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Showing posts from May, 2009

A Good Husband

Anyone who has read my blog for a while knows that I am not a big fan of President Obama. I disagree with him on economics, on health care, on abortion, on embryonic stem cell research, and probably a good deal more. However, I am not going to join the crowd fussing because he took his wife to New York City for a date night. Quite frankly, I am thrilled to see the President and his wife act like a loving married couple. Marriage is tough. It takes time and effort to keep the relationship strong. Do we expect them to put their marriage on hold for four or even eight years and pick it up again later? I think it is great that the President takes the time to watch his daughters play soccer and then treats his wife to a special evening out. Our culture needs to see successful men who are also committed family men. A trip to New York City is not that outlandish when you live in Washington D.C. You can’t expect the President to hop on Amtrak. The security issues would be horrific. So they ta…

Someone needs to explain this to me

The case of voter intimidation was won. Then the Obama justice department dismisses the charges. Is this a reward for these guys because they were supporting Obama?

Charges brought against three members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense under the Bush administration have been dropped by the Obama Justice Department, FOX News has learned.The charges stemmed from an incident at a Philadelphia polling place on Election Day 2008 when three members of the party were accused of trying to threaten voters and block poll and campaign workers by the threat of force -- one even brandishing what prosecutors call a deadly weapon.The three black panthers, Minister King Samir Shabazz, Malik Zulu Shabazz and Jerry Jackson were charged in a civil complaint in the final days of the Bush administration with violating the voter rights act by using coercion, threats and intimidation. Shabazz allegedly held a nightstick or baton that prosecutors said he pointed at people and menacingly t…

Two or three Catholic families would be over the limit!

I guess two or three Catholic families saying grace before meals might trigger a county investigation in San Diego:

Broyles said, "The county asked, 'Do you have a regular meeting in your home?' She said, 'Yes.' 'Do you say amen?' 'Yes.' 'Do you pray?' 'Yes.' 'Do you say praise the Lord?' 'Yes.'"The county employee notified the couple that the small bible study, with an average of 15 people attending, was in violation of county regulations, according to Broyles.Broyles said a few days later the couple received a written warning that listed "unlawful use of land" and told them to "stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit" -- a process that could cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Virginia DMV wants your driver's license photo to look like a mug shot

Do you like your driver’s license photo? If not, Virginia is giving you an excuse. It has now banned smiling for driver’s license photos. Even though your past experience with DMV employees may lead you to believe they are just a bunch of dour heartless souls, the smile ban has nothing to do with continuing an atmosphere of despair. Unsmiling photos work best for facial recognition software:

The driver's license photo, it seems, is destined to look like a mug shot.

DMV officials say the smile ban is for a good cause. The agency would like to develop a facial recognition system that could compare customers' photographs over time to prevent fraud and identity theft. "The technology works best when the images are similar," said DMV spokeswoman Pam Goheen. "To prepare for the possibility of future security enhancements, we're asking customers to maintain a neutral expression."

At a Manassas DMV branch yesterday, that translated to a simple directive: "Do…

What does the Catholic Church really teach?

Pick a topic. Any topic. If you want to know what the Catholic Church teaches about it you just look it up in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. If you are Catholic, it would be more than a good idea to be very familiar with the contents of the Catechism. But truthfully, reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church cover to cover is not an easy task. Therefore, head over here and find some options to take you through the teachings of the Church in a faithful and engaging way.

32 years ago....

On this day in 1977 the first Star Wars movie was released. I was a high school senior. I had no idea that decades later my children would be quoting lines from the movie.

Remember Their Sacrifice

Before you fire up the grill or head to the pool this weekend, please stop and say a prayer. Remember why you have this three-day weekend. Thousands of men and women have given their lives in service of our country. Memorial Day is our time to honor their sacrifice.

As you say your prayer, please make special note of Capt. Mark P. Graziano. He was killed yesterday during a training mission at Edwards AFB. I did not know him personally, but I know about his mission. He was in Test Pilot School. Seventeen years ago my husband was an Air Force captain in test pilot school. For these elite aviators it is a dream come true to sit on the cutting edge of flying technology and see what these machines can do. They are willing to take risks in order to push the envelope of our technological capabilities. The training to become a test pilot is intense and arduous.

My husband is past the point of actually flying test missions. They leave that for the younger guys and gals. I know he still looks lon…

How rationing decisions are made...and how they should be made

Read all of this article. It makes some very good points. However, it offers no real alternatives. Instead of just ranting, we need options. Look at this excerpt:

Virtual colonoscopies are endorsed by the American Cancer Society and covered by a growing number of private insurers including Cigna and UnitedHealthcare. The problem for Medicare is that if cancerous lesions are found using a scan, then patients must follow up with a traditional colonoscopy anyway. Costs would be lower if everyone simply took the invasive route, where doctors can remove polyps on the spot. As Medicare noted in its ruling, "If there is a relatively high referral rate [for traditional colonoscopy], the utility of an intermediate test such as CT colonography is limited." In other words, duplication would be too pricey.

This is precisely the sort of complexity that the Democrats would prefer to ignore as they try to restructure health care. Led by budget chief Peter Orszag, the White House believes tha…

"I am a Catholic, therefore..."

Graduates of Thomas More College in New Hampshire were treated to a commencement address by Francis Cardinal Arinze. You can read the full text here. Make note of these words:

The Holy Father continues and says that educators owe it in all "intellectual charity" to lead their students to the truth so that they exercise freedom in relation to truth. We can add that this is very necessary in the intellectual world of today where many people deny the objectivity of moral truth and where moral relativism is regarded as the accepted thing. A person who holds that certain actions, like direct abortion, are always objectively wrong, is regarded as "judgmental", or as imposing his views on others. The exercise of freedom in pursuit of the truth is very much a part of integral education. If a Catholic College or University does not help in this way, should we not say that it has failed in one of its important roles?

If a Catholic College or University answers to its vocation …

What do we talk about now?

I’ve pretty much wrapped up my commentary on President Obama’s Notre Dame commencement address here. So now what do we talk about?

The crux of the Notre Dame issue is Catholic identity. What does it mean to be a Catholic institution? What does it mean to be a Catholic community? What does it mean to be a Catholic family? What does it mean to be a Catholic individual?

Catholic identity is so much more than a designation of my pew location on Sunday morning. My Catholic identity puts this earthly life in perspective. My worldly years are just a snippet of my eternal existence. Because of the Eucharist, Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary is not just an historical event. It is truly present to me at every Mass. The Communion of Saints connects me to the universal Church across the continuum of time. The Catholic Church was founded by Christ on the rock of Peter. It is protected by the Holy Spirit from error in matters of faith and morals. The certainty of Divine Authority provides peace in the u…

Fr. Miscamble's address at the ND Response rally

You can read more on the ND Response demonstration here.

Here is the text of Fr. Miscamble's address at the ND Response gathering held during the commencement. Read it all and read it carefully:
True friends of Notre Dame -- I thank you for your presence.I want to thank especially our treasured students in ND Response for inviting me to be with you. It is a great privilege and honor. As I look out on the good and decent people gathered here, I know one thing: There is no place I would rather be.I have been a teacher at Notre Dame for more than two decades. But today I come before you primarily as a Holy Cross priest - a member of the Religious Order that founded Notre Dame more than a century and half ago.On November 26, 1842, an extraordinary French priest named Edward Sorin and a small band of Holy Cross brothers arrived at this site - a place where French missionaries had once ministered to the Potawatomi Indians. Fr. Sorin christened the place Notre Dame du Lac. He and his Holy …

Straight Talk from Father

One of the things about writing a blog is that the ideas often mull about in my head before they find their way to print. While all this musing is going on, I am bouncing the ideas off my family. Or after I’ve written a post, the ideas are still swirling in my head so my family continues to hear about them. Which is why after Mass, one of my sons said,” I think I’ve heard that sermon before.”

Actually, he had not heard that exact sermon, but he had heard the theme. A while back I wrote a post Sentire Cum Ecclesia. It took a while to sort out how we can struggle with teachings of the Church but not dissent from the Church so my family heard about this a lot.

Today, Father took up this theme. If we claim to love Christ, we must follow his commandments. These commandments are set forth in Scripture and in Tradition. Christ’s teachings are preserved for us in the Church. When was the last time you heard a priest speak from the pulpit and say, “Even if you do not understand the teachings of …

Today is Armed Forces Day!

In honor of Armed Forces Day, please say a prayer for our troops! Read more here.

My Travels

visited 42 states (84%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

Well this was fun! (I am not sure how I missed Iowa. I just don't remember ever going through there.)

The Monday Project

From the Monday Project web site:

Begins Monday, May 18Don't let Obama win this battle. Let's turn the Notre Dame scandal into the largest pro-life fundraiser this country has ever seen.Donate now. Donate $1. Donate $5. Donate $10.1) Donate to the Women's Help Center, a frontline, Catholic crisis pregnacy center. Or, donate to your local crisis pregnancy center (on the receipt page, click on "Contact Women's Help Center" to designate organization and location).2) For every donation, we will send a pink or blue postcard to Fr. Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, in honor of LIFE.3) Send an email to 1, 5 or 10 friends with a link to this page.We can win this battle. Let's do it for LIFE.
Go to their web site to donate! Note that you can have your donation sent to your local pregnancy center. See step 1 above.

President Obama's vision of post-reform health care

David Leonhardt conducts a wide-ranging interview with President Obama including this segment concerning what health care in America will look like in the “post-reform” era:

THE PRESIDENT: Now, I actually think that the tougher issue around medical care — it’s a related one — is what you do around things like end-of-life care —

Yes, where it’s $20,000 for an extra week of life.

THE PRESIDENT: Exactly. And I just recently went through this. I mean, I’ve told this story, maybe not publicly, but when my grandmother got very ill during the campaign, she got cancer; it was determined to be terminal. And about two or three weeks after her diagnosis she fell, broke her hip. It was determined that she might have had a mild stroke, which is what had precipitated the fall.

So now she’s in the hospital, and the doctor says, Look, you’ve got about — maybe you have three months, maybe you have six months, maybe you have nine months to live. Because of the weakness of your heart, if you have an operati…

Blessed Feast of St. Matthias!

Today is the feast of St. Matthias. Read more here.

Merciful Meals

The Corporal Works of Mercy include feeding the hungry. Sometimes the hungry are those who are too poor to buy food, and then there are times when the hungry are too preoccupied with life’s challenges to prepare food. The Food section of today’s Washington Post offered a couple of suggestions for food to keep in the freezer for those times you need to take a meal to a friend. I have been on the receiving end of these meals. There is something so comforting about receiving a home cooked meal during times of stress. I also have my own favorite meals to give.

It is a good idea to take a meal that can be put in the freezer if it is not convenient to eat it on the night it is delivered. Don’t forget to provide cooking instructions. If you wrap the dish in plastic wrap before covering with foil, don’t forget to include removal of the plastic wrap in your cooking instructions.

I have a recipe for stuffed pasta shells that makes enough for two meals. I often serve half of it to my family and f…

Parents must teach virtue

From Lifesite News:

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 12, 2009 ( - In President Obama's Fiscal Year 2010 Proposed Budget, the president recommends that Congress eliminate funding for abstinence education and instead pour funds into condoms and contraceptive-based sex education.

The proposed budget calls for an additional $150 million for contraceptive-only education, which includes competitive grants, research, evaluation and authorization for $50 million in new mandatory condom grants to states, tribes and territories, according to an Abstinence Clearinghouse press release.

The budget eliminates the $133 million set aside for CBAE (Community Based Abstinence Education) and Title V Abstinence Education Program, the two main federal abstinence-education initiatives.

Pregnancy centers and other charitable organizations throughout the country would be among those affected by the elimination of CBAE funds.

Actually, I am not a fan of state intervention in sex education of any kind. B…

Heroic Mothers

The Washington Times features an in depth article on some truly heroic mothers. These women resisted the pressures of the culture and the medical community and refused to abort their children with prenatal diagnoses of severe deformities and disabilities:

Nearly 15 years later, she still weeps at the memory of how on the afternoon of Nov. 17, 1994, her gray-eyed daughter Angela lived barely 10 minutes, the victim of Trisomy 18, a fatal genetic defect. Pictures of the dark-haired little girl, robed in a white christening gown, are still scattered about her suburban Maryland home.

She was the first woman her doctor knew who had decided to keep her pregnancy. All his other patients in similar situations had aborted.

"I was so happy I did what I did," she says of her decision to bring Angela to term. "You get to see your child's birth and death all collapsed in one time frame. What most people want for their kids is for them to go to heaven. You get to complete that journe…

Mother's Day Blessings!

Thank you, women who are mothers! You have sheltered human beings within yourselves in a unique experience of joy and travail. This experience makes you become God's own smile upon the newborn child, the one who guides your child's first steps, who helps it to grow, and who is the anchor as the child makes its way along the journey of life.--Pope John Paul II, Letter to Women, June 29, 1995

I don't think so

Can you imagine doing this to the woman who gave you life? I believe Honor Your Mother entails something better than this.

How Does My Mary Garden Grow?

A few days ago I suggested you honor both Mom and Blessed Mother with a Mary Garden. Since we finally have a sunny day I thought I would share what is blooming in my garden. My abundant supply of daffodils is all gone but I have several things taking their place. Most appropriate for a Mary garden is my John Paul II clematis.
I have had this clematis for four years. This is the first year I have gotten several large blooms at once. Clematis is a great plant for testing your virtue of patience.

Last fall I planted these irises. They are called batik irises since they should call to mind batik fabric.

The azaleas are in full bloom

My peonies are about to burst forth with various shades of pink

I need help identifying this perennial. I planted it two years ago and it gives me these lovely clusters of very light blue star shaped flowers. I just can't remember the name of this plant.

This is false indigo. These delicate blue blossoms would be a lovely addition to a perennial Mary garden.


Archbiship Chaput: Thoughts on the mission of St. Paul

Archbishop Chaput delivered this address to the American Bible Society on Wednesday, May 6, 2009. I have seen excerpts of it around the blogosphere but do take the time to read the whole thing. It is amazing. Here are some of my favorite snippets:

A few months ago, in Ireland, someone asked for my thoughts about today’s "post-Christian" culture. I said then as I say again now, that "post-Christian" society may seem very similar to the pagan world that St. Paul first confronted. But in fact, it’s much worse. Why? Because the pagan world had an excuse. We don’t. There’s really no such a thing as a "post-Christian” era. The redemptive mission of Jesus Christ is unique, unrepeatable and forever. Christ is the center and meaning of history. There is nothing after Jesus Christ except a void. The modern turning away from Jesus is not a return to the pagan past. It’s an apostasy, and when Scripture tells us that Christ will spit the lukewarm out of his mout…

Father is far more interesting than I

Teaching 7th grade CCD can be a challenge. The students are in that “tween” stage where they are trying to decide if they are going to accept or rebel against authority. One minute they are hanging on your every word and the next minute you are getting the adolescent eye roll. However, when Father comes in they are riveted. It doesn’t matter if it is our more senior pastor (Please note, Father, I did not call you old) or our young energetic new priest. They may be challenging him to say something relevant, but they are listening.

I was grateful to have our younger priest stop by for class on Monday evening. The class was working on individual saint reports as a requirement for Confirmation. Father popped in and ended up talking to the students about how they are called to evangelize. This is the perfect segue to talking about the lives of the saints. The saints did not just learn about their faith. They lived their faith. They evangelized others by the way they lived their lives. As St…

The Holy Spirit in Aggieland and beyond

Amy Welborn has a good post on campus evangelization at the University of Kansas. It is modeled after the program started at Texas A&M.

Center director Father Steve Beseau had heard of a program at Texas A&M University where students wore T-shirts that invited others to "Ask a Catholic a Question."

"I brought the idea to [the staff for discussion]," he said. "I thought it was a very non-threatening way of evangelization, and I liked that."

The center staff liked it, too, but decided to tweak the question in order to provide more opportunity for personal witness. They then had bright red T-shirts printed up, with the center's logo on the front and "Ask me why I'm Catholic" on the back.

Read the whole article to see how this program is both evangelizing and building the Catholic community.

One of the comments for this post caught my eye:

I saw this on the A @ M Catholic Center website

"There are nearly 100 “Aggie Vocations” to the p…

Resist the Marginalization of Parents

If you like the post I did in 2007 entitled "I am not the enemy" you will really enjoy this column by Rebecca Hagelin from today's Washington Times:

Mothers are increasingly expected to be benchwarmers in the lives of our children so we don't get in the way of the "professionals." Many public educators believe they know what is best for your son or daughter. But they can't possibly understand the unique history, gifts and needs of each child shuffled through a system built for the masses. When moms do step in, they are often accused of "interfering," being "overprotective" or "close-minded." Girls are most vulnerable when moms are shut out - some are given contraceptives, referred for abortions, and on life's biggest questions, are taught the worldview of the "professional" in charge. Read the whole thing. Then make a renewed commitment to be the parent of your child. It may take a "village" to raise…

Change and the Good Shepherd

I’ve been reading a great number of comment threads about the Notre Dame kerfuffle. So many folks are making use of polls and statistics to make their point. A great deal is being made of the Pew Center data indicating those who attend Mass regularly are more likely to disapprove of the Notre Dame invitation to President Obama. Is anyone really surprised?

Lumen Gentium, the constitution of the Church, describes the Eucharist as the “fount and apex of the whole Christian life”. Is it any surprise that those who participate regularly in the Sacrifice of the Mass have a different understanding of the faith than those who do not?

One comment took this observation a bit further by wondering how the opinions of those who not only attended Mass regularly but also received the Sacrament of Confession regularly would compare with those who do not. Regular sacramental confession fosters humility. Acknowledging one’s sins and throwing oneself upon the Mercy of God prepares one to accept God’s plan…