Archives for 2014

Resources: Convert Journal “raw input”

The Convert Journal Elsewhere meme features only a tiny number of the great articles that I find online. I save many, many more for my own research and study. They are collected, tagged and saved in an archive — the very best pieces from top authors and blogs.

To make a long story short, it occurred to me that you might be interested in perusing such a resource. Think of it as an on-going, edited collection of the most interesting articles (at least to me) from the Catholic blogosphere. If you don’t have a lot of time but want to keep up with the biggest news and latest apologetics then you might just love this.

Introducing:   Convert Journal: RAW INPUT

The link is easy to remember, simply add “raw.” in front of the normal Convert Journal URL. That is, “http://raw.convertjournal.com.” Alternately, bookmark it or simply visit Convert Journal where there will always be a link.

At CJ:raw you will find an attractive, Pinterest-like presentation of my archive. Be sure to follow the links (at the top and bottom) to go back in time to older and older additions. It is addictive. Visit often for the very latest. New additions are added almost daily.

I call this feature “raw input” because this is MY personal input, now shared with you. I have not added my own thoughts, introductions or comments. The articles are by others and the copyrights are theirs. Each piece includes the full link directly to the original source. Go there to check-out all of that author’s content. Chance are, if I liked one piece from that site then there are probably a lot more like it!

Merry Christmas

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

From the archive (set #4)

I reached into the archive for my post today, drawing 3 pieces from almost 5 years ago when this blog was launched. Christmas joy also reminds me of our Savior’s purpose and thus of last things. To that end I offer again my take on purgatory and possessions. The third piece is especially for those non-Catholics who may be joining us at Mass.


Wait you say – stop right there. If I have been saved and am going to heaven, then are not my sins forgiven? Yes, absolutely. However the sins you committed, while forgiven, have left a scar on your soul. Sometimes this is compared to a nail driven into wood. The nail represents sin, and the wood is your soul. When the nail is removed (forgiven) it leaves the hole which represents the lasting damage. When you look back on the sins you have committed, forgiven though they are, how does that make you feel? That is what I am talking about.

…read it all:   The good side of purgatory


Bill’s house is a metaphor for all of our worldly possessions. Yes, they are important for the physical and financial needs of our families. Yet we are called upon to help others in their time of need too. Always remembering that balance is important.

…read it all:   Bill’s house


Many, many of the people you will see at Mass were not born into the faith. They joined anywhere from decades to months ago. Some were atheists, agnostics, Jewish or other non-Christian religions. Others were Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Anglican, Episcopalian, Mormon, Pentecostal and many other Protestant denominations. We know where you are coming from and were once there too! One last thought, joining us for Mass does not mean you want to join the Catholic Church. It just means you are joining us for Mass – that is all. Feel free to do so as often as you like and know that you are always welcome here.

…read it all:   In a strange land

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #159)

This week: Some last minute shopping advice. A vocations video on religious life. Another short video promoting chapel veils. The biggest dog in Britain (really, a canine not a person). A look at the tireless work of Al Sharpton. A peek into Obamacare and how it was passed. Is radical Islam a stain upon the “true” religion of peace?

— 1 —

Say Merry Christmas

Just 6 more days until Christmas! Do you have just a few more gifts to buy? Who will you support with your hard-earned cash? If it is not clear what season they mean when giving you their greetings or the holiday to which they refer when they wish you a happy one, then perhaps they hope to hide the true reason for the season. It is not like they don’t know. Let’s not support the deny Christ movement.

— 2 —

St. Basil said “In this privileged state (religious life) there is a happy and wonderful exchange; for goods of this world are given up and in their place the goods of Heaven are received. Treasures that will pass away are surrendered in exchange for treasures that last forever. Articles of no value are swapped for articles of priceless value.”

— 3 —

This is the second (first here) promotional video from St. Anne’s in San Diego (a Catholic FSSP parish) on the chapel veil:

— 4 —

I like dogs, but big ones bring many special challenges. This is a very big one:

— 5 —

Al Sharpton, champion of justice. Selfless leader of the oppressed. Shining the light of truth upon those who would mislead. A peacemaker, bringing understanding and unity wherever he travels. Yup, none of that is very close to reality!

— 6 —

Jonathan Gruber (a very highly paid consultant to the Obama administration) has explained how Obamacare was passed.

  • “It’s really a tax on people.”
  • “This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO (Congressional Budget Office) did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes the bill dies.”
  • “The healthy people will pay in, the sick people will get money.”
  • “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.”
  • “Call it the stupidity of the American people or whatever…[lack of transparency] was really critical to get it to pass.”

The most honest, transparent presidency in history — well, maybe not so much. No better refutation of that exists than Obamacare. Passed when the president’s party controlled both houses of congress, yet engineered through dishonesty to its core:

— 7 —

There are so many examples of “radical Islam,” that many might believe that is representative of the entire religion of peace. Is moderate Islam a myth?


Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was begun by Jennifer Fulwiler and is now continued by Kelly Mantoan. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Kelly for hosting this project!

Elsewhere: homosexual chastity

Jean Lloyd wrote an interesting piece for The Witherspoon Institute on being a same-sex attracted person. It is a good exploration of 1 person’s struggle, in a culture which encourages or even demands that same-sex attracted people be anything but chaste.

Jean notes that true love is not one in affirming these desires, but one of sharing truth. That is far more difficult and rarely well received. Encouraging people with same-sex attraction to yield to their passions or even being affirming in the name of tolerance is not to have their best interests at heart. Jean says “If unmarried heterosexuals are called to celibacy and are presumed in Christ to have the power to live out His commands, then so should I be. To treat me according to a different standard is to lower my dignity before God. I too am called to be holy.”

You will enjoy this thoughtful and honest piece.

May I make two requests? Love me, but remember that you cannot be more merciful than God. It isn’t mercy to affirm same-sex acts as good. Don’t compromise truth; help me to live in harmony with it.

Over thirty years have passed since same-sex attraction rushed up from deep within my twelve-year-old frame. This attraction was unbidden and unwanted, yet simultaneously forceful and compelling.

As a Christian, the conflict between my sexuality and my faith would become the deepest and most intense of my life. Now in my forties, I’ve gone from being closeted to openly lesbian to celibate to heterosexually married. The fact that I need to qualify my marital union as a heterosexual one reveals how much the cultural landscape has changed in that time—just as much as my own personal landscape has, though in very different ways.

During my upbringing, I heard a few fiery sermons on homosexuality. These days, I hear declarations of love instead. They make me shout for joy. Amen! It always should have been so! At the same time, however, many pastors have begun accompanying this love with an eschewal of Biblical sexual morality as oppressive, unreasonable, or unkind. Hence, loving homosexual persons also comes to entail affirming and encouraging them in same-sex sexual relationships and behaviors.

Although I appreciate the desire to act in love, this isn’t the genuine love that people like me need. Love me better than that! Thomas Aquinas scholar Josef Pieper put it this way:

love is not synonymous with undifferentiated approval of everything the beloved person thinks and does in real life. . . . [nor is it] the wish for the beloved to feel good always and in every situation and for him to be spared experiencing pain or grief in all circumstances. “Mere ‘kindness’ which tolerates anything except [the beloved’s] suffering” has nothing to do with real love. . . . No lover can look on easily when he sees the one he loves preferring convenience to the good.

Loving me with this kind of love is neither quick nor easy. But knowledge and truth can help us both stand against the growing tide of moral capitulation. In light of this, here are seven things I wish you knew about homosexuality.

1. I wish you knew that just because I didn’t choose this orientation, it doesn’t follow that I was “born this way” or that “God created me gay.” While genetics influences these traits, there is not a fixed predetermination. It is not hardwired like eye or skin color.[1] I can look back and understand where it came from in my own life. Of course, others” experiences may be different from mine. But ultimately, the etiology doesn’t matter. Same-sex sexual activity is outside the design and will of the good plan of God. To claim otherwise requires ignoring Scripture, historical Christian authority, and natural law. So I need help in living chastely, regardless of how my same-sex desires came to be.

2. I wish you knew a better way to help me honor my body by living in accord with the Creator’s design. I was born this way: female. God did create me a woman. Please don’t fall into the gnostic dualism that divides my spiritual life from the life I now live in my body. Christ became incarnate; my very body is now part of His body, the temple of the Holy Spirit. To act against its design in same-sex sexual action harms the dignity of my body. For my homosexually attracted brothers, same-sex sex harms their bodies even more because of their physiological design and the physical effects of going against that design. These bodies will be raised again. They matter.

3. I wish you knew that you aren’t helping me follow Jesus either by demanding that my attractions change or by not allowing them to change. No one can promise me that my attractions will change. Jesus certainly didn’t. But don’t deny me that possibility either. (Especially if I’m an adolescent!) Both secular science and human experience attest to sexual fluidity and the potential for change.

The piece continues with 4 more points and some concluding thoughts. Read the entire post: Seven Things I Wish My Pastor Knew About My Homosexuality.

A good related piece on this topic is Msgr. Charles Pope’s Some with Same Sex Attraction Choose Celibacy. He reflects on a recent Washington Post article and a post he wrote last year in which he asked “What does the Catholic Church offer for those with same-sex attraction? The answer is ‘the truth’.” Yes, the same as she offers everyone else!

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