Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Birth Control - Prostitution of Marriage

Prostitution of Marriage

Birth control
is not self-control.
What is not self-control
is self-indulgence.
What is self-indulgence
is prostitution of functions.
Prostitution in marriage
is prostitution of marriage.
Prostitution of marriage
is prostitution plus hypocrisy.

- Peter Maurin (cofounder of The Catholic Worker Movement)

Pax et bonum

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Santa 2018

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Pax et bonum

Santa's Dilemma

Image result for santa eating cookies

Santa’s dilemma:
Follow his doctor’s orders,
Or eat those cookies.

Pax et bonum

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Beto leads a Presidential poll?

Related image

According to a recent poll, Beto O'Rourke is the leading contender for the Democratic Party's Presidential nomination in 2020. Who knows if he will even be on the radar a year from now?

But maybe he just might play to that party's base ...

Pax et bonum

Monday, December 10, 2018

St. Francis at Greccio

Image result for St Francis and the creche

With ox and ass and manger and hay
St. Francis recalled that holy day.
And before that Greccio scene was done
The Father again provided his Son.

Pax et bonum

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Robert F. Kennedy - Day of Affirmation Speech [A Tiny Ripple of Hope]

He was one of the heroes of my youth. His campaign for President in 1968 was the first political campaign in which I took an interest - and his shooting the day after my 13th birthday is the moment I mark as the end of my childhood.

Pax et bonum

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Ancestry led me astray!

Four years ago I did one of those Ancestry DNA tests.

The results that came back were:

Ireland - 56 %
Scandinavia - 16 %
Great Britain - 10 %
Iberian Peninsula - 8 %
Western Europe - 5 %
A few odd traces - 3 %

Then Irish was no surprise - but the Scandinavian (which I described as "Viking") and the Iberian (Hispanic) were. I was pleased. It was kind of neat being a Viking and partly Hispanic.

But today I received an unexpected (and unasked-for) e-mail from Ancestry announcing that they had refined and updated my results.

Ireland is now Ireland/Scotland/Wales, and that increased slightly to 58 %.
Scandinavia is now Sweden, and dropped to just 4 %.
Great Britain suddenly jumped from 10 % to 36 %.
Iberian Peninsula went from 8 % to 0.
Western Europe is now Germanic Europe, and dropped from 5 % to 2 %.
The odd traces are no longer  there.

No longer Hispanic. And Viking is still there, but at a much reduced level.

Bummer. I liked the odd mix of the first results.

And how could something jump from 10 % to 36 %?? How could one listing that was 8 % simply disappear?

Moreover, this sudden change has me wondering how accurate this new one is. Will I get another e-mail down the road with radically different results? Will I suddenly find out I'm part Bulgarian? Or Swiss? Or Sardinian?

I need a glass of sack.

But maybe I'll just settle for some mead. Or a stout.

Pax et bonum

Friday, November 23, 2018

Franciscans are called to obedience

"Obedience is not merely a necessity of organization. It possesses two grace-full purposes. First, obedience provides a means of self-denial and self-giving. Poverty strives for freedom from greed. Chastity seeks perfect reasonableness in the sacred area of sex. Obedience seeks freedom from all stubbornness, selfishness, self-centeredness. Obedience calls one to exercise self-discipline, to cooperate and obey according to the Rule and Constitutions. This effort will have one great result: release from self-seeking and pride." (p. 85) - To Live as Francis Lived: A Guide For Secular Franciscans (The Path of Franciscan Spirituality) by Leonard Foley O.F.M., Jovian Weigel O.F.M., and Patti Normile OFS

Pax et bonum

Harvard Law Journal article: The preborn child is a constitutional person

Article in Harvard Law Journal concludes: The preborn child is a constitutional person

Morally and legally - a person.

Pax et bonum

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Jethro Tull - Life is a long song

Ah, Ian Anderson ...

Pax et bonum

A Pro-Life Thanksgiving Prayer

Image result for Sleeping infant

Father of mercies,
God of all creation,
Source of life and of every blessing,
We thank you today, and every day of our lives,
For all that you give us!
Our thanksgiving is not only a duty,
But a joy and a source of strength,
Because it reminds us of your faithful love,
And inspires us with the hope of a future filled with blessings!
Lord, we thank you for guiding our fathers,
Who, inspired by the prophets
And by the saving work of your Son,
Founded a nation where all might live as one,
Acknowledging their dependence on you
As the source of their right to life.
We thank you for your blessings in the past,
And for all that, with your help, we must yet achieve.
We ask you to bless us as we thank you,
That our giving thanks may be accompanied by our firm resolve
To proclaim, celebrate, and serve
The gift of human life, born and unborn.
We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Pax et bonum

Monday, November 19, 2018

After that winter

Image result for abandoned dog house

After that winter
neighbor's old dog no longer
barks when we walk by.

Pax et bonum

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Last leaves haiku

Image result for Autumn - last leaves on tree

Deacon's homily -
the last leaves of Autumn cling
to the tree outside

Pax et bonum

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Stone Soup - a success!

At my school, we decided to have a middle school play as we are gradually expanding the theater program. We hose to do Stone Soup, my adaptation of the old folktale. I was to be the director.
We had weeks of rehearsal, working around cross country season (a number of the actors were runners) and the beginning of basketball season.

The students worked hard and did a great job, and the performances had audiences laughing and entertained. A success!
At the end of the Saturday (November 10) performance, the cast served the audience a soup dinner (provided by the families). A wonderful time. 


 Now, what do we do for the high school play in the spring - after last year's very successful Pride and Prejudice - and what to do next fall for the middle school play? Hmmm.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, November 10, 2018

A Catholic Musician Language Spat

There's a particular contemporary Catholic musician whose music I enjoy. I own seveal of this musician's albums, have promoted the musician to others, and was even following this musician on Twitter.

But following the most recent shootings in California, this musician posted the following:

"This should never, ever ever ever have happened. It is so f***g wrong. So many things are so wrong with this." (I altered the offending word)

I responded:

"Such language from a Catholic musician?? I can understand the feeling, but to post it publicly?"

Someone else responded to my comment:

"13 people are dead, but yes...let's discuss XXXX''s use of the word 'f***'"

Fair enough. Meanwhile, the musician responded to the other person's comment with:

":) my thoughts precisely, XXX. Also, I say this word alllll the time in real life and I’ve decided to be myself on here or else I can’t stand it."

I piped in with two responses:

"Yes, let's. What happened in California was horrible. It is a manifestation of the violence in our culture. We reveal and nurture that violence through our own words and actions."

And ...

"I don't use such language in real life. As a Catholic musician myself and a Secular Franciscan, I'm a professed and public representative of my faith. I try to model appropriate behavior. "No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good ... Eph 4:29"

(The full Ephesians quotation is: No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear. - Ephesians 4: 29)

I also posted a link to my blog post on Tolkien and degraded language.

Someone else commented after seeing the exchange: "I have to agree. As much as I enjoy the music I now must bow out." 

Sadly, I have no desire to listen to that musician's music for the moment. The thought of the exchange would shadow the enjoyment. Perhaps that will fade.

The problem for me in this exchange is that I could understand the anger and frustration that led to the use of the offending word. But as someone who has been involved in public jobs and ministries and so has had to recognize that I am as a result am a public representative of those jobs and ministries, and as a professed Catholic and a Franciscan called to witness to the world, the musician's response troubled me. Basically it's "that's the way I talk in private and that's the way I'm going to talk publicly."

Maybe the musician does not share my sense of vocation and public witness. Maybe the musician is a product of the times in which such language is "acceptable" and "common" among many secular people of the musician's generation. But this musician is as a self-proclaimed Catholic/Christian musician and recording artist called to something more than what is deemed "acceptable" and "common" by the secular culture. Indeed, conforming to the culture (even in what seems a small way) and then proclaiming the faith has about it a scent of hypocrisy.

Moreover, as I also noted on Twitter, "One of the things that reveals and encourages the violence in the culture is our language."

How we act, what we say, is a witness to our faith.

 How we act and what we say can help to heal the culture, or it can help to make it even more violent and degraded.

As for the musician, I will likely eventually listen to the music again, as it is good and inspiring. But I don't know if I will buy any more of this person's albums.

For now, however, I will pray for this musician, for this language reason, and for other reasons hinted at in other Tweets by this person. 

Pax et bonum

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Where has the time gone ...

Parent teacher conferences. Play rehearsals. Franciscan Council meeting. Franciscan Fraternity gathering. Band practice. A cold.

Yeah, my mind has not been on writing blog posts. Still have lots to do to get ready for the play - went out to get materials for props. .

I can relax a little after the final performance next Saturday.

I have had time for a few sparring matches on social media. I will be glad when the election is over - though I fear if the Democrats take the House it will mean two years of gridlock and hearings. And more social media sparring!

Pax et bonum

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Friday, October 26, 2018

The witness moon

Image result for full moon

the moon silently
witnesses everything
dog begins to bark

Pax et bonum

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Franciscan Service

I have perceptions of our Fraternity, but I might be wrong.

Our Fraternity began as a Charismatic Prayer Group, and sometimes I get the feeling that some members still view it primarily as a devotional group. That Charismatic nature is one of the things that drew me to this Fraternity, and I find devotions enriching. But I think as Franciscans are called as lay people to be active in the world.

That's where I might be wrong. I think we should be doing more, but many members may already be doing a great deal.

So one of the things I want to do is to survey members to see what ministries they do outside the group. Music ministry, food pantries, hospital visits, Bible study, funeral ministry, religious education, and so on.

It may be a lot, and it would be good to make those activities known to the rest of the Fraternity.

In addition, as we consider increasing activities as a Fraternity we might be able to join in on some of the ones already being done. I'm active with 40 Days for Life, and I got some of the members to join me one Saturday outside Planned Parenthood to pray. It would be good to do more such things.

We are called to serve.

Let's see what the survey reveals.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, October 20, 2018

New Fraternity Council

At the Glory of the Most High Secular Franciscan Fraternity meeting October 19, the following people were selected to be the Fraternity Council for the next three years:

Minister - Lee Strong
Vice Minister - Nancy Strong
Secretary - Carolyn Barth
Treasurer - Mary Smith
Formation Director - Betty Carmen
Councilors. Ann Marie Kunz, Dick Kunz

Pax et bonum

Friday, October 19, 2018

Fraternity loses its mind ...

As I feared, at the fraternity election tonight I was elected Minister.

I did not particularly want it - but I left it open to the Spirit.

So for the next three years I will serve the Fraternity in that role.

According to Article 51 of the Order's constitution, the Minister:
 1. While firmly upholding the co-responsibility of the council to animate and guide the fraternity, the minister, as the primary person responsible for the fraternity, is expected to make sure that the directions and the decisions of the council are put into practice and will keep the council informed about what he or she is doing.

2. The minister also has the following duties:
a. to call, to preside at, and to direct the meetings of the fraternity and council; to convoke, every three years, the elective chapter of the fraternity, having heard the council on the formalities of the convocation;
b. to prepare the annual report to be sent to the council of the higher level after it has been approved by the council of the fraternity;
c. to represent the fraternity in all its relations with ecclesiastical and civil authorities. When the fraternity acquires a juridical personality in the civil order, the minister becomes, when possible, its legal representative;
d. to request, with the consent of the council, the pastoral and fraternal visits, at least once every three years.
e. to put into effect those acts which the Constitutions refer to his or her competence.

Okay ...

As I stated previously, among the ideas I hoping to pursue:

Find someone besides me to keep an eye on people leaving at the end of the meeting (for security and comfort reasons).

Find a team to take charge of selecting and leading the music at each meeting.

Encourage the formation director to create a team so that the burden is not entirely on her as, I hope, we attract new members.

Call for monthly meetings during the summer. I don't see why we have to take the summer off each year. If people are on vacation, fine, but even just a few of us meeting is good for continuity. We just  don't have to meet twice a month as we currently do from September to June.

Consult with the nearby Secular Franciscan community to share the Transitus, alternating the location and hosting duties, instead of always having it at their site, which, for some of our members, is a long journey and thus has prevented them from taking part.

Look for more opportunities to minister to others. We currently serve a meal once a year at an inner-city parish, once a year collect infant and maternity items for a pregnancy center, and donate money to a couple of programs. I got a few of us to pray as part of the 40 Days for Life campaign, and I'd like to see us doing even more. But what?

Seek more ways to promote the fraternity and to encourage those who have a calling to join us.
Anyway, my first task is to get ready for the first Council meeting, putting together an agenda.

Blessed be God in all His designs.

Pax et bonum

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Pain ...

Threw my back out over the weekend. I've been hurting since.


Play practice is having problems. Do we delay opening by one week? Will that run us into basketball practice?

That back ...

Fraternity elections are tomorrow. Not looking forward to them.

Twinge ...

Pax et bonum

Friday, October 12, 2018

Much on my mind

Home today with an ill wife - we were at the emergency room at 5 this morning. Even though we were able to return home, it was late, and I was tired, so no school.

I have a lot on my mind.

Still mulling over what might happen a week from now when we have our Fraternity election. I have misgivings.

Play practice is going well, but there's so much to do, and we perform one month from now.

The possibility of retiring is becoming more real. June? Wait for a year or two?

If I do retire, what then? Part-time job? More volunteer activities? Fraternity duties?

I chose not to do Santa at the mall this year. Will I ever return to the mall, or try to make it on my own?

More writing? Finishing the poetry books? The Slug Chronicles? My own clerihews? Work with the Chesterton Society to create a clerihew collection? And the novel - do I finally finish it? Some of the play ideas? A religious drama?

There are also spiritual issues. There are so many ways I need to grow, to be more serious about developing my prayer life. I need to find another spiritual director.

Then there are the situations with the girls. When will they be resolved? Will they ever?

So much on my mind

But now, finding some props for the play, and grading papers, and going out to the school later to pick up the papers that were handed in today.

And I need sleep ...

Pax et bonum

Monday, October 8, 2018

That coming blue wave thing ...

Image result for people swearing

The only blue wave
after the votes are counted
might be Dems' language
Image result for people swearing

Pax et bonum

Sunday, October 7, 2018

A prayer from Julian of Norwich

Image result for julian of norwich

“God, of thy goodness, give me Thyself;
for Thou art enough for me,
and I can ask for nothing less
that can be full honor to Thee.
And if I ask anything that is less,
ever Shall I be in want,
for only in Thee have I all.”

Pax et bonum

Kevin O'Brien's "An Actor Bows" proves a good read

I just finished Kevin O'Brien's book An Actor Bows. I've seen him perform a number of times at Chesterton conferences - including this September portraying St. Francis - and a few times on television, and bought a copy of the book just last week.

A quick read - my recent insomnia helped!

I enjoyed it.

His journey from atheism to Catholicism, his struggles to survive as a working actor, his writing of play after play were fascinating. He was honest about himself.

My only quibble was with some of the things he revealed about his wife's struggles She was aware he was writing about them and he gave her a chance to respond, which she did, but I would not have done it.

That aside, it was well worth reading.

The play writing part interested me as that is what I like to do, too. I've written and directed a few plays for school, and my middle-schoolers are currently rehearsing one of my plays (Stone Soup). And I might be adapting Everyman for the spring high school play.

As for the acting part, while I like to act, there is no way I could make a living at it the way he has. I can act, though I suspect not as well as he does, but the idea of constantly doing interactive mystery theater and traveling all the time would be well out of my comfort zone. Writing and being behind the scenes directing are what I like.

As long as I'm at my current school I'll be able to continue to write and direct. Once I retire, it might be more difficult. Maybe if I get involved with community theater I'll be able to do that. Once I do retire I plan to get more involved with that - I already have some connections.

I still would like to do some Christian theater the way that O'Brien does. I'm interested in some of the "older" saints whom I could write plays about and perform. The real St. Nicholas? St. Jerome? A hermit? Hmm.

Much to think about.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Secular Franciscans pray for life

A few folks from the Glory of the Most High Secular Franciscan Fraternity took part in the 40 days for Life campaign.

Morning showers gave way to clear skies and sunshine for our shift in front of Rochester's Planned Parenthood.

Pax et bonum

Fraternity elections coming up

Our fraternity elections are coming up in two weeks. The current minister has made it plain she thinks I should be and will be the next minister.

I would prefer not to be.

I prefer being the porter - setting up, helping people get in, running to get needed materials, escorting people to their cars when it's dark, etc.

That's what I prefer - but let's see what the Holy Spirit leads us to do.

If I am elected, some of the things I'd like to do:

Find someone to keep an eye on people leaving at the end of the meeting (for security and comfort reasons).

Find a team to take charge of selecting and leading the music at each meeting.

Encourage the formation director to create a team so that the burden is not entirely on him/her as, I hope, we attract new members.

Call for monthly meetings during the summer. I don't see why we have to take the summer off each year. If people are on vacation, fine, but even just a few of us meeting is good for continuity. But we don't have to meet twice a month as we currently do.

Consult with the nearby Secular Franciscan community to share the Transitus, alternating the location and hosting duties, instead of always having it at their site, which, for some of our members, is a long journey and thus has prevented them from taking part.

Seek more ways to promote the fraternity and to encourage those who have a calling to join us.

I'm sure more will come to mind - and people in the fraternity will have their own ideas.

And, if elected, I will have to be more involved with regional gatherings and programs - even though I don't like traveling.

Of course, I'm getting ahead of myself. The election has not taken place yet.

Maybe this cup will pass.

Pax et bonum

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

No mall this year

I called the Santa company in September to ask if there were going to be contracts this year - the previous company contacted us in June. I was told yes, and that I'd be getting a call.

 I did get a call the following week, and they offered me a position. They said they would mail the contract. That took another few day. It finally arrived.

No raise - even though I'd been there for some 13 years.

Then I started wading through the forms - which bore repeated threats about the contract being void if I didn't complete it by a deadline.

I don't like threats.

I continued, signing this, filling out that, measuring and responding to a survey.

Then I got to the background investigation form.

It struck me the wrong way. I've been checked before as a teacher. I've been drug tested many times. I've gotten diocesan clearance to play in a church band with teens and to teach in a Catholic school. I've even been checked as Santa before - but this paper seemed so formal, with references and all that. 

At that point I remembered all the rigamarole and poor planning and lack of responsiveness last year. I remembered the long hours, the rushing to get there after working all day. I remembered all the rude parents and kids - in numbers far more than any other year. I remembered how at the end of last season I said there was a good chance I would not go back with the same company.

And I thought of all the things I could do with my wife with the free time. Niagara Falls for the Festival of Lights. The It's a Wonderful Life festival in Seneca Falls. The Mass in the barn in Spencerport.

I e-mailed the company and said I would not be working for them this season.

I will do some Santa gigs. Already set up for my parish. The Knights of Columbus asked if I could come for their party. A woman asked if I could come to her house.

But no mall this year.

Maybe never again.

Pax et bonum

Sunday, September 30, 2018

A Clerihew Book?

At the Rochester Chesterton Conference Dale Ahlquist noted that he had received by latest clerihew submissions. The next issue of Gilbert! will feature clerihews from the national conference, but there's a chance one of my will appear in a later issue.

I suggested to him that maybe the Chesterton Society should consider publishing an anthology of clerihews. He thought that sounded like a good idea, though I don't know if it will really happen.

There have certainly been a number of fine clerihews publish in the magazine over the years. I've been fortunate to have a few published in the magazine, too.

The most recent was in July:

was one long-lived fella.
It wasn't because longevity was bred in his bones,
he was just determined to pay off all his college loans.
Some others that got published:

A somber Marquis de Sade
said with a knowing nod,
"The wickedness of all my work fades
before that woman's 50 Shades.”

One of the aims of ISIS
is eradicating Western sins and vices,
except, of course, for a select few
that they themselves like to do.

When he was young St. Polycarp
religiously practiced the harp.
When a musical career proved a non-starter
he instead became a martyr.

When Alexander Pope
slipped on a bar of soap
the couplet he muttered was neither stoic
nor heroic.

Dr. Mary Gatter
treated it as a laughing matter,
but sell enough baby parts, even that teenie,
and you just might afford a Lamborghini.

Steven Wright
Is right:
Boycott shampoo,
demand the real poo.
President James Polk
would rarely crack a joke.
But his friends say he was quick
with a limerick.

There are more ... I need to compile them.
But not tonight. 
Pax et bonum

Young, rebellious, and cutting edge

When I was

young and rebellious and cutting edge,

I wore the hair style and the kinds of clothes,

and spouted the words, phrases, and slogans

all the other

young and rebellious and cutting edge



Pax et bonum

Still not watching

Image result for Being there - "I like to watch"

In the movie Being There, Peter Sellers' character, Chauncey Gardiner, says, "I like to watch." He's referring to television, but in the movie people interpret the line in their own ways.

As for me, I don't like to watch.

It's been six week since I stopped watching television.

I'm not completely out of the loop when it comes to the news. I did watch part of the Kavanaugh hearing online. But as for television, nada.

I finished a few books. Went to bed at a more reasonable hour most nights. Got some things done.

I know there are people who have not watched television far longer than I have not, but still, six weeks is a good start.


Just don't expect me to walk on water.

Related image

Pax et bonum

Oh those Chesterton conferences ...

And yes, I did buy two books.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Oscar Wilde: "Perversity" ... "a malady, or a madness"

Image result for Oscar Wilde - death

At today's Rochester Chesterton Conference, Joseph Pearce discussed Oscar Wilde's conversion to Catholicism shortly before death - though he had been on the verge of it many times during his life -  and Wilde's admission that his homosexuality was "perversity" and a "malady."

From Wilde's "De Profundis":

"The gods had given me almost everything. But I let myself be lured into long spells of senseless and sensual ease. I amused myself with being a FLANEUR, a dandy, a man of fashion. I surrounded myself with the smaller natures and the meaner minds. I became the spendthrift of my own genius, and to waste an eternal youth gave me a curious joy. Tired of being on the heights, I deliberately went to the depths in the search for new sensation. What the paradox was to me in the sphere of thought, perversity became to me in the sphere of passion. Desire, at the end, was a malady, or a madness, or both. I grew careless of the lives of others. I took pleasure where it pleased me, and passed on. I forgot that every little   action of the common day makes or unmakes character, and that therefore what one has done in the secret chamber one has some day to cry aloud on the housetop. I ceased to be lord over myself. I was no longer the captain of my soul, and did not know it. I allowed pleasure to dominate me. I ended in horrible disgrace. There is only one thing for me now, absolute humility."

Pax et bonum

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

I walked away from the 40 Days for Life kickoff.

As is obvious to any who has read this blog or my posts on social media, I am adamantly pro-life. I have spoken out on a number of life issues - unjust war, the death penalty, economic injustice, the environment, etc. - but most clearly and consistently about abortion.

I have taken part in marches - including the March for Life - rallies, the 40 Days for Life campaign, and prayer vigils, including on an almost weekly basis outside Planned Parenthood.

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to play some music for the 40 Days for Life kickoff tonight. I prepared songs, practiced, got everything I needed, and even though I'm not feeling well, went to the place where we were supposed to meet.

We got there to find lots of counter-protesters, and plenty of police. That I can handle, and was ready to join with the pro-life contingent.

The counter-protesters were yelling, chanting, spouting misinformation and falsehoods, and using some foul language and anti-religious slogans. I've encountered that before, so that didn't phase me. I stood there, holding my sign (LOVE WILL END ABORTION) and praying for them.

One of the things about 40 Days is that we have consistently avoided negative signs - especially ones of aborted babies. I consider such signs violent - yes, I know some pro-lifers believe they are effective, but I am not among them. I'm a Franciscan. I believe we should not use any form of violence unless it is absolutely necessary - such as thwarting a physical assault on someone. I do not support the use of verbal or pictorial violence in pro-life protests. We may face violence from the other side, but we are to respond only will love, and, if necessary, nonviolently absorb the anger, even the attacks. To respond with violence only hardens hearts and escalates the situation.

My policy when such signs have turned up at other events is to ask the people to put them away, and if they don't, to leave.

Unfortunately, a woman prominent in the local pro-life movement brought out such a sign tonight, potentially adding fuel to an already volatile situation. I went over to her and asked her to please put it away. She snapped at me almost disdainfully, "No."

I went back to where I had been standing and said to a friend I was going to leave. He went over to the woman to see if he could persuade her. No luck. I then when to one of the 40 Days leaders, and said I thought we were not supposed to have violent signs. He said that she was doing it separately from 40 Days.

No. This was the 40 Days kickoff, and she was there as part of it.

I retrieved my guitar from when I had left it, got in my car, and left. They will have to do without music.

I will still take part in the 40 Days campaign, going down to Planned Parenthood to pray for some shifts, but I could not remain for the rest of the kickoff.

I will not be party to responding to violence with violence.

Pax et bonum

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Outside the clinic

outside the clinic
unmothered mothers slowly
walk to waiting cars

Over the years I've written a number of haiku or quasi-haiku related to abortion - generally observations as we pray for the victims of abortion - the women and the babies - and for those who provide/support abortion.

Here are some gathered together ( of uneven quality, admittedly)

another due date
brutally cancelled –
Planned Parenthood

she left the clinic
pregnant with years of regret,
loss, and denial

clinic escort
puts in her ear buds so she
can’t hear our prayers

clinic escort puts in her ear buds so she can't hear our prayersclinic escort puts in her ear buds so she can't hear our prayersclinic escort puts in her ear buds so she can't hear our prayersclinic escort puts in her ear buds so she can't hear our prayersclinic escort puts in her ear buds so she can't hear our prayersoutside the clinic
a crocus emerges
from the snow

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

Jesus crucified -
the nails are driven daily
at Planned Parenthood

abortion vigil -
Hillary backer gives us
finger as we pray

nurse avoids looking
in garbage pail she empties –
abortion clinic

praying pro-lifers –
girl entering the clinic
avoids eye contact

Mass for Life –
tearful woman prays for
child she did not have

Holy Saturday –
praying at Planned Parenthood
for the emptied wombs

at Planned Parenthood
prolifers are told, "There's no God."
they keep on praying
Pax et bonum

Saturday, September 22, 2018

It's not my posts that bother you ...

Image may contain: one or more people, meme and text

Pax et bonum


Image result for Picard facepalm

Okay, we are putting together the nominations for Fraternity Council - the election is in October - and people suggested me for several offices. When called about it, I said whatever the Fraternity decides.

So last night at our Fraternity meeting the nominations were announced. I'm up for multiple offices, including Minister. The current Minister, who, if she got 75% of the votes could be elected to a third term, said she was planning to vote for me and hoped others would do so as well.


I've avoided this before - I even turned down offices in the past. But I finally thought if I'm called I need to serve the Fraternity, so I let it all go through this time. But Minister? I don't like being the person in charge. I prefer being the one to open the door, gets extra chairs, watch or walk people to their cars when it's dark.

I mentioned to the Minister after the meeting that I thought she should be the Minister again, in part because I would not be able to do all those service tasks I like to do. She acknowledged that I would not be able to do them.

Delegating? Sigh.

What would be funny is if I lose every office!

Pax et bonum

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Pro-Abortion Activist Gets Prison, Sent Pro-Lifers Death Threats

I was among the folks he threatened, though I was not part of this specific case.

He did not seem to know where I lived, and I felt secure enough that he would not suddenly appear at my door. I saved some of his written threats, though.

From the LifeNews account (May 11, 2012)

A pro-abortion activist who sent death threats to a number of pro-life leaders pleaded guilty in Manhattan Federal Court Thursday to posting online death threats against at least two pro-life leaders.

Theodore Shulman, 51, could be headed to prison for at least 51 months for threatening pro-life Princeton University professor Robert George and Father Frank Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life. He was arrested in February 2011 and has been held without bail ever since.

The threats against the pro-life advocates, made on the web site of a conservative magazine, said Pavone and George would be killed if the killer of late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller was acquitted.

Pavone told LifeNews late Thursday, “I was informed today that Theodore Shulman pleaded guilty to the charges of threatening pro-life leaders, myself included. I hope that his acceptance of personal responsibility for what he did, and his readiness to serve jail time for it, is for him the beginning of a road of conversion and repentance that will reach even to the point of renouncing his position in favor of legal abortion. Violence against me and other leaders is wrong for the same reason that violence against children in the womb is wrong. Both must be rejected.”

“I’m grateful to the detectives and other law enforcement personnel who have worked with me and Priests for Life throughout this case to gather and track the threats that I have received. The NYPD, the FBI, the Joint Terrorist Task Force, and the Department of Justice have done an exemplary and professional job,” he continued.

Pavone added, “From the point of view of my work as a pro-life leader, I also take this opportunity to point out that violence and threats of violence against pro-life activists are far more common, yet far less visible in the media, than violence and threats of violence against abortionists and abortion supporters. In fact, the latter have used a handful of violent acts by people disconnected from the pro-life movement to try to tar the reputation of the entire movement, and those tactics should have no more place in the public debate over abortion than should violence itself.”

Pavone told LifeNews he offers Shulman his “prayers and personal forgiveness” and said he maintains close relationships with pro-abortion activists in order to show them the goodness of pro-life people and, ultimately, win their hearts and minds for the pro-life perspective.

“Civil debate is possible; people who disagree deeply on fundamental issues can still respect one another. My own friendship with abortion-rights pioneer Bill Baird, and the frequent pleas we have made together over the years for mutual respect among pro-life advocates and abortion-rights advocates demonstrate the path we can follow as a society. Ultimately, ‘respect for life’ means respect for the unborn and the born, for those who agree with us and those who don’t,” he said.

Officials with the pro-life group Operation Rescue and the Life Legal Defense Fund have been on the receiving end of Shulman’s threats as well.

In addition to the two victims listed in the federal complaint against Shulman when he was arrested, George and Pavone, Operation Rescue’s two full-time staffers, Troy Newman and Cheryl Sullenger, as well as pro-life blogger Jill Stanek have been targets of the pro-abortion activist’s threats. Shulman hounded Operation Rescue’s Sullenger, in particular, over a two year time-span as he ran a pro-abortion blog site called Operation Counterstrike that Sullenger said “fomented hatred and attempted to encourage ‘pro-choice’ supporters to murder pro-lifer activists.”

“This is a huge relief to us that Ted Shulman is behind bars where he belongs,” said Sullenger in a statement to LifeNews at the time of his arrest.

Bryan Kemper, the founder of Stand True, the pro-life group that sponsors the red tape day for students to stand up in silent solidarity for unborn children at their schools, also reportedly received death threats from Shulman.

Meanwhile, in 2009, Shulman left a threatening voice mail message with LLDF Legal Director, Catherine Short.

Here's the link -

Pro-Abortion Activist Gets Prison, Sent Pro-Lifers Death Threats: A pro-abortion activist who sent death threats to a number of pro-life leaders pleaded guilty in Manhattan Federal Court Thursday to posting online death threat ...

Pax et bonum

Friday, September 14, 2018

Jesus and a puppy

Image result for Jesus with puppies

Hey, you never know.

Pax et bonum

Monday, September 10, 2018

Sold my soul to the religious right? Nah.

A woman declared that I had sold my soul to the religious right - based on the fact that I oppose abortion and support praying for a Supreme Court nominee who might change our nation's extreme abortion policies (when compared to other nations).

She also assumed that I support the Trump administration and its policies. (FYI: I didn't vote for him, and won't in 2020. Heck, I'm not even a Republican!)

Let's see, looking back:

I was in the process of applying for conscientious objector status during the Vietnam War (I didn't have to finish that process because my lottery draft number was so high).

I protested the Vietnam War and Nixon Administration policies.

I spent part of one Easter break protesting in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, during the trial of the Harrisburg Seven.

I took a year off from college to work with troubled youth in the slums of New York City.

I became a vegetarian for ethical reasons - including opposition to some corporate farming policies and to the destruction of the rain forest - and have remained one for 45 years.

I began writing against the death penalty in the 1970s - and have continued to do so - even though my bother was murdered.

I took part in a tax protest over funding for war and nuclear weapons.

I was part of the live-in staff at a Catholic Worker House. I later helped to prepare a parish homeless shelter and was an overnight volunteer in it during its first season.

I protested the neutron bomb and other nuclear weapons, even marching before the U.N. with a million other people.

I helped to found Pax Christi Rochester, serving as the secretary of that organization's board for several years.

I regularly wrote letters and articles to protest various policies of the Reagan Administration (and I didn't vote for him in '80 or '84, nor, for that matter, have I ever voted for either of the Presidents Bush).

I served on the board of an inner-city health/outreach center.

I took part in protests at the Seneca Army Depot over the storage of nuclear weapons there, including providing music for Masses there.

I used to go to the Monroe County Jail to help provide music for Masses there.

I supported the Sanctuary Movement, and joined my parish in supporting and sheltering an "illegal" family, even inviting that family into my home even though uncertain about the possibility of being arrested for doing so.

I protested the invasion of Iraq.

I taught for three years in a BOCES program for troubled youth.

I have financially supported various Catholic Worker Houses, health centers working with the poor, homeless shelters, shelters and homes for women and children, and so on, and sponsored children in African and Central America.

I tutored inner-city children, and for a time helped provide daycare so mothers could get counseling and parenting skills training.

I have boycotted various companies and products because of mistreatment of workers and the environment.

But I do oppose abortion, so I guess in some eyes that alone means I have sold my soul to the religious right.

Personally, I just look at the whole package and say I'm a practicing Catholic who takes the teachings of my Church seriously.

Pax et bonum

Wait ... judge and kick someone out for a sexual sin?

It is widely reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of a kind not found even among pagans—a man living with his father’s wife.

And you are inflated with pride.

Should you not rather have been sorrowful? The one who did this deed should be expelled from your midst.
I, for my part, although absent in body but present in spirit, have already, as if present, pronounced judgment on the one who has committed this deed, in the name of [our] Lord Jesus: when you have gathered together and I am with you in spirit with the power of the Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan* for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord. - 1 Cor 5: 1-5

From today's reading.

Several things struck me.

The man is guilty of a sexual offense - one that was unacceptable back then, but one that could be a movie-of-the-week plot today. Or might get a standing ovation at some film festival.

St. Paul said to confront and to kick the offender out for the good of his soul. Can you imagine if churches today kicked out everyone guilty of sexual sin? Of course, some would argue that it's not a sin when you "love" the person, but they would be wrong. It's a sin. The gravity of that sin for the individuals involved would vary depending on their understanding and so on, but it still would be a sin.

He's obviously critical of the community for allowing this to continue unaddressed. Again, think of
churches today who shy away from addressing such issues until some sort of crisis erupts. Those eruptions might have been avoided if such issues had been confronted immediately.

And St. Paul used the "j" word -  "pronounced judgment." So many people today condemn judgment - but of course in condemning judgment they are judging.

Just some thoughts.

Pax et bonum

Sunday, September 9, 2018

"Jesus didn't condemn homosexual acts" - a response

A great response from Steve Ray to the argument that Jesus did not mention or condemn homosexual acts.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Confession is good for the soul

I got to Confession today. It was needed, and good.

I find many spiritual writers and commentators recommending frequent Confession. One common suggestion is getting to Confession at least once a month. That has not been my practice, but I think they are right and I will try to do so.

There are a number of areas on which I need to work. One is my habit of being harshly critical and sarcastic. I tend to make too many such comments on social media - and to write too many poems of that sort. After I came home from Confession I deleted one such poem from this blog, and so the links to it on social media no longer work.

I will try to be more careful in the future. It's okay to raise legitimate objections about questionable policies, actions, and laws, but such objections should not be harsh and sarcastic in nature. And humor is fine, as long as it is not cruel.

This is in keeping with my Franciscan vocation.

I need to be more positive and affirming. I need to praise what is true, beautiful, and good.

Pax et bonum

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

I read a book by a poet ...

Image result for sour old woman

I read a book by a poet
much loved by fans and critics.

She was good.

Her poems were full of witty wordplays,
sudden twists and turns
and liberal doses of ironic observations
about life and love
and lack thereof.

But as I worked through the book
an image came to mind:

We were in a field
beneath a night sky
ablaze with moon and stars
and she kept going on and on
about some litter
that she spotted on the ground.

Pax et bonum

Monday, September 3, 2018

Two weeks and counting ...

So far, two weeks (plus one day) without television.

I have watched four Franciscan-related films on dvd during that time (three different bios of Francis, and The Reluctant Saint (St. Joseph of Cupertino), but no broadcast television.

No talking heads.

No lame sit-coms.

No crime dramas.

No horror or science fiction or fantasy or adventure movies. (Often for the umpteenth time.)

No sports.

No game shows.

No re-runs of Hee Haw. (Yes, I sometimes watched them!).

So far, I haven't missed television. I've gotten more reading done - including some spiritual reading. I've done some planning for school. I got some work done around the house. I practiced guitar to get ready for playing at Mass again and to a 40 Days for Life event. (Reminds me, I have to finish writing that song!)

As with the Franciscan movies, we have a number of movies on dvd, so I can watch them sometimes.

Again, if something significant occurs in the news I will watch that. But for now, it's all the same biased back and forth.

And with school starting, it will get easier.

This was a good move!

Pax et bonum

Stars haiku

Image result for brilliant stars

away from street lights
the stars sing to us in their
God-given glory

Pax et bonum

Sunday, September 2, 2018

40 Years Of The "New" Rule

Pax et bonum

More on Encouraging Secular Franciscan vocations

A few weeks ago, one of the younger members of our Secular Franciscan Fraternity passed away. We have several others dealing with serious health issues, and others who have health problems that keep them from meetings.

In the interim, we have been getting ready for elections to the Fraternity Council. There are indications that I might be elected Vice Minister, possibly even Minister. I've been nominated to both positions, and three years ago was almost elected Vice Minister (three tied ballots, then the other candidate, being professed longer, was selected.) (She did a great job, by the way, but now she has moved out of state and can't run for re-election.)

In light of the aging/health of the fraternity and this possible new office, I've been thinking about how to promote the Secular Franciscans so that those who have a calling may discover us and be able to respond to that calling.

I dealt with some of this in an earlier post. Here are the main points from that post:

1. Pray
2. Teach others about what it means to be a Franciscan.
3. Invite others.
4. Make it look attractive to others.
5. Talk it up.
6. Live out the vocation.

Here are some further ideas culled from various primarily Franciscan sources.

Create a presence on social media (we do have a blog and a Facebook page).

Create brochures (got one, need to update).

Create bookmarks promoting the vocation and the fraternity (hmm).

Put announcements in bulletins (I did that of a couple of parishes, offered sample announcements to other fraternity members, and there's one in this weekend's bulletin in my home parish).

Pulpit announcements? (ulp)

Announce meetings on the calendars offered by the local Catholic newspaper and Catholic radio station. (That's a good one.)

Create "Feed the Birds" packets with birdseed, information about the vocation and the fraternity, and instructions for people to follow St. Francis's idea about feeding the birds on Christmas Day. (I like that idea; wonder how best to do it.)

Hold a Franciscan movie night (We certainly have dvds!)

Spread business cards. (We have them - get them out there!)

Have some Franciscan pens made?

Distribute Franciscan stickers?

Buy or design some t-shirts?

Sponsor a blessing of the animals. (Might be too late to organize for this year?)

Stage a "Come and See" event. (I must admit, organizing events is not my thing. But there may be people in the fraternity who are gifted in that way.)

Have a Franciscan table at a large event such as the big Women's and Men's conference our diocese holds (We did look into that; they charge a bit more than we have in our tight budget to sponsor a table. Maybe try to piggyback with another group?)

Purchase license plate holders for the fraternity. (Hmmm - Christmas gifts?)

I'm sure there are more ideas out there. For now, though, we just need to continue what we are doing, do those things even more openly and frequently, and add some of the ideas above.

Pax et bonum