling and dominating Christ.”

“But, it’s a Gift,” Buster said, “So they only cheat and hurt themselves.”

I was a little confused. “What do you mean, which is the Gift, the Holy Eucharist, or sexuality?” “Both,” he said. “They’re both gifts, but I’m talking about the Gift of the Body of Christ. Christ gave himself to us - freely - of his own free will. A Gift freely given. If someone takes the Gift and spits on it or whatever - they’re only destroying what was given to them, they are destroying what is “theirs.” They don’t in any way destroy the Giver of the Gift, or lessen the Giver…OR the Gift. So they have no power over it, they can’t dominate it. All they can do is destroy themselves within themselves.

Read the whole thing here. And Buster's mom just got blogrolled here, which oughta add like three hits a month to her sitemeter, or something.

Bloody amazing. When I think of the waste I made of my 16th year I just want to hug her kid....

Monday, April 3, 2006

Another Franciscan Warrior!

You know what? I’m really getting to like these Franciscans. First, I hear about the one who led an army that saved Europe from being conquered by he Mohammedans (too bad they played the long game, and won Europe anyway using differential birth rates and failed immigration polices as the weapons of choice, but I digress). Next, I read about St. Francis himself, rejecting what we now call 20th century ecumenism in favour of – wait for it – actually converting Muslims to Christianity. And now, we have the example of Friar Michael Seed who seems to have a knack for converting membership of the British political oligarchy to the faith.

Father Michael has reportedly been saying private Masses at 10 Downing Street for British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose closeness to the Church has been one of those poorly kept secrets for years:
Tony Blair has been attending private Roman Catholic Mass with Father Michael Seed, prompting speculation that he plans to become a Catholic when he leaves

Father Michael, who is well known for converting establishment figures to Catholicism, was reported in The Sunday Times to have held services for the Blair family at Downing Street and at Chequers, the Prime Minister's country residence.

Read the whole thing here. Hat tip to Amy. And say a prayer to St. Francis that these examples will spread throughout the Order of Friars Minor.

Sunday, April 2, 2006

Link Policy

I thought a quick explanation of my link policy over here at Upper Canada Catholic was in order, since for some reason I have received about a half dozen requests in the last month to get added to my Blogroll on the right-hand sidebar.

So here it is:

My Blogroll consists of blogs I read pretty regularly, and that I feel comfortable putting out there as an open invitation for others to read as well. Sometimes blogs get nixed because I'm told they've shut down or otherwise gone on hiatus (City of God, Island Catholic, etc.).

I do not have a reciprocal linking policy. Over half of my Blogroll does not link back to me, which is totally OK! Likewise, if I don't reciprocate a link you've made to me it's not personal. I may still read you occasionally, but not regular enough to add you to the Blogroll I click through daily myself. Yet.

So now you know. As you were....

Terri Schiavo: A Catholic Contrarian Confesses

In the past year I have read a lot about Terri Shiavo in the Catholic blogosphere, and am acutely aware of the Church’s position about the removal of her feeding tube and subsequent death, and those of many great blogging minds. Now I wish to come clean:

I agreed with the removal of her feeding tube.

I remain greatly troubled by the fact that so many people in whom I hold great esteem remain steadfastly committed to their position that what occurred was nothing short of premeditated murder, and possibly torture. When so many great and decent people hold such strong views contrary to my own, my first, second and third inclination is to think that they are right and I am wrong. I ask myself “What am I missing here?” A year on, and the answer remains “I still don’t know. I don’t think I’m missing anything.”

Her autopsy found that most of Ms.Shiavo’s brain had turned to mush, and doctors described her particular vegetative state as unrecoverable (confirmed by autopsy), and “cruel” in that it allowed her to appear responsive to stimulus (light, touch) in a way that mimicked normal, human responses – thus allowing loved ones to more easily deceive themselves as to her prognosis.

Now her husband may or may not have been a class one prick, or even a killer or adulterer – I have no idea, and I’m not sure it mattered as far as Ms. Shiavo’s unrecoverable vegetative state was concerned. I am quite certain that I would never want to be nursed ad infinitum as a hooked-up cadaver, and frankly it seems hard to see the medical facts in her case as anything other than just that. As I wrote recently, medical science can now sustain life through extraordinary means almost indefinitely (and the “almost” is about to disappear), and this has very real repercussions for our society.

One outcome of this affair was that I signed a living will making it very clear that my plug is to be pulled, and my family is to move on; life is for the living, and it is already too short.

Terri Schiavo’s tombstone says she departed this Earth back in 1990 at the time of her original cardiac arrest. Honestly folks, that sounds about right to me. I think that despite mustering all of my cognitive abilities I was unable to come round to other’s way of thinking really sucks. Honestly, I do. If you think you can convince me otherwise, I promise to open my mind.

But don’t get your hopes up.

Friday, March 31, 2006

I'm No. 2!

Free publicity Tim Horton's doesn't want - I'm the number two hit right after the corporate home page when "Tim Hortons roll up the rim" is searched!

Right back atcha Timmy....

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Armed Franciscans - Where have you gone?

Too often we read stories about how much our religious priests* have marched off to join the loony left. In the spirit of ecumenism (as opposed to the Holy Spirit, I suppose) many religious have jettisoned the entire notion of evangelization – especially as it pertains to Muslims. In the interests of setting the record straight, I must tell you – ‘twasn’t always so:

He [St. Francis] … crossed the Crusader lines to visit and have an audience with the caliph. …Francis wasn't a 20th-century ecumenist -- he probably tried to convert the caliph.

Q: Did St. Francis view Muslims as Christian heretics or infidels? What was his understanding of Islam in the scheme of Providence?

Cunningham: …My educated guess is that Francis thought Muslims, like the Jews, needed to be converted to Christianity. Also, any theologian in Francis' time that knew anything about Muslims would know the Koran explicitly denies the doctrine of the Trinity; "ipso facto," that makes them heretical.

ZENIT has the whole thing here, while Thirsty Scribe recalls a Franciscan Friar who actually picked up a sword and led the army that saved Europe:

At age 70 [Franciscan Friar St. Giovanni (Juan) Capistrano] led an army against 'Mohammed II the conquerer' (who inspired the same dread that Osama bin Laden inspires today). The defensive battle pitted 24,000 Christians against 80,000 Muslim Turks and their 300 cannons. He won, and saved Europe from the conquering Muslims.

Gives a whole new meaning to “Preach always. If necessary, use words”, doesn’t it?

(*Religious priests are those who have been ordained by religious orders (i.e. monks), and they differ from secular or diocesan priests who receive ordination directly through a diocese. Unlike religious priests, diocesan priests do not take a vow of poverty and assume primary responsibility for their own finances, housing and care.)

Monday, March 27, 2006

Like they really needed another reason...

"...the family of freed Christian peace activist James Loney kept his sexual orientation quiet out of fear for his safety.

"Doug Pritchard says the family feared Mr. Loney might come to harm at the hands of his Iraqi captors had they known he was gay."

The heresy that just keeps on giving.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Now was that so hard?

Yesterday, the Christian Peacemaker Teams issued a belated thank you to those who saved their members. "We are grateful to the soldiers who risked their lives to free Jim, Norman and Harmeet. As peacemakers who hold firm to our commitment to non-violence, we are also deeply grateful that they fired no shots to free our colleagues," they said in a statement.The irony was not lost on them or on those involved in the rescue. The military they opposed had saved them.

Read it all here. Interesting is how The Star and other lefty media are distancing themselves from the group too:

The Peacemaker crisis raises another question, about the appropriateness of Peacemaker-type intervention in an anarchic place like Iraq where foreigners are easy targets. ... they put themselves at great risk, put their loved ones through a nightmare of worry and put their rescuers at risk. The murderers who snatched them were blind to the Peacemakers' good intentions. Instead, the captors used the Peacemakers as pawns, murdered Fox, and threatened to kill the others unless foreign troops left Iraq, and Iraqi detainees were freed. The Peacemakers must now consider whether the good they seek to do by exposing themselves to harm in Iraq outweighs the danger, not just to themselves, but to others. The answer should be obvious.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Wretched, imperfect faith - a neophyte's journey

As my neophyte year draws to a close, I am reminded of a great speech given by Ronald Reagan where he said of his political rivals, “It’s not that our Democratic friends are ignorant – it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.” Well, that’s my worry – that my “convert zeal” is robbing me of a true understanding of prayer and scripture. Church is meant to be the connection between God and man – a connection that is necessary. But there’s so much to understand, and this recipient is too often found wanting (I am sure) by his Creator.

When I pray to the Saints for their intercession, do they laugh? When I pray the Rosary, does Mary listen or turn her attention to more worthy recipients - or say, “What a silly man playing with beads”? If she did turn away, would she not be right to do so? Why should my prayers be answered when there is so much suffering and genuine need in the world? I have a wonderful family, and others cannot even conceive – should their prayers for a chance to be parents not be preferred over mine? Is my prayer not selfish when it seeks aid for me or my family?

These thoughts and doubts plague me all too often. My faith is “strong in weakness” yet it never leaves me completely. I do not seek a miracle or divine revelation. I have no desire to see God’s face in a potato or a bleeding statue. I just want something between me and that son of a b*tch Satan. So I pray, and read and go to Mass.

On the upside, as a neophyte I enjoy homilies that explain scripture – especially the parables. I remember hearing the one about the field or the prodigal son and thinking “Man, I agree with those workers who spent the whole day working in the field wanting more money than the guys who showed up just before dark” or “If I was that good son I’d be really p*ssed too” – only to be granted an “A ha!” moment when it all got explained. But part of my heart is never fully converted to the right way of seeing the explanation, and holds back.

I’m sorry to say it – but Easter is hard for me. Why should Christ have died for me when I clearly doubt I’m worth it? I have never seen the movie Passion of the Christ. Know why? I couldn’t hack it. Since I believe – no, I know – He died for me, I just can’t watch it knowing I don’t deserve it.

Man, that is so whacked.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Off skiing....

...with the family till the 21st. I'll try not to break anything. Be good! Check out my blogroll for recently updated pearls of wisdom while I'm recharging the batteries - thanks!

UPDATE FROM JESUSLAND: Attended a great Mass in the most amazing church I have personally laid eyes on. Wow.

Marine Corps Deserter - Dumbass...or not?

Mr. Abney, a grandfather, was arrested as he went with his wife, Adrienne, across their local border crossing in the East Kootenays region of B.C. for a brief holiday in Reno, a crossing they had made many times without any problems.

Not this time. Border officials ran the couple's passports through their database, and Mr. Abney's 1968 desertion showed up.

His last words to his wife were: "They're putting me in jail."

U.S. Marines spokesman Lieutenant Lawton King said the Marines never forget.

OK - two things: First, you've got to finish what you start - the United States is absolutely right to prosecute this deserter. Second, that being the case, why exactly did it take so long? Why was this deserter allowed to cross back and forth between Canada and the United States endlessly for decades - only to be "caught" now?

Something's wrong here. I'm just sayin.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Your Parish might be really liberal if...

Your Parish might be left wing if…

  • The Pastor often speaks in glowing terms about how our “Protestant friends worship”
  • Notwithstanding what the Congregation for Divine Worship has to say about it, the Sacred Vessels are wicker baskets lined with napkins
  • A healthy supply of Christian Peacemaker Team envelopes and propaganda are available at the end of each Mass
  • The Stations of the Cross are “contemporary” versions; photographs of police beating back demonstrators in Latin America and Vietnam war protestors replace scenes of Christ and His cross
  • The church building looks like an insurance company office building; there is no crucifix
  • The RCIA program teaches that the Catholic Church scares away too many converts because of our “worship” of Mary and “misunderstanding” of confession
  • In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the Priest does not actually “give” absolution for sins – the Sacrament merely “celebrates” the fact that God forgives sins as soon as you regret them
  • The processional crucifix is a “Risen Christ” (the one that looks like an action figure jumping off the cross)
  • The Pastor declines to bless water because “all water is already Holy”
  • Homilies often refer to the “future role” women will play in the Catholic Church, and the need for marriage to embrace “all love”

Yes, very witty, etc. The problem is that I have actually described pretty much my home Parish. As a neophyte convert, I am troubled by the idea of, well, making trouble for the Parish, my son or myself. Even though all these things strike me as wrong to some degree, it also occurs to me that as Johnny-come-lately I shouldn’t be questioning the guidance of a Pastor with so much experience and who is, frankly, a wonderful and kind man.

So…how have others handled this?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Did you know...?

Did you know that religious services in Canada (including the Mass) are afforded special, legal protection? It’s true. It is illegal to impede a clergyman from attending to his duties or to disturb or interrupt a religious service. According to Section 176 of the Criminal Code of Canada:

176. (1) Every one who

(a) by threats or force, unlawfully obstructs or prevents or endeavours to obstruct or prevent a clergyman or minister from celebrating divine service or performing any other function in connection with his calling, or

(b) knowing that a clergyman or minister is about to perform, is on his way to perform or is returning from the performance of any of the duties or functions mentioned in paragraph (a)

(i) assaults or offers any violence to him, or
(ii) arrests him on a civil process, or under the pretence of executing a civil process,

is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

(2) Every one who wilfully disturbs or interrupts an assemblage of persons met for religious worship or for a moral, social or benevolent purpose is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

(3) Every one who, at or near a meeting referred to in subsection (2), wilfully does anything that disturbs the order or solemnity of the meeting is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Furthermore, under Canada’s powers of arrest, anyone asked by an official in charge of the Church's property can arrest an offender found committing these offences using as much force as is required, following which the person is to be turned over to the police. I recall a local story of a man being pursued by store security for shoplifting, who ran into a Catholic church during Mass. Police arrived and waited out the Mass before arresting the man, for the very reason of not wanting to flout this section themselves.

Just thought I’d mention it in case these unsettled times result in unfortunate incidents in your church one day.

Sunday, March 5, 2006

A Marriage Guide for Men

As a 30-something male who has been married for 16 years, and who is feeling magnanimous, I have decided to share my learning with younger men considering embarking upon a similar journey of marital bliss. Women, please click here now. Men, for your general edification the following may be duly classified as “lessons learned and duly conferred”:

On Property:
The wedding ceremony seals her entitlement to your assets. When you were single and bought her whimsical gifts, it was your money. Now, when you buy her flowers or a little something, you are “wasting” money. What’s hers is hers and what’s yours is “ours.” Discretionary income spent on your hobbies and pastimes is considered to be of marginal utility to the “family” and will soon become a source of tension. Sorry. At some point she may even tell you not to send her flowers on Valentine’s Day because it’s a waste of money. She is lying. If that delivery man doesn’t show up at her office with a bouquet you are toast. And toast sleeps on the couch.

On Buying a House:
Your opinions on absolutely everything will be sought (the size of closets, width of hallways, number of cupboards, etc.) endlessly. Should your opinions differ from hers, they will be re-solicited until such time as they change to conform to her already settled opinions. It is required that you take an active interest in all such matters, and appear to retain a perfect, photographic recollection of every detail of every house you have ever seen. When asked “Honey, do you remember the cute split-level we saw with the burber carpet?” the only acceptable response is “Of course I do snookims.” You will purchase the house she wants, and assume all responsibility for negotiating the price she is willing to pay. The fact that she exclaimed “This is PERFECT honey – we can DEFINITELY afford this house now that you got your big bonus!” in the presence of the vendor’s agent must not be used as an excuse for failing to negotiate a more advantageous closing price. Ever.

On Arguments:
Remember all those courses you took on logical reasoning, dialectics and the Socratic Method? Excellent. Now forget them. There is no greater screw up in a marriage than winning an argument with your wife. You could back a truckload of evidence up to the door and get the Supreme Court to rule in your favour, and it would only nail your coffin shut that much more. End all arguments with “You’ve really given me something to think about” or “You’re right; I hadn’t thought of it like that before. Sorry.”

On Other Women:
For reasons never fully explained, your wife will occasionally solicit your opinions on the physical qualities of other women. This usually occurs immediately following her own offering of sometimes indiscreet opinions, so as to set an atmosphere of trust and to facilitate an equally erudite response from you. Do not EVER engage in this type of exchange. If your wife exclaims “Did you see what Sue was wearing at the beach party today!” and the Sue in question was a 42DD in a mesh tube top at a volleyball game, the answer is “Sorry honey, no, Bob and I were talking about the game.” Experience has shown that the following observations in particular are to be studiously avoided:

“You're right honey; your sister’s breasts are kind of perky I guess – just like yours used to be!”

“Yeah, she is kind of attractive, isn’t she?”

“Hey honey, remember when you used to wear a dress like that?”

On Sex:
I know – you got married in part so that you could have disease-free, guilt-free sex with the woman you love anytime you want. Sucker. You will have as much sex as your wife wants; which is fine, so long as she wants the same amount and kind of sex you do. Which she probably will – for about a couple of years or kids – whichever comes first. After that, I’m afraid it’s going to be a lot harder. Yes, that was a double entendre.

The first thing you need to understand is the term “bad sex.” This is difficult, I know, because for men there is no such thing – it’s all good. Having bad sex is physically impossible for a man, barring a thumb tack accident or lockjaw. For a woman, however, bad sex is all too common. To avoid making sex something she’d rather avoid, it is necessary to listen very closely to what she says. This will not be easy. Listening when we just want to get laid is very hard (that was a pun, not a double entendre). So, whatever else you may screw up (pun again), be sure to LISTEN to what she says about things like relaxing, candles, back rubs, foot rubs, getting the housework and kids homework done so she can relax and a lot of other things that seem wholly disconnected from sex, but are not. I know it’s hard to make the connection between vacuuming and sex, but trust me – it’s there.

The following tips are also worth their weight in gold:

You know that old quilt that’s been in her family for four generations? Not a good wet spot cushion. Nuff said.

It’s not necessarily over just because you’re done. Really. Unless it’s a quickie, in which case the rule is get in, and get out. Sometimes, she really is just doing it for you. Be OK with that.

If you are ever asked about sexual experiences prior your relationship with her, there are a thousand wrong answers and one acceptable one – “That was sex, this is love making and I’ll never go back.” A transparent dodge? Maybe. But it is kind of true, isn’t it?

A few final thoughts: marriage is tricky, and it has a lot of ups and downs. Truthfully, a good marriage is one where you keep falling in love with each other over and over again. Until you die.

And that’s it.

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Ahhh...The mysteries of blogging!

I don't get it. I really don't. Every now and then I put a lot of effort and cognitive grease into a post like this. And how is my occasional, self-proclaimed opus received? With a collective shrug. No one reads it, or cares.

On other occasions, moved I suppose by whimsical fancy (or scotch), I dash off silly or risque missives, only to return later to find I could power my house with my spinning sitemeter, and that I have several angry voicemails from Al Gore, demanding to know why I broke his internet.

Sigh. I'll never get it....

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Ashes on, mostly

After the best debate ever in an Upper Canada Catholic combox, I can now tell you how Ash Wednesday (my first as a full-fledged Catholic) worked out:

I left the ashes on, and decided to see what the reaction would be instead of just making assumptions. When I got back to the office, I looked in the mirror and saw that my whole forehead was covered in ashes - I didn't look like a penitant, I looked like a chimney sweep! So I washed off all but a one inch circle and went about my day.

Let's just say I now I know how women feel when men talk to their chests. But on par - no real problems - just a lot of staring.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Ashes on - or off?

Ash Wednesday is this week, and I have a question: Ashes on or off? That is, after leaving the Mass, should one wipe the ashes off the forehead or leave them on until they wear off naturally? I ask, because I am definitely in the “wipe them off” school, but would welcome the opinion and instruction of others.

For me, leaving them on would lead to the sin of pride: “Hey everyone, look at me – I have ashes on my forehead! Aren’t I pious? I am so much better than you because I go to church and fast and stuff.” As they say, it’s hard to look up and see God if you’re always looking down on others. I am reminded of how much Christ loathed the Pharisees and Sadducees and their outward, hypocritical signs of piety. Matthew 16 speaks, for example, to fasting like this:

And when you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But thou, when thou fastest anoint thy head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not to men to fast, but to thy Father who is in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret, will repay thee.

Others, though, see the wearing of ashes as a public affirmation of faith, symbolic of the spirit of contrition. So I'll turn it over to others: What say you?

Roll up the rim to lose - Boycott Tim Hortons!

It's that time of year again - Canada's unofficial winter sport is now underway. Now US-owned, Tim Hortons has launched their Roll up the rim to win contest, to the hysterical joy of senior executives who apparently get their jollies watching poor working stiffs soiling their hands unravelling stiff coffee cup lips to see what they haven't won.

Sigh. I remember when this contest was launched. Just about every cup won something - a free coffee, a donut or cookie - something. It wasn't so much a contest as it was an exercise in customer appreciation: "Hey, thanks for drinking our coffee and not the other guy's; have a free donut."

Not so anymore. In the last four years - despite multiple daily purchases - I have won nothing. Nada. Zip.

So, I have decided to do something about it. I will not purchase a Tim Hortons product again until the end of their rip-off contest. I will, instead, purchase a rather good cup of coffee here.

So there. Tim Hortons can bite me.

UPDATE: Welcome to Kate's readers from SDA; grab a (non-Timmy) cup o'joe and stick around!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Star hack cites Martin Luther King in defence of Islamofascism

I’ve got to hand it to Haroon Siddiqui, the Toronto Star’s Editor Emeritus and official apologist for Islamic poor behaviour. Needless to say, Siddiqui has of late been spinning like a top in an all out effort to stem the growing tide towards criticism of fundamentalist Islam. His missive on today’s OpEd pages, however, reached a new low in Islamofascist apologetics: it turns out that all of the recent violence committed in the name of Islam is really – wait for it – the fault of Western, Christian civilization:

…why should the West take Muslims seriously when they routinely commit great crimes…? The answer is that the Muslim world is in a deep crisis.
But Muslims alone cannot fix the mess, because it is not entirely of their making.

Just keep reading and that “not entirely” quickly morphs into one big anti-western finger pointing exercise:

Nearly 400 million Muslims live under authoritarian and corrupt regimes, many of them U.S. proxies…. Islam being their last zone of comfort, many Muslims react strongly, sometimes irrationally and violently…. They react in ways the angry dispossessed do, riots being the voice of the voiceless, as Martin Luther King said.

Did everyone catch that? Siddiqui just compared the rampaging mobs of Muslims to segregated blacks! I guess the King reference is to…Bin laden?

But the crowds rampage on, harming their own interests. The aid-giving European Union office in the West Bank is closed. Danish aid workers in Chechnya are withdrawn. Worse, some of the protesters themselves are killed, 48 so far.

Ahhh…how Siddiqui really feels! The murder of Christian school girls and the beheading of hostages are nothing; the real victims are Islamic protesters who gave their lives in the pursuit of anti-Christian violence.

As tragic as all this is, it pales in comparison to the million innocent Muslims killed, and millions more maimed, in the name of fighting terrorism or finding non-existent weapons of mass destruction or other excuses.

The closing rhetorical flourish – just in case anyone forgot that Christians must bear the responsibility for Islamic violence. The closing non-sequiturs were just Star policy, no doubt.

It’s not that I expected a lot of credibility from the Star’s editorial pages, but I think we can count this as the moment this blowhard’s credibility officially bit the dust.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Pop Policy and a Happy Harper Government

I know it sounds like playing to the lowest common denominator, but sometimes “street level” or “joe six-pack” policies win huge approval ratings for governments. In the spirit of bolstering the Harper government’s popularity, I am pleased to list two possible policy items for consideration:

A full pint law: Already popular in Britain, such a law requires bars to pour their beer to the exact amount advertised. Buy a pint (16 oz) of beer – get a pint of beer.

A beefed-up do not call list: close the loopholes and introduce a law that would financially penalize not just telemarketers and call centres (who are often offshore) but their clients whose services are being hawked to you. Ouch!

By the way, the best way to beat auto-dialers is to download this short mp3 file and add these tones to the start of your answering machine’s outgoing message. The incoming call’s computer recognizes these tones as an indication that the number is no longer in service, and deletes it from their lists. We dropped from 15 calls an evening to just three or four. You’re welcome.

Any other suggestions for popular initiatives?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Reason to leave the United Church #637

The anti-conservative and now anti-Christian United Church of Canada has truly outdone itself this time. As you may have seen in this morning’s Globe and Mail editorial (subscription required), my former Church has officially indicted all those who publish the Mohammed cartoons as racists and Islamophobes. After having gone to their website to check out the original source material, I can tell you they actually went a lot further than the Globe chose to reveal. Herewith, for your edification with snarky commentary is the press release issued by the General Council of the United Church of Canada - plus a shocking discovery from their archives:

Toronto: The United Church of Canada has sent a letter to the Islamic Council of Imams expressing the denomination's "deepest regret that the name of Muhammad has been so tragically misused in the depictions of cartoons first published in Europe, but now also in Canada." […]

A search of the United Church’s website for similar press releases condemning suicide bombings of mosques by Islamic terrorists, the slaughter of Jews by Hamas, Iran’s desire to wipe Israel off the map, the murder of Christian school girls in Pakistan (and so on) yielded no results. Obviously, the publication of cartoons is a far more serious matter worthy of condemnation by the Church’s General Council.

The text of the letter is as follows:

Dear Imam Patel and Imam Slimi;

Greetings in the name of Jesus, whom both Christians and Muslims honour.
On behalf of The United Church of Canada we wish to express to you and through the Council of Imams, to the Islamic communities of Canada, our deepest regret that the name of Muhammad has been so tragically misused in the depictions of cartoons first published in Europe, but now also in Canada.

In order to dispel any doubt, let me be clear that the United Church in its quest for apostasy and heresy is on record as stating that “Christian history is full of examples of…outright misrepresentation of Muhammad’s life. …We believe that it is important that Christians strive to speak truthfully and respectfully about Muhammad. We also believe it is a possible, though major, step forward…for Christians to acknowledge Mohammed as a prophet of God.” (p. 32, That We May Know Each Other, published by the United Church of Canada’s 38th Council in May 2005). Just so everyone is on the same page here: The United Church of Canada worships Mohammed as a prophet, and they are not entitled to any credibility as representatives of the Christian faith (which is, of course, why I left them). Pass the burkas.

We believe that the intention of publishing the cartoons has little to do with freedom of expression and much to do with incitement to racial and religious hatred. As you have noted in your recent press release, the cartoons suggest that Islam itself teaches, condones and encourages violence, bombings and the mistreatment of women. Furthermore, the implication is that all Muslims believe so as well. This we know to be untrue.

Wow! The United Church obviously has some kind of inside-track here on Islam: I mean, all those Imans issuing fatwas and the bombers and those silly Islamic nations calling for genocide against Jews and Infidels – what do they know about Islam? The United Church of Canada knows better folks – Islam is a religion of peace!

The answer to your question of "why publish such cartoons?" we believe is simply racial hatred. In other forms it has been called Islamophobia.

Well, as you all know, I also do not favour publishing the cartoons for reasons I will not repeat here. It occurs to me, however, that those who do publish them may be motivated by things other than racism and hatred. Maybe they’re just trying to make a point about freedoms, or trying to sell newspapers. My own theory is that they’re afraid of losing their Christian heritage and institutions to an Islamic tide (Europe anyone?). Fear is a very powerful motivator. The United Church knows best though: those who publish the cartoons are nothing more than a bunch of racists, so there’s no need for anyone to listen to their concerns.

These attitudes should have no place in Canada. Because we all share responsibility for the society in which we live, we wish to offer our sincere apologies that such attitudes can persevere in a country that we believe can and should be a model for the world of racial and ethnic respect.

Isn’t that nice: the United Church of Canada has seen fit to issue an apology on your behalf. Here’s an idea – let them know how you feel about that.

May God's peace be with you.

May his mercy be with you.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Open Letter to Canada's Catholic Voters

In an open letter to Catholics, Canada's Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) writes:

"At this time in the history of Canada, a realistic look at society reveals a fundamental problem -- the loss of respect for human life and dignity.


"As Catholic citizens, we not only have the moral duty to exercise our civic and political responsibilities, but also the right to be involved in the life of society, each according to his or her own area of expertise, and without denying the Gospel values that are central to our lives. We are not obliged to suppress our moral conscience in order to live in society. There should be no separation -- but instead coherence -- between our faith and our daily choices, made evident in our personal, family, professional, political and cultural decisions."

COLF invites voters to examine critically the platform of each party, and to evaluate those platforms "in the light of the plan of God by studying the social doctrine of the Church."

"The question for the Catholic voter is: How, in the light of the Gospel, can I use my vote to advance the common good in Canada and throughout the world?"

Monday, January 9, 2006

The debates don't matter.

They never have. What matters, of course, is the media coverage of the debates. In other words, what the papers and talking heads tell you to think so you can sound informed at work the next day.

The Toronto Star's lead right now is that "Paul Martin came out fighting." Guess he won then. Cause I'm informed....

Sunday, January 8, 2006

Five weird things about me

Having been duly tagged by The Surly Beaver, I am pleased to relate five weird things about me, for the general edification of anyone who cares:
  • My wife married me. All her friends consider this weird. Just ask them.
  • I love watching Pride and Prejudice - the A&E version is always in our DVD. I cried at the wedding part. Once.
  • I am a math wiz, and enjoy playing around with old cipher systems and inventing new ones. Large prime numbers excite me.
  • I almost died of pneumonia when I was 13.
  • It's not unusual for a man's mind to drift into fantasy. Mine are all about my wife. My friends say that's weird. Which causes me to wonder who they're fantasizing about....
Everyone has just about been tagged by this, so I'm tagging...anyone who hasn't been. Go for it.

Friday, January 6, 2006

Catholics must stop voting Liberal

Normally I'd offer my own take on a letter like this. In this case, I'll just leave it at "What he said." From my inbox today:

Fellow Catholics,

I’m writing to you about the importance of the current federal election to our faith and its place in this country. This election is essentially a showdown between Paul Martin, a Catholic and Stephen Harper a Protestant. Yet the future health of our Church in Canada relies on you and I ensuring that Paul Martin is not Prime Minister after January 23rd.

There is a longstanding connection between Catholics in Canada and the Liberal party. For decades Catholics felt at home in a party that was moderate on economic policy and moderate on social policy. Catholics and Liberals seemed to fit, today, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The Liberals that once stood for family and tradition now forbid dissent on key issues for many Catholics. Paul Martin has gone as far as to forbid MPs in his party from bringing forward any bill that would limit abortion. As you may know, Canada has no abortion law meaning that right up until the mother gives birth, abortion is legal if a doctor can be found willing to perform it. There are many Liberal MPs who would be willing to bring forward a private member’s bill to ban late term or partial birth abortions, but Paul Martin won’t let them. Late term abortions are something that even Dr. Henry Morgentaler doesn’t agree with, refusing to perform them. Paul Martin believes banning them is wrong and allowing MPs to say so is worse.

Paul Martin, who still claims to be a strong Catholic, was also behind the push to legalize gay marriage. What you should know is that Mr. Martin is now saying that those who oppose gay marriage aren’t fit to be Prime Minister. Catholic bishops, priests, Knights of Columbus, school teachers, principals or lay people who follow the doctrines of the Church are all unfit to be Prime Minister in the eyes of Paul Martin. Due to Stephen Harper’s opposition to gay marriage, Martin asked Harper why he wants to be Prime Minister adding that the Prime Minister’s job is to protect the Charter. In Martin’s eyes once again disagreement isn’t allowed in fact it is unCanadian even if the person he is disagreeing with is upholding the beliefs of the Catholic Church. While Martin says he is the defender of the Charter, he has refused to speak up for the Knights of Columbus recently ordered to pay $2,000 to a lesbian couple for refusing to rent them a hall based on religious grounds.

Stephen Harper’ Conservatives are not the perfect party for faithful Catholics, but they are better than Martin’s Liberals. The Liberal party will never change as long as they can count on the support of Catholic voters and believe me they take Catholic votes for granted. An American Deacon named Keith Fournier wrote about last year’s US elections saying Catholic should always be the noun; we are Catholics not Catholic Democrats or Catholic Republicans. In the same way here in Canada we cannot be Catholic Liberals or switch to being Catholic Conservatives, no political party deserves the unquestioning support of any faith group. For far too long the Liberals have been able to count on the support of Catholics like you and I and look at where it has taken us. After passing gay marriage the Liberals are now planning to introduce a bill legalizing euthanasia if they are re-elected. While we cannot switch from being Catholic Liberals to being Catholic Conservatives we can vote as Catholics should for the party that will stand up for family and respect life from beginning to end.

I urge you to vote for the future of Catholics in Canada on January 23rd and support Stephen Harper and your local Conservative candidate.

Monday, January 2, 2006

When the Tory Can't Win: Strategic Voting for Conservatives

So what do you do as a good Tory when your local Conservative candidate stands no realistic probability of getting elected? You can vote for him/her anyway, or you may choose to play a strategic role in denying the riding to the Liberals by voting for someone else. It is this latter decision that can plague a Tory voter living in a swing riding that just won’t be going to the Conservatives this time out.

Case in point: Beaches-East York; Liberal incumbent Maria Minna is in a tight race with the NDP’s Marilyn Churley, a popular local MPP who just resigned her provincial seat to run federally. Jim Harris, Green Party leader, rounds out the field. Now you can certainly vote for Peter Conroy, the local Conservative candidate, but most reasonable people agree that come January 24 either Minna or Churley will be the MP. Deciding to exercise the only real power you have – to deny the seat to Minna – is a very real option being considered by a lot of conservatives.

Conservatives I know are making these kind of strategic decisions in many ridings, and by and large they are deciding to do whatever they can to deny the Liberals another seat. In Beaches-East York, this means voting for Churley. In Trinity-Spadina, they’re voting for New Democrat Olivia Chow. In Churchill, Manitoba three-term incumbent Bev Desjarlais is getting the nod as an independent candidate, after getting dumped by the NDP for her opposition to same-sex marriage. Desjarlais is in a tough battle against Liberal star-candidate Tina Keeper of North of 60 fame. There are many other ridings where Conservatives are similarly tested (Fry-Robinson, anyone?), and the decision to hold one’s nose is never easy.

Doubtless there are many who feel being a Conservative means backing your local candidate no matter what. While there is nothing wrong with this approach, it cannot be denied that others prefer to make any difference they can. Sometimes, this means electing the only person capable of keeping the riding from the Liberals. In 2006, fewer seats for the corrupt Liberal Party of Canada translates into a Conservative government.

Even if it means helping elect political foes like Churley, Chow and others.

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Open Thread: Penance

As we begin 2006, let us call to mind our sins: and all of the (perhaps) odd type of penance we may have been assigned for them.

A combination of prayers and time in front of the Blessed Sacrament are all I have ever faced. How about you?