ISIS Can Make Me A Better Disciple

Whatever the West ultimately decides to do regarding ISIS, it won’t be enough. Or it will go too far. The West lacks godly leaders who are convicted in faith, who adhere to positive, natural law. They are fundamentalist secularists, and thus lack the will to battle the evil being perpetrated in Iraq and Syria, and they lack the language to name the barbarism for what it is. The United States is in the hands of those who advocate the wanton destruction of the unborn, and promote so-called gay marriage, undermining the family and society. With what moral authority, then, can they truly push back evil, even if they call it as such?

I have no confidence. I do not put my trust in princes.

Our era is the era of Lepanto, when the rosary defeated the invaders and pushed Islam off the European continent. Our era is the era of Constantine, when The Sign of the Cross led his soldiers to victory.

Our era is as of any other era – where evil exists and seeks to destroy, devour, and debase. Evil exists because man chooses to sin. Sin exists because all of mankind is fallen. Perhaps the evil is intensifying – I cannot say. In my short 49 years on Earth, I certainly haven’t witnessed anything as horrific as what’s happening in the Middle East. It is almost too much to bear. But I have nothing to compare it to. From the time Cain slew Abel to the present day, man has managed to inflict inhumanity on his neighbor with cruelty and maleficence.

Whatever the outcome of this current manifestation of battle against evil, whether through bombs or boots or bank freezes or other means – or ALL means – I believe it ultimately will be won or lost in the spiritual realm. It will be won or lost from our knees. If we as disciples fail to make reparation for sin on behalf of those caught in the grip of this intolerable evil, then we are as guilty, if not more so, than the world leaders who fail to do enough to save the victims. Whatever the outcome. If we fail to believe that God, in his infinite mastery and benevolence, will somehow, someday bring good out of these atrocities, as only He can – then I say the battle is already lost.

Christ exhorts us to not be afraid, to not despair. That with the faith of a mustard seed, we can move mountains. St Paul tells us that all things work to the good for those who believe. He also pleads that we pray without ceasing.

The poor souls in the Middle East are being driven from their homes. Christianity is being erased from lands where the apostles evangelized. They are being martyred for their faith – a full and total expression of what they believe in and hope for. I ought to be living my faith just as fully and totally, then, with equal measures of hope and belief, for their sake and for the sake of the world. It’s a call to be a better, intentional disciple.

It comes down to this: what am I willing to sacrifice in the here and now, in order to make reparation for the sins and evils being done? Perhaps I’m being called to do small things with great love. Perhaps God may require more. Whatever my sacrifice ends up being, it won’t be at the price of my blood, but it sure as hell better cost me something.

Patheos, Redeemed

As many – or most – of you know, I take good-natured shots at the Blorg from time to time. Not in a weird Internet-stalky sort of way – just to keep things light and amusing.

Along with that, many – or most – of you also know that a couple years ago, I wrote a post titled “The Problem With Patheos”. It remains my highest viewed post. It ruffled some feathers, as I knew it would, because it pointed out a number of errors on the Catholic Library page, as well as highlighted some features of the platform I didn’t like. While the post also garnered some support, some respondents took the opportunity to air their problems with individual Blorg members, or the fact that they are getting paid. Personally, I think it’s great they’re getting paid for what they report on, as any journalist or columnist does. I think when someone defines themselves as a “blogger”, it’s presumed that it’s a write-for-free proposition, never receiving compensation. That goes double if a person is a Catholic blogger. In that case, any money earned from said blog MUST be returned to the Church or to charity or something. Which, of course, is utter hogwash. A worker deserves his just wage.

As to the individual Blorgers – truth be told, I don’t read the vast majority of them because they’re not my preference. It’s not a personal thing – I’ve never met any of them, and I’m sure they’re wonderful people (or try to be, like everyone of us ought to be trying), and are faithful followers of Christ. They have devoted readers, and why shouldn’t they? All quality writers in their own right. And I wish each of them the greatest success possible. I just don’t have an interest in reading their work. Most of them have probably never heard of me, which is fine – the Internet is a big place, and I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. Kay syrah syrah.

But as of now, as of this moment, Patheos has utterly and completely redeemed itself. You read that correctly.

Does this mean the problems in the Library been corrected? Nope, not really – perhaps a few minor edits, but nothing major. (Ms Scalia, in her wondrous gracefulness, has been keeping me in the loop on the progress. Sounds like it’s been a horror story from day one, but she says it’s getting done. Which is cool.)

Oh, so then the ads gone, right? Uh, no. It’s how the platform works – the ads aren’t going to go away, so the best one can do is ignore them.

Well then, how has Patheos redeemed itself?

Simple. They just landed one of the best underappreciated Catholic bloggers on the block, that’s how. Not me, wise guy! No – they’ve assimilated Rebecca Frech, who blogs at Shoved To Them. She’s funny, intelligent, no-nonsense, a best-selling author, an incredible BFF, Texan, Catholic, a gun-totin’, child-raisin’, Crossfit-manic mom and devoted wife. She’s the unCola of the Mommy bloggers. Check her out…I mean, check her BLOG out, bookmark it, and become one of her million followers.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!!!!!

The Blorg also includes Jennifer Fitz now, another great Catholic blogger and Innerwebz friend (she does freelance editing for me). She’s kinda like the common sense barometer at the site – as others boomerang around with bombast and bluster, she’s the one sitting calmly at a table with a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies and a couple glasses of milk. So you go sit down, and the noise and tumult and rhetoric melt away with each bite of a cookie, and she plainly tells you which side of the bread is buttered.

Shit, that sounds corny – with a mixed metaphor to boot! – but I think you know where I’m coming from.

So go read her, too – at Sticking The Corners. Both are in the sidebar for easy peasy lemon squeezy access. Jen was subsumed into the Blorg awhile back, but I knew Rebecca was going to be sucked in too, so I wanted to wait and post about both at the same time.

There it is. Patheos is redeemed. Ms.Scalia, keep up the excellent work of landing quality bloggers. Although you may want to keep an eye on that Frech chick. She’s ambitious, and she says her new nickname is BQ

 

Rebecca Frech, future Blorg Queen?

Rebecca Frech, future Blorg Queen?

Her Hands Raise The Lance

It occurred to me during Mass today, during the consecration, of what happens whenever a womynpreest raises the host and chalice during one of her simulated masses. She is not confecting the Eucharist – of that we can be sure.

No, what she is doing, most likely, is raising the lance that pierced our Savior’s side, thrusting it into His Sacred Heart, again and again and again. And the blood and water flowing forth aren’t nourishing and cleansing the Church. Rather, the blood brings condemnation, and the water is the mercy of which they refuse to drink.

That’s the impression I received, which grieved me, so I prayed for them.

(I changed a word in the title, from “behold” to “raise”. It’s clearer.)

Top Ten Rejected Vatican Synod Topics

As everyone most likely knows by now, the Synod of the Family convenes in Rome the first weekend of October. Seems like every Catholic pundit out there has voiced their opinion at one place or another, regarding the purpose, intent, and probable outcome of the Synod. Which is fine – it’s what the Internet is for: random, anonymous people spouting their opinions for strangers to read and then argue over, because to do so amid polite company would result in little politeness and no company. But I digress.

I bet none of you knew, though, that the Vatican fields suggestions for synods like, all the time. They receive requests over the Synod Suggestion Hotline daily (the number is 39 06 698SYNOD*), which are reviewed monthly by a three-person committee, appointed by the Holy Father himself.

One of the committee members, under the condition of anonymity, provided the AoftheA Editorial Board the list of suggestions received in 2014 alone (417 to date). The board read through the list one late, long night at the local karaoke bar, and vaguely recalls picking the Top Ten Rejected Vatican Synod Topics.

In no particular order:

10) Synod on the Designated Hitter Rule
9) Synod on the Best Portrayal of Dr Who (Classic Era)
8) Synod on Backseat Drivers
7) Synod on Trolling and the Morality of Feeding Trolls
6) Synod on Womynpreests and Their Comedic Value
5) Synod on the Oxford Comma
4) Synod on the Moral Implications of Whether or Not Solo Did Indeed Shoot First
3) Synod on the Duty of Catholics With Regards to Papier-Mache Scary Giant Puppets
2) Synod on Overt Phallic Imagery, Like Pencil-Twirling
1) Synod on Peter Jackson’s Shamefully Thorough Destruction of The Hobbit

I don’t know about you, but some of those sound a heck of a lot more interesting than the plain-Jane, ho-hum “Family”. Which is why it’s probably a good idea I’m not on that committee.

Got any suggestions to pass along?

*I’m not paying your long distance charges, or accepting any consequences, if you decide to dial the number. Just sayin’.

After 40 Days Of Negative Pope Francis Posts, Blogger Admits “I’ve Become A Miserable SOB”

(AoftheAP) Catholic blogger Anselm Gregory Benedictus Ambrose Tiberius Athanasius, who writes at “Ex Ore Dei” under the pseudonym “Pepe”, admitted to his readers yesterday that writing negative posts about Pope Francis for forty consecutive days has turned him into “a miserable SOB”.

In a post titled “Pope Posts: Day 41″, Pepe wrote:

“What began as a crusade for Truth ended as a victory for self-discovery. And what I’ve discovered after forty consecutive days of complaining about how Pope Francis has been bad for Church, is that I’ve become an even more miserable SOB. Before embarking on this endeavor, I was merely incorrigible. Now I am a torte of rich arrogance, with alternating layers of curmudgeon and bitterness, covered with a thin gruel of pompous ganache.

“And you know what? It becomes me. Sure, I’m irritated every day, and I get short with my family and co-workers. I have fewer friends. I engage in long, protracted arguments in the combox with people I don’t know. Even my dog avoids me. But it’s made me a better Catholic.”

[...]

“One thing I know – all the hits, the comments, the links, the increased traffic – these 40 days of Pope Posts resonated with many of you out there in the blogosphere. So obviously what I’m doing is attractive, and is leading people to the faith. Will I continue? I’ve decided to let you, my faithful readers, make that decision for me. I have a poll set up in the sidebar.”

To date, the Pepe’s Pope Post Poll shows that 80% of respondents want him to continue, with 25 people already casting their votes.

Fist Bump Of Peace

Some Worship Commission chairperson somewhere will read this study, and think, “Hey! Why don’t we…?” You know it’s true.

Fist Bump Spreads Fewer Germs Than Handshakes, Study Finds

The familiar knocking of knuckles spreads only one-twentieth the amount of bacteria that a handshake does, researchers report. That’s better than a high-five, which still passes along less than half the amount as a handshake.

 

But why wait? Spread peace, not germs!

For the uninitiated, the following video shows a variety of different fist bumps you can use during Mass:

I prefer the Reverse Explosion and Parachute.

Men, Now Is The Time

This is it, guys – those of you who blog. Our chance to take control of the Catholic blogosphere. Let me fill you in on what’s going down.

Catholic Mommy Bloggers from the world over are congregating in Austin this very weekend for the first ever Edel Gathering. I know it sounds like a female rocker band outdoor concert thing, but it’s not. The name Edel is taken from Venerable Edel Quinn, and the Gathering is about Catholic moms getting their batteries recharged escaping the kids blah blah blah. But enough about the details. Let me throw vague and possibly untrue assertions at you instead.

Edel Gathering is the brainchild of Jen Fulwiler (the Catholic Internet Meme Queen, who, if you recall, luckily survived my coup from a couple years ago) and Hallie Lord, her death-dealing, strawberry-eating ninja right hand sidekick. They’re the primo Catholic Mommy Bloggers, the Generals of the Blogging Baby-making Brigade. They’ve gone and invited millions of mommy bloggers to Austin for a weekend confab.

Hallie & Jen getting ready to greet their guests on Saturday...

Hallie & Jen getting ready to greet their guests on Saturday…

The timing couldn’t be perfect. They have other Mommy bloggers as speakers, such as Haley Stewart. Other Mommy bloggers are in attendance, such as Calah Alexander, Kathryn Whitaker, Cari Donaldson, Mark Shea and Rebecca Frech. Are you beginning to sense a pattern here?

THE MOMMY BLOGGERS ARE OFF THE INTERNET!!!!

Don’t doubt me on this. You long-time readers know, that when you think “Acts of the Apostasy”, three words come to mind.

Fingers. Pulse. Catholic. Blogosphere.

It's okay - they can't count.

It’s okay – they can’t count.

So while they’re all gathered talking about babies, and swapping projectile vomiting stories, and comparing Jamberries, and effective potty-training techniques, and what have you – us guys have the perfect opportunity to take things over.

This can work. I’ve sneaked in an “educational” video at the Gathering to help with the revolution.

I can talk about our plans without worrying about the wimmins discovering what’s going on because, duh…THE MOMMY BLOGGERS ARE OFF THE INTERNET!!

I’m not talking small potatoes here either, like leaving the toilet seat up, or duct taping the kids to the wall, or rolling & flicking boogers behind the sofa (not that I would ever do that, but I’ve heard about it), or drinking straight from the milk jug. We have to go for the whole enchilada.

And not give it back.

So if you’re with me, sign up in the combox. Don’t be shy. Pull up your big-boy boxer shorts, be brave and join the revolution.

Finish your Honey Do list first, if you must. I’m not gonna judge you. But we only have til 11 AM Sunday.

(CORRECTION: I was just informed that Mark Shea isn’t there. My bad.)

Salvation History Time Machine, Part 2

Part 1 is here. That dealt with the Old Testament.

Part 2 is the New Testament – Gospels, Acts, the epistles, Revelation – the whole Biblical burrito.

The three events I’d like to go back and witness, in no particular order, are:

1) The Wedding at Cana, for a couple reasons. One, to see the reaction of the head steward and guests after the miracle; and two, to see Jesus at a social, joy-filled event. I think that would be cool.

2) The Transfiguration. That would totally blow me away.

3) The missionary journeys of any of the apostles who ventured far from Judea, after Pentecost. It would be fascinating to witness their faith, to get a better understanding of what they endured to spread the Gospel far and wide. Not St. Paul so much, but those whose stories & experiences are lost to history.

I left out the events surrounding Jesus’ Passion, and the Resurrection, because to me, they have more meaning being left shrouded in Holy Mystery.

So what would you like to go back and see?

Papal Bias

Remember when Pope Benedict said this, back in 2010?

“There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralisation, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants.”

I wonder how many bloggers, who defended and explained PBXVI’s comment back then, would say, if Pope Francis had said it today, that he’s trying to change Church teaching on contraception or some other outrageous thing.

I’m thinking quite a few.