Friday, January 30, 2009

This land is your land, this land is my land, from California, to the New York Island

God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou, who has brought us thus far along the way,
Thou, who has by Thy might
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray…
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand,
True to our God,
true to our native land.

I nearly cried- Who is playing Ledbetter in the Movie?


The First Presidential Bill signed was not some act repealing all the abortion restrictions as the conservatives hysterically postured prior to the election, putting up Palin to drum up the hysterical nonsense to appeal to the mindless republican base. Your cartoon character assassination attempt to sqewer Obama as a baby-killing monster didn't work. You just look ridiculous.

The First Presidential Bill signed was one that will save more babies from abortion than anyone realizes and solidify family life for half the country.

Yesterday, if you missed it while others of us sat at our desks nearly crying in gratitude
OBAMA signed a bill which ameneded the Civil Rights Act. If you are not a lawyer you might not get how important this little act of clarifying the reach of the 180 day rule for reporting discrimination actually is, but trust me- it is a very big deal.

Ms. Ledbetter, who no doubt spent a career working at a Goodyear rubber tire facility because of the deep psychic wage (NOT) sued and was awarded originally several million dollars for a career wherein she was systematically discriminated against over years- almost a lifetime, by getting a fraction of what the other good old boys got paid-just for being a woman. Goodyear took it to the Supreme Court and won a shallow unjust victory wherein the Court restricted discrimination claims to only those within the 180 day reporting period - and not those prior to those 180 days- imposing a rigid statute of limitations interpretation that was never intended by Congress in the first place. The effect of the new law is that the discrimination experienced prior to the 180 days may be tacked on with the last act occuring within 180 days such that all of this is now actionable-and compensable. I have yet to read the whole act in full but will soon-more later. That is the gist as I understand it.

Why is this more Pro-Life than a million people marching on the mall carrying signs saying "we choose life?"- Because this makes life more possible. It means companies may not, under threat of serious monetary damage, engage in institutional discrimination against women- just because they are women. (or blacks just because they are black, or hispanics just because they are hispanic, etc...) This is faith in action not just a crowd shouting at tilted windmills.

Half the country is divorced. Many women are out there single on their own. Many women are raising children on their own or helping other women who have to raise them on their own. It is unjust and unjustifiable for women to make a penny less than a man for doing exactly the same job just because the guy is presumed to have greater financial responsibility (or a worse golf habbit). I had a widowed grandmother lose her husband and go back to work and eventually got a graduate degree at age 50 or so. I have a widowed godmother/aunt who lost her husband with two small children when she was in her early 40s. None of that was because they were sinful or bad women. They needed every penny that their labor could earn while raising children.

Obama struck a beautiful tone with this first Bill signing. He had bipartisan support of the Senator from Maine and other women- because this is a non-partisan issue. It is a decency and fairness issue.

What could Alito possibly have been thinking when making that Ledbetter ruling? That the slick class action plaintiff's attorneys were going to ruin these good solid hardworking companies? Ridiculous- the only companies who would be ruined would be those ignorant enough to institutionalize discrimination policies that they implemented over years- and believe me- some of them should be whacked hard on their bottom line.

I love this President. This is a man who is obviously so brilliant and so secure in his manhood that a strong professional woman does not threaten him in the slightest --he views it as an asset to him. He doesn't need to cut her or any woman off at the knees, because he understands that the stronger you empower women, the stronger you empower children, and the stronger you empower families, and the stronger a Life Force are you. Obama understands that we have to have a society where we RESPECT women, rather than undermining their dignity.

A very large factor in women's psychology for those who have had abortions is a feeling of loss of complete power and control after the male who got them pregnant emotionally abandoned or betrayed them. This is a respect and dignity issue. If you address that, you will stop a multitude of abortions. Instead of teaching men how not to commit emotional or physical adultery with women, men continue to exploit and use them in myriad ways- even men of the cloth.
Emotional adultery is as deep a betrayal as a physical one.
Respect and Dignity of women translates directly into Life- more life, new life and fuller life.

When the Republicans finally get how far off the ranch they are on this, then we will see a country where Life is truly flourishing in abundance.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Glory Glory Hallelujiah


Look at the Crowds even back here!

What a day.

I got to see most of it from the jumbatrons with my sister and her niece-in-law. Then my poor sister landed in the medical tent from the cold combined with a stomach virus.
The Medical Tent was a testimony to the determination of a people to see change happen-with the FIERCE URGENCY OF NOW. Mothers with small children braved the cold, a five month old pregnant woman went into early contractions in the medical tent and was first in line for the ambulance (lots of luck, the roads were blocked for miles). Men of all ages who stood for four hours in dress socks and work shoes dethawed their toes under the round superspace heater, a diabetic started shivering, and the effects of people who partied hardy the previous night combined with the cold that dehydrated them into exhaustion found solace on an army cot under tin foil "space blankets." Nothing was stopping these people from witnessing History.

Glory Glory Hallelujiah, his truth is marching on.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Blessed and Beloved Sister Ann (Society of Saint Joseph) at Holy Trinity in Georgetown got a surprise treat today when Joe Biden's secret service sprung on her that yes, indeed, Joe and Jill Biden were coming to Sunday Mass this morning. The nice Secret Service guy gave her a pin of the US with the Secret Service insignia on it.
All in a day's work for Sister Ann.

Damn Proud To Be An American

Obama- Do you remember this baby?

On the campaign trail Obama did some baby kissing- and the Baby came to Washington!! (she has more hair now a year older)

O.N.E: One Nation Empowered [Under God]


The demons ran for cover from the Capital today and the fog was blown away by the music.

Joe Biden standing in front of Abe Lincoln telling the country that "Honey, it's going to be all right" made me feel once again that this country is a safe place to live, work, love, play and grow--a feeling I lost over the last 8 years. Sounding and looking like the "Every-grandfather" his tone and comportment were completely comforting. Jill's smile couldn't be brighter. Goodness came home. You could cut the happiness in the air with a whistle. In every hotel lobby in the city people are hugging each other and taking each other's pictures in their Sunday best.

Obama echoed on the Mall the now familiar theme that if we see ourselves in each other we can perfect this Union--and fully realize that American dream, encouraging the amazing spirit of joy and hope that is flooding the capital with the feeling of universal brotherhood that has people high-fiving, back slapping and holding multi-colored hands all over the place in public, bundled scarves flapping in the wind under every variety of furr, felt and wool hat. Ladies from the choir are walzing around the Mall in Mink Coats y'all. It' amazing.
I'll tell you, it's a GREAT DAY TO BE AN AMERICAN.


To Archbishop Donald Wuerl and the family of clergy at Saint Matthews Cathedral in Washington for the blessing on the Administration and the reminder that we are all called to
help create a just society for the common good. Thanks for also reminding us that a good society has to be a virtuous one and the notion of "good" without "virtue" is oxymoronic and risks being self-serving. (The Inaugural will be followed the next day with an enormous Mass at the Verizon Center to kick off the March for Life in which hundreds of thousands of people converge on the Mall in remembrance of the need to protect the still most vulnerable of our pre-born citizens whose common good has been servile to fear and other venial interests.)

THANK YOU ALSO to the dynamic woman preacher the Schullers had on the Crystal Cathedral from a Methodist Church in Texas ( who led the congregation in this prayer of Hope:

O.N.E,(One Nation Empowered) Prayer

Letter of Invitation
A Prayer for O.N.E. (One Nation Empowered)

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance. Psalm 33:12

Almighty Father, God, You merely spoke and the heavens were created. You breathed the Word, and all the stars were born. You assigned the sea its boundaries and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs. We praise Your name forever and ever, for You possess all wisdom and power. Father, thank You for blessing the United States of America with abundance and prosperity. Thank You for surrounding our nation with Your favor, grace, and mercy. Jesus, thank You for shedding Your blood for our redemption. Holy Spirit, thank You for Your guidance and power. You are an awesome God!
Heavenly Father, let Your kingdom come and Your will be done in our nation. Your Word states that we are to pray for kings and all people who are in authority, so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives that are marked by godliness and dignity. We know that this is good and acceptable in Your sight. Today, we pray for our new President, Barack Obama, and his presidential administration. We declare that as they prepare to lead our nation, they will trust in You with all of their hearts. They will not depend on their own understanding, but they will seek Your will in all they do and we expect that You, Lord, will show them which path to take when making decisions for the American people.
We decree that our local, state, and national leaders will not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful; but their delight will be in the law of the Lord and in His law they will meditate day and night. They will be like trees planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf will not wither and whatever they do will prosper. Gracious Father, some nations boast of their chariots and horses; but we boast in the Name of the Lord, our God.

We submit to Your care,

President Barack Obama,
Vice President Joe Biden,
Nancy Pelosi,
Harry Reid,
Hillary Clinton,
Timothy Geithner,
Robert Gates,
Eric Holder,
Ken Salazar,
Thomas Vilsack,
Hilda Solis,
Tom Daschle,
Shaun Donovan,
Ray LaHood,
Steven Chu,
Arne Duncan,
Eric Shinseki,
Janet Napolitano,
Leon Panetta,
Dennis Blair,
Lisa Jackson,
Robert Mueller,
Lawrence Summers,
James Jones,
Susan Rice,
Peter Orszag,
Ron Kirk,
Robert Gibbs,
Rahm Emanuel,
the U.S. Congress and all governmental officials.

Holy Spirit, unite this new administration and remind all of our leaders that they are working for the good of the nation and not for the advancement of self. Please help our leaders to put aside “politics” and operate in the best interest of the American people. Heal the wounds that negative politics, fear and ignorance have created within our nation. Empower us, the Body of Christ, to lead the effort in the healing process. Eternal God, Lord of Heaven’s Armies, we ask You to bless and protect our leaders’ families. Please continue to protect our troops and our borders. Increase the courage and strength of our servicemen and women as they fight courageously for our country.
Merciful Father, we repent on behalf of our nation for our many sins. We acknowledge that our actions have created problems that only You can solve. Forgive us for all sin, including greed, arrogance, selfish ambition, disobedience, rebellion, hypocrisy, injustice, jealousy, hatred, violence, ageism, sexism, racism, and dissension. Father, forgive us for shedding innocent blood and denying Your power. We confess that we have not loved the world as You love the world. We ask You to heal our land and make us one, even as You and Jesus are One. Please have mercy upon all of us and help us! As a nation, show us those we need to forgive and help us to forgive.
Lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from the evil one.
Now, unto You, the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. In Jesus’ Name,

Scripture References for the Written Text: Psalm 33:6-7, Daniel 2:20, Matthew 6:10, I Timothy 2:1-3, Proverbs 3:5-6, Proverbs 11:14, Proverbs 4:6, Proverbs 22:4, Psalm 1:1-3 (NKJV), Psalm 20:7, Philippians 4:19, Matthew 6:13, I Timothy 1:17

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Barach Lands- Whistle Stop ends at Union Station

After a few brilliant speeches not heard by enough people because it's freezing out there.
A more memorable line ---
If we could just recognize ourselves in each other..... we could make a more perfect Union (liberally paraphrased by a liberal)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Love is Higher Than All The Theological Virtues

And Real Love Creates Real Life as God is the Great Creator. Immitations look like vain works and hanging on to status through works.

I thought I would give a Sermon a crack based on today's reading (to see if I can do better than the local Pastor)[Malachai 2]:

Today's reading is the following:
When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home.

Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them.
They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him.
After they had broken through,they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him,“Child, your sins are forgiven.”Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves,“Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming.
Who but God alone can forgive sins?”Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic,‘Your sins are forgiven,’or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’?But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”–he said to the paralytic,“I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone.

They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”

The SON OF MAN has authority to forgive sins. The SON OF MAN- JESUS. He has the authority to forgive sins. Thus the chest pounding Pastor who may or may not be more sinful in fact than the people he is looking at (no comment) has according to scripture no more authority to forgive sins than the Son of Man---- and no one else sitting in the pew has any more authority to forgive sins than than the Son of Man.

God and the Christ Jesus have authority to forgive sins. Because "I and the Father are ONE" said Jesus.

Jesus is a person/third part of the triune God, who forgives sins in the name of the Father- because He and the Father are ONE (hear oh Israel) Thus, our sins are forgiven by virtue of the sacrificial act that Jesus performed on the cross in atonement redemptively for all our sins (more perfect and pure than an unblemished lamb and the only acceptable sacrifice). And there is something more that Jesus tells us operates as the catalyst- it says "when Jesus saw their faith" he said your sins have been forgiven.
FAITH then is the operating catalyst to forgiveness of sins. It also seems like the faith of the community carried some weight- it was the entire crowd who opened the roof and lowered the guy for the healing. Scripture notes that it was after viewing their faith collectively that sins were forgiven.

Jesus who is alive and active, really sitting in Heaven with God, demands that we all have a direct individual personal real relationship with Him-where we read his love letters (the bible) and talk to him daily and call on him and perform works in his name-because it is that direct relationship, love of him and calling on his name, and doing the Matthew 25 things on earth that create in us the love that is Him that bridges us to heaven.

Mary does not serve this purpose- because Mary did not die on a cross in redemptive substitute sacrifice. Praying to Mary won't get you to heaven--it should point you to her son. Her value is in her motherhood as the Theotokas (Mother of God) [Another reason it's completely whacked that the Catholic church views barenness and childlessness in women as a defining feature of advanced spirituality]

The power is in the blood and name of Jesus of Nazareth. The redemption is in the blood and name of Jesus. The forgiveness is through Jesus of Nazareth. The life eternal is through Jesus of Nazareth. Blessed be the Name of the Lord. All who Call upon the Name of the Lord will be saved.

It is by God's Grace that you have been saved, however, not of any good work of yours, least any of you should boast. And it is the Faith that draws you into the Grace, because you cannot believe without Faith. So the interaction of the catalyzing Faith moves you into Grace which is the free undeserved gift of God's forgiveness.

You cannot get to heaven on a budget. You cannot get to heaven because you ran a church with a surplus (while managing to deceive all the sugar mommas that you actually are in love with all of them--here's a news flash- Jesus sells himself ). You cannot get to heaven because you are such a nice looking guy, or because you delivered a few meals on wheels or even because you cracked up the crowd in a Sermon.
You can't even get to heaven because you think you are consecrating a eucharist because you are used to doing it whether Jesus wants to come to you or not -or is not listening to your prayers because of your sin or not. I truly believe that there are more than a few times when the Priest said the consecration when Jesus said back "HUH? Are you kidding me? Who are you really?"

You get to heaven because you respond appropriately to God's love, and acknowledge what he did for you that you could never do for yourself-and step up to the plate and reciprocate. You get to heaven because you practice his supreme love with all your heart, mind soul and strength. You get to heaven because your love of him compels the deepest love of people possible-- people in particular and people in general.

If the Pastor paid more attention to studying theology or talking directly to God in prayer and less attention to pathetically sucking up to the emotionally starved sugar momma crushing on him he might find more than six people in the pews (because that is just embarassing). People might actually find a semblance of Jesus in the church rather than a pompous pietistic ritual with a lot of nice embroidery and candles.

But that's just one church--- don't mind me- Some priests think that they have authority to forgive sins and are themselves forgiven for having little Love and Less Faith.

There are going to be more than a few priests who will wonder why they didn't make it to heaven-(I think I know one) and are stuck in the same pathetic ritualistic purgatory they created for themselves on earth worshiping buildings and their own image in their self delusion- when they looked so nice in the robes and recited all the stuff so perfectly. Jesus is going to say to some of these people "get the Hell away from me----I don't know who you are." Some of these people who are more lukewarm in their Faith than those who get spewed out of his mouth are in for a big shock. They had such puny little love, in such fine embroidered robes.
Love that seeks to elevate itself above its humanity isn't real love-it's love at half mast. Jesus became MAN for a reason.

The last impression I note is that Jesus must have had a house at Capernaum- because they found him at home. His parents lived in Nazareth (when exactly Joseph died isn't stated but that was where the home he grew up in was.) The house must have been fairly large to have housed such a crowd. It was a proper house with at least a "roof." It wasn't a mud hut carved in a stone wall. Jesus was a townsperson at Capernaum at one point in his life.

By the way- I did better than the local Pastor- and I am just a girl- so clearly women can preach. Blame my presybterian upbringing and Saint Ignatius of Loyola for giving me a few exercises.
If you think I am too tough on priests re-read the books of Joel and Hosea.

Malachi 2
1And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you.
2If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.
3Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.
4And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.
5My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name.
6The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.
7For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.
8But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.
9Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.
10Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?
11Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.
12The LORD will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the LORD of hosts.
13And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.
14Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.
15And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
16For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.
17Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?

(yes, it's frustrating when the priest is a male whore)

All Comments are moderated on this site. If I don't care for what you have to say, or if it is supremely stupid (or both) it doesn't get posted.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Theme of the New Era: Can We Talk?

Diplomacy means Engagement

If the Hillary confirmation Senate hearings are any bellweather, the New Era of American Foreign Policy will be one of constructive engagement; in other words - actual real diplomacy
(not bunker hiding while spear tossing).

The belief that someone's behavior will only get better if only we give them the "talk to the hand" treatment will be replaced with a more detente-ish tete-a-tete. How can you walk a mile in your neighbor's moccassins if you don't take your shoes off?

This new administration doesn't appear to be drawing lines in the sand so much as inviting everyone to the sandcastle building party. If we all play nice together maybe we can actually build something helpful and useful ---for all concerned, not just a few oil moguls and their secret
deferred stockholders.

This approach to Peace through Dialogue is one that has been mirrored in the open-hearted religious communities of all religious spectrum. Today, in Washington, DC at the RUMI FORUM ( (founded by a Muslim Professor at Georgetown from Turkey) the Director of the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington Clark Lobenstine gave an address on the importance of approaching differing faiths with more than tolerance but with respect and admiration. Tolerance basically says "I'll put up with you" while respect and admiration applauds the glorious diversity that God made us all and cherishes the godly drive in all to worship their creator as god-inspired. He was introduced by a staff member of the Georgetown Jewish chaplains office.
Beyond "tolerance" indeed is "Love" which is more than "don't do to another what you don't want done to you" and goes beyond the positive "do to your neighbor what you want done to you." Love is creative, tolerance is static. The commandment and call is to aggressively "Love" the neighbor, not just tolerate the neighbor. The Rumi Forum, a Muslim founded organization devoted to peace and dialogue, invited all faiths to this, hosted a luncheon of homemake turkish delicacies and created a wonderul environment to respectfully explore questions of faith and policy.
Last Sunday, a similar theme was echoed by the Jesuit Father Thomas Michel who addressed the John Carroll Society, a Catholic organization, and who just left to go live in Turkey after a stint as a Woodstock Theological Fellow at Georgetown University. If ever there were a hidden saint....He is a Jesuit from the American Midwest but operating out of the Indonesian Province of the Jesuits because he spent many years working in the area of Muslim-Christian cooperation in Indonesia. He didn't just tolerate his neighbors, he loved them. He noted that while living in a Muslim country, sometimes as the only Christian for miles and miles around, he was always warmly received and cared for. He recalled a touching encounter where someone noted that they love it when he comes to speak because "it's like a visit from the Prophet Jesus." He noted that this is what Christians have an obligation to be to the Muslim world- and the Prophet Jesus, we recall, came to bless, love, heal, drive out demons, and raise the dead. He didn't kill a soul, and wishes that none should perish but that all should have eternal life with him.

These people, Fr. Michel and Reverend Lobenstine, who combined have over half a century of experience in building interfaith bridges are true heros of the Faith- they are the Five Star Generals in the Christian Army marching as to War. The new "War" should be the non-violent resistence against those who would kill in the name of a God who is the Prince of Peace.

And that brings us to Martin Luther King day next Monday. Martin Luther King, Jr. knew that
the call of the true Christian is to non-violently resist intolerance and evil with Love.
He caused a revolution without calling for bloodshed, and 40 years later- we are witnessing the fruit in Inagurating our first African American President.

God moves in mysterious ways- and on the move He is.
Happy Martin Luther King day to one and all.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Surrender yourself to God.
Wish for nothing but one thing: that his will be done, that his kingdom come, and that his nature be revealed. Then all will be well.

-Eberhard Arnold



Come to Washington, DC's main downtown CATHEDRAL, Saint Matthews for a Mass and Blessing on the Inauguration and New Administration this Sunday at 5:30 pm.

You are invited to gather with your parish community and friends to pray for our country and its elected officials at the 5:30pm Mass next Sunday, January 18, to be celebrated by the Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl.

A reception will be held immediately after the Mass in the North Conference Room.

All are welcome. That Means You.

On inauguration day there will be only one Mass in the Cathedral at Noon.
(images on top are of the mosaic from the Saint Anthony of Padua chapel; they depict scenes from the life of Saint Francis of Assissi in Assissi- probably one of the most beautiful mosaics in the country- worth going to the church just to pray there.)

Saint Who?

St. Gregory of Nyssa (c. 330-395)

When two saints marry- they make more Saints....

The son of two saints, Basil and Emmilia, young Gregory was raised by his older brother, St. Basil the Great, and his sister, Macrina, in modern-day Turkey. Gregory's success in his studies suggested great things were ahead for him. After becoming a professor of rhetoric, he was persuaded to devote his learning and efforts to the Church. By then married, Gregory went on to study for the priesthood and become ordained (this at a time when celibacy was not a matter of law for priests).
He was elected Bishop of Nyssa (in Lower Armenia) in 372, a period of great tension over the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ. Briefly arrested after being falsely accused of embezzling Church funds, Gregory was restored to his see in 378, an act met with great joy by his people.
It was after the death of his beloved brother, Basil, that Gregory really came into his own. He wrote with great effectiveness against Arianism and other questionable doctrines, gaining a reputation as a defender of orthodoxy. He was sent on missions to counter other heresies and held a position of prominence at the Council of Constantinople. His fine reputation stayed with him for the remainder of his life, but over the centuries it gradually declined as the authorship of his writings became less and less certain. But, thanks to the work of scholars in the 20th century, his stature is once again appreciated. Indeed, St. Gregory of Nyssa is seen not simply as a pillar of orthodoxy but as one of the great contributors to the mystical tradition in Christian spirituality and to monasticism itself.

From the blog

A Priest, a Rabbi and a Baptist Minister Walked into a Bar

The Bartender said: is this some kind of joke?

A new pastor moved into town and went out one Saturday to visit his parishioners. All went well until he came to one house. It was obvious that someone was home, but no one came to the door even after he had knocked several times.

Finally, he took out his card, wrote on the back:

"Revelation 3:20" and stuck it in the door.

(Revelation 3:20 reads: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he will with me.")

The next day, as he was counting the offering he found a card in the collection plate of the man whom he tried to visit. Below his message was a notation "Genesis 3:10" ("And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked.").

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Inaguration Day- Open For Business

If you find yourself by around Noon on Inaguration Day looking for a warm place to stop after the parade, Saint Matthews CATHEDRAL on 17th and Rhode Island (by the M St. intersection) is open for business in the heart of downtown DC for Noon Mass (and hopefully a blessing on the festivities). Yours truly will be the lector reading the scripture that day (everyone else will be stuck in Virginia)- so if you are curious about who edits this mess, go to Saint Matthews Cathedral on January 20th at Noon. They'll leave the light on for you.

Monday, January 12, 2009

What is this? A Rose By Any Other Name.......

Dialogue between the Skeptic (“S”) and Faithist (“F”).

S- What is it exactly?
-it’s mere tissue, a few cells. Protoplasmic blob. My body, my business.

F-No, It’s a person.

S-So what makes it a person?

F-It isn’t a dog, monkey, lamb or turtle is it?

S-No but neither can it ride a bike, drive a car, yell at its mother or eat its vegetables.

F-So functionality and functional ability defines “human?-What about a disabled person, they are still a person-right? Which functions define personhood?”

S- Well, if they look like a person they are a person, not a monkey, dog, turtle or lamb.

F-So looking like a person is what makes a person? Phenotype defines personhood ?

S- Perhaps. You know it when you see it, hear it or run into it on the metro.

F-So a robot that looks like a person is a person?

S-No, silly- a robot isn’t human, it’s man made.

F-OK, so a person is what- man made with woman? Anything man made with women is a person? What about man made with a testtube? Let’s say phenotype plus functionality that looks like a person is a person.
Is that it?

S- OK, so if it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, quacks like a duck- functionality plus physicality or phenotype-that makes a person? What about a really good robot- doesn’t it have to have person cells, differentiated human cells?.
- a tissue looks like a tissue, a few cells look like just a few cells- I don’t see a face. If I don’t see a face, it can’t be a person.

F-But what if it has at the microcellular level human memory capability and coding such that it will be a fully formed human eventually. It has a full complement of human DNA shouldn’t we call it then a person?.

S-nice theory, but it has to be born; an acorn is not a tree, a caterpillar is not a butterfly and a
a chicken is not an egg and an egg is not a chicken.
Were that the case we could make egg frickasee, egg kiev and scrambled chicken.
Their physical properties are different. One takes up more space than the other – one clucks and struts. The other fries in under five minutes.
If an acorn were a tree we would be strapping hammocks between acorns, and lounging underneath them for shade.
The "born" part is the metamorphasis that vests legal rights of personhood. If "born" isn't the defining line then I will settle for "viable."

F- Yes, but isn't "born" a bit of an arbitrary line in the sand when the thing looks exactly the same five minutes after birth as it did before birth? Why that line? Why any line? Isn't "viable" just a circular definition that begs itself? Even a newborn needs others to exist. If no one feeds it or shelters it a newborn isn't viable-it will die. It needs another person more capable in basic life functions to exist. Aren't we making definitions that serve the argument rather than make it?

If people are coded people by virtue of their full complement of DNA, and their cell capacity for human memory, from the minute of "conception" and in the fullness of time they will become fully people, then all that is missing to make them people is time.

And God’s time is not our time; a thousand years is as a day to him and a day as a thousand years.

Kind of gives new meaning to the term "when two or more are gathered in my name I am there" doesn't it? Because two or more cells gathered in his name, a union of two souls who merge two cells of sperm and egg in his name, into a created likeness of him- make him there in a sense, he is in a sense there-right?

S- So what are you saying? These little people are really already a thousand years old?

F- Perhaps in some other dimension.

In this dimension they are tiny persons. Microscopic persons if you will. Coming to earth for a millisecond of eternity, growing like a time lapsed image of an opening lily- only made in the very image and likeness of God- a chip off the old block or a slice off the big pie. A lily opened and a lily closed is still a lily and a rose by any other name....

We just had Christmas- God came as a baby, and if God was a baby, before that God was an embryo, and before that God was a Zygote. God existed in his full complementarity in a few cells at one point.

You gave your child a name after he saw earth's daylight and was born. But the same being existed before he was born, and a month before he was born, the same child of the same name existed only a month smaller, and a month earlier, a month smaller, until the same child by the same name was but a few cells.

And God said that he gave them all purpose already; he gave them in his mind’s eye more than function, purpose. Purpose is more like Mission than Function.

Each one is unique, each one has a purpose to fulfill. Each one is like a tiny circuit in the puzzle of micro-chips that make up the motherboard of humanity. Each one is designed to produce, create or contribute something unique.

So it’s easy to see that if there are 3 million abortions a year, in a country of 300 million, we are missing one one-hundredth of our citizen circuitry.

S- No wonder the country is a mess.
F- Exactly.

F- Did you know that there was a time when legally a black person was considered only 3/4th a person in America?

S- Yes, absurdly cruel and hard to imagine now, but that was just because society was so bigoted against a group of people that they believed something that looked different in one phenotypical property did not have the full complement of all essential elements of personhood.
F- Exactly.

S- And because the definition of "person" served the ruling powerful class’s interests in depriving the less powerful and easily exploitable vulnerable voiceless of their legal rights to serve the pecuniary interests of the more powerful.
F- Exactly. That’s a good segue to the stem cell debate- for another day.

S- You are starting to sound like one of those religious nutcases.

F- Badge of Honor- Just as long as you don't start sounding like one of those plantation owners who could justify shooting runaway slaves who had no legal right of personhood being only 3/4th human.

Baptism to Heaven

Yesterday morning Rome time, a beloved dear friend of American Catholics and particularly the John Carroll Society in Washington, DC went home to the Lord.

Longtime friend of the John Carroll Society, former Papal Nuncio to the United States, Cardinal Pio Laghi, passed away yesterday on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

Our prayers and sympathy go out to his family, to the Church, and to those whose lives were touched by Cardinal Laghi.

His funeral will be held in St. Peter's Basilica on Tuesday.

I was blessed to celebrate a special Mass with him and his special friend at an Airport chapel in Ireland once. Just the three of us. Very special.

I am praying to him for miracles now- he has a better view.

From the official Vatican Information Service


VATICAN CITY, 12 JAN 2009 (VIS) - Benedict XVI has sent a telegram of condolence for the death of Cardinal Pio Laghi, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Catholic Education and patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. The cardinal died yesterday at the age of 86.

In the telegram, addressed to the nephews of the deceased, the Pope speaks of Cardinal Laghi's "long and generous service to the Holy See, in particular as pontifical representative in various countries and as prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education. To you and your families I wish to express my sincere participation in the mourning that has afflicted all those who knew and respected the late cardinal and, while raising fervent prayer to God to grant him the prize promised to faithful servants of the Gospel, I send my heartfelt apostolic blessing to all those who grieve his passing".

At the altar of the Cathedra in the Vatican Basilica at 11 a.m. tomorrow, Tuesday 13 January, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, will preside at the funeral Mass with other members of the college.

At the end of the ceremony, the Pope will address those present and administer the rites of "Ultima Commendatio" and of "Valedictio".

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Saint Anthony of Padua,

Franciscan Friar.

Life On The Rock

Well The Weather Outside is Frightful

But the Church is so Delightful.
This has to be one of the prettiest church altars in DC- and you can still see it in all it's Christmas decor glory, because for Catholics Christmas is not just a day, it's a SEASON to be jolly.
Churchs stay decorated festively for weeks after Christmas.
So lucky for the Obamas they can still pop into Saint Matthews, or Saint Stephens, all in walking distance to the Hay Adams to count their blessings and ask for wisdom, protection, and all good things that good Presidents need.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Dominican Saint of the Day

Saint Ray. The Lawyer.

Raymond of Penyafort. A Lawyer (cannon and civil law) who wrote a bunch of seminal treatises who lived to be 100.

Praying for the Sick-PLEASE!

To all my friends whom I have been ignoring lately: My apologies.
It's for your own good-trust me. I have one of those hideous bronchial yellow-orange phlem heaving infections in my lungs that keep me awake coughing so violently I think they are going to call the fire department. I am sure I am hosting a family of bacterial trapeze flyers in my lungs.
I came out of Mass the Sunday before last and saw the heart melting scene of the Pastor cradling an infant he was about to baptize and had to run for the hills so the poor kid wouldn't be dead before he hit the water by breathing my same air.
I had to suppress all natural baby kissing Pastor hugging tendancies. I have been in hiding ever since next to a crate of Airborne and salt water gargle juice. In its second week it's gone on far too long not to call in the prayer troops. This suffering in silence isn't working so well.
It's going around like wildfires in California- so pray for us all. We live in Washington and we don't want to infect all one million of you coming to DC for the Inagural.
The only upside to this (aside from the jump in the stock price of Kleenex) due to high sales,
is that you can spend half the day in your jammies watching non-stop Food Channel episodes of that adorable character Duff Goldman who lives in Baltimore who makes Cakes at his shop called Charm City Cakes.
He can make you a cake that looks like anything. Did you know that he just won a contest at the Minneapolis Mall of America where you had to make a city skyline sculpture out of Rice Krispie Treats. The entire town made out of Rice krispie treats!! He made the Baltimore Inner Harbor entirely out of edible Krispie Treats! Awesome!
At my wedding (imaginary at this point) I want him to construct for the kids corner an entire village with train tracks so my 2 year old nephew and his friends can play with edible Thomas the Train in a Krispie Treat village (complete with bridges, moats, irish castle and thatched roof krispie cabins.)
Somehow a krispie treat edible Notre Dame Cathedral or La Magdalene sounds a bit tacky, so perhaps he can make those out of Marzipan to anchor the krispie village.
I am feeling better already.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Let There Be Peace on Earth. Let It Begin With Me.

(reprint of the Vatican Information Service)

VATICAN CITY, 4 JAN 2009 (VIS) - After the Angelus the Pope invited all to pray for an end to the war in Gaza, recalling that hatred and war do not resolve problems.

"Today, in all the churches of the Holy Land, the patriarchs and leaders of the Christian churches of Jerusalem invite the faithful to pray for an end to the conflict in the Gaza Strip and implore justice and peace for their land. I join with them and ask you to do the same, remembering, as they are saying, 'the victims, the wounded, those with broken hearts, who are living in anguish and fear, that God bless them with consolation, patience, and the peace that proceeds from Him".

The Holy Father affirmed that "the dramatic news that we are receiving from the Gaza Strip shows that the refusal to dialogue leads to situations that weigh unspeakably on the populations who are again victim to hatred and war".

War and hatred are not a solution to problems. Most recent history again confirms this. Let us pray, then, that 'the Baby in the manger ... inspire the authorities and those responsible on both sides, Israeli and Palestinian, to act immediately to put an end to this tragic situation".

(The image above was from the e-Christmas Card sent by the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, . It's a daunting inspiring place- should be on the Obama family's

list of things to visit in DC) Pray for Me, I'm Praying for You.

Mr. and Mrs. OBAMA Go To Washington


[this isn't the most kid friendly accommodating city-certainly compared to Chicago, New York or Philadelphia; there aren't a lot of outdoor
hoopcourts, or places where adolescents hang- but it's certainly an educational paradise
with the Smithsonian in your back yard.]

Random Citizens of Washington, DC Warmly Welcome Your Whole Family.

Can't Wait till You Walk Through Those Doors.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Full of Grace

There is no comparison to Palin. Paaaleeeeze.

No one would blink were it John John.

This is a person with a law degree, an accomplished author, a public figure, policy work through philanthropic endeavors, who has lived in the heart of the nation's highest political life by virtue of her family since birth. This is a quality, highly intelligent person
who doesn't need the added publicity - she doesn't need the star sparkle Palin sought by spending 200k to dud herself up. This is a class act. The Real Deal.

Plus she can get along with the President and his mission.
What is Patterson waiting for?

How Proud would we all be if the President (the only Catholic one yet by the way) JFKs daughter sat in the US Senate?