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.