Monday, February 27, 2006

Ave Maria, FL

So the wealthy Catholic Tom Monaghan, founder of Dominos Pizza, is building a city.

Here's where it'll be.

It will focus around the first new Catholic University to be built in America in 40 years. It is to be a city welcoming Catholic families and businesses, which means the landowners will be free to impose religious clauses in their leases. Thus a landlord could say to a pharmacy, "In order to do business on this property, you must agree not to sell contraceptives or pornography."

Naturally this has the ACLU & Company up in arms. We couldn't just expect them to sit by, could we? But their objections are rather hollow, and a grade 7 debate class student could debunk them. Example:

Frances Kissling, president of a liberal Catholic group supporting women's rights to contraception and abortion, said the idea of a Catholic town was "very disturbing."

"We have to learn to tolerate the fact that there are other religions - as well as non-believers - and the interplay of cultures helps make each of us more productive members of society. A Catholic-only town goes totally against that."

How exactly does allowing like-minded believers to associate freely in a community - that doesn't yet exist - harm diversity? I could possibly see an argument if Catholics swarmed into say, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, in an effort to drive out the pagans, Protesants, atheists, etc, but there is no group of people here being displaced. The population of Ave Maria will be starting from scratch. The worst thing that will happen is that somebody will move to this new town completely ignorant of the purpose of its founding, and then one day it'll suddenly click that there aren't enough hookers, used condoms, or gangs on the streets, and they'll want to leave for browner pastures.

Still, don't think for an instant that I'm a fan of this idea. I can understand the appeal of it, sure, and I'm a great admirer of Monaghan's targetted philanthropy. But if we as Christians are to be salt and light to our world, I fear that southern Florida is about to become home to an impractical saltblock, lit for the light bearers. If hiding one's light under a bushel is a sin, what about hiding it in the middle of the sun?

The concept of a new university, however, is an interesting one. But I'd go about this in a different way. The town of Steubenville, OH, home of Franciscan University, is by no means a Catholic haven. Yet the university is thriving, and from all accounts its Catholic character is quite authentic. So why not put this new university in the middle of a bustling left-wing metropolis? The students will have a meal for their salt to season. They will have darkness for their light to conquer. Why not New York City? Why not Boston? Why not San Francisco? Fighting for the existing Catholic colleges in these cities is almost a lost cause, as they are so deeply entrenched in schismatic thought that it'd be easier for the Church to cut her losses and start anew.

In his homily at Marienfeld during World Youth Day, Pope Benedict XVI urged young people:

Form communities based on faith!

In recent decades, movements and communities have come to birth in which the power of the Gospel is keenly felt. Seek communion in faith, like fellow travellers who continue together to follow the path of the great pilgrimage that the Magi from the East first pointed out to us.

I don't believe he was referring to literal communities, or cities/towns, when he said this. He is urging for a connection with each other as Catholics, one which is faithful to the magisterium and is practical in its mission. He adds:

Since we receive the same Lord and he gathers us together and draws us into himself, we ourselves are one.

This must be evident in our lives. It must be seen in our capacity to forgive. It must be seen in our sensitivity to the needs of others. It must be seen in our willingness to share. It must be seen in our commitment to our neighbours, both those close at hand and those physically far away, whom we nevertheless consider to be close.Today, there are many forms of voluntary assistance, models of mutual service, of which our society has urgent need. We must not, for example, abandon the elderly to their solitude, we must not pass by when we meet people who are suffering. If we think and live according to our communion with Christ, then our eyes will be opened. Then we will no longer be content to scrape a living just for ourselves, but we will see where and how we are needed.

Living and acting thus, we will soon realize that it is much better to be useful and at the disposal of others than to be concerned only with the comforts that are offered to us.

The Pope is tapping into the call of every Christian to evangelize; not just to live the faith, but to spread it.

Freedom and acceptance cause our faith to languish. Persecution & challenge cause us to grow, because we are held to account for it, which weeds out those who aren't willing to make the sacrifice. I know, I was bullied an account of my faith in school, and my torment, while unpleasant at the time, shaped my faith in the love of Jesus with a profound reality. His presence isn't just a reassuring concept, but is a true element of life.

Why on earth would an evangelist hide that reality among the like-minded?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Apple Dumpling Wake

I've got little time or respect for Hollywoodia, yet today - the passing of Don Knotts - is a sad day.

I'm too young to have much memory of his biggest role as Barney Fife in The Andy Griffith Show, and was never into Three's Company, but I loved watching him and Tim Conway ham it up in the Old West as part of the notorious Apple Dumpling Gang.

The scene I remember the most is when the sheriff catches them after they're suspected for a bank robbery, but when he realizes he's got the wrong gang after witnessing their witlessness, he tells them to be at the town square at noon the next day for their hangings, and to bring their own rope. Then the sheriff and the posse ride off.

Knotts was one of a precious few actors who could make you smile just by seeing him (Tim Conway, Bill Cosby, and Bill Murray are some other examples). Not for his quirky appearance, but for the obvious joy and satisfaction he found in his work. And the fact that he did it so damn well.

We'll miss you, Don.

Friday, February 24, 2006

True, True, True, #6

As a follow-up to my last post, let me clarify something.

One could easily point to the Islamist global insurgency and sense the doom of Europe, at least. But this threat is nothing new. Muslims have wanted to spread westward for hundreds of years, and they've been held at bay so far by Christianized society which was intrinsically corrosive to Islam. Meaning we'd get converts.

Here's why this is happening:
Can one pity those who have killed their own future for the pleasures of the present? Europe’s predicament, I repeat, is entirely self-inflicted. Not Islam is to blame. Secularism is.
Islam has always been a force to be reckoned with. The fact that this fire is now burning hotter than it has in generations is because they sense victory. The Christian culture formerly in their way, that historical bulwark of holiness, is in ruins. They can now fan out, spurred on by the radical imams who cry "Death to America" in Arabic and "Peace!" in English.

We need a new Churchill. Enough of these friggin' Neville Chamberlains.

h/t The Brussels Journal
Does the Unibrow Indicate Kindred Spirits?


They both look like regular, nice guys eh? BUT!

Check out Bert's bio:
Bert is intelligent but also grumpy, boring, and easily frustrated. He enjoys dull activities such as paper clip and bottle cap collecting, cooking oatmeal and watching pigeons.
And then we have Ahmad Abed-Al-Afo Al-Qawasmi:
Ahmad grew up in a family that taught him the morals and ethics of Islam. He was very obedient to his parents. His hobbies included swimming, weight-lifting, and horse-back riding.... On 31-08-2004, Ahmad and [co-martyr] Nasim Al-Jabari entered two Zionist buses and blew up the two buses.
[UPDATE: the link for alqassam.com is broken, but Google has graciously cached it]

Does anybody really think these people can be reasoned with?

Australia is among the first of Western nations to get things into perspective:

Anyone wanting to live under Islamic law (shari'a) might feel more comfortable living in countries where it is applied, such as Saudi Arabia or Iran, federal Treasurer Peter Costello said in an address to the Sydney Institute, a think tank.

In a pledge of allegiance, immigrants taking on Australian citizenship declare: "I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people, whose democratic beliefs I share, whose rights and liberties I respect and whose laws I will uphold and obey."

Costello said that anyone "who does not acknowledge the supremacy of civil law laid down by democratic processes cannot truthfully take the pledge of allegiance. As such they do not meet the pre-condition for citizenship."

Any Muslim planning to immigrate to Australia should first consider its values.

[....]

"Before becoming an Australian you will be asked to subscribe to certain values. If you have strong objection to those values, don't come to Australia."
This is a far cry from racism or racial profiling. This is pointing out that some cultures are incompatible. We can be charitable and polite all we like, but at some point we need to smarten up and realize the threat that the Islamist surge presents to freedom.

Sure, war is hell, and should be avoided as much as possible. But unlike the tango, war doesn't require the participation of both parties. Those wars fought against an undefending party are known as short wars, although we usually don't hear about them because the people that are subdued are completely wiped out, including their media outlets. Historically, when we finally rise up and fight back, it has often been nearly too late. Winston Churchill observed this in a speech to the British House of Commons, Aug 20, 1940, when WWII was less than a year old. Although every point was followed up with "but we're catching up" retorts, he noted:
  • We have seen great countries with powerful armies dashed out of coherent existence in a few weeks. We have seen the French Republic and the renowned French Army beaten into complete and total submission....
  • The trustful Dutch overwhelmed; their beloved and respected Sovereign driven into exile; the peaceful city of Rotterdam the scene of a massacre as hideous and brutal as anything in the Thirty Years' War.
  • Belgium invaded and beaten down; our own fine Expeditionary Force, which King Leopold called to his rescue, cut off and almost captured, escaping as it seemed only by a miracle and with the loss of all its equipment
  • the whole Western seaboard of Europe from the North Cape to the Spanish frontier in German hands
  • all the ports, all the air-fields on this immense front, employed against us as potential springboards of invasion
  • German air power, numerically so far outstripping ours, has been brought so close to our Island that what we used to dread greatly has come to pass and the hostile bombers not only reach our shores in a few minutes and from many directions, but can be escorted by their fighting aircraft.
That was then, this is now, but aside from the two scenarios' relative locations on the timeline of war, the differences are few.

If, as a society, we do not rise up against this rabid camel that is our generation's Naziism and beat it down, in a few generations the children of the West will watch TV and see Bert, wearing an unusually bulky vest, inconspicuously board a Zionist bus. With co-martyr Ernie.

Is that too bizarre to picture? That's how incompatible Sharia Law is with Western democracy. This hemisphere ain't big enough for the both of us.

It's time for the peaceful Muslims we always hear about to realize this too.

h/t SDA, Uncle Meat

Monday, February 20, 2006

Just Discrimination

Too many people use the phrase "discriminatory" indiscriminately. After all, to discriminate means simply "to choose" or perhaps in its worst possible context, "to choose against." Etymologically, it's associated with "to discern," "to distinguish," and "to sieve" as a verb (I often discriminate against the water in my macaroni). It is nothing more than making a choice.

Now granted, some choices can hurt. If I choose to drop a bocce ball on my foot, it will hurt. If I choose to break into my neighbour's house and steal her silverware, my choice can hurt my liberty. If a court chooses to deny adoption rights to a homosexual couple, it can hurt their sense of dignity.

Still, choices have to be made. The state routinely chooses against 14 year olds by telling them they cannot drive. Our society discriminates against men, telling them they may not use the women's bathroom. And let's not forget the unborn, who are "chosen against" in droves every day.

Now, as much as I oppose abortion, unibathrooms, and underage driving, that's not the purpose of this piece. I want to talk about the unwritten moratorium on discrimination against the "special interest group of the day," which flies in the face of the concept of choice which the liberals in our world selectively flaunt.

In the case of homosexuality, for instance, the Church acknowledges that:
The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.
The concession of the existence of unjust discrimination implies the existence of just discrimination. When it is warranted, or right, or appropriate, to decide against somebody? Obviously it is justified when he/she is underage and wants the keys to the Landrover. Few people would disagree with preventing ladies from using urinals. And obviously (to our corrupted society, anyway) it is justified when that somebody has been given the breath of life, but not yet the breath of air.

So why can the Church not (without opposition) choose against ordination of homosexuals, or similarly why can she not condone their adopting children? She is a private institution - even better, a religious one, which is necessarily accorded more rights. The Church, you must remember, has been the victim of much more state-imposed tyranny than vice versa, by a longshot.

The real issue that our social deconstructionists are striving for is not some glorious absolute; they want to rip apart the pre-existing Christian fabric of Western democracy for one purpose alone. They have another agenda - a hidden agenda, to borrow a phrase from our Canadian Liberals. They have a vision of a world which is incompatible with Christian ideals, and to achieve it, they must erode the faith out of hoi polloi.

They are, in short, discriminating against us.

Bring it on.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

It's That Time of Year Again

Submit your nominations for the most self-absorbed, haughty, and unwarranted blogs.

Earn the right to display this prestigious graphic on your site by getting your friends to nominate you!*

To get things rolling, I nominate myself! Add your own in the comments.


*Warren Kinsella ranks too low for this award, don't even try.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Women & Politics

There's a fascinating discussion emerging over on Greg Staples' site on the efficacy of women being proportionally represented in politics.

He's honestly wondering what people's thoughts are on the so-called "under-representation" of women in Parliament.

Several good points have been raised. One commenter said that more women than men are involved in the crucial "behind the scenes" work of political campaigns. Another, Ruth, who took up the thread on her own blog, said "all these battle-axes that are out busy fighting some stupid, non-existant [sic] war against the patriarchy can sit on it and rotate." Uh... ahem.

When it comes to gender, there is no restriction on who can and can't run for office in this country. It is no secret that women are disproportionately represented when it comes to voting left; in other words, more vote left than the 50% or so of the population they make up. Simon Fraser University (look for the section entitled Gender & Voting - 2006 Campaign) did an analysis of voting trends, and noticed towards the end of the campaign:
  • 36% of women and 40% of men said they would likely vote Conservative
  • 21% of women said they would vote NDP, compared to 16% of men
  • 27% of women were willing to support the Liberals, and 25% of men said the same
  • These results indicate a net movement of 8% of women away from the Liberals, with 3% going to the Conservatives and 5% to the NDP.
That's 48% of women (and 41% of men) voting against the barely right-wing Tories. Presumably, the remainder were either undecided or voting for the smaller parties (or for the left-wing Bloc in Quebec). Know what else is interesting? Of all the parties, the ones with the highest percentage of women candidates were the Marxist-Leninist (36.8%) and Communist (31.4%). Of the parties with a full 308 candidates, the Liberals had 24.3% and and NDP 31.2%.

The same site also indicates that the Conservatives had the lowest percentage of women candidates at 11.3% - and that's among all parties, big and small. There is definitely a perception that right = anti-woman, but I can't for the life of me figure out why.

If that statement is accepted, then it has to be granted that left = anti-man. Why not turn the argument on its head and ask why men are so under-represented on the left?

This is a bigger debate than I have time for at the moment, but it does warrant further attention.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Flapjesusses

So a couple from Ohio has discovered Jesus on a pancake.


I dunno... Jesus looks a little wall-eyed there...

They claim it was a "sign from above." A sign of what specifically, I'm not sure. I wonder, if eBay had been around while the Hebrews were wandering the desert, would they have tried to sell some manna? $500 was this couple's opening bid; they were up to $610 when I checked. [Update, Feb 10, 9:21 AM Central time: now it's at US $1,425.00]

Me, when I get signs from above, I tend to hang on to them. Got a hope chest full of 'em.

Everybody: in the name of the Butter, and the Jam, and the Holy Syrup. Amen.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Ok, I Have an Opinion Now

So David Emerson, the Liberal defector. Anagrams are funny, but now I'm ready to be serious.

For one, it's kinda ironic how the Grits criticized the Tories: "Hey, you can't do that! You told us it wasn't fair when we did it!"

Still, bad behaviour isn't justified by group acceptance of it.

Find the absolute here: elected politicians should remain with the party they were elected for. The only exception is if a massive policy difference emerges, and all attempts at finding common ground fail.

This is presuming, of course, that parties have policies. The Liberals don't. The Tories barely do. The NDP do, but they're so destructive and leaflaky (I like to make up words when I can't think of any appropriate real ones; this one's a mix of Leaf - 'cause I hate the TML - and flaky) that they don't count. I supported, for example, Bev Desjarlais sitting and then running as an Independent after she broke ranks with the NDP on their support for "same-sex marriage." I also would have supported her if she had joined the Tories at that point.

So for a Liberal to leave his party to accept a cabinet post for reason of urban representation, I'm just not getting it.

Andrew Coyne
put my thoughts in words:
This is the most insidious part of this whole affair: the notion that every part of the country must be represented, in decimal-point proportion to its population, in the cabinet. That is supposed to be the job of Parliament.
Harper has signaled that his cabinet was fashioned in the image of the concepts of multi-culturalism or affirmative action; for Conservatives to support the concept of group rights over individual rights is as close to blasphemy as one can get in politics. I like Vic Toews immensely; he's earned my respect in a lot of the things he's stood for over the years. So to think he was selected for cabinet to meet a Manitoba quota is insulting. A Prime Minister should select his chief people based primarily on their abilities and skills.

To expend so much time, energy, and political goodwill on building this cabinet was a waste. Now Canadians are thinking, "Those politicians, despite what we had hoped for, are still all the same." We've blown our chance to show that we were going to do things differently, and have only made things harder down the road.

Some have commented that by being so devious early on, by the time the next election rolls around, Canadians will have forgotten about it. Sadly, this is probably true. And that was the tactic that irked me the most about the Chr├ętien and Martin Liberals.

I had hoped for a clean start out of the gate for my Tory horse, but it has stumbled, and now it has to chase the losers ahead of it.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

David Emerson

Some may wonder what my thoughts are on the defection of David Emerson to the Tories.

I'm kinda indifferent. But I've always thought that there is a grain of truth to be found in anagrams.

For instance, my employer, which is terrified of us lowly peons bringing in a union, recently changed the company motto. If you're clever, you can figure it out by this anagram (punctuation added): "I oughtn't dig union? Ok."

Now for "David Emerson" there are a host of possibilities.

For instance, when asked if this an example of same-old-same-old politics, Emerson referred to the move as "a devised norm."

Alternate terms for crossing the floor are "meanders void" or "medians roved."

When asked why he switched he replied, "Served domain." Several of his former Liberal colleagues were asked what they felt his eternal judgment would be and responded, "Move is darned." But Emerson rebutted, claiming he "did earn moves."

Several blogs have posited that it's all part of a conspiracy. "Mason derived," they cried. One headline called him a "Red Dive Mason."

Several key Conservatives were cautious, saying there were going into "invaders mode." Some warned Prime Minister Harper not to trust Emerson too much, saying he could be an "advisor demon."

This was all recorded in a massive MPEG file, which I would host here, but I don't have the capacity. Please, "send video RAM."

Monday, February 06, 2006

Urinary Crucifix Art and Turban Bombs

Is this offensive?
In a word, yes.

How about this?

[muddle around Google Images, looking for a picture of the 1990ish art work depicting a crucifix in a jar of urine, could only find this:]


Trying to access first broken image, I get:



Oh, wait, I can't access any images of the infamous "P-I-S-S Christ" art because of my CyberPatrol. In fact, I can't even type the word without hyphens (I've learned a thing or two from spammers!) - all I get is this: ....

Still, I'm glad somebody out there, somewhere, thinks that a pee-soaked Christ is offensive or inappropriate.

Driving home listening to CBC radio, I heard an interview with a British Muslim, or is it Muslish Briton, or Islimey - eh, whatever. Point is, I heard him say something like, "Free speech is fine and necessary in a democratic society. But there's a problem when what you say or depict offends somebody."

I must confess, I had a jolly laugh for the rest of the ride home. For when else is free speech truly free than when it's free to offend? When else is free speech necessary, than when speech would be denied? This cha....aying [LOL - that should be "chap" "is" "saying" - notice the order of the four letters CyberPatrol omitted? That's too funny to correct. I swear I didn't plan it. If you don't get it, email me!] that free speech should only be allowed under certain circumstances.

I'm no scholar, but I can tell you - that's not free speech. If speech is limited based on a condition, then it's not free. Not that the limitation would be bad, but don't go around calling what you support "free speech" if it means that I (or you) can't say nasty things about whomever I (or you) wish - including you (or me).

"Free," by the way, does not mean "without consequences." It means able to decide with no external and hostile restrictions imposed. If I am in an Iranian mosque and draw a picture of Mohammed and immerse it in a jug of pig urine for an artistic statement, I have exercised my right to speak my mind. If, however, I happen to be torn to shreds by the frenzied zeal of a radical horde, well, at least I got to speak my mind. It better have been worth it.

I will be the last person to justify Islamic violence against Denmark and other European countries, whose newspapers have, in a surprising display of sudden backbone, reprinted the offending caricatures as a sign of solidarity. I do support the Muslim world's right to boycott Danish products (does this mean the price of Lego will come down?), but violence over an image? Come on. Christianity has endured far worse offences, and we don't kick and scream like that.

Part of me wonders though, if we're not seeing the beginning of a massive global shift in awareness of the rage of Islam. I know a few Muslims, socially and through work. They're pretty decent folk, as far as I can tell. They work hard, they cover their mouths when they sneeze, and a few of them even send their kids to the local Catholic elementary school. And yet only half a world away are Muslims who profess to believe the same teachings, and would love to saw off my Crusading head on national TV for the greater glory of God.

I really want to know - who are the ones not being true to their faith?

Well, I must be off. Since I support the Danes...


...I should go and buy some Lego. My wife will understand. "It's for democracy, dear!"

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Liberal Arrogance, Redux Redux Redux Ad Infinitum

Yeesh - even after being blown out of the electoral water by the HMCS Conservative, the Liberals still have the gall to thank one last crony. The second last day of Paul Martin's term as Prime Minister in Canada, and what does he do? Like a dying villain at the end of a cheesy movie, he spits in the face of the hero:
In one of its last actions before transferring power, the Liberal government has agreed to pay David Dingwall $417,780 in compensation for his dismissal as head of the Royal Canadian Mint.
....
When the two sides couldn't agree on a figure, they sent the matter to an independent third party.

And what choice does Stephen Harper - do Canadians - have, but to wipe it off and bury the scoundrel?

None, really. What else could we expect from this Liberal party?

Granted, the payout was arbitrated by a third party. And I wouldn't dare suggest that there should be no such thing as compensation for sudden termination.

But ya gotta wonder, for a party that just got caned politically, shouldn't they maybe take Dingwall aside and say, "Hey buddy, I know the arbitrator ruled in your favour, and I know you're entitled to your entitlements, but could you maybe rescind your claim and take one for the team here? This ain't the best time for us to look like jerks. We got a serious desert to cross."

Maybe somebody did, and Dingwall said no. I doubt it - you'd think they'd have let us know by now if they had tried to take the high road on their way out of Dodge.
If the Newspapers Won't Print These...

...then I will:

[that's the power of the Blogosphere!]


[well, I'm not an American, but you get the point]


Apparently, they're "too graphic."

Yet, the Sun Media newspaper chain in Canada every day prints pictures of "Sunshine Girls" which I find much more offensive than the above.

Especially since all those Sunshine Girls were "tissue" at one point.

CCC 2354: "[Pornography] does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others."

CCC 2270: "Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception."

Pornography & abortion are different symptoms of the same problem - the lack of acknowledgement of the proper respect and dignity due to every person.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Attention Moneybagses!

If you don't want to download Deus Caritas Est for free
, you can buy it from the Publications Service of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops for $6.95 CAD here. It's saddle-stitched!


I had to look that up: saddle-stitched means "a method of securing loose printed pages with staples down the middle of a folded sheaf of papers."

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Commentary After Half of Deus Caritas Est

I, like many of my fellow Catholic bloggers, am very excited about Pope Benedict XVI'’s first encyclical.

I'’ve downloaded it, printed it on fine parchment-like paper, and stuck it in a black duotang.

Understand that having read many encyclicals and letters by John Paul II, John XXIII, Leo XIII, and a few others, I have at least a basic appreciation for the art of papal authorship.

Benedict writes like no one I'’ve read before.

He is able to bring the reader on a journey with him; he builds a logical discourse– much like C. S. Lewis or G. K. Chesterton (although not with as much bulldog tenacity as the latter)– and raises his reader to a new level of comprehension. He recaps previously discussed foundational topics before climbing to the next layer, like a gifted educator.

I'’m only halfway through, and already the style of this man of God is astounding me.

Yet style without substance is worth as much as an empty Safeway bag, and Benedict explores his topic - the relationship between Eros and Agape - in a new and dramatic fashion. He'’s not afraid to quote Neitzsche and Virgil, or even to make reference to Zeus in a creation myth, talking about the intrinsic compatibility of male and female:

So God forms woman from the rib of man. Now Adam finds the helper that he needed: "“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh"” (Gen 2:23). Here one might detect hints of ideas that are also found, for example, in the myth mentioned by Plato, according to which man was originally spherical, because he was complete in himself and self-sufficient. But as a punishment for pride, he was split in two by Zeus, so that now he longs for his other half, striving with all his being to possess it and thus regain his integrity. While the biblical narrative does not speak of punishment, the idea is certainly present that man is somehow incomplete, driven by nature to seek in another the part that can make him whole, the idea that only in communion with the opposite sex can he become "“complete."

He also draws a connection between Love and the Communion of Saints, which blew me away:

I cannot possess Christ just for myself; I can belong to him only in union with all those who have become, or who will become, his own. Communion draws me out of myself towards him, and thus also towards unity with all Christians. We become "“one body"”, completely joined in a single existence. Love of God and love of neighbour are now truly united: God incarnate draws us all to himself.

Benedictine spirituality (based on the teachings of the 5th century St. Benedict) teaches that to meditate adequately on a written work, one has to go over it time and time again, slowly, enunciating each word. Like chewing on a particularly rich piece of an Alberta steak, there is no better way to appreciate the fullness of what was intended by the one who prepared it so lovingly. So I'’m not rushing my way through Deus Caritas Est just to say that I did; I intend to "“chew the cud" for a few more days, slowly taking it in (yeah, I know, those metaphors don'’t really mix).

Before the release of this encyclical, I was talking to a local priest about the styles of Benedict XVI vs. John Paul II. He commented that while John Paul was a philosopher, Benedict is a theologian. Looking at the etymological roots of those terms, you'’d initially think that "“one who loves wisdom"” would be easier to grasp than "“one who studies God."” Yet our Theologian Pope is remarkably easy to understand, in his homilies -– who can forget his message at the funeral of John Paul II, which still brings tears to my eyes - his daily Angelus transcripts, and now his first encyclical.

When I mentioned to another local priest that I'’d be reading the encyclical, he almost recoiled in horror. "“That's not really necessary, it'’s awfully hard to understand those," he said.

It's sad how little some priests appreciate the zeal and hunger of their flocks. Maybe they've grown tired of trying and are just killing time until they retire. I pray that all our clergy would "“be not afraid"” and challenge us to growth.

The writings of John Paul II required a microscope and a scalpel to fully appreciate, whereas Benedict requires only a knife and a fork. He will thus be more widely read by the faithful, and moreso if our priests recommend it. That can only amount to good.