Saturday, August 02, 2008


Now that my mother-in-law has stuffed as much into her senior apartment as the place will hold and still leave a path to walk through it, the time had come to have the estate sale to get her former home ready for the market. That was where I spent the last couple of days from early morning to after the rush hour was over in the evening. It has certainly been interesting to watch the people who came through, and talk to some of them.

There was the little group camped out at the end of the driveway when we arrived at 8:15 for the advertised 9:00 a.m. opening. They followed us up the drive. Hubby promptly reminded them of the advertised time when the sale would begin. They were not happy, but reluctantly trudged back down the driveway.

There was a young thin tall black guy who stood with his toes touching the property line and his binoculars focused on the garage to see what we were doing. I felt like our privacy was being invaded, but of course the almighty dollar was in control. Mostly the little group were dealers looking for the collectible that would make them rich. One of them parked his behind on the bumper of my sister-in-law's car parked in the street. She was livid but didn't quite beat her brother down the drive to invite him to take it off.

There was the woman who added up her purchases as my husband was adding them up. They agreed on a total price. She bought and left. Half an hour later when the garage was crowded with shoppers she walked half way up the driveway and shouted at my husband that he had overcharged her by $5. He offered to return her money if she would return the purchases. No she didn't want to do that. What she wanted to do was embarrass him, so she continued to rant, telling him that he obviously needed the $5 more than she did, to which he responded that in that case would she give him $5 more? She trotted off in a huff.

There was the guy who argued with another shopper about who had the right to buy whatever it was they were arguing about. Once one of them conceded, the other one took his find to my husband and haggled with him over the price. When the man was finally gone after it had become very clear that the price was firm and he'd have to pay it, another shopper came up to my husband and said, "You can be glad it was him and not his wife. She's even worse."

There was the lady who arrived in a Lexus. Picture a tall blonde who looks like she might be six months pregnant. Picture her dressed in a skin-tight yellow blouse with a hole in it that stopped inches above her belly, and a flouncy skirt the top of which began several inches below the place where the blouse stopped and was barely long enough to cover the essentials . I guess she was attempting to look poor so she could get stuff cheap, however, she needs to reconsider the Lexus to make this act work.

There was the college kid shopping with his mother for things for his apartment. He bought the chairs to the kitchen set but didn't want the table cause it wouldn't fit into his kitchen. Then he spotted the picture of the Last Supper on the wall. He wanted that, and he bought it. He looked like a typical college boy, which had me wondering what he was planning to do with it.

There were the speakers of foreign languages who held conversations in front of us about God alone knew what. I'd be willing to bet this was the first time those walls had heard an oriental language or the German one either for that matter.

Then there was the Catholic lady. She could tell it was a Catholic house she was in because many of my M-I-L's religious pictures are still hanging on the walls. She looked to be about our age, and she had a little tale to tell about selling her mother's house. It seems this ex-priest and his wife and kids looked at it but told her he didn't have any money. She took pity on him and sold the house undervalue--apparently undervalue by quite a bit. Three months later the real estate agent called her. Had she seen what he had done with the house? He had added a large addition, an in-ground swimming pool, a boat and a camper in the driveway. I didn't ask her if she still went to church.

Mostly this estate sale was an exercise in futility. We sold stuff CHEAP, yet some people still haggled over price. When the difference between 50 cents and 25 cents is worth an argument I have to wonder what we have come to. When it was finally over and we added up the profits, they amounted to 7 or 8 hundred dollars which may seem like a lot until the time it took to make this sale happen was taken into account. For that money, my S-I-L and husband spent days in the house getting ready for it, and four of us spent two days holding it. They spent dollars that no one kept a record of on gasoline driving to and from the house several times--a drive which for us is an hour away. They spent about $60 on advertising. And they spent hours of emotional turmoil as they priced the stuff they grew up with which is still priceless in memory, such as their mother's potato salad dish that sold for 25 cents while they remembered the times it sat on the dinner table. There must be a better way to get rid of the material possessions collected over 90 years, but none of us could come up with one that would have met with the owner's approval.

As my S-I-L and I talked about it, we concluded that we are the first generation dealing with this excess of stuff in our parent's home, because they were the first generation with the ability to accumulate all of it who didn't raise enough kids to distribute it when the time came; and we wondered how we could save our own children from this last agony. Since this was the second round of property disposal for us this summer, it has been trying, indeed; and it has bred a lot of resentment that we all recognize is probably unfair to the oldsters who made this happen.


Charles Lewis's column takes a look at HV, the climate surrounding its promulgation, the commission's findings that the pope rejected, the current thinking among Catholics regarding its implementation. It's a quite interesting article that begins thus:

In the late 1960s, the sexual revolution was in full swing, free love was the order of the day and the widespread use of the birth control pill made experimentation all the easier.

For faithful Catholics, who had lived with an absolute ban on artificial birth control, oral contraception seemed to offer a loophole. Physician John Rock, co-inventor of the pill and an ardent Catholic with five children and 19 grandchildren, believed it got around the ban because it did not involve an interruption of the sexual act, which was what the Church always felt was wrong.

At the same time, the reform spirit of Vatican II was in the air and there was a sense that, perhaps, the ban could be toppled. In 1967, a papal commission of bishops, cardinals and lay people advised Pope Paul VI to change the age-old rule.

The Pope would have none of it.

Read it here

Some interesting points brought out in the article:

1. It was the opposite of the general thinking of the Catholic population at the time it was issued.

2. It was not received at the time as accurate teaching on the nature of marriage, and it has been unable to convince Catholics up to the present time, as the statistics on compliance indicate.

3. It undermined the Church's credibility.

4. It points out that "even the rhythm method, a 'natural' attempt at birth control, was frowned upon" at the time the encyclical was issued. Yet birth control has come to be accepted using the 'natural' method--a 180 degree reversal which has now become the litmus test of being traditionally Catholic.

If the Church can change its opinion about "natural" birth control, there is no reason to think it can't change its opinion about other barrier methods. I pity the couples who have violated their own consciences in an effort to be faithful Catholics when those barrier methods are finally accepted within a committed Catholic married life.

The Church is currently in a no-win situation. If there is a reversal of the teaching on barrier methods, traditional Catholics who have struggled with rhythm and NFP are going to feel betrayed. If there is no reversal and the Church attempts to force compliance with HV, particularly after the sexual scandal we have endured, a lot of sensible moral couples are going to simply walk out.

It's going to be very interesting to watch the spin on the rising demand that HV be reassessed.

The elephant in the livingroom may be poised to trample down the house.


Homosexuality is a disordered behaviour that must be condemned, a Vatican official said yesterday.

Walter Cardinal Kasper made the remarks during an address at the Lambeth conference, the once-a-decade gathering of the world's Anglican bishops in Canterbury.

Kasper, who is president of the pontifical council for promoting christian unity, reminded delegates of the catechism of the Roman Catholic church on homosexuality: "This teaching is founded in the Old and New Testament and the fidelity to scripture and to Apostolic tradition is absolute."

Quoting from a key document on Anglican and Catholic relations he said: "Homosexuality is a disordered behaviour. The activity must be condemned; the traditional approach to homosexuality is comprehensive ... A clear declaration about this theme must come from the Anglican Communion."

Read the rest of it...

Two old maxims come to mind...

1. Pot calling the kettle black.

2. Closing the barn door after the cows are gone.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


For the next two days I have commitments that will take up the entire day, and so no blogging. I plan to be back here on Saturday.


The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to debate two bills that could give the federal government unprecedented control over the way parents raise their children – even providing funds for state workers to come into homes and screen babies for emotional and developmental problems.

The Pre-K Act (HR 3289) and the Education Begins at Home Act (HR 2343) are two bills geared toward military and families who fall below state poverty lines. The measures are said to be a way to prevent child abuse, close the achievement gap in education between poor and minority infants versus middle-class children and evaluate babies younger than 5 for medical conditions.

'Education Begins at Home Act' – HR 2343

HR 2343 is sponsored by Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., and cosponsored by 55 Democrats and 11 Republicans. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that implementing the Education Begins at Home Act would cost taxpayers $190 million for state home visiting plus "such sums as may be necessary" for in-hospital parent education.

While the bill may appear to be well-intentioned, Pediatrician Karen Effrem told WND government provisions in HR 2343 to evaluate children for developmental problems go too far.

Read more


LifeSite reports:

OTTAWA, July 29, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - During the tumultuous years of the 1960's Pope Paul VI published a controversial encyclical, Humanae Vitae, which addressed the issue of birth control in light of the arrival of the birth control pill.

Today LifeSiteNews.com is publishing a recently unearthed letter which was sent to Bishops with a pre-release copy of the encyclical. The letter, dated July 19, 1968, is signed by the late Amleto Giovanni Cardinal Cicognani, who was then-Secretary of the Vatican Secretariat of State.

The outright defiance of many priests and even bishops to Pope Paul VI's encyclical - which restated and reinforced the Church's long-time opposition to artificial birth control - is even graver in light of the carefully worded letter the bishops received specifically pointing to the urgent need for unity on the matter.

The letter begins: "When directing me to transmit to Your Excellency the enclosed document, publication of which is imminent, His Holiness strongly recommended that I draw your attention to its importance, and to the necessity of a concerted effort on the part of the entire Catholic Episcopate."

In the letter the Pope can be seen to plead for the world's bishops to stand with him on the matter, which is described as "one of the most delicate questions of Catholic morals."

There's more at the website.

We can easily note that the Pope stood relatively along among bishops in his prohibition against artificial birth control.


As a young girl growing up in Milwaukee, Janice Sevre-Duszynska often fantasized about becoming a priest while helping clean the sanctuary of the church her family attended.

“I’d sit in the priest’s chair, go to the pulpit, make believe I was preaching and giving communion,” she said. “I thought, ‘Why couldn’t I be up here?’”

Now, 50 years later, she will get her wish, but it could come with a price — excommunication from the Roman Catholic church. On Aug. 9, in defiance of the church’s 2,000-year ban on women in the priesthood, she will be ordained by Roman Catholic Womenpriests, an activist group that has protested the ban since 2002.

Read the rest...


LITERALLY “stopping traffic” on Sydney Harbour Bridge on July 19, among 200,000 on pilgrimage to the World Youth Day Papal Mass, Brisbane’s Joe Frassetto “dropped on bended knee” proposing to partner Samantha Ovett.

Continue reading...


Many Catholics who read Catholic news daily have concluded that there has been much talk about change in seminaries, while the change being discussed has not been activated. Matt Abbott's column today, actually written by Tom Roeser, gives some evidence for the skepticism:

'The Rockford, Illinois diocese will not send seminarians to St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein for training. Two upperclassmen propositioned a Rockford youth for homosexual favors. So much for the change that has been promised in archdiocesan public relations pronouncements.

'Thus the Rockford diocese has decided it is finished with Mundelein. Thus you have the archdiocese of Chicago where layman Chancellor Jimmy Lago (believe it or not that's his baptismal name, not to be confused with his brother Timmy, his baptismal name as well)...Jimmy the best precinct captain onetime Democratic Cook county chairman now under indictment Ed Vrdolyak ever had... has been put in charge of combating sexual abuse and the same-old, same-old is happening....

'The man who ran St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein when it was a hot-house of homosexual excess...and who was quoted in the 'Sun-Times' as saying he does not regret ordaining Fr. Dan McCormack, who is now serving time for child abuse...is second in command of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He is Gerald Kicanas, now bishop of Tucson, having been promoted from Mundelein (as were all others who ran the dissolute institution) to auxiliary bishop of Chicago and then to Tucson. In Tucson, Kicanas led Tucson through the filing of Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization to the point where he ponied up $22 million in settlement for victims of priest child abuse.

Read the whole column...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I confess to having been an X-Files junkie. What fascinated me most was an early recognition that what Scully and Muldler were searching for was God, only they didn't seem to know it.

There is a new X-Files movie in the works, and Chris Carter admits that faith is the heart of the stories.

A day of interviews with David, Gillian and co-writer, director and “X-Files” creator Chris Carter at Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica, California naturally involved discussions about believing. The movie’s themes come from Chris’ spiritual search.

“I’m very interested in faith and religion,” Chris said. “This movie reflects something that I’ve gone through in the last five years. It’s something that I continue to go through. I’ll call it the struggle for faith. ‘I Want to Believe’ represents that struggle. Everyone who’s truly honest about his faith doesn’t just accept things without question. They work through it.”

The silver-haired filmmaker added, “Instead of ‘I believe,’ it’s ‘I want to believe.’ I am working to believe. I want that religious experience, as the quote suggests.”

Since we interviewed David first, he got to tell the incident that inspired Chris to include a crucial line—“Don’t give up”—in the script of this second big screen treatment of the phenomenally popular but now-defunct TV series. David narrated, “Chris went to a lecture by Huston Smith, an expert on world religions. According to Chris, Huston gave a long, inspiring talk. Then Huston opened the floor to questions and somebody raised his hand and asked, ‘What is the motto that you live by?’

“Chris said that he shrunk in his seat thinking, ‘Here is this brilliant guy and you’re asking him for a T-shirt slogan?’ Huston answered with, ‘Don’t give up.’ Chris went, maybe I was wrong to not like the question because Huston’s answer resonated with me.”

David shared his take on these three words that are significant, especially in the movie’s exploration of faith. “It’s about continuing to try and in many ways that also became our catchphrase for making this movie,” the actor explained.

The story line, disclosed in the article, revolves around a priest who has committed sexual abuse and yet still finds that God loves him.

"Don't give up."

That's a phrase I'm going to come back to because there are too many times when I want to give up on Catholicism and the questions it raises for me on a daily basis. Why believe in a faith whose leaders are so fallen? But no sooner has the question been asked than it's opposite--How do you stop being Catholic?--comes calling. I think the faith is in my genes, while Catholicism's failures are talking loudly in my head.

There are days when the head is in charge, when the sordidness of story after story of sexual abuse and dissidence tells me I need to walk away and my own dissidence makes the faith look like dust. The reason I don't is that if I abandon faith, there is no longer any reason to keep on breathing. I can't just import someone else's value system wholecloth. The genes rebel. And so I trudge on, trying to make sense of what makes no sense and believing that if I could just find the elusive key the war between thoughts and genes would cease. But perhaps it never does, and the only key to hanging on is to never give up.


CANDIA, NH, July 28 /Christian Newswire/ -- In an open letter to Boston area Catholics sent to Archbishop Sean Cardinal O'Malley, Rev. David Runnion-Bareford, Executive Director of the Confessing Movement in the United Church of Christ, apologized for the "division and confusion" caused by former Massachusetts UCC President Rev. Nancy Taylor and the UCC related Church of the Covenant who recently welcomed and hosted a schismatic "ordination" by the group "Womenpriests."

Rev. Runnion-Bareford wrote, "Please accept our deepest and sincere apology for the behavior of Rev. Nancy Taylor of Old South Church, UCC and the UCC related Church of the Covenant. ...

"We are also fully aware that this event was not motivated by a sincere desire to honor the call of God and the anointing of the Holy Spirit on the ministry of committed Christian women. We know that 'Womenpriests' openly include candidates who are engaged in the practice of sexual license.

Read the rest

Monday, July 28, 2008


From the St. Louis Catholic blog:

File it under misery loves company. The Post-Dispatch today chronicles the connection in the local impounded car mini-scandal between ChiefJoeMokwa (tm) and the "unyielding spirit" that is William Bialczak, the erstwhile leader of the St. Stanislaus Board.

Read the details at the website.


Northern Ireland Protestants who are anti-gay are hypocrites because King William of Orange had male lovers, a leading gay rights activist has claimed.

Speaking in Belfast, Peter Tatchell claimed that Democratic Unionist politicians such as Iris Robinson are victimising gay people in the province.

His claims about King William are particularly insulting to Protestants, who revere him as the saviour of Protestantism in Ireland.

His defeat of King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 is commemorated by Northern Ireland Protestants with parades on the 12th July.

The Orange Order, an exclusively Protestant organisation that organises The Twelfth celebrations, takes its name from William's Dutch kingdom.

Married to James' Protestant daughter Mary, in 1688 William was "invited to invade" England and take the throne. The Roman Catholic James fled to Ireland but was finally defeated and was exiled in France for the rest of his life.

William and Mary's joint reign secured the Protestant succession.

Historians disagree about William's sexual orientation.

Throughout the 1690s many satirical publications mocked William's lack of mistresses and his closeness to Dutch male courtiers whom he granted English titles.

Continue reading...


Green gone bonkers...

PRIMARY schoolchildren are being encouraged to “spy” on their parents in a manner reminiscent of fascist times, it was claimed this week.

Historian Tim Newark, who lives in Highbury, spoke out after learning of a scheme launched last week at Thornhill Primary School in Barnsbury, encouraging children to turn “climate cop” at home.

Pupils are to look out for taps left running, full kettles boiled for just one cup of tea, and lights left on in empty rooms.

Mr Newark, who has challenged Islington Council’s environment policy in the past, said: “I have a child at school and I get annoyed with the level of propaganda that’s pushed out about climate change.

“Our children, who are so vulnerable, should have a much more balanced view about climate change and the idea that they are going to use this scheme to inform on their parents is really like something out of 1984.”

He added: “These extremists have been dressed up in acceptable clothing. It’s a dreadful throwback to fascist times. Schools should be more balanced.
“It’s a dreadful initiative, which should be brought to a halt.”

Read more

All I could think of when reading the article was the children who tattled on their believing parents in the Soviet Union. Looks like England is about to repeat historical errors.


London, Jul 27, 2008 / 05:57 pm (CNA).- The largest Catholic adoption agency in England and Wales has decided to implement an adoption policy that does not rule out same-sex couples in the face of new laws that forbid such screening. The change in its adoption policy was made with the full support of the bishops who oversee the agency.

The decision, made by the Catholic Children’s Society of Arundel and Brighton, Portsmouth and Southwark (A&BSP) means the society will not turn away any homosexual couples who present themselves as potential adopters.

Terry Connor, chief executive of the society, explained to The Universe that any changes would not start until January and were a direct result of the recent Sexual Orientation Regulations which enforced “rights” for same sex couples who wish to adopt.

Read more.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Spirit & Life®
"The words I spoke to you are spirit and life." (Jn 6:63)

Human Life International e-Newsletter
Volume 03, Number 29 | Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Prayer and Fasting to Repair the Damage of Dissent

By Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, President

Too numerous are those voices - amplified by the modern means of propaganda - which are contrary to the voice of the Church. To tell the truth, the Church is not surprised to be made, like her divine Founder, a "sign of contradiction," yet she does not, because of this, cease to proclaim with humble firmness the entire moral law, both natural and evangelical. Of such laws the Church was not the author, nor consequently can she be their arbiter; she is only their depositary and their interpreter, without ever being able to declare to be licit that which is not so by reason of its intimate and unchangeable opposition to the true good of man. (Humanae vitae, 18)

Humanae vitae, the papal encyclical "on the transmission of life," stands as a solid bulwark against the constant degradation of marriage and family in our modern age. Like Jesus, this teaching is indeed a "sign of contradiction" and even a reproach to those who wish to give human selfishness unbridled permission to wreak havoc on these divine institutions. The dissenters infiltrating our own Church say that this encyclical is "indicative of church hierarchical dysfunction" (National Catholic Reporter) or that millions are "dying as a result of the ban [on contraception]" ("Catholics" for a Free Choice), but in the face of all that dissent, we must say, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." And for those who do, in fact, "know what they do," we offer prayer and fasting for their sins.

On Friday of this week, on the actual anniversary of the encyclical, HLI is calling for the many millions of faithful Catholics to offer some sacrifice and prayer for those who have given scandal about this most important teaching. There are public dissenters like the myriad false-Catholic politicians and other public figures like Sean Hannity who have profoundly distorted the perception of the Church's wisdom in the minds of millions of believers and non-believers alike. Academics teaching at some of this nation's so-called Catholic universities bear a deep-seated guilt for their leading astray the impressionable young people whose adult lives have become stamped with the seal of dissent. These are the very ones who were supposed to teach them the truth. Perhaps worst of all are those clergy who for many years have used the sacred space of the confessional to deceive the struggling consciences of the laity or who have maintained an irreverent silence about these issues from the pulpit while the wolves ravage their flocks before their eyes.

Indeed, the sins of the dissenters have affected us all because they have failed to rebuke the winds of error and the storms of immorality that have blown over our society since the sexual revolution of the sixties. The devastation has been enormous. "Father forgive them," is our prayer as we look to a future where Humanae vitae will be vindicated in all its wisdom.

This Friday is the 40th anniversary of this marvelous encyclical, and it deserves a special remembrance in our hearts and lives. Please join with us, spiritually, this Friday or the following week, in offering some prayer or tangible sacrifice in reparation for the many sins of the dissenters always keeping in mind that dissent never has the last word. The Truth always wins in the end!

One final challenge: In our task of forming the "generation of assent" to Humanae vitae, the greatest thing we do on the encyclical's anniversary is to actually read it! (Or read it again, as the case may be.) You will be amazed at its brevity, simplicity and beauty - it is a gift that keeps on giving, just like all the things of God. We have provided a printable version for you or you can read it on-line as you wish. Let us know what you think and your comments may make it into a future HLI publication - as a witness to the new generation of assent. Blessings to all!

Humanae vitae online
Humanae vitae in.pdf

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International

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