Archives for September 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #113)

This week: A bushel of miscellaneous takes this week beginning with the case of the fallen signs. Why kids become Altar Servers. CNS covers the Monks of Norcia. A wonderful campaign from Robert Mondavi. Mark Dice find people eager to sign a petition to dope the water supply with ABC. That South American sense of humor. Can America afford Bo?

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The case of the fallen signs…

First, a happy sight! The closure of a Planned Parenthood in Texas. Attention “progressives”: this is progress:

Spotted by Matthew Archbold


Second, a less happy sign. Anglicans distancing themselves further and further from the truth. The photographer had the right idea in how he/she framed this image:

Spotted by Larry D

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I recently featured a video from Two Sense Films on the Traditional Latin Mass. Below is another of their videos, this time on why kids become Altar Servers and what it means to them:

— 3 —

I covered the story of the Benedictine Monks of Norcia, their ministry and means of support last year. CNS has noticed them too and covered them in this pair of videos:

— 4 —

Robert Mondavi is running a campaign to raise awareness of childhood cancer. For every person who watches this video, they will donate $1 (up to $50,000) to the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer:

Spotted by my friend Tom

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Mark Dice is still at it. Here, he wants to see if people would sign a petition to add artificial birth control to the water supply:

— 6 —

There is something about these South American pranks that is intriguing. Last year there was the one in the elevator. Now, the job interview of doom:

Spotted by Patrick Archbold

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Obama has a new dog – Sunny. Some might criticize the president for spending $2,300 for a pet but it is after all his money to spend. A valid concern is not how the first family manages their money, but can we – the American taxpayers – afford Sunny?

The first family has rightly been criticized for not traveling together on their top-tier vacations to destinations such as Martha’s Vineyard, Hawaii, Aspen, Spain, Africa (this business / pleasure trip cost more than $100,000,000 alone), and many more. This causes the already huge taxpayer funded vacation expenses to balloon. What you may not know is traveling in separate planes, with separate support and security personnel, is not limited to the humans in the first family. We taxpayers paid for Bo, the existing first-dog to travel first class in a high-tech, presidential aircraft (MV-22 Osprey) for his much needed break from the day-to-day. I bet it took the entire taxes of 25 to 100 middle-American families to fund Bo’s vacation travel costs (exact costs are hard to get).

What if Sunny and Bo don’t get along? If Sunny requires similarly independent travel accommodations, we may need to cut back even further to cover it.


Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Jen for hosting this project!

Adam’s Sin

2013.09.24 Adam’s Sin [guest] Author: Ed Trego

Guest contributor:   Ed Trego

In Romans, chapter 7, verse 15 Paul says, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” I take a lot of comfort from these words. If the great Saint and evangelist Paul had trouble doing the good things he wanted and avoiding sin, then maybe there’s hope for me as well. At least I know I’m not the only one who can’t seem to avoid sin even though I hate it.

Why do I have such a hard time with sin? I know that I don’t want to sin, but I do anyway. This is, at least in part, the result of original sin. As a result of Adam’s sin, sin has become part of our nature, it’s in our DNA. But exactly what was Adam’s sin. I had always considered Adam’s sin essentially a sin of disobedience. God had forbidden something and Adam and Eve had ignored the rule of God. But I don’t think that is whole story. If eating from the tree of knowledge, a sin of disobedience to God, were all of it, we should say that sin entered the world through Eve, since she was the first to commit that sin. But we don’t, we say sin entered the world through Adam. That would seem to indicate that Adam sinned in some way before Eve ate the fruit.

God had given Adam and Eve everything they could possibly want. They would never know pain or illness or death. All of their needs would have been met. There was only one, relatively minor exception; the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Of course, we all know that the easiest way to pique our interest is to tell us we can’t have something. Immediately, it becomes the one thing we almost have to have. I can almost picture Adam and Eve standing in the Garden of Eden, surrounded by everything they needed, looking at the one tree they were forbidden and thinking, “Man, I bet that fruit tastes really good. If only we could have some of that, we would really be happy”. I can also picture Satan standing to the side watching and thinking that this was his chance to undo some of the good work that God had done.

As I’ve thought about this there is another thing that has puzzled me. Why did Satan choose to tempt Eve? Why not Adam? After all, Adam was supposed to be head of the family. He was the one who should have been the natural target if Satan was interested in trying to destroy man’s relationship with God. But instead, he went after Eve. Possibly because of Eve’s supposed weakness before Satan women ever since have been accused of being the weaker sex. But if we think about it, Adam was actually the weaker of the two. At least Eve had the courage to try to take a stand against Satan’s temptation. She tried to defend God’s rule concerning the tree. And finally, she did have the courage to make a decision, even though it was the wrong one. In Genesis, chapter 3 verse 6 it says “she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband and he ate it.” So, Adam was right there the whole time Eve was being tempted. But he never took any action to stop Eve. As the story is told in Genesis, he didn’t even try. And he didn’t do the one thing that should have been first on his mind. He didn’t call out for God’s help. That, I believe, was the original sin of Adam, a sin of pride and self-reliance. Had he asked, I’m certain that God would have taken care of Satan and his temptations and man would have continued to live in paradise. At least until someone else forgot to call on God when they should.

But still, why did Satan tempt Eve? I don’t think it was because he thought she was weak. I think he knew that Adam would just sit there and let it happen. I also think he knew that if he could convince Eve, Adam would follow. We have to admit that there are times when someone else makes decisions that we don’t always agree with but we go along to get along.

I also think that it’s sometimes easier to accomplish what you want if you don’t directly confront the one you are targeting. It’s a little like spreading rumor and gossip. It isn’t the one who is told the rumors that is really harmed, but the one who is the subject of the rumors. That way we can attack someone but we don’t have to do it face to face. We can be sure it will get back to them, but we don’t have to have the courage to face them ourselves. Maybe Satan knew that if he directly confronted Adam he would fight back, if only to prove to Eve that he could. But if he could just get Eve to give in, Adam would then give in to Eve. And what did Adam do? He just sat there and let it happen to Eve and then gave in himself. Not exactly a picture of faith and courage, our Adam.

Another interesting part of the story is that Satan didn’t technically lie to Eve when tempting her. In Genesis 3:3-5 Eve told Satan that God had said of the tree in the middle of the Garden “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God knowing good and evil.” Then Eve ate it, and she didn’t die; at least not in a physical sense. And they knew what was good and bad, since they then realized that they were naked and made clothes to cover themselves. So old Satan didn’t actually “lie” to them, he just didn’t tell the whole truth. They didn’t physically die, but they died spiritually. From that point on, they had broken their covenant with God, which is really what sin always does to us. It breaks our relationship with God and encourages us to sin even more.

Isn’t that the way Satan also tempts us many times. A direct assault might result in a fight that would bring God into the picture. But a little bit of misstating the truth will make us think and try to reason with Satan. Reason with Satan, now there’s a formula for disaster. Our only hope is in God and we are so arrogant that we think we can defeat Satan through our own efforts and intelligence.

So, now they have had a taste of the tree of knowledge and God shows up. To read Genesis it sounds like God didn’t know what was going on until he came upon Adam and Eve hiding from him wearing their fig leaves. Of course, he knew exactly what was going on. His prized creation, the one he had created “in His own likeness” and had given dominion over everything had just failed their first test. What happened next also shows the true weakness of Adam. When God finally corners him on what he had done, what was his response? He points directly at Eve and says “The woman whom You put here with me – she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it.” Adam doesn’t seem to be the bravest guy around does he? First he lets Satan tempt his wife, and then he blames her for giving him the fruit. And, oh by the way God, it’s Your fault too since You are the one who put the woman here with me. Like everything would have been OK if God had just given him another puppy dog instead of his soul mate. Don’t we do the same thing? When we get caught, don’t we usually look for an excuse for why we really aren’t responsible for what happened? Then there’s always the old standby; the devil made me do it. All that was really required to avoid the sin in the first place was to ask for God’s help.

So Adam and Eve, and the rest of humanity, paid the price for all eternity. However, don’t we still commit the same sin as Adam? If his sin was failing to call on God for the strength to resist temptation, don’t we do that every day? How many times have you heard a co-worker or maybe a friend say something that we know is sinful and against God? How many of those times have you confronted the person and pointed out their error? We usually just think it, or at best, say it under our breath. Or we make it even worse by not saying anything to the offender, but talking about them behind their back to someone else. We don’t want to offend anyone, we say, so we keep our mouths shut. Oh, and of course there’s that rule about judging others. Isn’t that convenient? After all, even the bible says “Judge not lest ye be judged”, right? On this point, we usually are pretty good at following the bible’s advice. We say to ourselves that we are doing the right thing because we are not judging. Do you think maybe Adam was thinking the same thing while the flesh of his flesh and the bone of his bone was being tempted into condemnation? Maybe he was sitting there thinking, “Well I could say something but, gee, I don’t want to raise a stink and start trouble. After all, God is the one who made these rules, let him enforce them.” Can you picture yourself allowing your wife to be convinced to do something that you know full well is harmful to her, and not try to stop her. That is exactly what Adam did. But we mustn’t judge others, right? I think that’s usually a lot of bull. I think we use that to make us feel better about not doing something we know we should. And if we speak up, are we really judging the person or the sin? We all talk about loving the sinner but hating the sin, but not speaking up doesn’t say much for hating the sin. And letting someone we care for go on sinning and not trying to help them isn’t showing much love for the sinner either.

Do we call on God’s help when we need it? Do we understand that he is there, waiting to help when we ask? I think most of us commit the sin of pride and self-reliance rather than turning to God for the strength to resist sin. We may have all become sinners because of Adam’s original sin, but we sure don’t seem to be doing much to stop repeating that same sin over and over. Can we overcome Satan and his temptation? Of course we can, God gave us the means and the ability to reject the enemy and all he does. He’s there, waiting for the call, ready to respond at a moment’s notice. All we need do is ask.


The above meditation is a chapter from Ed’s new eBook “Thoughts of God”. Only $1.99 on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Sony and other fine publishers.

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #112)

This week: A powerful, new pro-life music video. Advertising can be good, very good. An excellent campaign called #ExploreGod rolls-out in Austin. Ten ways to get the right guy to like you. People readily sign a petition in support of Karl Marx for president. A kickstart campaign to support…   World War III (and IV and any moon war the president may want to start). A quote of the week.

— 1 —

A very young mother almost aborts her daughter but didn’t. John Elefante, it turns out, adopted her baby and has used his talents to produce the story:

I am really, really impressed and pray that this video can change hearts and save lives. Here are the notes accompanying it:

Former “Kansas” lead singer and producer John Elefante is using his newest single “This Time,” to share the story of his adopted daughter’s birth, and in the process, bring some attention to Online for Life (OFL), an educational non-profit working to rescue babies from abortion so they can live to make their mark on the world.

“I can’t imagine life without my daughter, Sami, and it just breaks my heart that pregnant young women much like her birth mother, instead of choosing life for their babies, are denying them the chance to be born,” Elefante said. “If our song can in any way bring attention to this issue and encourage those who are considering abortion to choose life through options such as adoption, then we couldn’t be happier.” Visit http://ThisTimeForKeeps.com for more info.

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So much from the advertising world is in poor taste – to say the least. That is why I am always surprised to see something like this commercial from a Thai telecom company:

Spotted by Patrick Archbold

Wow, just wow!

— 3 —

Jen Fulwiler was interviewed for a Christian campaign now rolling-out in Austin, Texas called #ExploreGod. Jen was a committed atheist but is now a Catholic convert and an effective evangelist. Here is what she said:

I see this effort as very positive, but it would have been a bit more ecumenical of the #ExploreGod folks if Jen were identified at least in passing as Catholic. I was thrilled however to see their website identify a Catholic Bible translation and identify it as such too. This effort is very impressive, but does have a Protestant perspective.

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This video has a lot of good advice for young women. It is Ten Ways to Get the Right Guy to Like You:

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It is worrisome how some people (that is, some liberal people) believe in change so much that they will apparently support almost anything. Certainly this is NOT all liberals, but a segment where liberalism and the poorly educated combine. Unfortunately, that is obviously a huge segment. Mark Dice again demonstrates for us:

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As proof that the above video does not represent all liberals, consider the work of Chicago’s own (quite liberal) Second City Network. They produced the following sketch which actually lampoons the above mentioned liberals. It is a hoot too:

Think people. Why <insert something ridiculous>? Because Obama!

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Quote of the week:

The entire north polar ice cap will be gone in 5 years.

Former Vice President Al Gore
December 13, 2008

(The ice pack has *grown* 60% in the last year alone. It is now the same size as it was in 1971.)


Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Jen for hosting this project!

Elsewhere: inculturation resistance

The Church has always made adaptations in its presentation to local cultures around the world. The Catholic Church is the one, universal Church for all people. Elements of local customs and traditions are often incorporated in buildings, liturgy, celebrations and so on. This is done not in accommodation of incompatible beliefs (which the Church always rejects), but to make the visible presence of the Church less distant or foreign.

One common example of this is in paintings and statuary depicting our Lord and His Blessed Mother. They are shown as every race and dressed consistent with virtually every culture. This is not an effort to deceive, but one of lowering barriers and opening hearts.

In Singhpur, capital of the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand for example, Mary and baby Jesus are shown with bodies and dress consistent with the local indigenous people. They are dark complexioned and wear traditional tribal clothing. For Mary, that is a white sari with red trim over a red blouse with a necklace and earings.

This statue was unveiled in late May by Cardinal Telesphor Toppo at the local parish.

Interestingly, unusually, oddly even — this image has angered a segment of the local Hindu population. Angered to the point of protests on the order of 15,000 to 20,000 people in late August. The police had to erect barricades around the church to protect it. The crowds brought a replacement statue, dressed in a foreign way, that they felt would be less “confusing.”

To these protesters, the issue was exactly that the statue represented Mary as a local and not a foreigner. They felt that this was intentional deception to “confuse” the population and make them receptive to Christianity.

The International Business Times quotes opposing local opinion:

“Showing Mother Mary as a tribal is a part of the larger design to make the tribal population believe that she was from their community and confuse them,” Tigga added. “One hundred years from now, people here would start believing that Mother Mary was actually our tribal goddess. It’s an attempt to convert Sarna tribals to Christianity. If they do not remove it, a nationwide protest will be organized.” Tigga told the Times of India that “Mother Mary was a foreigner and showing her as a tribal woman is definitely not correct.”

In response, Christian tribals have defended the statue. “What’s wrong in this? It’s just like the Chinese, Japanese, Irish, German or even the African version of Mother Mary and Baby Jesus,” said Father Augustine Kerketta, a senior church official in Ranchi. “It happens everywhere as part of enculturation of the local tradition.” Kerketta also said some local politicians are likely behind the protests to foster religious enmity. “General elections are due early next year, and some people may wish to divide the Christian and non-Christian tribal populations for political gains,” he said.

In a broader context, the conversion of Indians – whether they be tribals or others – has long been a sore point with Hindus who view the work of missionaries as a form of intervention by foreign forces to degrade and/or diminish Indian culture. Indeed, some Hindu organizations have praised Tigga’s efforts. The Haindava Keralam, a Hindu advocacy group based in the southwestern state of Kerala, commented that, by draping Mother Mary in the clothes of Indian tribals, Christian missionaries are creating “distortions” by masquerading “foreign religions” as “local religions by appropriating (more correctly, stealing) their way of worship and religious symbols.”

Haindava noted that the sari is a “Hindu dress worn by Hindu women. The white sari with a red border is used by women of the Sarna community on auspicious occasion[s],” adding that Christian missionaries are attempting similar practices in Kerala. “Should we permit such degradation of our religion?” Haindava asked rhetorically. “These are the [same] people who derided our religion, culture, rituals as mythology and superstition, why are they [seeking to] to imitate it?”

A commenter on the Haindava website named S. Manoharan thundered that: “All Hindus should understand that conversion to foreign religions and praying to foreigners does not give any spiritual satisfaction.” Another commenter named Ravi Nair opined that Evangelical Christians have been using deceptive conversion techniques in Latin America, Africa and in India for centuries. “The after-effects of coercive and deceptive religious conversion [are] disastrous,” he wrote. “Although coercive religious conversion of Hindus has deep historical roots, recent deceptive and cunning strategy poses serious political, social and psychological problems. In this era of globalization, evangelists with unlimited funds use sophisticated, deceptive, psychological mind manipulation techniques to lure, brainwash, and convert innocent people, Once they are converted, they are abandoned for rot. In India, the Vatican and evangelical groups use them as political pawn.”

Nair added that the sudden appearance of a sari-draped Mother Mary is a “manipulation technique.” “These missionaries are criminals with big ego,” he indicated. “They should be detained, arrested, and a force continuum shall be applied until they leave India with their trick. These conversion thief act without fear, shame, guilt, or remorse for a bowl of chicken soup from their alien slave masters. They should be stopped to save India.”

There is a lot going on here: nationalism, religious intolerance and community organizers whipping-up a crowd for their own political ends.

The above quote is from Virgin Mary In A Sari: Hindus Outraged By Christian Statue Depicting Blessed Mother And Jesus In Indian Tribal Dress.

The BBC also covers this. For a Hindu perspective, see this post.

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #111)

This week: The latest issue of New Evangelists Monthly is complete and ready for you. Light of Love is a terrific new film on religious life. Mama Hill and her loving outreach to the poor. Friendship, solidarity and love on display in a beer commercial. UK pro-aborts get tangled in sex selection scandal. The new leader of the free world. Hail to thee, newest iProduct.

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New Evangelists Monthly

Issue #9, September 2013, of New Evangelists Monthly is complete! Scores of faithful Catholic bloggers have contributed their very best pieces from July. This month brought these great topics: laborers, camping, Holy Spirit charisms, refreshment, trust in God, KIT, Tori, guilt, a smack, success, complete trust, infinite bandwidth, made for, Rosary, conversion, St. Joseph, repeating, book reviews, G+, niceness?, science and transubstantiation, others burdens, reversion, Mary crafts, pray for prayer, St. Roch, touch the poor, liberation, doubt, hagiography, 5 books, Rosary quotes, Sunday, LOH hymns, IQ vs. fertility, not a waste, night prayer, organic catechesis, St. Brendan, it’s not Coca Cola, saying goodbye, self-imposed, common sense, top activities, cat-in-hat Eucharist, not worthy, Psalm 139, abortion, jeans, death jargon, blame, doctors’ advice, watered down, Bottum’s surrender, Hunger Games, CF adventuring, bells, sticker unnecessary, God’s nature, with us, soulmates, not spit, a shrine, camping, pro-aborts, infallibility, on children, perfect timing and loving Him.

This monthly “meta-magazine” showcases faithful Catholicism from theology to family life and “everything in between.” Enjoy it now at NewEvangelists.org.

Read Now

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As they describe themselves: “Imagine Sisters wants to make Jesus loved by introducing the world to religious sisters in love with Christ through media and personal encounters. We want to encourage and inspire a culture of vocations to women’s religious life by fostering a deep desire for holiness through the witness of religious sisters.”

That trailer is just a taste of Light of Love, a beautiful film on religious life from Lighthouse Catholic Media. The full work is 60 minutes and well worth watching. If you do not have the time now, make a note — but come back later. Click here to watch!

— 3 —

This is a wonderful story about love in action through one Mama Hill, a retired LA school teacher:

Spotted by Marcel

— 4 —

Friendship, solidarity, love.

Spotted by Badger Catholic

— 5 —

Abortions are just dandy in the UK (and elsewhere) unless they are for sex selection reasons. This makes no sense to me. Why should this reason block a woman from her sacred choice? Wouldn’t being punished with a child of non-preferred sex be psychologically traumatic to a woman? What right does the state have to inflict this violence upon her body?

Anyway, in a recent dust-up an undercover investigation has irrefutably shown this restriction to be ignored. The UK government plans to…   do absolutely nothing (not enforcing laws not liked is not unique to the POTUS). PM Cameron declares it “wrong and illegal” (but will ignore it none-the-less). Perhaps he sees the illogic of it all.

A possible pro-life strategy that occurs to me is working to strengthen laws against abortion only for males. This would raise many tough issues for the pro-aborts and just maybe cause them to think it through a little better.

— 6 —

Fr. Z (a/k/a Father John Zuhlsdorf), considering the long series of foreign policy gaffes (which seems impossible to stop), has led to 1 outcome. President Obama has passed the “leader of the free world” crown to Russia’s Vladimir Putin. See Father’s insightful comments here.

I wonder if Obama will have to return the Nobel Peace Prize so that it can be re-awarded to Putin?

While these two battle it out in an obviously poorly matched fight, pray for the people of Syria. Obama’s famous ego might be bruised, but innocent people are suffering every day in a war between two evil sides.

— 7 —

Do you idolize Apple? Is your adoration so great that you know in advance, no matter what iProduct they offer, it is automatically worthy of your worship? If so, this might be a good time to rethink your priorities.


Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Jen for hosting this project!

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