"I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history." -Cardinal Francis George

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A comment on Devin Rose's Frightening Article

Frightening to me anyway. It is titled "Time for Catholic Praise and Worship?" Thank God for the question mark Devin. As one commentor put it:
"The Ring’s whisper is drawing you near… Do you need an intervention before you put it back on and turn invisible?"

Here is one of my comments in response to this comment:

Restless Pilgrim said:

"What has to be done to get Catholics to sing?! Traditional music or contemporary music, I don’t care which!"

That not caring is part of the problem. It cannot be both. It is not a choice between equals. It is not a matter of taste. If Catholics were actually given their traditional music, they eventually would begin to sing again. But they rarely are given the opportunity, and so they feel lost when the chance to sing chant comes.

Have you ever been to a modern art museum? Stinks right? Well that is not merely your opinion. It actually is objectively bad art. That is why it stinks. Compare the modern art to real art, and imagine nearly every parish in the nation having almost nothing but the modern stuff, and wondering why the people don’t seem to like their art. That is the current music situation. Most of our liturgies are absolutely dominated by 1970's show tunes style music. It is objectively bad music, and ironically it is often hard to sing in a group anyway.

Give them their Catholic music and they will sing! Just like Protestants have their Protestant music, and they sing. Btw, the reason you can go into a huge megachurch and hear everyone singing loudly/getting into it, is because they choose to be there and not the other 40 local Protestant liturgical options from Anglican to Pentecostal. Catholics do not have this option. We have ONE liturgy from which very specific music has grown, and unlike Protestants, who choose an ecclesial community whose liturgy produces the type of music they prefer, Catholics can either stick with what the Church has given them, or force the Protestant music onto the mass. The square Protestant peg will get shredded as it goes into the round Catholic hole, and then we wonder why Catholics don’t want to sing. It is not that they don’t want to sing, it is that they are Catholics at a mass and not Protestants at a Sunday service. Each style is suited to each liturgy, and has grown organically out of each liturgy. When I was a Presbyterian, we sang Wesley hymns in 4 part harmony on Sunday morning. It was beautiful. That is their heritage, rising naturally from their liturgy. The Church has given permission to use their songs, if we want, but it must be in THIRD PLACE behind chant and polyphony. (this is from Church documents, not my opinion)

Currently, even the nicer Protestant hymns are in third place behind 1.) Marty Haugan show tunes,
and 2.) "contemporary" folk or happy-clappy!

I assume we can all agree that the chant and polyphony that has grown out of the mass over thousands of years (and even traditional Protestant hymnody) is objectively better than “praise and worship music”? But perhaps someone will argue that some people like the P and W music, so let’s use that music to draw them/make them comfortable, etc. Now to Devin’s main thrust in the article, I know he must be thinking “Hey dude, I was not talking about music in the mass though.” Ok, fair enough. But why use a foreign tradition to introduce someone to your tradition?

Put another way, why use an inferior foreign tradition to draw someone to your tradition? Watch the above video of “Gather us in” by Haugan. That song has a place. It’s place is in a Protestant liturgy, or around a campfire! The words of the song, the music itself, and the instruments likely to be used (guitar) are totally inappropriate for mass according to the clear teaching of the Magisterium. So why have a service outside of mass that tells the participant “we are Catholics who really like this Protestant liturgical music, and we like to sing it outside of mass as opposed to our own liturgical music which is much richer and deeper and in the long run more emotional, but for some reason we would rather skip all that and sing this disposable stuff.” The clear implication is “this is the music we really like, and we want it at mass”. Otherwise why not sing from the vast storehouse of Catholic music that we have, that is specifically Catholic, ancient, and objectively beautiful? Shouldn’t we put our BEST foot forward when we are showcasing the Catholic faith to people? Why in the world would we use the scraps from the Protestant table to showcase Catholicism? Protestants have seen the scraps, they want the Church.

It is as if a great king wanted to show his wealth to a visitor, and instead of bringing him into the vault and blinding him with the huge mounds of bright gold and jewels as far as the eye can see, he meets him at the city gates and shows him a fancy carriage and some Russel Stover chocolates- gifts which a neighboring king gave him. “Really, believe me, I’m super rich, really I am, trust me!” The visitor can’t help but think “If he is so rich, why not just show me?” Catholicism is the rich king, and Protestant hymns are the gilded carriage. The sickly sweet chocolates are praise and worship songs. Why would we have a meeting at the city gate (in the basement of the Church) to hand out these chocolates when we can invite everyone to the storeroom (mass) to see the treasure?
One last point. Even if this idea of a service outside of mass was great, lets first get the music inside mass fixed before we start focusing on the outside.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Complaining about Bad "Music"

This is a comment I left on Devin Rose's blog on a great article called the Parish is what you make of it:

I got schooled recently. Here is what happened.

I went to a local parish for the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and was red faced at the awful music. It was the “Creation Mass” by Haugan, and I truly felt violated at the awfulness of the irreverent hippie music (this is why I drive 45 minutes to go to a reverent liturgy on Sundays).

Whoa man, this mass has really choice vibrations flowing dude...

I read online an article “how to start a garage schola”


by Jefrey Tucker, and I felt a bit humbled. His #1 point was to stop complaining and start DOING something. He said to NEVER complain to the pastor until you have started your own schola that is willing to sing every Sunday. (!!!)

Point being, it is A LOT of work to change the bad situations at our parishes. Just the issue of music alone requires a lot of work. Not to mention catechesis and such.

Here is the problem though Devin, I will not go to my local parishes because they are bad enough it will take years to change them. I cant wait 5 years or more because I have lots of young children. I don't want them to be guinea pigs for years… being subjected to the “music” at these parishes during their formative years. Do you see my predicament? How will these impoverished parishes change if the people who care drive an hour to more faithful parishes in the city? I don’t see an answer.

One thing is for sure though, we need to not complain to our Priests PERIOD. We need to either shut up, or present fully formed solutions (like you did with your apologetics class, good for you bro).

Another point I want to make is where I think some complaining is perhaps in order. The bishops. Why cant they put a 6 month or even a year limit on the horrid music? That would be plenty of time for the current musicians and laypeople to learn the music that the Magisterium has said over and over is proper for mass: Chant.

I think this issue needs top down leadership to a degree. Laymen can only do so much, and small churches with limited musical resources cant be expected to do separate masses with chant at 9 and Haugan show tunes at 11, it is just to much. We need a hero to tell us how it is going to be! Benedict rescue us!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Catholic schools are not workable...

...In their current form. Imo.

From Jimmy Akin:
But the cause [for Catholic schools needing to be closed] that Archbishop Chaput names in the interview is certainly a plausible one: the retreat of women and men religious from the Catholic education scene and the consequent effect on the faculty. Women and men religious, living communally and being under vows of poverty and being able to solicit donations for their order and even subsidizing Catholic schools directly, were able to operate for substantially less money than a faculty composed of lay people supporting families and trying to maintain a place in the middle class (i.e., avoid poverty). The exodus of religious from faculty and the consequent influx of ordinary lay people is certainly going to affect how much it costs to educate a student, and as tuition rises it can lead to a decrease in the number of students: a vicious cycle.
I don’t know how the finances of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are structured or how specifically the schools might be affected by legal settlements, but Archbishop Chaput is certainly right that the change in the composition of the school workforce is going to impact the economics of the situation in a significant way.
Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/archbishop-chaput-answers-questions-about-his-stunning-letter/#ixzz1gQ1kOM4H
Archbishop Chaput is spot on. This is so sad, because educating our children is the most important thing in the world. And by "educating" I don't just mean preparing them to be good American consumers. I mean preparing  them to serve God- no small task. And by "most important thing in the world", I mean exactly that.

The Catholic grade school near my town just recently was disbanded as well. By chance I met a young lady at my Church that had taught there. I felt bad for her. Her heart was in the right place, but with people like her as teachers, the situation will never be resolved. It's not her fault that she will probably get married and have a family and require a bigger paycheck, that's great. But that means higher tuition, and that is not just "not great", it is not do-able. Let's do the math together.

Lets take what is probably a typical Catholic family of 8 people with a single income of $45,000. Things are tight but possible on that income. Lets say they desire to send their 6 kids to the local Catholic school. Forget for a moment what the school wants to charge those parents and lets think of the actual cost of educating their kids. I checked out 2 different schools earlier this year and pricing differed, but lets give a low number of *$4000 per kid. Honestly, that seems really low, right? For a 20 kid classroom that would add up to $80,000 to spread out to the teacher, admin, supplies, and facilities. Tight budget.
So like I said, ignore what they charge the parent. Perhaps the parent gets grants and ends up only paying $2000 out of pocket for the whole crew, whatever. The point is, someone is paying. Whether in that parish or in the whole diocese. And for 6 kids at $4,000 a piece, that $24,000 is no small amount. One thing is for certain though, most parents simply can't pay that, and should not be expected to. Paying 24 grand out of a 45 grand a year salary?! Yeah right! That is not to mention if more kids come along. It is not at all impossible for a healthy family to have 8 or 9 kids in grades 2 through 12 at the same time. At that point, are only wealthy people allowed to have their kids in school? (keep in mind that I am not even considering public school an option, as that would be hatred of you children to send them there. A good Catholic would not do it unless forced to)
If a family with 8 in school cant come up with the $32,000 for their kids school that year does the parish pay it? The Archdiocese? Is it reasonable to expect them to? I don't think so.

I find it ironic that of the two schools I looked into sending my oldest daughter to, the close, rural one had to close it's doors by order of the archdiocese, and the really good, wealthy city one (many wealthy parents) was full! Either way I would have been out of luck this year. What sort of impression does this leave on the converts who has been homeshooling for 3 years? The Catholic school system is utterly broken. Thankfully we are very comfortable home schooling. But what about single parents? Are they just out of luck? And for me, what about when high school rolls around and I want my kids to be taking some advanced classes?

The problem here is evident. It is not possible to have a school charge $4000 or more per year. Governments get away with it because they collect their $10,000 per kid, per year at gunpoint (they dont pass a plate for property taxes).

The answer is one or a combination of two things: Get religious communities back in the schools, and  homeschooling. The former is not currently possible, as there are simply not enough of them. The latter is possible for most families.

What I think would be a good preparation for the future is  this:
Put funding currently going to Catholic schools into forming religious orders for teaching. Current teachers could either take vows or leave. The current schools could be turned into half living quarters for the religious/half schools. Restrict admittance for the time being to those who legitimately cannot homeshool (single parents, etc.) and make it free. Make the priority of the school the religious instruction and spiritual formation of the children. This way their instructors vows will have some payoff. After all, no one wants to sacrifice their life so a kid can be a better consumer of western culture and a better capitalist. But they will sacrifice their life for a child to grow up to be a saint.
If this were implemented nationwide, in a generation we could have thriving Catholic schools bursting at the seams with children who know and love their faith, and who are ready to take on the world for Christ.

Or we could just keep following the secular cultures example of treating schools like factories with expensive foremen. Unfortunately this is what will almost certainly happen in my children's lifetime, so homeschool will continue to be the best option for them.

After writing I learned the real costs. Elementary was less than my estimate, secondary was way more. I think my points are still valid though.

"The average cost of tuition per pupil in a catholic elementary school is $3,383 while secondary education costs $8,182. Parents who choose to send their children to Catholic school still pay for a public school education with their state and local taxes. In 2010, the public education system spent approximately $10,614 per pupil."
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/02/08/educating-children-catholic-schools-doing/#ixzz1gQQHgQI3

Friday, December 9, 2011

St. Thomas on No-fault Divorce

The evil of divorce cannot be underestimated. The evil of a culture embracing no-fault divorce is exponentially worse.

St. Thomas Aquinas:
It seems obviously inappropriate for a woman to be able to put away her husband, because a wife is naturally subject to her husband as governor, and it is not within the power of a person subject to another to depart from his rule. So, it would be against the natural order if a wife were able to abandon her husband.
Therefore, if a husband were permitted to abandon his wife, the society of husband and wife would not be an association of equals but, instead, a sort of slavery on the part of the wife.
(Summa contra Gentiles III:124:[4]).

Our "advanced" culture:
No-fault divorce is a divorce in which the dissolution of a marriage requires neither a showing of wrong-doing of either party nor any evidentiary proceedings at all. Laws providing for no-fault divorce allow a family court to grant a divorce in response to a petition by either party to the marriage, without requiring the petitioner to provide evidence that the respondent has committed a breach of the marital contract. (From Wikepedia)
No fault divorce began in the US in the land of fruits and nuts (California) on January 1st 1970. In 1977, while living in San Fran-freako, my father left my mother destitute with their four children. You have to understand the situation though, he just didn't feel like having a family anymore. Needed to stretch his wings and not feel so cooped up. Yeah maaaan.

If divorce can be obtained by either party in a marriage without any regard to the marriage contract, then is does it even qualify as a contract? Which of the following are more important to a society than marriage:

  1. Obeying speed limits
  2. Using designated crosswalks
  3. refraining from urinating in an alley
  4. Refraining from drunk driving
  5. Paying your taxes
  6. Not smoking pot
Obviously none of them even come close to the foundational importance of marriage. Yet you will get in WAY MORE TROUBLE for violating any of these than for violating your marriage contract, which is hands down the most important contract anyone can enter into. Did men step up to the plate and defend marriage, womankind and children everywhere from the evil? Nope. Was there an outcry from feminists and women's and children's advocates about no-fault divorce? Quite the opposite actually.
Here is my point:
Compared to the lionesses of centuries past, the typical women from the modern, industrialized west is a subservient whore who has been dominated by the most grotesque mysogeny ever. And by the weakest generation of men ever as well! It is the worst ever because it is the women who willingly degrade themselves! They have silently given everything away for a greasy bowl of lentils. At least many a whore despises her own profession and her pimp*, but modern woman is eager to be pimped out for nothing more than money! (St. Augustine calls a wife a whore for using contraception, so take it up with him not me ;-) They have given up their God given, supremely fulfilling role of being help-meet to husband, mother, teacher, homemaker, for the bowl of foul lentils that is no-fault divorce and the broken homes that it leads to, abortion, contraception, childlessness, and taking a masculine posture by working outside of their calling: the home.

Remember the old saying "the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world"?

It happens to be quite true. Modern industrialized women has stopped rocking the cradle (and even looks down her nose at those who do) in favor of blandly pointing at a flow chart in a conference room somewhere in a shoulder padded pant-suit. Congratulations ladies, you are the stupidest generation of women in the history of mankind!

*"You [Manicheans] make your auditors adulterers of their wives when they take care lest the women with whom they copulate conceive. They take wives according to the laws of matrimony by tablets announcing that the marriage is contracted to procreate children; and then, fearing because of your law [against childbearing]…they copulate in a shameful union only to satisfy lust for their wives. They are unwilling to have children, on whose account alone marriages are made. How is it, then, that you are not those prohibiting marriage, as the apostle predicted of you so long ago [1 Tim. 4:1–4], when you try to take from marriage what marriage is? When this is taken away, husbands are shameful lovers, wives are harlots, bridal chambers are brothels, fathers-in-law are pimps.” Augustine, Against Faustus 15:7 (A.D. 400).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Colbert clip

Stephen Colbert after a "Catholic Bender". Coffee came out my nose when he pulls the relic out. This man is hilarious.

Hat tip to Bad Catholic. More clips on his most worthy blog.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cool Hymnal

As follow-up to my recent post about Tridentine vs. Vatican II masses, check out this new hymnal. I LOL'ed when she says it is the FIRST hymnal since Vatican II to contain the propers of the mass. 50 years?!

Please Lord, let beautiful music glorify you in  your Churches once again.

By the way, the Corpus Christi Watershed website is incredible. There was a section on there where you can listen to different parts of chant. I'm not very musical, but I know what is reverent and what aint. And I like what I see from folks like this.

Special Announcement: VATICAN II HYMNAL from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

I will throw in a video that I saw last year that I just love also. Imagine if every liturgist in the Catholic Church would implement a more reverent liturgy. You may saaaay that i'm a dreamer, but i'm not the only one...

Can you tell the difference?? from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ordinary and Extraordinary Unite! someday :(

Before I was a Catholic, I thought the mass was in Latin. The only thing I knew of a mass was what I had been taught by Protestant theologians, and much of that had to do with debates from the 16th century, when of course it was very much in Latin. One that stands out is when I read a biography of Martin Luther. When he was a priest, he had an intense moment at the altar as he said the words of consecration, "hoc est enim corpus meum" or "this is my body". (incidentally this is where "hocus pocus" and the "hokey pokey" come from, which both mock the Catholic mass.)

I have quickly learned that the mass is a bit different than in Martin Luther's day. There are actually many different masses from outward appearance. I know, I know, there is only one mass if we are talking about the one sacrifice of Christ, true. But as for how the liturgy unfolds, there is an incredible diversity. And diversity is exactly what there shouldn't be.

Even IF we could limit the liturgy to the two current options of the "ordinary form" and the "extraordinary form" there would still be a problem. The Church should have one liturgy. I should be able to walk in and know what is going on in any mass around the world. Just the fact of having two different forms of the mass is itself a major problem and makes the Church look bad. Why have 2? Is it for personal taste of the "congregation"? It better not be. Does one form glorify God more than the other? Then dump the other one. See what I mean? Why is there two now when one is how things have always been before the 1960's.

The answer appears to be that Vatican II was misinterpreted and implemented in the worst cultural meltdown in human history, and the "Novus Ordo" mass became something it was not intended to be. This makes a ton of sense considering the revolution of the 60's/70's. So should the Novus Ordo be dumped? Apparently not, because the V2 council did make changes. So just going back to the old pre-V2 mass would appear to not be the way to go either.

This leaves us with a tertium quid: Combine them. This has been my gut instinct since becoming Catholic, and I was SO HAPPY to hear that this is very likely what will eventually happen. In and article on Fr. Z's blog, Cardinal Burke says that combining the two into a "new form of the Roman rite" would be the natural result of the current situation of having two forms intermixing with each other, and he would welcome it. Yea! By the way, Cardinal Burke has the most awesome title of anyone ever:

Cardinal Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura

Isnt that intense? And his authority is intense also. Seriously, I am rooting for him to be the first American Pope.

Will this combining happen anytime soon? Unfortunately that is highly doubtful. I don't understand why the pope cant just make it happen. Snap his fingers and get it done. Who will say no to him? But apparently that is not how things work. Things go sloooow. That's ok, I will humbly submit to whatever happens whenever it happens. I am just glad to see that the guys in charge can see the problem. Perhaps my children will have a Church with a single mass.

Monday, November 28, 2011

May the Force be with You...

And the savy Catholic responds...

... "And with your spirit."

I know, I know, it will take some getting used to, but overall your sci-fi discussions will be on a new level of accuracy and beauty if you start using this response.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Orthodox vs. Catholic: The Future Demographic Meltdown

Eastern Orthodoxy is aging and dying, while Catholicism is set to increase.

In simple terms: as Russia goes, so goes Eastern Orthodoxy. The reason, in my view is diversity. Catholicism is diverse, covering all geography and people groups, and is immune to being decimated when one group or region is decimated. Not so for Orthodoxy.

First some raw stats.

  • The global fertility rate is 2.46 children per woman. (Global replacement rate is 2.3, developed nation replacement rate is 2.1)
  • Nearly every country has a declining fertility rate.
  • 1,114 million Catholics with a fertility rate of 2.49.
  • 230 million Orthodox with a fertility rate of 1.42.

Eastern Orthodoxy is a regional religion. This is often disputed by Orthodox apologists, but it is simple demographic reality. Zoom your mental camera in on the area of the globe comprising the following 6 countries:

  1. Russia,
  2. Ukraine,
  3. Romania,
  4. Greece,
  5. Belarus and
  6. Bulgaria.
These 6 countries make up 82% (190 Million) of Eastern Orthodoxy. But religion is not all they have in common. Not only are these countries geographically close and culturally similar, but these countries have the some of the lowest fertility rates in the world. Combined, their fertility rate is a frigid 1.37 (Keep in mind that replacement rate is 2.1 for a developing country). 1.37 means a rapidly aging and shrinking population, which is currently happening. Russia is home to 48% of Orthodoxy. Out of 222 countries, Russia and Bulgaria place 196 and 195 in global fertility respectively and have the best fertility rates of the 6 countries with a horrific 1.42. Ukraine, which houses 16% of all Orthodox, has an abysmal fertility rate of 1.28. And those 6 countries make up 82% of Eastern Orthodoxy! The other 18% of Orthodoxy does not leave room for hope either. It is just as regionally isolated, and its fertility rate is barely higher at 1.67. There is no significant area of Orthodoxy that is growing.

Now let’s take a similar survey of the Catholic world. The top 27 countries which comprise 82% (906 Million) of Catholicism have a fertility rate of 2.45. That is a nice solid number that means growth. Another thing which becomes obvious is the diversification. Like a balanced financial portfolio, the Catholic population is scattered. By the time we get to #11 on the list of most populous Catholic countries, which is the 30 million Catholics in the Congo, we have gone from latin America to North America, over to the Philippines and then to Eastern and western Europe. There are developed industrial countries to 3rd world and everything in-between right up at the top of the list. There is an incredible diversity. There are 30 million Catholics in Congo with a fertility rate of 5.68. Wow. The 70 million Filipino Catholics have a fertility rate of 3.19. Even the United States bucks the global trend of developed nations with its replacement rate of 2.06. Ironically, the US is one of the most fertile places for the Orthodox. But, there are only 1.2 million Orthodox in the US.

Of course my numbers are assuming that the fertility rate of a nations Catholic or Orthodox population is at least as good as the national fertility rate (And yes, I also assume that a high fertility rate is good). In some cases, particularly less developed countries, I would think that the more devout subsets of the population would have a higher rate. In my own case, this is true. My 3 siblings and I (we are all serious about or religion) have a combined fertility rate of >6. And I know for a fact that high number has something to do with religious conviction in every case. Combine this reality with the fact that the Catholic Church is by all accounts growing more conservative, with more open teaching against contraception, and a more willing laity to obey those directives, and the future looks bright for Catholics. Is there a similar undercurrent in Orthodoxy? I cant say. I know they have dropped the ball on the contraception issue, that is a fact.

But one crucial thing the data tells us is that Orthodoxy is regional. As Russia goes, so goes Orthodoxy. And Russia aint going anywhere. It is actually shrinking, with that trend predicted to continue. There are simply no bright spots in the demographic future of Orthodoxy. The website where I obtained most of my data on Orthodoxy actually included ~22 million “Orthodox” in very fertile (6.02) Ethiopia. One problem, those are Oriental Orthodox, and are absolutely not in communion with Eastern Orthodoxy. I doubt if any of our Greek or Russian Orthodox brothers would want to claim them as their own. The most populous country with a decent Orthodox population and a decent fertility rate is the US. Keep moving down the list looking for good fertility rates and the only ones you will find are such sparkling gems as Kyrgyzstan, Syria, Iraq, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Jordan, Israel, Tajikistan, Palestine, and Turkey. I think it is not a stretch to say that it is the Muslims in these countries that are pushing up the fertility rates, not the Christians. Combine this with the fact that half of Orthodoxy resides in Russia, which is on the bottom of the “religiosity” scale.

Basically, Russians as a whole simply don’t care about religion. Compare with Brazil, the Philippines and even the US, which are fundamentalists compared with Russia.
Another factor to consider is Islam. Orthodoxy and Islam often share the same territory, Whereas the majority of Catholicism does not. I don’t think it is controversial to say that in those countries where they coexist, in general Islam slowly dominates through intermarriage conversions and other factors.

So that leaves us with a very narrow, well defined, and fairly easily predicable outlook for Eastern Orthodoxy. Because it is so narrowly defined within certain nations which are imploding, it is fair to say that Orthodoxy is imploding. Will it disappear? No way. There are always subsets of a population which have higher than average fertility rates. I am sure there is a woman in Russia right now who has 7 kids. If that is something she passes on to her descendants, then the fertility rate in Russia will someday be higher. But the size of the population will have decreased dramatically. I think this is far less likely to happen in Catholic countries such as Brazil, Mexico, central Africa and the Philippines. They will maintain above replacement levels of fertility and skip the drastic decline that Russia and eastern Europe are experiencing.

What it means demographically:

I think that this data almost certainly means that the 230 million Eastern Orthodox in the world will be declining rather rapidly in the coming 2 generations. Those who are left will no doubt be more devout, which may or may not be good for the prospects of Catholic/Orthodox reunion, but they will be much fewer. I predict there will be a bit less than 100 million Eastern Orthodox by 2070. For the same time period I predict there will be over 2 billion Catholics.

What it means for the Church:

Of course I do not wish ill on anyone, and I sure do wish the Orthodox would start to out-breed their Muslim neighbors, or better yet... become Catholic. But I am a Catholic who sees the Catholic Church as THE kingdom of God, the rock that grows to fill the earth from Daniels vision, the mustard seed that grows to a huge tree, etc. Why would anyone not want to be a part of that? And I see in these demographics perhaps the working out of God’s plan. I can’t prove it, but it is interesting to think about. Here is a powerhouse comment by Bryan Cross on Called to Communion about the Catholic/Orthodox numbers game and other important considerations.

One thing I know, is that the scope and reach of the Catholic Church is well worth considering. It is the biggest organization on the planet. Stop. Re-read that. Yes, it is the biggest organization on the planet. It shouldn’t work, but it does. Watching the Catholic Church is like watching a perpetual motion machinerun or seeing a unicorn; it can’t be, but there it is. The only thing that comes close is Sunni Islam with its 940 million. But Sunni Islam can hardly be described as one group with one hierarchy. This aspect of the Catholic Church is to me miraculous. As stupid and evil humans can be, that one organization with such grand claims for itself could survive so improbably for 2000 years is… well, a miracle. It is one among many reasons to submit to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. And it was one of the reasons I did not submit to Eastern Orthodoxy.

Fertility rate by country: http://www.indexmundi.com/g/r.aspx?v=31
Global fertility: 2.46 children born/woman (2011 est.) https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/xx.html
46 countries will lose population by 2050, many in eastern Europe. The population of Bulgaria will fall by 35%, Ukraine by 33%, and Belarus, Romania, the Russian Federation, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland by 20% to 30%.” http://web.inter.nl.net/users/Paul.Treanor/nohumans.html

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Defending St. Cyprian against David Wells

From an article on Ligonier titled The Rise of the Papacy by David Wells (my emphasis):

Heresies had abounded from the start, but in the third-century, churches began to take up a new defensive posture against them. Would it not be the case, Tertullian argued, that churches founded by the apostles would have a secure footing for their claims to authenticity, in contrast to potentially heretical churches? This argument buttressed the growing claims to preeminence of the Roman church. However, it is interesting to note that in the middle of this century, Cyprian in North Africa argued that the words, “You are Peter …” were not a charter for the papacy but, in fact, applied to all bishops.
Compare with St. Cyprian (my emphasis):

And he says to him again after the resurrection, 'Feed my sheep.' It is on him that he builds the Church, and to him that he entrusts the sheep to feed. And although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single Chair, thus establishing by his own authority the source and hallmark of the (Church's) oneness. No doubt the others were all that Peter was, but a primacy is given to Peter, and it is (thus) made clear that there is but one flock which is to be fed by all the apostles in common accord. If a man does not hold fast to this oneness of Peter, does he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he deserts the Chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, has he still confidence that he is in the Church? This unity firmly should we hold and maintain, especially we bishops, presiding in the Church, in order that we may approve the episcopate itself to be the one and undivided."
Cyprian, The Unity of the Church, 4-5 (A.D. 251-256)

Compare for yourself. Did Wells represent St. Cyprian properly? If that isn't a "charter for the papacy", then what is? Mr. Wells takes a truth and twists it into a lie. The truth -that St. Cyprian recognised the ultimate authority of all the bishops- is emphasized while ignoring the caveat Cyprian himself gives, that the Church was founded on Peter, and Christ "founded a single Chair". He makes mincemeat of St. Cyprian's words! It is men like David Wells at Ligonier that I trusted for years to give me the truth about Church history and theology. I now feel ashamed I did not dig deeper, sooner to learn that much of their claims were outright lies. Honestly, I think Ligonier is better than this sort of hack work. I tried to find an email for David, but couldn't. And of course the article does not allow comments.

Google Goof

Search term: Interior Castle.
Search Engine: Google Images.
Result: Really only two good images. One from the cover of the book---

Ok, that is a cool image. I like the odd boats and the spiral shape. The only other pic that caught my eye was this one---

"Wow!" I think to myself, "cool interpretation of St. Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle! I like how the glory of God is radiating out from the center castle to the other six, sort of drawing the seeker in, and... oh wait, it says Interior castle at Excalibur, Las Vegas."

My take-away from this embarrassing experience is that we need better imagery of St. Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle if  these are the only two I could find.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Did Dale Ahlquist coin a phrase?

In a great article titled Another Sin We Don't Want to Hear About, Dale Ahlquist laid down what I think is a very quoteable quote. Dale is one of my heros. I actually have been watching his Sunday night show on EWTN for years before even considering Catholicism an option. Chesterton makes so much sense, I was just drawn to Dale's weekly dose of him in a moth-to-flame sort of way. Although my wife will tell you that when the show was over, I would quickly turn the channel so as not to see the nuns praying the rosary. Scandalous! Ah, silly old me.

In true Chestertonian fashion, he has a one liner in here that made me: pause, chuckle, re-read, think, grin.
I actually googled the phrase and came up empty. Is it possible Dale coined it? Seems strange that he could be the first to coin it, because it is quite a simple statement, but perhaps. Anyhoo, i'll let you read the entire passage and see if you can pick it out for yourself.

I love what he has to say here. So what I though was a really good one liner was "It is hypocritical to criticize hypocrites". Perhaps Chesterton said it and Dale is repeating it here? Or is it not as profound as I think it is?
The Catholic Church is always condemned for condemning sins. Since we are all sinners, sin is the last thing we want to hear about. But of course, if we don’t confess our sins and flee from our sins, sin is the last thing we will hear about. That’s why the Church has a certain obligation to keep bringing these things up.

The Church has to do the hard and thankless work of condemning sins. There are few folks—well, more than a few—who do not consider the Church a trustworthy authority on the subject of sin. They are quick to point out that priests and bishops and even popes have turned out to be guilty of the same sins they have condemned. But this excuse for questioning the authority of the Church doesn’t wear well. It is hypocritical to criticize hypocrites. The more interesting challenge is this: do sins change? Or rather, does the Catholic Church condemn something as being a sin in one age, but excuse it as not being a sin in another age? This is an argument that is often used against the Church’s moral teaching.

In the 1960s many people in the Catholic Church were anticipating that Pope Paul VI would issue an encyclical that would permit contraception. Some argued that there was precedent for such a change in the Church’s teaching. After all, the Church once condemned usury as a sin, but no longer did.

But the encyclical Humane Vitae surprised and infuriated a lot of people: the Pope upheld the Church’s teachings instead of altering them. He also warned about what would happen if the world embraced a contraceptive mentality: it would lead to abortion, divorce, and sexual perversion. Turned out he was right.

Keep up the Chestertonizing Dale.

Catholicism Series Tonight!


First, set aside 10 minutes to watch the preview below, then watch the series tonight!

Fr. Robert Barron’s Catholicism series starts on EWTN tonight and continues tomorrow and Friday (See show times below)  It is on Saturday also if you miss any. These are only the first 5 episodes of a 10 episode series, so there will be more coming.

Some episodes have been playing on PBS nationwide, which I think shows the series has mass appeal at least. Let me tell you: This thing is polished! It is a high quality documentary that is visually stunning, intellectually stimulating in its history and theology, yet accessible to a general audience. As far as Orthodoxy, Fr. Barron is the guy we want being the tour guide to the Catholic faith! He is smart, personable, and can see deep into our culture to find what ails it. He is a believer which Catholics and non-Catholics alike can rally behind in the culture wars, while remaining Catholic to the core.

Stream it live on the web if (like me) you can’t watch it on TV. Starts at 8PM Central.

Here is a short preview (2 minute) of the series.

Below is when it will be playing this week: (From the EWTN schedule)


CATHOLICISM (overview)
Wed 11/16/11 8PM Central
Father Barron explores Catholic spirituality, which is centered on prayer. On pilgrimage to the places where the great saints and spiritual masters lived, he explores the different types of prayer: contemplation; adoration; petition; and intercession.

Wed 11/16/11 9PM Central
Sat 11/19/11 12PM and 9PM Central
The revelation of Jesus as God is accompanied by a stunning invitation to a unique new way of life, explained in His teachings. These teachings are illuminated during Fr. Barron’s pilgrimages to Poland, Germany, Spain and New York City.

Wed 11/16/11 10 PM
Sat 11/19/11 1PM and 10PM
Fr. Barron presents the reality of the Church as “one, holy, Catholic and apostolic, and explores the Catholic conviction that the life and presence of Christ continues to embrace humanity in all its joys and sorrows through the presence of the Church.

Thu 11/17/11 10 PM
Sat 11/19/11 3PM
Fr. Barron explores the ancient practices of the Church’s worship that endure to this very day, and shows how the Sacred Liturgy embodies the whole of the Faith in diverse places as Jerusalem, Rome, Chicago, Orvieto and Mexico City.

Fri 11/18/11 9PM
Sat 11/19/11 4PM
Fr. Barron looks at some of the Church’s greatest heroes - Katharine Drexel, Therese of Lisieux, Edith Stein and Mother Teresa of Calcutta - showing how their extraordinary examples display both the passion and creative potential of the Catholic Church.

Fri 11/18/11 10 PM
Sat 11/19/11 5PM
Fr. Barron presents the Catholic vision of death, judgment, heaven, hell and purgatory as he journeys to Florence, Ireland and Rome, exploring the Church’s conviction that life here and now is preparation for a supernatural destiny.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

There is mortal sin, and it leads to Hell

My friend wrote to me:

"Another example is of the prodigal son. Talk about a sinner! And yet, God (the father) did not require any pleading... the robe, the ring, the calf - that was just for coming home!"

Uh yeah, he CAME HOME. So he DID have to do something. If coming home with your tail between your legs like the prodigal did is not desperate pleading, I dont know what is. Yes, of course God met him from even a distance, before he even got there, but the attitude of the son was pleading humility.

"However, assurance doesn't end at "mortal" sin. Assurance ends at rejection of Christ. "

Mortal sin IS rejection of Christ! Mortal sin destroys the life of God in us.

"Christ isn't going to divorce you - just don't divorce him!"

Are you trying to lure me to hell? Christ says over and over that He will divorce us if we hate him. So yes, He WILL divorce us under certain circumstances. I still have confidence in His promises, but if I reject him, He will reject me. Dear Lord have you ever read the NT?

And, if he is guaranteed to not divorce me, and my future sins are all forgiven, why bother asking for forgiveness anymore then? Why pray the part in the Lords prayer "forgive us our sins as we..." ? Is that all just a game we play with God... we pretend to be asking for forgiveness, but really we know it is already forgiven? So even if we don't ask, all will be forgiven?


Are those sins actually forgiven when we pray the prayer, or when we go to the Church to have them forgiven as Jesus specifically intends? John 20:22-23:

And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
Which is it? It cant be both. Either we are already forgiven of all past present and future sins, or we are not. Which is it?

"I see how this works into the theology of the "last rights". The problem is I don't see this reflected in the Bible. There is no example of any holy person who is held in God's hand their entire life, only to sin at their death bed and be condemned to hell."

NO ONE is ever mentioned as being sent to hell in scripture dude. So no, I guess there is no biblical example. But if you can not think of dozens of stern warnings from Jesus and Paul TO BELIEVERS that they take care lest they fall away, then let me know and I will show you.

My favorite example is 1 Cor. 10.

Read the whole passage, it gives me chills.

Here is an excerpt (my emphasis):

We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

Why would Paul give this warning if it were not possible to fall? And like I said, the biblical evidence is STAGGERING that we can, in fact, contrary to your claim, fall away from Christ and be thrown root and branch into hell.

And if it is possible to fall because of sin, which is clear from scripture, then of course, as St. John says there is mortal sin. It is right there in 1 John dude!

From 1 John chapter 5 (my emphasis):

16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death. We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.

John is clearly saying that a brother can commit a sin that leads to death (that is what MORTAL means), and that there are two types of sins. Why is this not biblical? Methinks you are the one who is ignoring the bible. Not to mention the fact that the writers of the bible clearly point you to their oral teaching as well, and the Church, never once do they point you to Scripture as the only authority.
Not to mention the fact that Christ EXPLICITLY, EXPLICITLY, EXPLICITLY, gives the Church the power to forgive or retain sins. Something you will never see in a Protestant environment. For people who claim to listen to the Scripture, that's not very biblical if you ask me.

Monday, November 14, 2011

EENS Monday: St. Cyprian

St. Cyprian (~210-258AD) is a hero of the Catholic faith. He is universally respected by Catholic, Orthodox, and most Protestants alike as a great man, and a solid father of the Church. What  baffles me is what Protestants do with some of the things he says about the Pope. He seems to be quite clear about who has the primacy in the Church. He is quite clear: if you desert the chair of Peter, you are not in the Church. Read him for yourself:
"And he says to him again after the resurrection, 'Feed my sheep.' It is on him that he builds the Church, and to him that he entrusts the sheep to feed. And although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single Chair, thus establishing by his own authority the source and hallmark of the (Church's) oneness. No doubt the others were all that Peter was, but a primacy is given to Peter, and it is (thus) made clear that there is but one flock which is to be fed by all the apostles in common accord. If a man does not hold fast to this oneness of Peter, does he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he deserts the Chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, has he still confidence that he is in the Church? This unity firmly should we hold and maintain, especially we bishops, presiding in the Church, in order that we may approve the episcopate itself to be the one and undivided." Cyprian, The Unity of the Church, 4-5 (A.D. 251-256)

Excellent article for further reading on St. Cyprian:

And here are a bazillion other Church Fathers saying things about the papacy that make Protestants blush and change the subject: http://www.scripturecatholic.com/primacy_of_peter.html#tradition_II

Friday, November 11, 2011

Good news fellow breeders!

I stumbled upon this article in the Economist which uses straight line demographic extrapolations to predict the extinction of certain countries based on trends in fertility rates.

Primer on population demographics

 Fertility rate is births per woman over her lifetime. Replacement rate is the fertility rate at which a population does not grow or shrink. The math tells us that rate should be 2, but factoring in infant mortality rates, it varies from 2.1 in developed countries to up to 3.3 in developing countries. The average worldwide replacement rate is 2.33.

They miss the point

There are a few problems of course, with their results, the biggest of which is pushing numbers out into the distant future based on current trends. I mean, who knows what fertility rates will look like in 20 years let alone 200. And some of these predictions go 500 to 1000 years into the future. Who knows what they will even look like after the current worldwide economic crisis. But still, it is interesting to speculate.

But another thing I noticed was they are simply taking fertility rate which are less than replacement (or those which are predicted to be going less than replacement) for large populations and extrapolating them into the future until they reach Zero population. This won't work in most countries because there are always subsets of the population with a much higher than average fertility rate. Perhaps in a more homogeneous culture like Japan, with it's imploding 1.39 fertility rate this will work, but not in places like the US or Europe. This is because I can foresee there always being certain groups of people that will always have well above replacement level.

I will use my own family as an example: My mother was born in the forties, one of 4 children. That is twice the replacement rate. She in turn had four children. From her four children she currently has 24 grand kids (8+6+5+5=24). And one of her children (moi) may well have more. And she is just getting started on great-grand kids with a measly 5 so far. Anyway, my point is that my extended family has an average fertility rate of 6. That is triple the replacement level folks. So lets say the United States fertility level drops below it's current fertility rate of 2.06 (which is just at or slightly below replacement for us). Does that mean our population is going to hit zero eventually?
No way!
What it means is 2 things are going to happen: One, for a few decades the total population numbers will begin to decline right along with the fertility rate. Two, once the population declines enough, the fertility rate will begin to exponentially increase. Why? Because the population will begin to be exponentially composed of breeders whose rate is 4+.

What we need to do is not see fertility rate delineated by national boundaries. We need to see it based on ideology. The fact that I am an American says not that much about me. The fact that I am a conservative Christian says a lot more. Being a conservative Catholic Christian also means that my offspring are more likely to stay Catholic and be breeders with a high fertility rate like their parents.

Now where it starts to get weird is when you look at the other groups with high fertility rates. Islam is at the top of the list. What the picture of the world 75 years from now begins to look like as it comes into focus is a a big cross and a big scimitar.

See you in the future! I know my 500 great-great-grand kids will be enjoying it!

Sci Fi scenario

2085. 17 Billion people on the Earth. Western culture has imploded through evil philosophy, their cities are filled with second and third generation immigrants from the global south, with the minority whites in Europe and America aging and still exponentially shrinking. European Cathedrals have been sold and are now mosques filled with young Muslims, while in Uganda, Catholics and Pentecostals are building 10 churches a week to keep up with the exploding Christian population. Vatican City remains the lone sovereign nation in Europe that is not a secular Islamic state (like Turkey is in 2011). The 1.2 billion Catholics of 2011 have exploded and are now 5 billion strong, with 85% of them being in South America, Asia, and most of all... Africa. Along with them have grown the Pentecostals (which now number 3 million) in the same areas, who have overtaken the rest of Protestantism which mostly died out in obscurity mid century, although there are minority pockets tolerated in the 90% Catholic USA. Europe is Muslim. Sunni Islam now numbers 6 billion and is centered in the Islamic Republic of France which is the founding member of the Islamic European Union (IEU, formerly the EU), Which has been at war with China and the Americas for the last 10 years. Atheism and non-religion is unheard of, having killed itself through lack of replication and genetic tampering. Most nations instituted laws against "irreligion" after the DNA War of 2047, in which 280 million people in industrialized western countries were killed by their own bio-mechanical cyborgs by either interbreeding with them or direct warfare.

Monday, November 7, 2011

EENS Monday: Lactantius (c.250 – c.325)

Outside the Church there is no salvation.

Lactantius (c.250 – c.325) says:

"...But some, enticed by the prediction of false prophets, concerning whom both the true prophets and he himself had foretold, fell away from the knowledge of God, and left the true tradition. But all of these, ensnared by frauds of demons, which they ought to have foreseen and guarded against, by their carelessness lost the name and worship of God. For when they are called Phrygians, or Novatians, or Valentinians, or Marcionites, or Anthropians, or Arians, or by any other name, they have ceased to be Christians, who have lost the name of Christ, and assumed human and external names. Therefore it is the Catholic Church alone which retains true worship.

This is the fountain of truth, this is the abode of the faith, this is the temple of God; into which if any one shall not enter, or from which if any shall go out, he is estranged from the hope of life and eternal salvation. No one ought to flatter himself with persevering strife. For the contest is respecting life and salvation, which, unless it is carefully and diligently kept in view, will be lost and extinguished. But, however, because all the separate assemblies of heretics call themselves Christians in preference to others, and think that theirs is the Catholic Church, it must be known that the true Catholic Church is that in which there is confession and repentance, which treats in a wholesome manner the sins and wounds to which the weakness of the flesh is liable."

Lactantius, (c.250 – c.325)

Friday, November 4, 2011

MBTI Personality Type Tests and Quiz

For a few months now I have been examining the four letter personality sorter called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). My INTJ friend from work got me into it. At first it is quite interesting, and even a little creepy how accurate it is. Then came the phase where it actually started to change my life in small ways. I don't want to get too sentimental (although I am an INFP, and we do sentimental better than anyone ;-) but understanding the 16 different types and how they see the world and relate to it and each other was simply mind blowing to me.

Here is a brief primer on the MBTI:

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI) is a self-report questionnaire designed to make Jung's theory of psychological types understandable and useful in everyday life. MBTI results describe valuable difference between normal, healthy people-difference that can be the source of much misunderstanding and miscommunication. The MBTI will help you identify your strengths and unique gifts. You can use the information to better understand yourself, your motivations, your strengths, and potential areas for growth. It will also help you to better understand and appreciate those who differ from you. Understanding MBTI type is self-affirming and enhances cooperation and productivity, plus it can be fun !!!
How we:

Get and use energy: Extraversion / Introversion (E/I - scale)
Gather & take in information: Sensing / iNtuition (S/N - scale)
Make decisions: Thinking / Feeling (T/F - scale)
Organize our lives: Judging / Perceiving (J/P - scale)

From Wikipedia:
The 16 types are typically referred to by an abbreviation of four letters—the initial letters of each of their four type preferences (except in the case of intuition, which uses the abbreviation N to distinguish it from Introversion). For instance:

ISTJ: introversion (I), sensing (S), thinking (T), judgment (J)
ENFP: extraversion (E), intuition (N), feeling (F), perception (P)

And so on for all 16 possible type combinations.

At first, when I took the test and my result came up as INFP, and when I read the description, I was a bit doubtful. Sometimes the descriptions can sound a bit like horoscopes, it is true. BUT, when all the horoscopey stuff is filtered, and you get down to what really distinguishes the type from the others, you will blush, laugh, and shake your head. When I read the following about my type, I blushed, my wife laughed, and I knew this system of determining personality types was spot on accurate. My emphasis:
INFPs are flexible and laid-back, until one of their values is violated. In the face of their value system being threatened, INFPs can become aggressive defenders, fighting passionately for their cause. When an INFP has adopted a project or job which they're interested in, it usually becomes a "cause" for them. Although they are not detail-oriented individuals, they will cover every possible detail with determination and vigor when working for their "cause".

The difference between sensing and intuition (S and N respectively) is enough to make anyone laugh. If you are and S, a "sensor", you will say to yourself "so that's why there have been these weird people in the shadows around me all these years." If you are an N, an Intuitive, you will say to yourself (with 25% of the population that are also Intuitives) "Thank God I am not insane! There are people like me out there!"

Before I say to much and possibly skew your results, take the test for yourself! Then you can examine the different types objectively.

Below, I will give free places on line to take the test. I recommend taking it from a couple sources if the percentages of your score are low. What I mean is this: When I score I-N-F-P, each letter receives a % of its intensity. For me, they are always above 60%, and on most of the tests they are in  the 80% range. So whenever I take the test the result is always a very solid INFP. If you score a low % on a letter or two, That is not bad, it just means you should take a few different tests and average them out to find to most accurate result.

Take the MBTI personality test!

I have sorted through lots of options for you. All the tests listed here are good, and free, but I will give you my preferred order.

  1. Very short (1 min.) 24 word identification test from similarminds.com. This test is great because it is short and easy. Not much racking your brain or soul searching to find the answer, and it is super quick and accurate. Choose from a four point scale between two words such as “Tangible **** Conceptual”. Having taken all the MBTI tests on the site, I found the percentage results of this one to be surprisingly similar to the longer tests on the same website. Perhaps take this test first, then take a longer one later to compare the results.
  2.  Normal length (6-12 min) yes or no test from humanmetrics.com. A statement such as “You are strongly touched by the stories about people's troubles.” With a YES or NO option. This test gives me slightly different percentages than the humanmetrics.com tests referenced above. The F and P in my type (INFP) are in the ~60% range instead of the low 80% range on similarminds.com. Overall I like this test the best because it forces a binary choice and is long enough to get a lot of questions in.
  3. Short (3-5 min.) scaled word test from similarminds.com. A single word such as “Talkative” is given and you then choose from a 5 point scale from “very inaccurate” to “very accurate” with the middle point being “50% accurate”.
  4. Normal length (5-10 min.) ~50 question test from similarminds.com. A statement such as “I am far more casual than orderly” is given and you then choose from a 5 point scale from “very inaccurate” to “very accurate” with the middle point being “50% accurate”.
  5. Rate 40 questions 1-20, a & b) from 1 to 5, with a and b not totaling more than 5. From The Ancona Family.Havent taken this one yet. Looks a bit "NT" for my taste though. But the site is a good resource other than Keirsey.com. Also this site has great statistics (My charts use the data from this site).

Good links for further study:


Keirsey.com has lots of articles specific to each type. It can be a bit too horoscope-ey at times, and is obviously made more for a business environment, but the info is interesting. I like how they group the types into 4 named subgroups also... SJ, SP, NF, NT.

The Ancona Family.
I am liking this site a lot. Great info, and a bit less horoscope-ey.

Once you get your type and read the description and have a laugh, and read a few articles on Keirsey about love life or family relations, you should look up some info on youtube about your type or someone you knows type. Here is a video of motivational posters of my type. My wife and I were rolling on the floor laughing at these videos. (She is an ISTJ, so we have lots of differences to enjoy!... vive la difference!)

Just google your four letter type and you will have a blast.

Stay tuned for another post with some nice graphics and charts with some very interesting stats on the types.

Nearly HALF of the population are SJ's! That's right, of the 16 possible types, only FOUR of the types make up half of the population! This means you are probably ARE an SJ, and if you are not, you are surrounded by them. When you are done with the test, don't forget to take this poll!


What do you see?

So I am scrolling through my blog feed this morning and notice this picture from Father Z's blog.

My initial reaction:
 "Why on earth does Fr. Z have a picture of a woman in a bikini on his blog? That doesnt seem like his style... uh oh wait... ha ha, wow I need another cup of coffee."

My fortune cookie should read "get your mind out of the gutter you idiot!"

Or better yet:

"if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee having one eye to enter into life, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire."

Some aspects of being a man can be tedious.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


In a post aptly titled Paganianity on the awsome blog Bad Vestments, there is a sad photo. From the website of "Herchurch" comes this:

The Christian-Lutheran Feminist/Womanist/Mujerista Movements exist to celebrate the feminine persona of God/dess and dimensions of the sacred as expressed in faith, worship, learning, mutual care, and acts of justice.

Yeah, makes me want to vomit as well. Oh and the thing she is holding is called a "Goddess Rosary". Yuck.

Let's take a moment today, All Souls Day, when we visit a cemetery to pray for those who have died and are currently caught up in this and other forms of twisted modern idolatry. The world is hurting and yearning for Christ, and unfortunatley they try to find Him in some pretty weird ways.

Monday, October 31, 2011

It's O.K. to like zombie movies!

Another blogger beat me to the punch on this one. This past weekend I watched some more of The Walking Dead and thought I might pontificate on my blog about zombie movies. I have been fascinated at myself for a few years that I like them so much, and wondered why. I hoped the answer was not “because you are a psycho, Dave” and as it turns out, I very likely am not a psycho! Hooray! It turns out that many normal people like horror and zombie movies and find them stimulating on a deeper or even spiritual level. The blogs author even identifies The Walking Dead as Southern Gothic horror in the vein of Flannery O'Connor. That makes me feel super smart for liking zombie movies! So go ahead and watch Shawn of the dead, The Walking Dead or Zombieland guilt free.

Here is my take: Like all good sci-fi, horror movies have the ability to distill the meaning of life into precious small spaces. What do you take from your giant house when you flee it from attacking zombies? Family pictures and guns to protect your loved ones, of course. What do you do when a little girl is alone in the woods with zombies? Risk everything to find her, of course. What these human instinctual responses in the viewer tell us is that we are human, and being human is more than eating and breathing. Being human is about what you love, and what you were created to do. And unfortunately, many people seem to think they were created to pursue personal peace and affluence instead of walk toward their creator. Zombie movies make these choices clear. The Walking Dead even makes a point of having a scientist show a film of the brain activity of someone dying and coming back as a zombie. We see that only the "instinct" part of the brain stem is active. There is never any doubt by anyone in the show that these people are not human. They are dispatched with bloody abandon and indifference by the dozens. There is more pity taken on animals in the show than the zombies.

The message is loud and clear.

So loud in fact that my guess is that many fans of the show never notice it because it is plain obvious to them, although in their daily lives they might easily deny it. The message is that human beings are a special creation of a loving creator, and that we are made in His image and likeness. We are not the sum of our parts, or merely a central nervous system to be pleasured. One human life is worth every single zombie life even though they are made of the exact same physical material. So lets think about it:  if they are made of the same material and one can be slaughtered with less care than a pig, while the other is a precious life worth risking everything to save... what is the difference other than an eternal soul? And what does modern man scream to fulfill in all his depraved abuses of himself more than his soul? In this way, zombie movies are some of the most "christian" themed movies around. What other movie will the viewer always find himself making the correct choice with the characters-- to do the human thing. If only we all could pretend we lived in a zombie Apocalypse in our day to day lives, perhaps we would live the gospel each day.

Here is an excerpt of  Red Cardigan's excellent thinking on this topic:

“It's almost as though in order for us even to begin to touch base with the reality of life for so many, with such a universal human experience of the uncertainty of existence and the constant presence of things like fear and pain, we have to wipe away all the material clutter we've accumulated; we have to envision a world so destroyed that our pretenses at safety and stability no longer mean anything; we have to recognize our glorified caves and technological voodoo for what it all really is, and what it's all really worth, against the brevity and coldness and harshness of life at its most basic level. In such a fictional setting, we can see and value the mere works of human hands for what they are—“

Here was my response in the comments:

“Bizarre. I just watched the episode you describe this past weekend, and was struck by it as well. I did laugh out loud at the crucifix in the Baptist church though.
I believe we like zombie movies because they show us what we know to be true: humans are more than animals. Our culture around us knows this too, though they continually try to deny it by degrading human life through abortion, porn, etc. But in the end, they love zombies, because when they look at a zombie, they get a reassurance that to be human is to be more than a walking meat bag. Strangely, watching zombie movies can bring them/us closer to God.”

Monday, October 24, 2011

Subsidiarity and Distributism

A friend writes:

I'd like to get your opinion on the idea of a "one world government"? Evangelical people always associate it with evil / end time / anti-christ. What is your opinion (or what does the RCC teach) about it?

I don't think of things in terms of government "types". And I think in general the Catholic Church operates that way too. The "types" of governments we often compare with one another just seem to be different types of pickpocketing, or different types of cages to organize wage slaves (that is you and me). Choosing between anarchy, democracy, republic, or monarchy, is like choosing between brown eggs or white: Who cares what the shell looks like, what is inside? Is it rotten or yummy.

That yumminess increases the more a government lets families take more and more power. For example: familial ownership (not corporations) of the means of production. And decreases when the government tries to be the family by doing work given to families ( example: declaring sodomite marriage to be just fine).

If we ignore the types and focus on principle, the main, basic principle that will lead to a good government (whatever the "type") is the Catholic principle of Subsidiarity. As far as a "one world" government, of course the world has been-there-done-that in the Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire, so we don't have to wonder about it, history can tell us about it. And history tells us it is a neutral thing. It aint good or bad to have a one world government. Jesus lived under a one world government and didn't seem too upset about it. Personally what form my government takes makes me want to yawn. As long as my family has freedom to be Catholic and freedom from the "tyranny of relativism" (as BXVI puts it), I don't much care what they do... as long as they leave my family the hell alone when we try to practice our religion. And if they dont, then I will practice it anyway, and when Obama's goons come for my family, and my case of 1000 armor peircing 7.62mm rounds are spent, they can come nail us to crosses. A one world government did that to Jesus, and very small governments can do it too. And that is why the ideal government will always be the same size... the size of a family. The King just builds the road out in front of the family's house, but the family uses it. The FAMILY is the kingdom, NOT the King. So to define that government as a "monarchy" is not useful, because it says nothing about what the family does in the monarchy. See what I mean?

The Catholic magisterium sees the family as the top form of government in any society, with all other levels being of far less importance, or subsidiary to the family. Understanding this will help one to understand why Catholics get so upset about changes to the way a society views marriage. When society redefines marriage, they are striking the root of the tree... the family. The ussurpation of the identity and rights of the family is truly a revolution of greater significance than the French or American ones. JP2 and many others condemned communism and fascism, because they tend to take the rights of families away.

Here is the CCC on the principle of subsidiarity:

"1883 Socialization also presents dangers. Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative. The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which "a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co- ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good."

Subsidiarity is not followed very well by most governments, including the US of course. Socialist, banana republic weasels like Obama would not like it at all, and would hate Distributism even more.

The way the principle of subsidiarity "fleshes out" best is Distributism. Distributism was envisioned by G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Beloc, who are my favorite 20th century thinkers. Almost everyone dislikes Distributism, so it is still left untried and unheard of. Capitalists hate it, commies hate it. I love it.

Hehe, Evangelicals and the end times, I have been there done that too. What if we had a one-world government and it was a GREAT government? What if it wasn't a tyranny but was all smiles and roses? I suppose they would be expecting the antichrist even more. As for me, I already live under a one world government... Christendom. Christ is the King of Kings, and I don't think that is figurative. Any government that does not submit to that fact is just organized thuggery who are given power by the true King to make martyrs. They are mere pawns.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Man's "Attempt" at Playing Church

Bob said:
"Let me see if I can explain what I mean about the church better. The church is 1 thing - the body of Christ (with Christ as its head). The church attempts to assemble itself here on earth... in multiple "churches". The final assembly of the church won't happen until death / Christ's return."

So the Church is "1 thing" yet is "multiple". Uh yeah, I think I see what you are trying to say. You failed to explain anything though. Again, what you describe is not a visible Church, which Scripture and Tradition say is something the Church MUST be! You just blithely waltz past those considerations however, and insist the Church is invisible, contrary to the Scripture you pretend to follow. Your conception of the Church is a product of the 16th century. Found nowhere in scripture or Tradition, and in fact the opposite is found in scripture. Yes, Christ is the head, and the Church is one, but I cant believe what you said next... "The church attempts to assemble itself here on earth." Huh? The Holy Spirit assembles the Church. And it assembles it so that it is one Church. God is not the author of disorder. The Church does not "attempt" anything, nor can it do ANYTHING without the animating life of the Holy Spirit, who is the "soul" of the Church. And just as two bodies cannot have one soul, there cannot be such a thing as "churches" which disagree with each other. Unless the Holy Spirit is the author of error.

"The final assembly of the church won't happen until death / Christ's return."

Where do you get that from? You are just making stuff up as you go man. You certainly didn't get that from scripture. In the scripture (which supposedly is your rule) the Church is described as being ONE and VISIBLE, binding and loosing, forgiving sins. Yeah, of course at the end of time after the resurrection, the Church will all be physically together, but that is not the point. The point is RIGHT NOW the Church (according to Scripture) needs to be ONE and VISIBLE. Again something you blithely are ignoring.

"If you find that belief insulting, I'm sorry. However, it is equally insulting to insist your "Pontiff" is the head of the church I am apart of."

What is insulting is not your conclusion, which many people come to, but your lack of good reasons for coming to it. And if you are insulted by having a pope, you are insulted by Christ then. He is the one who gave Peter the keys, and the power to bind and loose in heaven and on earth. Jesus said to his apostles "he who hears you hears me".

"I have no use for them or the office they claim to hold."

Yeah I gathered that. But just a correction, there is no mere "claim", there is a historic fact. The current Bishop of Rome is descended in ordinations from St. Peter. That is rarely disputed by anyone except the most mental fundies. If you look at the book I lent you by Fortiscue, (which was written to Anglicans btw) you will see a very basic sketch of the evidence up till Chalcedon of the Papal role in the Church and the uncontroversial nature of the succession. That is IF you read it, which at this point I think is just beyond you. Your level of argument with me has never exceeded the level of the most surface level internet "shock" apologetics. Case in point was when you thought you had really struck gold finding out that the Catholic 10 commandments are different and claiming they changed them so they could commit idolatry. I pointed out that Luther numbered them the same way, and I get silence from you. You obviously want to just pick up whatever sloppy argument from the internet you can to prove what you want to be true: Rome is the Antichrist. Or need I bring up the example of the "low hanging fruit" you attempted to pick from the Catholic tree of errors. What was the lowest fruit you could find? The perpetual virginity of Mary! Again, something Luther and Calvin believed, as with many modern Protestants and Catholic such as Augustine. It is low hanging fruit for the already convinced, but not for anyone interested in reality.

Even James White and his crew at AOM at least make an attempt to reference the early Church, you seem to have no desire to do so. And unlike the clipped haired Lesbian Bishops of your future ecclesial community, Catholic Bishops are in communion with Rome, something the early Church considered necessary to be called the Church. But of course to you, all those men were idolatrous (bowing to images), necromancing (praying to the dead), anti-Christ (submitting to the pope) and legalistic (rejected sola fide). Yep, they all got it wrong but the Reformation and Bob got it right.

What I find most revealing at this point is that less than two months ago you had basically decided on Catholicism and were agreeing that it's claim to being the true Church was valid and saying thing like:

"I think the evidence points more towards God punishing the RC church with protestantism for failing to root out evil. At the same time, the protestants are wrong for schisming."

I couldn't agree more.

One month ago you said:

"My guess is we'll end up at the church of the sacred heart in Robinsdale."

Then a week later you were calling Rome the anti-christ! To me this says it all dude. You are being led by emotions or something to be that up and down in so short a time. And when I read your current critiques of Catholicism, which have included all the most trite red herrings and straw men available,  I can't help but conclude you are not really looking into serious arguments on either side. You seemed very easily swayed towards Catholicism 2 months ago. I assumed you had been really looking into things. I am convinced that you have not however. Now that you are on the other bandwagon of hating the evil Romanists, you are still operating on the same emotional level. Homosexual Priests? Yes, remember you seriously gave that as an argument against Catholicism! The "changing the 10 commandments" straw man? You still have not conceded that you were duped (probably by some goofy website) on that one. Like I keep saying, go ahead and reject the Catholic Church, it's been done many times by better men than me and you. But either admit you just don't care to do the research to make an informed choice (which imo is quite obviously the case) OR be fair and do the research enough to find some real, solid Protestant objections. They are out there, I have heard them, but so far you have failed to find them or articulate them. If you truly think the "naughty popes" or "worshipping statues" arguments are good, solid arguments, then it is game over for the truth. You will be tossed about by whichever window-dressing argument you find.

THAT is what I find sad... not that you would reject Catholicism, but the poor reasons you are doing so.