Thursday, September 29, 2005

Why I Am Not A Comedian

And who doesn't love a lame joke:

One day the Devil challenged the Lord to a baseball game.

Smiling, the Lord proclaimed, "You don't have a chance, I have Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and all the greatest players up here."

"Yes," snickered the devil, "but I have all the umpires."
(Please don't throw anything at your monitor. And, yes, it's a slow day for me.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Another View of "God And Mammon"

Amy Wellborn at her 'blog, Open Book, has made remarks about the Forbes article on which I briefly opined. Her point of view is much more in depth, as is the discussion in her comment box.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Apologia Pros

As I mentioned before, I am not a trained apologist. But these guys are.

Jimmy Akin and Mark Shea are two of the most respected and prominent defenders of Catholicism in our time. They also make comment on current issues and events. Their arguments are well reasoned and well grounded. I have learned much from their 'blogs.

They are part of my 'blog reading routine. Make them yours.

Monday, September 26, 2005


There's a new 'blog in town.

Rick Lugari will cease to post on Unam Sanctum. However, he will continue to provide his perspective on a different site.

In fact, he has built a new city. De Civitate Dei. Check it out.

(And how did I get elected to the City Council?)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Ask. Seek. Knock.

This is why Wisdom is personified as female.

Another one of my favorite 'blogs is The Anchoress. Lots of posts on things spiritual and political. This one witnesses to the need for and the power of prayer. It is a great reminder to ask, persevere, and believe.

God does answer knee mail.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

God And Mammon

What would a turnaround artist do with an $8.6 billion (sales) organization with 133,000 employees, falling market share and a mountain of multimillion-dollar lawsuits?
So goes the opening line of an article found at (If this link does not get you there, registration is required to view the article, but it is free.) For all the talk about stewardship that one hears, it does make a person wonder if this is a case of "do as I say, not as I do."

The authors summarize the conflict in a sidebar:
Change doesn't come easily to an authoritarian institution. The last guy who really pushed it with the Vatican kicked off the Reformation. At the same time it's tough for people living in a democracy to accept absolute authority. The current dispute centers on how much power an informed laity should have in the day-to-day management of the Church, given the perilous state of its finances. Reformists, among the most powerful Catholics in America, insist their push for participation is not a challenge to dogma or to bishops. Traditionalists, made up of prominent and influential religious officials and patrons, view their opponents as a threat to the very foundations of the Church. On this iteration of an old debate, the Vatican has, to date, been silent.

Granted, the Church is not a business in any sense of the word; this paradigm is a very big stretch. I hope, however, parishes and dioceses do make the effort to act with prudence and responsibility in matters of finance (or learn how). Both sides of this issue make very good points, because both sides bring their talents as well as cautions to the forefront. It seems to me the temporal and spiritual world can work together; it's "both/and" rather than "either/or". "There are different gifts, but the same Spirit,..."

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Adding To The List

Allow me to introduce Miss Anastasia Crosswell, the most gracious 'blogmistress of Southern Catholic Convert. She is also a contributor to the fine group 'blog about current law issues and other subjects, Southern Appeal. We are in discussions about contributing to each other's site.

Miss Crosswell is a Southern Lady. I expect no less than proper respect for her.

We are renewing acquaintences, in a sense. Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away...

Ah, but wouldn't that be a good subject for another post?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Registration Complete

Well, I thought I would make it official.

I am now a member of St. Blog's parish.

Anyone who can help me with this concept is welcome to chime in.

This Doctor Is Always "In"

One of my favorite stops in the 'blogosphere is at Jeff Miller's site, The Curt Jester. The master of the Photoshop parody, he puts that talent to great use with this post.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


While contemplating about what to cover, I completely forgot about the great 'blogosphere pastime.


My mentor sent me the following link:
(UPDATE 9/27/05: Registration required to access article, but it is free.)

He didn't have time to make remarks about it, but thought I might be able. This a good article for a rookie fisker to entertain. My comments will be in red.
Good Catholics Can Disagree
Yes, we can; but on what and how we do is also important. How does that saying go? "In matters of...."
Most Americans think Catholics are not permitted to think for themselves. Sociologist Andrew Greeley turned up that datum in his research on the persistence of anti-Catholicism in America and reports it in the Sept. 9 issue of Commonweal in a preview of his next book.
Fr. Greeley, we didn't need a study to know about the persistence of anti-Catholicism in America. The claim that Catholics aren't permitted to think for themselves has been around as long as the colonies.
Maybe one, the other or both (Chief Justice Roger Taney and Associate Justice William Brennan) are bad Catholics who either do not know their faith or don't care. Some Catholics gravitate to that explanation, but it's not a good one.
Ah, yes; ignorance and apathy. They are not explanations; they are excuses.
These are serious men, for one thing. And the explanation defies a church that says its members shouldn't try to judge other people's souls.
That's right. We don't have God's ability to judge other people's souls. We do have the ability, however, to judge other people's actions.
Another explanation is that maybe religion is irrelevant to Supreme Court matters. If so, someone should tell the lobbyists on both sides of Judge Roberts' confirmation.
No, only those opposed to to the Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr. being confirmed have made this an issue, because they fear the sand upon which the house of abortion is built may be swept away by the tides of proper judicial review and are using his religious affiliation as an excuse.
The Christian explanation is that when serious people make prudential judgments about complex issues, they may, alas, come down in different places.
Yes, either on the side of Truth or a lie; of right or wrong; of good or evil. While the abortion issue has implications at a deeper level, it is not as complex an issue as people want to make it. Also, note the slight. Catholics are not Christians? (Did I mention something earlier about anti-Catholic biases?)
Just lately, some bishops have proposed abortion as an exception to prudent judgment.
No, some bishops are doing their three-fold mission of preaching, teaching, and governing the Faithful under their care. And why isn't it prudent judgment to not take complete responsibility for your actions by ignoring the fact that conjugal relations create a new human life?
They (the bishops) have denied Communion to some members of Congress for voting wrong as they see it.
Which members? I have not seen any articles regarding this. Communion would be denied because their support of abortion puts them at odds with the Church's teaching. Look at the word. "Common + unity." Their receiving is an injustice and a scandal.
But it was justices, not legislators, who said Congress may not constitutionally restrict abortions. The punished legislators are only not doing what the high court says they may not do.
Rendering unto Caesar? St. Thomas More is not an example of public service?

It's only a matter of time until consistency will force rocket-launching bishops to target judges along with legislators unless the more accommodating bishops convince their zealous peers to step back from the constitutional brink.

Zealous peers? Because they are proclaiming the Truth with courage? Granted, there are bishops who are trying to be more pastoral in dealing with this, but the scandalous behavior of politicians is the poison that is being spread. And the antidotes are there.

The Vatican recently issued a hefty compendium of the church's teaching on a range of social issues from marriage to labor unions to the United Nations to war and peace.

And if you would have read it carefully, as well as what the USCCB published, you would had seen the statement(s) that not all matters carry equal moral weight.

American Catholics, including politicians, have a spotty record for even paying attention, much less acting on the social teachings.

Really? Dorothy Day and Catholic Charities would be surprised to hear that. So would the many of people who quietly go about doing just that.

The difference for abortion seems to be this: While the church proclaims that it supports organized labor and condemns aggressive war, it really, really double Dutch means what it says about abortion.

Catholics can disagree upon the role a labor union has in terms of whether it can promote justice in the workplace and still be in agreement with church teachings regarding that. Catholics can look at the "just war" theory and disagree about the action in Iraq, for an example. Abortion is a objectively immoral act for which there is no "opposing viewpoint".

"Really, really double Dutch," though, has no philosophical nor theological significance.

Back to the point about matters not carrying equal moral weight. And that phrase makes no sense to me. Only because I am not a relativist.

A person has to be born before he can have any of the other rights the church upholds, but saying that is a tautology.

Mr. Blackburn, you have stated the obvious, but missed the point completely. The right to live, to exist, is the first right the Church upholds; all other rights flow from that. A human being, a person, exists at the moment of conception; the "ostrich position" the poor (pro)-choice side takes regarding that is ridiculous. And, by the way, ostriches don't bury their heads in the sand.

The court and Congress are competent to deal with the legalities of abortion, not its morality. Some people see that point as a mere technicality, but it is on such technicalities that American constitutional freedom rests.

Our elected leaders are, in a sense and seemingly by default, the philosopher-kings mentioned in Plato's Republic. They decide what laws will reflect our values. Our laws reflect our morality. And because of an attitude of "what is legal is also moral", the philosophies of relativism and radical individualism reign.

Still, since some bishops have made Communion an issue, Judge Roberts should be smoked out on what he will do if threatened with ecclesiastical penalties if he doesn't vote a certain way on a case before the court.

Why? Senator Kerry didn't answer either.

Americans who think Catholics have to think alike should watch closely when the several Catholics on the Senate Judiciary Committee quiz Judge Roberts. It could prove to be educational.

Not really. We already know how the Catholic members of the SJC think. "I'm personally opposed, but...." They do not see abortion as the injustice it truly is to mother, child, and society. They don't want to impose their morality upon society via legislation, but it is perfectly legitimate for others to impose theirs by judicial fiat. Evil triumphing because good men have done nothing to prevent it.
So, does that mean if we don't agree with those who disagree with the Church, we haven't been using our brains? Sorry. The Church provides answers to which I agree. I do think; therefore, I am like-minded.
Another shining example of the lack of respect for the Church and Her members. Especially in America.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Empty Spaces?

Life is what happens when you make plans to 'blog. Yes, Virginia, there is a life outside the internet.

My only goal right now is to post on a consistant basis. As this is still in its infancy, I am not going to worry if I miss a day.

I am beginning to think of topics. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


As you can surmise from the title of my blog, I do have a religious/spiritual bent to me. And I think you can guess, from the two links I currently have, what affiliation that is.

I am a Christian. Specifically, I am a practicing, devoted member of the Roman Catholic Church. My perspective is a traditional/orthodox view. I am working on digesting more "solid food" in terms of knowing and understanding the teachings of the Church, developing a mature sense of the Faith, and applying it more in my life. The breath and depth of knowledge which Holy Mother Church has is an unlimited source and supply of nourishment. I am not perfect. I am needing to be perfected. I am a human being, becoming in process. (That's why it's called practice.)

Borrowing from Mario Cuomo, the former governor of New York, "I am Catholic--first, by birth; then, by choice; now, by love." I choose to be immersed in the Faith, learning how to be formed so as to be a worthy member of the Mystical Body of Christ, striving to seek the will of the Father. Spiritual progress is so hard to discern; while I have come far, I have much farther to go. "Be patient with me; God is not yet finished."

There will be times I will make comment on things involving the Church, both within and without. I am not a trained apologist, but I will speak based on what I know and understand. I pray the Holy Spirit will guide me to be articulate.

"I Have My Mission," by John Henry Cardinal Newman, sums up what I am saying:
God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission -- I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.

I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good. I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place while not intending it -- if I do but keep His commandments.

Therefore I will trust in Him. Whatever, wherever I am. I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me -- still He knows what He is about.
"I do believe, Lord; help my unbelief."

Rude Awakening

A somewhat groggy 'blogger this morning.

At 2:30 AM, the fire alarm in my apartment building sounded. Fortunately (?), my inner body clock awoke me just before it happened, so it wasn't as jarring as it could have been. Slipped on a warm-up suit, grabbed my keys, locked the door, and left the building.

Even more fortunately, it was a false alarm. I'm not sure what triggered it. I have lived in this complex for over 12 years, 10 of them in another building where this was an occasional occurrence. In most of those instances, somebody burned a late-night dinner to the point smoke dectectors were activated. This was the first time in quite a while since this has happened to me.

In about five minutes, the fire department arrived on the scene. I am very lucky; there is a station only about half a mile away and they respond very timely. The firefighters made their cursory sweep around the cluster of buildings to check for smoke and/or flames, then got down to the business of turning off the alarm. A maintenance worker arrived at about the same time the fire trucks and assisted them with that task.

It was a somewhat cool night; I would guess temps were in the low 50s. Better than standing outside on a cold winter's night (which has happened). While I was outside waiting for the "all clear", a patrol car drove past the scene. My thoughts then turned back to Sunday, the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Remembering those of New York's Finest and Bravest who made the ultimate sacrifice that day, I was grateful that these people were here, going about their job in a professional manner. At 2:55, we were allowed back inside.

So, the next time you see a person who protects the public from harm, give them a word of appreciation. Let them know how proud you are of them.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Where Credit Is Due

Like many of us I would guess, my becoming a 'blogger is the seemingly natural result of surfing the 'net. I found other 'blogs that interested me, became a regular reader, then started to make my presence felt in the comment boxes. And, as they say, the rest is history.

One 'blog I started visiting was Unam Sanctum. I posted a comment on an article the 'blogmaster had linked to his site, stating that it would make great fisking material if I had a 'blog. In the thread that followed, we conversed about my starting one. Now, I admit I had been thinking about doing that for about a month; but it was his encouragement that changed that thinking into doing.

So, my first HT (a white fedora) goes to Rick Lugari, the voice of both Unam Sanctum and Musum Pontificalis. He also has seemingly taken me under his wing as a mentor, helping so far with some technical issues (Haloscan and Site Meter), perhaps an idea for another post, and to spread the word about this newbie. I appreciate all he has done so far. And, yes, Rick, as soon as I figure out how to add your URLs to my list, I will. (UPDATE: Mission accomplished.)

Subject Matter

So, what will I cover?

Lots of people use a 'blog as an on-line journal. There will be a time and place for that, but I don't see this becoming a "Dear Diary" enterprise. I am a somewhat shy, quiet, reserved person in the real world and rather reluctant to talk about myself.

I can see me linking to other sites on a very frequent basis. My choices will definitely be a reflection of my tastes and preferences. For now, others are opining on things much better than I can. I might add a few words when the occasion warrants, but I want my words to be thoughtful and reflective.

I am not a big surfer of the 'net, so I don't think I will be finding what I would consider a lot of "odds and ends", the unique and/or unusual sights of the world. Might be something to explore.

Like I said before, "So many subjects, so little time!" Starting a 'blog will involve a lot of experimentation. And with all that is out there, this will be a lab.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The First Day

Ah, somebody has noticed. Two visitors, three comments. (UPDATE 9/13/05: I have just installed Haloscan for my comments. Those comments are gone now due to that.)

Actually, one of the visitors is the person who encouraged me to start a 'blog, after making comments at his place. I have much to learn about the technical aspects of this; he has graciously made some suggestions which I will use.

I am learning to be more computer literate. To me, "user friendly" is more of an oxymoron.

But, that is all for now. And so, to bed.

"In The Beginning..."


I have decided to add my voice to the cacophony of chatter known as the 'blogosphere. (Is there a relationship to the tower of Babel?)

It will be a small, quiet voice for now. So many subjects, so little time!

I need to carve a niche and develop a writing style. I have some ideas, though.

Welcome to my infinitesimal corner of the universe!