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Today is The 5th Saturday of Lent
The Liturgical Color of the day is Violet

Jesus reaching out
Friday, March 12th

Remember, abortions aren't murder.

This news story blows my mind. I can't decide if I'm happy that this is happening or whether it disgusts me about how hypocritical our society is.

Here this lady neglects her children during pregnancy and one of the twins ends up dying. They charge her with murder for neglecting that child's needs. Yet she could have the week before walked into an abortion clinic and and a partial birth abortion done, no harm, no foul. That's just rediculous.

On the other hand, maybe this can be a case that'll help reverse the late term abortion rules. Either way, I'm still flabbergasted!

kencraw on 03.12.04 @ 03:52 PM PST [link]

Quote of the Day

Anna: “Don’t talk to me about your mother or your brother or your synagogue, just you. What do you need to work it out?”
Jake “Those things are me. Do you understand that?”

-Rabbi Jake (played by Ben Stiller) defending his faith to his 'secret' girlfriend Anna.

kencraw on 03.12.04 @ 03:47 PM PST [link]

Thursday, March 11th

Gay marriages blocked in SF by State Supreme Court

Here's the Sacramento Bee article on the subject. Here are the pertinent details:

-They didn't actually rule on the case, just halted any new marriages until they rule on the case.
-They didn't void the marriages already issued.
-They plan to hear the case in the May-June timeframe.
-The city of SF has abided by the ruling and stopped issuing marriage licenses.

kencraw on 03.11.04 @ 05:18 PM PST [link]

Results of Papal survey on world religious state

This Zenit article talks about a survey done by The Vatican regarding the state of "unbelief" around the world. It points out that strongly athiest feelings are losing ground to religious indifference.

As a former stanch athiest, I think this is a VERY bad trend. Many would be tempted to think that this is a good thing as it seems people are less concerned with destroying religion and are moving closer (albeit a small amount) towards religion. I heartily disagree.

I've always had a passion for religion. Even as an athiest, I took my athieism very seriously. I was always searching for truth. In the end, I came to the Catholic Church because of that insistence on finding truth. I have much more respect for someone who is a faithful athiest than an agnostic or humanist. At least they have the curage and determination to come to an answer. At least their willing to talk about God. In the end a honest athiest cares just as much about truth as I do as a Catholic, they just haven't come to know God yet.

However, what this survey says is that people no longer care about truth. That they can't be bothered to think about it. They don't even see it as something important to consider. In my opinion, that is the most disheartening state humanity can be in because it suggests that if they can't even care about the "possible" existence of God, how could the possibly care about anything else including their fellow human beings.

kencraw on 03.11.04 @ 04:13 PM PST [link]

Quote of the Day

Father Brian: “I’ll tell you something. If she had kissed me back, I don’t think I’d be sitting here right now. I would have given it all up. I mean she didn’t, but I don’t know, I just keep thinking about what you said in the seminary about how the life of a priest is hard and if you can see yourself being happy doing anything else, then you should do that.“

Father Havel: “Well that was my equipment pitch, which is not bad when you’re starting out because it makes you feel like a marine. The truth is, you can never tell yourself that there is only one thing you could be. If you’re a priest or if you marry a woman, it’s the same challenge. You can not make a real commitment unless you accept that it’s a choice, that keep making again and again and again. I’ve been a priest over forty years and I’ve fallen in love at least once every decade.”

Father Brian: “You’re not going to tell me what to do here are you?”

Father Havel: “No, God will give you your answer.”

-Father Brian (played by Edward Norton) talking with his mentor priest in the movie 'Keeping the Faith'

kencraw on 03.11.04 @ 03:59 PM PST [link]

Wednesday, March 10th

Another important area of focus

Along with business ethics, another area that could use the guidance of Christ is the media. It's good to see the Pope in this article believes that it is an area we need to focus on.

Sometimes I think we forget that just because something is used for evil, doesn't mean it is inherently evil. The Internet is a great example. What's the largest profit center on the Internet and what is more bandwidth used on: porn. Great crazy ! But as those of us who use it to communicate with our brothers and sisters in Christ both present and future know, there is much good to be done on the Internet. The same is of course true of other media.

kencraw on 03.10.04 @ 10:17 AM PST [link]

Details, details...

One of the criticism of the Catholic Church is our "overly burdensome" rules. Mostly I disagree with that criticism and believe that the mindset of The Church is one of Holiness through submission to Christ. Or said another way, that by being helped to be conscious of so many aspects of the call to Holiness, we grow in our faith.

But as this question and answer article shows, one can definitely go overboard. My head is still spinning!

kencraw on 03.10.04 @ 10:09 AM PST [link]

Quote of the Day

"It is very important to understand the difference between religion and faith because faith is not about having the right answers. Faith is a feeling. Faith is a hunch, really, it is a hunch, that there is something bigger connecting it all, connecting us all together. And that feeling, that hunch, is God. And coming here tonight on your Sunday evening, to connect with that feeling, that is an act of faith. So all I have to do is look around the room at this packed church to know that we’re doing pretty well as a community."

-Father Brian (played by Edward Norton) in the movie 'Keeping the Faith'

kencraw on 03.10.04 @ 10:03 AM PST [link]

Tuesday, March 9th

DC sniper sentenced to death

May God have mercy on us! Yet another case where we let our hatred out weigh our "turning the other cheek". The DC sniper, John Allen Muhammad, has been sentenced to death. He's clearly a man in need of God's redemption. How do we help him find that if we've killed him before God has had a chance? Here's an article on the subject.

I've had a thought a number of times, that I don't think should be wrote down as dogma quite yet, but is at least worth considering: What if God grants forgiveness and eternal life to those lives were cut shorter than He intended by the state? Maybe in God's mind, if the person wasn't given the full chance he was supposed to be given to find Him, he automatically inherits the kingdom.

I'm not sure what I think about that thought, but it sure makes me pause and think some more. Thoughts?

kencraw on 03.09.04 @ 01:04 PM PST [link]

Call doctor... having... heart... *cough*

I feel out of my chair when I saw this. The routinely liberal New York Times which feels the need to daily print an article about the glories of homosexuality actually printed an article about the other side of gay marriage. Here's a link to the article.

Well I say bravo to them in this instance. Every side of an issue deserves a chance to promote itself.

kencraw on 03.09.04 @ 12:56 PM PST [link]

While we're on the subject of the Scouts

Have you all heard about the rumble down in Waco, TX about Planned Parenthood and the Girl Scouts? Well, of course it has been making the headlines. Here's an article on the subject and other's related to the Girl Scouts.

First, I was glad to see the Girl Scouts responding to the criticism and boycotting with the right decision: to leave the Girl Scouts as an organization about raising little girls and not about abortion/sex education. There is no need for the Girl Scouts to get involved with that. It is something that should be handled in other areas of life.

But what cracks me up, is that once a controversy gets brewing, the news media feels the need to find all the other tiny things out there to try make the story into something bigger.

STOP THE PRESS!!! GIRL SCOUT COOKIES HAVE FAT... YES YOU HEARD ME... * F * A * T *!!!! IN THEM!?! and the bad type too!

Like this is some big surprise. Every stinking cookie has fat just like the fat in Girl Scout cookies. If you don't want to eat them, don't eat them. Don't try to make it into a controversy.

kencraw on 03.09.04 @ 12:51 PM PST [link]

Boy Scouts appeal rejected

The Boy Scouts have been making a case up the appeals ladder regarding their position with gay leaders. The supreme court ruled a number of years back that it was legal for the Boy Scouts to have a policy forbidding gay troup leaders or gay employees. In this I think the court made the right decision.

As a result, the Boy Scouts have gotten significant backlash from state and local agencies. It used to be that the Boy Scouts got lots of favors from local governments and schools. They'd get cheap rent on buildings, plenty of grants and donations, and a general endorsement as well. That has all changed with the Boy Scouts refusal to bend to popular pressure on the issue of gay leaders.

So the Boy Scouts brought a case to the Supreme Court saying that they were being discriminated against. The particulars of the case was that they were removed from a Conniticut state employee charitable donation payroll deduction plan.

The Supreme Court refused to hear the case. Here is an article on the subject.

This is one of the rare cases where I agree with the Supreme Court twice in a row on the same issue. The state has the right to encourage certain behaviors. Grants, cheap rent, charitable donation drives, these are all things where the state is trying to encourage a certain behavior set from the citizens of the state. While I may disagree with what they are encouraging, it is not a legal matter but a legislative matter that hopefully we can influence by the way we vote.

Now, if on the other hand, the state was refusing to rent to the boy scouts facilities that they were renting to other non-government groups or were asking a higher price than the "normal" price, that would be discrimination and should be handled by the court.

Any organization, from the KKK to the Boy Scouts to the Red Cross deserve the right to rent public facilities at a standard rate. Not every organization, definitely not the KKK, deserve special treatment such as grants and reduced rent from the government. It is up to the state to decide which groups are worthy of that special treatment.

kencraw on 03.09.04 @ 12:39 PM PST [link]

Quote of the Day

Rabbi Lewis: “Tradition is not old habit. It’s comforting to people.”
Rabbi Jake: “OK, but I’m not interested in babysitting Mrs. Katz, I want to push people to grow and expand or otherwise what are we doing?"
Rabbi Lewis: “I know, I know, I know, but you have to be patient with them. I think you’ll find people will go a lot further if they feel they are being led and not pushed.”

-Rabbi Lewis counciling Rabbi Jake (played by Ben Stiller) in the movie 'Keeping the Faith'

kencraw on 03.09.04 @ 12:23 PM PST [link]

Monday, March 8th

A good opinion article on "The Passion"

Here is an article written by Rabbi Michael Lerner on "The Passion". He is clearly a man of good conscience and love who decided to speak his mind on what he felt are the implications of the movie.

I have to disagree with his conclusions however. He is right, of course, that the crucifixion of Christ has been horribly mis-used by people for destructive purposes throughout the Western world, both inside and outside the Catholic/Orthodox/Protestant Christian Churches and the Jewish people have suffered greatly because of this. He is also right that there has been great progress in the last half century in this regard. He is also right that when the gospels were written there was great conflict between the newly forming Catholic Church and the Jewish people.

But he made a couple assumptions that led him to his conclusions that I believe are inaccurate:

1. That the crucifixion of Christ is an inherently a story of cruelty and pain.
2. The early Christian/Jewish conflict brings into question the accuracy of the Gospel accounts.

One of the points Rabbi Lerner made in his article is that in the years following Christ's death and resurrection it was unclear whether those who were followers of Christ would remain within the Jewish faith or would become a seperate church. As such, they didn't think of "the Jews" as a seperate people from themselves. With this I also agree. But the implications of this are different than he implied. Not one of the synoptic Gospels *(see note below) use the word "Jew" to refer to "the crowd" or those who handed over Christ to the Romans. It would be like an American who is against the war in Iraq saying "The Americans forced us into this war." No, they would say something like "The republicans forced us into this war." The message wasn't that the Jewish people as a whole were to blame for Christ's crucifixion but that it was those people (amongst there own people, the Jews) who were filled with hatred and fear, that were responsible. To repeat: it wasn't about the Jews as a whole, because for the most part the Gospel writers saw themselves as part of that people. It was about those Jews who were filled with hate and fear.

See, the story of the crucifixion of Christ is at it's core about love. It is a story about how cruelty, hatred and fear only cause the destruction of what is Holy. It is about turning the other cheek and loving those who hate you. It is calling for us all to act lovingly and charitably. It is telling us that when we do not, although we feel like we are stomping out evil, in reality we are catering to it. It is about Christ being the perfect example of this love for others by giving up his life for all of us, even for those who hated him enough to have him crucified.

Because this is the true message of the crucifixion, I think we can fully focus on it without resorting to cruelty and hate. In fact, the crucifixion should be the rallying cry against cruelty and hate. It is the moment when Christ proved that you can turn the other cheek and be victorious. Even in a what seems like a defeat the Gospel of love can be spread.

So I agree with Rabbi Lerner that we need to emphasize love in our Church. We need to remember that all people are our brothers and sisters and we are to love them as our own. But we need to do these things not by denouncing or minimizing the importance of The Passion of Jesus Christ, but by emphasizing it and the true message it has for us. We need more Priests, Pastors, Deacons, Bishops and Lay people to stand up and proclaim the true message of the Christ's death so that the whole world can hear what the true message is: that the crucifixion is about love. If we all proclaim this loudly while embracing "The Passion" those who would be tempted to follow the devil and use the story for hatred and evil will have the voice of The Church calling them back to the true message. By spreading the true message of the crucifixion, I think we will do much to help along God's plan for us. We must embrace our crosses, not pretend they do not exist.

Lastly, I think we need to follow the example of our Pope, John Paul II, who has asked for forgiveness from the Jewish people for all The Church has done throughout history that has wronged them. May our prayers and petitions for forgiveness bring us to a closer unity with our Jewish brothers and sisters.

*Note from earlier paragraph: The synoptic Gospels are Matthew, Mark and Luke. John's Gospel was written a couple of decades later when the seperation between the Christians and the Jews was more clear and he does use the word "Jew" a number of times to refer to the crowd and those who handed over Christ to the Romans. However, John's Gospel is also the Gospel which most heavily (in my opinion) focuses on Christ's love for all of mankind.

kencraw on 03.08.04 @ 01:19 PM PST [link]

More on business ethics

Here is follow up article from zenit in regards to the Pope and business ethics. Is the company you work for being run this way? Mine isn't. sad

kencraw on 03.08.04 @ 10:38 AM PST [link]

Quote of the Day

"Christ, may you turn this bread into your body, so that we may have your body within us and be your body for the world."

"Christ, may you turn this wine into your blood, so that it may be your blood running through our veins and we may be more like you."

-The prayers I say during the Consecration of Eucharist at Mass

kencraw on 03.08.04 @ 10:10 AM PST [link]

Sunday, March 7th

Thoughts on today's Gospel reading

The transfiguration is such a remarkable thing and it really needs meditating on. In fact, I think we all too infrequently spend time in prayer thinking about it. But meditation isn't easily done over the web, so I want to focus today on another aspect of this wonderful event: good old Peter.

If you cut out the few passages in scripture where Christ explicitely calls out Peter as first amongst the Apostles, I think we'd all have a much lower opinion of him. Peter is not the best example amongst the Apostles. He denies Christ three times. He sinks while trying to walk across water because of his lack of faith. And today he just says something stupid. I mean come on, you wake up to see you good friend Christ showing his Divinity and talking with the greatest Prophets of the Jews, who are also dead, and the best thing you can think to say is, 'let's have a campfire!'?

So why is it that Christ picked this bonehead to lead our Church? I mean, wouldn't John have been a better choice?

I don't think so. Peter is a better representation of who we are as a Church. We're not perfect and never have been. We say stupid things at times. We don't have the faith we should have at times. We deny Christ all to frequently. But what makes us the Catholic Church is our continual renewal, our continuing to stand up and try again.

Christ forgave Peter three times for denying Him three times. He forgives His Church, founded upon Peter, in a similar manner.

kencraw on 03.07.04 @ 08:05 AM PST [link]

Quote of the Day

"Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus,
"Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." But he did not know what he was saying."

-Luke 9:32-33 from today's Gospel reading

kencraw on 03.07.04 @ 07:48 AM PST [link]


Other blogs I read:
Jimmy Akin
Crowhill's blog
Amy Welborn's 'open book' blog
Secondhand Smoke-Wesley Smith
Envoy Encore
Dale Price's blog
Mark Shea (On sabatical)

The Church I participate in:
Official Vatican Site
US Conference of Bishops
Sacramento Diocese
SS Peter and Paul Parish

Good Catholic Websites:
NewAdvent-Encyclopedia, Bible, Etc.
Zenit Catholic News
EWTN: Catholic TV and radio
Mass times for US travelers

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