Thursday, August 31, 2006

Excerpted from Mark Shea's combox

"Do you feel that [imagining] offends God? Why are you afraid of God? I imagine God as something good...."

The context was about John Lennon's song "Imagine," which isn't really germane to my point.

If God is good, then no, we shouldn't fear Him like we'd fear a criminal or a rabid animal. However, because God is good, we should fear him in proportion to how we offend him. I do not fear the devil for offending him by doing good, for good is right. If I do wrong, then I should not be too keen on myself or my actions.

We should love and trust God first, of course, but forgiveness is beyond saying "It's okay"--doing something wrong isn't okay--and repenting of sin calls for recognizing that sin is, in fact, rather dreadful.

A relationship, with God or human, shouldn't be based on fear of reprisal, of course, but sin does displease God, and if He's that great and you love Him that much, you should take care not to offend Him just as you'd take care not to hurt the feelings of your loved ones.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The ten verses Marcus Grodi never saw in the Bible

...until becoming Catholic.

I'm reproducing them here without commentary. They deserve to be showcased without any clutter.

  1. Proverbs 3:5-6
    "Trust in the Lord with all you heart, And lean not unto your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him. And He will direct your paths."

  2. 1 Timothy 3: 14-15 (The Church)
    "I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that, if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth."

  3. 2 Timothy 3:14-17 (Scripture)
    "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."

  4. 2 Thessalonians 2:15 (Sacred Tradition)
    "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter."

  5. Matthew 16:13-19 (Peter)
    "And Jesus answered him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.'"

  6. Revelation 14:13 (Importance of works)
    "And I heard a voice from heaven saying, 'Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord henceforth.' 'Blessed indeed,' says the Spirit, 'that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!"

  7. Romans 10:14-15 (Ordination)
    "But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how can men preach unless they are sent?"

  8. John 15: 4 and 6:56 (Eucharist)
    "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me."

    "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. "

  9. Colossians 1:24 (Suffering)
    "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,"

  10. Luke 1:46-49 (Mary)
    "And Mary said, 'My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.'"

Monday, August 21, 2006

Priestess Faces Excommunication

Eileen DiFranco, a cradle Catholic who claims to have been ordained, hopes not to be excommunicated for committing "holy disobedience" by trying to say Mass, sponsored by the Church of the Beatitudes, after having been given the usual warnings.

I didn't think an Old Catholic group would go for something so unorthodox, but I guess once you unhinge yourself from the Magisterium, you'll swing with any breeze.

"I feel conscious [sic] bound that if I think that a law is unjust, I am obliged to break it," she said. No word was given about the possibility that egalitarianism might not be the best yardstick to hold against the justice of supernatural vocations.

"I am continually saddened that my brothers are seeing this as a source of dissension instead of a means for bringing people back to church," DiFranco added. Therein, I think, lies the problem. She's not validly ordained, so anyone who comes to her isn't coming to the Church as such. Having more people show up on Sunday morning as nice, but we shouldn't be settling for the empty ritual Paul warns us about. The least we should consider is where these people are showing up. I get that she thinks she's bringing people to the truth, but how hard must it be for her to see that copping an "I can be at odds with core teachings of the Church but still be united with the Church" attitude is just for starters going to be confusing? The Church is not some western democracy; if she'd done enough academic study in her discernment to learn that much...ah, but then she might also have learned how a female priesthood is invalid, and immutably so. Safer to rely on a feeling of being called to spiritual fatherhood, eh?

One man said, after DiFranco's liturgical charade, "It's time for a change." I realize that the 40 years since Vatican II we've spent changing things isn't a terribly long time, but if all these innovations were really that great, shouldn't we be seeing some fruits like increased devotion, mass attendance, and vocations amongst the dissenters? Instead we get circuses and unqualified individuals brushing aside the discernment process so they can grasp the brass ring of priesthood. Doesn't it seem suspicious?


Sunday, August 20, 2006

At 3 pm on August 20 of this year, Al Oliver became the first man in the Saginaw Diocese to be ordained a deacon since 1981. The deaconate program had been closed until women would be admitted, but Saginaw's new pastor, Bishop Robert Carlson, had other plans.

Two years ago, Saginaw had two seminarians. Today, they have seventeen.

I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

With apologies to Stephen Colbert

Newsy, adj. Something, such as a typical MSM item, that would be news if it contained truth, rather than truthiness.

I'm not coining a new term here. A web search will turn up loads of sites where people refer to something that has some quality of news as being "newsy." I just want to emphasize a somewhat less gracious but more precise meaning, increasingly appropriate in recent decades, that more strongly implies that newsiness resembles actual news only superficially, or that it claims to do so but lacks the essence of objectivity and accuracy to a meaningful degree.

I'm tired of ignoring the slow drift to yellow journalism, or having to spell it out each time I'm in a discussion over an article that's much more sloppily assembled than a critical reader should be willing to tolerate.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Agenda-driven "reporting"

Forgive me if I've posted on a related topic before, but it's worth rehashing.

Zombie's got some good coverage of the media fraud at Reuters that's come to the surface recently. While a lot of it is clearly inexcusable, I wonder yet if some of the occurrences are a manifestation of something other than overt malice or sensationalism.

My favorite example is the time when George Bush said that it'd be a lot easier to run the country if he were a dictator. In the earliest publications quoting him, they pointed out that he was joking. Of course: a dictatorship goes against everything we believe in, but if there were no debate, if our government had been designed for efficiency (it was not--checks and balances, remember?), then whoever led the government could certainly get a lot done with all the time he instead has to spend pontificating.

Well, after a while the media would rerun his quote, but they wouldn't point out that he was joking, that everyone he was talking to laughed because they got the joke. Maybe the caption writers thought everyone would remember the context and felt that reminding us of the words alone would be enough for...for something. Whether they were just flirting with laziness (streamlining a story isn't all bad if the original meaning is preserved) or were actually trying to pry Bush into a less tasteful apparent position, the latter seemed to be the effect that was achieved; more than once I heard people "reminding" us that Bush, in the end, just wanted to be a dictator, because the last thing they read about his dictator line made him sound pretty serious.

Were they just short-attention-span types who were confused by reporting that was on the sloppy side of efficient? Were they deliberately misled? Were they willingly misled because it confirmed their suspicions or wishes? Were these suspicions first planted by journalists who made some honest mistakes that fit a political pattern, or by journalists who had a problem with objective reporting, or propagandists who happened to work for the major media and perhaps studied journalism in school?

I don't know, but the "All the news that fits our preconceptions will be printed" era can't end soon enough. Hopefully we can get a little more Matt Drudge and even a little Pajamas Media for contrast. I'm tired of running into people who trust CNN because they watch it, and then dismiss anything different that Fox News says because CNN already reported on it.

It happens the other way, too, but Fox isn't as entrenched yet, so it's a little less frequent. 'Cept maybe to people who only watch CNN, or only read the New York Times, f'rinstance. Folks who think a single news source is comprehensive and infallibly objective are probably even more frustrated by folks who think the same about a different news source.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Catholic Coke Commercial

I'm not up on embedding YouTube clips, so here's an old-fashioned link to a Coca-Cola commercial I first saw on a blog I've already forgotten the name of.