Monday, May 18, 2015

Should Churches Allow Politicians to Speak at Mass?

Yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, was invited to speak at St. Jude parish in Canarsie, Brooklyn.  The issue was tax credits for students attending private schools, including parochial schools.  The New York State Catholic Conference is understandably supportive of legislation providing these tax credits; but, at what expense?  At the expense of virtue and credibility in my opinion.

While politicians are always eager to garner support from the electorate, the Church should be circumspect about being willing pawns in the political game; even if the results appear to be beneficial.  Does anyone truly believe that Governor Cuomo cares a whit how education tax credits will help the Church?  He didn't seem to care about the Church's position when he was "muscling" same sex "marriage" through the legislature without permitting a popular vote on the issue.  He has tried year after year to expand abortion in New York, a State that is already known as the abortion capital of the U.S.  His pro-abortion agenda includes making any attempt at parental notification laws and informed consent laws illegal.  He wants to permit non-physicians to perform first trimester abortions and remove any sanctions for abortions after 24 weeks (see this article).  Is this the kind of person Catholics want to give a photo op on Church property?

And, the most upsetting aspect of Cuomo's use of the Church in his political strategy, was that we gave him the forum to speak AT HOLY MASS!!  Honestly, this fact is so disturbing as to be almost unbelievable.  So many courageous people in this diocese pour themselves out praying and counseling at the abortuaries that plague our area.  The decimation of the minority population of Brooklyn and Queens through the slaughter of the unborn truly cries out to heaven for justice.

So, when our local Church cooperates with the politician who is hard at work expanding the slaughter of the innocents, it is disheartening to say the least.  To paraphrase the words of St. Thomas More in the classic A Man for All Seasons,  "Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world...but for a tax credit?"

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Joys And Fruits Of Frightening Love

From The Holy Gospel According To John  [15:9-17]
 Jesus said to his disciples:
 “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.  Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,         just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.
 “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing.  I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.  It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.  This I command you: love one another.”
Once upon a time, a priest received an emergency sick call to go to a hospital's Intensive Care Unit.  

An elderly woman was near death.  She wanted to talk to a priest.  When the priest got to I.C.U., he discovered that the woman was 102 years old.  Her mouth was gaping open, and she was drooling out the side of her mouth.   

The priest spoke gently to her, heard her confession, and assured her that he and the parishioners would be remembering her during Mass.  Then he asked, "Mrs. Kelly, before I leave, is there anything you would like me to do?"  She requested that he pray for her: pray right then.  The priest said, “Yes, of course,” and asked if there was something specific she would like him to pray for.   She answered, "I'd like you to pray for me to be healed, right now."  "Right now?," he asked.  "Yes, Father, right away."

Realizing the hopelessness of her situation, the priest thought to himself, "Uh Oh!"  But, reluctantly, he offered a beautiful prayer: "Loving Father, if it is Your will,  please heal Mrs. Kelly;  and if it is not Your will, then to help her and her loved ones adjust to the situation and place their hope in You. Amen."

Suddenly, 102-year-old Mrs. Kelly sat up in bed and exclaimed, "Wow!"  She threw her feet over the side of the bed, stood up, flexed her muscles, and cried, "This is unbelievable!  I feel wonderful!"    Then she walked down to the nurses station, announcing, "I think I'm well!  Hey, everyone, I think I'm well!"

The priest left the hospital, walked to the parking lot, got into his car, and offered his own words to God: "Lord...  don't You ever do that to me again!"
The priest had been frightened by the intensity of love for Mrs. Kelly that GOD 
revealed through the priest.  The priest had never realized how much God loved him 
and listened to him -- until that incident.

To love as Christ loves us means, first of all,  to put aside our own hesitation, our own fears in order to relieve the fears of others.  

To love as Christ loves us means to let go of our own hopes and wants, and instead seek the hopes and wants of others.  

To love as Christ loves us means  to care for and care about others, regardless of the sacrifices demanded of us.

To love as Christ loves us means to be ready always to make the first move to forgive and to heal.

That kind of love can be so overwhelmingly demanding that we may sneak away 
from the prospect. This kind of love frightens people!

Do you and I really believe that our love toward another person can heal that person? Restore that person? Give hope and bring peace to that person?

I think that most of us know at least one incident, wherein, we were able to love someone like Our Lord Jesus loves that person.   

I think that most of us know at least one time when someone had loved us like the Lord Jesus does.

To experience Christ’s divine love is an incredible joy!   His Divine Love reaffirms our gut-feeling that we do have a purpose in our lives.  

Christ’s Divine Love penetrates our being, and we experience completeness, wholeness, from giving and receiving pure, unadulterated love, the love Our Lord Jesus Christ has for you and me.

So, we must not forget:  It was not you and I who chose Christ, but Christ who chose us -- to go forth and bear much fruit.

And our fruit must endure,  so that all we ask the Father in Christ's name He will give us.
The command the Lord Jesus gave us is that we love one another -- first ... last ... always! 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Fat Tuesday Reflection: My Three Hours As A Leper

From the holy Gospel according to Mark  [1:40-45]
A leper came to Jesus and, kneeling down, begged Jesus and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.”  Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.”  The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.  Then, warning  him sternly, Jesus dismissed him at once.  He said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;  that will be proof for them.”
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.  He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

I personally identify with all of the lepers in the Gospels because, I too was a "leper" once -- for three hours, on July 1st, 1976.  

At the time, I was a college student with a  Summer job in Queens, New York City. One morning while on the Subway and heading to work at 6:30 a.m.,  I suddenly felt myself getting very ill; feverish, dizzy, and unable to stand up straight.  

Not knowing what was happening to me, I got off the subway train at 14th Street to find a men's room.  It was all the way down at the other end of the station platform.  Just as I was walking into the men's room, I passed out.  Falling face forward onto the filthy men's room floor, I landed on my chin, and was knocked unconscious.  About an hour later, I came to and was dizzy, feverish, confused, and frightened. Stumbling out of the men's room, I was covered with blood and with the disgusting filth from the floor of the public facilities.   At first, I couldn't remember where I was and what had happened, but I could see blood dripping down on my shirt.  The only thing I knew was that I must be bleeding heavily from somewhere on my head (from my chin, actually).

Because I was frighteningly weak, it took about 30 minutes just to climb the stairs up to street level. During that time, not one person approached to ask if I needed help. Arriving at the concourse, I stumbled toward the station’s token booth, all the while with people staring and backing away from me.  When I finally got to the token booth, the clerk cursed at me and told me to go away.  No one would listen as I asked for help.  

I stumbled up the next stairway onto the street.  Weaving down the sidewalk, people cleared a path around me, pretending I didn't exist.  I was asking for someone to get the police, to call an ambulance.  They all ignored me.  I approached several people, all of whom angrily screamed at me to get away, cursing at me. 

Eventually I found a pay phone and, with hands shaking, called home to Brooklyn.  My Dad and brother were just leaving for work.  They asked where I was.  I was so dazed I couldn't even focus my eyes to read the street signs.  They told me to try to get a taxi back to Brooklyn.  I started to hail taxis; they all ignored me.  A police car cruised by and also ignored me.  

As I was just beginning to pass out again,  a taxi pulled up across the street, discharging a passenger.  I tried to jog over to the rear of taxi, but the driver couldn't see me and started to drive away.  When I started banging on the trunk he stopped, got out looking angry, staring at me.  Before he could say something, I told him I’d had an accident and needed to get to a doctor.  I showed him a $20 bill, got into the cab and told him where to take me.  

During the entire one hour trip in morning traffic, the cabbie stared at me in the rearview mirror.  And at one point, he tossed me a filthy rag and said that I was bleeding on his rubber floor mats and that he wanted them to stay clean, so he told me to clean up the mess. 

The nightmare -- my "leprosy" -- ended after three hours, when the taxi pulled up in front of my home.  I became a human person again.  My family brought me to a hospital emergency room. 

Inserted back into my non-leper’s life, for many weeks I pondered the frightening lesson in the ways that sin has made our human nature diseased and narcissistic.

In the incident recorded in Saint Mark’s Gospel (above),  Our Lord Jesus' curing of the leper shocked those who witnessed it.  Our Lord Jesus did not drive the leper away as would be the norm under the Law of Moses.  Instead, Our Lord Jesus reached out and touched him.  Our Lord Jesus did not see an unclean leper, nor a disease, but a human soul in desperate need.   

That three hour nightmare I endured back in 1976 pummeled me with a distressingly cold truth: The physically leprous in our society may suffer from a medical affliction,  but it is we -- the non-lepers -- who can be the sick ones.  It is we who can be spiritually diseased from sinfulness and selfishness.  We may be suffering from self-inflicted spiritual leprosy.

The biggest disease of the Third Millennium is not Leprosy, nor Ebola, nor A.I.D.S., nor Tuberculosis.  Rather, as Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, 

“The greatest disease today is ... the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for and deserted by everybody... The greatest evil is the lack of love and charity, the terrible indifference towards one’s neighbor.”

Moved with pity, Our Lord Jesus stretched out His hand to touch the leper and to say to him, "Be made clean!"

Ash Wednesday is tomorrow, another yearly gift from Our Lord to approach Him and be helped to rid 
ourselves of our sins and hypocrisies.

May each of us have faith and trust in Christ to approach Him during our Holy Communion when we attend Mass on Ash Wednesday, and say, "Lord Jesus,  if you wish, you can make me clean.  If you will to do so, you can cure me of my spiritual leprosy."

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bishop of Bling vs. Bishop of the World

It appears to be time to keep an eye on the German Bishops' Conference, where things are a bit off kilter and aiming to possibly get worse.  Normally, it wouldn't be so much of an issue for the universal Church, but the Germans seem to be taking center stage in recent Vatican discussions on Church teaching and practice regarding marriage.  So, what happens in Germany doesn't necessarily stay in Germany.


 Some of these latest shenanigans are being brought to light in a comparison of two mega diocesan building projects.  The first one, as you may have heard, concerned the archbishop of Limburg, Franz Peter Tebartz van Elst, who was ultimately deposed as the ordinary of his diocese in 2013 because of supposed excesses in spending on a new diocesan center and bishop's residence.  The press in Germany and elsewhere went after van Eltz like wolves after wounded prey.  He was called names like "the bishop of bling" and "bishop swank."  Rumors swirled of a  gilded bathtub and other excesses, most of which could not be documented by the swarming press even after diocesan books were opened.  While the press and public were screaming for blood, Bishop  Tebartz van Elst did not get much support from his brother bishops.  Only the outgoing bishop of Cologne, Cardinal Meisner,  stood up for van Elst and spoke eloquently about his moral character and theological acuity.  Among those who had no good words to say was Cardinal Marx, the archbishop of Munich and current head of the German bishops conference.

Fast forward to this year and another massive diocesan building project in downtown Munich.  The cost of the project as ballooned from 31 million Euros in 2011 to 130 million Euros today.  The person responsible for this project?  Cardinal Reinhard Marx.  While the press and the people were calling for Bishop van Eltz's head in Limburg, the reaction to Cardinal Marx's spending spree is ...crickets. (Hillary White has a very informative article about the situation over at LifeSite News. )  What could be the reason for the difference?

Cardinal Marx is not especially known for his simple lifestyle.  According to Hillary White's article, he drives a top of the line BMW.  His bishop's residence (a palace) was recently renovated at the cost of 8 million Euros. He gets to stay in a cozy guest house in Rome while working on Vatican business (a building valued at approximately 10 million Euros).  In addition, he draws a German bishop's salary of 11,500 Euros per month (yes, you read correctly - per month!!).  This is an equivalent salary of about $177,000 per year.   Not a very austere lifestyle for someone who is on Pope Francis' inner advisory council!

Where is this money coming from, especially since so few people are practicing the faith in Germany?  Welcome to a concept known as the "church tax."  You won't find ushers going up and down the aisles in German churches.  They're not necessary; the government does the job for them.  If you want to be recognized as a Catholic in Germany and be able to receive the sacraments, you must register as such with the government.  Then, 8 to 9 % of your gross income will be deducted from your paycheck and sent directly to the Church.  No registration means no tax, but it also means no sacraments.  It's no wonder that the Catholic Church in Germany is wealthy.  In 2011, the tax dropped 5 billion Euros into Church coffers.  And, interestingly, the Catholic Church is the second largest employer in the country.

Does this amount to simony - charging the faithful for the sacraments?  Hmmm.  This is a different discussion for a different day, but it does raise a question.  For now, however, let's focus on the hypocrisy of the press and the public at large to the cases of two different bishops doing very similar things, but having very different reactions. What could the reason be for calling for the removal of the one and utter silence for the other?  The glaring difference between the two prelates that becomes obvious is the adherence to orthodox Church teaching by the one versus advocacy of accommodating the culture by the other.  While Bishop Tebartz van Eltz is strongly supportive of the Church teaching on marriage, divorce and homosexual practices, Cardinal Marx  advocates a more "inclusive" approach on these issues. Of course the press and the public would embrace the more worldly and expansive view of morality.  While, the more orthodox view - well you saw what happened to Bishop van Eltz.  (Edward Pentin has a very interesting article on this issue over at the National Catholic Register. )

German bishops have historically been known for pushing the envelope (and German priests, as well...we're looking at you Martin Luther).  On the other hand, they have also been great contributors to theological and philosophical discourse (Benedict XVI - need we say  more?).  Why these German prelates have such an outsize influence on ecclesial matters, especially today when the practice of the faith is withering on the vine in their country, is a question to ponder.  It will be very interesting to see how this plays out in the coming year as the Vatican moves toward the culmination of the Synod on the Family.   Will the increasing public emphasis on simplicity and frugality makes it way over to Germany?  Will the German bishops continue to push an expansive view of morality?  One can only pray and wait and see.  Saint Boniface, ora pro nobis.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

People Look East - No, Really, Look East!

The Merriam Webster Dictionary definition of the word orient is: To cause to face or point toward the east.  For centuries the Church had her priests facing east during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, signifying our perpetual readiness and yearning for the return of the Lord.   Sacred Scripture tells us that when Christ comes again He will come from the east in the same way that the sun rises in the sky. While not always an actual facing of the east (which could or could not be done depending on the structure of the church building), at least a spiritual intent to face the east was accomplished by facing the altar.  

The priest wasn't the only one facing east.  The people in the congregation were "oriented" in this direction as well (again, perhaps not physically, but spiritually by facing the same direction as the priest).  This was the practice of the Church until a liturgical movement of the 20th century literally turned things around.  What was lost in this "re-orientation" was a physical manifestation of the yearning for and expectation of the second coming.

Ad Orientem

As Advent approaches, Bishop James Conley of the diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, is embarking on a new practice in his cathedral of offering Mass "ad orientem" or toward the east during this season of anticipation.   Bishop Conley writes in the Southern Nebraska Register:

Jesus Christ will return in glory to the earth.
We do not know when he will return. But Christ promised us that he would return in glory, “as light comes from the east” to bring God’s plan of redemption to its fulfillment...
In the early Church, Christians expected that Christ would come soon—any day.  There was hopeful expectation. They were watchful—they looked to the sky in the east to wait for Christ. And because they did not know when he would return, they proclaimed the Gospel with urgency and enthusiasm, hoping to bring the world to salvation before Christ returned.
It has been nearly two thousand years now since Christ ascended into heaven. It has become easier to forget that he will come again to earth. It has become easier to forget that we must be waiting, we must be watching, and we must be ready.
Bishop Conley's  column can be read in its entirety at the Southern Nebraska Register site.  It's worth reading in its entirety.  Perhaps "turning eastward" can help us to more deeply anticipate the Lord's return and what His first coming meant for all people.

Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cardinal George: "The Church is About True/False, not Left/Right"

There has been a lot of turmoil churning around in the press lately over the Vatican's synod on the family that recently ended in Rome.  Next year will be the final meeting of the synod and in between will come the World Day of the Family in Philadelphia.  So there is a lot of time to chew on what has been accomplished and what needs to be done to address the enormous deterioration experienced by the family in recent years.

Unfortunately for the Church, and for all of us, the discussion on the family has been sidetracked by a dispute over Communion for the divorced and remarried.  The chief publicist for this notion seems to be Cardinal Kasper, an older German cardinal who has written a book on mercy that was praised by Pope Francis.  Cardinal Kasper writes that there should be a way for Catholics who are divorced and remarried outside of the Church (without a declaration of nullity) to be able to receive Holy Communion while still preserving the Church's perpetual teaching that marriage is indissoluble.  I won't go into all of the gyrations of this proposed accommodation, but the unintended or perhaps intended, result is that the attention of the world was pulled away from the problem of the family in modern culture and directed toward this one aspect of marital life.

Another consequence of the debate over Cardinal Kasper's thinking is the seemingly endless squabbling over who is the better Catholic - those who hold to traditional teaching or those with a more progressive bent.  In a case of what might be viewed as "you never know what you've got until it's gone" - I recently read an incisive interview with Cardinal George, the newly retired archbishop of Chicago.  I never really knew much about Cardinal George, but after reading this interview I wished I had paid more attention to him.  Yes, your eminence, the Church is about truth!  It is so tiring to read the press accounts trying to portray Church leaders and the pope as fitting into one political mold or another.  The faith does not work that way.  It is not a political institution, it is a religious institution tasked with the work of spreading the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The entire interview with Cardinal George can be found at the CRUX website.  The interviewer is John Allen, someone who has been attacked by both those in the "traditional" and "progressive" camps.  It must mean he's doing something right.  The interview can be found here.

A Tiny Hamster Thanksgiving

A little something to put a smile on your face :-)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Post-Halloween, All Souls Day Reality Check: Mediums/Psychics Deceive About Where The Souls Of The Righteous Are After Death

The Angel of Death collecting and escorting the soul of a young woman upon her death.

Our LORD Jesus and His Apostles and their Successors (Bishops and Priests) taught the Church that each individual will appear before GOD immediately after death.
This experience of judgment has been popularly called 
the Particular Judgment 
(the Individual or one-on-one judgment involving GOD and the individual soul ONLY).

When we die, we will find ourselves standing before GOD immediately after death.

This will not be the first time nor the only time we will have encountered our Creator! 

GOD has been present to us throughout
 our whole life.  
But, immediately after our deaths, GOD will confirm 
the persons we have freely chosen to develop and present to Him.

Let's take a look in Sacred Scripture concerning The Particular Judgement:

"The souls of the righteous are in the Hand of GOD, and no torment will ever touch them."
"Follow the ways of your heart, the vision of your eyes;  Yet understand regarding all this that GOD will bring you to judgment."
SIRACH 11:26-28
"For it is easy for the LORD on the day of death to repay mortals according to their conduct." 
LUKE 16:19–31
The Parable of Lazarus and The Rich Man. (Lazarus' soul, upon death, is taken lovingly into the bosom of Abraham and finds peace in the afterlife. The Rich Man finds only torment and pain, as he is punished for his selfish egocentricity and neglect of Lazarus.)
LUKE 23:43
Christ promises the penitent thief that his soul - instantly on leaving his body - would be in the state of the blessed: “This day you shall be with me in Paradise.”

The bare-boned, speedy synopsis of the Doctrine of The Particular Judgement is the following: The Particular Judgement was defined by the Early Church's...
+ Scriptural Teachings
+ Doctrinal Teachings
+ Catechetical Teachings and Homilies of the early Fathers of the Church
+ Decrees of the early Popes. 

The Catholic Doctrine of 
The Particular Judgement is this: 
  • That immediately after death, the eternal destiny of each separated soul is decided by the just judgment of GOD. 
  • Souls leaving their bodies in a state of grace, but in need of purification are cleansed in Purgatory.
§1030 All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.
§1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.604 The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire. 605  As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.606
§1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: “Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.” 607 From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God.608 The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:
Let us help and commemorate them. If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them. 609

     604 - Cf. Council of Florence (1439): DS 1304; Council of Trent (1563): DS 1820; (1547): 1580; 
                   see also Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336): DS 1000. 
     605 - Cf. 1 Cor 3:15; 1 Pet 1:7. 
     606 - St. Gregory the Great, Dial. 4, 39: PL 77, 396; cf. Mt 12:31. 
     607 - 2 Macc 12:46. 
     608 - Cf. Council of Lyons II (1274): DS 856. 
     609 - St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in 1 Cor. 41, 5: PG 61, 361; cf. Job 1:5.

  • Souls that are perfectly pure are at once admitted to the beatific vision of the Godhead. 
  • Those who depart in actual mortal sin are at once consigned to eternal punishment, the quality of which corresponds to their sin. 

And, so, after our death, GOD will confirm the persons you and I have freely chosen to develop and present to Him.
  • The souls of deceased human beings are in the Hand Of GOD immediately after death: 
  • They encounter GOD Face-to-Face.
  • They are judged individually.
  • They are dispatched to Hell,
 Purgatory, or Heaven until the
 Last Judgment comes.

So, in regard to Mediums and Psychics and Ouija Boards telling you that your deceased loved ones are down at Starbucks, enjoying a double frou-frou latte, remember:

If human souls are not roaming the earth causing these scary paranormal experiences, then there's only one agency which can create  these activities: Evil Spirits -- Demons masquerading as the souls of deceased human persons.

The error most people make about what is really happening when they consult Mediums/Psychics/Ouija Boards, is in their explanation about the origin and purpose of the occult activities they experience.

If these experiences are not being caused by human souls, then it is a “no brainer” as to who, or what, manufactures these phenomena: Evil Spirits: Demons, trying to deceive us, mislead us away from Christ and from the Church's Teachings, and destroy us.

Neither your deceased loved ones nor any other human soul is moving the planchette around on the Ouija Board, nor speaking through Mediums. 

The souls / spirits of deceased human beings: 

  • Are not roaming the earth as if they are independent of GOD's Will;
  • Are not communicating through Psychics, Mediums and Ouija Boards.

So, the souls of the righteous are not giving interviews to Mediums or Psychics and are not self-publishing through Ouija Boards. Because, as The Book Of Wisdom tells us, 
"The souls of the righteous are in the Hand of GOD."


The souls of the righteous, having been purified and perfected by
the love of the Holy Spirit, and assisted with prayers and Masses offered for them,
depart from their Purgation and ascend to their true homeland in Heaven.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Whither Walmart?

The Catholic League put up a post today about some very offensive costumes being sold by Walmart on its website (not sure if they're being sold in the stores as well).  The offending costumes are a Blessed Virgin Mary with blood coming out of her eyes called "Scary Mary" and a racy nun outfit that is called "naughty nun."

According to the Catholic League, when it complained about the offensive items, Walmart responded with this particularly bland reply:
We apologize if we offended you. Because we have multiple buyers of customers, we try to provide them with plenty of options. However, we have documented your concern in order to improve our inventory at and in stores.”
 I say no shopping at Walmart unless they pull these items and respond with a truly sincere apology.  It is getting really irritating how the culture of materialism and greed has replaced all sense of decency and just plain good manners.  Enough is enough!  Let Walmart rely on its "multiple buyers of customers" (whatever that means).  All people of good will should keep their wallets closed until there is a change of attitude.

Just so you can see what Walmart does not consider offensive, here is the image of one of the costumes from the website:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Unhappy Halloween: Should You Visit Or Stay In A Haunted Place?


Greetings Academicians!

Back in July 2014, I had the pleasure of a brief on-the-air telephone conversation with Drew Mariani on Relevant Radio. (Actually, it was the first time I participated in a radio talk show;  I'm glad it was Drew Mariani's show!)

The topic of our conversation was an incident involving one of Drew's friends.  She had asked his advice concerning an upcoming overnight business meeting required of all the employees.  

She discovered that the hotel they would be staying in was notorious for being haunted:  The Skirvan Hilton Hotel in Oklahoma City. 
The Skirvan Hilton Hotel, Oklahoma City
So notorious and so spirit infested, that several NBA Basketball Team Managers -- after their Teams had frightening overnight experiences in the Skirvan -- notified the hotel's management that their Teams would no longer book rooms there.

Drew related that he advised his friend to stay at a different hotel and just show up at the Skirvan Hotel for all the meetings scheduled there.

Drew went on to explain that even though he knew that his advice about staying at a different hotel was the correct course of action for his friend -- or for any of us -- he said, 

"When we have to take these "better-safe-than-sorry" actions, it feels as if we are giving in to the evil: surrendering, giving power to those dark beings. ...It's like being run out of a hotel room by the legends, myths, stories or encounters others have had.  …I don't like giving in, because I think that is what amplifies, or animates, or gives power to the Evil One: the fact that he loves when we are afraid."

Drew advised his friend not to stay in that hotel.  But Drew confessed, 
"I didn't like the way it made me feel, because I felt I was being a coward." 
Scared senseless by a ghost
Ghost of The Decebal Hotel in Baile Herculane, Romania
Not so, Drew! Not so! You were not being cowardly!  Avoiding locales and buildings which have "ghosts"/evil spirits haunting them is not cowardice, but the height of spiritual prudence, and one of the tactics of preventive spiritual warfare!
Demons are angelic beings. They are  more intelligent than we are, shrewder. They exist outside of time and space, and have observed
human beings since our  Creation. 
The "Shadow Man" Ghost of
The Crescent Hotel, Eureka Spring, Arkansas

They are unmercifully vicious and ruthless. They hate us and want to mislead us, so that they may  destroy us and drag us down into their endless agony, sharing their everlasting punishment. 

To willingly go to a haunted place or building so you may deliberately witness the activities and influence of "ghosts"/evil spirits is extremely reckless and dangerous!

To willingly and recklessly attempt to   communicate with spirits through "New   Age" and spiritualistic practices, or with psychics/mediums, or a Ouija Board is extremely reckless and dangerous!

You ordered room service, sir?  Need a new sheet?
Consider the meaning of the verb, haunt:
Regarding a "ghost": Haunting is the spirit's activity of regularly manifesting itself in a particular locale or in a building.
Regarding human beings: To be haunted is to find oneself being kept persistently and disturbingly present in some memory, idea, emotion, possibility, or fear. 
"Ghosts"/evil spirits/demons are experts in haunting human persons. That is why staying in locales which "ghosts"/evil spirits haunt is a very bad idea.  By doing so, you risk the torment of becoming personally haunted in your mind, memories, and senses by evil spirits/demons! 

That's why the Catholic Church, down through the ages, has wisely warned us to keep away from haunted places, buildings and objects, and to stay far away from so-called psychics/mediums/channelers who willingly act as intermediaries for "ghosts"/evil spirits.

So, cowardice has nothing to do with avoiding haunted places. To keep yourself spiritually safe from the influence of "ghosts"/evil spirits/demons and from their  attacking us , personally, is not only spiritually mature and prudent, it is an obligation!

Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor Plant
Would you willingly go into the reactor vessel room of the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor -- with no protective clothing -- to peek around for two or three minutes?  If you do, you will not smell anything odd, nor feel anything.  

Nonetheless, during your three minute snoop around, you will have absorbed  deadly invisible forces that will quickly destroy the integrity of your internal organs, bones, and skin. These are the irreversible effects of radiation poisoning. You will be dead in fewer than fourteen days after suffering an excruciatingly painful and depersonalizing illness.

Likewise with "ghosts"/demons! Willfully choosing to wander into their domains will render you "spiritually radioactive."  Like the radioactivity you would carry home with you from Chernobyl, after you visit a haunted place or a psychic/medium,  you will carry home one or more evil spirits who have spiritually attached themselves to you.

Another analogy I often use to guide persons regarding their involvement with haunted places and psychics is this: Evil spirits are like lint! And this demonic lint is extremely difficult to remove from your soul, mind, and memories.

When you willingly go to a haunted place, or stay overnight in a haunted hotel, or go on a "ghost hunting" escapade, or consult psychics/mediums, or use a Ouija Board:

So, dear Academicians, as the mutated, modern version of Halloween fast approaches, please do keep away from areas of spiritual radioactivity -- where demonic lint exists in abundance.  

It is one thing to stay in a place and discover later that the place is haunted.   
It is quite another thing to seek out and enthusiastically rush to the place, knowing that you'll be carting home some frightening new, invisible playmates with you which will guarantee you an Unhappy Halloween!

But, I thought YOU brought the Holy Water!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Many Hands Make Light Work...or By the Sweat of Your Brow...

This Youtube video reminded me of the Gospel passage from St. Matthew that we recently heard at Mass:  “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock." (Matthew 7:24).    The video is made from a series of photographs of an Amish barn raising taken at 20 second intervals over a period of 10 hours. 

It's quite astounding and a real example of how a huge project can be completed so efficiently when many people work together with a clear plan.  The rhythm of the work and the pace indicate that these men know what they are doing and each one does his part. There is not a single power tool or pneumatic hammer in sight!  In fact, I only saw a little ladder toward the end of the video.  They seem to know how to climb the beams and which way to work themselves down without moving a ladder around.

This morning I chatted with a few men outside of my house who are digging trenches for new gas lines.  This work can only be done manually so as to avoid breaking existing lines or cutting power supplies.  They were chest deep in the ground, shoveling out the dirt.  Talk about earning their living by the sweat of their brow!

May God bless all of those who labor in all kinds of weather and conditions.  May they be given the help of others to make their task lighter.

(via Jonah Goldberg at National Review Online)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

We Remember 9/11... RIP Father Judge, The 343, And All Who Perished

May the souls of all the faithful departed who lost their lives on 9/11/2001 rest in peace.
Eternal rest grant unto them, oh Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them.

May we never forget the sacrifice of those firefighters, police and emergency personnel who so fearlessly rushed into those burning buildings.  No greater love...

Monday, September 8, 2014

Place This Poster In Your Window To Show Support For Persecuted Iraqi Christians

Greetings Academicians!

We would like to share a poster we made to show moral and spiritual support for Iraqi Christians.

The front of the poster displays the Arabic letter, Nun, and the Arabic word, "Nasara."
The rear of the poster is an explanation.  It reads:


     The army of Islamic terrorists who have invaded Iraq and Syria call themselves “ISIS” (The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).  ISIS is conducting a massive persecution of Iraqi Christians.  
     Tens of thousands of men, women and children are fleeing for their lives. Rape, torture, and beheading of Christian adults and children are being committed to the extent that ISIS is essentially waging genocide against Christians.
     ISIS leaves the symbol you see ... on the bodies of the Iraqi Christians they torture and murder, and on the homes where Christians live. 
     It is the 14th letter of the Arabic alphabet, Nun, which is pronounced like the English word, "noon." 
The letter is used as shorthand for the word, "Nasara" -- Nazarenes.  It is a pejorative Arabic slang word for referring to Christians. 
     Please display this symbol on your front door or window as an act of moral and spiritual support for our Christian sisters and brothers suffering so terribly at the hands of ISIS’s Jihadi Muslim terrorists.

If you would  like to print out this poster, you can access it at this link:

The poster is in PDF format. It can be printed out as a one-page document -- front and rear sides -- if your printer can print "duplex"-- on both sides of paper. If not, two separate sheets will be printed.

Thank you in advance for spreading this poster
to as many Christians as possible!
Please pray and fast for our
Iraqi Christian brothers and sisters! 

God bless you!

Friday, August 22, 2014

If You're Dumping Ice Water...Be Careful Where You Send Your Money

The latest charity/fundraising trend is the "ice bucket challenge", whereby a person is challenged to dump a bucket of ice water over their head and send a donation to the ALS Association to fund research for a cure for Lou Gehrig's disease (more formally known as ALS).  The problem that has surfaced recently is that the ALS Association is committed to using embryonic stem cells in its research.  These are stem cells taken from aborted babies and the Catholic Church strongly condemns such experimentation.  While the disease of ALS is awful and patients are desperate to find a cure, we can never justify wrongful means merely because they achieve a good end.  Taking the life of an unborn child to provide tissue and cells for experimentation is always and everywhere wrong.  No matter how good the outcome.

As an alternative to donating to the ALS Association, several dioceses and bishops are encouraging "challengers" to send their donation to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute a research facility that, in its own words: "focuses on the most ethical and cost-effective way of conducting medical research to help develop therapies and cures for a variety of diseases."  No babies are destroyed in this experimentation.

So, when taking the challenge - please consider where your money is going.  Find an ethical charity, research facility or medical institution to receive your funds.

Or... you can just donate directly to a good cause where a sick person can personally benefit from your donation (hint, hint)  Just like we mentioned in our previous post.  There are so many needy causes and people out there.  God bless you for your generosity, just be careful about what's being done with your hard earned money.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Two Brave Little Girls and A Family's Great Need

Little Zonera 

Zonera, a beautiful little two year old girl, is suffering from a blood disease.  As a result, this past June, she required a bone marrow transplant from her five year old sister, Hooria.  The transplant required that Zonera be hospitalized for almost three months.  She was finally able to come home a few weeks ago, but after being home for a short time she developed infections in every one of the three ports inserted in her little body to feed her the required medications.

After being rushed back to the hospital and spending time in ICU recuperating from the resulting pneumonia, she is now back home with her loving family.  Her dad has been working two jobs to maintain the health insurance that is so desperately needed by the family and to cover the costs of the illness.  At the same time he has been driving back and forth to the hospital making sure that the baby gets to her follow up appointments.  During the time of the transplant, he was making the trip on a daily basis.  Her mom takes in sewing to help make ends meet, but because of the little one's illness, she has not been able to do this work for several months.

In the middle of this medical crisis, the family was notified by their landlord that they would have to vacate their apartment.  They were recently served with an eviction notice and are scrambling to try and find a new home.  However, with the burden of the medical bills and related costs, they are unable to come up with the funds to move.  They have been desperately searching for a new apartment, but the rents are all higher than what they are paying now and they barely have enough to cover their existing costs.

Zonera's Sister, Hooria, the bone marrow donor

In order to try and help the family, a GoFundMe set has been set up to raise the funds needed to cover the cost of the security deposit, the additional rent for a one year period, and the cost of moving.  The funds needed are conservatively estimated at $6,500, but of course any additional amounts raised would be used by the family to cover medical and other expenses.

If any of the readers of the Catholic Jedi Academy blog are able to contribute, a link to the Go Fund Me site is included at the end of this post.  Any contributions, large or small, are so very much appreciated.  And, of course, prayers are greatly needed for this family, as well.  They are a beautiful loving family who are so giving to others.  Now they are in need themselves.  God bless you for anything you can contribute, materially or spiritually.

Well It's My Birthday, Too, Yeah!

The Catholic Jedi Academy Weblog
celebrates its fifth year in service. 

Happy Birthday to our
Academicians and Catholic Jedi!
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The Catholic Jedi Academy Weblog
Celebrate Its Fifth Year Of Service!

Don't Fall Asleep During "The Academy's" posts!

Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!

Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!
Hey, Mister Academician! Why not take a moment and visit their website?