Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Humana Vitae-people actually alive

Letters From Beyond

When it Rains, It Snows

As many of you know, Tony Snow was President Bush's former Press Secretary
who died recently from cancer.

Here is Tony's testimony about his experience. It is too well done not to
read and then to share with others. My Mom sent me this one-and like all nuggets of wisdom from the motherland it's golden.


Blessings arrive in unexpected packages, - in my case, cancer. Those of us
with potentially fatal diseases - and there are millions in America today -
find ourselves in the odd position of coping with our mortality while trying
to fathom God's will. Although it would be the height of presumption to
declare with confidence 'What It All Means,' Scripture provides powerful
hints and consolations.

The first is that we shouldn't spend too much time trying to answer the
'why' questions: Why me? Why must people suffer? Why can't someone else get
sick? We can't answer such things, and the questions themselves often are
designed more to express our anguish than to solicit an answer.

I don't know why I have cancer, and I don't much care. It is what it is, a
plain and indisputable fact. Yet even while staring into a mirror darkly,
great and stunning truths began to take shape. Our maladies define a central
feature of our existence: We are fallen. We are imperfect. Our bodies give

But, despite this, - or because of it, - God offers the possibility of
salvation and grace. We don't know how the narrative of our lives will end,
but we get to choose how to use the interval between now and the moment we
meet our Creator face-to-face.

Second, we need to get past the anxiety. The mere thought of dying can send
adrenaline flooding through your system. A dizzy, unfocused panic seizes
you. Your heart thumps; your head swims. You think of nothingness and swoon.

You fear partings; you worry about the impact on family and friends. You
fidget and get nowhere.

To regain footing, remember that we were born not into death, but into life
- and that the journey continues after we have finished our days on this
earth. We accept this on faith, but that faith is nourished by a conviction
that stirs even within many non-believing hearts - an intuition that the
gift of life, once given, cannot be taken away.

Those who have been stricken enjoy the special privilege of being able to
fight with their might, main, and faith to live fully, richly, exuberantly -

no matter how their days may be numbered.

Third, we can open our eyes and hearts. God relishes surprise. We want lives
of simple, predictable ease, - smooth, even trails as far as the eye can
see, - but God likes to go off-road. He provokes us with twists and turns.
He places us in predicaments that seem to defy our endurance and
comprehension - and yet don't. By His love and grace, we persevere. The
challenges that make our hearts leap and stomachs churn invariably
strengthen our faith and grant measures of wisdom and joy we would not
experience otherwise.

'You Have Been Called'. Picture yourself in a hospital bed. The fog of
anesthesia has begun to wear away. A doctor stands at your feet, a loved one
holds your hand at the side. 'It's cancer,' the healer announces.

The natural reaction is to turn to God and ask him to serve as a cosmic
Santa. 'Dear God, make it all go away. Make everything simpler.'

But another voice whispers: 'You have been called.' Your quandary has drawn
you closer to God, closer to those you love, closer to the issues that
matter, - and has dragged into insignificance the banal concerns that occupy

our 'normal time.'

There's another kind of response, although usually short-lived, an
inexplicable shudder of excitement as if a clarifying moment of calamity has
swept away everything trivial and tiny, and placed before us the challenge
of important questions.

The moment you enter the 'Valley of the Shadow of Death', things change. You
discover that Christianity is not something doughy, passive, pious, and
soft. Faith may be the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things
not seen. But it also draws you into a world shorn of fearful caution.

The life of belief teems with thrills, boldness, danger, shocks, reversals,
triumphs, and epiphanies. Think of Paul, traipsing through the known world
and contemplating trips to what must have seemed the antipodes (Spain),
shaking the dust from his sandals, worrying not about the morrow, but only
about the moment.

There's nothing wilder than a life of humble virtue, - for it is through
selflessness and service that God wrings from our bodies and spirits the
most we ever could give, the most we ever could offer, and the most we ever
could do.

Finally, we can let love change everything. When Jesus was faced with the
prospect of crucifixion, he grieved not for himself, but for us. He cried
for Jerusalem before entering the Holy City. From the Cross, he took on the
cumulative burden of human sin and weakness, and begged for forgiveness on
our behalf.

We get repeated chances to learn that life is not about us, that we acquired
purpose and satisfaction by sharing in God's love for others. Sickness gets
us part way there. It reminds us of our limitations and dependence. But it
also gives us a chance to serve the healthy. A minister friend of mine
observes that people suffering grave afflictions often acquire the faith of
two people, while loved ones accept the burden of two peoples' worries and

'Learning How to Live'. Most of us have watched friends as they drifted
toward God's arms, not with resignation, but with peace and hope. In so
doing, they have taught us not how to die, but how to live. They have
emulated Christ by transmitting the power and authority of life.

I sat by my best friend's bedside a few years ago as a wasting cancer took
him away. He kept at his table a worn Bible and a 1928 edition of the Book
of Common Prayer. A shattering grief disabled his family, many of his old
friends, and at least one priest. Here was an humble and very good guy,
someone who apologized when he winced with pain because he thought it made
his guest uncomfortable. He retained his equanimity and good humor literally
until his last conscious moment. 'I'm going to try to beat [this cancer],'
he told me several months before he died. 'But if I don't, I'll see you on
the other side.'

His gift was to remind everyone around him that even though God doesn't
promise us tomorrow, he does promise us eternity -

filled with life and love

we cannot comprehend, - and that one can, in the throes of sickness, point
the rest of us toward timeless truths that will help us weather future

Through such trials, God bids us to choose:

Do we believe, or do we not?

Will we be bold enough to love, daring enough to serve, humble enough to
submit, and strong enough to acknowledge our limitations?

Can we surrender
our concern in things that don't matter so t hat we might devote our
remaining days to things that do?

When our faith flags, God throws reminders in our way. Think of the prayer
warriors in our midst. They change things, and those of us who have been on
the receiving end of their petitions and intercessions know it.

It is hard to describe, but there are times when suddenly the hairs on the
back of your neck stand up, and you feel a surge of the Spirit. Somehow you
just know: Others have chosen, when talking to the Author of all creation,
to lift us up, - to speak to Him of us!

This is love of a very special order. But so is the ability to sit back and
appreciate the wonder of every created thing. The mere thought of death
somehow makes every blessing vivid, every happiness more luminous and
intense. We may not know how our contest with sickness will end, but we have

felt the loving touch of God.

'What is man that Thou are mindful of him?'

We don't know much, but we do know this:

No matter where we are, no matter what we do, no matter how bleak
or frightening our prospects, each and every one of us who believes lives,
each and every day, in the same safe and impregnable place: The hollow of
God's hand!

---Tony Snow

Rest In Peace and Joy.

Monday, July 28, 2008

People In Palacial Rectories Should Not Throw Mud Patties At the Pews

some things to consider on the humana viteae birth control ban logic:

(1) There is much more to love than not having sex.
(2) a woman's emotional equilibrium can be thrown way off by a man for reasons having nothing to do with having sex or not.
(3) a man can emotionally destroy a woman without laying hands (or anything else) on her-so having sex or not -or family planning or not has little to do with emotional destruction practices or not-adultery can be practiced purely emotionally-and often is [and you know who you are].

But it's a nice theory.

In terms of the HIV situation- banning condom use doesn't stop sex. Banning condom use will just spread the virus.
The geenie is out of the bottle.
The Catholic Pastoral credibility gap is widened by the perception that them that can't, preach.

Once again, full circle, the issue of the total lack of married priests who follow the biblical mandate to have families in order as example here undermines the credibiliy of the argument.
It's not family planning if you live with five guys and staff up with post menapausal crews of hysterectomied women. It's family planning if you actually have one of your own (and your mother doesn't count for this purpose.)

When celebacy is elevated above the virtue of marital fidelity in the priesthood, it loses enormous credibility. The Church is hurting for its disobedience to scriptural truths here- because it offers no real example.



For the Good of Those Who Love God
Are Called According To HIS Purposes

(any one thing standing alone might look like a whack-a-doodle-doo-disaster. But TOGETHER, with things that may not be immediately apparent- they all work for the Good. )

No Condemnation

For Those in Christ Jesus

So rather than start every Mass with "let us call to mind our sins" lets start with "thank the Lord for his goodness and everlasting love and kindness which never ends" or something similar.

Friday, July 25, 2008

There Was An Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe

Because She Was Foreclosed on her five bedroom colonial when her Old Man died.

Helping American Families Facing Foreclosure

This week, the House passed the most comprehensive response yet to the American mortgage crisis.

The American Housing Rescue & Foreclosure Prevention Act will help families facing foreclosure keep their homes, help other families avoid foreclosures in the future, and help the recovery of communities harmed by empty homes caught in the foreclosure process. Although the President originally threatened to veto this bill, this week, he reversed his veto threat.
To shore up the housing market and ensure the availability of affordable home loans, the bill would put a tough, independent new regulator in charge of the housing Government Sponsored Enterprises, or GSEs (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks), which are vital to both the financial markets, and American homeowners. The new regulator will be far better prepared to quickly and effectively respond to issues affecting the safe and sound operation of these enterprises.

The centerpiece of the bill will help significant numbers of hard-working American families who are in danger of losing their home refinance into lower-cost government -insured mortgages that they can afford to repay – at no cost to the American taxpayer. Since most Americans’ primary investment is in their home, ending the foreclosure crisis is vital to the American economy recovery.

Click on Nancy Pelosi's page on the Right- the Gavel.

Go Nancy, Go Nancy, Go Nancy..........

What's a Pope To Do-It's All in the Context

Life Limiters Ltd. whining again.

About 50 self described "Catholics for Choice" groups which is a mis-nomer for their choice not God's have written the Pope an open letter stating that the birth control ban should be lifted. The argument about stopping HIV transmision on persons who have no control over themselves might pursuade. Yes, they should give condoms to people in high HIV/Aids populations.

I write however in defense of the ancient tradition of birth control by abstinence and natural birth control- and provide argument as to why the theological logic behind the Pope's position is still valid for all people who are seeking God's life.

I don't trust the chemical manipulations attendant to these cycle inhibiting/disrupting birth control procedures which are mostly targetted at women's systems-which is why I never indulged in them (who knows what all actually causes various cancers...) Not only do they lead to damaging health issues potentially in women which are widely understated (irregular heartbeats, headaches, potential clotting problems, swelling, and others including potential future infertility), but they create dependencies. In unmarried women they can create the morally dangerous illusion and false security that casual sex has no consequences ---because if they can eliminate the physical consequences, the emotional and spiritual ones can be equally dispensed with as the faulty emotional logic goes.
Thus birth control pills to women can be damaging-physically, emotionally and spiritually. They are currently overperscribed for things like plasias and have far reaching side effects. Some of them stop a menstrual cycle all together for months at a time which just plain screws you up. They are another example of the pharmaceutical industry exploiting a population- all procreating age women- for profit.

The notion that one should be open to life in so far as it is God's will to gift it is something in the modern pill popping age that is desensitized to the point of incomprehension. It is also something wasted on youth. The blocking of life in one age can be regretted in another- such that a twenty something who spent a decade stopping the life flow can be mornfully regretful to learn they have no children in their 40s.

Life even at an inconvenient time should be welcome at all times. Because Life is from God.
He gives a window of time on earth for people to try to make a go of it- if you block it off, you block off God's very life flow on earth.

The reality is that intimate relationships are not going on merely to procreate and people cannot support a child every two years being born-and such intimate relationships (in marriage) have intrinsic value even absent the procreative ability. Can people support a child every time God wills it to be born? Maybe, maybe not- but should material support be the guideline for when we receive life or not- or is that the reduction of a materialistic idolistic age we find ourselves in.

These are the questions that should be asked and the Pope is free to answer them however he wishes.
The heart, as Pascal advises, has reasons that reason knows nothing of.

Giving Condoms to prevent HIV should be looked at however, as more or less the same moral equivalent of giving methadone to heroine addicts. Healthy people should not be given methadone- but heroine addicts need it. They are an accommodation to a morally fallen world.
They prevent disease-end of story. The church should assist in Jesus' mission of healing everywhere- even in morally fallen areas of the world, because he loved us all yet while we all sinned. To not give condoms when there is a statistically great liklihood that they will prevent disease is morally indefensible. Because moral people will conclude they should not use them or don't need them is not a valid moral rationale to condemn or stop their use for those to whom it could be life preserving.

Bono and Pavarotti; Irish + Italian= Heaven

best caption:
Get Ready For The Blessing; You're Next.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

not for persons over 12-you know who you are

Just kidding- grown ups can come too- July 12-October 5, Smithsonian International Gallery, tribute to the Fantastic World of Jim Henson.
(Smithsonian Metro Stop, 202-633-1000 for info


Vote For The Best Caption

(a) Put Up Your Dukes
(b) I prefer eating purple stoles to green ones
(c) Can someone help me find my mittens
(d) Next time you do that I get to knock your block off
(e) Put the camera down like a nice boy and I don't wrap this thing around your neck.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

First Lady of France-Carla Bruni (not kidding)

more than you know...



Saturday, July 19, 2008

vengeance is mine-says the Lord

What the devil meant to harm us.
God meant for greatness.

This dramatic book details Rose’s childhood in Poland, her harrowing experiences in Nazi concentration camps, her liberation and the new freedom of coming to believe in Jesus. Share this powerful testimony with your Jewish friends.
A Rose from the Ashes: The Rose Price Story
by Rose Price. Paperback, 172 pages.BK270, $12--thanks to the JEWS FOR JESUS Folks

Dawn Eden meet Mark Lowry-really, go meet him.

TALK TO MR. ED-Love, Jesus (like you never heard him before)

ED AND HIS SON E.J.-gone fishin

WALKING THE TALK-Brother Hugh We Miss You

Now it's "Father Hugh to You."

You can still read his brilliant thoughts at

Here is a great article on other people walking the talk:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

MAY IT PLEASE THE BLOGGER; Thanks to the American Constitution Society for this one

Federal Judge Supports Blogging, Cameras in Court

U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner is one of only a handful of judges who contribute to blogs. She maintains that blogging can provide more public exposure and understanding of courts. Judge Gertner has contributed to Slate's Convictions Blog (now on "hiatus") and called for cameras in the courtroom in a podcast interview with Lawyer2Lawyer. Gertner said courts should "be much more accessible to everyone in a way that they've never been before."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

“The Eucharist is truly a
glimpse of heaven
appearing on earth.
Certainly the Christian vision
leads to the expectation of
‘new heavens’ and ‘a new
earth’ (Rev 21:1), but this
increases, rather than
lessens, our sense of
responsibility for the world
today. I wish to reaffirm this
forcefully at the beginning of
the new millennium, so that
Christians will feel more
obliged than ever not to
neglect their duties as
citizens in this world. Theirs
is the task of contributing
with the light of the Gospel
to the building of a more
human world, a world fully in
harmony with God’s plan.”
- Pope John Paul II, Ecclesia de

Friday, July 11, 2008

Litany of the Saints

Which includes a few dames

At a very conservative catholic bookstore in Washington, DC a statue of another one of my favorite saints Catherine of Siena stands at the back looking gaunt.

She is a pillar and a Doctor of the Church. She was so esteemed in her day one town in Italy has her head (Sienna) and Rome took her body where it currently lies entombed under a church altar behind the Pantheon.

You cannot go into a Catholic church without being spotted by another even more famous female saint- The Blessed Virgin Mother of God.

She appears in all sorts of forms: , sashed standing in a Lourdes grotto, surrounded by a halo of stars, perpetually helping holding the baby Jesus with his sandal slightly falling off....she's everywhere.

So apparently women rank in Heaven.

So it amuses me to no end that the reason why Episcopalian Bishops are mutinying and flocking to Catholicism is because they can't stand having women be Bishops.

But this mass defection creates another stunning dichotimous cannon law doctrinal conundrum; all the Episcopalian Bishops definitionally had to be good husbands-because that is scriptural. They generally have solid marriages, families with lots of kids and found nothing incompatible ontologically with their priesthood and married family life- it all serves God in different forms. They recognize that a cad in a collar is less moral and virtuous than a solid family guy. They see the polygamous pitfalls of priests spiritually betrothing too many women who start getting jealous of each other and imagining themselves church housewives as happens in Catholic churchs, especially to the old dames who have no life but being fashion plating "church ladies"--who would date them?

Episcopalians can't stand women in ecclesiastical authority but they love them in the kitchen.

So what is a Pope to do now? Let all the Episcopalian priests be priests while the good old boys in black still hold to the absurd unbiblical medieval ontological myth that they are so ontologically different in being that being married would compromise their service of the church or virtue?

Maybe they should poll the unhappier heterosexual souls to see what they really think.

What is a Pope to do indeed.

I welcome all the Episcopalian brethren because they provide a flood of fresh air and a welcome lesson that women can be loved on earth, just as they are in heaven and given the level of respect Jesus actually afforded them. Notwithstanding that Paul actually told them to shut up and ask spiritual questions of their husbands at home- (which presupposes that these husbands were of some spiritual knowledge or authority- and married) women clearly have the spiritual capacity to teach some men a few things-and they need the learning.

So what's a Pope to do now? Perhaps he will after all commission that statue (and canon law statute) I keep asking for - of Mrs. Peter Pope and center it at the front door of Saint Peter's in the Vatican.

--this was written by a woman who is too old to be bitter and too loved to be jealous-so don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Let me Count the Ways

I could not have loved a human more
or hoped or dreamed or prayed
so sincerely
that you would be near me
to be with me forever
into eternity and evermore.
I could not have waited
and suffered such betrayal
any more patiently
or watched you indifferently
turn your back on me
while my heart broke in shards
as blood flowed from the cracks
and tears I held back
I could not have loved you more
or wanted to give my world to you
so intensely
I could not have loved you more
you were simply the death of me-
but only temporarily.

More Than Conquerors---and inseparable

Who will separate us from the love of Christ?

Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

- Romans 8:35-39


The Guantanamo detainment issues are being heard in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia. You can follow the orders on their website at

Judges Thomas Hogan and Leon appear to be handling early procedural matters currently. Orders and press releases are posted on their website as they occur.