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

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Friday, April 29th

The Play

If you're a college football fan in California, particularly northern California, when someone says the two words "The Play" you know exactly what they're talking about: the final play of the 1982 Big Game between Cal and Stanford (the only rivalry game to deserve the title).

The reason I bring it up now in what is just about the furthest day from college football, four months from bowl games, four months until the season starts, is that I have it on video and every time I need a pick me up, I play it on my computer. This is particularly valuable at work whenever some idiot comes up with some idiotic policy.

So let me set the scene and then you can download it and watch it:

The year is 1982. It is John Elway's final season at Stanford. (Yes, the John Elway of Denver Bronco fame.) Back then, not every team from a major conference with a winning record got to go to a bowl game. A lot of it came down to who each of the much smaller list of bowls liked. Coming into the game Cal was 6-4 and Stanford was 5-5 but Stanford was considered to be the better team. At the time some had called Cal the worst 6-4 team ever. Stanford on the other hand was likely to be given a Hall of Fame bowl invitation if they could just win the game to be bowl eligible (which requires a winning record). With just over a minute on the clock, Stanford got the ball back on the 20 yard line down 17-19 after having lost a 7 point lead earlier in the 4th quarter. After a screen pass for a seven yard loss and two incomplete passes, it was 4th and 17. The video starts with this 4th down attempt with 53 seconds left, John Elway's last attempt to save the game and the bowl game invitation for Stanford.

Most videos you'll find of The Play start with 4 seconds left on the clock. But I find that The Play and its significance are much clearer when you see what led up to it. Without that context, a great deal of the impact of the play is lost. The other thing you'll see with most videos is that the audio, which by the way is from Joe Starkey's RADIO broadcast, is edited. What you'll hear is the live audio up until the Kevin Moen crosses into the endzone at which point the audio cuts to Joe Starkey 45 seconds later after the referees decided how to rule on the play. I think this change also hurts the impact of the play. Those 45 seconds of Joe Starkey's speculation and indecision really capture the moment. The first words you miss with the edited audio are "Will it count?" and what you hear instead is "and the , the has/have won!" It completely changes the tone of that moment.

What you get with the video I have is the actual, unedited video with the actual unedited radio/Joe Starkey audio (I hear the TV broadcasters didn't do a very good job with it, and Joe Starkey's call of The Play is incredible). It really is the best video out there. The only downside is that the resolution is lower than I'd like. I'd like to get the actual TV quality video.

I've done my best to talk about it without giving away exactly what happens so that you'll be able to experience the full impact of The Play. Watch the video here (warning 25 MB file that requires Real Player (ugh)).

Isn't it an amazing moment? I just sends shivers down my spine every time I watch it. It really is the most amazing moment in the history of college football.

kencraw on 04.29.05 @ 11:47 AM PST [link] [4 Comments ]

Tuesday, April 26th

The framework required for arguing for a married priesthood

As I mentioned in my post at that I copied below in the hat tip, I think any argument for the married priesthood must satisfy two criteria:

1. What has changed and why we either shouldn't or can't change that back.
2. Why that change justifies a call for a married priesthood.

I believe this is the case because the Catholic Church has been very successful with a celibate priesthood over the 1000 years it has been mandatory. Anytime someone suggests that we change it, I think they are obligated to show why we need to abandon such a proud history of success. They need to show what has changed and how that can be solved by a married priesthood. Without such a strong argument, we're turning our back on our past without good cause.

In any case, I wanted to post a few examples of how someone could present an argument using this framework and how, in these examples, they fail to argue successfully. The first is the "shortage of priests" argument. Here is how it would fit into my framework:

1. We now have a shortage of priests.
2. By allowing married priests we can solve that shortage.

The obligation of the person arguing this case needs to show that we can't "change that back". Said differently, that there is no reasonable way we can get more priests without the married priesthood. I would argue that by making a concerted effort to present this option to teenagers and ask them, through retreats and other prayerful methods, to seriously consider the priesthood, we could encourage a significant increase in vocations. The person arguing this case would have to show that none of these types of alternatives are reasonable. The second thing they'd have to argue is that married priests would solve this problem and do so without counter-balancing effects. I would argue that while we may see a short-term increase in the number of priests, that the long-term situation would not improve unless we address the underlying issue of a lack of vocations and devotion to God. I would also argue that there are so many negative effects of a married priesthood that even if we did have more priests, it would likely still be a negative change for the Church.

The next one to fit in my framework is the "Celibacy leads to child abuse":

1. There has been an increase in the number of priests who abuse children.
2. Married priests would be less likely to abuse children.

Again, this argument needs to show that this problem can't be solved by other means. Can't we do a better job of forming our priests in seminary? Can't we do a better job of eliminating those who are likely to do this from the priesthood? Someone arguing this case would have to show that there is no reasonable alternative besides a married priesthood. Second, and more importantly in this case, they would need to show how married priests would solve the problem. There are many reasons to believe that our problem would be just as severe with a married priesthood. To this argument's credit, it does suggest that the change to a married priesthood would, in the opinion of the arguer, intrinsically help the Church. What it fails to do is show that it is the only reasonable way to do so or even that it would actually solve the problem.

So, there you have a couple of examples. Here is where I throw down the gauntlet! I challenge anyone to find an argument or even a combination of arguments using my framework that successfully argue for a married priesthood. Post your arguments as comments and forward this challenge on to your friends and family who you think argue strongly for a married priesthood. I am confident that it can not be done.

kencraw on 04.26.05 @ 04:43 PM PST [link] [2 Comments ]

I forgot the hat tip

Hat tip for the below article goes to Greg Krehbiel at Here is the comment I made to his post:

Before I rip into it, I agree Greg that this was a very charitably written article and for this he should be commended. That said:

I'm a big believer in the value of a celebate priesthood. Any time someone asks a question like "Will young boys learn to respect and venerate women if they never witness the dignified affection between a priest and his bride?" my initial response to just about any of them is that the Catholic Church has successfully transmitted the faith through a celebate priesthood for a good millenium. What changed?

In my humble opinion any successful argument for a married priesthood needs to argue two points:

1. Something has changed that either should not (maybe the new situation is better) or can not be rectified.
2. That a married priesthood is a either a necessary response or will have benefits in the new situation that outweigh the downsides both traditional and as a result of the new situation.

I don't think Rabbi Boteach met those criteria. Additionally I think he puts too little value in the companionship of God. I submit that Pope John Paul would never have considered himself lonely, much less extremely so. The companionship of God exceeds in value the companionship of any human, spousal or otherwise. All we need to do is tap into it, which is a difficult task for us worldly people to do.

I'll be commenting on this article in more depth on my blog. Thanks for bring it to our attention Greg!

kencraw on 04.26.05 @ 03:41 PM PST [link] [No Comments ]

The celebate priesthood

I don't know if I've mentioned on this blog that I've had a strong desire to write a book, any book, for a long time. Something about the process of delineating a extremely detailed set of thoughts in writing has always seemed enticing to me. I've made a number of attempts:

When I was an atheist I started writing a novel about a disenfranchised engineer who had his successful startup company ripped away from him and lost his family (through divorce) in the process. It was a VERY dark book, a tragedy of epic proportions.

I'm currently in a VERY long process of writing a somewhat autobiographical book based around some themes in a folk music artist's music. I've finished 5 chapters of 12 or so over the last 4 years. I want to get the transcript in its current state to the artist before continuing so I haven't written anything in the last year or so.

I've also recently thought of writing a book around the same theme as 'Earth Abides' (the aftermath of humanity being nearly wiped out by a plague) but written from a Catholic perspective. I'm just not sure how to do so without doing one of two things: Making the hero a bishop (and I want it to be about lay people) or without violating Catholic doctrine regarding the apocalypse.

A couple years ago I started on a non-fiction book about the issues that divide Catholics and Protestants and what I believe to be the underpinnings of those differences. The point was to show that most of our differences, with a couple of notable examples, are more issues of emphasis than theological differences. It was supposed to be mostly ecumenical in nature.

As a final example, I've thought of extending the article I'm planning on writing on the myths of the 20th century into a book.

In any case, I bet you're wondering what this all has to do with the title of the post. Well, a rabbi wrote an article about why he thinks the Catholic Church needs to do away with mandatory celibacy. It is a very charitably written article by a man who clearly has a great deal of respect for the Church.

That said, it seems to me that a book needs to be written defending the celibate priesthood. I'm sure there are many theologically heavy works on the subject, but I'm thinking of a book with a popular emphasis. I suspect it would need to have a fair amount of history in it as well as a fair amount of content on what exactly the benefits of it are both traditionally and currently. Finally, it would need to address a number of the concerns people have about it.

Expect a couple of posts in the next few days about why I think the celibate priesthood is an important aspect of the Catholic faith and should not be abandoned if at all possible.

kencraw on 04.26.05 @ 03:38 PM PST [link] [3 Comments ]

Monday, April 25th

Boycott Ebay!

There is now a website to organize around in the boycott of Ebay because of their allowing the sale of Eucharist:

It's still getting started, but it's a start.

kencraw on 04.25.05 @ 04:49 PM PST [link] [2 Comments ]

Question of the Week: Do Catholics believe that only Catholics (or Christians) are going to heaven?

The Catholic Church believes a number of things in regards to this question:

-Salvation is granted by Jesus Christ.
-Christ created the Church to bring His salvation to the world.
-As such His salvation comes through the Church.
-The Catholic Church is the Church that Christ founded.

Now, these things being said, one has to understand ONE important related point:

Church "membership" is not necessarily manditory for it to be the means by which Christ grants salvation.

You see, God is both merciful and omnipotent. God, or more specifically Jesus, gave the Church to the whole world. The Church has an impact that is far more expansive than just those who claim membership in the Church. We need look no further than all of the world wide activity surrounding Pope John Paul II's death and Pope Benedict XVI's election as proof of this. When you look at the interest surrounding these events one can plainly see that the Church brings Christ to far more than the membership of the Church.

To focus on other Christians, almost all other Christians and their churches, even in "protesting", have a relationship with the Catholic Church if nothing else by their use of the Bible. The New Testament as it is used in all Christian churches was compiled and dogmatically defined by the Catholic Church. Despite their "protests" to the contrary, when Protestants study scripture, they are studying the truth's of Christ as revealed to the Catholic Church as scripture.

To go further, with non-Christians, much of what they know about God comes from society's influence and that society's knowlege of God in every corner of the world has been influenced by the Catholic Church in the last 2000 years. They too, in a more subtle way, have had the truth's of the Catholic Church revealed to them.

Because of this, we believe that the Church brings Christ to everyone, even those who do not call themselves Catholic. One must be clear however, that salvation does not come to every person on earth even though the Church has brought Christ to them. Salvation is reserved for those who Christ deems should have it. He has told us that he reserves it for those who believe in Him, either consciously or subconsciously. To be a believer, you must accept what you know about Him to be true.

This, oddly enough, puts a greater requirement on those who are more familiar with the Catholic Church than those who are remote to it. As Catholics, we believe that we have the 'Fullness of Truth' as reveal by Christ to His Church. We believe that other Christians have a great deal of that truth but not all of it. Those who know of the Church's Fullness of Truth and reject it are in effect (either by being a dissenter in the Catholic Church or by being a member of another Christian church), rejecting Christ. However those who, through no fault of their own, have lived as a Christian believer in another Christian church without ever knowing that the Catholic Church's Fullness of Truth are not held to the same standard. They are not rejecting Christ by not being members of the Catholic Church. Similarly, those who are unaware of the teachings of broader Christianity through no fault of their own, but seek Christ are held to an even more merciful standard. They too may be saved.

In the end, the Church teaches that only God knows who reaches Heaven (with some notable exceptions). We only know what we are to strive for and what Church we should be putting our faith in and that through this Chuch, the Catholic Church, we pray that God in His mercy will help everyone to believe in Him and receive His saving grace whether they be Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant or non-Christian.

kencraw on 04.25.05 @ 02:00 PM PST [link] [No Comments ]

Reflections on Sunday's readings

For the first time in a long time, my wife and I were able to sit in the santuary for all of Mass. Grandma was able to babysit the baby and the toddler went to daycare at Church. That left us free to participate in Mass without the fears of children crying out or without suffering through the 'Cry Room' (of which I've always believed that the crying is in reference to the parents).

I don't know why I shared that, because it doesn't have anything to do with my reflections. I guess I just wanted to share.

As for my reflections, I just want to repeat what I have said for all the previous weeks, I love the readings from Easter! They are just so straight forward.

This week we hear two important statements of Jesus:

1. We can only get to the Father through Jesus.
2. When we see Jesus we see the Father.

We usually associate these two statements with the following theological principles:

1. We will only get to heaven through the grace Jesus gives us.
2. Jesus and the Father are two parts of one God.

But what struck me this week was how tightly coupled these two statements are. These aren't two statements in two different Gospels or even in separate chapters of the same Gospel. These two statements are part of one conversation that Jesus has with his disciples about the nature of God. Because if Jesus and the Father are two parts of the same God, doesn't the first statement just say the 'the only way to get to God is through God' and doesn't the second statement just say, 'when you see God you see God'?

That's what struck me this week, just how much insight can be given by in our minds substituting the word God for each of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. While it of course makes no sense to change the translations to make all three references the same because we would loose all our ability to comprehend the Trinity in scripture. But sometimes I forget to see Christ as God when He is speaking in the Gospels and this mental exercise seems to give me new insight into His words, often insight into the beautiful simplicity of what seems more complex.

kencraw on 04.25.05 @ 10:37 AM PST [link] [No Comments ]

Scripture Quote of the Week

'Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him."
Philip said to him,
"Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us."
Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?'

-John 14:1-12 from Sunday's Gospel reading

kencraw on 04.25.05 @ 10:10 AM PST [link] [No Comments ]


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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