Thursday, June 29, 2006

Better Blessed Than Lucky

Fill in the blank:

The mission of _________ is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe.

If you said The Roman Catholic Church, you're way off. If you said the starship Enterprise, you're wrong, but closer. Here's the answer.

Recently Discover magazine ran an article on the probabilities involved in finding this extraterrestrial life. They referenced the Drake Equation, which was developed in the 60's (that ever fruitful decade) to estimate the likelihood of finding another intelligent civilization. It involves estimating the rate of star creation, the fraction of those stars which have habitable planets, and the ratio of those planets to host the development of amino acids which eventually walk upright, build a radio, and send an electromagnetic signal into space for the good folks at SETI to tune into.

The equation is not without its critics, especially those who hold to the Rare Earth hypothesis. If you're into math, feel free to check them out (especially you, "Anonymous" from two posts down). I'm not going to attempt to debunk the theories myself.

What amazes me in this whole affair is how much the serious scientific hacks trip over themselves hoping to find this hypothetical life. It's like they'd somehow have proven Christianity wrong. "HA!" they'd shout. "God doesn't exist after all! We know this because Zim Floobar has a wife, three kids, a pet slimpet, and a minivan on Alpha Centauri!"

Last November astronomer and Jesuit brother Guy Consolmagno published a booklet entitled, "Intelligent Life in the Universe? Catholic Belief and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life.' The blurb on the publisher's site states:

Humans have always looked at the stars and wondered if there is anybody else out there. This unique booklet, by a Vatican astronomer, explores the likelihood of other intelligent life in the universe and speculates on the questions that such a discovery would raise in matters of Faith. Questions like: Is original sin something that affected all intelligent beings? Is Jesus Christ's redemptive sacrifice sufficient for the whole Universe? Would there be a parallel history of salvation on other planets? This booklet is a fascinating meeting between science and religion.

There is no conflict between the Truth of Catholic teaching and the Truth of science. John Paul II once told a group of scientists, "Truth does not contradict truth." As Brother Consolmagno's booklet says, "What Genesis says about creation is true. God did it; God willed it; and God loves it. When science fills in the details of how God did it, science helps get a flavor of how rich and beautiful and inventive God really is."

So let's say one day a little red light starts blinking in some SETI facility, and we hear a voice from light-years away saying, "Testing, one, two, is this thing on?" What does that mean for the Faith?

No doubt our scientific community would pick up the newspaper that breaks the story, roll it up, and smack the Pope over the head with it, demanding a recantation of all Catholic teaching.

I wonder though, what would be the response of the scientists if the first message they heard from outside the solar system was, "Probatum, unus, duo... In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen."

Doubtless they'd all convert.

Hey, it could happen. In an infinite universe, everything will eventually happen.

I've always wondered, too: science always debunks the idea that Earth is the centre of the universe. Yet we are told (link is a PDF document, see page 25) that the edge of the visible universe is about 13 billion light years away. Ok... in all directions? Call me simple-minded if you will, but that sounds like we'd be in the middle of a three dimensional object. If it wasn't 13 billion light years in each direction, you'd think they'd tell us. Being in the centre says a lot about our origins, especially if the universe is expanding and we're watching it from a relative stand-still. Almost like something started from this point in space.

But the real question that faces us as a civilization gazing at the stars is, "Are we here because Somebody wanted us to be? Or are we just the unnoticed result of a series of grand cosmic coincidences?" In other words, "Are we blessed, or are we just lucky?"

I've known the embrace of God. You'll never convince me I'm not blessed.

Monday, June 26, 2006

I Just Got Burned By My Five Year Old

So my daughter pipes up during supper and asks if what we're eating (pasta in tomato sauce) is good for us. I, being the mischievous one in our family, say, "No," just as my wife says "Yes."

Our daughter looks at us, confused. I throw my hands up in the air, and say, "Who are you going to believe?"

No hesitation: "Mommy!"

"Why Mommy?" I ask.

She cocks her head and blurts, "I like you, but you're wrong."

That's my little Catholic. Acknowledging both my dignity and my error.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Wednesday Nights

For those of you who are in/near Winnipeg and didn'’t hear that the Wednesday Night Prayer Meetings are ceasing for the summer break, now you know.

But! I want to make sure you are aware of the follow-up announcement.

We are hosting, in our living room, the Wednesday Night Summer Prayer Meetings. The first one, barring the unforeseeable, will be June 28. We'll get things started around 7:30 PM.

If you don't know where our house is, feel free to email me.

Now, for those of my readers who are out of province (such as my huge following in Mandalay, Burma) (ok, yeah, I jest), the WNPM (and the WNSPM) is an opportunity for teens and young adults to share in a Catholic worship experience. At this point I don't know if any priests are coming, so I can't say if any sacraments will be celebrated, except for the one my wife and I constantly live: matrimony. We start with singing some praise & worship music, then comes a time of open prayer, and then we listen to a talk from the evening'’s speaker (I've heard they're trying to bring in Francis Cardinal Arinze, but that could just be rumours). Finally, as in any good time of fellowship, we EAT.

I'’ve become comfortable enough with my guitar to lead worship, so if you don'’t mind a few poorly fingered bar cords, I invite all who will be present to sing along. And bring your own instruments to help drown out my mistakes! We have a piano, so if you can play, bring your hands along with you.

We will have songbooks available for everybody which will include many of our old favorites, and also some of the songs I've collected over the years. Make sure you eat some fatty acids, as you'll need to do some learnin'!

And to ensure this all goes well, I especially ask for your prayers as we take this venture on for the summer.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Patronize Me

Today is the feast of two of my favorite saints: St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher.

They were among the many Catholic martyrs created in 1535 by King Henry VIII when he proclaimed himself head of the Church in England so he could give himself license to divorce his wife.

As many of you may know, the result of that proclamation was the Anglican Church, out of which John Wesley (an Anglican priest) started the "methodist" movement in the 1730's. The Methodist movement became its own Protestant church after Wesley's death, and that church split into about a million different sub-factions, most of which joined up with the Congregationalist and Presbyterian churches in the early 1900's to become the United Church.

With one notable exception. The Free Methodists, formed in 1860, held off on that alliance and went their own way. The "free" referred to matters like slavery, church seating, and worship style.

Less than a century later, my mom was born into the Free Methodist Church near Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and my dad left his Lutheran background to marry her. I was born in 1975, the first fruit of their union.

Having traced my steps back to the Roman Catholic Church, I feel a deep connection to the saints that Henry VIII created, especially St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher. They were both martyred (beheaded, if you must know) for refusing to bend their religious convictions to the whims of the king.

What an example for us Catholics today!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

One, Two, Three, Four, Eleven, Twelve -- Wait A Second!


A Senate report is to recommend CBC-TV become completely commercial-free and that Ottawa boost CBC funding to make up for the loss of ad revenue.


It will recommend boosting CBC's annual $1-billion budget to make it possible to get rid of ads, CBC has learned. The public broadcaster takes in about $400 million in ad revenue.

Ok, hang on a second here. The CBC gets $1,000,000,000 dollars already, and rakes in an additional $400,000,000 through ads. The Senate is recommending that the CBC ceases showing any advertisements, thus forfeiting the 400 mil.

See how the CBC makes a leap to the next point though? The report is to recommend "that Ottawa boost CBC funding to make up for the loss of ad revenue."

The folks over at CTV, however, spin it a different way:

The recommendation of the report, released Wednesday, would likely require a major funding increase to cover the $400 million in advertising revenue that would be lost if the CBC stopped running ads.

The CBC's annual budget is already close to $1 billion.

So the Senate report doesn't actually call on the taxpayers to fill the gap? It would seem not. That presumptive conclusion is a logical leap for the CBC, however.

In the immortal words of the farmer: "Martha, grab the forceps! This here danged calf won't let go of his momma's teat!"

Monday, June 19, 2006

As If Blogging Hadn't Made Me Famous Enough Already

The Winnipeg Sun has printed a letter I wrote to the editor regarding a recent column. The columnist wrote why she was planning on raising her children without the Catholic heritage she was brought up in, and it was quite tragic. The Curt Jester even picked up on it.

Here's my letter (scroll down, look for "Treasure within Church").

I got a phone call today from a fellow with a thick Scottish accent congratulating me for submitting the letter. Thank you, whoever you are. Without your phone call I wouldn't even have known the letter was printed, as I don't generally read the Sun.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Family Planning, Naturally

A couple posts back I got a comment from Jackie, who said:

Just what are the good things NFP brings to a marriage? Not everyone wants to have children and I don't belive they are going to be punished for this line of thinking.

You said..."If you're using contraceptives, you are literally putting the fate of your soul in jeopardy." How does anyone come to this conculsion??

I was all prepared to put a quick comment on the post itself in reply, but then realized that I would probably take up more room than is convenient to read in a comment.

I also realized that not every Catholic has been catechized as well as I have (thank you Mary Scherr!), and not everybody who reads this site is Catholic, so when I talk about this mysterious phenomenon known as Natural Family Planning I may cause a bit of noggin scratching.

I don't believe that the gang over at the Catholic Catechism Dialog Blog has gotten to this point yet, so allow me to elaborate on the concept myself.

Firstly, I want my reader to acknowledge that even if he or she does not agree with the points I am about to explain, it does not make the points stop being right.

Secondly, I want my reader to understand that me explaining these points does not make them right. I am merely tapping into the fullness of Truth as revealed & entrusted to the Catholic Church. If you don't agree with that, then you might as well stop reading now and go check out this site instead. But if I've piqued your curiosity, I invite you to read on.

Thirdly, know that there are a million different books on this topic from authors with more wisdom and more authority than I could ever dream of having. I am no expert. I will be presenting the Truth as my wife and I live it. We constantly strive to be in harmony with that Truth, rather than making "truth" conform to our beliefs.

Throughout Scripture, when a woman is barren or infertile, she always considers it a curse, and when God grants her fertility it is considered a blessing. We see this in Rebecca (Genesis 25:21),
Leah (Genesis 29:31), in Exodus 23:26, in I Samuel 2:5, in Psalm 113:9, in Elizabeth (Luke 1:7), and cycling back around to Sarah (Hebrews 11:11).

While carrying his cross to Golgotha, Jesus prophesied, saying in Luke 23:28-31:

Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, 'Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.' At that time people will say to the mountains, 'Fall upon us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us!' for if these things [i.e. his crucifixion] are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?'

Christ knew the connection between having children and having hope, and vice versa. He knew that beyond the horror of his crucifixion there were other horrors that would come to happen in history, and he gave a message that pierces the centuries and hits our hearts today.

So we can agree: Scripture and Christ universally proclaim that fertility is a good thing.

Now what does the Church have to add through the ages?

Specifically, I wish to address the question of how I could come to the conclusion that artificial contraceptives put our souls in literal jeopardy.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, our official source of Church teaching, we distinguish between two types of sin: Mortal and Venial.

(I'll be quoting a lot from the Catechism here, but I would encourage all of my readers to click the above link for a deeper understanding of what God has revealed to us. There's a lot there, so plan a good chunk of time to absorb it.)

Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God's law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him.

Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it.

For a sin to be considered mortal, certain qualifications have to be met:

  • The object is grave matter (i.e. what you're doing is a violation of a specific teaching, such as the Commandments)
  • It is committed with full knowledge (i.e. you are aware that what you're doing is a violation of Church teaching)
  • It is committed with deliberate consent (i.e. you do it anyway)

There are many nuances to this definition. For instance, a suicide can be considered a mortal sin or not, depending on the mental state of the person. We must also acknowledge that we in our specific state of not-Godness cannot know the true nature of the person's mental or spiritual state.

As for the whole "jeopardy of the soul" bit? Paragraph 1861 of the CCC:

Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.

So there is a literal risk of losing one's salvation in the cases of mortal sin.

Now some may wonder, if you have to be aware that it's a sin, who am I to tell people that their sin is sin? Is it not more merciful simply to leave them in their state of ignorance, and thus reduce the gravity of their sins? On the contrary. Paragraph 1783 (and on) tells us of the importance of a properly formed conscience: "Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened."

So what is it about artificial contraception that makes it a mortal sin?

The Church does teach that "it is necessary that each and every marriage act remain ordered per se to the procreation of human life." Bammo. That's a definitive statement, smack-dab in the section of the Catechism dealing with the Ten Commandments. Once your conscience has been made aware of this, you are suddenly held more accountable.

But for those of us who like to know why something is considered to be disordered, especially something that has so many seeming benefits, here's a brief explanation. (Again, the above link will have more detail on this if you keep reading when you go there.)

The nature of human sexuality was never intended as something to be merely fun. It was never intended as something merely to bring a couple closer together. It was certainly never intended to be twisted and warped beyond all recognition on that internet thing.

Sexuality is a God-given gift. It represents so much more than pleasure. Only through our sexuality can we become co-creators with God. Only through our sexuality can we spawn a new life into being, and it is a literal miracle every time that happens. Even those who sacrifice their sexuality for the kingdom (priests, nuns, religious) are still expressing it, for they are uniting themselves to the creativity of God.

On the flip side, sexuality is much more than mere procreation as well. If God gave us sex only so we could keep populating the planet, he might as well have given us this method instead, as there would be no difference.

Instead, sexuality is an inseparable mix of the unitive and the procreative. And I do mean inseparable. My wife and I cannot truly unite without participating in the possibility of new life. When we shut down our fertility, we are not giving fully of ourselves. We are holding something back. We are being selfish.

So is it okay for married couples not to want to have children?

From CCC 2367:

Married couples should regard it as their proper mission to transmit human life and to educate their children; they should realize that they are thereby cooperating with the love of God the Creator and are, in a certain sense, its interpreters. They will fulfill this duty with a sense of human and Christian responsibility.

And finally, from the wedding vows that are (supposed to be) in every Catholic wedding: "Will you willingly accept children, and raise them according to the law of Christ and his Church?"


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Ruts, and the Wheels Therein A' Spinnin'

Years before I was married, I made a list of the qualities I wanted in a wife. One of them stated, "She must always challenge me to become more than I currently am."

Boy, did that one ever come back to haunt me.

Last night my wife and I had a good discussion about my current disposition towards all things Protestant. She pointed out to me that I tend to be somewhat self-righteous in my contempt, and that may be turning more of my estranged Christian brethren away from the Catholic Church.

You see, I tend to compare my own journey to Rome to a man who has been told for his whole life that he was blind in one eye, only to discover that the eye had been taped shut since birth. When he finally realizes the tape is there and removes it, his whole perspective is shifted, and he can regard the world with a depth and focus not previously possible.

Logically, the man would be upset with those who had led him to believe that his imperfect vision was normal. But he (and I) must remember that those who so taught were also under that impression themselves. To their minds, it wasn't a lie because they didn't know it was false. But when they see me walking around with both eyes open, they are confused and often consider me a lost cause.

So I spend a lot of time being angry and pointlessly spinning my spiritual tires, while the need to open the eyes of the half-blind remains unfulfilled. That's very prideful, and very egocentric, and very selfish.

It must stop.

Lord, please help me to surrender away the hurt. Please heal my unwarranted wounds, my illogical ills. Help me to be an effective tool, instead of a whimpering nut.

Monday, June 12, 2006

A Big Responsibility

My wife and I speak every few months at the local diocesan Engaged Encounter retreats, where Catholic couples are forced to go before they can receive permission from the Church to have a Catholic wedding.

We speak about sex. Specifically, on the usage of Natural Family Planning, the only acceptable methodology of spacing children within a Catholic marriage.

As you can imagine, we frequently get frosty receptions by these groups of theologically force-fed young adults. Occasionally we get some sincere interest in learning the Sympto-Thermal method we promote, but that rate is less than 10% of the couples we speak to.

Our talks are generally filled with humour, and we try to keep the mood light despite the gravity of the topic. My wife (Dawn) and I went over our talk ahead of time, like we always do, and refined it to two pages of bulleted items to touch on.

The last presentation we did was this past Saturday, and we had about 30 couples present. We spent some time in prayer before, and asked the Holy Spirit to guide our words and to anoint the ears of our listeners.

About halfway into the presentation, we were talking about the pro's of NFP and all the good things it brings into our marriage. I was addressing specifically the shortcomings of artificial methods of preventing conception in comparison, and found myself saying, without having planned it, "NFP doesn't carry with it the risk of mortal sin. If you're using contraceptives, you are literally putting the fate of your soul in jeopardy. There's none of that risk with NFP."

The awkward silence in the room at the moment was palpable, and somewhat beautiful too. Truth is always better served raw than when cooked.

We moved on and finished the presentation. When it was over, the priest who was hosting the retreat came up to us and thanked us, saying that they'd had other NFP speakers out for previous retreats who weren't very good at all, and that our presentation was very well done.

I don't know what sort of effect the whole "mortal sin" comment had on the group. Dawn was ready to strangle me, until I explained that it seemed more like an inspired thought than me threatening fire and brimstone down upon them.

I had to wonder though - when was the last time any of them had heard the words "mortal sin" in that context?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I'm Branching Out

To further explore the Gazebo (see this link and comments) I am opening an additional blog.

As a friend recently commented,

I'm a poet.
And yes I know it.
My toes even show it.
They're Longfellows.

This new site, which I've christened "Gazebo Poetry" will feature my rhymed meditations on how I am learning to stick my neck out of the bunker door.

I've set it to show only one poem at a time, which I'm sure will be sufficient as I'm not yet sure how often I'll be posting. If you'd like to check past poems, just use the archives.

Feel free to visit

And enjoy!

Friday, June 09, 2006

What Youth Want

Youth want a challenge. No, strike that. YOUTH WANT A CHALLENGE!

Our young people are striving to be called to live a faith that is bigger than them. They long for a worthy cause to sacrifice themselves for.

I've said it countless times, and I really wish our Catholic clergy would listen en masse. They don't want to be told that it's ok to compromise. They don't want to be told that the rigors of the Gospel can't always apply in the modern world.

I finally found somebody who agrees with me.

Everybody, check out this post from The Way Of The Fathers. This guy gets it. Snippet:

They [the early Church Fathers] promised young people great things, like persecution, lower social status, public ridicule, severely limited employment opportunities, frequent fasting, a high risk of jail and torture, and maybe, just maybe, an early, violent death at the hands of their pagan rulers.

The Fathers looked young people in the eye and called them to live purely in the midst of a pornographic culture. They looked at some young men and women and boldly told them they had a calling to virginity. And it worked.

Why can't we duplicate that again? I think we will, and are. Our youth are looking so intently for Truth that they are starting to find it. I'm seeing it all around me. They are gathering not for a Friday night youth group meeting in the Church basement once a month. They are gathering three times a week (or more) for prayer, for worship, for community. They are signing up in droves for Eucharist adoration. They've even found a few priests to drag along with them who are not infrequently intimidated by the enthusiasm around them.

Our Church history is filled with young saints from all ages. The writer of the aforementioned article refers to one St. Tarcisius, who protected with his own life a pix containing the body of Christ. Here are some more (plucked from this site, as featured in my sidebar):

  • Six year old St. Gabriel Gowdel, of 18th century Poland, who was a martyr known for his piety and prayer.
  • St. Symphorian of 2nd century France, who refused to deny Christ and was martyred in the presence of his mother - who provided him with encouragement!
  • St. Maria Goretti of Italy in the early 1900's, a 12-year old who was raped and stabbed, but forgave her attacker before dying, and who lovingly appeared to him in a vision after her death. He converted and testified in her favour at her beatification cause.
  • St. Agnes of Rome, whose feast is on my birthday. She was martyred around 13 years of age for refusing to consent to marriage in a pagan ceremony, preferring Christ as her spouse.
  • St. Pancras, a fourteen year old boy martyred in 4th century Rome for publicly proclaiming his faith.
  • Fourteen year old St. Philomena, of whom we know virtually nothing except that her bones have healed countless people and caused devout souls to experience spiritual ecstasies.
  • St. Solange, who walked into her 9th century French village holding her severed head in her hands, and preaching to the people.
  • One of my favorites, twenty-two year old St. Lucy of Syracuse, who was denounced as a Christian by her spurned pagan fiance when she chose Christ over him in the early 4th century. She was sentenced by the Roman authorities to a life of prostitution, but could not be moved from where she stood, even by a team of oxen. She was then tortured and her eyes were ripped out. They tried to burn her at the stake but the wood would not stay lit. As she was stabbed to death, her eyesight was restored.

This type of devotion is not lost to the world. Youth want to know Truth. Around the world, they seek a god, and the only god that can satisfy them is the God of Truth - Jesus Christ himself.

Please... don't discourage them.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Homosexuality and Evolution

First of all, if you don't know why I'm against homosexual activity, please read this post.

Everybody up to speed? You read the whole thing, right? Ok, good.

Let's argue. An imaginary critic will be given opportunity to rebut my points. And there's always the comment box below.

According to a recent document from the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family, "Procreation is the means of transmitting life by the loving union of man and woman." For those of you unfamiliar with basic human anatomy, this shocking revelation means that homosexuals cannot reproduce.

"Ah, but wait," my eager critic retorts. "Not all straight couples can reproduce either, due to physical inability such as a low sperm count or a medically necessary hysterectomy. Yet you let them marry."

True. But the difference lies in this: the straight married couple are not in opposition to the possibility of life by the mere fact of being together.

"Why all this fuss on procreation, anyway?" says my critic. "Marriage is about more than just having babies."

Is it? Is it really? Is marriage something so shallow as a fruitless union?

"Do not forget, my dear Doogie," snaps my critic, "that Christ has redefined marriage to reflect his own mystical union to the Church. He stated nothing about babies." Ok, smart guy, does Christ's marriage to his Church reduce fruit to a mere option? Are we as a Church called solely to enjoy his company and his providence and not have any real growth? We were sent to make disciples of all men; that is the new life of the Church. We were sent to baptize them Trinitarianly; that is the rebirth of the Gospel. Intimacy with God that lacks mission is pointless. Faith without works is dead. The Church must make new disciples. That "making" can be metaphorical, in the case of winning converts, or literal, in the case of starting those disciples in an embryonic stage. That embryonic stage must be started in marriage. Therefore only a paired man and woman can enter marriage.

"Ok, you've rambled on," interjects my critic. "Now it's my turn. Sure, only a man and a woman can reproduce. So why does that have to be within marriage? Reproduction works just as well outside of marriage."

I could cite countless studies, had I them at my fingertips, to prove that marriage is a better, more stable environment for children to be raised in. But that will never convince my critic. So instead, let me write what I know: If I have learned anything about life from anybody in my ancestry or in my own narrow life history, it is that children need a stable home. Childhood is a tumultuous time of growth and discovery, and it needs a stable environment to make that growth and discovery complete.

Remember back in grade seven when you dissected a worm in science class? Remember how carefully you had to manipulate the scalpel, how you had to pin back the opened skin from clitellum to prostomium, and how you had to peer into the mechanics of the creature's digestive tract and circulatory system? That's what it's like to grow up. You are analyzing the world around you, bit by bit. You are experimenting. You are peeling back the layers of self-awareness and discovering what makes you, and the world around you, tick.

Now imagine doing that when the floor is heaving like the deck of the H.M.S. Compass Rose in an Atlantic gale. The lab floor, by contrast, is unshaken. That floor is your home life as you grow up. Anything that disrupts the stability of your floor interrupts your experiment. You may be able to resume it once the disruption settles, or you may not. The reality of unmarried parentage is astonishingly unstable.

"Ok," says my critic. "So you're able to pull a few earthworm anatomical terms from Google, and you've read The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat. I concede the point that marriage is a more stable environment for children to be raised in. But you're a long way from convincing me that gays can't tap into that same stability."

What I've tried to show, my honest critic, is that marriage means something. It means something unitive, yes, but more and more our society is missing the procreative element. As the aforementioned document says, "The Creator wished human beings to be two-in-one; the Redeemer assumed the familial condition in Nazareth reminding everyone of the nature of the family since the beginning of the divine plan: two in a single flesh." That single flesh is the new child. The unity causes the procreation. The procreation, too, causes the unity. They spring from each other.

If homosexuals bring children from previous heterosexual relationships into their state-marriages, the odds are already against those kids receiving the upbringing they need. Their lab has been turned upside down; Compass Rose has been torpedoed and is split in two.

As well, homosexuals are missing one thing that heterosexuals are not: complementarity. Man and woman have evolved to "fit" together. What sort of sense does homosexuality make in an evolutionary context? Would natural selection, in its cruelty, bless an infertile pairing? Obviously not. Homosexuality is an evolutionary dead-end, and everything we have been taught about evolution says us that genetic changes must be carried on to the next generation, or they will be lost to the fossil record (if we're lucky).

"But is it not possible that evolution, in its wisdom," interrupts my critic, "would deem to spin a few unproductive tangents off just for the heck of it?" He then thinks to himself, and says, "Let me retract that, as it would imply that gays are mistakes which should be removed from the gene pool." He thinks for a bit more, and says, "Could not Natural Selection have been waiting until evolution had spawned a technological society capable of overcoming the shortfalls of homosexual reproduction?"

My critic appears to need a shot of Red Bull, for why would Natural Selection ever prefer artificial procreation to its own perfectly fine organic method? Why would it strive to develop a society which could wean itself from its creator? It's like a roller coaster suddenly being freed from the constraints of its track as it approaches the apex of its roll.

That alone is proof to me that inasmuch as homosexuality is not a choice for many people, neither is it something genetic and undefeatable by act of will. It has always been with us. Recorded instances of sodomy go back as far as recorded records go back.

Accordingly, gay state-marriage, would such a thing actually work, makes as much sense as mortaring two bricks together before not using them in your construction project. Mortar has a better purpose than that. Only the opponents of stable homes per se would propose broadening the uses of mortar to include wasting it.

Marriage, too, has a better purpose than to display one's current thoughts of springtime fancy. Only through stable and fruitful relationships can society continue. If "gay" people wish to indulge in their urges, I can't stop them. I can only stop myself from doing so. But I must protest the redefinition of marriage, as it makes no sense from a secular viewpoint, and is blasphemous from a religious one.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

True, True, True #8

From the always-fruitful Off The Record:

They [liberal Catholics] know their enemies, the conservative Catholics, wouldn’t dare simply to stay away from a Mass the rubrics of which they don’t like. Thus the conservatives are their captives, literally, at least for the time of Mass, forced to endure whatever indignities, insults, and atrocities the others feel like committing.

Read the whole thing. Wow. That's one nail whose head is still vibrating.
This Just In #5

As a sign of solidarity with St. Matthew Church in the OC, we, the parish council of the newly christened Independent Collective Church of Unique Togetherness, wish to make our mission statement clear.

St. Matthew's pastor Peter Hickman has already illustrated the following as his own group's ideals:
  • ordaining female priests
  • ordaining married priests
  • ordaining openly gay priests
  • recognizing divorce
  • accepting birth control
  • accepting premarital sex
  • blessing same-sex unions
  • rejecting the authority of the pope

We too wish to us to make our own intentions fully known. So here is our exhaustive list:

  • all of the above, plus
  • abortion

We hope that clears things up.

~ ~ 50 years later ~ ~

[quoted from an online news site circa 2056]

The Independent Collective Church of Unique Togetherness is closing its doors, to the dismay of its three remaining members.

Longtime parishioners Kaitlyn Morris, 85, and Brad Whittaker, 89 - who have been dating for 57 years - and pastor Kourtnee Mendosa, 96, will be the last of the church's faithful to grace its doors before it is torn down on Saturday to make room for another new Benedictine monastery.

Recent demographic studies of the populations of this church and others with similar creeds, such as St. Matthew's in Los Angeles, have revealed a trend of sharply declining populations. Experts are at a loss to explain why, but some contraversial studies point to massive outbreaks of life-shortening sexually transmitted diseases and/or an anti-children attitude. Others refer with newfound hindsighted wisdom to the infamous Fitzgerald Report in 2029 which claimed that the relatively small numbers of young adults and youth in these churches were leaving in droves, either to enter more traditional religious movements or to abandon faith altogether, since they had no share in the contrarian rationale for the churches' foundings.

Morris and Whittaker have their own opinion. "It's because the Roman Catholic Church tried to tell us what to do with our bodies," Morris stated. "Glen and I used contraceptives for most of our fertile years because we weren't ready to have children. A few times I conceived anyway and had to have abortions. But the Church kept saying it was a sin, and we didn't want to hear that."

Whittaker nodded his assent, dabbing some drool from his lower lip. "Sure would be nice to have a grandson to do this for me," he added. "Stupid Catholics!"

Mendosa, the current priestess of the church, was also somewhat distressed. "Where's my cat?" she inquired. "Has anybody seen my cat?"

The Roman Catholic Church, as of press time, did not acknowledge our inquiries as to the whereabouts of Mendosa's cat.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Pope-eye The Fisher-man

The Catholic Church is like spinach.

It's nourishing, healthy, and satisfying. Some people can't stomach it, much to their own detriment. Some people call it boring, bland, or tasteless.

But add a little salt, and if it's cooked just right (Mk 9:48,49) ... you'll have a delectable dish that not even Brutus could reject.

So if Catholics are spinach, what are Protestants?

My own Protestant experience was a light and fluffy one. Its sweetness was appealing for a while, but I soon had too much of it. And ultimately, it had a big gaping hole in its very center.

Protestants are like donuts.

I can understand the appeal, but it won't be long before you want something a little more... nourishing.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!

Despite my amazing TEC weekend, the bunker is still a factor in my life (read that link if you don't know what I'm talking about).

Sure, it's sustained some damage, but it's remarkably resilient and is still standing. I still find myself retreating into it whenever my comfort zone is challenged.

I try to open up to people, but it's so hard for me. I've been hurt by most of my close friends in my life - not that it was always their fault.

In grades 1 & 2 my two best friends both moved away.

In grade 6 I made a new best friend, but was crushed when he moved away the same year. Obviously that was his parents' decision, not his, but pain knows no reason. I remember being at school shortly after he was gone and leaning on the wall by myself at recess. My homeroom teacher approached me and inquired how I was doing, and I told her my friend had moved away (he had gone to a different school). I was very even-toned and emotionless when I told her this, but she was keen enough to perceive the pain beneath and did show me some empathy.

Of all the lost friends, losing him was the hardest. His family had just moved into town, and our dads worked together. My dad told me and my brothers about his new boss' two boys and said that we should go over some day and visit them. They only lived 2 blocks away, so one day we did. It took me a few days to work up the courage to go to a complete stranger's house and introduce myself, but I did it. Big risk. I found out that we had a very important interest in common, and we hit it off. But his family moved away less than a year later.

The next two years, I was without a best friend. Then in grade 9 I switched schools and made another. We were the closest of chums, up until grade 12, when he rejected the faith and went down a road I refused to travel. I took that as another rejection.

My roommate in my bachelor years was a half-decent friend too, but he shunned me when I announced I was thinking of becoming Catholic.

Since then, I haven't really connected with anybody on that level. Really, who could blame me?

Please know that I'm not looking for pity by posting this. I'm trying to be real. I'm just writing as it comes to me.

Now my wife wants in. She wants to be my best friend. She can't figure out why it's hard for me to allow her to get that close to me. At one point, she was that close. But my coping mechanism has learned that in order to avoid being hurt, I must be the one that withdraws. And if you ever wanted a tip on how to make a woman feel rejected, let me tell you: that's a great way.

My bunker is safe, it is warm, it is secure. But by God, is it ever lonely.