Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hallowe'en Candy Takers, Spreadsheet Style

Below is a breakdown of who came to my door tonight asking for a trick or a treat. Surprisingly, none of them were willing to see me do a trick, all opting for the treat instead.

I asked everybody, when it wasn't obvious, what they were dressed up as.

Costume Type Quantity Specifics
Black Magic 12 Witch, Warlock
Animals 11 Ladybug, Lion, Dinosaur, Monkey, Leopard, Tiger, Dog, Bear, Bee
Undead 9 Vampire, Zombie
Supernatural Beings 7 Angel, Devil, Grim Reaper
Superheros & Cartoon Characters 7 Spiderman, Shrek, Scooby Doo
No Effort 7
Clowns 6
Pop Culture 5 Alice Cooper, Scream, Anakin Skywalker, McDonald's Employee, Jason
Historical Figures 3 60's Girl, Knight, Island Girl
Far East Characters 3 Ninja, Chinese Woman
Criminals 3 Murderer, Robber
Royalty 2 Princess, Queen Elizabeth
Not Clever Enough For a Real Idea 1 “Your Worst Nightmare” (yeah, I don't get that one either)
Endangered Species 1 Vancouver Canucks fan
Unknown 1 (really, that's what he said: "I don't know."
Career 1 Scientist*

*I gave the scientist four times the amount of candy anybody else got. GO SCIENCE!

Sunday, October 29, 2006


I just saw The Prestige. Amazing.

I delight in movies, or any sort of entertainment, that takes my brain for a roller coaster ride. If you're easily confused and don't like to think, avoid this movie at all costs (you know you're out there!).

But if you like to toss your noggin a good challenge now and then, this is the movie for you.

The American bishops, whose opinions on movies I usually trust, said the film is "more unpleasant than intriguing and all the double-dealing grows tiresome" but this time I beg to differ. It examines how two friends can be consumed by a cycle of hate and revenge, which I think is a very intruiging analysis of the human condition.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Slow Down

The other day, a fella stood behind me in the checkout line at Canadian Tire, itching to pay & go. He was bouncing impatiently on his toes. "I hate lines," he muttered to me. "I can't stand waiting."

It wasn't much of a line; there was only one person in front of me. "Maybe the universe is trying to tell you to slow down," I offered.

"Yeah, maybe," he said, politely turning away. End of conversation.

I'm seeing this phenomenon all too often these days. Nowhere is this more common than on city streets. I've been tailgated by agressive drivers who allow me to examine their middle fingernail when they pass. If I'm doing 82 km/h in an 80 km/h zone, I'm quickly overtaken by every other car on the road. If I'm doing 58 in a 60 zone I create a traffic jam behind me.

Not that I'm innocent of this type of behaviour either: it's easy to fall into frustration with the slow folks in front of me. I am a master at predicting which lane is the fastest one to be in, a skill I picked up a decade ago when I drove taxi.

What's the big hurry? How often have you seen a red sportscar race past you, only to pull up alongside it at the next red light? I chuckle when that happens; not only does that driver look like an idiot, but his mileage and brakes suffer too.

This post-modern obsession with speed is at home too. Microwave ovens, minute rice, fast-forward on the DVD, overnight shipping, high-speed internet, speed dial, quick-release garden hoses... it's very intimidating. If I don't go fast enough, I'll get left behind - or so they tell me.

Yet I once learned something about people who drive motorhomes that taught me a valuable lesson. If the speed limit is 100 km/h (60 mph), they'll set their cruise control at about 97 km/h. When a faster vehicle approaches, it will quickly pass. They've discovered that by doing this, they will avoid most highway traffic, because fast vehicles seem to travel in swarms or packs. The typical hour of highway driving for a motorhome has about 10 minutes of having other cars pass, and then 50 minutes of relative peace.

If the world passes me by, so what? It has very little of value to offer. And the things that are worth noticing can only be seen when I'm not obsessed with efficiency and haste.

I have a friend who will literally spend hours on the phone to save $14 on a plane ticket. If he had instead been engaged in productive work during that time, he could have netted more than enough money to cover his losses - and with much less hassle.

Really, what's the big hurry anyway? Life, while short, is actually quite long. Try waiting one minute without doing anything. Right now.

There. That was hard, wasn't it? Life is filled with those long minutes. Enjoy them. Cram them full of happy memories.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Double-Defiling the Precious

A bit of a furor has erupted over in England, where Cambridge's Addenbrook Hospital has admitted it disposes of the products of abortion in the standard hospital trash incinerator.

The hospital is doing this to save money, as the formal crematorium they use for miscarriages costs a shade more - roughly $40 CAD per fetus.

On one hand I can hardly find fault with the hospital's reasoning: they must see a vast difference between a miscarriage and an aborted baby. Sure, both may physically appear the same, but the difference is one was wanted, and the other was not. Or, more accurately, one mother's hope overcame her fears, and the other mother's fears overcame her hope. So why should the unwelcome baby be treated with as much respect as the one who will be missed?

Now if you, like me, ascribe to the concept of absolutes, you will agree that to solve a problem you must first find the cause of it, AKA the absolute that has been violated. Then you have to get back to that absolute.

In this case, the absolute is Human Life Is Always Precious. Where does this decision find itself in relation to that? By inference, if human life is precious, then in death the former life does not become any less precious. Therefore the physical remains of that life must be accorded due dignity. The hospital has thus violated the absolute of the sacredness of life.

But what I find most interesting about this story is this quote from a woman who had procured an abortion there:

I am furious and very hurt. Imagine my horror when I discovered that my baby was incinerated in the same furnace as the hospital rubbish.

It's easy to jump on a condemnation bandwagon here and say to her, "Serves you right, killing your baby. What right do you have to care about it anymore?" But that is not the Christian way.

We are called to make disciples of all nations. To do that, we must educate the soul; we must catechize. We must help the Christian form his or her conscience properly.

One thing a properly formed conscience does is make us perfectly sensitive to absolutes. Absolutes beckon us. The human soul knows when it has crossed a moral line. Somewhere deep within, this woman knows she did a hideous thing. So much so that when the sanctity of her lost child is violated again, she recognizes it immediately, and reacts as would any mother, abortion or not.

So all is not lost for our unnamed British lady. May God continue to lead her back to himself, the source of all absolute truth.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Monday, October 23, 2006


In World War II, the Mark XIV torpedo was the bane of the U.S. Pacific naval fleet. And it was an American torpedo.

(Bear with me; I have a point.)

This torpedo had a high dud-rate, or rate of non-exploding explosives. The most significant example I know of happened in July 1943. The American submarine Tinosa had spotted a Japanese oil tanker, and having lined her up perfectly, fired a salvo of four Mark XIV torpedoes. Through the periscope, the crew observed two direct hits by the telltale splashes on the tanker's hull, but there was no explosion. At that point the tanker sped up and turned to flee, realizing that she was under attack. Tinosa fired two more torpedoes at the tanker's stern and they made contact and hit, successfully exploding. This crippled the massive tanker but did not sink her, so the Tinosa maneuvered to a new angle of attack and fired a single torpedo at the enemy ship. Again, however, the torpedo was a dud and produced only a splash on the tanker's side.

Seven more torpedoes were fired with the same lack of effect.

Cutting his losses, the skipper of the Tinosa, Lt. Cmdr L. R. Dapsit, ordered his ship back to port, saving his last torpedo for a thorough inspection. He used his tale to begin a lengthy process to convince his superiors that the Mark XIV torpedo was unreliable, and the full tale of the red tape involved can be found here.

The reason I'm referring to this historical anecdote is to announce that my own self-inflicted torpedo, as referenced a few days back, was a dud - and I got the promotion I was so eagerly hoping for.

I hope I didn't bore you before you got to the announcement. :)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Christopher West & Controversy

Recently, in Winnipeg at least, there have been all sorts of people saying that Christopher West is teaching against Catholic beliefs on sexuality.

To fill you in, Christopher West has taken the Theology of the Body series of talks that Pope John Paul II gave early in his pontificate and has "dumbed them down" for easy comprehension. If you've ever read JPII, you'll know he wrote with a style filled with depth and detail - often resulting in the kind of paragraphs that you need to read three or four times because you get distracted by your frequent use of the dictionary.

It's very profound stuff once it's rendered in a simpler form, and I'm blown away by the levels of meaning found in our human form. If the Theology of the Body could be put in a nutshell, this would be it: God created man & woman in his image. We are a representation of a creative God. If God creates us in his image, then to fully participate in our God-imaging humanity, we too much create life in our image. This gives a deep meaning to sexuality, as we are participating in an act that connects us to God in a very mystical way. This also implies that sexuality, as beautiful and powerful as it is, is a mere shadow or glimpse of what God has planned for us in the fullness of our destiny.

You'll pardon me if I quote from C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity yet again:

The old Christian teachers said that if man had never fallen, sexual pleasure, instead of being less than it is now,would actually have been greater. I know some muddle-headed Christians have talked as if Christianity thought that sex, or the body, or pleasure, were bad in themselves. But they were wrong. Christianity is almost the only one of the great religions which thoroughly approves of the body - which believes that matter is good, that God Himself once took on a human body, that some kind of body is going to be given to us even in Heaven and is going to be an essential part of our happiness, our beauty and our energy. Christianity has glorified marriage more than any other religion: and nearly all the greatest love poetry in the world has been produced by Christians. If anyone says that sex, in itself, is bad, Christianity contradicts him at once.

This is an essential beginning point of the late Pope's messages, which he presented in the late 1970's. Lewis, an Anglican, wrote this in the early 1940's.

Recently Winnipeg hosted a Marian & Eucharistic conference, and the organizers requested that no Christopher West materials be brought to the booths because of some controversy around his writings. Prominent figures in the local pro-life movement are putting out questions on the legitimacy of West's message.

From what I can tell, the controversy deals mainly with West's proclamation that the marriage act mirrors the Eucharist because both are a sharing in the very flesh of the spouse. As a man and woman consummate their marriage with sex, so do we as the Church, the Bride of Christ, seal and enliven our union with Jesus by fulfilling his command to eat his body. By both acts do we become one with our spouse. Sex, as great as it is, is the lesser of the two.

Some prudes turn fifty shades of red when you mention sex in any context, and I think that's where the controversy is found. Like Lewis said, Christianity has always taught that sex is good. If anybody was raised in the Church with an alternate perspective, the only conclusion is that they were improperly catechized. This calls for an effort within the Church to propagate the Christian understanding of sexuality, and that's exactly what West is doing.

If you're interested in receiving a free Christopher West CD for a deeper understanding of what he says, visit The Mary Foundation. Really, it's free (or shipping only, if you're outside the USA), it ships quickly, and there are no gimmicks. Or if you are in Winnipeg, you can borrow mine.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

What Sin Does

It struck me recently that sin is both a cause and an effect of self-centeredness.

I was in a bit of a funk today. I won't give you details, but I was sure in a sour mood. I made some dumb mistakes lately that have caused undue strife in my life with my wife (go figure, that rhymes!) and was letting my awareness of my frailty absorb all my focus.

I went to the barbershop today and, while waiting for my barber to finish with her customer, all I could think about was the messed up situation I got myself into. But then I overheard their conversation. From what I heard, it sounded like he was in the middle of a break-up, and was only going to see his kid once a week.

Immediately I was snapped out of my funk. I realized that despite my own sins, there is still a hurting world out there in need of a Saviour. I realized that if I allow myself to direct all my attention inward, I'll be a pretty pathetic witness to the transformative power of Christ.

People, listen up: sin is the snare that keeps on snaring. It's like drinking salt water: you get thirstier and thirstier but all you can do is keep drinking it, until you die. Jesus came to give us Living Water, and by God, am I thirsty for it. This water satisfies infinitely; it cleanses us and washes our impurities away.

So I resolve to direct my attentions heavenward, and to those around me. This is the model of Christ on the cross - he lifted up his head to drink the sour wine, to give out a loud cry. He stretched out his arms to the world around him. John 19:30 says that he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. I think the order of those two events is important. It's not that Jesus fought against his approaching death and finally couldn't muster the strength. He didn't die, then have his head uncontrollably drop. He bowed his head - which I postulate could represent a form of inward attention - and willingly died. If sin is putting oneself first, and if Christ - sinless himself - took all our sin upon himself, then in that moment when the God-man absorbed our selfishness, we can see the effects of death.

But even in death Jesus is stronger than death. His act of dying was a willful giving up of his spirit - even the weight of all humanity's sins cannot kill him. When U.S. Navy SEAL Michael A. Monsoor threw himself on a grenade in Iraq on Sep. 29, 2006 to save his comrades, it was an act of noblest heroism and selflessness. Sadly, Monsoor was killed. [May God grant you eternal peace, sir.]

Happily, Christ gave up his spirit. He threw himself on the timebomb we had constructed ourselves, knowing that only he could overcome the consequences.

The next time you believe the lie that you can't be a good Christian because of your sinfulness, think of Christ's sacrifice. Think of how his heart burns for his lost sheep. You are his last, best hope for getting the good news of his love out there! Do not believe the lie that you're not good enough. If you and I are good enough for GOD to DIE FOR, then dammit, we're good enough for anything!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

How To Find Evil in Anything

I found a cool site that lets you discern, using numerology, that anything is evil.

For example, check out the result on Dissenting Catholics.

I'd give you the exact result, but the site regenerates it each time which is infinitely funnier.
This Is Fun

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to ride a toboggan inside MS Paint?


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Halos Don't Break

Recently I stumbled across BustedHalo.com. It seemed like a decent Catholic portal at first, as it claims:

Based in wisdom from the Catholic tradition, we believe that the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the people of this age are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of all God'’s people. Nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts.

Nothing too odious there.

Indeed, they even have a regular column on Catholic sexual norms, and that's usually a topic the liberals weeds among us will avoid, as it's a clear giveaway of their real intentions.

But something didn't smell right, so I spent a lot of time farting around on the site today [that's a metaphor, you hear me? A METAPHOR!], and it's now clear that BustedHalo.com is just another wolf in sheep's clothing.

They get their name by calling to mind our call to Sainthood (the Halo part), and by recognizing that often our quest for holiness is beset by trials and failures (the Busted part). But halos don't break. Holiness is unbreakable; it cannot be soiled.

People break. People can be soiled.

So that you understand why I believe BustedHalo.com has it mostly wrong, let me proffer some examples. Let's take the model set before us in Fr. Gerard Thomas (which he admits is a pseudonym). He is "coming out" as a "gay" priest who remains celibate. Yet the "gay" part seems to have confused dear old Father Whatshisname. He was interviewed by managing editor Mike Hayes and editor-in-chief Bill McGarvey. This link is to the first part of the four-part interview, and I'm quoting from various locations throughout the four parts. [The red parts are what I'd be thinking were I present at the interview.] He is remaining anonymous because:

...my religious superiors told me that I could not write or speak about this publicly because he was afraid that people would somehow misunderstand it... I accepted his decision and that's the reason I'm using a pseudonym [you kinda missed the point there Padre] so there are no bad effects of the kind he was worried about [like suspension without pay].... I think if I were to speak publicly and use my own name I'm sure the higher ups would be furious with me [good thing God can't figure out your pseudonym!]. I do take my relationship with my superiors seriously [when you can be caught, anyway] and I do take that promise of obedience very seriously as well.

I don't think you can consider your vow of obedience to be intact on a technicality, Father. But enough of that; just what do you think the will of God is for the "gays" in our world?

Jesus did not try to change people. Jesus tried to help them accept who they were, and it was only when their illness [such as homophobia?] was preventing them from being a member of the community that he was able to do something.

I think that if Jesus was around today he would be hanging around gay men and lesbians because they are the most marginalized group in the Church [actually, I think that honour belongs to conservatives].

I think he'd indeed be hanging around with them, but not because of their marginalization: because he would have pity on them due to the cycle of sin they are stuck in. "Go then, and sin no more," does not apply only to heterosexuals.

There's a disconnect between what Father is saying and what the Church actually believes: "gay" itself is a loaded term; a vocabulatory stick of dynamite. Its usage implies acceptance of the modern cultural arguments around homosexual inclinations, and ignores the possibility of a "gay" man himself ignoring the mold he's supposed to fit into - a mold fashioned by the gay community itself. What the Catholic Church believes regarding homosexuals is that few of them choose it, and that they are called to and capable of living a life of chastity. "They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided." [Catechism source]

Say, Father, we don't have any real statistics regarding homosexual priests. Could you make some up for us?

All the statistics that you read are unreliable, including my own which are largely anecdotal [ooh, goody, I smell an anecdote coming!].... What I did was to set forth a number of 25% of priests who have a homosexual orientation, just to give people a rough context in which to work. The standard figure of 5-10% which is bandied about as the number of gays and lesbians in the general population, is far too low [when we're talking about the priesthood] and some of the more outlandish figures like 50% I thought were far too high, so I thought 25% was reasonable. [I dunno... how about 26.4%? It sounds so much more official.] But once again this is entirely anecdotal and we're never going to know until there are reliable scientific surveys.... I would say a miniscule percentage of that 25 percent are pedophiles [what a relief!].... I would say in general... there's a higher percentage of priests under 50, or under 40, who are gay. I think it would take a sociologist to tell you why that's the case. [You don't trust your own judgment? Um, then why should we?] But I also think that among the guys who are older, there is - —as in the general population - —there's less of a willingness or aptitude to discuss those kinds of things. So there may be precisely the same figure in the older generation as in the younger generation. [So it's either completely different, or exactly the same - gotcha.]

Oh, that's very helpful, thank you.

Tell us, Fr. McFakey, "what do you think a document that celebrates gay men and women in the Church would look like? "

Like nothing we have ever seen before.

Rightly so. Much like a Church document celebrating rhinotillexomania would also be unlike anything we have ever seen before. And by that I mean, thank goodness we've never seen that and never will.

Enough of Fr. GoingToTarshish. What else seems somewhat off about BrokenHalo.com?

I did a search for a few keywords on the site's internal search engine:

Word Hits
Poverty 89
Bush 76
Conservative 66
Environment 60
Gay 55
Liberal 46
Abortion 39
Republican 27
Homosexuality 26
Democrat 20
John Kerry 16
Contraception 10
Gore 8
Masturbation 5

This is sounding less and less like a place for "spiritual seekers" to go, and more like a place for Angry Left malcontents.

I found only one article I saw no problems with: More and More Seek a Robust Orthodoxy by Colleen Carroll Campbell. She makes several points that are key to understanding youth and what their needs are in the modern world:

In the course of interviewing some 500 young adults all across America, I found a growing number of them adopting the teachings and traditions of an orthodox Christian faith. These "new faithful," as I call them, have not seen too little of a secular, hedonistic society to understand its allure. They have seen too much to believe its promises. And they have turned instead to an older promise, one rooted in the traditions that their parents' generation rejected: the promise of a life guided by a transcendent vision and ordered by absolute truth.

Amen, sister!

Oh, what's this? Right beside her article is an accompanying piece by Mike Hayes, one of the interviewers of Fr. NOYB above, entitled They're Not in the Pews on Sunday.

By "they," he's referring, of course, to this new wave of faithful youth who were motivated by the call to orthodoxy that John Paul II made his chief mission, and that Benedict XVI is continuing:

I believe their enormous enthusiasm reflects a sense of faith that is miles wide but only inches deep [based on what exactly?].... Where did they go once the moment died down? One place they didn't go was back to church. According to a study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, only 22 percent of young adult Catholics actually attend Mass weekly [so, what percentage of young adult Catholics are represented in this new, excited-about-orthodoxy generation? Dare to compare?] - a stark contrast to the filled pews of ages past. Undoubtedly there is a small but significant minority of vocal and well-organized young adults whose dedication to the late pope was extraordinary [all coordinated by Karl Rove].... In my experience, many of these young adults will find it difficult to negotiate a world they increasingly realize is no longer black and white but filled with countless shades of gray [It's only because of the attempt to blur the boundaries between right and wrong that we have shades of grey at all].... Who will be this generation's spiritual mentors? [please don't pick Mike Hayes!] While John Paul II and Benedict XVI are admirable men who set the bar of morality appropriately high and may indeed have created a stirring in the hearts and minds of many young adults, they have not aided in creating a spiritual mentoring environment for young adults in conflict. [Yeah, too bad God ain't smart enough to figure out how to "mentor" his own disciples.]

These two articles are compared side by side. So the only glimmer of truth I found on BustedHalo.com was tainted by "the other view" which puts no trust in the promise of Christ never to abandon his Church.

Now, normally I'd simply never visit the site again. This internet thing, so I hear, is big enough for the both of us. But I'm going to stick around their discussion forums for a bit and raise a little... heaven. Any bets as to how long before they politely ask me to make myself welcome somewhere else?
Ad Limina Comments - Western Edition
Jumping Off the Rooftop

On Oct. 9, the bishops from Western Canada met with Pope Benedict XVI for their Ad Limina visit. I've been publishing my thoughts on the Pope's words to the bishops from other parts of Canada (see these links), and I have been eagerly anticipating this meeting with my own region's shepherds for some time.

The Pope addresses three themes:

1. Confession:

The Bishop's responsibility to indicate the destructive presence of sin is readily understood as a service of hope: it strengthens believers to avoid evil and to embrace the perfection of love and the plenitude of Christian life. I wish therefore to commend your promotion of the Sacrament of Penance. While this Sacrament is often considered with indifference, what it effects is precisely the fullness of healing for which we long. A new-found appreciation of this Sacrament will confirm that time spent in the confessional draws good from evil, restores life from death, and reveals anew the merciful face of the Father.

2. The loss of a sense of sin:

Where God is excluded from the public forum the sense of offence against God - the true sense of sin - dissipates, just as when the absolute value of moral norms is relativized the categories of good or evil vanish, along with individual responsibility. Yet, the human need to acknowledge and confront sin in fact never goes away, no matter how much an individual may, like the elder brother [in the parable of the prodigal son], rationalize to the contrary.

3. The plight of aboriginal communities. He encourages the bishops to:

address with compassion and determination the underlying causes of the difficulties surrounding the social and spiritual needs of the Aboriginal faithful.

The three are tied somewhat together, as the Pope strings a common thread through all of them: Forgiveness.

There were times when I felt that God couldn't forgive me – when I believed forgiveness was a thing I didn't deserve. I believed the lie that I had sinned too much and that God was tired of forgiving me. If I was truly repenting, why was the repetitive staccato of habitual sin coming back again and again in my life? How many times must I do a 180-degree turn on my journey to heaven? In a sense I was getting spiritually dizzy: I would sin, repent, draw close to God, and before I knew it I was stuck in sin again and need to repent once more. It felt like all I was doing was repenting.

I'm still stuck on C. S. Lewis these days. Here's one of his thoughts from Mere Christianity on imperfect repentance:

Only a bad person needs to repent: only a good person can repent perfectly. The worse you are the more you need it and the less you can do it. The only person who could do it perfectly would be a perfect person - and he would not need it.

One day God showed me a truth regarding his forgiveness – in the story of the prodigal son. The Pope uses this parable in his discussion with the bishops, and I'm sure we've all heard it over and over again. Benedict XVI says it is "one of the most appreciated passages of sacred Scripture," and this I believe is because it contains a million truths.

Look at the father in the story. His son has left home and has wasted his life on reckless living. The father, however, never gives up hope, and keenly watches from his rooftop every day for his son to return. When the prodigal son has had enough of the sinful life, he comes home and his father espies him while he is still a far way off and practically jumps off the rooftop to run and welcome him home.

The son has prepared a fine speech but the father won't listen to it; for him it is enough that he has come back.

Now imagine God in heaven, longing with that same heart for all of humanity. We are all his children, the work of his own creative hand, and he is watching the metaphorical road, hoping to see us come back to him. Also consider that there are really very few people, proportionally speaking, who know of the Father's love and strive to be his true disciples.

So imagine one of his precious ones, having gone astray, sullenly coming back home: will not the Father leap down from his rooftop and come running to us? Will he not say to us, "Yes, yes! Come back! I want you by my side! I want to shower you with my blessings and fill you with my love!" There are so few of us who strive to know God – of course he will forgive us when we fall; we're all he's got!

But then… ­forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Do I forgive as readily and as joyfully as the Father does? Now, as a married man I'll quickly admit that my wife needs to forgive me more frequently than I need to forgive her. But on those rare occasions when I'm the one who is hurt, I hardly find that I'm “jumping off the rooftop” to run and embrace her. It's usually a long, stolid affair where I have to muster up the willpower to suppress the hurt so I can tolerate her tender caresses.

Which brings me full circle to what the Pope said to the Western Bishops:

Commitment to truth opens the way to lasting reconciliation through the healing process of asking for forgiveness and granting forgiveness -- two indispensable elements for peace.

I'm delighted that our Holy Father is emphasizing the importance of this. I hope & pray our bishops will recognize the value of his words, and that we'll see more emphasis on the Sacrament of Penance in the coming months.

Lord, help me learn to forgive as you do.