Monday, August 29, 2005

Yet Another (not-so-subtle) Anti-Catholic Piece by the Guardian

This newspaper annoys me to no end. The misunderstanding and hostility towards the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict abound. This article, titled "Vatican Plan to Block Gay Priests" totally misrepresents and basically mocks the Catholic faith and its humble servant.

I mean, the author thinks that Benedict is reviewing the new standards for seminaries very carefully because he's afraid he'll stir up too much controversy. Mr. Doward sees B16's attendance at WYD as a PR scam. He says:

"It[sp] been suggested Rome would publish the instruction
earlier this month, but it dropped the plan out of concern
that such a move might tarnish his visit to his home city of
Cologne last week."

Give me a break. No one suggested this to Mr. Doward - he made it up himself! Believe me, if the Pope was concerned about PR, he wouldn't have shouted out to the millions of youth at WYD, "You must stay true to Peter's successor!" and "You can't pick and choose your doctrines!"

Oh, and this last paragraph is my favorite:

"The Vatican has been carefully trying to soften Benedict's image since he was elected earlier this year. In recent weeks he has reached out to the Jewish and Muslim communities as well as young Catholics during the church's World Youth Day. The initiatives have been seen as a significant PR success. A decision to publish an instruction that would underscore his religious conservatism would be detrimental to Benedict's standing as he enjoys his 'honeymoon period' on the world stage."

Oh yes, as if the Church needs the approval of the Guardian to exist, or better yet, the 60-year old femi-Nazi priestess wannabees who think they can change 2000-year old doctrines with their disobedience. Honeymoon period, my ass. You know what, the "honeymoon period" of support that Benedict enjoys right now comes from a young generation of Catholics, 1 million of whom made an appearance at WYD last week. And we're going to be around for a real long time, friends.

And finally, newsflash to Mr. Doward: reaching out to our Jewish brothers and sisters and the Muslims of this world is a part of the Catholic mission. Not that I would expect him to understand.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

Well, this isn't a weather blog, and I'm no expert, but I think New Orleans is on the brink of the biggest natural disaster in its history. Katrina is a Category 5 storm with 160 mph winds, and it is expected to hit land sometime early tomorrow morning. Because NO is in a basin some feet below sea level, it is likely that the whole city will be a 30 foot deep lake by tomorrow morning. It doesn't look good. Please pray for all who are not able to leave the city and anyone left in the coastal cities.

For great updates and all your Katrina-tracking needs, go to This guy is a fellow law student at NDLS and is blogging this thing like a mad fiend. I'm sure he's going to be up all night monitoring the storm.

Saint Jude, patron of hopeless situations, pray for us!

Friday, August 26, 2005

One more picture. Not surprisingly, I didn't take this one - one of my friends did. Habemus Papam! Posted by Picasa

Freedom of Speech/Religion Violations in Alberta

For a long time now, this situation with Bishop Henry of the Diocese of Calgary, Alberta has intrigued me. This Bishop has simply done his job as pastor of his flock, speaking out against gay marriage. There was a compalint filed by the homosexual community of Calgary, and now he must participate in a mediation process.

Arguments in favor of gay marriage aside, is this not a blatent violation of this Bishop's right to practice his religion? I'm sure I'm not the only one who has a problem with a Bishop being tried by a Human Rights Tribunal for preaching the doctrines of his faith.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

My Article for the Irish Rover on World Youth Day

Here are my more prominent thoughts on the reaction of the youth to Pope Benedict XVI that I wrote down for one of the newspapers at ND:

The media had said that it was his charisma with the youth, or maybe his age - his frailty invoking a sort of sympathetic response from the young people of the world – or perhaps even his battle with Parkinson’s. Some wondered whether any youth would make the trek to the 20th World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany if the beloved John Paul the Great was not in attendance. In their misunderstanding, many asked if the youth would remain in the Catholic Church after the death of their “charismatic leader.” After all, the youth loved the man, but they did not believe his message, right?

In the end, 1 million pilgrims from 164 countries traveled to Cologne to greet the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, on his first international trip since he ascended to the papacy in April, 2005. They arrived with great enthusiasm, waving the flags of their respective countries proudly, and on the day of the Pope’s arrival shouted “Benedetto!” relentlessly as they waited in the crowded streets. Many wore shirts proclaiming their love for the new Pope and their support for this man who had so long protected the Church from heresy as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. “I love my German Shepherd” was a popular slogan, along with “Papa Ratzi.” Some pasted pictures of Benedict to their flags or wore hats with “Habemus Papam” written across the front.

As I witnessed this outpouring of support from the world’s Catholic youth, it struck me that the media, not surprisingly, had gotten it all wrong. The youth were not attracted to JP II’s charisma, his quiet face or his love for the outdoors. They have all along been attracted to the idea of Christianity and the papacy itself. Their response proved that the youth are not drawn to a rock-star persona but to the message of Christ in the Catholic Church. When Benedict told those gathered that attending Sunday Mass was absolutely crucial, the crowds cheered. When he told them that “cafeteria Catholicism” was unhealthy and dangerous, they cheered even louder. The youth want the undiluted Truth of Christ. Period. Benedict represents this truth, so the youth respond.

The second tangible response to Benedict was one of a victorious shout for the Church triumphant. While John Paul II displayed the humility and love of the Church, Benedict put forth the strength and Truth of it. For once, the youth witnessed a Pope who could get up and walk around, participate in Benediction, stand for the Mass and speak in a clear and unfaltering voice. His physical strength was perhaps a manifestation of the nature of Catholicism at the dawn of his papacy. The Church that gathered around Benedict for this World Youth Day was one that survived the sexual revolution and Vatican II. It was the Church that had been restored through the papacy of JPII, and was now a Church victorious, a Church that was strong and ready to greet the secular, anti-life and anti-Christian trajectory of the 3rd millennium. The Church that JPII was given in 1978 was a Church that needed a charismatic leader to draw them back to the beauty of the teachings. The young Church that stood before Benedict XVI last week loved the teachings first, and therefore, loved the man who is the ultimate servant of them.

Benedict brought with him some changes to World Youth Day that were welcomed by the youth with open arms. In contrast to WYD 2002, the Vigil with the Pope included a time of adoration and benediction, with the Blessed Sacrament residing in a tent for the duration of the night. Benedict did not play the crowd or wait for the cheering of his name to cease before beginning prayer. We were given the impression that the Mass was of such importance that silence and reverence from even the most excited of youth was required. His homily focused on the importance of the Eucharist in the life of Catholics. He wore traditional papal garb, in contrast to the more plain style of John Paul II. All of this was welcomed and applauded.

This World Youth Day should send a strong message to the generation of Catholics that attempt to attract youth with a message of watered-down Christianity and dissent from Church teaching: the young people want the Truth of the Gospel. They want the Sacraments. They are not attracted to a rock-star, but to Christ himself as he grants us salvation through his Holy, Apostolic Church. The Church is young, and its strength grows each day.

Habemus Papam! Viva il Papa! Long live the Pope!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A glimpse behind me during the Mass. This is section B3. Section B had 20 subparts just like this one. And then there was Section A, C, D, E, F...which all had 20 subparts. Incredible.  Posted by Picasa

The Cathedral from across the Rhine Posted by Picasa

The cool space-ship like stage/altar at Marianfeld, where the Papal Mass took place. To give you perspective, we were the closest people, except for the VIPs, to the Pope. Posted by Picasa

The closest I got to him. I'm not the best photographer in the world, but I was excited! Posted by Picasa

The Catholic Youth are Faithful

This is a pretty fair article about the devotion of young people at Franciscan University. Too bad the author has no idea that this sort of devotion is widespread and growing among the youth. Wish he could have been at World Youth Day to verify!

From the Pope's WYD Homily

Here's a small part of Benedict's homily to the masses on Sunday. Keep in mind that when he told us, essentially, that "cafeteria Catholicism" is no good, the whole place started cheering and chanting, "Benedetto!"

"Anyone who has discovered Christ must lead others to him. A great joy cannot be kept to oneself. It has to be passed on. In vast areas of the world today there is a strange forgetfulness of God. It seems as if everything would be just the same even without him. But at the same time there is a feeling of frustration, a sense of dissatisfaction with everyone and everything. People tend to exclaim: "This cannot be what life is about!" Indeed not. And so, together with forgetfulness of God there is a kind of new explosion of religion. I have no wish to discredit all the manifestations of this phenomenon. There may be sincere joy in the discovery. Yet if it is pushed too far, religion becomes almost a consumer product. People choose what they like, and some are even able to make a profit from it. But religion constructed on a "do-it-yourself" basis cannot ultimately help us. It may be comfortable, but at times of crisis we are left to ourselves. Help people to discover the true star which points out the way to us: Jesus Christ! Let us seek to know him better and better, so as to be able to guide others to him with conviction."

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Return from WYD

Sorry about the failed blogging attempt, all - it was harder than I thought it would be to blog on the road! I was with a large group of people and there wasn't always time to get away and find a connection.

I will post pictures soon along with a synopsis of the trip. All I can say is that there were 1.7 million people at the Mass on Sunday, and don't let the media tell you any different!!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

More Stuff

So today we started off with a pilgrimage to the Cathedral. It was magestic and beautiful, raising one's eyes to the heavens, like all churches should. We prayed at the relics of the Magi kings. It was incredible.

We watched the arrival of Benedict at the airport on a screen near the Rhine. After a long walk we ended up here in front of the Cathedral with a whole bunch of people from every different country in the world. We are sitting next to people from Peru and Brazil. They always have wonderful songs!!!

My group from America is holding up well. We're going to take shifts for the next 3 hours or so to go to Adoration at the Youth 2000 church down the street. More later.

Live Blogging from in front of the Cologne Cathedral

The Pope is coming in a couple of hours. We got prime seats in front of the Cathedral. Yay for random wireless connections! More to come!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Hi from Cologne

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

World Youth Day in Cologne

I'll be attending World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany next week with the Diocese of Grand Rapids, Michigan. We leave Sunday, and I'm still debating about whether to bring my laptop and do liveblogging. If I don't, here are some cool links:

World Youth Day Website (with a webcam and everything)
Tim Drake at "Young and Catholic" (he'll be liveblogging)
also, go to Open Book for links to everyone who will be providing live coverage of WYD.

If you're at ND, be sure to stay on campus for an outdoor video feed of the vigil and Mass on the 20th and 21st.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Planned Parenthood Supports Violence against Pro-Lifers

The full story, plus the video link can be found here. Not that I'm really surprised, but it is pretty sick. So the true colors of PP begin to show, eh?

How is it that all pro-lifers get labeled when a crazy hypocrite lunatic kills an abortion doctor, but when the biggest abortion provider in the U.S. makes a video about "Superheroes for Choice" killing pro-life people, there's hardly a peep out of the media? That video is coming from the top, people. There's no official spokesman to take it back and say that abortion providers don't advocate violence against pro-lifers. PP IS the official voice of the pro-abortion movement.

UPDATE: PP has removed the video from their website. (I guess someone other than me complained.)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

NFP vs. Contraception

This article is one of the best I've seen for making the case of a fundamental difference between artificial contraception and Natural Family Planning. Of course, there's more to it, but this is a good start. I wrote a large paper in college about this topic and it's humbling to see that there are people who can explain this fundamental concept 10 times better than I ever could.

Thanks to a commenter on Amy Welborn's blog for the link.