Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Jesus Tomb

I'm never surprised that the latest effort to debunk traditional and historical Christianity comes during Lent. It's almost as if the devil is that stupid (or that smart) that he fills the airways with the most childish, non-sensical anti-Christian propaganda during our forty days of fasting, almsgiving, and prayer.

Last year it was The Da Vinci Code and the Gnostic Gospel of Judas. This year it is the Jesus tomb. James Cameron, director of Alien 2 and Titanic, has made a 'documentary' about the discovery of the real tomb of Jesus Christ. This tomb contains a sarcophagus inscribed with the names Mary, Jesus, Joseph and Judas. It also apparently says that Mary and Jesus were married, and Judas was their son. Within the sarcophagus are the remains of the man and woman.

Now our first instinct is probably to ask: So what makes this tomb so special? Well, it was found in Jerusalem and might date from the time of Christ. So 2+2=1283, and therefore this is tomb of Christ, and therefore Christ didn't resurrect Himself, and therefore he was married to Mary Magdelene, and therefore he had a son, and therefore Christianity is wrong canweallgobacktocommunismplease.

Cameron and those involved seemed to have conveniently missed a few important issues which complicate, if not directly invalidate, their account . First, there is the question of why a Galilean is buried in Jerusalem. Second, there is the question of why a woman would have been buried with Him, since after the Crucifixion, Christ's followers went into hiding and were persecuted for the next several decades. Third, there is the question of names. Mary, Jesus, Joseph, and Judas were at the time the most popular names in Israel amongst the Jews.

Scholars and journalists are already rounding, and Cameron et al. are circling their wagons. Cameron will no doubt contain to claim that this is just his take, albeit his take that he is aggressively selling through the MSM as fact. In the end, the movie will excite the exciteable, while the rest of us finish up our Lent and get down to celebrating the Glorious Resurrection.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Carrying Christ With You

I attended midday Mass today for the first time in ages. Partly because it's Lent and partly because my wife asked me to meet her there and partly because we have a new priest from Nigeria who is turning a lot of heads with his infectious proclaiming of the Gospel.

Midday Masses are usually rather tame. At my parish it is always the vernacular, or low, Mass, which means that most of the responses are spoken rather than sung. But today was much different. Our Nigerian priest, Fr. Clement Nwonkwo, is quite literally on fire for Christ. I wasn't prepared; for Fr. Clement, for Mass, or for Jesus.

Just to cut it short, Fr. Clement made a very simple yet poignant statement during his homily. He said that we must always remember that after the Eucharist is consumed, we carry within us the Resurrected Christ. Are we bringing Christ to other people? Can people discern that we have been to Mass? I have to admit that in 25 years of my life, I have never heard a better explanation for the Mass and its effect on us than that.

God Bless you, Fr. Clement.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

When You Have Two Left Eyes...

... it can be difficult to see clearly.

Todd Russell, Liberal MP of Labrador, has this to say: "I have no doubt in my mind that they would try to eradicate everything that has been good by the Liberal party and by great Liberals in this country from the history books if they could. Fortunately right now, they can't, but it just again speaks to the nature of this particular Conservative government."

Ralph Goodale, Liberal House leader contributes to the discussion: "
For somebody to think that you've got to put a shroud over it or build a wall to hide it to keep it out of view from American government officials, that is just pathetic and I think those American government officials will think it's pathetic too."

Maria Minna, another Liberal MP: "
Such action is a disgrace and an embarrassment. This attempt to hide the past just highlights the Conservative Party's abandonment of Canada's peacekeeping role."

So what's the problem? Did the Conservatives cancel funding to another Liberal PR project?

No. The Liberals are angry because a memorial to Lester B. Pearson was covered during a press conference in the Department of Foreign Affairs building. In their collective anger, the Liberals forgot that the memorial is covered during press conferences, even during the Chretien and Martin governments, because it is expensive to move.

Friday, February 23, 2007

"Radical Christian students hurl their bodies at innocent Muslim's cab"

I stole the headline right of off The People's Cube. You can't improve upon perfection.

Here's the rundown: Two students found themselves in a fierce religious argument with their taxi driver. No big deal, right? No, big deal. The taxi driver happened to be a Muslim and the student-fare-payers Christian.

Read the rest here.

The Pope's Lenten Message

And only a few days late!

Dear Brothers and Sisters!
"They shall look on him whom they have pierced" (Jn 19: 37). This is the biblical theme that this year guides our Lenten reflection. Lent is a favourable time to learn to stay with Mary and John, the beloved disciple, close to him who on the Cross, consummated for all mankind the sacrifice of his life (cf. Jn 19: 25). With a more fervent participation let us direct our gaze, therefore, in this time of penance and prayer, at Christ Crucified who, dying on Calvary, revealed fully for us the love of God. In the Encyclical Deus caritas est, I dwelt upon this theme of love, highlighting its two fundamental forms: agape and eros.

God's love: agape and eros

The term agape, which appears many times in the New Testament, indicates the self-giving love of one who looks exclusively for the good of the other. The word eros, on the other hand, denotes the love of one who desires to possess what he or she lacks and yearns for union with the beloved. The love with which God surrounds us is undoubtedly agape. Indeed, can man give to God some good that he does not already possess? All that the human creature is and has is divine gift. It is the creature, then, who is in need of God in everything. But God's love is also eros. In the Old Testament, the Creator of the universe manifests toward the people whom he has chosen as his own a predilection that transcends every human motivation. The prophet Hosea expresses this divine passion with daring images such as the love of a man for an adulterous woman (cf. 3: 1-3). For his part, Ezekiel, speaking of God's relationship with the people of Israel, is not afraid to use strong and passionate language (cf. 16: 1-22). These biblical texts indicate that eros is part of God's very Heart: the Almighty awaits the "yes" of his creatures as a young bridegroom that of his bride. Unfortunately, from its very origins, mankind, seduced by the lies of the Evil One, rejected God's love in the illusion of a self-sufficiency that is impossible (cf. Gn 3: 1-7). Turning in on himself, Adam withdrew from that source of life who is God himself, and became the first of "those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage" (Heb 2: 15). God, however, did not give up. On the contrary, man's "no" was the decisive impulse that moved him to manifest his love in all of its redeeming strength.

The Cross reveals the fullness of God's love

It is in the mystery of the Cross that the overwhelming power of the Heavenly Father's mercy is revealed in all of its fullness. In order to win back the love of his creature, he accepted to pay a very high price: the Blood of his Only Begotten Son. Death, which for the first Adam was an extreme sign of loneliness and powerlessness, was thus transformed in the supreme act of love and freedom of the new Adam. One could very well assert, therefore, together with St Maximus the Confessor, that Christ "died, if one could say so, divinely, because he died freely" (Ambigua, 91, 1956). On the Cross, God's eros for us is made manifest. Eros is indeed, as Pseudo-Dionysius expresses it, that force which "does not allow the lover to remain in himself but moves him to become one with the beloved" (De Divinis Nominibus, IV, 13: PG 3, 712). Is there more "mad eros" (N. Cabasilas, Vita in Cristo, 648) than that which led the Son of God to make himself one with us even to the point of suffering as his own the consequences of our offences?

"Him whom they have pierced"

Dear brothers and sisters, let us look at Christ pierced on the Cross! He is the unsurpassing revelation of God's love, a love in which eros and agape, far from being opposed, enlighten each other. On the Cross, it is God himself who begs the love of his creature: He is thirsty for the love of every one of us. The Apostle Thomas recognized Jesus as "Lord and God" when he put his hand into the wound of his side. Not surprisingly, many of the saints found in the Heart of Jesus the deepest expression of this mystery of love. One could rightly say that the revelation of God's eros toward man is, in reality, the supreme expression of his agape. In all truth, only the love that unites the free gift of oneself with the impassioned desire for reciprocity instils a joy which eases the heaviest of burdens. Jesus said: "When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself" (Jn 12: 32). The response the Lord ardently desires of us is above all that we welcome his love and allow ourselves to be drawn to him. Accepting his love, however, is not enough. We need to respond to such love and devote ourselves to communicating it to others. Christ "draws me to himself" in order to unite himself to me, so that I learn to love the brothers with his own love.

Blood and water

"They shall look on him whom they have pierced". Let us look with trust at the pierced side of Jesus from which flow "blood and water" (Jn 19: 34)! The Fathers of the Church considered these elements as symbols of the Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist. Through the water of Baptism, thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit, we are given access to the intimacy of Trinitarian love. In the Lenten journey, memorial of our Baptism, we are exhorted to come out of ourselves in order to open ourselves in trustful abandonment to the merciful embrace of the Father (cf. St John Chrysostom, Catecheses, 3, 14ff.). Blood, symbol of the love of the Good Shepherd, flows into us especially in the Eucharistic mystery: "The Eucharist draws us into Jesus' act of self-oblation... we enter into the very dynamic of his self-giving" (Encyclical Deus caritas est, n. 13). Let us live Lent, then, as a "Eucharistic" time in which, welcoming the love of Jesus, we learn to spread it around us with every word and deed. Contemplating "him whom they have pierced" moves us in this way to open our hearts to others, recognizing the wounds inflicted upon the dignity of the human person; it moves us in particular to fight every form of contempt for life and human exploitation and to alleviate the tragedies of loneliness and abandonment of so many people. May Lent be for every Christian a renewed experience of God's love given to us in Christ, a love that each day we, in turn, must "re-give" to our neighbour, especially to the one who suffers most and is in need. Only in this way will we be able to participate fully in the joy of Easter. May Mary, Mother of Beautiful Love, guide us in this Lenten journey, a journey of authentic conversion to the love of Christ. I wish you, dear brothers and sisters, a fruitful Lenten journey, imparting with affection to all of you a special Apostolic Blessing.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Telus Cancels the Smut...

... after receiving hundreds of complaints and facing the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in cancelled accounts.

Who said Canadians couldn't get down to business?


Tersely stated, Lent is about sin. It is a 40 day period in which we as Christians examine our lives and attempt through fasting, alms giving and prayer to separate ourselves from the clutches of sin. We become purified and prepared for the Death and the Resurrection. Christ did it, and 2,000 years later, we do it.

And for 2,000 years Christians have done it, and did it better than we in the West (I'm excluding the Latin South) do it now. Today, we have almost a full litany of excuses not to be serious during Lent, discomfort being the one I hear most oft cited by my friends and family (and by myself). But that's the point, to experience discomfort. Consider a litmus test for what you should be giving up and doing during Lent.

Lent reminds us that Christ is near us always. Lent gives us the opportunity to really say 'I am a serious Christian' through the discomforts and sacrifices. Remember that the next time you're thinking that the mandatory Ash Wednesday fast seems just a little too 'difficile'.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Anglican Resolution...

... either fall into line, or fall out.

The results are in. The race is over. The 'progressive' Episcopalians have won. Archbishop Rowan Williams has stated that the Communion has decided to allow the offending bishops/priests of the Episcopal Church in the US to accept the terms of the Windsor Report, or to face the consequences.

Deja vu? I recall a similar statement being made after Gene Robinson, an openly active homosexual, was ordained to the epicopate in 2003. Back then Williams, via the Windsor Report, demanded that the ECUSA make immediate amends. Nothing happened. Well actually a lot happened, and none of it what the rest of the Communion wanted. Now there are two problem bishops: The aforementioned Robinson and Kathy 'Percentagewise' Schori.

Williams at least had the character to admit that many within the Communion are disappointed by yet another excusance being offered to the ECUSA. I would say that Williams will be the last Archbishop of Canterbury to 'preside' over a united Anglican Communion. When 6 months passes and the ECUSA hasn't done a thing, then I expect disintegration to begin in full effect. It of course didn't have to end this way, but then again, neither did Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine.

Afghanistan Isn't What They Think It Is

It's a strange thing: War protesters in Canada are now calling Afghanistan 'Harper's War'. I must really be out of touch. Last I remember, Afghanistan is a UN sanctioned, NATO operation that was initiated during the Chretien/Martin government of 2001. Unless Harper was dressed in a fat-body suit or posing as a creepy francosomething, he wasn't involved. Maybe 'Chretien's War' or 'Martin's War' just doesn't have the same pananche.

Attempting to cast the Canadian operation in Afghanistan as 'Harper's War', protesters are doing themselves a disservice. Slighting Harper over a war he inherited is dishonest and reflects poorly on the integrity of the anti-war movement. It would be understandable if the war was going poorly, and if it was clear that the Taliban was battering our troops at every turn. But that just isn't the case. 45 casualties in 5, nearly 6, years is a very good rate in any conflict.

Thus when I drive by the protesters, I am immediately alienated. I simply cannot knowingly enter into a life of ignorance simply because it happens to be particularly popular and fashionable these days. That's not to say that I'm somehow above making a similar mistake; it just means I'm trying not to.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Anglican Divide

The blogosphere is rife with excitement over the Anglican convention in Tanzania. And for good reason. This meeting promises to be a make or break moment for the entire Communion. Conservatives v. Liberals, Modernists v. Evangelicals, just two of the many factions butting heads in Dar-es-Salaam.

The question facing the Anglicans is this: How can the Communion exist with such stark division between provinces and parishes? Many 'conservative' bishops have already made known their intention to break away if the 'liberal' bishops are not reprimanded and brought back into line for their clear flouting of Scripture and Anglican tradition. Liberal bishops, I'm sure, are not altogther fazed by this. Less 'conservatives' means less headaches and more fun.

As a Catholic, I'm really not surprised it has come to this. Anglicanism itself began on a repudiation of Christian tradition. Now it is simply a case of owning up to that repudiation and the hundreds that followed in the 500 years since.

Anglicans to Cut Their Losses....

... and bring their problems to us. Here comes everybody.

An exciting proposal/report/announcement has been leaked to the press by someone (or something) at the Anglican Communion meeting in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. The document, prepared by several Anglican and Catholics bishops, calls for a full reconciliation between the Communion and the Church.

Pardon, me?

I was under the impression that Anglican-Catholic relations were increasingly strained because of recent decisions made by several Anglican bishops. I'm sure you're aware of them too. Personally, I think this development, and the timing of the release, comes down to the work of one person.

edit: It turns out the Times correspondent who first reported the story was a little off in his analysis. The report simply details the progress of the Anglican-Roman Catholic discussions and, rather than calling for unification, urges Anglicans to think more about the ministry of the Papal Office, and for Catholics to pray for them. Well, pretty much anyway.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Telus, Remove the Porn

Telus now sells pornography through their cell phones.

Please contact Telus and make a complaint. You can do it here.

With pornography addiction becoming something of an epidemic (just ask your local police department about the geometric increase in sex crimes as pornography has become more and more mainstream), it is rather troubling that Telus would risk the 'PR' simply to make a few hundred thousand dollars more.

If Telus is just thinking about the money, then we should take ours away.

"Cancel your cell, switch to Rogers/Fido or Bell"

Friday, February 16, 2007

Catholics Taking Over Britain...

A report issued yesterday announces that the Catholic Church is set to become the largest active religious group in England and Wales. Bolstered by massive immigration from poorer Eastern European countries and former colonies, the Catholic population is expected to swell in the coming year.

Not since the Reformation, or as I call it, Hank's Infertility, have Catholics been the largest religious group in England. Maybe this will get all my non-practicing Catholic cousins over there back into pews. Safery in numbers and all that.

Vagina Monologues Banned...

... from Notre Dame and St. Louis University. At both schools, the play failed to receive the facultying sponsoring all theatrical events, even those of dubious quality, require in order to perfrom on campus.

What I can't understand is why something like the V-Monlogs were permitted at those schools anyway. Does anyone really think that a 2-hour expose of sexual abuse, depravity, and gender-based hatred really benefitted anyone?

The February PC Alert...

... is today. I'm introducing a monthly post which will, if I remember, list a few of the more interesting, alarming and ridiculous public manifestations of political correctness.

Without further ado:

- Tim Hardaway, an ex-NBA star, is banned from this year's all star game for his 'homophobic' reaction to the 'coming out' of ex-NBA flop, John Amaechi. Not that I don't think Hardaway's a moron for 'hating' anyone, but heck, what can you say these days?

- PM Harper buckles on global warmi... I mean, climate change and 'commits' to 'working with' Kyoto. No one really knows what he means, but I'm guessing he means to say that he'll do something, which is to say he'll do nothing.

- Algoreincorporated announces he's throwing a series of global warmi... I mean climate change concerts. Styled after the 'Live Aid' and 'Live 8' concerts organized by Bob Geldof, Algore says he'll raise money, awareness, and be tyte wit da youfs too.

Add yours if anyone's out there!

Anglican Discommunion

As I write, Anglican delegates from around the world are meeting in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, to discuss what to do with those pesky Episcopalians.

Or at least that's how the story has been explained to me. I think the real issue is whether or not the Anglican Experiment really has any gas left in its tank. It first pretended to be Catholic, then half-Catholic/half-Protestant, and now, it appears, a third-Catholic/a third Protestant/a third New Age. Cardinal Newman saw this and many other crises developing over a hundred years ago; today, throngs of Anglican priests and parishoners are flocking into the Catholic Church, the situation having become so grim.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Solution to the Nun Shortage...

In the past 40 years, according to some reports, the number of women in religious orders has dropped by about 60%. Schools have closed, hospitals have become nationalized, cloisteries were uncloistered. Every week we hear about yet another nun-less parish, another monastery-sans-monastics.

Thankfully for the unEnlightened Church, I have the answer: Married and male nuns.

Thomas Yadegary, A Catholic Held Withouth Charge

The facts:

- In 1994, Thomas Yadegary moved to New Zealand from Iran.

- While living in New Zealand, Yadegary converted to Catholicism from Islam.

- In 2004, Yadegary was arrested as an illegal immigrant and had his refugee status application denied.

- Yadegary applied for refugee status because in Iran, it is illegal convert to Christianity. If he returns to Iran, he faces the death penalty.

Since 2004, Yadegary has been held in custody without formal charge or trial. He refuses to sign an Iranian passport application which New Zealand requires to extradite him to Iran. He is not a flight risk or security risk.

(h/t to Bettnet & No Right Turn)

Andre Druin, A Quebecker for All Seasons...

... unless you happen to be Jean Charest.

In a televised exchange, Druin, who a city councillor in Horouxville, asked what Charest was doing to protect Quebec culture and to review how Quebec accomodates non-Christian practices. Charest, a politician not known for his wits, simply replied by saying that the immigrant debate had 'gone too far'. Which is to say, 'I don't really know how to answer your question.'.

It's easy to feel bad for Charest. Usually the Quebec culture debate is framed by the usual francophone v. anglophone designations, or Quebec v. the Rest of Canada. Considering that, it's not hard to understand why Charest wants to quell the debate rather than engage it - he's out of his element. It could be that Charest and other politicians simply didn't realise Canadians felt this way about the spread radical Islam and the watering down of Western culture.

So let's give him a brief head's up.

Canadians do not like:

- Stoning women to death
- Splitting up pregnancy classes between the sexes
- Banning women from swimming with men
- Female genital mutilation
- Mysoginy
- Honour killing
- Societal Regression
- Religious based violence

Muslims Have Their Way...

... and the residents of Horouxville back down, sorta.

For a group of people to be outraged that a town charter prohibits the stoning of women and female circumcision, is strange enough. For the government and media to chose to promote this outrage rather than the outrage many Westerners feel toward radicial Islam, is downright scary.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Anti-Catholic Blogger Resigns...

... but not before getting a few parting shots off at Catholic League president, Bill Donohue.

Dononhue, according to Marcotte, isn't a Christian. In fact anyone who pounced on Marcotte's idiotic diatribes against Catholics isn't a Christian either. In fact anyone who disagrees with Marcotte's attacks on Catholics isn't a real Christian.

Once again we find another non-Christian expert on Christianity. Thank goodness we have them - there would be so little laughter in the world if we didn't.

Muslim Women Visit Horouxville...

... and admit that they have no sense of irony.

Why don't these women protest the babaric living conditions for most female Muslims in the Islamic World? Why have they spent the time and energy to protest what amounts to a declaration that a small group of Quebeckers actually cares about their pyschological and physical well being?

I can tell you why. Because Quebec is in the West, and with our advanced doctrines of human rights and critical inquiry, we don't suppress women or discussion simply because they're women or the discussion makes us uncomfortable. In the Islamic world, these women wouldn't even have the chance to be upset. If they made their complaints public, they would have been (a) stoned to death or (b) beaten to death or (c) stoned, beaten, and raped to death.

Holy Cross Fiasco...

... has forced my parish to cancel its fundraising campaign for a rectory. Why? Because with half of Holy Cross parish busy complaing about anyone with an ounce of common Catholic sense to the media, our pastor didn't think it the best time for gathering donations.

And who can blame him? Thanks to Fr. Mike, a man whom I now truly pity, anything and everything Catholics do in Victoria will be analysed, disected, and lampooned by the media.

Now imagine if these disenfranchised, disaffected, and disillusioned parishoners had spent as much time in prayer and charity as they have taking to the press and feeling grumpy: Do you really think Holy Cross would be in the mess it's in?

Incoming Splitting.

Income splitting, the fine idea that couples could divide their incomes in half and be taxed less, apparently didn't make it through the Commons.

That's a serious blow to all hardworking middle class Canadians who have been overtaxed for the past 40 years.

Hopefully MPs are listening to the blogging world: Give us income splitting, or give up your seat.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Dixie Chicks....

... just don't get it. To quote one of their five acceptance speeches: 'With these awards people are using their freedom of speech'. That is I think supposed to be a jab at George W. Bush, who they criticized 4 years ago because of the Iraq War. Ironically, if the judges were simply 'using their freedom of speech' when they awarded the Chicks, then those awards were given more to make a political statement rather than for actual musical merit.

What's that? Award shows are always gaudy exercises of lefty self-gratification? Pardon?

Here be Weirdos

Reading UVIC's student paper, the Martlet, is always fun. Especially fun if you're like me, a person who likes to read writing as poor as his own.

But this week's edition carried a special treat: A flagship column 'detailing' the Holy Cross parish scandal.

Scandals bring out the best in Catholics. You can be assured, o ye of other faiths, that whenever a scandal breaks in the Church, it only brings out the best in people. Consider, for example, the following statements:

'It was actually illogical and disrespectful way to be here tonight. He sat there and said he couldn't answer any of our questions? So my question is, why did he come here?' Holy Cross parishoner and ex-UVIC Catholic chaplain Kate Fagan Taylor, in response to the Bishops inability to answer some questions because of confidentiality.

'[The timeline] is the truth as we know it has Fr. Mike has told us.' UVIC Student, Stefan Jonsson, in response to the Bishop's challenge that parishoners did not know all the facts and therefore should not be creating speculative 'timelines of events'.

'Both John Oetter and Fr. Mike were lovely people. The students are sad that they are no longer a part of the parish.' Claire Allen, UVIC Student.

And the best for last:

'This parish knows there's a God because can see his divine goodness shining through Fr. Michael.' John Lucas, a very sentimental man.

'Fr. Mike is just the most - and I've thought about this- I think he's the holiest man I've ever met.' Stefan Jonsson, again.

'They were almost unanimous in their support for Fr. Mike and John.' Jean Forest, Holy Cross parishoner, speaking of his fellow parishoners.

Now consider the facts of the case as reported by the mainstream media. Fr. Mike Favero approached Bishop Gagnon last Spring to resign from Holy Cross, but the Bishop persuaded him to stay on. Sometime around Christmas, a group of parishoners made what appears to be one of several complaints about Fr. Mike and the parish secretary, John Oetter. At the end of December, John Oetter accepted a severance package and resigned from his position at Holy Cross. A week or so after Oetter's resignation, Fr. Mike abruptly leaves without explanation. It is later revealed that he decided tender his resignation after all. After this, all heck breaks lose as several parishoners go immediately to the press with the 'bad Church hates gays' story.

If I were an alien reading this story, I would be amazed that a seemingly large number of people chose to give the man who fled his position and the man who flagrantly lived against Catholic Church teachings the benefit of the doubt. I'm sure they were 'wonderful people'. So wonderful in fact, they singlehandly dragged an entire diocese into division and scandal by their actions.

Thus Spake Poodle

I post anonymously because I blog for fun. Recreational stuff, no more. I do not intend to change minds, win hearts or make or break ideologies. Credibility, thus, is something that just isn't really that important to me right now. Besides, my real name is so generic, that I feel that whatever little charm this blog has would be completely lost if I were drop my pseudonym.

*Boarish Opinion Alert: By the way, from the personal testimonies of several Holy Cross parishoners, it seems that Fr. Mike had made himself a little North Saanich personality cult. That alone justifies his removal.*

Sunday, February 11, 2007

What do you give a climatologist for their birthday?

Anything but:

- A collection of Farmer's Almanacs, circa 1770 - 1960
- Ice Shelf records, circa 1904-2006
- Books mentioning the words 'cycle', 'intergalacial', or the phrases 'oil found in the Arctic', 'Viking settlements found under ice in Greenland'
- A fuel efficient car
- A hockey stick
- A podcast of The Unabridged History of the IPCC

Happy Winter
, Upstate New York!

Portugal Says No to Expansion of Abortion ...

... by simply staying at home.

Portuguese voter turnout failed to reach the minimum amount necessary to count the vote as valid. Only 30-40% of eligible voters made their way to the polls; over 66% turnout is necessary. Of those who voted, 40% said no the the expansion, and 60% said yes. This is the second time in nine years that an effort to expand the abortion license has failed because of an inadequate number of votes.

Portugal is reported as being over 90% Catholic, and its also the country which was told by an apparition of the Virgin Mary that the faith therewould always remain intact. Nevertheless, prayers are needed for the Portuguese Church. The Western Media Complex, headed by Reuters in this case, has already decided that Portugal's autonomy, the nations ability to formulate its own social laws, is compromised by the influence of the Catholic Church. In the Reuters article on the vote, pro-choice sources are cited liberally, and pro-life sources sparingly.
As the quote which ends the article reads: "What's at stake is women's ability to decide. The current law does not fit with Europe."

That the unborn cannot 'decide', once again, fails to be mentioned.

American Alone, Book Review in Brief

On Friday I picked up a copy of Mark Steyn's America Alone. By Sunday afternoon, I finished it. Being a fan of Steyn's rightish bigotry, I had planned to purchase it months ago when it was first published. But the title threw me off.

America Alone? No thanks. I'm an inclusively minded Canadian, ergo, I don't like to feel excluded.

But after several months of flirting with, for lack of a better term (this is a blog by the way), Leftish explanations/solutions for our societal ills, I came face to face with the blatant paucity of their arguments. So I went back to Steyn.

American Alone is most easily categorized under social commentary. Steyn sees a very specific problem in the West, and America Alone is his comment. There is, first and foremost, a problem of demographics in the West. This is nothing new of course; most of us are at some level becoming increasingly aware of the problem of maintaining our current way of life without having any children. Steyn, and it comes quite naturally to him, sees a greater peril than the bankruptcy of the social welfare state. There are groups within the West who, while refusing to assimilate into the larger culture, have taken a stance in outright opposition to it. And to top it off, it is these groups who are having the kids, which means that in 20 years time, it'll be these groups calling the shots.

Where Steyn undoubtedly loses the more 'progressively' minded reader is when he names the groups. Actually, its just one group: Radical Muslims. Or Islamofascists. Or Jihadists. The terms are relatively interchangeable. For a reader who has forsaken common sense for political correctedness, Steyn's naming of the enemy is simply too much. Another example of the rightwingfringementallyunstablebigotedislamophobicbreeder political forces which are destroying their beloved society.

For everyone else, Steyn's assessment is disturbingly accurate. There is nary a Western country that has not been on the receiving end of Jihadist terrorism in some form since 2001. What is most worrisome, Steyn points out, is that these terrorist acts have been committed by 'Westerners', or at least people who were born, (or) educated in the West. It was young men who were born in Toronto, attended Toronto schools who planned to behead the prime minister. It was affluent British born Muslims who, prior to painting the Tube red with their, and anyone else who by chance was near them, splattered entrails. Whirling dervishes they ain't. Our neighbours they are.

Thus we have quite the problem. With our demographic collapse, our enemy (the Jihadist) just happens to be part of the fast growing demographic and religion in the West. To make matters even worse, our governments, who all seem to be auditioning for the Millenium Appeasement Awards, spend more time telling us that 'Islam is a religion of peace' rather than making sure 'Western' Muslims actually live that mantra.

Along the way, Steyn gives us his solution: Have babies, Be Christian, and Reform Islam. And it is America alone, who is up for the task.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Please excuse all spelling and grammatical errors...

...since my wife hasn't taken up her designated role as blog editor just yet.

Hopefully I'll have her set up soon.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Anti-Catholic Bloggers

What does it take to be an Anti-Catholic? I would think that you would have to exhibit strong, baseless prejudices against Catholics/Catholicism, and show no inclination for moderation. It has to be more than 'I disagree with their beliefs'.

As it happens, the 'head bloggers' for John Edwards (he was the guy who ran with John Kerry. No, I didn't remember him either) are two token leftist anti-Catholics. What makes them anti-Catholics? Well for starters, both have recently published foulmouthed tirades against the Pope and Catholics in general on their respective blogs and refused to apologize for them.

Amid strong protests from the Catholic League and other American groups interested in respect for religions, John Edwards has done the noble thing and fired the pair.

No, wait, he didn't.

Instead, Edwards said he was 'personally offended', but refused to fire either of them.

A blogger for a chance to be president? Or maybe Edwards knows he doesn't have a Jew's chance in Iran to win party nomination and decided, in the words of his bloggers, to f*ck it?

Mass Attendance in Italy Abysmal....

... but not as bad as in Canada.

A new survey shows that around 22% of Catholics in Italy attend weekly Mass. I think the number in Canada is similar, if not slighty lower.

The study revealed some interesting points:

- 1/3 people who went to college/university attended Mass every week, and yet only 1/10 people in Italy have any post-secondary education. This means regular Mass attendees are, generally speaking, more educated than those who do not atttend Mass on a regular basis.

- The attendance rates are higher for people between the ages of 25-40. Generation of 1968 anyone?

- Priests were asked to guess the percentage themselves. Almost all of them chose figures extremely close to what was actually found in the survey.

On a related note, an article I just read discusses that the decline in vocations and Mass attendance always occurs parallel to an overal decline in the practice of the Sacrament of Confession. Gee, I wonder why?

Legalized Prostitution?

Driving home I listened to Liberal MP Keith Martin promote the idea of legalized prostitution. I don't know the subject very well, but I do know that prostitution is considered a 'forgettable' crime by many in the police forces across Canada. And I would say that most Canadians 'forget' prostitution too.

Until 50 or so prostitutes are brutally murdered.

With Pickton's ugly mug pasted over every daily newspaper, prostitution is suddenly back on everyone's minds. Legalized prostitution, it is often argued in the media, would provide the women (little if anything is ever mentioned of gay male prostitutes) with access to 'safer' sex and legal protection. MP Keith Martin, after telling his radio audience that he doesn't moralize, then told us that 'prostitution has always been with us, and that it's time we accepted that'.

Now whatever ivory tower dwellers like Martin may say, legalized prostitution is a zero sum victory, that is, it brings absolutely no positive ends other than the satisfaction for those who wanted it in place. As studies in the Netherlands and Germany have shown, legalized prostitution has little effect on reducing prostitution, which should be the goal of any new legislation. Even more so, legalized prostitution nevertheless posits us with the same problems as illegal prostitution. Women are still 'indentured', pyschologically, emotionaly and physically abused, and often left with nothing once their bodies are regarded as being no longer useful. In Germany, one of the richest countries in the world, young unemployed women are fearful of heading to employment offices because 'sex worker' is given parity with other professions under the law, meaning that they have to consider entering the sex industry in order to qualify for unemployment insurance.

Thus we'll still be faced by the same problems if prostitution is legalized, but for one difference. Legal prostitution is taxable, illegal prostitution is not.

The truth laid bare for all to see.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

More Fun Climate Change Facts.... reported by your friendly transnational IPCC.

- Tempature is now predicted to increase 3 degrees in the next century, rather than 3.5 degrees as was originally claimed in the previous IPCC report

- Sea levels may rise up to 17 inches, down from 'at least between 20 and 30' from the previous report

- N/A to the infamous hockey stick graph, published as fact in the first IPCC, and then used to club 'cc' deniers into submission, until that is everyone realised it was a bunch of phooey

- Humans actions are probably, maybe, perhaps, quite possibly, approximately, not exactly but pretty close, 90% sure, responsible for climate change

- 100% chance of us never knowing why the full report is not being published until after Winter.


I should point out that I'm not attacking the idea of studying the global warming trend/issue/crisis (select one), but how awfully ugly and politicized it has become.


- Zero (0) explanations for past global coolings, warmings, and the GIC.

- 9 'forcings', that is, things that are causing the temperature to rise, as identified in the report. 6 of these 'forcings' are only 'medium to poorly' researched and understood. People are going to be quite upset if global warming does not produce the terrible effects we've been promised to experience in the next few years, especially since 'cc' has utterly demolished the issues of biodiversity, mass deforestation and marine polluting.

Global Warming for Christians

Somewhere in Genesis, God tells Adam and Eve that they would be stewards of the earth. In some circles, it is common to conclude that generally speaking, Christians have forgotten this rule (I think a more compelling argument would be that most humans have forgotten this rule). My climate studying friend reminds me of the Christian duty to the Earth, which is of course to make sure we don't ruin it. She even tells me that a retired member of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has devoted himself to admonishing Christendom in hope of raising awareness of our collective Christian ecological footprint.

All this is in response to my posting that the Canadian government has spent 6 billion dollars on global warming research in the past decade. Canadians, we're told, are amongst the worst polluters as far as greenhouse gas emissions go. And while the government was spending on 'cc' research, Canadians were polluting more and more. Infamously, the former Liberal government spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars during this period; not on research, but on propaganda aimed at convincing Canadians that they were in fact doing something.

So anyway, do I think it was wrong of the government to spend so much money on such a contestable and poorly understood issue as Climate Change? I don't think it was. I am happy to live in a country that is willing to spend billions of dollars on an essentially conservative issue. What I do have trouble with, is that by spending so much money, the Canadian government has in effect created a niche-economy-market-whathaveyou. There is no so much money (and so many professional reputations) tied up with debating climate change, that the basic honest principles of inquiry are being trampled in the name of the dollar. Plus, with the media playing such a massive role in promoting the profiles of 'cc' politicians (Gore) and scientists (Prior), we have in effect a terrifc leviathan which is placing severe limitations on boundaries and depth of the global warming conversation.

And as a post-script, I've long believed that a society which rejects social conservatism will reject environmental conservatism as well.

Monday, February 05, 2007

How Many Climatogolists...

... does it take to cool the planet?

Amoung other interesting facts coming to light in the wake of the 'definitive' IPCC released last week: Canada has spent over 6 billion taxpayer dollars on climate change research since 1997.

One Step Forward; One Step Backward

Our Diocese is finally clear of the Lacey Land dispute.

But some parishoners are angry that our Bishop removing a delinquent priest.

Never a dull moment in the Catholic Church!

Global Warming....

As analyzed by the infamous Mark Steyn:

"Alas, the science isn't so solid. In the '70s, it was predicting a new ice age. Then it switched to global warming. Now it prefers "climate change." If it's hot, that's a sign of "climate change." If it's cold, that's a sign of "climate change." If it's 53 with sunny periods and light showers, you need to grab an overnight bag and get outta there right now because "climate change" is accelerating out of control.

The silliest argument is the anecdotal one: "You only have to look outside your window to see that climate change is happening." Outside my window in northern New England last week, it was minus 20 Fahrenheit. Very cold. Must be the old climate change kicking in, right? After all, December was very mild. Which was itself a sign of climate change. A few years ago, the little old lady who served as my town's historian for many decades combed over the farmers' diaries from two centuries ago that various neighbors had donated to her: From the daily records of 15 Januarys, she concluded that three were what we'd now regard as classic New Hampshire winters, ideal for lumbering or winter sports; eight had January thaws, and four had no snow at all. This was in the pre-industrial 18th century."

The rest is here.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Websites Worth Visiting

An update to the side bar has been made. is a listing of socially conservative blogs worth visiting. I think everyone's Canadian too.

The People's Cube is one of the best and most creative websites I've ever found.

Mark Steyn is an author/commentator/arts critic of some infamy. Always interesting, and he's Canadian.

Island Catholic News and Impartiality

Just this morning I stumbled across a free 'c'atholic newspaper while dropping off some mail. It was the Island Catholic News, a living relic of 20th Century Canadian Catholicism. In all honesty, I cannot say that I approached the newspaper with an impartial lense. I had heard stories of it being one of the few remaning 'Catholic newspapers' that had a parish circulation of zero, similar in a way to the group Catholics for a Free Choice, which also suffers from a subscription deficit in its own way.

Some gems from this issue:

'George Weigel Reviled by Progressive Catholics for Pro-war Imperialist Writings' - The sub-title to the linked article.

'The deeper question is the rise of right wing politics and theology in the Catholic church here in Victoria and worldwide, since the election of Pope Benedict XVI.' - Ah, yes, the seizure of the Church by Ratzinger and his army of neo-cons. I hadn't seen that one in print for a while.

'The very choice of Edith Stein as the patron of the group is polemical. A Jewish convert to Catholicism is hardly a sensitive choice in an era of interfaith possibilities. ' - An Era of Interfaith Possibilities... You can't make this stuff up.

'He [George Weigel] is also not an entirely honest intellectual.' - Oh my! Proof?

'John Paul II may have manifested various sorts of inconsistencies and contradictions in his era as pope but he was consistently if not radically strong in his critique of what George Weigel is more than fond of pushing: War making and American capitalist imperialism.' - Oddly enough, Weigel and JP2 were good friends. Methinks this author hasn't left the island in quite some time.

'Have they been taken advantage of or are they fellow travelers of this Opus Dei style of spirituality?' - I'm not sure what's worse: The sentence or the Dan Brown influence.

'His current program is to ride the coattails of the present pope who is probably more to his liking politically, although Benedict too opposes the American policy in the Middle East. It will be interesting to see how Weigel manipulates all that to his own perspective.' - Yes... because his ulitimate plan is to rule the world.

'As I ponder the barbarity, criminality and foolishness of the execution of Saddam Hussein, I wonder why the notorious American Catholic neo-con dissenter George Weigel was invited by a group headed by the Rector of St. Andrew’s Cathedral to speak in September. ' - ICN reader number 2 of 7 Greg Hartnell 'weighs' in. Apparently Weigel is 'notorious' and Hussein is not?

Watch this space for more in the future.

Priest Disappears; Diocese Confused

Last week, I heard about controversy brewing in a little parish of the Vancouver Island Diocese. Apparently there was some division over the dismissal of a parish employee, and the parish priest had up and left. The diocese was unable to comment, but for a private letter read to the parish after Sunday Mass.

According to the Globe & Mail (who do us the favour of quoting Peter Jamieson, of the unread and undistributed 'Island Catholic News') the parish employee in question had offended the sensibilities of 'conservative' members of the parish, who in turn petitioned the bishop to remove the employee. Seemingly in protest, the parish priest up and left this past Friday.

It's hard to comment based on the rather one-sided account presented in the article, but I can say from what I have learned about the way the priest ran this parish, his departure can bring nothing but good.

Vancouver Island Diocese Finally Gets a Break

Thanks, God. Prayers answered in a serious way. It looks like the ordeal might finally be over. This means the diocese does not have to worry about selling off any more land or closing any churches. Hopefully Mr. Finley accepts the court's ruling and gets on with his life.
Carolyn Heiman, Times ColonistPublished: Thursday, February 01, 2007
The Catholic Diocese of Victoria got some good news yesterday when it
learned an $8.5-million judgment made against it in 2005 has been
overturned. The decision of the Washington State Court of Appeals
possibly signals the near end of a two-decade-long saga that cost the
diocese millions, forced the church to sell off property and borrow money
from parishioners. The events happened after an investment involving an
Arabian horse venture and a land project in Washington soured.
In a unanimous decision, the Washington court reversed a
judgment made against the diocese in June 2005 after Seattle lawyer Joseph
Finley, who brought the diocese into the horse and land deal, sued for breach of
contract. According to a news release issued by the diocese, the higher
Washington court ruled that the diocese did not violate any duty to Finley,
and does not owe him any money, and that the case should have been dismissed
and never should have been presented to a jury.
Bishop Richard Gagnon was unavailable for comment. In a news release, he said: "This issue has diverted our attention for too long. I am hopeful that we, in the Catholic community on the Vancouver Island, can soon put this unfortunate incident behind us."
The court case was triggered when the diocese stopped
interest payments on the property in Lacey, Wash., and the land went into
receivership. At one point the diocese was paying $200,000 monthly interest
on the debt. To eliminate the debt, the diocese launched a fundraising
campaign, issuing bonds at six per cent interest. Last fall, it paid off the
debentures. The diocese also sold off several properties on Vancouver
Island, raising $8 million. Finley could seek a review of the decision by
the Washington State Supreme Court. He could not be reached last night for
comment. It's not known how much the litigation has cost the diocese or
how much it remains in debt. Lawyer Paul Bundon, representing the diocese,
said he expects the bishop will give a full accounting to parishioners.
"Obviously the judgment has very much improved their financial
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2007