12 April 2014

An atheist and I go toe to toe. . .

Here's the link to the vid of my discussion with the prez of the New Orleans Secular Humanist Society.  

I watched it, and I can say that I was MUCH too polite and accommodating.  

The best part of the discussion happened after the taping ended.  Too bad.


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Coffee Cup Browsing

More proof that "hate speech laws" are really just anti-Christian laws enforced by the Left against the Church.

Speaking of "hate speech," here's some from a certified genocidal eco-fascist: "I’d like nothing better than if thousands of middle-class white people died in an extreme weather event—preferably one with global warming’s fingerprints on it."

(Love this line: "Joe Q. Flyover doesn’t understand science. He wants evidence." So, according to this genocidal eco-fascist, science is something other than evidence.)

Another Catholic high school is terrorized by the truth of the faith. Note the effective use of the Heckler's Veto in controlling the narrative.  

Fr. Robert Barron on the breakdown of the moral argument in the same-sex "marriage" debate

Here's the Pope being all Catholic and stuff.  Remember when we had to remind folks every other day that the Pope was still Catholic? Good times. 

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11 April 2014

Coffee Cup Browsing

Best definition of "climate change" ever? Oh yes! ". . .a cocktail of ideas which includes anti-industrial nature worship, post-colonial guilt, a post-Enlightenment belief in scientists as a new priesthood of the truth, a hatred of population growth, a revulsion against the widespread increase in wealth and a belief in world government." 

There is a certain liberation in losing these political battles

Yeah, the bishop's statement could've been a lot stronger and much clearer

Strange Notions: great site for Atheist/Catholic discussion. Most Internet Atheists reject the existence of a god Catholics themselves do not believe in.

20 Arguments for God's existence. . .generally, I don't think arguments for God's existence are good evangelizing tools for the vast majority of folks. Reason will defend the faith, but it is rarely useful in bringing people to the faith.

Right on cue! MSM dredges up "evidence" against Church tradition just in time for Easter. They have Must Find Something Scandalous to Report written on their calendars the week before Palm Sunday.  

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08 April 2014

Knee Doc Fail

I missed my knee doc appointment this morning.

Made three mistakes:

1). Made the appt for 8.00am at a clinic near a university.

2). The university is in the trendy part of town.

3). The town is New Orleans. 

All this means that when I got somewhere near the clinic,* I encountered:

1). Tiny, 19th c. streets with cars parked on both sides of the street.

2). Half of those streets are one-way.

3). More than half have no signs indicating the name of the street. 

4). Two way streets randomly turn into one way streets.

5). When a street does have a name, that name will randomly change.

6). The sanitation dept picks up garbage on these tiny unnamed one-way streets during rush hour. 

7). New Orleans drivers love to block oncoming traffic in order to turn left across the blvd. median (i.e., "neutral ground"). 

8). Every student at this university MUST drive to class and find a parking space within 3ft. of the front door. 

Lesson learned:

NEVER make an appt in any part of town south of I-90.

* I never found the clinic. I never found the street that it's on. . .allegedly.

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07 April 2014

Am I committing adultery?

5th Week of Lent (M)
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
Notre Dame Seminary, NOLA

So, to continue these morning's lecture in homiletics. . .it's always good homiletical practice when preparing a homily to ask: why does this reading appear on this day in the lectionary cycle? It might be where it is just by accident, but that's no reason not to think about why it might be where it is. Why is the story of the woman caught in adultery assigned to Monday of the 5th Week of Lent Year A? Well, it's Lent, so we have an occasion to reflect on the nature of sin. Palm Sunday is coming up, and we are given a chance to ponder on the mercy Christ shows the woman, a function of his Lordship. Easter is just two weeks away, and we're given a chance to chew over whether or not we're exercising our own kingship in Christ by showing mercy to those who have sin against us. All good reasons. But focus for a moment on the sin involved in this story: adultery. Here it's obvious that we're talking about marital infidelity of a sexual nature. However, Scripture calls out another sort of adultery, one we usually name “idolatry,” that is, the infidelity we live when we worship smaller gods. This last week of Lent is a chance for each one of us to stare w/o blinking into our marital relationship with Christ and ask: am I committing adultery?

Skip over all the questions about who's the bride and who's the groom and focus on the fidelity required to live out a fruitful marital bond. If marriage is the sacramental sign of Christ's love for his bride, the Church, then we know that fidelity to Christ and his mission must come first. Whether we identify more closely with Christ the Bridegroom, or with the Church, his Bride, we are still bound by a love that radically alters every other relationship we might find ourselves in. What every faithful married couple knows is that being married is all about living the world of other-relationships in terms of the marriage bond. Husband or wife come first. Before friends, family, neighbors. Always first. To do anything less creeps toward adultery. Maybe not actual sexual infidelity, but something potentially worse: spiritual infidelity. Christ loves the Church, and the Church loves Christ. All other loves are ordered to this spiritual architecture. If another love intervenes, if another love takes precedence, then the sacramental witness of the marriage is threatened by idolatry, the love of smaller gods. The threat to the individual who is wedded to Christ is hardly less serious.

Spend this last week of Lent asking yourself: as I committing adultery? That is, am I loving something or someone before I love Christ? To put it another way: am I loving Christ in terms of another love, a smaller love? What might this look like? We have all the traditional suspects: pride, lust, wrath, envy, etc. We also our more modernist sins: racism, careerism, celebrity. And on top of these we have the postmodernist sins: techno-addiction, combox vigilantism, Facebook exhibitionism-voyeurism, and cyber-rumor mongering. We could throw in a couple of hundred more, but they all lead down the same dank and dreary path: spiritual adultery. If you find that you are indeed committing adultery, think back to the woman Jesus rescues from the righteous mob. There should be no one around to throw the first stone b/c not one of us is w/o sin. It should be just you and Christ in the sacrament and him saying to you, “Go and sin no more.” As many times as it takes to take hold, “Go and sin no more.” When our fidelity to him fails, his fidelity to us only strengthens. And he is strong enough to get us to Easter. Not just this coming Easter. But all the way to Easter on the last day.

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Coffee Cup Browsing

How the West lost God. Two words: artificial contraception. Destroy the family, destroy the faith. Lenin would be proud. 

Put an end to traffic/red light cameras! Yes, yes, and more yes. 

Fascism and the Liberal Gulag: a convocation of clowns, dangerous clowns.

Here's how you can respond to Mozilla's UnGood Thought thuggery.

Passive-aggressive bullying. . .a plague in the Church too. Best response to this kind of bullying: "I hear that you are offended, but have you been harmed?"

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06 April 2014

"Yes, Lord, I have come to believe. . ."

5th Sunday of Lent (A)

Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP

Our Lady of the Rosary, NOLA

Jesus is perturbed. Very upset. The Greek word here – embrimaomai – means something like “angry within himself.” John uses this word twice in the reading. Once when Mary falls at his feet weeping. And again after the Jews wonder aloud why he couldn't save Lazarus' life – he healed the blind man after all! Why is Jesus angry? What's more, why start a homily on the last Sunday of Lent by pointing out Jesus' anger? The Sunday readings of Lent build to this Sunday. Jesus is tempted in the desert for 40 days. He is transfigured on Mt. Tabor. He meets the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well. Then he heals the Man Born Blind. With our readings this morning, we see a theme: Jesus' humanity – his consistent, undeniable humanity. And the interaction between his humanity and the physical world he inhabits. As we rapidly approach the solemn celebration of his resurrection from the dead, the gospel writers want to point us back again and again to Christ's human nature, back to his body and bones and blood. Lest we forget that Christ's resurrection was a physical, historical event, we are reminded – by his anger – that is he one of us, like us in all ways but sin. And like him, we too will be resurrected.

As strange as it is to think of Jesus as an angry man, it is even stranger to think that he allowed Lazarus to die in order to raise him to live again. But it appears that this is exactly what happened. John reports that Jesus waits for two days after hearing about Lazarus' deadly illness before he leaves for Bethany. Two day delay plus two days of travel and our Lord arrives four days after his friend has died. When Jesus arrives, Martha says to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Her words may sound accusatory, so she quickly adds, “But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Imagine Martha's emotional state. Mourning her brother's death. Upset with Jesus for not arriving sooner. Relieved that he is there. And trusting that he will be able to do something miraculous. Riding this roller-coaster of pain and barely suppressed joy, Martha believes. And Jesus chooses this moment to reveal a mystery. To the grieving sister he says, “Your brother will rise.” This is why our Lord waited to attend Lazarus: to uncover the mystery of faith, to reveal an eternal effect of believing that he is the Christ – new life out of death.

Jesus even spells it out: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” Then he turns to Martha and asks the fundamental question of faith, “Do you believe this?” Martha's answer is exemplary. Is ours? I mean, do you believe that Jesus Christ is the resurrection and life? Do you believe in him? Do you believe that by believing in him you will rise again to new life? And let's not piddle with spiritualized metaphors or psychological interpretations here. Jesus means exactly what he says. Do you believe that you – body and soul – will be given an eternal life after you physically die? The whole point of waiting for Lazarus' death is to reveal the mystery of life after death. The whole point of showing Jesus at the tomb with a four-day old corpse is to reveal the mystery of life after death. Martha warns Jesus when he orders the tomb opened, “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.” Spiritualized or psychologized metaphors do not emit a stench, much less a stench that deserves a warning! We're talking about a corpse. A dead human body. No embalming. No refrigeration. Martha's warning about the smell is not just a courtesy to Jesus. She deadly serious. 

And so is Jesus when he answers her warning, “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” He did tell her that. Martha believes. So, she sees the glory of God. Lazarus walks out of the tomb when Jesus calls his name. Lazarus risen from a four-day old death is the glory of God that Jesus promises. That's the same promise he makes to us: believe and be raised. And not just on the last day either. But raised again and again from the little deaths that sin inflicts on us daily. Yes, there will be one, final resurrection – some into eternal life and some into an eternal death – but there is also an ongoing, daily resurrection that we experience along the way to perfection. As our joy is being completed along the Way, we experience everything that Martha and Mary experience after Lazarus' dies – joy, anger, disappointment, wonder, grief. And with Christ among us we experience each one of these passions as a whole human person, a complete creation made complete by Christ's miraculous resurrection from his tomb. But our perfection in him must wait until the last day and our job 'til then is to do as Martha does – to believe that Christ, the Son of God, “the one who is coming into the world.” 

And to not only believe that Christ is the Son of God, “the one who is coming into the world,” but to live every imperfect day in the full knowledge that everything we say and do shouts to the world around us what it is we believe and who it is we believe in. Keep in mind, no one has to be a Christian or even a theist to be a good person. No one has to be a Christian or even a theist to do good works. No one has to be a Christian or even a theist to work for justice and peace. Every good thing a Christian or theist can say, do, or think can be done by a non-believer. However, only a follower of Christ can give him praise and call him Lord. Only a follower of Christ can claim an eternal inheritance, one bequeath to us as God's adopted children. Only a follower of Christ can say with Martha, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” If we cannot or will not make this simple proclamation, then we cannot claim to believe that the Christ is Lord, that he is risen, or that we will be raised with him on the last day. In other words, our claim to be followers of Christ is a lie. And we are living an even bigger lie.

Our Sunday readings in the season of Lent draw us toward Lazarus' emergence from his tomb in order to prepare us for Christ's resurrection on Easter morning. Each Sunday reading pounds on the theme of Christ's humanity so that the glory of his miraculous resurrection doesn't outshine the truth that he is one of us in all but sin. He cries. He bleeds. He feels and expresses anger. He mourns and believes. And he loves. Just like we do. And if we place our trust in him, believing in his Lordship and acting on that belief in our lives, we will rise as he rose. With just one week of Lent left before we begin the Easter season, let this be the question you ask yourself all day everyday: do I believe? Do I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, risen – body and soul – from the dead on the third day? If you say yes to this question, our Lord will say, “Untie him, untie her and let them go.”


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Just a little modesty, please!

This is going to get me into trouble. But it must be said.

Catholic Women, this. . .

. . .is not appropriate attire for attending Mass!

Yes, I've seen these (and worse) at Mass on more than one occasion. I've seen pregnant women wearing shorts and flimsy blouses that just barely covered their belly-buttons.

The worst examples of this casualness at Mass occur at the so-called Youth Mass where teenaged girls seem to compete with each other over how short they can go.

I'm not saying that you should be wearing prairie skirts or ball gowns, but wearing shorts to Mass is a step too far toward casual.

Same goes for men.

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We need better atheists. . .

 This is NOT Mr. Greenberger's attitude.

After my article attacking secularism was published in the Times-Pic on March 20th, I received an invitation from Mr. Harry Greenberger of the New Orleans Secular Humanist Society to appear on his public access TV program for a discussion. 

We taped that discussion yesterday morning. I'd watched a couple of Mr. Greenberger's vids on Youtube so I knew he wasn't going to be abusive or mocking. He's an atheist with a sense of humor. Very rare, indeed.

(The vid will be on-line a week or so, and I will link it.)

Within the first two minutes of the discussion it became clear to me that Mr. Greenberger is a capable advocate for secular humanism. However, because he knows next to nothing about theism, he is not a capable critic of Christianity. 

Like most contemporary atheists, he rejects theism based on a strawman argument; that is, he rejects a view of God that even most Christian middle-schoolers know is inadequate.

Rather than critique a strong version of Christian theism, he lumped God in with "all the gods" and staked his argument on the strength of "reason and evidence." When I replied that the Church also supports reason and evidence, he seemed genuinely confused. 

Towards the end of the discussion, I more or less gave up trying to argue philosophically and replied point for point to his historical errors. E.g., Hitler claimed to be a Christian, therefore, WWII was a Christian war, etc. 

After the cameras stopped rolling I noted to him that he was consistently conflating "reason" with "empiricism," leaving him open to a basic challenge, which I then made: if you only accept as true that which can be empirically proven, then you will concede that there is no such thing as the human mind. He said that he did believe in the existence of the human mind. I said, "Show me your mind." He couldn't answer that. I noted, "So, you do believe in the existence of something which cannot be empirically proven to exist. You believe in the effects of an unseen/untouched cause." 

The whole event was a very good experience for me. Mr. Greenberger invited me to attend the next meeting of the NOSHS, and I agreed!

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Coffee Cup Browsing

True for the academy, the corporation, the religious order, etc: ". . .progressives are for diversity in everything but thought. . ." Because real diversity of thought would expose them to reality and -- as we all know -- reality trumps illusion.

True for the academy, the corporation, the religious order, etc: ". . .there is a gay mafia. I think if you cross them, you do get whacked." 

WaPo finally notices something fishy about the IRS. . .a year later. That is, a year and more after the 2012 election. 

Some intriguing quotes from V.I. Lenin. I bet the Brownshirts at Mozilla would applaud most of these.

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