I moan a little about some long terms troubles and look at what my pastor writes in the bulletin this week:

Winners never quit and quitters never win. Did you ever have a coach or a teacher or a parent tell you that when you were a child? It’s still great advice. Perseverance is a powerful virtue but it is a tough one. It’s hard to keep going when it appears that we’re making no progress. But that is exactly the advice which Jesus gives to His disciples. Persevere in prayer. Never give up. Believe that God hears you and that God will answer when the time is right. It doesn’t mean that God will answer in the way that we want, but that God will answer. We are not abandoned. We are not alone.

The breakthrough in humanity’s understanding of our relationship to God was in the first words of the prayer which Jesus taught. Our Father. God is a loving father, not a fierce being detached from us and our concerns. Our Father. Not “my” Father, but “our” Father. We are a part of a community of believers. We are One in God through Christ and the Holy Spirit. It’s never us against them, but all of us before the throne of a loving God who is our father.

Each word of this most perfect prayer is worthy of an extensive, prayerful study. In just the first two words, Jesus turns upside down the world’s pattern of prayer and invites to see God in an entirely different light. No matter how bleak the circumstances, those two words alone give us the hope to persevere.

Peace and Good Will,

At Mass, this week’s Gospel Luke 11:1-13 is all about perseverance. It’s exactly the message I needed today at the time I needed it the most. God is funny like that.

should be read by any person who wants to understand just how radically different Christianity was regarding women.

One of the things that people forget about inspired scripture is that with the possible exception of Moses, when it was actually written the author, (in this case Paul of Tarsus) didn’t sit down, pen in hand to say: “Ok time to write the scriptures”. Each author was in fact writing for a particular reason.

In the case of Paul this is more pronounced than any other example. Paul’s letters were in fact, letters. Specific instruction and advice for specific churches for both general instruction and to handle individual issues.

One of the biggest dangers in scripture is the tendency to take specific quotes out of context to make an individual point. I see a lot of this particularly when debating non-catholics and atheists. In scripture it can’t be over stated that things need to be in context. Joy Addresses this:

The lines must be interpreted in the context of a Church that did place women in leadership. As J.R. Kirk has pointed out, Romans 16’s long list of early church leaders included some female names: Phoebe (whom Paul referred to as a deacon, though the word is often translated as “minister”), Prisca, Julia, Mary, and Junia, who is referred to as “relative and fellow prisoner” of Paul’s. Along with Adronicus, Paul says, Junia was “prominent among the apostles,” and was in Christ before Paul’s own conversion. (Junia is often translated as “Junius,” a masculine name.)

Paul did not want Christians to conform to the dictates of the world, nor did he want us to violate them. We are to transcend them. He was brought into faith directly by the Lord, the same Jesus Christ who first explained that it was as much adultery for a male to break the bonds of matrimony as for a female; the same Lord who showed himself first to women when he rose from the dead; the Lord who ate with female prostitutes. And it was this Lord who admonished Martha that learning the Word was more important than cooking or housework (Luke 11:38-42).

Let’s take another example Ephesians 5. I’ve actually written about this before but lets do it again. Most people who want to cry misogyny in the church look at verses 22-25 but lets look at the verses 21-33 in context. All Emphasis mine:

21: Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.

The concept of being subordinate to each other suggest equality, something very radical for the time.

Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. v22-24

This is the verse that gets people all a twitter. For its time there is nothing odd about it. The subordinate place of women was well established in culture for centuries at this point. It is often made optional when it comes up for reading. My parish priest’s tackled it a few years ago. I want you to remember the text in italics it is very important.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. v: 25-27

Note that As Christ loved the church. Can you measure how much Christ loved the church? That in itself is a radical statement but the next one is even more radical:

So (also) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. V 28

That is the ultimate statement of equality. The wife is the same as the husband, and must be loved as one loves oneself.

For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, v:29

“No one hates his own flesh.” Paul is breaking the rules of centuries here. He is re-writing culture in an absurd way for his time. Can you imagine how this must have sounded in the 1st century?

because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man shall leave (his) father and (his) mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” v:30-31

This is significant because by this line he directly links Christ’s words to this whole argument. He shows that this is not just his opinion but the command of Christ.

This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church. v32

To a first century person this would be a great mystery, this whole idea is a great mystery.

In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.V33

And the big finish. Repeating what was already said. Reinforcing it.

In conclusion taken for its time this was an incredible statement. Paul is making the case for the respect for woman in the 1st century and it is from that base that western civ has reached the point it has.

And just one other note. Remember in the dark ages it was the Church and the monks who copied scripture that kept it in place and decided what was inspired scripture. If the Catholic Church was as hostile to women as some pretend how easy would it have been for the Catholic church to in that first millennium to exclude that from scripture or drop or it declare it wrong. Who could have stopped them? It was within the church that scripture and literacy was the most prevalent. Yet guided by the Holy Spirit it did not.

It is not a coincidence that the Koran although it steals a lot from the Bible it never quotes Paul. It’s misogyny would have a hard time coping with it.

There is some news from Illinois via the American Papist on the Illinois firing scandal. Take a peek at the form letter they are sending out:

I learned of this action on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) campus late last week and immediately asked Chancellor Robert Easter, who oversees the campus, to provide me with a briefing on the matter. I want to assure you that the University administration shares my commitment to the principles of academic freedom. At the same time, we do believe it’s important to fully investigate all of the details related to this situation. As I’m sure you’re aware, it is sometimes the case that public reports may convey only part of the story. I think it important to reserve judgment until I have all of the facts and I hope you’ll agree.

We have asked the UIUC Senate’s standing Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure to immediately review this action. This is the mechanism on the campus through which these matters should be vetted. We expect this review to be completed very soon. By using our channels of shared governance and review, we are in the best position to make informed decisions that afford a fair process for all.

If you don’t think these guys are worried, you’re right:

Chancellor Robert Easter has asked the University of Illinois’ Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure to determine whether the university violated the academic freedom and right to free speech of adjunct professor Dr. Kenneth Howell.

Howell, who has taught in the university’s Department of Religion since 2001, was recently fired for explaining in a class on Catholicism that the Church believes that homosexual behavior violates natural moral law.

University President Michael Hogan addressed faculty senators on Monday, after receiving 100 e-mails about Howell’s case, reported The News-Gazette.

“We want to be able to reassure ourselves there was no infringement on academic freedom here,” Hogan said. “This is a very, very important, not to mention a touchy and sensitive, issue. Did this cross the line somehow?”

Why are they worried? Because they are being noticed.

…at the University of Illinois:

The University of Illinois has fired an adjunct professor who taught courses on Catholicism after a student accused the instructor of engaging in hate speech by saying he agrees with the church’s teaching that homosexual sex is immoral.

The professor, Ken Howell of Champaign, said his firing violates his academic freedom. He also lost his job at an on-campus Catholic center.

Howell, who taught Introduction to Catholicism and Modern Catholic Thought, says he was fired at the end of the spring semester after sending an e-mail explaining some Catholic beliefs to his students preparing for an exam.

After all if you have believing Catholics teaching about Catholic belief then you tend to hear actual Catholic belief rather than pseudo Catholicism and we can’t have that, too dangerous.

This is an illustration where the whole idea of “hate speech” goes. It’s simply repression because “hate speech” can be defined as any speech the administration hates, and apparently Centuries of Catholic belief is hated by this administration.

There is a lot of commentary on the net

Right Wing News:

So much for schools that foster intellectual exploration and truth.

But that is the left-wing educational system we’ve been saddled with since the turn of the last century, isn’t it? Only atheism, socialism, leftism, communism, anti-Americanism, feminism, homoerotica and a fascistic quashing of free speech… only these are acceptable doctrines for our schools to disseminate, of course.

Neptunus Lex:

Howell didn’t say that he hated homosexuals, only that he agreed with Catholic doctrine that their behavior is unnatural and therefore immoral. You can agree with that or not, but the existence of this doctrine is a non-controversial fact. Religion students may not like to be exposed to such facts, but that doesn’t change the existence of them. In fact, the only “hate” on display is the anonymous student’s hatred for what the professor said. Voltaire weeps.

The Blog Prof:

Is this what liberals call ‘tolerance?’ Is this what gay activists call tolerance?

American Power notes the professor is an author of four books on religion and concludes:

It’s obvious that Professor Howell is eminently qualified to discuss the religious morality of homosexuality, and why in fact should it be surprising that questions of this nature would arise in classes on the Introduction to Catholicism and Modern Catholic Thought? The man was doing his job.

And at Gateway Pundit guest blogger John Burns says this:

Of course, the irony here is the constantly disingenuous, pathetic overtures socialist progressives make to free speech and rigorous debate. One cannot escape college without hearing about the Catholic Church’s assault on Copernicus’ and Galileo’s notion of a heliocentric universe. “This,” as they love to pontificate, “is the perfect example of how religion kills the free association of ideas, roots out free thinking, and persecutes unfavored points of view. With religion, dogmatism and sacred cows stampede rationality.”

Well, the anti-religion crowd has nonetheless cultivated dogmatism and sacred cows of their own. Socialist pundits will dismiss this, arguing that anti-Tyranny students often try to get their profs fired.

The difference, of course, is that in this instance the professor was not making assimilation of his ideas a prerequisite for passing the course. Offering up your ideas, and forcing students to internalize them are two different things…Socialist professors being guilty of the latter, and with high frequency.

This is in fact the norm and part of the job description of Christianity in general and Catholicism in particularly thus we will give the last word to Christ via John 15:18-23

“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin; but as it is they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me also hates my Father.

That doesn’t mean you don’t object to injustice, particularly as an American, it means that you aren’t surprised by it.

link that is excoriating Sharon Angle for her position on abortion.

I don’t know if she is Catholic or not but are we do deduce from their reaction that believing Catholics who follow the Church doctrine rather the Kennedy/Pelosi doctrine are too “extreme” for office? Is that not a religious test?

Just asking.

at the final shot of the two towers from this embed at Little Miss Attila’s site. I won’t give the other side the satisfaction, I’m just pissed they haven’t been rebuilt. As a computer guy I did get a real kick out of seeing the old punch cards. There was still a single card reader when I started at Raytheon in 1985.

Nor does the Anchoress links to Burke’s marvelous series (that deserves more attention) cause shock, as a regular reader and as a person who is into history I know the vast contributions that the Church has given civilization.

But this should be required watching for school students everywhere. You can find more here. I suspect it would get more respect from the tea parties than from elsewhere.

Now if they only would release Steve Allen’s Meeting of Minds….

and perhaps even a tad cruel.

I got up for morning mass today but my youngest son who was at a party till very late asked if he could go to 11/12 at St. Bernards since it was closing.

I said sure and decided to go with him although I was never really into St. Bernards. Well as it got near time to leave my wife mentioned that my mother would be going to the 2 p.m. at Madonna of the Holy Rosary also that last mass at that closing church, so at my son’s request we went there.

I used to go to that church every now and again, it was close to my house as a kid and my grandparents belonged to it after it was built close to their neighborhood plus it was a missionary church of St. Anthony’s so there was a connection.

The Mass was absolutely packed, the music was inspiring and the very long sermon of the priest who was retiring was one of the best he ever gave (he was an associated priest in my youth at St. Anthonys so I was very familiar with him.). There was an incensing of the altar, a sprinkling of holy water and an procession of adoration to our lady After the profession of faith he had everyone kneel and I saw something I never saw before, he started to recite an act of contrition and a fair amount of the congregation (those who knew it anyway) recited it as well, he absolved us and gave us a penance and continued the mass. At the end of the 2 1/2 hours the entire congregation stayed till the very end of the last note of the final hymn before going to a reception after mass downstairs.

It was very beautiful but I found myself leaving the church very cynical.

During the very fine homily the Pastor he departed from the gospel and readings for a moment and talked about the parish he had been pastor of for 16 years. He talked of the Garlic Festival and the famous Fish fry and how had people worked on them etc etc etc, but that was one of the things that struck me. When speaking of the church, he didn’t talk of weddings, funerals, and masses, it was the festivals the parties. It reminded me of something I overheard a few months ago concerning the church closings. Somebody was going on about shocked he was that Holy Rosary was closing, how much money they had in the bank, how new the building was (it is the youngest parish in town) and how big and well attended the festivals were. The person he was talking to replied, yes, those things were true, if only the masses were as well attended as the festivals.

It was like a few months ago at St. Bernards, I had two different first communions to attend, one at St. Bernards and one at St. Anthony’s both have catholic schools that feed them children but St. Bernards is a much bigger church that has been around for 70 years longer, in fact it is the mother church of the city. Yet The church was not very full and the first communion class was smaller than St. Anthony’s which due to the number of kids receiving had to split things into two masses to accommodate everyone.

The church is not about the size of the place, or the parties, it’s about the sacraments, the devotions and the worship. The other things are fine but one they take precedence over the actual worship of God then the church has already closed, the people just don’t know it yet.

In various denominations we see it where social acceptance is more important than the word, in fact today there was a story about a church that took down its cross because it wanted to be “open to all views“. Once that happens its no longer a church, it’s a social club. There is nothing wrong with social clubs, but if your goal is salvation, a social club can’t deliver. The Lutherans, the Anglicans all have had this issue, and from my experience so do some Catholic Colleges.

It’s sad but that’s the way it is, our fate is in our own hands, may we have the wisdom to choose the right one.

from this post reflect the question of “Why I’m no longer a democrat?” better than anything else. First the bigotry against us:

But here’s what I really meant: because I am a faithful Catholic, who believes what the Church teaches (and has taught for over two thousand years) – many people today consider me to be a bigot, and would consider my children to be bigots if they grew up to inherit my (Catholic) views on the nature of human sexuality and the meaning of marriage. I wrote nothing mean or hateful in my original post, yet the vast majority of negative comments I have received are obviously hateful (foul language, intimations about my personal morality, family history, etc).

And the actions of those who oppose us:

Second, if the arguments for state-sanctioned homosexual unions are so crystal clear – why the violence, and why the anger directed at anyone who dares to support arguments against the proposition? This is not an example of me being thin-skinned (over five years of blogging my Catholic convictions has toughened me up plenty); rather, the verbal and public abuse that has become acceptable against proponents of traditional marriage is shameful. Even Newsweek published a story last week about this growing, troubling phenomenon

Yup that makes nails it. As long as the Democratic party makes it clear that believing Roman Catholics are not welcome, them I’m not interested.

Although I cast doubt upon the veracity of Ahmed Aboul Gheit claim concerning the president. I see an interesting parallel between the tactics.

In Egypt we have this story via Pajamas Media:

The head of the Coptic Church in Egypt has rejected a court ruling that orders the church to allow divorced Copts to remarry in the church emphasis mine. In a press conference held on Tuesday June 8, Pope Shenouda [III], reading from the statement issued by the Holy Synod’s 91 Bishops, including himself, said: “The Coptic Church respects the law, but does not accept rulings which are against the Bible and against its religious freedom which is guaranteed by the Constitution.”

Mind you divorce has always been legal, this rules order the church to accept divorce in its doctrine. As PJ Media points out concerning the Coptic Pope :

he is not enforcing a totalitarian law that Copts must accept; he is simply saying that, in accordance to the Bible (e.g., Matt 5:32), and except in certain justifiable circumstances (e.g., adultery), Copts cannot remarry in the church: “Let whoever wants to remarry to do it away from us. There are many ways and churches to marry in. Whoever wants to remain within the church has to abide by its laws.”

If this still sounds a tad “non-pluralistic,” know that at least Copts have a way out: quit the church. No such way out for Muslims: Sharia law — Egypt’s “primal source of legislation” — mandates death for Muslims who wish to quit Islam.

The Coptic pope is not taking this laying down:

Pope Shenouda further threatened to defrock any priest who allows a divorced Christian to remarry, except in cases where the divorce was on the grounds of adultery. Those that have remarried after divorce will not be allowed in Church.

On the heels of regular persecution of Coptics in Egypt this ruling seems a thinly veiled attempt to divide the strongest Christian church in the area.

Meanwhile in the US we see divide and conquer in another context

The first point to understand is that Obama knows about the debate Catholics are having over him.

That’s why he usually talks only to Catholics who share his agenda. He has been careful to ensure that the terms of his debate with Catholics have always been on his terms. He sends CHA a video and gives Sr. Keehan a pen because he knows that these individuals chose to follow him instead of the bishops. So he makes a place at his table for them and rewards what he sees as their loyalty.

The Bishops however are very clear on what is what.

In April, three bishops of the USCCB ad hoc Health Care Concerns Committee, Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Kevin Vann of Fort Worth and Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, also met with Sr. Keehan to try to make her understand the bishop’s concerns and thus bring CHA back in line with Church teachings, however the meeting concluded with “the same frustrating results.”

The president of the USCCB reiterated the bishop’s fundamental opposition to the health care reform. “The bill which was passed is fundamentally flawed. The Executive Order is meaningless. Sr. Carol is mistaken in thinking that this is pro-life legislation,” Cardinal George emphatically said.

The cardinal also expressed disappointment with CHA “and other co-called Catholic groups” because, “in the end, they have weakened the moral voice of the bishops in the U.S.”

In that regard, Cardinal George highlighted that the USCCB and CHA’s positions on Obama’s health care are not just “two equally valid conclusions inspired in the same Catholic teaching,” and reiterated that what the bishops said on May 21 in their statement “Setting the record Straight” is and will remain the official position of the USCCB on the contentious issue.

The president knows and understands this. It is not possible for a faithful Catholic to support abortion in this manor, thus the attempt to divide the church is what this president and the pseudo catholic organizations. The American Papist again:

I have yet to hear a Catholic who supports the Obama agenda say, “I like Obama’s agenda, but of course I don’t believe what he thinks about or how he acts towards the Church.” It seems that the Catholics who support Obama’s agenda, or the individuals who criticize Catholics for not supporting his agenda, very often couch their support for him in political, not religious terms. But Obama has made religious claims, and overstepped religious boundaries, in pursuit of his political goals. In the ensuing mix-up, there can be no complaint that Catholics who oppose Obama are confusing politics with religion, for when Obama places himself against the authority of the bishops, he has stepped into the Catholic scene.

To provide a couple brief parallel (and purely hypothetical) examples, what if Obama sent a message to a group of orthodox jews who violate kosher laws and praised them for supporting his domestic initiative of promoting American pork consumption?

To put it simply the president understands that a strong and faithful American Catholic Church is going to be a problem for him (as does the media) and his agenda and any attempt to divide or weaken it is in his political interest.