Saturday, July 31, 2010

Church Suspends Services When Air Conditioners Stolen

Time for some Christian boot camp down in the "show me" state.  The theft of two of air conditioners at the New Life Christian Church in St. Louis brought their operations to a halt. According to a report by KMOV TV,  the church had to stop programs "...like serving food to the poor and helping the elderly ... due to the lack of air conditioning." OK, it probably was pretty awful, but you stop helping the elderly and feeding the poor because the air conditioners are gone??

Maybe we'll have to invite them over to our church which has not had air conditioning, ever, in its 100+ years of existence.  And we've got the priests dripping in sweat to prove it!

The church is a beautiful old building and there just never seemed to be an economical or aesthetically pleasing way to install air conditioning.  So, parishioners try to position themselves near the open doors, or in the path of the rotating fans on the columns.  For the most part, it's not too bad.  And if it's really brutally hot, there are nearby parishes that are air conditioned (but, that would be wimping out, wouldn't it?)  And, in any case, our priests, deacons, and altar servers don't have the luxury of going elsewhere.  They offer it up and do what needs to be done while wilting under layers of vestments.  And, if that isn't bad enough, try keeping your place in a Sacramentary or Lectionary whose pages are being blown all over the place by the electric fans.  Sometimes the homily is abbreviated, but God bless them,  the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered through searing heat or freezing cold.

Here's a shot of the interior of the church (St. Matthias in Queens, NY):



Beautiful, isn't it?  What's a little heat when you can lift up your mind and heart to God in such an awesome setting.

St. Ignatius Loyola - AMDG

Happy feast day of St. Ignatius Loyola.


May God bless, purify and strengthen the Society of Jesus.



Whenever I see the letters "AMDG," a recent trip to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park is brought to mind.  The "CIA", as it's called, is the former site of the regional Jesuit novitiate.  It's always a little sad to see a building that was once used for  the glory of God being repurposed for a secular function.  While walking through the beautiful main building of the school, my nephew pointed to the floor and asked what "AMDG" meant.  It seems that some of the religious architecture and flooring was not changed when the building became a cooking school.  One of the sad changes is that in the former chapel, images of the saints have been painted over with the faces of the founders of the cooking school.  I'm also told that the Jesuits left their graveyard behind when they moved out, wherein lies the body of Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit theologian some of whose writings incurred a condemnation from the Holy Office in 1962.   In retrospect, with some of the unfortunate theology that came out of this seminary, perhaps its closure was providential.

St. Ignatius ora pro nobis and for your Jesuit brothers.

(n.b. - AMDG stands for  Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam - or For the Greater Glory of God.  Who can argue with that?)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Good News...Fired Catholic Professor Allowed to Teach

Finally, some good news.  The Alliance Defense Fund has announced that Dr. Kenneth Howell, who had been released from his teaching position at the University of Illinois, has been invited back for the Fall 2010 academic year.  Dr. Howell will once again teach "Introduction to Catholicism."  This was the course that got him into trouble because he discussed natural law and the Church's teaching on same sex relationships.    The dismissal was based on an anonymous email from a "student" who claimed to be offended by Howell's statements, although he was not taking the class.

After the re-instatement, the Alliance Defense Fund wrote the following to the university:
"A university cannot censor professors’ speech--including classroom speech related to the topic of the class--merely because certain ideas ‘offend’ an anonymous student. We greatly appreciate the university’s move to put Professor Howell back in the classroom, but we will be watching carefully to make sure that his academic freedom is protected throughout the university’s ongoing process."
Now that this matter resolved, we can continue to pray and work for Jennifer Keeton, a counseling student at Augusta State University who was told she must go through a "re-education" program when the school learned that she opposed homosexual practices and was a bible believing Christian.  Ms. Keeton referred a client to another counseling student when it became clear that the client was homosexual. so that her personal beliefs would not interfere with the treatment of the client.  Rather than honoring Ms. Keeton's right to exercise her conscience in the matter, the school told her that she must "undergo diversity sensitivity training, complete additional remedial reading, and write papers to describe their impact on her beliefs."   If she does not change her beliefs or agree to the plan, the university says it will expel her from the Counselor Education Program.

But, have no fear, the  Alliance Defense Fund is, once again, on the case!

It is Harder for a Rich Man...

I've been wanting to write about the NY Times Magazine's cover story on the new abortionists, but there's just so much that is disturbing in the article, that it's been hard to distill it down to a few cogent observations.  However,  I want to at least focus on the funding of an abortion training program called the "Family Planning Fellowship."

This  program, according to the Times, has expanded into 21 universities, and its overarching purpose is to train doctors to perform abortions.  Many of these new doctors confine themselves to early term abortions that can be done in the office without surgical intervention.  These "medical" abortions are cleaner, simpler and, apparently, less of a tug on the conscience than surgical abortions (although I wouldn't be so sure about that).

The author initially dances around the source of the  funding for the Family Planning Fellowship, intimating that it is a famous person who doesn't really want it to be known that he is training the next platoon of abortionists.  But eventually it is disclosed that the financial backing is provided by the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation.  Susan Thompson Buffett was the wife of  wealthy billionaire Warren Buffet.  After her death in 2004, Warren contributed about $3 billion to her foundation, with most of the funding going to abortion and contraception advocacy and research.  Evidently this tidbit was the big disclosure of the article since Warren Buffett  has never spoken publicly about his views on abortion.  But, as they say, "actions speak louder than words."


Why rich men and women who have vast resources at their fingertips are drawn to funding a culture of death is baffling.  So many poor and disadvantaged people could be helped by their largesse.  Why don't the pro-abortion groups ask them the same question they ask pro-lifers - "Why don't you put your resources into taking care of those who are already born?"  Just imagine someone of Warren Buffett's wealth funding crisis pregnancy centers.  Maybe we should ask.

What's At Stake

                                          Picture by Jodi Bieber/ INSTITUTE for Time Magazine

The picture is brutal.  It's stark depiction of the violence condoned by Sharia law is disturbing.  It is the disfigured face of a young woman named Aisha, an 18 year old who committed the  "crime"  of running away from her husband's house.  She had been beaten frequently by her in-laws and felt that her life was endangered.  According to the Time magazine story, the local Taliban judge had no desire to hear her side of the matter.  Instead, he determined that her punishments would be to have her brother-in-law hold her down while her husband cut off first her ears and then her nose.  This savage act didn't take place in some backward society many years ago, it took place in Afghanistan last year.

Sometimes it's easy to forget the great blessings we have been given in living in a free and democratic country.  These blessings were freely bestowed on us without any merit on our part.  Our laws were based on Judeo-Christian principles, the foundation of which is the dignity of each human being as a creation of the Almighty.  But the selfishness of sin has made us less and less willing to share our bounty.  We've been lured into excluding those who might reduce our piece of the pie or who might require extra effort.  These include the weak, the unborn, the infirm, the elderly, the disabled. 

And  who decides which group should not receive the protection of our laws?  It's the strong and powerful excluding the weak and vulnerable.  With every barrier we remove from around the law, we clear the way for the next powerful person or group to deny our own rights.  Women have deceived themselves into thinking that they were given "freedom" when they were permitted to terminate the lives of their unborn children.   That "freedom" can now be passed on to the next  strong man.  In our mad rush to remove God's imprint from our laws and our lives, we've begun to cut the floor out from under ourselves.  It won't take much to push us through.

Take another look at the cover of Time magazine.  It happens.  Not centuries ago, but today.  When one group is treated as more human than another.  When one group is given more rights than another.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Minister Apologizes for Giving Dog Communion"

I never thought I would hear such a line.  But, there it is, a woman minister at an Anglican church in Toronto "engaged in a simple act of reaching out" by giving communion to a man and his german shepherd.



Where to begin?  Here's a good Academy homework assignment.  Which of the following statements pulled from the article in the Star newspaper of Toronto is true?

1.    The minister, Marguerite Rhea, is a "priest."

2.    The minister gave out a "representation of the body and blood of Christ."

3.    “The whole thing was all very innocent and the joy and happiness on the face of one old lady in the front row made it all worthwhile.”

4.     "We’re all God’s creatures. If a dog goes into a church, he’s entitled to every service that’s offered, including spiritual nourishment.”

DING DING!!! That's right, statement #2 is the correct answer.  And let us thank the Almighty that the female minister of the Anglican church is not able to confect the sacraments, so ol' Trapper merely received a representation (which was bad enough).

Eggsploitation

 
The Center for Bioethics and Culture has released its film "Eggsploitation" according to Wesley Smith at the Secondhand Smoke blog.

From the film's website:
"The infertility industry in the United States has grown to a multi-billion dollar business. What is its main commodity? Human eggs. Young women all over the world are solicited by ads—via college campus bulletin boards, social media, online classifieds—offering up to $100,000 for their “donated” eggs, to “help make someone’s dream come true.” But who is this egg donor? Is she treated justly? What are the short- and long-term risks to her health? The answers to these questions will disturb you . . ." 
In addition to the medical risks, what about the emotional risks of waking up one day and realizing that an egg with your genetic markings has gone on to potentially conceive a child that you will never meet?  How sad that abortion has deprived us of so many babies that could have been put up for adoption, and instead we've created a multi-billion dollar industry in artificially created human beings.  And left in its wake are the human casualties who have been used as a commodity and then disregarded once their bodies have been violated so that those with the resources can build their "perfect" families.

How much longer can we mock God and brazenly dare to make ourselves the creators of life?  I'm often reminded of my grandmother's phrase, "one day people are going to get too smart for their own good." 



The DVD can be purchased from the film's website.  Information for showing the film and  screening schedules can be found there, as well.

And Now, Another Song From The Archives Of The Academy's Department Of Apocalyptic Studies...

Our Dean of the Academy's Faculty Of Law recently published a post entitled, Theme Song Of The Department Of Apocalyptic Studies.

Well, I thought we might share another morsel with a similar taste.  So, down in the Academy's Archives,we dug out a musical theme that can be freely applied to the climax of the Apocalypse: the Final Judgment.

When the Final Judgment comes at the end of time, the conduct and deficiencies of each individual will be revealed - not only to his or her own conscience but - to the assembled world.  Every intelligent being created by God will understand his or her own moral condition and the moral condition of every fellow creature. Our Lord Jesus will come back to our world a second time, riding upon light and clouds, surrounded by all the holy angels and the saints.

Both the Old and the New Testaments, when relating God's merciful love for mankind - especially His Holy Church -  often refer to the image of the relationship of a Bride/Girlfriend (the Holy Church) and her Bridegroom/Boyfriend (Our Lord Jesus). (OK, it's much more substantial than girlfriend/boyfriend, but just work with us for the purpose of the analogy in this song).

God will judge the secrets of each individual by the standard set by Our Lord Jesus Christ. When this comes, Satan, his company of fallen angels, and any other human or spiritual being who has collaborated with the Devil will be repudiated.  Every assault, harassment and intrusion of Satan and his collaborators against Christ's Bride/Girlfriend, the Church, will be punished.  And the Church will be vindicated and celebrated as holy and faithful to Christ The Bridegroom/Boyfriend.
Keep this Apocalyptic Mystery in mind as you listen to the lyrics of the following pop song from 1963.  PLUS: The song's being sung by "The Angels"!


Monday, July 26, 2010

A Toast to this Artist

OK, this sounds ridiculous, but an artist created a crucifixion scene by scraping 153 pieces of burnt toast, and it actually looks a lot better than stuff that passes for religious art nowadays.

Here's the artwork, as pointed out by Felicity Couch of the Anglican church of St. Peter in Limber, England  (you can't make this stuff up):


And here's a closeup:

The artist, Adam Sheldon, was camera shy, but his work certainly is impressive.  Hopefully, there are no mice in this parish.

(h/t Crescat)

Theme Song of the Department of Apocalyptic Studies

That's what I think of every time I hear this song. And it does cycle around my ipod's "favorites" play list frequently (don't judge me). Maybe I can convince our Assistant Headmaster to create a youtube video of a Catholic Jedi version of the song (i.e. a little more hopeful).



This was 1965. How groovy were we back then?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Who Do You Write Like?

This fun site has been popping up around the blogosphere over the past few weeks: I Write Like .  You put in a sample of your writing, it's analyzed, and you're told which famous author you write like.  Here's mine (if only!):


I write like
Charles Dickens
I Write Like by MĂ©moires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Ah yes, "It was the best of blogs, it was the worst of blogs...."

Feast of St. James - The Pilgrims' Progress

Today is the feast day of St. James, the patron saint of the diocese of Brooklyn.  Traditionally, the relics of St. James are believed to be in the cathedral at Compostela, Spain and pilgrims from around the world make the trek on foot to visit them.  "El Camino" or the way of St. James, is a pilgrimage that traces its history back 1,200 years and pilgrims walk up to 150 miles to arrive at their destination.  This year is declared a jubilee year by the Church because the feast day falls on a Sunday.  Pilgrims reaching their destination in a jubilee year are granted a plenary indulgence.


 One of the famous spectacles in Compostela is the swinging of the "botafumeiro" or censers containing incense over the congregation.  The large censer weighs approximately 180 pounds and it takes 8 professional men to pull the ropes that gives it the swing necessary to go flying through the transept.  There are some youtube videos of the spectacle which are worth watching to fully appreciate the event.



As the possibly Catholic cowboy, John Wayne, might have said "Happy feast day, pilgrim."  (Wayne was married to a Catholic and his children were Catholic.  It was reported that Wayne converted to Catholicism prior to his death in 1979. )

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Everybody in the Pool

It's hot in NYC today!!  This guy's got the right idea.

And so does this guy:

Elena Kagan - Justice Does Not Become Her

If there has ever been a worse nominee for the position of justice of the United States Supreme Court than Elena Kagan, I can't recall one.  Ms. Kagan not only has a very thin resume as a lawyer , and no experience as a judge, she also holds extreme political views that color all of her decisions even when they directly conflict with the words of the Constitution.

Of all of her political meddling, the distortion of the wording of a memo on partial birth abortion has to be the most disturbing.  If she is willing to be dishonest in order to have her political beliefs reign supreme, how will she serve as an impartial justice?

The guys at Powerline have posted an excerpt from the Republican caucus' statement on this point:
"Memos reveal President Clinton first supported a partial birth abortion ban with a health exception, but Kagan successfully convinced him that the procedure should be widely available, including elective abortions for "non-health related reasons." She later reviewed and called a "disaster" a draft statement by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) concluding that partial birth abortion was never the only option to save the woman's life or health. So she provided ACOG with new language, which they adopted, saying that partial birth abortion may be the "best" procedure in certain cases. Yet, Kagan testified that she "at all times" advanced "the President's views," not hers, and took no action to influence medical views."
Sorry, but in my opinion, this episode alone is sufficient to deny her a seat on the court.  The country is in trouble when the person who was the key facilitator for the legality of partial birth abortion is honored with the title of "Justice."

Friday, July 23, 2010

"Come Follow Me" - 21st Century Misinterpretation


Cartoon by Pastor Josh Harris of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD who describes himself as "... the half-breed descendant of Alabama rednecks and Japanese immigrants. So I like my sushi deep-fried. More importantly, I'm a Christian whose life has been transformed by Jesus Christ. I work full-time as a pastor doing my best to tell people about Jesus and to teach them how to live for his glory."  You're also a pretty good cartoonist, Pastor Harris.

"Confessionals Aren't Saunas"

So says the spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Vienna, Austria.  After a local church began a renovation, it put it's confessionals on ebay to be auctioned off and, believe it or not, described them as perfect for a "one person sauna"!!  The AP reported:
"Some Catholics may well sweat in the confessional as they admit to things they shouldn’t have done. But Vienna’s archdiocese has ruled that the box-like structure where believers confess their sins cannot be turned into a sauna.  Bidding on a confessional described on eBay as ideal for conversion into a one-person sauna, a small bar or a children’s playhouse was ended when the archdiocese stepped in.  Archdiocese spokesman Erich Leitenberger told the daily Salzburger Nachrichten that auctioning 'objects that were used for dispensing the sacraments is not acceptable.'"

Why was the church getting rid of its confessionals, anyway? With the state of the world the way it is today, one would think we need more confessionals, not less. 

(Also, AP has it wrong, you don't need to sweat in the confessional.  It's more like a refreshing shower, where you come out feeling clean and ready for a fresh start. )

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Catholic Jedi Academy Photo Album

Our Assistant Headmaster has put together a little photo album of the Academy's artwork on the left hand side of the blog.  I couldn't resist posting this one of the Academy's mascots, Spike the cat and Anathema, the dog.
We like to make Anathema sit.  Good dog!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Vatican Observatory

The Catholic Church is frequently attacked with the "you were mean to Galileo" line of criticism.  While the hierarchy may have treated Galileo a little roughly, the Brooklyn response might be something like, "he was askin' for it."  Putting the historical debate over Galileo aside for another time, one attack on the Church that is clearly unmerited is that it is averse to science.  In fact, if it weren't for the Church, the science of astronomy quite possibly would not be where it is today.  Case in point, the establishment of the Vatican Observatory.

The Vatican Observatory traces its foundation to the year 1582 during the reign of Pope Gregory XIII.  The original impetus for studying the stars was the reform of the Julian calendar.   The observatory, which was originally located behind St. Peter's, was moved to Castel Gandolfo in the 1980s after the lights of Rome became too bright to get a clear view of outer space with the telescope.

 It's worth a trip over to the observatory's website:  www.vaticanobservatory.org, where one can read about its history, as well as view some spectacular pictures of outer space taken through its telescope.

In my imagination I see the pope peering into the telescope during his summer vacation, meditating upon the grandeur of God's creation.

 

                      He determines the number of the stars, he gives to all of them their names. 
                                         - Psalm 147:3 



Photographs from the Vatican Observatory

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Brooklyn Churches - Bishop Mundelein's "Sainte Chapelle" (Queen of All Saints)

There are many beautiful churches in the diocese of Brooklyn.  Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, church attendance is dropping and difficult decisions will soon be made about which churches to close.  Hopefully, the church of Queen of All Saints in Fort Greene/Clinton Hill won't be among them.

Today I joined some friends, one of whom is an architecture student at Notre Dame, for a tour of Queen of All Saints given to us by its former pastor, Father Anthony Rucando.

Queen of All Saints was originally intended to be the bishop's chapel for the diocese of Brooklyn and the cathedral was to have been built across the street.  However, World War I broke out and the grand designs for the cathedral never materialized.

But, Bishop George Mundelein, an auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn during the years 1909-1915, and future cardinal archbishop of Chicago, intended that the Catholic church make its mark on the city of Brooklyn and was determined to build a beautiful and imposing edifice.  He  modeled the church on Sainte Chapelle in Paris, and he took a personal interest in every detail, including the magnificent stained glass windows and the Charles Wirsching 1913 organ, of which only 2 survive in the United States.

Here is a picture of the original Ste. Chapelle in Paris:

Here is the Brooklyn version of Ste. Chapelle (Queen of All Saints):

While it's a little difficult to see from the picture above, the church or chapel is in the center.  The far side is the rectory and on the left is the school.  As you can see, the windows of the Brooklyn church are shorter, but still stupendous.  They are made up of thousands of individual pieces of glass.



The exterior of the church contains many niches that hold statues of the saints of the Church.  Bishop Mundelein reserved a space for St. George at the corner of the building facing the Masonic temple next door.  You may be able to see the look of disdain which St. George is shooting in the general direction of the masons below:

It was rather audacious of the masons to build their temple literally cheek by jowl to All Saints.  Bishop Mundelein refused to put statues of saints in the niches facing the masonic temple stating that the saints of the Church should not be required to face that building!


                                                           (could they build it any closer?!)

The stained glass windows were fabricated by the firm of Arnold & Locke.  Again, Bishop Mundelein, wishing to show that Catholics had nothing to be ashamed of, decided to pave the way and not imitate the local protestant churches which featured Tiffany glass.  Mundelein went to Locke instead, who was the local competition to Tiffany.  Clearly, the Locke firm knew what it was doing and the resulting windows are magnificent:


In addition to the smaller size of the windows, another difference from the original Ste. Chapelle is that there is no stained glass in the apse of the church behind the altar.


The stations of the cross are painted on pieces of bronze:


My pictures don't do the church justice.  If you're in the Brooklyn area, do visit.  It's located at 300 Vanderbilt Avenue in the Fort Greene/ Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn.

 I'll close with a few shots of the rectory interior and the sacristy.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Protect the Pope

It seems that concern for the pope's visit to England is growing.  Matthew Archbold has just written an article entitled "Is the Pope in Danger?" for the National Catholic Register.  In it, he quotes an Islamic publication in England that appears to be inciting unrest when the pope comes to Birmingham:
“A change of venue gives Birmingham Muslims a chance to tell the Pope just what they think of him after his insults against the Prophet Muhammad… As well as this chance to challenge these evil words of this evil Pope, over 80,000 Catholics from all over the UK are also expected to attend the open air ceremony….We hope Muslims can be there to meet him as well and to also call people away from the shirk of worshipping the dead like the Catholics do, calling out to them for help and intercession…The Birmingham event however brings the pope and who worship him into direct contact with the the large Muslim population of Birmingham and offers them the perfect chance to learn about Islam and for the Muslims to forbid the Munkar of worshipping dead men and following the dictates of the sodomite child molesting Church of Rome…"  (The Islamic Standard)
 A new website has been established in England, called "Protect the Pope."  It carries news of the pope's upcoming trip, prayers for his safety and contact information for the local police.  Its British author states the following about the purpose of the site:
"When I talk to other Catholics about the Holy Father’s visit in September, most express concern about his safety. The unprecedented level of hostility, ridicule and ill-will from certain public figures and sections of the press has got some Catholics genuinely worried that Pope Benedict is going to be embarrassed or even hurt.
After centuries of institutionalised anti-Catholicism one thing Catholics in this country are sensitive about is religious hate, and there are plenty of signs that this is rearing its ugly head again."
As Father Zuhlsdorf exhorts, "Pray for the pope."

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Peter Hitchens - the Other Brother

Renowned atheist Christopher Hitchens, who has been in the news of late  because of his cancer diagnosis, is not the only well known Hitchens.  Peter Hitchens, his brother, writes a column for the Mail Online.  While Christopher defines himself as a secular humanist or an "anti-theist" and has written works such as his 2007 book "God is Not Great, " his brother Peter is a social conservative. 

With the Pope scheduled to visit England this September, I found a recent column by Peter Hitchens about the moral and social state of the country to be interesting.  He writes,

"...it is obvious now that the unleashed passions of the new underclass are pretty nasty. How could they not be? They have been brought up to be nasty, or at least nobody in our neon-lit, raucous Babylon has ever had any opportunity to persuade them to be anything else but nasty during their formative years.
The cultural revolution of the Sixties robbed the British poor of anything to believe in, or any reason to try to be good. Patriotism was derided and rejected. The Christian religion was mocked, marginalised and studied – if at all – as a weird curiosity.
The stable two-parent families in which children learned manners and morals were more or less abolished, so that a household with two contin­uously married parents is now a luxury item, as is an orderly classroom.
The virtues of patience, stoicism, thrift, temperance, constancy and modesty were reclassified as ‘repression’ and ‘inhibition’ and all were encouraged to cast them off. And they did, so that on Friday and Sat­urday nights it often seems as if half the young people of Britain have decided to dress as hookers, and the other half as convicts newly released from 19th Century hulks."  (July 18, 2010 column for MailonSunday)
 What a sad state of affairs.  I'm sure there are many reasons for this moral decay, but the sharp decline in religious observance, especially among Christians, could only have added to this sorry condition.  Cardinal Newman ora pro Britain.

Atheists "De-Baptizing" with Hair Dryers

OK, this is interesting.  Evidently, American atheists lined up recently to be de-baptized by one of their leaders.  Robert Kagin, while dressed as a Monk and intoning some Latin, directed a stream of hot air at those wishing to leave behind their Christian baptism, .  The hair dryer had the words "Reason and Truth" written on it and the hot air was supposed to dry up the holy water that was used during baptism. 

Unfortunately, there was more hot air involved than that coming from the hair dryer. If Mr. Kagin and his cohorts in the American Atheists would read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, they would discover Paragraph 1272, which reads in part:
"...Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ.  No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism form bearing the fruits of salvation.  Given once for all, Baptism cannot be repeated."
It's strange that a group that professes adherence to no religion, is so bothered by the religion of others.  What happened to live and let live?  Maybe there's just a little something that's tugging at their conscience?

May they see the light and receive God's grace before their final departure from this earth.  For,  as Paragraph 1274 of the Catechism puts it:
"The Holy Spirit has marked us with the seal of the Lord..'for the day of redemption.'  'Baptism indeed is the seal of eternal life.'  The faithful Christian who has 'kept the seal' until the end, remaining faithful to the demands of his Baptism, will be able to depart this life 'marked with the sign of faith,' with his baptismal faith, in expectation of the blessed vision of God - the consummation of faith - and in the hope of resurrection."

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Storm Troopers On the Subway - Where are the Jedi?

This video has gone viral.  Since we are Catholic Jedi blogging from New York City, it only seemed right to post it:



(h/t Fr. Zuhlsdorf)

The Devout Life

A gem by St. Francis de Sales:

In times of peace build up your stock of meekness and mildness.  Practice the virtue often so that you will be more prepared should anger raise its ugly head.  If we have kind words at all times for our neighbors, this will begin to be our initial response to daily events.                      From "The Devout Life" by St. Francis De Sales

Friday, July 16, 2010

Today's the Day - Congratulations Vince and Sarah!

All week I've asked that you include a special intention with your Our Lady of Mt. Carmel novena.  Well, today's the day.  The feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and Vince and Sarah's wedding day.  What a beautiful way to start off married life, under the patronage of Our Lady.  Best wishes to Sarah and Vince and may God bless your marriage abundantly.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Novena - 9th Day

 Today is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the wedding day of Vince and Sarah.  May our Lady and her Divine Son look down upon this couple today and remain with them through all the days of their life. 

Ninth Day

O Most Holy Mother of Mount Carmel, when asked by a saint to grant privileges to the family of Carmel, you gave assurance of your Motherly love and help to those faithful to you and to your Son.
Behold us, your children.mtcarmel
We glory in wearing your holy habit, which makes us members of your family of Carmel, through which we shall have your powerful protection in life, at death and even after death.
Look down with love, O Gate of Heaven, on all those now in their last agony!
Look down graciously, O Virgin, Flower of Carmel, on all those in need of help!
Look down mercifully, O Mother of our Savior, on all those who do not know that they are numbered among your children.
Look down tenderly, O Queen of All Saints, on the poor souls!
(pause and mention petitions)

Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Obamacare to Cover Abortions in Pennsylvania - Bishop Lynch Call Your Office

Surprise, surprise, the Executive Order signed by President Obama is not preventing funds from going to perform abortions.  The federal government recently approved $160 million in funding for the State of Pennsylvania.  This money will go to set up a high risk insurance pool which will cover abortions.

Jill Stanek and Tom Peters are providing detailed coverage of this betrayal.  If you live in Pennsylvania, write to Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper and ask her to stand up against this misuse of funds.  She was one of the "pro life" Democratic representatives who changed their vote to approve Obamacare after the president promised his executive order. 

Another group who should be contacted is the Catholic Health Association, headed by Sister Carol Keehan.  Sister Carol, who stood prominently behind President Obama when he signed the legislation, was a driving force for its passage.  This organization, along with a group of nuns who sent a letter to Capitol Hill supporting the health care bill, provided cover to Catholic politicians who put politics before morality.  Unfortunately, it was clear from the start that abortion was to be included.  It's just amazing, however, that the duplicity goes unchecked.

Now it's time for the bishops to do something about this organization.  They should not be able to use the title "Catholic".  And it's time for Bishop Lynch to resign from the board.  How else can Catholics stand up for the teaching of the Church if they do not receive support from the hierarchy?  If the bishops don't stand strong, the world will continue to point to these rogue groups as representing the true faith.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Novena - 8th Day



Eighth Day

You give us hope, O Mother of Mercy, that through your Scapular promise we might quickly pass through the fires of purgatory to the Kingdom of your Son. Be our comfort and our hope.
Grant that our hope may not be in vain but that, ever faithful to your Son and to you, we may speedily enjoy after death the blessed company of Jesus and the saints.
(pause and mention petitions)

Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Novena - 7th Day



Seventh Day

O Mary, Help of Christians, you assured us that wearing your Scapular worthily would keep us safe from harm. Protect us in both body and soul with your continual aid. may all that we do be pleasing to your Son and to you.
(pause and mention petitions)

Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Carmelite Baking: Scapular Cakes and Brownies

I love the website Catholic Cuisine.  They always have the best ideas and recipes to celebrate Catholic feast days.  In honor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, they are featuring scapular cake and brownie recipes.  Here's a beautiful example:

p.s. - Also check out their recipe for a Carmel Frappuccino.

Catholicism As a Hate Crime

Dr. Ken Howell,  an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois who taught courses on Catholicism, has been fired for agreeing with the Church's teaching on same sex relationships. The university responded to a student email that insisted Dr. Howell's teaching constituted "hate speech." 

It appears that Dr. Howell overestimated the University's tolerance of opinions that diverge from those of modern academia.  This is a trend in the world of the educated elite.  Tolerance is only extended to those who agree with the prevailing point of view.  Or, in the case of extreme elements, tolerance is extended to those who may physically cause harm to those who disagree. 

Catholicism is becoming more and more despised by the world at large.  In Dr. Howell's case, he was not only dismissed by the University, but also by the campus Newman center which is run by the Diocese of Peoria.  That part confuses me a little, since on would think that the diocese would take a strong stand.  We'll have to wait for more information, however, to see if there was a contractual obligation with the university that Newman center employees had to be employees of the university.

Much more detailed information can be found over at CatholicVoteAction.org.  All are being asked to contact the University at publicaffairs@illinois.edu to voice their opposition to Dr. Howell's dismissal.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Novena - 6th Day



Sixth Day

With loving provident care, O Mother Most Amiable, you covered us with your Scapular as a shield of defense against the Evil One.
Through your assistance, may we bravely struggle against the powers of evil, always open to your Son Jesus Christ.
(pause and mention petitions)

Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Carmelite Week - St. Edith Stein



"O my God, fill my soul with holy joy, courage and strength to serve You. Enkindle Your love in me and then walk with me along the next stretch of road before me. I do not see very far ahead, but when I have arrived where the horizon now closes down, a new prospect will open before me, and I shall meet it with peace."   
        - Sr. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross: St. Edith Stein

Zombie Car Crash

OK, I realize that this has nothing to do with Catholicism or Carmelites, but I couldn't pass it up.    Last Friday, a car full of people dressed as "zombies" crashed on an interstate outside of Portland, Oregon.
Evidently they were wearing zombie costumes because they were headed to a party.

According to Sgt.  Greg Stewart of the Portland police department, "...people who witnessed the crash initially thought the victims' injuries were much more serious, because of the zombie costumes. "We're glad that everyone is alive, despite being 'undead'."

You can't make this stuff up.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Novena - 5th Day



Fifth Day

O Mother of Fair Love, through your goodness, as your children, we are called to live in the spirit of Carmel. Help us to live in charity with one another, prayerful as Elijah of old, and mindful of our call to minister to God's people.
(pause and mention petitions)

Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Novena - 4th Day



Fourth Day

When you gave us, Gracious Lady, the Scapular as our Habit, you called us to be not only servants, but also your own children.
We ask you to gain for us from your Son the grace to live as you children in joy, peace and love. (pause and mention petitions)

Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Carmelite Week - The Carmelite Martyrs of the French Revolution

Unfortunately, the true blood thirst and slaughter of the innocents that were hallmarks of the French Revolution seem to get hidden in a modern rewriting of history.  Today we hear of the so-called bravery of the revolutionaries.  However, the real story more accurately describes a mob bent on destroying the faith, elevating the "great thinkers" and murdering legions of priests, nuns and ordinary Catholics in the name of the revolution.

One of the most compelling stories is that of the death by guillotine of 16 Carmelite sisters of the monastery in Compiegne.   Almost 200 years after Saint Teresa of Avila established her reformed order, sixteen of her sisters in France were arrested by the leaders of the revolution and brought to the guillotine.  The bravely lined up to die, one by one.

The story has it that as they approached the guillotine they began to sing the Laudate Dominum Omnes Gentes (Praise God all you His People).  This was the same psalm sung by St. Teresa at the foundation two centuries earlier.

The sisters were condemned to death as "enemies of the people" for their faith.  In a final act of obedience, each asked the reverend mother, "permission to die?" before taking their place at the guillotine.   The prioress then offered them a small clay figure of the Virgin and child to kiss, and they went on to their death, with the mother superior taking her place as the last to go.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Novena - 3rd Day



Third Day

O Queen of Heaven, you gave us the Scapular as an outward sign by which we might be known as your faithful children. may we always wear it with honor by avoiding sin and imitating your virtues. Help us to be faithful to this desire of ours.
(pause and mention petitions) s)

Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

Death Stars: A Wickedly Accurate Post From The Jester

Death Stars!
Seeing that this is a Jedi-themed cyber-Academy, I am honored to  highlight a post from our Catholic blogosphere neighbor,  Jeff Miller, a.k.a. The Curt Jester, who posted a wicked (i.e., great) piece  on Death Stars.

No, not the ones that got trounced in the Star Wars films.  The real ones.

The Jester writes:
"...There are Death Stars here on Earth that are ... dangerous and have destroyed populations in the past and are continuing to do so in the present and into the foreseeable future.  These Death Stars are not obvious gigantic structures in orbit around a planet, but something much smaller and more portable.I refer to Culture of Death Stars."    Continue reading...


Thank you, Jeff!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Carmelite Saints - Teresa of Avila

Day 2 of Carmelite week at the Academy.  St. Teresa of Avila.




"Remember that you have only one soul; that you have only one death to die; that you have only one life, which is short and has to be lived by you alone; and there is only one glory, which is eternal. If you do this, there will be many things about which you care nothing."
           - St. Teresa of Avila

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Novena - 2nd Day



Second Day

Most Holy Mary, Our Mother, in your great love for us you gave us the Holy Scapular of Mount Carmel, having heard the prayers of your chosen son Saint Simon Stock. Help us now to wear it faithfully and with devotion. May it be a sign to us of our desire to grow in holiness.
(pause and mention petitions)

Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Carmelite Week at the Academy

In honor of the 9 days leading up to the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, I thought it would be nice to feature some gems from our Carmelite saints.  Of course, who better to start off with than St. Therese?


"Be not afraid to tell Jesus that you love Him; even though it be without feeling, this is the way to oblige Him to help you, and carry you like a little child too feeble to walk."  -Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Novena - 1st Day

Today begins the first day of the novena prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, culminating on her feast day, July 16th.  In your kindness, would you remember Sarah and Vince in your novena prayers.  They are a wonderful young couple who will be wed on the feast day.

First Day

O Beautiful Flower of Carmel, most fruitful vine, splendor of heaven, holy and singular, who brought forth the Son of God, still ever remaining a pure virgin, assist us in our necessity! O Star of the Sea, help and protect us! Show us that you are our Mother!
(pause and mention petitions)

Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.


 Here is the link for the  novena at  EWTN.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Woman Fired Because of "Negative Energy" Coming from her Unborn Child

In a very weird reverse religious discrimination chase, a Nebraska woman has entered a claim against Hearthstone Homes and its CEO John Smith, for her firing  after a determination that there was negative energy coming from her since she became pregnant.  According to a lawsuit filed in federal court,  Hearthstone's CEO, "...a disciple of “intuitive spirituality,” believes, among other things, that employees can become more productive by having “negative energy” cleansed from their bodies" (onpointnews.com)

Jammie Harms stated in her complaint that Smith, for whom she had been an executive assistant, told her that "...her fetus was creating a negative energy field in the work place."

The company denies the allegation and states that the new age beliefs of its CEO are not imposed on any employees.  (h/t jill stanek)


Academy alert on New Age philosophies/ teachings:  Just Stay Away!!   One more trap for those who are weak in the faith or who have been away from the sacraments.  But it is a big trap and a bad trap.  For some insight into this area, try reading Fr. Mitch Pacwa's book "Catholics and the New Age."  It's pretty scary stuff.  But, unfortunately, there are plenty of Catholics out there who don't understand the danger in visiting psychics, using a Ouija board, or engaging in astrology.  If you know anyone who does these things, tell them to get out as quickly as possible, and then get to confession.

Catholic Jedi Are Never Detached From Reality

I've gotta say, that I love Pope Benedict.  

He constantly amazes me with his ability to explain the Faith in simple, economic, and powerful words and images!


On July 4th, Benedict XVI travelled to Sulmona, Italy for a meeting with the local youth. 

He began by praising their "historical memory:"  
  • "Without memory", said the Holy Father, "there is no future. It used to be said that history is a teacher of life, but consumer culture tends to limit man to the present, to make him lose his sense of the past, of history." 
  • Benedict XVI then referred to consumer culture.  Consumer culture deprives man of the capacity to understand himself, to perceive problems, and build the future. 
  • "Therefore, dear young people, I wish to tell you that a Christian is someone who has a good memory, who loves history and seeks to understand it."  
History reveals what continually recurs and endures over a long or apparently infinite period of time:  
  • "For example, the capacity to listen to God in exterior silence, and above all in interior silence."
  • "It is important to learn how to experience moments of interior silence in our daily lives in order to be capable of hearing the voice of the Lord."
The person who learns to listen to the Lord's Voice -- and learns to follow it with generosity -- is afraid of nothing, and knows and feels that God is within.  

So, the secret of discerning our vocations in life lies in our relationship with God in prayer -- from the moment we decide to start on the journey, and afterwards, if we wish to be faithful and persevere. 
Benedict also taught the following truths to the young people of Sulmona, Italy.  Truths that are applicable to any Catholic, of any age, within any vocation in life:
  • "Authentic prayer is not detached from reality. 
  • If prayer alienates you, removes you from real life, be aware that it is not authentic prayer. 
  • "It is not a question of simply multiplying the number of words,  but of being in God's presence, making the expressions of the 'Our Father' present in our minds and our hearts, or adoring the Eucharist, ... or meditating on the Gospel, ... or participating in the liturgy. All this does not detach us from life; rather, it helps us truly to be ourselves in all environments, faithful to the voice of God which speaks to our conscience, free from the conditioning of the present moment."
  • "Faith and prayer do not resolve problems, but enable them to be faced with a new light and a new strength, in a manner worthy of man, more serenely and more effectively."
  • "If we look at the history of the Church we see that it is rich in saints ... who -- on the basis of an intense and constant dialogue with God, illuminated by faith -- were able to find creative and novel solutions to respond to the concrete human needs of all times: health, education, work, etc."
  • "Their resourcefulness was animated by the Holy Spirit and by a strong and generous love for their brothers and sisters, especially the weakest and most disadvantaged."
  • "Start decisively down the path of sanctity, the path of contact with and conformity to God. Thus you too will become more creative in seeking solutions to the problems you encounter and in seeking them together; for this is another distinctive sign of Christians: they are never individualists"."
  • "Love the Church: she gave you the faith, she brought you to know Christ."
  • "Conserve your enthusiasm, your joy, the joy that comes from having met the Lord, and communicate this to your friends and peers."
  • "Walk in the way of the Gospel; love the Church our mother: be simple and pure of heart; be mild and strong in the truth; be humble and generous."
Benedict 's beautiful teachings on prayer to those young people is -- as I see it -- part of his continuing teachings about our common task of purifying ourselves and the Church of spiritual filth and sin: Conversion, penance and prayer: Now!







Like I said: I love this man!  God bless, strengthen and protect him!

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?

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