Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Myth of Pedophile Priests

It really is unfortunate the this Holy Week has to be spent fighting off unsubstantiated and false accusations against the Holy Father.  I just made the mistake of reading the comments on the New York Times website to an article by Maureen Dowd.  I wanted to entitle this post "Maureen Dowd is a Dope," but decided that would be uncharitable for this penitential season.  Ms. Dowd seems to be one of those for whom it is too difficult to remain Catholic, but  has too much of her self-image as an Irish Catholic Crusader tied up in her membership in the Church.  And, since the Church won't bend to her whims, she will make a living by lashing out against all things Catholic,  Her argument that a nun running the Church will solve all of its problems is laughingly ignorant.  Perhaps she hasn't read the reports of abuse by nuns in the Irish Church.  Any abuse is an utter abomination, but the knee-jerk conclusion that a woman would be more likely to report abuse or manage the issue better is just ridiculous.

Father Dwight Longenecker has a terrific article debunking the myths concerning the "pedophile priest."  He quotes an extensive study by Phillip Pullman that provide the following under-reported facts:

  • Priestly celibacy is not the issue - married men are more likely to abuse children than unmarried
  • Most child abuse takes place within the home.
  • All religious groups have pedophile scandals, and the Catholics (while the largest religious group) are at the bottom of the list statistically.
  • Child abuse is prevalent in all areas of society: schools, youth organizations, sports, etc.
  • Statistically, of all the professions, Christian clergy are least likely to offend. Doctors, Farmers and Teachers are the professions most likely to abuse children--not clergy.
  • Among clergy offenders Catholic priests are least likely to offend.
  • Catholic cases of pedophilia make more headlines because of anti Catholic prejudice and because the Catholic Church is bigger and more lucrative to sue...
So, let's keep the facts straight and keep them out front.  Thank you to Archbishop Dolan, Bishop DiMarzio and others who have taken a strong public stand in defense of the Holy Father.  And, don't forget to do your bit.  Write to the New York Times;  tell them you won't stand for their reckless tabloid approach to reporting.  It's time we rallied the troops and stood up to the last acceptable prejudice, that against the Catholic Church.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

O Sacred Head Surrounded

And the Passion Begins...

In his remarks at the end of Mass on Palm Sunday, Archbishop Dolan of New York defends Pope Benedict:

“The somberness of Holy Week is intensified for Catholics this year.

The recent tidal wave of headlines about abuse of minors by some few priests, this time in Ireland, Germany, and a re-run of an old story from Wisconsin, has knocked us to our knees once again.

Anytime this horror, vicious sin, and nauseating crime is reported, as it needs to be, victims and their families are wounded again, the vast majority of faithful priests bow their heads in shame anew, and sincere Catholics experience another dose of shock, sorrow, and even anger.

What deepens the sadness now is the unrelenting insinuations against the Holy Father himself, as certain sources seem frenzied to implicate the man who, perhaps more than anyone else has been the leader in purification, reform, and renewal that the Church so needs.

Sunday Mass is hardly the place to document the inaccuracy, bias, and hyperbole of such aspersions.  But, Sunday Mass is indeed the time for Catholics to pray for  Benedict our Pope.

And Palm Sunday Mass is sure a fitting place for us to express our love and solidarity for our earthly shepherd now suffering some of the same unjust accusations, shouts of the mob, and scourging at the pillar, as did Jesus.

No one has been more vigorous in cleansing the Church of the effects of this sickening sin than the man we now call Pope Benedict XVI. The dramatic progress that the Catholic Church in the United States has made — — documented again just last week by the report made by independent forensic auditors — — could never have happened without the insistence and support of the very man now being daily crowned with thorns by groundless innuendo.

Does the Church and her Pastor, Pope Benedict XVI, need intense scrutiny and just criticism for tragic horrors long past?

Yes! He himself has asked for it, encouraging complete honesty, at the same time expressing contrition, and urging a thorough cleansing.

All we ask is that it be fair, and that the Catholic Church not be singled-out for a horror that has cursed every culture, religion, organization, institution, school, agency, and family in the world."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Really! I Mean It!

My dear Academicians,
your humble Assistant Headmaster had many warm memories come back to me as I viewed the video below. 
Indeed, yes, this video reminded me of my childhood ability to do all of the tricks you're about to view -- except that I was blindfolded and tied up with duct tape. While under water.  When I was three-years-old.  Really. 
Sadly, as soon as my fourth birthday rolled around, all of these abilities disappeared. Really.
Oh, alright already! Go ahead and watch the video! (O ye of little faith!).

Have you seen the video previously showcased here at the Academy?
Here's the link to that post:

... But There's No "Superior Design" Involved Here, Right?

As a long-winded introduction to where I'm heading with this post, here is the publisher's description of David Berlinski's book, The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions (Basic Books, September 2009).  David Berlinski is a senior fellow in the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. He is the author of numerous books on mathematics and the sciences.
"Militant atheism is on the rise. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens have dominated bestseller lists with books denigrating religious belief as dangerous foolishness. And these authors are merely the leading edge of a far larger movement–one that now includes much of the scientific community. “The attack on traditional religious thought,” writes David Berlinski in The Devil’s Delusion, “marks the consolidation in our time of science as the single system of belief in which rational men and women might place their faith, and if not their faith, then certainly their devotion.” 
"A secular Jew, Berlinski nonetheless delivers a biting defense of religious thought. An acclaimed author who has spent his career writing about mathematics and the sciences, he turns the scientific community’s cherished skepticism back on itself, daring to ask and answer some rather embarrassing questions:
  • Has anyone provided a proof of God’s inexistence? Not even close.
  • Has quantum cosmology explained the emergence of the universe or why it is here? Not even close.
  • Have the sciences explained why our universe seems to be fine-tuned to allow for the existence of life? Not even close.
  • Are physicists and biologists willing to believe in anything so long as it is not religious thought? Close enough.
  • Has rationalism in moral thought provided us with an understanding of what is good, what is right, and what is moral? Not close enough.
  • Has secularism in the terrible twentieth century been a force for good? Not even close to being close.
  • Is there a narrow and oppressive orthodoxy of thought and opinion within the sciences? Close enough.
  • Does anything in the sciences or in their philosophy justify the claim that religious belief is irrational? Not even in the ballpark.
  • Is scientific atheism a frivolous exercise in intellectual contempt? Dead on.
"Berlinski does not dismiss the achievements of western science. The great physical theories, he observes, are among the treasures of the human race. But they do nothing to answer the questions that religion asks, and they fail to offer a coherent description of the cosmos or the methods by which it might be investigated."
Phew! That's a powerful summary!   I have a good reason for planting it as the beginning of this post. I think the summary of Berlinski's book is like a speed-read preamble to the following rant.
I'm sick of Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, Dennett, Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo, Bozo (and any  other so-called atheist geniuses I've omitted) pronouncing that all of reality as we know it is merely the result of some cosmic crap shoot -- completely random, accidental  -- and that there are no signs of any "higher intelligence" creating and ordering the universe, patterning and designing deliberately within creation.
Oh, really?  Well, gee, am I dumb!  If all the atheist geniuses can humor me for a moment, I have a video they should ponder.  The video features several clips of babies of different ethnic groups and cultures reacting to the taste of a lemon.  Watch closely their facial expressions, gestures and reactions.  They all exhibit the same behavior when they taste the lemon.  Now, remember that these children are of different races, different languages, and are still too young to have learned how to make the "lemon face" response from school and from cultural socialization.
Frankly, anyone who claims that there is no overall intelligent purpose in creation, no "superior design" -- as exhibited, for example, by the commonality of the expressions of all  these different children --  is suffering from intellectual dishonesty.  (And, yes, there was intelligent design in that comment. Spike and Anathema checked it for me.)

The Assistant Headmaster

Monday, March 22, 2010

Stupak and Others Partying After Health Care Vote

OK, I was angry before, but now I'm really angry and very, very disgusted.  According to Roll Call, a number of Democrat congressmen were having a big old party at the Tune Inn on Capitol Hill last night.  I remember the Tune Inn from my days (way back when) as a Senate staffer and, let's just say, it's not the classiest joint in town.

The scene included Congressman Joe Crowley (NY) handing out drinks from behind the bar.  Congressman Anthony Weiner partying heartily and planting a big kiss on the cheek of, guess who?  Well, none other than Congressman Bart Stupak coming in to celebrate his great play maker role in the health care  debacle,   Nice to see these guys having a grand time, winning their high stakes personality contests on the backs of dead babies. 

Glenn McCoy @ go

Et Tu, Stupak?

 I just received this month's issue of the National Right to Life News.  Front and center on the cover is a photograph of Congressman Bart Stupak with the caption "Pro-abortion provisions make Senate -passed health care bill 'unacceptable'."

Call me politically naive, which I didn't think I was, but the turnaround of the Stupak dozen left me nauseous.  Why would Congressman Stupak have gone through "hell" for weeks, fighting for tougher anti-abortion language in the "health care" bill, getting pummeled by the Democrat leadership and pro-abortion advocates, and then fold like a cheap suit at the last minute, without getting the language he claimed was vitally necessary?  I saw him interviewed by Greta VanSusteren and he said he would not cave.  I believed him.  He said the Senate language was insufficient, that it would open the floodgates to government funded abortion.  Every pro-life group in America and the Conference of Catholic Bishops agreed with him.  He was becoming a pro-life hero. 

Then, on the eve of the vote, it seemed that Stupak and his band would be the decisive bloc in preventing the passage of the bill.  Then, the unbelievable happened.  In exchange for a useless Executive Order, Stupak and his cohorts lay down their weapons and ran for cover.  Patrick Archbold has it absolutely right...there is no such thing as a pro-life Democrat any more.  We were sold a bill of goods.    But, in the end, it's still hard to comprehend.  For a $700 million airport bailout?  Congressman Stupak may need our prayers now more than before...For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? (Mark8:36)

Living In Hope, Part Two

Our trust in God and in His faithfulness toward us guarantees the reality of our future, and permits us to imagine the wonders we will experience in that future.
God has built into us a desire for that future -- more precisely, a hope for that future.

You and I cannot achieve the future by our own ability. You and I can't place our confidence in our own efforts. We can only confidently hope that God, in Whom we trust, will give that future to us.
We do not generate hope from somewhere within ourselves. Hope does not come from us. Hope is our response to God's promises given in Jesus Christ. Hope is not a feeling; we can't stir it up at will.
Hope is a choice to say "yes" to God's guarantees.
Hope is a conscious, deliberate acceptance of all of God's promises –- acceptance based on the grounds that nothing could be truer than Truth's own word.

Our hope is lived on this solid foundation: that God's promises have and always will become concrete reality.

Many people have trivialized what hope means. For some, when they say "I hope," they really mean "I wish" or "Wouldn't it be nice if... ."
Christian hope is never wishing: it is not an escape from reality. Hope gives us the power to enter into reality, knowing that there is a future reality greater than the present.
Wishes are open to every bad influence that the world, our flesh, or the devil can dish out. Wishes are too flimsy to build our hopes upon.

That is why Our Lord Jesus left us a secure, rock-solid foundation for our hope: The Church.
The Church is us -- you and I, and all our faithful sisters and brothers in every land. We are the signs of hope to the world –- announcing that God is present and active in this world, even in the midst of the world's woes and problems.

We should be giving hope to others by the way we live –- by our living in hope!
First, we must draw hope from the well for ourselves and, then, pour out that hope into other people's lives -- and do it with joy and with the utmost patience, even in times of hardship and suffering!  Because, the anticipated glory of our future life with Christ is so great, it is already spilling over and being reflected in the present moment, now!

That hope permeates the entire Church, because the Holy Spirit fills each of us.
We can excite that hope within us by living lives of fidelity to prayer and to reading God's promises given us in the Scriptures -- we need to remind ourselves, excite ourselves, renew our hope by participating in Holy Mass every day, if possible.
We then leave Mass filled with the Eucharistic Presence of Christ, and bring our hope out into real life, into the real world, by our mutual forgiveness of each other, by our mutual love and concern and self- sacrifice for each other.

Christian hope is the bridge between us and the fullness of existence God has promised us in His Kingdom in the future. That bridge of hope springs eternally from the security of knowing that God loves us and that God sends us into the world, with all its troubles -- in trust... with hope... to love one another.

Living In Hope, Part One

With all the turmoil around us of late -- health care reform, clueless politicians, an economic crisis, unemployment, foreclosures --     I think  it would be good for us to think and pray about Hope: About living in Christian Hope  and conquering all fear.
If we look at our lived experience, our daily life, we will realize that we are living in hope all the time.  However, we rarely stop to try to separate hope out from the daily course of events to examine it. 
That's because hope cannot be easily separated out from our daily living – thanks be to God!
No one can live without hope, except angels. Angels do not live within the constraints of time;  they have no future and no past, just an eternal NOW. Angels don't grow, don’t mature into Senior Citizens .  That’s because angelic beings always possess the whole reality of their existence from the instant God creates them.
But, we human beings have a future; we are constantly moving into the future from the now, leaving behind a past.
This being the case, then, what exactly does our Christian hope do for us?
  • Christian hope is like headlights on a car. When it begins to get dark, it's hard to see the road without headlights showing you the way through the gloom.
  • Christian hope is like oxygen. We cannot live without it. 
  • Christian hope is just like our eyes.  God has  are deliberately located our eyes  so that  they face forward -- therefore, we can see ahead of us and move forward. Christian hope keeps us looking toward the future.
  • Christian hope is a vitamin for the soul. Spiritual starvation results from lost hope.
  • Christian hope is the reason why we get out of bed in the morning. We would not have any motivation to work, to love, to get out of bed in the morning and live -- if we didn't have hope fanning the flame of life deep within us.
Since we are not angels, we have a future at stake. That future can be life forever with God, if we are faithful to Him.  Our trust in God and in His faithfulness toward us,  guarantees  the reality of our future, and permits us to imagine the wonders we will experience IN that future. 
God has built into us a desire for that future -- more precisely,  a hope for that future.  
You and I cannot achieve the future by our own ability.  You and I can't place our confidence in our own efforts.  We can only confidently hope that God, in Whom we trust, will give that future to us.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Watch Your Language!

Well, dear Academicians, you've seen me write the following several times before:
When I teach theology, I always insist to my students, "Watch your language!"  Meaning, that students should listen attentively to what they're saying:
  • Are the correct words being used?  
  • Are there words and concepts that will make the meaning easier to grasp while preserving the truth and accuracy of the subject being discussed?
  • Are the words causing confusion, or distortion, or even denial of the subject?
Now, as a veteran of the Confessional, I have heard a lot of different sins confessed over the years.  And in my 25+ years of experience as a Confessor, I have concluded that the sins which deeply wound and denigrate others are verbal
  • Words spoken deliberately to leave another person feeling violated, fearful, humiliated, inferior, insignificant, worthless.  
  • Words which threaten bodily harm to another person.  
  • Words used in a rumor you spread about a person.  
  • Words used to give you power over a person.  
  • Words which aren't "just joking around," or "teasing", or "horse-play" -- but intended to make your victim suffer. 
  • Words that act like psychological acid, destroying a person's self-image, self-confidence, or sense of security.
That old idiom, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," is as wrong as can be.

Before the next time comes in which you deliberately choose to sin against another by using cruel and vicious vocabulary, you should remember who your abusive and offensive terms will really be cutting.  For example: You get into a road rage with another driver. Perhaps this person's driving isn't as skillful as yours is. You roll down your window and call the other driver an idiot, a moron, an imbecile.
You will be accountable to Our Lord for those words -- as if you said them to Him.
Saint Paul states clearly, in his Letter To The Romans [15:3], "For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: 'The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.'" 
The holy Gospel according to Matthew [5:20-26] records Our Lord Jesus telling His disciples:
“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, 'You shall not kill'; and 'Whoever kills will be liable to judgment.'
“But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother, Raqa,
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, ‘You Fool'
will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
“Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.”

"Raqa": An Aramaic word meaning "imbecile," "blockhead"; a term of abuse.

And so, dear Academicians, if you have "Opened mouth, inserted foot, and bitten down", just recall these words: "I am sorry for what I said to you" - and - "The line for the Confessional forms to the rear."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Panda Sneeze

Have you ever seen a panda sneeze?  This is cute.

Abortion Changes You...

There's an ad campaign that's running on the New York City subway system again.  It's called "Abortion Changes You."  And from the reactions I've been reading, it's struck a nerve.  Here's a shot of one of the ads:
The ads are run by a group who can be found at and was the inspiration of  Michaelene Fredenburg a woman who had an abortion and found herself unprepared for the emotional fallout.  She started the site as a means for those affected by abortion to share their stories.

When I did a Google search on this topic, one of the search results returned was a website entitled  which bills itself as an "online community for feminists and their allies."  Unfortunately, their definition of  allies does not include those who oppose abortion. and they are not very happy about the "abortion changes you" subway ads, to put it mildly.    Evidently those at "feministing"  see the ads and those of us who oppose abortion as "anti-woman" (as per usual, females in the womb are the exception to the pro-woman rule).   And the comments over at that site hold a consensus  that the most important change wrought by abortion is the liberation of the pregnant woman.  One poor woman who commented that she had an abortion and actually did have regrets, was met with sympathy, but very little validation.   Doing so would have meant endorsing the ad campaign, and that would apparently be too big no-no among the feministing crowd.

Interspersed among the salty comments condemning pro-lifers was one that read:   If all of those pro-life people put their effort into encouraging responsible birth control use, there would be less abortions.  The name of the commenter?  "Sex Toy James" (Ummm "Sex Toy", maybe if you focused a little more on the awesome responsibility involved in creating human life, and a little less on your namesake, we would have fewer abortions.)

And , finally,  the feministing site's "community policies" include an unintentional irony.  Among the guidelines for participants in their community is a requirement that one refrain from "racism, classism and ableism."  As best as I can tell, ableism means discrimination against the disabled.  Funny, isn't it, that one of the primary reasons for abortion is a perceived disability in the unborn child.  Doesn't that rise to the level of "ableism"?  Just asking.

Monday, March 8, 2010

So Tell Me, Father: Just What Is "Sin"?

"You want to know what SIN is?  Well...

     "SIN is the refusal of creatures (you and me) to
               recognize what we are: creatures, not God!

      "SIN is our refusal to acknowledge the existence and
               authority of the love of God who made us and
               who keeps us in existence.

      "SIN is to refuse God's offer to adopt us as members 
               of His own family in favor of living a 
               self-centered and isolated life.

      "SIN is like a "virus" of evil which entered the world 
               through the original, first SIN of our race's 
               parents and now reproduces itself in human

      "SIN is that tendency way down deep in us that urges  us to thrust out in violence

              -- whether verbal or physical -- when we can't understand or be understood. 

      "SIN is the fundamental imbalance in us which brings us to the point of calmly watching the 
               TV news and witnessing millions of bone-thin people slowly starving to death while others 
               on the same planet spend billions of dollars on diet soda and lemon scented cat litter.

      "SIN is the ball and chain on our willpower which hold us back from going out of ourselves to listen
               to someone, whether it involves parents and children ("Why didn’t you do as I told you?"
               or husband and wife ("You never hear a word I say to you!  You don't give a damn!").

      "SIN is that flaw in us that leads us to kill life and love in all the varied ways we can 
                (see the following):

      "SIN can take the form of:
           Apathy Selfishness Hatred Greed Arrogance
           Lust Spite Fighting Revenge  Laziness
           Exploitation  Overindulgence Infidelity  Lying  Nastiness
           Hunger to be in control of and have power over others.

      "SIN is wherever and whenever we refuse to be what God invites us to be in Christ.

      "SIN is not isolated, not merely individual:
           SIN is personal (emanating from me)
           But my personal sin produces communal consequences (affects everyone).

      "SIN is a personal offense against God,
           A personal turning away from God,
           A personal disruption of your relationship with God in Christ – 
           A disruption which injures, deprives and "infects" everyone around you: the entire world.

      "SIN is not merely one action we commit or omit; SIN is a repeating pattern in our lives.

      "SIN pervades all of our person: our lives, history and society.
           The power of SIN surrounds us and keeps us apart.
           True relationships with others and true community life are not possible unless
                sin is overcome and healed.

      "SIN is not so much doing things that we know are wrong, but violating the bond that unites us to 
              Our Father in Heaven and to our Family of the Church. 
              From this violation come all the outward effects of SIN
                   Greed, selfishness, lust, violence, sinful pride, arrogance, etc.

      "SIN is a refusal of love: a refusal demonstrated in and through human attitudes and/or actions.

      "SIN is, at root, a rupture of the covenant with the God of life and love — 
              The covenant that acknowledges that God is God, and that we are His people, 
              who properly use the gifts He surrounds us with.

"That's what SIN is.  And for your penance... "

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Children and The Elderly - "Unfit"

Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust museum, has recently posted a web album of photographs taken at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.  The image of human beings waiting to be processed through the  checkpoints leading to death is chilling in its banality.  Why did the SS even take these pictures?  They don't seem to serve any purpose other than a record of an ordinary day at the death mill.


Women waited in line with their children, not knowing where they were headed.

The elderly and the handicapped were shuffled off to one side to await their fate.  According to the Yad Vashem text, they were so exhausted and in shock that they could not comprehend what was in store.

These pictures provide a stark representation of the fate of the weakest among us when the strong decide whose life is worthy of living.  The criteria at the death camps was the ability to work.  If you were not fit for work, you were immediately sent to the crematorium.  The only exception to this rule was if you fit a criteria for medical experimentation such as having a physical deformity.

We may not have pictures, but there is a holocaust of the deformed, the handicapped and the "unsuitable" that goes on every day in our country.  We just don't want to be reminded .  May we never lose sight of the depravity that follows when a society allows one human being to decide whether the life of another is worthy of living.

(h/t Powerline)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Dawn of Trouble - Pregnant Women are Like Pedestrians Struck By Drunk Drivers

There is so much mind numbing health care and budget shenanigans coming out of Washington,  that very troublesome changes and appointments are happening without so much as a blip on the radar screen.  Case in point is the looming appointment of Dawn Johnsen as head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC).  Ms. Johnson, an Ivy educated, ACLU trained big time liberal lawyer, espouses such positions as comparing pregnancy to slavery.

Andy McCarthy, a former US attorney and contributor to National Review Online, has a frightening expose of Dawn Johnsen's opinions at the NRO site.  Here's part of McCarthy's analysis of Ms. Johnsen's view of  unintended pregnancies:

On abortion and other issues dear to the Left, she is nothing short of a zealot. She insisted that, without government-provided abortion counseling, a large number of women would be left without “proper information about contraception.” This, she claimed, would mean they “cannot be said to have a meaningful opportunity to avoid pregnancy.” The usual rejoinder to such reasoning is that nobody is forcing these women to have sex. Johnsen sees it differently, writing that these “losers in the contraceptive lottery no more ‘consent’ to pregnancy than pedestrians ‘consent’ to being struck by drunk drivers.”

The Senate Judiciary committee has voted her nomination out of the committee to a floor vote.   Unless the Senate can get its act together and  prevent her approval, we are in for a very bumpy next few years in the Department of Justice.  We were already headed that way with previous political picks, but this one spells nothing but trouble for pro-lifers and all who hold the principles of the Constitution dear.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"He Made The Sea, It Belongs to Him, The Dry Land, Too..."

NASA has recently released stunning photographs of the Earth from outer space.  The pictures were taken by Terra, a satellite orbiting 435 miles above the Earth's surface.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have established,
what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him little less than the angels, and you have crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands, you have put all things under his feet...
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Psalm 8

Lady Gaga Promoting Celibacy?

OK, I probably shouldn't be wading into this territory too far, because I don't know very much about Lady Gaga.  I do know that she's a contemporary pop singer who wears some crazy outifts.  I saw a bit of her singing a duet with Elton John and she was dressed in something that looked like it had gotten caught in a paper shredder before she put it on.  Anyway, given her pop music "cred" these days I just assumed that she would be living, if not promoting, the wild life.  Then I saw this link to a People magazine article entitled:  "Lady Gaga Says She is Single - And Celibate."  She is quoted as saying,
When I see my beautiful fans I feel how much they protect and mean to me, It would be irresponsible if I didn't protect them and teach young people to be self-expressive, to love yourself."
I'm not sure if this is a publicity stunt or a passing fancy, but here's hoping it's a trend.   Now, if she could just have some influence on Sir Elton.

Lent's Choices

In the Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy [11:26-28; 30:19-20], God's commandments and the obligations of His holy covenant with Israel are related to the people through Moses.  The benefits of following God's commandments are simplified for Israel in a straightforward, succinct statement from God: "Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse: The blessing if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you this day, and the curse, if you do not ... I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore, choose life, that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying His voice, and clinging to Him; for that means life to you and length of days... ."  

In the New Covenant, chronicled by the Gospels, Our Lord Jesusthe Son of God, the Christ — speaks to us as God-made-flesh, teaching us how to follow Him, on His way, on the path He marks out for us. 

His path is life; it ultimately leads us to resurrection.  However, before we arrive at resurrection, we must first pass through death. Because, the path to life is also the Way of the Cross.

This is how we can understand the important place that penance and self-denial have during Lent.  No matter what kind of penance we are doing throughout Lent, it involves the gift of self. The value, the effectiveness of our penance to help us to reform our lives is in direct proportion to the amount of self we are giving.

You see, we possess a limited amount of self. It is a treasure. Your self is hard to give away — at any price.   To do penance during Lent involves giving away bits and pieces of our self, as gifts to God and to others. That gift of our self means quite a lot to the ones we offer it to!   By willingly and generously giving away those bits and pieces of our self now, we are made ready for the day when God Our Father will ask us to give Him the total gift of our self – to surrender all of our self to Him – at the moment of our death.

Our Lord Jesus gave all of Himself to God His Father— for us!  And look at the powerful results: Life forever!  The Christ still gives us Himself, every day, in His Body and Blood, in the Holy Eucharist. The effectiveness of our Holy Communion with Him will be in direct proportion to the amount of self we are offering back to Him.

Lent is the season of self-offering, in which we must choose between the blessing and the curse, between life and death. Let’s choose Life: Christ’s Life!

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

Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!
Take a moment and visit the MOSJ website.