Saturday, February 24, 2018

Bob Dylan - Gotta Serve Somebody (with lyrics)

Bishop Barron and I have something in common.

Pax et bonum

Abortion Activist Admits in Court She Gave False Testimony Against Pro-Life People She’s Trying to Silence

Given that Roe was based on a lie in the first place, no surprise here:

Abortion Activist Admits in Court She Gave False Testimony Against Pro-Life People She’s Trying to Silence: A star witness in New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s lawsuit against a group of pro-life sidewalk counselors admitted in federal court that her testimony was not true ...

Pax et bonum

Friday, February 23, 2018

Senator Durbin: No Communion Until You Repent of Support for Abortion

The following statement was released February 13, 2018. I would like to see other Bishops do this.

Statement from Bishop Thomas John Paprocki on Senate Failure to Pass Pain-Capable Unborn Children’s Act

SPRINGFIELD — I agree completely with His Eminence, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, who called the U.S. Senate’s failure to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act “appalling.”

Fourteen Catholic senators voted against the bill that would have prohibited abortions starting at 20 weeks after fertilization, including Sen. Richard Durbin, whose residence is in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. In April 2004, Sen. Durbin’s pastor, then Msgr. Kevin Vann (now Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange, CA), said that he would be reticent to give Sen. Durbin Holy Communion because his pro-abortion position put him outside of communion or unity with the Church’s teachings on life. My predecessor, now Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, said that he would support that decision. I have continued that position.

Canon 915 of the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law states that those “who obstinately persist in mani­fest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” In our 2004 Statement on Catholics in Political Life, the USCCB said, “Failing to protect the lives of innocent and defenseless members of the human race is to sin against justice. Those who formulate law therefore have an obligation in conscience to work toward correcting morally defective laws, lest they be guilty of cooperating in evil and in sinning against the common good.” Because his voting record in support of abortion over many years constitutes “obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin,” the determination continues that Sen. Durbin is not to be admitted to Holy Communion until he repents of this sin. This provision is intended not to punish, but to bring about a change of heart. Sen. Durbin was once pro-life. I sincerely pray that he will repent and return to being pro-life.

Pax et bonum

Thursday, February 22, 2018

My Car, My Choice

Imagine ...

I have a car. It is full of things from my life - papers, books, guitar picks, empty candy wrappers, loose change, extra dog biscuits, and so on. It is decorated according to my taste, with bumper stickers, fuzzy dice, etc. I keep it fueled and oiled, I have the engine and brakes and tires checked on a regular basis.

I have to get somewhere. I decide to take the highway.

I go above the speed limit. I weave in and out of lanes.

Another driver reacts to my driving, loses control, crashes, and dies.

People try to blame me.

I tell them I'm not to blame. I was not driving that other car. I did not kill that other driver. They did not keep out of my way.

I was just driving my own car. I had places to go. I had things to do.

Don't try to oppress me with antiquated traffic laws.

I am driver, hear my engine roar.

My car. My choice.

Keep your regulations off my carburetor.

Pax et bonum

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Billy Graham: “My Heart Aches for America” Because of Abortion

Pro-Life Evangelist Billy Graham Passes Away, Said “My Heart Aches for America” Because of Abortion: Respected pro-life evangelist Billy Graham passed away today at his home in North Carolina.

His devotion to Christianity and biblical values earned him praise aand respect from people around the world.

While Reverend Graham was noted for his evangelical work in calling people to a relationship with Jesus Christ and repentance from sin, he also had a solid devotion to biblical principles. That included opposition to abortion. ... 

Pax et bonum

Two quotations from Billy Graham

Image result for Billy Graham

"My home is in Heaven. I'm just traveling through this world." - Billy Graham

"I am not going to Heaven because I have preached to great crowds or read the Bible many times. I'm going to Heaven just like the thief on the cross who said in that last moment: 'Lord, remember me.'" - Billy Graham

There are more wonderful quotations from him - but these two seemed appropriate today.

There is so much that could be said about the Reverend Billy Graham. He was a great man. He was a devout man. He was a true servant of God.

If I am fortunate enough to get to Heaven I fully expect to see him there.

Thank you Reverend Graham. God bless you.

Pax et bonum

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Trying a "lune"

I came across a new poetic form, the "lune" - there was a short piece about it in the latest Scifaikuest.

A lune is basically a shorter haiku, though with only one rule: It consists of 13 syllables arranged in lines of 5-3-5.

Lunes can be about any subject. Since I learned about them in a science fiction poetry journal, though, I tried to write a science fiction related one.

On the asteroid
slow dancing
in fading Earthlight

Hmm. I might try more.

Pax et bonum

WHY I'M BECOMING CATHOLIC (From an Ex-Protestant)

Pax et bonum

Major Protestant YouTube Star Announces She's Converting to Catholicism | ChurchPOP

Major Protestant YouTube Star Announces She's Converting to Catholicism | ChurchPOP: "I did not want to convert, but I believe that it is true."

I wish her well. Welcome home!

Pax et bonum

Monday, February 19, 2018

Some songs (including a pro-life one)

I was cleaning out some files when I discovered a some songs I'd written - a few dating back to the late 70s!

I'd only vaguely remembered the lyrics to some, so it was nice finding copies of the songs.

"Georgia River" - one of the first songs I'd written, definitely a 70s kind of song with a Band influence.

"The Music Is A Lie" - reference to "plastic hair" (disco, or maybe Devo?) and taking "soma" (I'd recently read Brave New World).

"The Shower Song" - a tune that got me to the semifinals at the Monroe County Fair talent show, but which I feel uncomfortable performing now due to some of the lyrics.

"Lookin' Out for Number One" - social commentary, of course - with a folk/punk feel!

I remember a song I wrote called "Children of the Earth" that I wrote for an off-Broadway musical (really!) when I lived in New York City, though it didn't make the cut and I don't know if the musical was ever actually produced (I heard it was, and I helped to write part of the script, so you never know, my writing credits might include a musical!). For the life of me I can't recall any of the song  except for the title and part of the chorus.

Then there's a later song, "3 a.m." - a pro-life song I created for a 40 Days for Life rally, and then reprised a couple of years later for another rally. I have the lyrics, but I never wrote down the chords, and so I'm trying to recall how it goes. I hope to polish it and record it some day - maybe post on Youtube.

Here are the lyrics (which I may revise):

3 a.m.
Another night
She’s haunted by
A baby’s cry

In the night
No way to hide
From the emptiness
She feels inside

And all those things
she’ d believed
she now knows
she’d been deceived

With a choice
she’s now a mother
who will never
hold her child.

He turns a page
He turns away
The words get lost
In what he can’t say

He’d shown support
He’d gone along
Despite a feeling
That it was wrong

He resents the loss
And that on that day
Society said he
really had no say

Without a choice
He’s now a father
Who will never
Hold his child

We were too young
We were afraid
We were too poor
The time was wrong
It was just a choice
It wasn’t human
It was just cells
It wasn’t alive
It couldn’t feel
It was just a choice
It was just a choice
It was just a choice

Safe within
His mother’s womb
But when she chose
It spelled his doom

He tried to flee
When death came near
He tried to scream
No one could hear

Now he rests
In God’s love
He’s forgiven but
Laments from above

Because of choice
They’re now parents
Who will never
Hold their child

We were too young
We were afraid
We were too poor
The time was wrong
It was just a choice
It wasn’t human
It was just cells
It wasn’t alive
It couldn’t feel
It was just a choice
It was just a choice
It was just a choice

He’s not a choice
He’s a child
Who will never
Be held. 

Some of those early songs I actually performed publicly way back then. I might publicly perform some of them again, along with other originals like "I'm Gonna Live (Til the Day I Die)" and "Maggie," two songs from that period that I kept on singing, and the children's song "There's a Great Big Monster Under My Bed."

Maybe I'll record them all and put them on Youtube.

Pax et bonum

Gun control and abortion

During a Sunday visit to Facebook (I'm fasting from it for Lent except on Sundays) I spotted a friend's post that began as follows:

"Question: why aren't more people talking about repealing the 2nd Amendment? That's really what this country needs. ..."

My hurried response - I was about to sign off from Facebook for a week - was:
"Important topic - certainly reasonable limits on types of guns and on who can buy them make sense - but what about an objective discussion of overturning Roe V Wade and thereby saving hundreds of thousands of lives?. Thanks to advances in science when it comes to the unborn we now know far more than what they knew back in 1973, so why aren't more people talking rationally about that?"

I could have said more. For example, just to be nit-picky, there are many people calling for repealing the Second Amendment and doing so for many years now.

I don't know all the responses to my comment - I'm off Facebook today - but I can imagine many will be about mixing of issues - gun violence and abortion - and defending legal abortion.

But I see the two issues as related. They are both life issues. Both are a reflection of the violence in our culture, and of the idea that one way to deal with problems is through violence rather than seek healing or accept responsibility. Indeed, there are some who say abortion is one of the root causes of the increased violence in our society that we've seen in recent years. (Keeping in mind, of course, that our history is full of violence, sometimes even greater than what we see now in terms of crime, murder, and riots, just to name a few examples.)

St. Teresa of Calcutta observed, "The greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion, which is war against the child. The mother doesn't learn to love, but kills to solve her own problems. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want." She also noted, "I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child - a direct killing of the innocent child - murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion?"

I think she is right on target here. Gun violence and abortion are both parts of the what Pope St. John Paul II described as the "culture of death."

(Interestingly, reporter Becky Griffin gave the link a different spin, tweeting, “Woman puts baby up for adoption, he grows up to be a violent young man who will spend the rest of his life in prison for a mass murder. Tell me more about how abortions are wrong,”  Even some pro-choicers responded to that one negatively!)

My second point was about the scale of violence. The killing of 17 in the Florida school was horrible. All homicides are horrible. According to FBI statistics, in 2015, there were just under 16,000 homicides nationwide, approximately 70 percent of which involved guns - about 11,200. Yet that same year just over 900,000 abortions took place - that's more than 50 times the number of people killed by murder that year, and 80 times the number killed by guns. Why aren't people more upset about that? And while there are some pro-lifers who would favor repealing the Second Amendment, or would support more gun control, I get the sense that many of the people speaking up for those positions are also pro-choice - a seeming inconsistency. If you are opposed to the murder of innocent human beings by one method why would you not be opposed to it by a method that claims many times more lives?

As for the Roe decision, it was terribly flawed, based on incomplete and distorted "science." We now know so much more, and we are aware of the forces that helped to push it through. Supreme Court decisions have been reversed before, so it's not a reach to say it could happen again. Indeed, it's far more likely than repealing an amendment to the Constitution (though that has happened before).

What this country really needs is honestly and objectively to examine the root causes of the brokenness and violence that lead to some people thinking using guns or aborting babies are somehow appropriate responses to problems.
Pax et bonum

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Current Read: "To Light A Fire On The Earth"

Image result for To Light a Fire on the Earth

I'm currently reading To Light A Fire On The Earth by Bishop Barron (with John Allen). Very stimulating - I like his approach to evangelizing; his Catholicism series very much reflects this approach.

In addition, he is a fan of Dylan!

The ideas very much resonate with the classical education approach used at my school emphasizing Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. Indeed, I used a Bishop Barron video from Youtube about evangelizing through beauty to help prepare students to read Uncle Tom's Cabin.

I look forward to reading more of the book - and to sharing it with others.

Pax et bonum

At Planned Parenthood (Rosary)

Praying the rosary deepens our faith, and strengthens us agains evil.

woman gives finger
to group saying rosary -
who's more violent?

Pax et bonum

Friday, February 16, 2018

Lenten Friday (senryu)

Lenten Friday -
vegetarian ponders
not eating tofu

A variation ...

Ash Wednesday -
should a vegetarian
abstain from tofu?

Pax et bonum

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Bishop Barron cites Dylan's "Tryin' to Get to Heaven"

In his book (with John Allen), To Light A Fire On The Earth, Bishop Robert Barron talks about passion for Bob Dylan, and cites this song specifically.

"Buddy Holly, Woody Guthrie, Elvis, and others influenced him, but it's Biblical take which drives his interest in sin, judgment, eternal life, and God. One of his later songs, 'I'm Trying to Get to Heaven Before they Close the Door,' has stayed with me. Often when I'm in prayer in my chapel I'll look up at the tabernacle and say, 'I'm just trying to get to Heaven before they close the door.' When it gets down to it, that's all I want. I'm just trying to get to Heaven before they close the door."

The lyrics are typical Dylan:

The air is getting hotter
There's a rumbling in the skies
I've been wading through the high muddy water
With the heat rising in my eyes
Every day your memory grows dimmer
It doesn't haunt me like it did before
I've been walking through the middle of nowhere
Trying to get to heaven before they close the door
When I was in Missouri
They would not let me be
I had to leave there in a hurry
I only saw what they let me see
You broke a heart that loved you
Now you can seal up the book and not write anymore
I've been walking that lonesome valley
Trying to get to heaven before they close the door
People on the platforms
Waiting for the trains
I can hear their hearts a-beatin'
Like pendulums swinging on chains
When you think that you lost everything
You find out you can always lose a little more
I'm just going down the road feeling bad
Trying to get to heaven before they close the door
I'm going down the river
Down to New Orleans
They tell me everything is gonna be all right
But I don't know what "all right" even means
I was riding in a buggy with Miss Mary-Jane
Miss Mary-Jane got a house in Baltimore
I been all around the world, boys
Now I'm trying to get to heaven before they close the door
Gonna sleep down in the parlor
And relive my dreams
I'll close my eyes and I wonder
If everything is as hollow as it seems
Some trains don't pull no gamblers
No midnight ramblers, like they did before
I been to Sugar Town, I shook the sugar down
Now I'm trying to get to heaven before they close the door.
I am a fan of Dylan as well - though I have to admit he's sometimes hard to listen to on his recent albums and songs (such as this one) because of his voice. I liked his distinctive voice in the 60s and 70s, but it's gotten harsher and rougher in the last two decades.
Ah, but his lyrics.

Pax et bonum

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Blessed Solanus Casey: Canonization Prayer

Canonization Prayer

O God, I adore You. I give myself to You.
May I be the person You want me to be,
and May Your will be done in my life today.
I thank You for the gifts You gave Father Solanus.
If it is Your Will, bless us with the Canonization of
Father Solanus so that others may imitate
and carry on his love for all the poor and
suffering of our world.
As he joyfully accepted Your divine plans,
I ask You, according to Your Will,
to hear my prayer for… (your intention)
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“Blessed be God in all His Designs.”

The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron
Archbishop of Detroit
May 2017

Pax et bonum

Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Contemporary Poet I'd Never Read Before

Standing in the aisle
at the bookstore,

while reading the poetry of a poet
I'd never read before
but the cover of whose book

I was reminded of things
I'd thought of saying
but never said,
and then recalled
a pan of spaghetti sauce
I once left on the stove too long
with regret.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Changes at my old school

As I wrote last June, I took a new job at a new school that I'd wanted to teach at for a long time - a very orthodox, solid classical education school. That's the positive. It was the right decision.

But part of what led me to take this job was also unhappiness with things going on at my old school - a school that had strayed from its Catholic roots in many ways, and had engaged in some questionable academic practices. I wrote a lengthy letter to the board when I left.

There have been rumors of problems at the school this year, and I just received an e-mail from a teacher there letting me know the principal with whom I had had some problems just announced his retirement.

I don't know if this was his choice, or a diplomatic way for the board to ease him out. I don't know if my letter when I quit, or letters from other teachers and the departure of some other teachers, played a role. I may never know - "personnel matter" - or I may get some feedback in the coming weeks.

Whatever the case, I hope they hire a faith-filled academically-solid principal to turn the school around. And I wish that retiring principal well.

As for me, I'm happy where I am.

Pax et bonum

I AM THEY - From the Day (Official Music Video)

Got me tapping my toes!

Pax et bonum

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Biting my tongue

The other night I got into a conversations with a man outside my church.

In the course of the conversation, he began to reveal more about himself than I really wanted to hear - I got the sense that he is a lonely, needy individual.

As part of his revelations he disclosed that after his wife died he lived with a woman for seven years. He said they had not married because she was receiving Social Security benefits from her husband - I got the impression he had died - and if she married the benefits would end. He argued that a lot of women do that, and that is was somehow okay to just live together like that.

I suggested that he consider getting to confession as that was a serious matter.

He brushed aside my suggestions, noting that I was moral because I was a Franciscan, and because I had to obey such rules because of my job.

So ... basically he was saying sexual morality was okay for me because I was religious, but was not required for him. And that money trumped morality.

I suddenly remembered Dorothy Day responding when people called her a saint that she did not want to be dismissed that easily. In other words, by making her a "saint" she was somehow able to do the things she did, but since they were not saints they could rationalize not doing those things. She did not appreciate that - and saw it as a way to avoid responsibility.

As for the man, he goes to church and is involved with a church ministry. But he seems to have a shallow understanding of his faith.

As I noted, I got the sense he was a lonely, needy - and confused - person. I was tempted to say more, but I thought if I pushed the issue it might drive him away. Maybe there's hope for a conversation later.

So I bit my tongue.

For now.

Pax et bonum

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Cinquain - wrecked spaceship

This world,
silent except
for the rattling of

the colony ship’s wreckage in
the wind.

Pax et bonum

Is there Limbo? Well, ...

At the barbershop yesterday the issue of abortion came up (I had just come from praying outside Planned Parenthood), and one of the barbers asked, "Whatever happened to Limbo?" He noted that he had been taught that was where the souls of aborted babies go, and that he had not heard anyone talking about it in recent years.

I responded that the Church wasn't really teaching Limbo as a formal doctrine, that it was more of a popular belief for years. But I didn't know much in great detail about it.

I do remember hearing about it when I was younger. I recall in Catholic grade school imagining it as a place where there were all these giggling, cooing babies. They seemed happy, but it struck me as kind of boring. And I also remember talk that a kind of Limbo existed for adults who had not been baptized, but who had led good lives, so they were not condemned to Hell, but could not get into Heaven, which, of course, was Catholic.

A place for some good Protestants, good Buddhists, Ghandi, and the like.

By the time I was a teen I'd already begun to think that Catholic-only notion seemed unfair, and that there were likely many good non-Catholics in heaven.

But the topic here is babies and Limbo.

After that conversation at the barbershop, I went home and did a little research.

There's a spate of articles about it - and debate over it. There were even people who declared that if you don't believe in Limbo, YOU ARE NOT CATHOLIC.


Then I came across THE HOPE OF SALVATION FOR INFANTS  WHO DIE WITHOUT BEING BAPTISED from the International Theological Commission:

The International Theological Commission has studied the question of the fate of un-baptised infants, bearing in mind the principle of the “hierarchy of truths” and the other theological principles of the universal salvific will of God, the unicity and insuperability of the mediation of Christ, the sacramentality of the Church in the order of salvation, and the reality of Original Sin. In the contemporary context of cultural relativism and religious pluralism the number of non-baptized infants has grown considerably, and therefore the reflection on the possibility of salvation for these infants has become urgent. The Church is conscious that this salvation is attainable only in Christ through the Spirit. But the Church, as mother and teacher, cannot fail to reflect upon the fate of all men, created in the image of God, and in a more particular way on the fate of the weakest members of the human family and those who are not yet able to use their reason and freedom.

It is clear that the traditional teaching on this topic has concentrated on the theory of limbo, understood as a state which includes the souls of infants who die subject to original sin and without baptism, and who, therefore, neither merit the beatific vision, nor yet are subjected to any punishment, because they are not guilty of any personal sin. This theory, elaborated by theologians beginning in the Middle Ages, never entered into the dogmatic definitions of the Magisterium, even if that same Magisterium did at times mention the theory in its ordinary teaching up until the Second Vatican Council. It remains therefore a possible theological hypothesis. However, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992), the theory of limbo is not mentioned. Rather, the Catechism teaches that infants who die without baptism are entrusted by the Church to the mercy of God, as is shown in the specific funeral rite for such children. The principle that God desires the salvation of all people gives rise to the hope that there is a path to salvation for infants who die without baptism (cf. CCC, 1261), and therefore also to the theological desire to find a coherent and logical connection between the diverse affirmations of the Catholic faith: the universal salvific will of God; the unicity of the mediation of Christ; the necessity of baptism for salvation; the universal action of grace in relation to the sacraments; the link between original sin and the deprivation of the beatific vision; the creation of man “in Christ”.

The conclusion of this study is that there are theological and liturgical reasons to hope that infants who die without baptism may be saved and brought into eternal happiness, even if there is not an explicit teaching on this question found in Revelation. However, none of the considerations proposed in this text to motivate a new approach to the question may be used to negate the necessity of baptism, nor to delay the conferral of the sacrament. Rather, there are reasons to hope that God will save these infants precisely because it was not possible to do for them that what would have been most desirable— to baptize them in the faith of the Church and incorporate them visibly into the Body of Christ. ...

This above is part of the introduction. The rest of the document goes on to explain the theology of the idea. Interesting read.

Bottom line: It's not official, doctrinal teaching, but it is not dismissed. It is described as "a possible theological hypothesis."

Sounds as if one can believe in it, but one is not required to.

So, maybe there is a place where Ghandi is making all those babies giggle.

Pax et bonum

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Pray while you are well ...

"Pray while you are well, because if you wait until you're sick you might not be able to do it."

- Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, The Gift of Peace

Pax et bonum