Saturday, October 25, 2003

THIS AND THAT It's Begger's Night here. Or it was until 8 p.m. I do a lot of complaining about the occult moving into our culture, but this is one tradition I want to keep. It's such innocent fun, and the kids get such a kick out of it. It's a rare activity that will captivate a 2-year-old and a 13-year-old at the same time. I hear a lot of complaining about young people, but the young people I saw tonight were very well behaved. When I was young enough to trick-or-treat, it was rather common for the houses with the porch light off to find soap on their windows the next morning. Sometimes the soap was accompanied by rotten tomatoes on the porch. No, not me, but I knew some kids who planned to do it. My mother told the story of Halloween activity when she was young. Kids would throw shucked corn on porches and rap on doors then run and hide. I've often wondered if the candy came to the tradition as a way to stop the messes. These days the police tend to be out and visible in the neighborhoods, and for the most part the kids stay on the sidewalks and behave like model young citizens. And they have a good time doing it. * * * * * Tomorrow is National Priesthood Sunday, a day designated to affirm the priesthood in the life of the Church, set by the National Federation of Priests' Council. What a good idea. Especially since the news about a few errant priests has tarnished so many faithful ones. There is a trend to move laity into what once were priestly roles, making it easy to forget how much we need our priests. We hold a sacramental faith. Which means that without priests we don't have a faith. At least not one that brings the grace to make us holy. We don't just like priests. We don't just hope there will be priests ordained so the laity won't have to take over. The laity simply can't take over. Eucharist is the bottom line. Without it we are a forlorn bunch of believers. And Eucharist is only possible when we have priests. So say a prayer of thanks for your priest, and say a word of thanks to him as well if you have the opportunity. Because life without faith would be a dismal affair, and priests are essential to the life of faith. * * * * * * This blog is going to be neglected tomorrow. I'm taking an art class from Ray Muniak. I'll be making the elephant head wallhanging pictured here. Theoretically, anyway. If I can get my apron on right side out this time. Unlike the last time I took one of Ray's classes. All of these class projects are three dimensional, and all are made out of a variety of wood--no paint involved. The technique is sculpting with a small, hand-held drum sander something like a Dremel tool for those of you who know what that is; and the trick is not to sculpt your fingers in the process. Ray made a peacock for Yankee Peddler Festival this year which I did get to see before he sold it. Once you've done this type of sculpting, you get a real appreciation for the number of hours involved in this peacock. A LOT. The peacock is also made of many different woods that show up in different colors, with no paint or stain involved. The technique is somewhat like intarsia, for which Judy Gale Roberts is best known, though there is more dimension to Ray's work; and the little pieces are a challenge to handle. CarrieTomko@aol.com

A READER OF MY BLOG has started her own. Now if I could just figure out why my template won't accept new links, I could link her blog. Alas... (If my guardian angel would only get herself to computer school this blog might be able to come up to contemporary standards instead of looking like the blog from the dark ages!) BTW, yes, that really is a harp she is leaning on. She has this Russian Orthodox monastery linked in her website, and I've just finished looking at the pictures. What we hear from the news is that the Orthodox and other Christian churches are struggling to recover from the effects of communism. These pictures tell a different story. The iconostasis in the pictures looks old. Haven't read the history which is in there too, but it would take time to create something like this. Also I see that the priest has wonderful elaborate vestments in one of the pictures. Again, that tells a somewhat different story from what we hear in the news. It appears that this is a flourishing monastery, and it wasn't used as a warehouse during the communist era, apparently. CarrieTomko@aol.com

DIOCESE OF PHILA. HAS LARGER BUDGET THAN ROME I think that's what this entry at 30 Days says, but one number is in Euro dollars and the other in American dollars. So what's the rate of exchange? On July 10 Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani, president of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See, presented � for the first time in Euro � the accounts of the balance for 2002. For the second consecutive year the balance was in the red, with a deficit of 13,506,722 Euro (credits for 216,575,034, and debits for 230,081,756), due particularly to losses in the financial sphere and to the costs of media initiatives (L�Osservatore Romano and Vatican Radio). With regard to Peter�s Pence 52,836,693,50 dollars were collected in 2002, 1.8% more than the preceding year. ����� A curiosity: the budget of the Holy See is notably lower than that of one of the more important diocese of the United States. In fact on June 26 the Archdioces of Philadelphia published its balance sheet for the fiscal year 2002-2003. And so, what is the sixth diocese in the USA, with a million and a half faithful, results as having a �turnover� of 334,449,037 dollars. CarrieTomko@aol.com

BISHOPS APPROVE BENEFITS FOR GAY PARTNERS From Spirit Daily: Boston, Oct. 24 (CWNews.com) - The Catholic bishops of Massachusetts have dropped their opposition to "domestic-partnership" legislation, in public testimony that left gay-rights campaigners pleasantly surprised, and conservative groups shocked by the bishops' apparent capitulation. Bishop Daniel Reilly of Worcester, speaking on behalf of all the Massachusetts bishops, said at a public hearing in Boston that the bishops would continue to oppose any move to grant legal recognition for same-sex "marriage." But he added: "If the goal is to look at individual benefits and determine who should be eligible beyond spouses, then we will join the discussion." Although he stopped short of an explicit endorsement for domestic-partnership legislation, Bishop Reilly argued that homosexual couples should receive equal legal rights. "Whatever rights a citizen has in the United States should not be denied to another citizen," he told a panel of legislators. The provision of benefits such as health insurance and inheritance rights is a "question of distributive justice," he said. Answering questions from reporters after his formal testimony, the bishop went even further in support for domestic-partnership legislation. Speaking of homosexual couples, he said: "There should be a way for the state to provide the benefits they have a right to like other citizens." So, does this mean that two sisters living together should also receive "domestic-partnership" benefits? How about two heterosexual females or males living together? Could the legislation be extended to a couple of cousins living together? Will inheritance be mandatory based on living arrangements, as it is mandatory based on the marriage certificate now, or are we still talking about options that will require a document such as a will? When someone shows up at the hospital where a person is dying, and claims to be a domestic partner and thus should have access to the patient, will they have to bring a document of some sort to prove their claim? And will they become financially responsible, as a family is financially responsible for the expenses incurred by a member of it? It seems to me that this doesn't so much redefine the nature of the family as it defines the family out of existence. At least so far as "benefits" are concerned. CarrieTomko@aol.com

COVERAGE OF TERRI SCHIAVO'S SITUATION has been taken up by Fr. Rob. Check out his blog where he gives an excellent analysis of the situation from a Catholic perspective. So very different from the perspective presented by the New Age attorney George Felos. And please, when you read Fr. Rob's assessment, keep in mind that unless we speak up for Christianity, defend Christian principles, the New Age viewpoint will become the law of the land. St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle... CarrieTomko@aol.com

SEATTLE CATHOLIC has the story on the Salem Knights of Columbus witchcraft party cancellation. CarrieTomko@aol.com

ALTAR GIRLS WILL STAY Altar girls are to keep the backing of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, it has emerged at a meeting at the Vatican. The Bishops of England and Wales discussed with the Congregation the much-leaked draft instruction concerning Eucharsitic abuses, requested by the Pope in the recent Encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia. Afterwards, Bishops� Conference liturgy adviser Fr Allen Morris - in his summary of the meeting for the upcoming December edition of the Liturgy Newsletter - reported: "Because the text of the Instruction is not yet finalised, it is not possible to say for certain what it will contain. "However it is clear that bishops [will] remain free to authorise the ministry of girl altar girls in their dioceses; that the encouragement to Communion under both kinds recently re-emphasised in GIRM [the General Instruction of the third revised edition of the Roman Missal] is not being withdrawn; and that liturgical dance or perhaps more accurately �rhythmic movement� such as is indigenous to a local culture, most commonly in Asia or Africa, remains authorised." CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE POWER OF THE INTERNET can clearly be seen here. The Knights of Columbus hall in Salem, MA has cancelled the witchcraft party scheduled for Halloween. CarrieTomko@aol.com

OPUS DEI REVIEWS THE DA VINCI CODE According to the article, Brown has not been successful in convincing Londoners of the accuracy of his endeavor: Peter Millar, writing in the Times of London, pulled out all the stops, describing the book as "without doubt, the silliest, most inaccurate, ill-informed, stereotype-driven, cloth-eared, cardboard-cutout-populated piece of pulp fiction I have read." Looks like it might not enjoy a long sojourn on the best seller list of the Times of London. If they have one. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Friday, October 24, 2003

MAFIA TRIAL OVER CALVI According to the UK Mirror, four mobsters will be tried for the Murder of Roberto Calvi who was involved in the Vatican Bank Scandal. His death had previously been declared a suicide. CarrieTomko@aol.com

INTERESTING WEBSITE Catholic Online Spiritual Warfare Education and Information Center. This page in the website is dedicated to a book by Bro. John-Paul Ignatius, Legion of St. Michael, titled Seven Types of Ghosts: A Catholic, Biblical Perspective Has anyone read it? Has anyone had any contact with this organization or know anything about it? CarrieTomko@aol.com

Thursday, October 23, 2003

THE EVANGELICAL CATHOLIC CHURCH The Evangelical Catholic Church takes the Catholic claims of Her 16th century Lutheran Fathers and Confessors most seriously. She believes that they were truthful and honorable men who meant what they said, that they wanted nothing more than to be in agreement with the ancient Fathers, to restore true Orthodoxy to Western Christendom and to remain within the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Not much credence is placed by The Evangelical Catholic Church, therefore, in those moderns who assert that the claims of the 16th century Lutheran Confessors were really just public-relations puffery. The words and actions of the Reformers were the sincere products of their Catholic Faith. I think I've just had another Planet Zircon moment. CarrieTomko@aol.com

OUR LADY OF THE ENNEAGRAM Lord have Mercy... CarrieTomko@aol.com

FERRARA'S LEGAL BRIEF IN THE TERRI SCHIAVO CASE The New Age worldview in action. The theological battle again enters material reality. George Felos, operating from a New Age/Gnostic worldview, is attempting to do what is best for Terri by hastening her death so that her spirit can reincarnate in a body that will function better than the one she has. That is the best spin I can put on this brief. Why the prevention of autopsy? Why hasn't Terri been given water by mouth? Why the determination to prevent her parents access to her? If there has been foul play from the beginning, is Michael Schiavo afraid that Terri will be rehabilitated enough to be able to tell her story? Is he afraid an autopsy will reveal foul play? CarrieTomko@aol.com

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS HALL in Salem, Mass. is the location for the Death and Rebirth Ritual Transformation on Saturday, November 1. The Event is sponsored by the "Festival of the Dead" Saturday, November 1st Death and Rebirth: Ritual Transformation Knights of Columbus, 94 Washington Sq., Salem, at 8:30pm � Note: All ticket sales are final. Tickets purchased after October 15 will be held at will call at the door of the event. Clicking the "learn more" link brings up this description of the event: You can draw on this power in your daily life, strengthening your Will and growing your new life from a seed to bear fruit. It is not necessary to be a Witch to participate, but a strong belief in the power of ritual and a commitment to the process are essential for success. The evening is hosted by Salem Witch Elder, High Priestess Sandra Mariah Power. A reader sent the links. In attempting to confirm that this is the Catholic Knights of Columbus, and not some other group using the same name, I found this entry at LifeSite: See the advertisement of the event: http://www.festivalofthedead.com/deathandrebirth.html To contact the Knights of Columbus Council: Knights of Columbus Veragua Council No. 76 94 Washington Square East, Salem, MA (978)745-3408 The Salem City Guide lists the same address. Apparently they are not online, since this directory does not link to them, and I can't find a website for them. A possible explanation for this is that the K of C seems to be holding dance clubs in their facilities nationwide. Google brings up several locations for such clubs in Jasper, Indiana; a square dance club; a ballroom dance club in Dearborn, Michigan; ballet and yoga in Mt. Vernon. One is listed here, but the location isn't stated. In Massachusetts there are several dace clubs listed at this website, including two Knights of Columbus halls, one apparently no longer holding dances. Giving the Knights the benefit of doubt, it is possible that this Halloween dance is being held at their facility via such an arrangement. If the Knights are involved in this, however, even considering that its location is Salem, MA, I think they need to reorient their priorities. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

BISHOP WILTON GREGORY comments on the study commissioned by the National Review Board of the Bishop's Commission: The bishops really want to be honest with our people and say, `This is the data we want to share with you,'" Gregory said. "The numbers are going to be startling because they are going to be aggregate, over 50 years, and they will be startling because there is no context. CarrieTomko@aol.com

CHRISTIANITY TODAY offers an article that debunks the popularly held notion that human and animal sexuality are of the same nature. It also explores our schizophrenic attitudes on the subject. A couple of interesting quotes from the article: Zoologists puzzle over the oddities of human sexuality, unable to find any evolutionary advantage in sex that does not directly lead to reproduction. Some conclude that for humans sex represents a huge waste of time�certainly true if the point of sex was fertilization rather than relationship.... When a society loses faith in God, lesser powers arise to take God's place. "Every man who knocks on the door of a brothel is looking for God," said G. K. Chesterton. In modern Europe and the U.S., sex has a near-sacred quality of mythic, numinous power. We select our sexiest individuals and accord them the status of gods and goddesses, fawning over the details of their lives, broadcasting their bodily statistics, surrounding them with paparazzi, rewarding them with money and status. Sex no longer points to something beyond; it becomes the thing itself, the substitute sacred. The very word sex comes from a Latin verb that means to cut off or sever, and sexual impulses drive us to unite, to restore somehow the union that has been severed. Freud diagnosed the deep pain within as a longing for union with a parent; Jung diagnosed a longing for union with the opposite sex. The Christian sees a deeper longing, for union with the God who created us.... In the succeeding centuries church authorities issued edicts forbidding sex on Thursdays, the day of Christ's arrest; on Fridays, the day of his death; on Saturdays, in honor of the Blessed Virgin; and on Sundays in honor of the departed saints. Wednesdays sometimes made the list too, as did the 40-day fast periods before Easter, Christmas, and Pentecost, and also feast days and days of the Apostles, as well as the days of female impurity. The list escalated until, as John Boswell has estimated, only 44 days a year remained available for marital sex.... "We all have to choose between two ways of being crazy," says Vanier: "the foolishness of the Gospel and the non-sense of the values of our world."... At times I have given in to lust. I cannot deny that nude women, whether in art museums or magazines or over the Internet, exert on me a power like gravitational force. Our culture has mastered the disconnected "technique" of sex, and I have fallen victim. I must also say, though, that when I resist the temptation, and pour sexual energy into my marriage�a much more complicated and less selfish transaction, to be sure�the obsessive power of sexuality fades away. The air clears. Marriage becomes more of a haven. My life with God yields unexpected rewards.... If humanity serves as your religion, then sex becomes an act of worship. On the other hand, if God is the object of your religion, then romantic love becomes an unmistakable pointer, a rumor of transcendence as loud as any we hear on earth. Simply recognizing the sacramental nature of sex does, however, shed light on some of the sexual taboos of the Bible. I now see them not as capricious rules to spoil our sexual adventures but rather as guidelines protecting something of great value that can only be realized in an exclusive, covenant relationship.... The article closes with this: Marriage strips away the illusions about sex pounded into us daily by the entertainment media. Few of us live with oversexed supermodels. We live instead with ordinary people, men and women who get bad breath, body odors, and unruly hair; who menstruate and experience occasional impotence; who have bad moods and embarrass us in public; who pay more attention to our children's needs than our own. We live with people who require compassion, tolerance, understanding, and an endless supply of forgiveness. So do our partners. Such is the ironical power of sex: It lures us into a relationship that offers to teach us what we need far more�sacrificial love. It's an excellent argument for marital fidelity and the benefits gained from it. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

THE ONLY STORY WORTH BLOGGING RIGHT NOW IS TERRI'S The Florida House has voted to replace the tube. But is it soon enough for Terri? Meanwhile, a precedent has been set in favor of life. For that I am grateful. Best coverage on Terri's plight can still be found at EnvoyEncore, where Pete Vere reports from the scene outside the hospice, at Amy Welborn's blog since Amy has access to wire service reports (both blogs are linked on the right), and at Mark Shea's blog. where there are lots of comments as well. Blogland might well be making journalism history with this terrible event. Bloggers are doing an endrun around mainstream media that won't soon be forgotten, I think. The battle for life--the battle to rescue the culture--has a new army. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Monday, October 20, 2003

THE CHURCH OR THE LODGE...CHOOSE From Malcolm Brown, at smh.com.au The Sydney Anglican Synod has called on all Christian members of Masonic lodges to withdraw their membership and for church facilities not to be used for activities linked with Freemasonry. The motion, passed yesterday, also "requests that councils of all Anglican schools . . . consider any association that their school may have with any Masonic lodge, and to withdraw from any such association". The King's School, Shore and Trinity were specifically mentioned during the debate. The motion was put by Reverend Bill Winthrop, Rector of St Paul's Church, Lithgow, whose parish council last December passed a motion calling on Freemasons and members of the Order of the Eastern Star to choose between those movements and continuing membership of the congregation. Mr Winthrop said yesterday that though the synod had passed a motion in 1988 condemning Freemasonry as leading people away from God, it was not cast in strong enough terms and it was now up to the synod to pass an unequivocal motion stating its position. Will Archbishop Pell join the Anglicans in taking this position? CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE MAGIC CONTINUES Michael Ledeen comments on curses and miracles Naples style, for the National Review Online. Meanwhile in the world of comic books, Necronauts is the latest fad. Necronauts, written by Gordon Rennie (Judge Dredd, Storming Heaven), and drawn by Frazer Irving (Judge Death, The Authority, Fort), tells the tale of what happened when four of history's most unconventional characters and students of dark matters -- Harry Houdini, Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Fort and H.P. Lovecraft -- discover what lies on the other side of the mirror. Unfortunately, 'it' also discovers them, and the four occult adventurers soon find themselves beset by unnamable terrors and dread creatures in both the real world and the astral plane, not to mention the added complication that one of the four may not be all he seems. The story builds to a savage climax, where not just the group's lives, but also the continued existence of the world and indeed reality, are at stake. Did I miss something here...this is supposed to be "comic"??? The WB continues to satisfy viewers for a taste for the occult with this year's offering announced Oct. 16: Last spring, WB flirted with canceling the horror-comedy, which stars David Boreanaz as a vampire with a soul who tries to atone for centuries of wickedness by "helping the hopeless" in demon-infested Los Angeles. But influential critics, including those at USA Today and TV Guide, praised the show's offbeat storytelling and urged WB to preserve it for a fifth season. And a spirited cult of fans rallied other viewers in a letter-writing and petition campaign. The execution was halted, but the show's budget was slashed and WB told creator-producer Joss Whedon, who spun off the show from his hit "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," that "Angel" needed more ... teeth, so to speak. Only angels who will work cheap need apply. CarrieTomko@aol.com

DOUG PATTON PUTS TERRI'S PLIGHT IN PERSPECTIVE in his column for GOPUSA. No one has put words to the real issue that is at stake in Florida. This is not an isolated case. It must be viewed in the greater context. We talk often about emerging worldviews. About multi-culturalism. About the co-mingling of many faiths in a peace effort, and the syncretism that results. The clashing forces in Florida--euthanasia vs. the right-to-life--reflect clashing cosmologies. Postmodern spirituality does not view life from the Christian perspective. It takes its cues from belief systems that the Catholic Church has declared heresies; and it opposes everything Christianity stands for, while frequently calling itself "Christian." It stands for euthanasia because it does not view life as valuable. In a postmodern worldview, the spirit is imprisoned in matter. That matter was created by the demiurge, a lesser god with evil intentions, who has broken up the light of god into fragments imprisoned in matter. One escapes the clutches of the demigod through death. Death is a release. The spirit will rest and then reincarnate in another body just as a body would don a winter coat on a cold day. One body is no more significant than another. They are interchangeable. There is no reason to value one over another. When one wears out, the time has come to discard it so that the spirit can be clothed in a fresh and more servicible body. Terri's body is seen as a husk imprisoning her spirit which will be set free by starvation. That is postmodern spirituality. It takes its theology from the heresies of gnosticism and manicheaism. There are no new heresies. Just recycled familiar old ones. This brave new world birthing in Florida at the hands of the Florida court system has death at its core. We are all expendable, whether we are unborn babies or disabled adults. Only those who are fully functional adults are welcome members in the postmodern world. Ultimately, as with manicheaism, the crime to be avoided is conception. Childless sex is the ideal. A permanent state of childless sex. The world must be emptied of useless eaters. Man is equal to the animals, to the plants, to the rocks. We are not superior. We are part of the same entity as the pebble on the beach. We have no separate identity. Being contained in the human husk is the curse from which we attempt to liberate ourselves by seeking enlightenment. A good example of this new worldview is available on the web at the Church of Euthanasia. I post the link because the time has come to confront the opposition and see it in the depths of its depravity. The sermons" webpage will give you an idea what this "church" is all about. The "four pillars" webpage illustrates the four pillars of their "theology" WARNING, there is a blasphemous picture of Christ here. These pictures represent suicide, abortion, cannibalism, and sodomy--the four pillars of the Church of Euthanasia. It may be an extreme example of the new thinking, but our world is headed precisely here unless the evil can be stopped. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Sunday, October 19, 2003

I CAN'T STOP THINKING ABOUT TERRI I'd suppose that Michael Schiavo is feeling rather pleased tonight, knowing that his wife's hope has diminished almost to the point of no return. I bet he thinks that what he must see as an ordeal will soon be over. That he will soon be free. He will never be free. We do not hold the life of another human being lightly in our hands. A decision such as Michael has made is a very heavy burden that does not go away so long as breath remains. The memories he is making now will haunt him until he breathes his last. Life is not so easily dismissed as a court order proclaims. Even assuming that he thinks he is doing the right thing, he will still not escape a nagging guilt if there is humanity left in his soul. He will be confronted with reminders of Terri for the rest of his life. A picture, a word, the look in someone's eye, a chance encounter with a friend of Terri's from her happy days, someone he admires who makes the opposite choice when confronted with this difficult situation. I wonder if he has thought about that. One day his children will cry when their playmates remind them that their father killed his wife. That their father is a murderer. One day his girlfriend may learn that she has a terminal illness and will be afraid that Michael will want to do away with her as well. One day Michael will grow old and lose the strength he enjoys now. He will remember, when he can no longer remember as well as he used to, that he murdered his wife because she could not remember as well as she used to. He will no longer be able to move around with the agility of youth in the years ahead of him. Then he will remember what he did to his wife when she was not capable of moving around like she used to move. And one day his children will look on him and remember what he thought should be done with someone who does not function at peak capacity. Will his children harbor murder in their hearts when he is old, as he is teaching them to do tonight? Will they feel compelled to eliminate him as he feels compelled to eliminate his wife? Will they find him useless and need to be rid of him as he finds his wife to be useless? No, Michael Schiavo will not escape scott free to move on with his life. There are invariably paybacks. We reap what we sow. Our children learn what we teach through our actions and our lack of them far more quickly than they learn from our words. If there is a shread of decency left in the man, when the day comes that he deserves in his own eyes nothing different than he has meted out, and someone shows him compassion, his conscience will make him pay for this injustice. May the same fate assault the judge who has given this terrible order. May the same fate assault the caregivers who withhold food and water from an incapacitated invalid. May all those who have been involved in this travesty of law and justice suffer from the agony of conscience they have earned. CarrieTomko@aol.com

BLESSED THERESA OF CALCUTTA on this day of your beatification, another sick and downtrodden outcast also needs your help. Please pray for Terri Schiavo. She and those working on her behalf need a miracle. CarrieTomko@aol.com

PICTURES OF THE PROTEST OUTSIDE TERRI'S HOSPICE are up at EnvoyEncore. I simply do not understand how food and water by mouth are being refused to a handicapped person while this institution enjoys the protection of the law. Why does the law side with such evil? Is this what passes for the "right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" in America today? We are becoming barbarians. CarrieTomko@aol.com

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