Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Do Muslims and Christians Believe in the Same God and the Same Scriptures?

I wrote the following to Raymond Arroyo, news director of Eternal Word Television Network and author of a best-selling Mother Angelica biography, today:

I'm just wondering if you would consider bringing up some of the points I raised below the next time you talk to a Church leader who teaches that Muslims and Catholics believe in the same God and share the same Scriptures?

Looking at what Muslims actually believe and applying common sense make me think that they aren't following the same God. They believe in one God, sure, but they think we don’t because we believe in the Trinity.

For example, here are some things I learned when I recently met some Muslim evangelists (believe it or not) at the Santa Clara County Fair. I was there to help out at the Pro-Life booth for a few hours, and during a break I wandered over to the Muslim booth, where I got a free Qu'ran and a booklet about the Blessed Virgin Mary. Two young Muslim women and a man came to the Pro-life booth later. I asked one woman if Muslims believe in the Scriptures, and she said that they believe that they were rewritten. If they believe the Scriptures were rewritten, that would necessarily mean that they believe the Old and New Testaments are not true, wouldn’t it?

It is ridiculous to claim that we have a lot in common with Muslims because they are a people of "the book," because if they are a people of the book, that book is not the Bible, it is the Qu'ran. The Qu'ran stories from the Old Testament are in extremely altered form. For example, the Qu'ranic version of Abraham's sacrifice and the story of Ishmael and Isaac are vastly different in the Qu'ran.

If Muslims believed in the Jewish and Catholic Scriptures they would know that the Jews were the Chosen People and that Christ is God's only son.

They instead believe that they are descended from Abraham's son, Ishmael, and that the Hebrew Bible is wrong about God's intention to give salvation to Abraham's descendants through Isaac.

The common canard is that Muslims venerate the Virgin Mary, but they certainly don't believe the child miraculously conceived in her womb was God's Son. I found out from quotes from their Qu'ran that were included in one of their booklets that Mohammed taught that it is a abominable sacrilege to teach that God had a Son. The Qu’ran also teaches that Jesus picked one of His apostles to be transformed to look like Him, so that when Christ was crucified, it was actually the apostle who stood in for Him. So they believe that Jesus wasn’t crucified.

It seems obvious that Mohammedenism is a man-made religion. Luther made up his tenets of faith by accepting and rejecting revelation as it had been taught by the Catholic Church, and Mohammed with a similar kind of hubris did something quite similar. (The Catholic Encyclopedia quotes others who see simliarities between Mohammed and Luther also.) This is just a tip of the iceberg on the disagreements between Muslims and Catholics. It is misleading to state that we are similar, because what they believe is not the truth and what we believe is the truth.

Muslims believe in a religion that was revealed to one man, the prophet Mohammed, and the belief system that he taught contradicts the beliefs of Jews and Catholics. He claims to be a prophet of Allah, who could not be the same God we worship, because the God that we worship did not send salvation through the children of Ishmael and did not send Muhammed as his prophet. The life of this "prophet" is evidence that he was not a holy man. His heaven is an abomination to Christians who see heaven as eternal bliss in the presence of God .. ... Just a few thoughts. From your sister in Christ in San Jose, Roseanne

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Sacred Music; A Letter from Deacon Bill; Latin in Worship

The St. Ann Choir is singing some sterling sacred music at Our Lady of Peace Church off Great America Parkway in Santa Clara this coming Saturday 10/7 at 7:30 p.m. at the monthly First Saturday Tridentine Mass.

One main counter-revolutionary goal of traditionalists among the sacred music community is to return to the singing of the songs of the Mass instead of singing hymns at the Mass. Singing the songs of the Mass is in harmony (no joke) with the act of worship, while singing hymns at Mass is discordant.

Some accounts state that American Catholic Churches have replaced the traditional Latin Mass chants with a Protestantized set of rousing (or depressing as the case may be) hymns to an extent not seen in other countries because the Protestant influence is very great in the US. (This this may be the result of a misinterpretation of ecumenism.) The current Pope is solidly behind a return to the use of sacred chant and other music from the Church's long tradition of worship music (think Mozart Masses, for example) which Vatican II documents call a priceless heritage of the Church.

One of the choir members edits the Santa Clara Weekly and is advertising the choir's performance, and she will write an article afterwards about it. (She is the one who plans to publish an article from me about my lost trip to Prague in November, which also mentions the St. Ann Choir.)

I asked everyone in my email list to come cheer us on (prayerfully and silently of course).

Now for my latest adventure followed by some excerpts from Raymond Arroyo's bio of Mother Angelica that show that the goals of EWTN and the St. Ann choir are quite similar in many ways, with a craving to return to the beautiful and the reverent in the celebration of the Mass.

My latest adventure was actually a letter I got Saturday from Deacon Bill Steltemeier, Chairman of EWTN. When I was at the 25th anniversary celebration in Birmingham I took a photo of him on stage that is cute because he turned the whole fan thing around by taking photos of those of us who were taking photos of the people on the stage.

I met Deacon Bill the first time I went to the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament back in June, and I told him that I was inspired by the fact that I had somehow gotten into Arroyo's World Over Live show as an audience of one the night before, and that I thought that the next thing would be that I would be able to meet Mother Angelica. Deacon Bill told me her health was so poor that she only got out of bed for a few minutes every day, so meeting her was out of the question. Can't trust all inspirations, I guess.

Anyway I sent a photo to Deacon Bill of him with his camera, along with a photo of Raymond Arroyo squeezing my hand and me beaming away, plus the Arroyo interview article I published in San Francisco Faith. I wrote Deacon Bill that I had started watching EWTN after my Israeli pilgrimage last November where I met Fr. Joseph Mary Wolfe. Because he was such a good pure priest, I started watching EWTN Masses to see if I could see more of Fr. Joseph.

Deacon Bill wrote me that when he repeated to Fr. Joseph what I had written about him being such a good pure priest, that Fr. Joseph blushed.

He also said there is only one Raymond Arroyo and that whereever he goes Raymond gets into things. He said that in the photo I sent him of the two of us, I made Raymond look good. Smile.

Here is a Catholic court jester link I found that shows celebrity look-alikes, and Raymond's celebrity look alike is Pee Wee Herman. Dittmann saw the resemblance before I ever chanced upon that website, but I didn't. In his defense, I have to add that Raymond is a much handsomer, vastly more intelligent, charming, and articulate not to mention hysterically funnier version of Pee Wee, always impeccably dressed in a very good suit. When I first met Arroyo after hearing him speak at the EWTN 25th anniversary in San Francisco, I said, "Did anyone ever tell you you're a riot?" He said, "Well, I"ve started a few."]

Deacon Bill also said that if I come back to Huntsville and get back to the shrine I should say hi to him. And he sent me two mini-books
written by Mother Angelica. One of them called The Healing Power of Suffering is grabbing my attention and working on my heart.

Deacon Bill said his wife and he both enjoyed the picture of him with the camera. He added, "Keep up the good work." And then he added to his official signature "Love, Bill" with a smiley face.

Ain't that cute?

Love, Roseanne :-)

PS. One tie-in with what St. Ann choir is trying to do is that at EWTN, the ordinary (repeated) parts of the Mass are sung in Latin chant [except of course the Kyrie Eleison (Lord Have Mercy)--which is in Greek]. You may be interested in the following, which describes some misunderstandings about the actual intention of the Second Vatican Council as regards the Latin Mass, the use of chant, and which direction the priest is supposed to face, which were illustrated by Mother Angelica's struggles with the National Council of Catholic Bishops (NCCB), as detailed in Raymond Arroyo's NY TImes bestselling bio of Mother Angelica.

At EWTN's chapel they sing the Gloria (Glory to God), the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy), Agnus Dei (Lamb of God), Pater Noster (Our Father) in Latin. According to Arroyo's book, Mother Angelica turned to Latin because she was distressed at the changes in the English translations that the American bishops were promoting in the early 90s. FIrst she set some of her nuns to reviewing the documents of Vatican II. "The nuns discovered that the Second Vatican Council had never intended a wholesale abandonment of Latin in the new Mass. Quite the contrary, the official council and papal documents encouraged the retention of Latin and use of Gregorian chant in the renewed Liturgy. . . .

"Though the Monastery [while it was still located in Birmingham before it moved to Hanceville] celebrated the new Mass of Vatican II, the priest with his back to the people, the sounds of the service, and the old devotions were often mistaken as a throwback to a bygone era. In point of fact, it was much closer to the renewal foreseen by the Second Vatican Council--and it was beaming into nearly every diocese in America."

On the topic of the priest facing away from the people (ad orientem) the book details a momentous struggle between Mother Angelica and Bishop Foley of Birmingham in concert with the 'National Council of Catholic Bishops (NCCB). The NCCB was up in arms over Mother's choice to have the friars say the Mass facing away from the people. Bishop Foley issued a decree banning ad orientem Masses as "'an illicit innovation or sacrilege' of the priest turning his back to the people," but Mother Angelica eventually won her struggle because Cardinal Ratzinger was on the same side.

"Cardinal Ratzinger had long espoused the virtues of the ad orientem priestly posture, saluting its theological emphasis--principally the unified orientation of the priest and the people offering sacrifice to God rather than to one another." A fax came from the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments ruling against Bishop Foley's decree of prohibition.

Bishop Foley and his cohorts lost that battle, but the bishop got in another lick. When Mother Angelica dedicated her new 55 million dollar Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville with its golden fixed altar, centrally located gold tabernacle, massive gold altarpiece (reredos), and eight foot monstrance of gold and precious stones, the bishop couldn't ban ad orientem Masses, but he could and did ban televising them. Mother Angelica dug in her heels, and no Masses have ever been broadcast from the new Shrine, because all Masses at the Shrine are always said by the priest in the ad orientem posture.

Meanwhile, EWTN beams Masses from the original much-humbler chapel in Birmingham adjacent to the TV station 75 miles away in Birmingham, and there the Mass is sung mostly in Latin chant with the exception of the homily, readings, and some prayers, but with the priest facing the people.

I think it's important to note that the Vatican sent Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, to preside at the Mass and join the final EWTN 25th anniversary celebration that was held in Birmingham. Bishop Foley came too. The Mass was said facing the congregation.

Pope St. Pius V's, G.K. Chesterton's and Benedict XVI's Lepanto, With a Little Serendipity Thrown In At the End

As I prepared to sing Latin chant and polyphony at the St. Ann Choir at Our Lady of Peace Church at 7:30 this evening on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, I was drawn to do some googling to find out more about the Catholic victory at the Battle of Lepanto that is celebrated today.

As some of you know, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was instituted by Pope St. Pius V after the victory of Catholic forces over the Turkish Muslims in the Gulf of Lepanto (Gulf of Corinth) Greece in 1571.

A National Catholic Register article on 9/26/2006 referred to the current disturbances with Muslims after the Pope's remarks in Bavaria as "Benedict's Lepanto." I don't know yet whether I agree about the parallels drawn in the article, but it's an interesting thesis. The writer said that the current Pope is using another type of weaponry in the current conflict, that of dialogue on faith and reason.

Quote: "For [Benedict], dialogue means telling the truth in love, no matter what the consequence – even when it infuriates." []

Hmm ...

Back to October 7, 1571: It is said that the sainted Pope St. Pius V learned immediately about the Lepanto victory by supernatural means. A rousing account of the significance and history of the battle from includes this passage of what happened after the victory:

Quote: "Don Juan [of Austria, Philip II's illegitimate half brother] at once sent ten galleys to Spain to inform the King, and dispatched the Count of Priego to Rome. But Pius V had speedier means of communication than galleys. On the afternoon of Sunday, October seventh, he was walking in the Vatican with his treasurer, Donata Cesis. The evening before he had sent out orders to all convents in Rome and nearby to double their prayers for the Victory of the Christian fleet, but now he was listening to a recital of some of his financial difficulties. Suddenly he stepped aside, opened a
window, and stood watching the sky as if astonished. Then, turning with a radiant face to the treasurer, he said,
`Go with God. This is not the time for business, but to give thanks to Jesus Christ, for our fleet has conquered.'"

The Muslim Turks had been on a wave of conquest for centuries. The last holdout city on the island of Cypress had recently fallen. As G.K. Chesterton wrote in his poem about the battle, Venice was threatened. Some say the battle of Lepanto helped turn the tide of conquest and save the Christian world from total dominance by the Muslim Turks.

You can read the quite stirring Chesterton poem at:

We Catholics believe that Our Lady of the Rosary's powerful intercession helped save the day. Interesting enough, the general's ship had two banners one with Christ Crucified on it and other with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Miguel Cervantes author of Don Quixote fought in that battle and spent five years afterwards in a Barbary coast prison. How about the following for colorful language and gritty details?

Quote: "1571 Cervantes participates in the Spanish naval victory at Lepanto, against the Turks, under the command of don Juan of Austria. Cervantes loses the use of his left hand, for which he becomes known as "the Gimp of Lepanto." (This is politically incorrect language and you won't get such a candid translation of "El Manco de Lepanto" at Wikipedia. I think, however, that out of respect for Cervantes and naval warfare, my final translation would be, "The Lost Hand of Lepanto.")

"1575-1580 Cervantes is held prisoner in Algiers by Barbary pirates for five years. He tries to escape four times. Cervantes' ransom is super-steep because, upon capture, he carried letters of recommendation from don Juan of Austria. This led the presumptuous and greedy (and no-doubt smelly) pirates to believe that Cervantes was a man of high birth and, like John McCain when he was shot down over North Vietnam, a real "catch."

Totally by accident, as I was about to send the above in an email, I somehow double- clicked an old message from October 16, 2000! in my inbox that is about this very topic. This is too much serendipity for me to handle. Honest. Read it and see!

Subject: The Rosary: A Cherished Prayer
Date: October 16, 2000 7:28:19 AM PDT

The Rosary: A Cherished Prayer

By Father William Saunders

My Protestant friend was asking me about the Rosary — where it came from and what it means. Could you help me so I can tell her? — A reader in Haymarket

The Rosary is one of the most cherished prayers of our Catholic Church. Introduced by the Creed, the Our Father, three Hail Mary's and the Doxology ("Glory Be"), and concluded with the Salve Regina, the Rosary involves the recitation of five decades consisting of the Our Father, 10 Hail Mary's, and the Doxology. During this recitation, the individual meditates on the saving
mysteries of our Lord's life and the faithful witness of our Blessed Mother. Journeying through the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious mysteries of the Rosary, the individual brings to mind our Lord's incarnation, His passion and death, and His resurrection from the dead. In so doing, the Rosary assists us in growing in a deeper appreciation of these mysteries, in uniting our life more closely to our Lord, and in imploring His graced assistance to live the faith. We also ask for the prayers of our Blessed Mother, the exemplar of faith, who leads all believers to her Son.

The origins of the Rosary are "sketchy" at best. The use of "prayer beads" and the repeated recitation of prayers to aid in meditation stem from the earliest days of the Church and has roots even in pre-Christian times. Evidence exists from the Middles Ages that strings of beads were used to help a person count the number of Our Fathers or Hail Marys recited. Actually, these strings of beads became known as "Paternosters," the Latin for "Our Father."

The structure of the Rosary gradually evolved between the 12th and 15thcenturies. Eventually 50 Hail Marys were recited and were linked with verses of psalms or other phrases evoking the lives of Jesus and Mary. During this time, this prayer form became known as the rosarium ("rose garden"), actually a common term used to designate a collection of similar material, such as an anthology of stories on the same subject or theme. Finally, during the 16th century, the structure of the five decade Rosary based on the three sets of mysteries prevailed.

Tradition does hold that St. Dominic (d. 1221) devised the Rosary as we know it. Moved by a vision of our Blessed Mother, he preached the use of the Rosary in his missionary work among the Albigensians, who had denied the mystery of Christ. Some scholars take exception to St. Dominic's actual role in forming the Rosary since the earliest accounts of his life do not mention it, the Dominican constitutions do not link him with it, and contemporaneous paintings of St. Dominic do not include it as a symbol to identify the saint.

In 1922, Dom Louis Gougaud stated, "The various elements which enter into the composition of that Catholic devotion commonly called the Rosary are the product of a long and gradual development which began before St. Dominic's time, which continued without his having any share in it, and which only mattained its final shape several centuries after his death." However, other scholars would rebut that St. Dominic not so much "invented" the Rosary as he preached its use to convert sinners and those who had strayed from the faith. Moreover, at least a dozen popes have mentioned St. Dominic's connection with the Rosary in various papal pronouncements, sanctioning his role as at least a "pious belief."

The Rosary gained greater popularity in the 1500s. At this time, the Moslem Turks were ravaging eastern Europe. Recall that in 1453, Constantinople had fallen to the Moslems, leaving the Balkans and Hungary open to conquest. With Moslems raiding even the coast of Italy, the control of the Mediterranean was now at stake. In 1571, Pope Pius V organized a fleet under the command of Don Juan of Austria, the half-brother of King Philip II of Spain. While preparations were underway, the Holy Father asked all of the faithful to say the Rosary and implore our blessed Mother's prayers, under the title Our Lady of Victory, that our Lord would grant victory to the Christians. Although the Moslem fleet outnumbered that of the Christians in both vessels and sailors, the forces were ready to meet in battle. The Christian flagship flew a blue banner depicting Christ crucified. On October 7, 1571, the Moslems were defeated at the Battle of Lepanto. The following year, Pope St. Pius V in thanksgiving established the Feast of the Holy Rosary on October 7 where the faithful would not only remember this victory, but also continue give thanks to the Lord for all of His benefits and remember the powerful intercession of our Blessed Mother.

Mindful of the action of Pope Pius V, our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, in an Angelus address given in October, 1983, stated, "The Rosary also takes on fresh perspectives and is charged with stronger and vaster intentions than in the past. It is not a question now of asking for great victories, as at Lepanto and Vienna, rather it is a question of asking Mary to provide us with valorous fighters against the spirit of error and evil, with the arms of the Gospel, that is, the Cross and God's Word. The Rosary prayer is man's prayer for man. It is the prayer of human solidarity, the collegial prayer of the redeemed, reflecting the spirit and intent of the first of the redeemed, Mary, Mother and Image of the Church. It is a prayer for all the people of the world and of history, living and dead, called to be the Body of Christ with us and to become heirs together with Him of the glory of the Father."

The fact that our Church continues to include the Feast of the Holy Rosary on the liturgical calendar testifies to the importance and goodness of this form of prayer. Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, "The Rosary is the book of the
blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next. The power of the Rosary is beyond description."

- Fr. Saunders is dean of the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College in Alexandria and pastor of Our Lady of Hope Parish in Potomac Falls.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

My trip to Prague: Terminated at the Munich terminal

One version of the story of my trip to Prague could be called Terminal II: Munich. Or maybe Terminated at Munich.

The St. Ann choir was on its way to Prague to the St. Wenceslaus (Vaclav) International Music Festival. About 10 of us choir members flew together that night, leaving San Francisco airport (SFO) at around 10 p.m. on Sept. 14. We got off the plane at around 6 pm München time the next day, about an hour after the flight attendants had fed us breakfast. Some of us went off for a beer (my first introduction to breakfast beer), and then we stood up to leave the bar I started gathering my stuff. Our director Professor Mahrt had already walked ahead with a few of the other altos, but Erick and Stewart, bass and tenor, were with me when I realized I didn't have my passport.

One version of the story of my trip to Prague could be called Terminal II: Munich. Or maybe "Terminated at Munich." Octoberfest was going on in the city while I was detained in the airport for 16 hours, but because I lost my passport I couldn't go forward to Prague, backward to San Jose, or out the doors to enjoy the Octoberfest festivities. (One of the bits of German trivia I learned was that Octoberfest actually starts mid Sept. and ends the first weekend in October.)

I can't recall whether I saw my little black bag I used for "airport necessities" after I left a post-security Sushi restaurant called Tomokaz at SFO and went to the boarding gate on Thursday Sept. 14 around 9 p.m. for the flight from San Francisco to Munich.

After I realized my bag was gone, Erick and Stewart stayed with me at Lufthansa Customer Service (LCS ) counter until they were in danger of missing the flight too. That meant a lot to me. But I didn't have to go through it alone even after Stewart and Erick left. The Customer Service employees and even a Border policeman were kind and took care of me in lots of little ways.

When I told the clerks that my passport was missing, a blonde clerk, Ruth from Scandanavia, took my boarding pass (which I released relunctantly) and arranged to get my bags taken off the Prague flight. They reassured me: "We'll send you on the next plane when we find your passport. " I told them we were supposed to sing the next day, Saturday. What time? The rehearsal is at 10 a.m. "We'll put you on the 7 a.m. flight. We'll give you blankets and cushions (pillows). You'll have to sleep here. You cannot go to a hotel here without your passport."

Not only my passport, but a credit card, a new expensive Razr cell phone, my driver's license and $40 were together in that missing bag.

While we were flying to Munich, some of my stuff had rolled out of my backpack under my seat and drifted out of my row. Someone found my electrical adapter in the row behind where I was sitting, and someone else unceremoniously threw one of my shoes over the back of my chair when we were disembarking while I was wondering what happened to the shoe. If I still had the bag when I got on the plane, the bag could have migrated back behind my row also.

I had planned to write some articles about the trip. I had sold one article idea already to the National Catholic Register; the editor said I could write about one of the churches, and I planned to write about Carmelite Monastery where the Infant of Prague statue resides. But now, of course, I cannot write about Prague at all.

After being a virtual prisoner in the airport for 16 hours, I feel qualified to write a definitive article about Munich (Munchen) airport as a travel destination.

Back to the terminal: LCS told me that nobody could go back on the plane I had just left to look for the bag because it had been over an hour since we had landed. They started calling the only number they had for lost items, a department they referred to as "Cabin Lost."

I've got to tell you an odd thing I realized after one of the Customer Service employees told me that without a passport I couldn't go anywhere and that the only thing that could be done with the copy of the passport I had in my luggage would be to send me home. If I didn't have that copy of my passport in my luggage, they told me I would have had to sleep in the airport from Friday until Monday when the American consulate would open again. I was, naturally, unhappy, at the news. Then I prayed Daytime Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours while they continued trying to figure out what to do with me, and I remembered this:

Last week, I had started to have a feeling II shouldn't go on the trip. I told God that if He didn't want me to go that He should prevent me.

A lot of people's reaction to that kind of story, is "You've got to be careful what you ask for."

The next morning after the choir went on to Prague without me, while I was eating breakfast after sleeping across a set of waiting area seats, I told the waitress that I was surprised so many people at the Weiner Kaffee restaurant were having beer, only beer, for breakfast . "In Germany, this is normal."

Did you know that the German name for Munich is München, derived from Munichen, named after a settlement of Benedictine monks next to which the village was built? Munchen is in Bavaria where the Pope is from. I wonder if that Benedictine monastery has anything to do with the Pope's choice of Benedict for his papal name.

More trivia: The coat of arms of the city has a little monk on it. The monk is called the "little child of Munchen." This name Münchner Kindl might be the source of the name for the Munchkins. 

The Bavarian people are veru nice. At least the ones that work at the airport.

A border policeman had to escort me out of the transit area to the baggage area to get the copy of my passport out of my luggage, because I couldn't go into Munich unescorted and when you are in the baggage area you are in Munich. I didn't have my wits about me enough to grab anything except a change of socks and my toothbrush and some toothpaste. So I wore the same clothes for three days.

The guard reminded me that I should not take anything out of my luggage that the security people wouldn't allow me to bring on the plane the next day. Oh no, I can't take my makeup. You don't need makeup,, he said gallantly.. He was a wonderful guy, told me some things about his life and about his two small children. He also told me I should never lose my smile. I told him about how I remembered that I had a feeling I shouldn't go and what I had prayed. He didn't say anything then, but before he shook my hand and left me in the almost empty airport after about an hour, he told me he is from the area that the Pope is from. 250,000 people were there. to see him. "I was one of them." he said proudly. It gave me chills to stand there in the airport so far away from home and find another Catholic who loves the Pope like I do, one with a good heart, in a Border policeman's uniform.

He came back later after his shift was over when I was at another Customer Service desk. The clerks let me use the phone to call the choir in Prague, and they left a phone on for me to use when they left at 11 p.m. The guard was dressed in his jacket and said he would be falling asleep during his hour-long commute home, but that luckily someone else was driving. The customer service people told me they'd give me blankets and "cushions" (that is pillows), and they did, and they left me a big bottle of water and cup. I called the US Embassy in Berlin and the Munich consolate general and both places told me that the only way I could get an emergency passport would be to get to the consolate on Monday, but neither person had any suggestions about how I could get there since the Border police wouldn't let me out of the airport without the passport.

On Tuesday, Lufthansa Lost Luggage department called me from Munich to tell me that my bag was found. Someone had forwarded it to Prague, but it had come back. They sent it back as baggage to SFO and I'll pick it up tomorrow when I go to meet the choir coming back on the plane. I am very happy I don't have to replace my cell phone and driver's license that I had in the bag. I already cancelled the credit card. They had to hand my passport over to the American consulate.. When I called the consulate to find out what they would do with the passport, the official told me that the duty officer at the consulate should have been able to get me an emergency passport that night. What happened to me was a combination of mixups and bad information. He asked me to write down my experiences and that he would look into why the duty officer didn't help me when i called.

From Prague, Susan Weinstein sent me email to say that the poster I did announcing where our choir was singing was up all around Prague. So at least I was there in spirit.

I have to say that my impression of Bavarians is very good from the kindness with which I was treated. But I do wish the outcome could have been different.

I had been studying Czech every spare minute for a couple of months, but the only words I got to use were "Prossim" (Please) and "Dekuji" (Thank you), when leaving a message for the choir director in the hotel in Prague from the LCS counter in Munich.

Every time I explained my fix to the Lufthansa Customer Service people, the clerks kept saying "Like the movie Terminal!" I had seen the movie before, but had forgotten everything except the premise and the names of the stars, so I rented it on the way home from the airport. Yes it is possible to be stuck in international transit area of an airport and to be facing the possibility that you may never get to leave. Life emulates fiction once again, as I know again from personal experience.

When I told Regina, Dave Dittmann's wife, that my bag had gone to Prague, I said, "I wonder if it sang while it was there." She said, "Yes it did" and what it sang was "Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah! I got to go to Prague but you didn't!" :-)

On Sep 16, 2006, at 9:46 PM, susan weisberg wrote from an Internet connection in Prague (I presume):

My dear Roseanne:
I am so so sorry about your sudden and unexpected departure. All of us are extremely disappointed about what happened and I was so looking forward to getting to know you better during this tour! Believe me-- you are missed. Hope that you got home safe and sound and that you have recovered your passport. Immigration can be so mean. My daughter was deported from London 5 years ago and she still has a few remnants of PTSD from that experience. Of course, it was a complete
misunderstanding,but these border people are completely inflexible. Anyhow take good care, and see you when we return.
Again, thinking of you Susan

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Rose Marie we love you. All the girls I've loved before.

The pregnancy had started as a source of hope for Patricia and Joe after years of many losses, and they were hopeful that this time they would have the child they long for.

Last year, Patricia's mother, Marian, had told me that Patricia and her husband, Joe, had lost four babies without one surviving child. Patricia and Joe's last baby had anacephaly, a condition where the baby has a brain stem, but no brain. Like most babies with the same condition, the baby had died soon after leaving her mother's womb. Then Marian died last October from cancer, and Patricia conceived again the same month.

I had been happy to run into Patricia at Our Lady of Peace Church one day at noon Mass when she was about three months pregnant. Patricia believed that this pregnancy was her mother Marian's sending her a rose from heaven, as St. Therese is said to do.

And then one sad day about three weeks later, I ran into Patricia again, this time with her brother Jim Fahey outside of church. Jim reached down from his 6 ft 4 in height and hugged me, and after a pause, I put my hand on Patricia's shoulder and asked how she was. When Jim shot a look at Patricia, I knew something was up. Patricia told me slowly that she had just found out that this child she was carrying too had the same diagnosis as the last baby. She had called Jim right away and they had gone together to see Fr. Paul, priest of the IVE order that runs the parish, and they had just came out from talking to him when I saw them.

I told her I would put her on my prayer list. Jim quipped, "She's putting you on her list." I looked at him in a friendly jibing way, "You're already on it." Patricia said, "How are you?" I said, "My company just got acquired by a company from Alabama." Jim said, "That means you can afford to take us to lunch." "It means I might not have a job. I would love to take you to lunch. But I have to get back to work."

As infirmarian, I let everyone in my group of secular Carmelites know about the family's needs. I hoped for a miracle or a misdiagnosis. But neither came true.

On June 15, Rose Marie Brower was born and died within perhaps a half hour.

On Saturday, June 24, Rose Marie's funeral was followed by a reception at the house that Jim and Patricia's parents owned and where Jim still frequently stays, at the top of a Fremont hill, in a gated community called Ponderosa Estates.

The funeral Mass started at 10:30 and the reception after the burial went on (for the die-hards at least) until about 12 hours later, largely because Jim started bringing out some of his best wines. (Marian told me that Jim studied wines enough so he could be a sommelier. He lived in France for some time, but I don't know where he got his training.)

Jim told us guests that one variety he had, a 1971 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon from Santa Cruz, won a blind taste test as the best wine in the world. I later found corraboration of this award at Wikipedia. A 1976 tasting in Paris had surprised everyone by giving top honors to CA wines. (It is referred to as the Judgement of Paris, evoking the famous myth of the mortal Paris's choice of the most beautiful goddess that led to the start of the Trojan War.) Then in a recap in 2006 of the blind wine tasting event, "Judges on both continents gave top honours to a 1971 Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet." Jim said he paid $100 for the large bottle he had, but after the contest, who knows what it was worth?

"The original tasting gave Californian producers a huge boost of confidence, and America is now the fourth-largest wine producer in the world.

“Not only did that tasting change people’s perception of New World wines for ever, it sparked an exchange of ideas that heralded a new golden age of wine drinking...”,,13509-2196445,00.html

Father Christopher, OCD, had said the funeral Mass and had stayed around long enough to sip a glass of the winner of the "Judgement of Paris" wine tasting. He sat with me and Anita, another OCDS, a pretty blond woman about 30, to whom he gives spiritual direction. Fr, Christopher told us that Thurs. at 5 a.m., he'd be leaving San Jose to take a new position at the new Carmelite House of Studies in Angel, Oregon. He was a great teacher for our lay Carmelite group. I told him he is the Charlie Parker of homilies and spiritual talks. He lays down a theme and improvises on it. He liked the comparison.

After the Ridge Cabernet was gone, and Father Christopher and Anita and others in a first wave of departing guests said goodbye, Jim announced he had some Chateauneuf du Pape wines, and I said I wanted to taste them. So it came about that Jim started a wine tasting comparison between two varieties of Chateauneuf Du Pape and a California Syrah. (Just for the record, when the bottles were empty, everyone but Jim preferred the Syrah.)

At one point Jim broke into singing "Of all the girls I loved before." Then he caught himself. "That's not a good song . . . '' he said as he went off to get another bottle of wine.

After the wine comparison was over, the group of people including the mother and daughter at my table left.

I sat by myself at the empty table for a few minutes, then Jim came back from saying goodbyes and told me that if I didn't feel up to driving I could take a nap or sleeep at the house. He said I'll be right back, and then came back with a plate of food and sat with me. We talked for a while by ourselves in the growing dusk at the table at the edge of the lawn, while everyone else who was still at the house was clustered at a table on the patio next to the house.

He told me he held the baby before it died. He'd heard, as I have also heard, that the top of the head doesn't close over so it's an open wound. But he didn't see it. By the time he came in the room, she was wearing a little hat.

A nurse had baptized the baby as it was coming out of the womb.

Jim went on to say he'd had some trouble getting a priest to do the baptism. Fr. Paul had told Jim to ask the priest chaplain at the the hospital, but when the priest arrived, he was not in clerical garb, he seemed awfully full of himself, and like many liberal priests, this one was eager to tell the family how the old beliefs no longer apply. This priest told Jim "You don't need baptism, you know." Jim retorted, "God can do anything, you are right. But why not use the sacrament that He gave?" At that point the baby wasn't born yet. Either because the priest didn't think it was worth staying around to baptize the baby or for some other reason, the priest left after saying a prayer.

Jim then had called an IVE priest from another local Church, and the newcomer came, dressed in clerical garb, baptized the baby without drawing an undue amount of attention to himself, and quietly left.

We talked about other things. Jim told me some of his thoughts about marriage. He had recently turned 36, two months before my son reached the same age. He said he used to think he had to get married. But, he said, he is fulfilled the way things are. He loves to travel, goes to Italy every year and other places (like the Israel pilgrimage.) I said that I think the way people used to do things was better. At a certain age, you would pick someone out of the available choices, marrry, then work things out together. He shook his head, apparently not agreeing. .

I asked him how he enjoyed his last week's vacation in WIsconsin at an uncle's place with his sister Kathleen's big family of small children. Do you have the patience for kids? He said, Yes. But I'm not going to be Mr. Mom. I said some women want that. From my point of view, I told him that I don't like the way that so many women in second marriages end up supporting the new husband, who wants her to stay in her good corporate job so he can fulfull himself.

Patricia came by twice offering plates of leftovers the caterer had left behind from the funeral lunch. First time, I said, Patricia, we were just talking about whether marriage is worth it. (Even though I really don't have any doubts.) Oh yes, she said emphatically. "It is worth it."

The next time Patrician came by with a plate of brownies, I said, "I'm just trying to get sobered up enough to drive home. Not that your brother isn't a charming conversationalist . . .."

Mostly Joe's family was left. I went inside to sit in one of Marian's recliners while Joe's mother in law talked to me. Jim came downstairs fresh from a shower dressed in sweat shirt and jeans and told me again I could nap or stay the night, so I followed him upstairs to a spare bedroom. After I lay down, I dozed and tossed and got up and got Advil and fought a headache. After I felt able to drive, after the sounds of people leaving had ceased, and the lights in the house were out around midnight. I could hear Jim breathing in his sleep through his bedroom door as I tiptoed out of my room.

Monday, June 26, 2006

My interview article with Raymond Arroyo is now online

FYI: The article I wrote about an interview I did with Raymond Arroyo in March was just published in San Francisco Faith newspaper. Check it out!

National Catholic Register asked for the article when I pitched it to them, but then NCR they held on to the article so long I withdrew it and sent it to SF Faith. SF Faith changed wording on me in some places (for example, I would never use the word tragedy about someone's personal misfortune, or even, as was true in this case, the loss of a city; it's prejudging the seriousness of the thing you are describing. It's better to show than to tell . ..

Here's the link:

If you cannot get to the link, let me know and I'll send you the text in an email.

Dives and Lazarus: Illegal Immigrants and the Golden Rule

A few weeks ago I sat in an ETWN studio watching while Raymond Arroyo interviewed Bishop Wenski remotely from Orlando. The bishop spoke about the National Council of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) position on illegal immigrants. What they said got me thinking.

Arroyo showed a clip from an interview he did with Pat Buchanan about the topic in which Buchanan said "these people are illegal and they are taking over our country."

Arroyo proposed to the bishop that there are legal ways for people to come and make a better life, witness his father who had come over from Spain, legally, and who learned the language and made a better life for his family. Wenski said the same thing was true for his father, who came from Poland.

But, the bishop said, the immigrants referred to by Buchanan as "these people" should not be negatively labeled by being called "illegals." "These people," he said, "are Christ."

This of course is a reminder of what Jesus said, that whatever we do to the least of our brethren, we do to Him.

I've been thinking hard about that. A current debate on my Northside San Jose neighborhood news group about the topic helped crystallize my thoughts.

Those who are saying they aren't against immigrants, but are only against illegal immigrants have a good point. It is wrong to break the law. And I think people who talk about a nation's right to defend its borders have another good point.

But something has been nagging me about the morality of how we are treating people who are willing to risk their lives to come here and make a better life for themselves and their families. Maybe the law should be changed, drastically, as one of my neighbors threw out: Open wide the borders. Why are we keeping our neighbors out? she wrote.

I propose that us Christians should think about the rightness of this idea. Let's help our neighbors in need. We shouldn't risk ending up like Dives, who wouldn't help the beggar Lazarus outside his door.

Situations must be horribly hard for people to be willing to risk their lives, cross deserts, ford rivers, sneak into unventilated vans risking suffocation, and pay coyotes to bring them here, where they then have to bike to work to work serving people who are often prejudiced against them and to work for employers who often exploit their fear of deportation.

Taxes are deducted from their salaries, but they cannot get tax refunds or earned income credits because they are here illegally. Access to health care is often denied. Most social services are not given to people who aren't here legally.

How desparate a situation most of them must be in the countries they come from to make them think this is preferable?

This time I think the bishops have got it right. They are for amnesty and guest worker programs and help for the newcomers.

So now I have to invoke the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

We are supposed to love our neighbors. These desparate people fleeing terrible poverty are our neighbors. Let us love them and welcome them and pay them a living wage when they do work for us. Let them sit at the table with us instead of risking getting kicked while they are trying to eat the crumbs that fall on the floor.

So to me there are two conflicting world views here: the right of a nation to defend its borders against the requirement that the Christian live in radical obedience to Christ's teaching to love our neighbors. In doing so, we love Him.

I remember one evangelical woman lecturer kept talking about how Christians live in "Opposite World." Whatever the world thinks is wrong if it contradicts the Gospel--which it usually does.

What do you think?

Nice talking with you, neighbors.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

More about Father Joe's Bad Teachings to Tony Hendra

(See an earlier postting called "Tony Hendra's Past Scandals" that is this piece is good background for)

From October 30, 2004

I have noticed a trend in the literary world in the past decades: in the rare cases when a Catholic is portrayed sympathetically, that person is someone who diverges from Catholic teachings on sexual morality in either opinion or practice.

In Fr. Joe: The Man Who Saved My Soul, Fr. Joe is portrayed as a hugely sympathetic character who befriended Tony Hendra, and as Tony found out after the priest's death, befriended many other people also, including--how did that first meeting ever happen?--Princess Diana.

Fr. Joe is shown as a hero because he always gave Hendra a huge dose of what the writer perceives as the benevolent love of God. In face of rave reviews on the book's cover from prominent "Catholics" who are mostly estranged and who mostly don't give a fig about authentic Church doctrine, such as former Catholic Frank McCourt (author of Angela's Ashes), and Andrew Sullivan who is a homosexual who is touted as "Catholic" commentator for the New York Times Review of Books, I decided I would like to write a review that addressed Fr. Joe's and Hendra's decidedly unorthodox views on what it means to save a person's soul.

And then I was temporarily derailed. I went to the Internet and found what almost everyone but me knew already, that in August 2004, Hendra was accused by his daughter, Jessica, of having molested her sexually. Subsequently I found that an old piece of Hendra's writing has surfaced from September 1971 issue of the _National Lampoon_ called "How to Cook Your Daughter." Matt Haber in an article in the Village Voice ( called Hendra's piece a satire that could best be described as Jonathan Swift meets Humbert Humbert.

I read it and I have to say that Jessica's accusations gained much credibility in light of how "How to Cook Your Daughter" nails Hendra in his own words as someone unabashedly with incest on his mind.

How could this be?

Hendra met Fr. Joe when as a 14 year old he was brought to Fr. Joe's monastery by a man who had been teaching Tony Catholic doctrine and who had caught Tony in a compromising situation with his own wife. As many other reviewers have repeated as if it was to Fr. Joe's eternal credit, Fr. Joe told Tony that he had not sinned, except for being selfish. And in fact, according to Fr. Joe, "the only sin was selfishness."

That phrase identifies my real objection to the book: even though Fr. Joe's opinions contradict the teachings of the Catholic Church about sexuality, he is portrayed as practically a saint.

Contrary to how most people in the Western world seem to view things these day, I and others who share my beliefs see the Church's teachings on the purpose of sexuality and its rules as liberating. We understand the need for rules.

Parents know vastly more than their young children are able to grasp because of their youth and inexperience. Loving parents protect their children and help them flourish by teaching and enforcing rules to live by, God, we know, is a perfectly loving parent who gave His people during the time of the Old Testament a set of commandments as a gift to guide them and help them live fully human lives.

We also believe as the New Testament teaches (Colossians 1:18) Christ is the head of the Church, which is His Body on earth, and made up of all of its members. We believe that Christ's Holy Spirit lives in His Church, and guides its teachings. Believing also that God designed human sex for both union and procreation, we understand that we can be truly fulfilled and made whole only when we live within God's design. We know that the Church teachings about these things don't mean that the Church hates sex. We just know that sex out of its proper place harms individuals, families, the community, and the world. And if we hate anything we hate the harm it causes when people use sex outside of the divine plan, and we hate when people are taught incorrectly and led to their harm.

Controlling sexual expression takes discipline, which is painful, but it leads to people living healthier lives. Our former Pope, John Paul II, had written and spoken extensively to explain the Church's teachings on these matters, while Fr. Joe and others like him within the Church have been trying to explain them away. (See _The Theology of the Body According to John Paul II: Human Love in the Divine Plan_ and _Theology of the Body Explained_ by Christopher West. Both books are available at )

Following are some quotes from Fr. Joe in Hendra's book with some comments interspersed: "Sex is a wonderful gift, a physical way to express the most powerful force in all existence -- love. Sex is a brilliant idea of God's, I think. Almost like a sacrament." "Sex is a sacrament?" "D-d-don't tell the Abbot!"

Actually, that notion of Fr. Joe's is completely far off from what the Church teaches. Marital sex is a gift. A sacrament is a sign. As a sacrament, marriage symbolizes the union of Christ and the Church (see Eph 5:31-32).

Unlike what Fr. Joe told Tony Hendra, Pope John Paul II affirmed that sex is only psychologically, spiritually, and physically fulfilling when it is practiced between a faithful and committed man and woman within marriage and only when it is open to life.

As an aside, I want to tell you something I observed when I was a young woman in the 60s when the "sexual revolution" was moving into full gear. Every woman I asked who had a "relationship" in which there was no commitment told me she had never had an orgasm. Hmm, I thought, so much for the joys of liberated sex.

People like Playboy's Hugh Hefner promoted the philosophy of sex without commitment because by "freeing" women from the biological connection between sex and reproduction and from the societal connection between sex and marriage, that philosophy made women available for men to use them and to otherwise behave in a totally selfish manner.

Married sexual expression without contraception is a gift between the partners. Pope John Paul II taught that it mirrors the free, total, faithful, fruitful love between the three Persons of the Trinity. And at the same time it is a mystery that expresses on this earth the total gift of Jesus' gift of His Body to us. Jesus gives Himself to His bride the Church, which is a mystical body. The Bible says in several places that marriage between man and woman is a mystery that proclaims the self-giving love of Christ for His Bride the Church.

Here is some more of the conversation between Fr. Joe and Hendra. Hendra replied: "There's no sin in having sex?" "Yes yes yes. There can be. But sex is a sin less often than we're led to believe. It's all a question of context. If you have sex to hurt or exploit another, or to take pleasure only for me, me, me, and not return as much or more to your lover . . . then it becomes sinful. . . . They've made sexual sins the worst sins of the lot, haven't they? Because sex is so powerful, people are fearful of it! We must take the fear out of sex as well."

Fr. Joe, while speaking as a representative of the Catholic Church, a spiritual director and a Benedictine monk, obviously had not bought into the Church's teachings, and even in 1955 when the first conversation occurred, had a 1960s attitude of paranoia and mistrust about the sources of the Church's teachings about sex. "They've" created these prohibitions because they are "fearful" posits Fr. Joe. Phooey, says I.

Audience of One for the World Over Live Show and Other Adventures in Alabama

Friday night June 2, 2006, I drove to Eternal World Television Network (EWTN) in Birmingham from 70 miles north in Huntsville, through heavy rain and thunderstorms part of the way.

Huntsville is where NASA builds space shuttles and then flies them to their launch locations piggy backed on a big jet.

Alabama starts getting prettier with rolling hills once you get south of Huntsville, which is comparatively nondescript. I was in Huntsville for training by the company that bought the Fremont CA company I worked for, so I stayed the weekend to visit EWTN and the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament.

The ordinariness of the EWTN grounds -- where the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word live and where the cloistered Poor Clare nuns of Perpetual Adoration that started the station under Mother Angelica used to live -- is an interesting contrast to the immense reach the station has.

It's also amazing that a cloistered nun could launch a world wide television network, as the story goes, with no broadcasting experience and $200 in the bank. Mother Angelica was originally inspired by how little it took to communicate to a huge audience when she went to a TV studio in Texas to tape one of her talks, which used to be aired on the same channel as the 700 Club.

As the EWTN news director, Raymond Arroyo, tells the story in his NY Times best selling bio of Mother Angelica, Mother Angelica said, "Lord, I've got to get me one of those." And so she did.

Located on a little campus in Irondale, north of the city of Birmingham, EWTN sees its mission is to show the beauties of the Catholic Church to the whole world and beams its programming in many languages from satellite dishes behind the station. The station covers all the major events in Rome, so that Catholics everywhere can feel more truly than ever before that they are "Roman Catholics." EWTN also has a mobile unit called Gabriel, after the archangel. Shortwave radio beams to where the TV satellite signals cannot reach.

The studios were locked up tight when I tried to get in after Evening Prayer in the chapel. Before leaving on my trip, I had tried over the Internet to sign up to see The World Over Live, but that show doesn't have a live audience.

I rang the bell, but nobody answered. Then I walked around to the back of the building chatting with one of several couples and individuals I met on the trip who said they moved to the area simply to be close to either EWTN or to the shrine. A blond middle-aged woman got out of her car in the back to go to work on the show. I greeted her and told her I had interviewed Raymond Arroyo and said I had been trying to get a hold of him to find out if I could come in and watch the show. I sent my card in with her, and she gave it to Arroyo, and then to my delight, he sent someone to bring me in.

And so it happened that I was an audience of one sitting in a chair about 6 feet away facing the set. When Arroyo came in, a slightly built man, kind of a handsomer, more intelligent version of Pee Wee Herman in a very good suit, he shook my hand and said, "We finally meet." And "You broke in, eh?"

I attribute my getting in to a few well-timed Hail Marys.

The first part of the show was taped, so Arroyo sat there watching himself do a series of quick reports on the Catholic news happening around the world, including a short about a women "priest" illicitly saying Mass in San Jose. He referred to the woman as "Father, or is it Mother? " so and so.

After that bit was over he told me he was bilocating (since he was sitting there watching himself). I said, "That's evidence of the high state of holiness you have achieved, Raymond." One cameraman laughed, and Arroyo went "Uh huh, Uh huh!" (All tongue in cheek of course.)

The rest of the show consisted of Arroyo interviewing the good bishop of Orlando about immigration, contrasting the National Council of Catholic Bishops' position about illegal aliens with a snippet from an earlier interview with Pat Buchanan who said these people are illegally taking over our country. The bishops are saying "these people" are Christ. If you ask me I'll tell you which side I'm on.

That night I stayed at Casa Maria, a large peaceful retreat center run by an order of sisters that was founded by Mother Angelica but broke away. (The story of the split between the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word and Mother Angelica is in the Arroyo book, but one of the sisters, friendly Puerto Rican Sister Ave Maria told me, "Reporters can write whatever they want, but what Arroyo wrote isn't accurate." Hmmm.)

The sisters are beautiful smiling women in full habits. I ran into them taking their large fluffy German Shepherd mix dog for a walk, pushing wheelbarrows, carrying ladders and bringing in supplies from WalMart. Sister Ave Maria posed for a photo for me wearing plastic goggles, a floppy straw hat, and an apron over her habit, armed with a bug sprayer pointed at a tree. What a cute photo that ought to be.

I met one young red headed sister, Sister Rita Marie from Boston and another young beatifically smiling sister, Sister Marie Francesca, from Mississippi, who told me she joined the order because the Holy Spirit hit her over the head with a 2 x 4.

The rooms at the center are big and modern and only cost $30 a night! What a bargain.

Saturday morning at 6 am I was in the Our Lady of the Angels chapel for Morning Prayer with the friars and then for the televised Mass at 7 a.m. As it turns out, I was in the back row on the side of the room far from the cameras, so the only time I was on TV was when I went to the front for Communion.

Later that day I went north to the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament. One tourist flier for the Cullman area said the shrine is the biggest tourist attraction in Alabama these days.

Part Two

Sunday, the Pentecost Mass at the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville Alabama ended with the cloistered nuns behind the gold leafed reredos (altar piece) singing in a high soprano like angels "Regina Coeli Laetare. Allelulia! Quia quem meruisti portare. Alleluia! Ressurexit sicut dixit. Alleluia!"

I cried. I love that hymn so much. But then I almost always cry in church.

Queen of Heaven rejoice.
He who you merited to bear.
Has risen as He said.

We won't be hearing it again until next Easter season.

Those of you who haven't read Raymond Arroyo's bio of Mother Angelica might not know that she built a 55 million dollar shrine to the Blessed Sacrament about 70 miles north of EWTN in the Alabama countryside. The shrine was paid for by five families, and it is gorgeous. Mother Angelica saw a vision of the child Jesus tell her to build him a temple and was puzzled because she had never heard of a Catholic temple. Then she saw an inscription at St. Peter's in Rome referring to St. Peter's basilica as a temple, so she understood better what was being asked of her. At first she tried to build it with simple materials but the donating families wanted only precious materials to honor the Blessed Sacrament, which EWTN believes is being dishonored in so many Catholic churches around the world.

You reach the shrine by driving along a winding country road lined with miles of white fences in the lush green Alabama countryside. At the end of the road is a large wrought iron gate topped by angels.

On the other side of the gate, you see what looks like a huge basilica with a vast open courtyard in front. The inside is all gold and marble, and on the altar is the second biggest monstrance in the world. (For those who don't know, a monstrance -- from the Latin "monstrare -- to show" -- is a stand made of precious materials and used to display the consecrated bread that is the Body and Blood of Christ.)

The shrine is now Alabama's biggest tourist attraction. Us orthodox Catholics see it as a powerful witness for what Pope John Paul II called the new evangelization, and it's powered by prayer.

Mother Angelica and her nuns are Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration and they take turns to pray constantly in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I got to share in Morning Prayer, Office of Readings, Daytime, Evening, and Night Prayer while I was there and to attend the Mass of Pentecost and say the Divine Mercy chaplet at the shrine.

Being the shy and retiring type, I walked up and introduced myself to Deacon Bill Steltemeyer, chairman of the EWTN board when I saw him in the entryway. I told him I had gotten in to see Raymond Arroyo's show the previous night even though they don't have an audience. And I told him that I had a feeling that the next thing was that I would be able to see Mother Angelica, He said it was impossible.

He told me she only gets out of bed around 11 a.m. and eats a very little, and then has to go back to bed because that uses up her energy. She continues to pray for the network, its viewers, and all the visitors. But, she has no memory, Deacon Bill said.

The owner of the St. Therese guest house where I stayed told me that Mother Angelica was singing at her 83rd birthday party last month, wearing a sombrero over her veil, but she is nearing the end of her life.

Raymond Arroyo told me in our interview a few months ago that Mother Angelica is joyful at this time in her life when she has barely anything to do with the network. His book tells how other sufferings in her life seemed to always precede success for the network, but these sufferings are different, he said. "How are they different?" I asked. "They are for her purification."

I hung around for a while thinking I was maybe going to beat the odds again and get in to see Mother Angelica like I had gotten in to see the World Over Live. I half-expected a summons to come from the cloister, but one never came. Can't trust those feelings all the time, I have to conclude.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Posting on Tony Hendra's Past Scandals

I subscribe to Publishers Weekly online, and when yesterday I found a link to reviews of former Monty Python performer, National Lampoon writer, and author Tony Hendra's new fiction offering, I made the following comment.

Talk Back Tuesday: Tony Hendra's Past Scandals
-- 4/4/2006

Talkback » Reader Comments

Submitted by:
Roseanne Sullivan (
4/4/2006 8:24:35 PM PT
San Jose CA

You can find out about the accusations, substantiated by psychiatrists and Hendra's first wife by following links at

After Tony's daughter said he abused her as a child, an article surfaced that Tony had written about that time (1971) or the National Lampoon called "How to Cook Your Daughter." It was all about a daughter as a tasty dish. It had pornographic precision about it that no one who hadn't deep thoughts about sex with a beautiful compliant little girl would not have been able to write. It is horrifying that he wrote it, and horrifying that it was published. But those were the days.

I remember in the 60s the obscene Mr. Natural comics showing Mr. Natural pursuing little girls with his tongue hanging out.

Hendra’s article, which you can still find by googling a little is damning. I had a link here, but I took it out. I don't want to point anyone to such rot. [Hendra’s daughter wrote a book with the same title, so the first 3 or 4 pages of search output give you links to discussions about her book.]

Before I found out about the allegations, I chanced upon Hendra's Father Joe book at the library. I loved it at first, because I love conversion stories, but gradually Father Joe's watered down "feel good" affirming method of spiritual direction palled with continued reading. Father Joe also counseled Princess Diana. If he had pointed out to her that sex outside of marriage was a sin, she might still be living and maybe even with her husband Charles.

Hendra at the time he was being counseled by Father Joe was living a wild life using lots of women. Father Joe had nothing to say except reassurances that sexual sin wasn't really important. The problem with sex outside of its God-ordained place in a committed, faithful, and fruitful marriage is that sex for its own sake leads to the seeking of more sex for its own sake. And why stop with women? Why not anyone or anything that turns you on?

Unfortunately Tony Hendra didn't stop for anything, even incest. Even child porn about his daughter.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Monsignor John Sweeny Eulogized in Santa Clara CA

  • Monsignor John Sweeny Eulogized in Santa Clara CA
  • Appeared on Mother Angelica Live
  • Humbly But Firmly Stood For Orthodox Catholic Beliefs and Practices
March 15, 2006, in Santa Clara CA in the Diocese of San Jose, mourners crowded the Church of Our Lady of Peace for a Funeral Mass for Reverend Monsignor John J. Sweeny, former pastor and creator of the Shrine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at the parish

Our Lady of Peace Church, which was built in the 1960s in the middle of what used to be pear orchards

In spite of differences between the chancery and Monsignor Sweeny in the past, diocesan officials and the editor of the diocesan newspaper, who don't often use such terms, had no choice but to repeatedly use the word "saintly" when talking about Monsignor Sweeny during interviews with local reporters for his obituary. [Links are at the end of this email.]

Sweeny initially encountered diocesan opposition to his plans to erect a stainless steel statue of Our Lady at the shrine. The 32 foot height of the statue that he eventually got diocesan approval to build after negotiations was quite a bit smaller than he originally wanted it to be, but he partly made up the height difference by installing the statue on a 12 foot mound in front of the Church, where it prominently overlooks Highway 101.

The statue was dedicated on October 7, 1983 on the Feast of the Holy Rosary. It still stands as a tribute to traditional Catholicism in an area now solidly built up with hotels and Silicon Valley office buildings. From its vantage point, the statue portrays Our Lady as extending a motherly gaze and open arms to commuters and other passersby.

Yahoo headquarters are behind the statue.

Monsignor Sweeny once appeared on Mother Angelica Live, probably chosen for his life as a humble but determined devotee of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and of 24 hour Eucharistic adoration.

Starting under his pastorate, the church began to keep its doors open all the time, and 24 hour Eucharistic adoration (except for during Mass times) has continued for decades.

Church attendees who light candles in front of, bring flowers to, and embrace the church's many statues include a large proportion of ethnic minorities from the Philippines, Central and South America, and India, mixed in with many others from all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds who are seeking a place where Catholicism as they once knew it is still practiced.

Under his pastoral leadership, the parish began to offer (and still offers) a Tridentine Latin Mass every first Saturday and on on other Saturdays offers the Novus Ordo Latin Mass (all with Gregorian chant at 7:30PM). The Ten Commandments are displayed directly to the right of the church door.

Monsignor Sweeny also offered a courageous witness when he encouraged and often led worshippers to pray the rosary weekly against abortion at nearby abortion mills. Bucking a diocesan trend downplaying the Sacrament, Our Lady of Peace parish priests began to provide the Sacrament of Penance before every Mass along with four hours on Saturday afternoons and evening. People from other parishes numbering 50 or more line up at the confessionals before every Mass.

Our Lady of Peace bucked yet another trend with its policy that only priests are allowed to dispense Communion to recipients, who kneel at the church's altar rail! Altar boys with gold patens attentively make sure that no particles of the Blessed Sacrament fall to the floor.

Photo of 82 year old mother of 10, Jean Foord, in the church parking lot, with her pro-life-bumper-sticker-bedecked car and one of the posters she carries to weekly anti-abortion rosary sessions at a local abortion mill.

And Monsignor Sweeny maintained all these practices in an era when these aspects of the Catholic faith were a very hard sell in the diocese.

Father Sweeny became pastor of Our Lady of Peace Church in 1969 and built the church and Shrine in what were formerly pear orchards. According to the shrine's website, the Shrine at Our Lady of Peace Church is the only major Marian Shrine on the West Coast between Our Lady of Sorrows Shrine in Portland, Oregon and the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.

Monsignor Sweeny not only had a soft spot for people seeking to confess their sins. He also had a soft spot for homeless people. After Bishop McGrath asked him to retire at 75, to parishioners' dismay, two homeless women have told me how they miss him because he was kind and generous to them. Another of his soft spots was for homeless statues, evidenced by the fact that the Church and even the rectory parlor became home for many statues that were discarded from other parishes in the renovations after Vatican II.

Bishop McGrath made Father Sweeny a Monsignor at the same time he awarded the honor to several others, including Father Alexander Larkin, who was removed last year from his pastorate at Sacred Heart parish in Saratoga due to sexual abuse allegations.

Monsignor Sweeny was laid to rest today at Gate of Heaven cemetery in Los Altos, CA.


Wall Street Journal article

San Jose Mercury News news article

Another EWTN connection:
As the attached guest book entry says, Monsignor Sweeny traveled to Birmingham to witness the perpetual profession and ordination of Father Miguel Marie MFVE on June 4, 2004 and concelebrated Fr. Miguel's first Mass with him on June 6, 2004.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Recipes for Chicken Broth and Hot and Sour Soup

Chicken Broth and Steamed Chicken

This recipe gives you homemade chicken broth plus a tender steamed chicken (which you can use in a salad or other recipe that calls for cooked chicken).

1 whole chicken
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: onion stuck with 3 or 4 cloves, 1 bay leaf, celery leaves and stems, and 1 carrot

1. Remove chicken parts from the inside of the chicken.
2. Wash the chicken parts and the chicken inside and out with cool water.
3. Put a steamer basket in a big pan filled to the bottom of the steamer basket with water. Salt and pepper the chicken . For more flavor you can add a bay leaf, an onion (unpeeled) stuck with 3 or 4 cloves, and a carrot.
4. Put the chicken and spare parts in the basket and cover the pan.
5. Bring the water to a boil, and then turn it the heat down to simmer for about an hour until the chicken is done.
6. Save the broth and the chicken for other recipes. Strain the broth if you added vegetables.
7. Cool the broth and discard the hardened fat that rises to the surface before you use it.

Hot and Sour Soup

I made this soup for my friend Marian Fahey, who was dying with cancer last year, because it has hot pepper in it. I found out during my own bout with tonsil cancer the year before that cancer patients often get back their appetites when they eat foods with hot pepper. Marian loved it and told me it was a “world class soup”! She saved it in little containers and froze it and ate it a little bit at a time, until the sad day came that she was not able to keep anything down anymore.

Others besides my poor dying friend have loved this soup too. I typed this up today to give to a Ukrainian couple who liked it when I served it a Sunday dinner at my house. It seems to have cross-cultural appeal, since not only the Ukrainian couple but the Japan couple who were also my guests liked it too. (I work with the men at Cyclades Corp., which was started by Brazilians, and was just sold to Avocent, an Alabama company, but that's another blog.) The recipe is adapted from Myra Waldo’s Chinese Cookbook. Courier Books: New York; 1968. I double or triple the recipe and freeze leftovers.

4 dried elephant ears (Chinese mushrooms) or more if they are small, washed, soaked in
1 cup water for 30 minutes, drained (save the water). and cut into matchstick-like strips
1 chicken breast (raw or cooked) cut into narrow strips
2 T vegetable oil
4 cups chicken broth
2 T. cornstarch mixed with 2 T saki or dry sherry and with 2 T rice vinegar or white vinegar
1 lb. Tofu cut in 1/4” squares
1 t. salt
1 t. soy sauce
1/8 t. cayenne pepper or ground dried red pepper
1 egg beaten (optional--I never use it because the soup is so rich already)
1 T sesame-seed oil
1 green onion, sliced thinly on the diagonal

1. If the chicken is raw, heat the vegetable oil in the pan and saute the chicken in it for 5 min. If the chicken is already cooked, add it with the vegetable oil in the next step.
2. Put the broth, mushrooms, and mushroom water in the pan with the chicken and oil.
3. Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer for 10 min.
4. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the soup until thickened..
5. Stir in the optional egg and the tofu, sesame-seed oil, and green onion.
6. Taste and adjust seasonings. (I always add more vinegar and red pepper, sometimes more salt.)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

For God's Sake, be a Dodo!

Catholics who leave the Church are called lapsed Catholics, so I call myself a relapsed Catholic. In the almost 30 years since I relapsed, I’ve been trying to find and build community with other Catholics who still believe the faith that was handed down from the apostles. I had a devil of a time finding them, until just recently. For two years now, I've been a member of a small group of lay Carmelites that meets in a monastery in Santa Clara, CA, and I have found that I don't have to keep my guard up in that group, because our spiritual assistant (who is the abbot of Mount St. Joseph Carmelite monastery in San Jose), and our formation leaders teach sound doctrine. And when I went to Israel on pilgrimage under the spiritual guidance of another good holy Carmelite monk, I found another small remnant that seemingly shares my views. For years I was shored up by knowing that in Pope John Paul II I had a fellow spirit. After JPII’s death, Cardinal Ratzinger’s election as Pope Benedict XVI calmed my fears and comforted me because I realized then that Christ would not leave us orphans. And now in Mother Angelica’s book I have found another hero.

I bought Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles at the EWTN 25th Anniversary Family Conference in San Francisco on January 28, 2006. Raymond Arroyo signed my book there, and he added below his signature, “May you find strength and inspiration herein.” I have found both strength and inspiration therein. It’s a great story. Raymond Arroyo’s book is one of those books that can change your life.

I left the Catholic Church in 1963 and returned in 1978. Upon my return I found what Mother Angelica is quoted as calling “the electric church,” because “Every time you go you get a shock” p. 230. It really was a shock for me to find that the doctrines I learned in my childhood and came back to believing were not being taught any more.

It was and still is unthinkable to me that Catholic believers could accept being told that doctrine and morality were changing without reacting as I did with dismay at the illogic of it all.

How could anyone who sincerely is seeking the Truth want to belong to the Catholic Church if that person really believes that the Church has been dead wrong about most things for nineteen hundred and sixty odd years, until Vatican II happened? In the aftermath of the Vatican II council, a bunch of 60s era theologians, priests, nuns, sisters, brothers, and laypeople began quoting the council documents, almost always erroneously, to justify an anticlerical, anti-hierarchical, anti-transubstantation, anti-gospel, pro-contraception, pro-divorce, pro-sexual-license agenda, and the principles they derived from their selective readings of the council documents are being institutionalized in parishes around the world even to this day.

What I have discovered by reading this book is that EWTN is a shining witness to the ability of the Church’s true doctrine to triumph in the middle of a time when in many cases even the Church’s bishops had been misled and heresy had seemingly taken over. Mother Angelica’s book is a reaffirmation of the truth that if God wants a work to be done, He gives the ones He calls the power they need to accomplish His work.

“God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God” 1 Corinthians 1:27.

Mother Angelica is not the only cloistered nun who was called to do great things for His Church. Raymond Arroyo aptly compares her at one point to the great doctor of the Chuch St. Teresa of Avila. In both cases, these cloistered women (in what Mother Angelica called “the wrong state in life”) were able to found religious orders and lead people to holiness in the middle of times of darkness and moral laxity.

Raymond Arroyo's talk on the book at the EWTN 25th anniversary conference simply exorts us to live 1 Corinthians 1:27:

"Pope Benedict XVI recently wrote the first encyclical about the nature of love. . . . It’s the primordial creative power that moves the universe.. . . . Mother Angelica harnessed some of that energy. . . . . Mother Angelica said, “I am convinced God is looking for dodoes. He found one: me! There are a lot of smart people out there who know it can’t be done, so they don’t do it. But a dodo doesn’t know it can’t be done. God uses dodoes.” . . . . Every major thing that God wanted her to do was preceded by suffering. . . . . When she started the network, she was 58 years old. She had diabetes. A twisted spine. . . . . You pay the cost to be the boss. . . . . She was following inspiration and the dictates of her spouse.. . . . The struggle. The cross. That’s her real story. Her life has become a parable. She wanted to reach people.. . . . She did what she did for love of souls, It was never about TV. For God’s sake, be a dodo!"

This is a longer version of a review I posted today at about Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Comments on my comments on a Pro-Abortion blog site

I checked out the comments I posted here on 1/26, and here are
the string of comments that came back. I like "Roseanne, you rock."
I don't like some of the other comments!

Elvira Black
January 27, 2006
12:50 AM

You say:
"The posts that scoff about the futility of expecting people not to go to bed outside of marriage are denying the reality that for ages it was understood in the majority of cultures that sleeping with another person is reserved for marriage(except for the occasional disfunctional cultures dug up by anthropologists looking for justifications for their own sexual immorality)"

I am not an expert on this by any means, but I am certain that even in cultures which officially condoned monogamy and marriage, people still did engage in extramarital sex. In some ages and in some cultures, it was simply done more circumspectly. And yes, in my parent's generation the divorce rate was much lower. But extramarital and premarital sex did take place.

I am actually with you on a lot of what you say. My personal experience was that in college I had a series of short term relationships and felt cheapened and cheated ultimately because the men did not feel as I did about commitment. But I considered it one of the lessons of growing up, and before graduation I met a man I would stay with for twenty years, though we never married or had children.

And yes, I do think that the sexual revolution was in some ways a disservice to women. I do think that sex for sex's sake can lead to heartbreak and alienation and despair for some--and that women as a rule are more vulnerable to this.

However, I still think it is a woman's choice. If she chooses to sleep with a guy on the first date, or the tenth date, or wait until marriage, that is her choice. She will, to use a tired cliche, make her own bed and have to sleep in it.

But again, there are women who wait til marriage, have children, a beautiful home, and at the age of 30 or 40 or 50 discover that their beloved husband has been having an affair and wants a divorce. It is simply a sad fact that people do not always mate for life. Personally, I am a romantic and think it very sad when children have to endure the upheaval of divorce. But this is something that noone here has addressed as yet.

Those commenters here who are young and idealistic have never experienced what a long term relationship is. They idealize sex as a spiritual bond, and in the first flush of young passion this is certainly the case. But for many couples, this romantic phase soon passes, and some look for that thrill elsewhere. In fact, millions do. I'm not saying this is "right"--just a fact of life and relationships, at least in our contemporary society.

There are and have been some societies also where a man may have multiple wives, or harems, or mistresses and this is considered the norm. Sad? Unfair? Perhaps--but it is reality, even if it is not always pretty.

Nevertheless, your points are well taken. Young women in particular often go through agony trying to please a man sexually only to be taken advantage of and dumped unceremoniously. However, it is up to each individual to decide for themselves how they will deal with this dilemma. They can choose to wait for marriage if they feel that is best for them. Again, I think this is admirable--just not the way for everyone.

Elvira Black
January 27, 2006
12:59 AM
Thanks--who knew? (lol).
I value your comments here as the eloquent voice of reason.

T.A. Dodger:
Well put.


I guess you and I were writing our comments at the same time, and your second one came out before my first one did--or something (lol). I'll read your second one and probably add my two cents again.

Elvira Black
January 27, 2006
01:08 AM

I understand why you believe what you do, but it is not illegal to have sex outside of marriage, and you are not the sex police.

I do not believe that people must have children or even marry if they choose not to. As I said, I never wanted children and had a committed 20 year relationship, with no cheating on either side, through good times and bad. Many people go through three marriages and multiple children in that time. A piece of paper does not a lifetime commitment make, and people break their marriage vows every day.

The implications of what you say are frankly a bit alarming to me. Would you outlaw extramarital sex? That may be acceptable in some other cultures--but not in ours, and I thank heaven for that.

Live your life as you see fit--enjoy--even advocate for what you believe in. But this is not a fascist dictatorship, and you have no right to figuratively stand by my bedside and dictate who and when and why and with whom I choose to have sex. You may not like it, but that's just the way it is.

January 27, 2006
01:33 PM
Roseanne, you rock. I appreciate you eloquence and your ability to stay on point, I tend to tangent. I just hope you feel good knowing that you did your best and placed the truth out there in front of them in a very plain and accessible fashion. Choice is an interesting thing, it seems as though these days people would rather allow the possibility of making the wrong choice over and over instead of ensuring themselves the chance to make the right choice every time. Freedom means making decisions right? (small tangent here for those using the rights clause of the constitution when the founders wrote "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" life means LITERALLY, your life, meaning they cant kill you *coughbabiescough*, liberty means PHYSICAL freedom, meaning they cant take away your ability to move freely without just cause and the pursuit of happiness is NOT a catchall.) When people choose something they are trying to get to what they think is good. But we know man is fallible and thats why sometimes when we choose something we think is good it turns out not to be. However, if we can identify the all-good i.e. God, then since He is always good and nothing can ever be seen as better than Him then we still have the ability to make a choice but since we are going to go with what we identify as the greatest good then we are always going to choose God, so we really are in a sense both not-free and totally-free at the same time. take a breath.

January 27, 2006
04:38 PM
I LOVE YOU! I agree with you enough said!

Elvira Black
January 27, 2006
09:36 PM
Roseanne said:
"In the same way, by nature intercourse is designed for a purpose and harm comes when the purpose is denied. There are laws about how to live our sexual lives that are for our own good. Sure I want to tell you how to live your life, because it is for your health and happiness. But if you want to keep driving 85 miles an hour without a seat belt four sheets to the wind, don't say I didn't warn you. And if I can, I will try to get your license taken away before you kill yourself or someone else."

Where are you writing from, Roseanne? I assumed it was from the US, but maybe it's from--say--Saudi Arabia?

Mark said:
"I just hope you feel good knowing that you did your best and placed the truth out there in front of them in a very plain and accessible fashion."

Who's this "them," Mark? The heathens you must convert the way the Christian soldiers did during the Inquisition? Is that what you mean about placing the truth in front of "them?"

The truth, straight up, for real? You two scare the living shit outta me.

January 27, 2006
10:10 PM
"There are laws about how to live our sexual lives that are for our own good. "

Can you define these laws, please?

January 27, 2006
10:49 PM
If I might cut to the chase about Roseanne's "time honored" and "traditional values throughout history" bit.

You ignore the reality that right up to 100 years ago, marriages happened between teenagers, and that you were an "old maid" if you were single and childless at 20.

We now ask our kids to put off for five to ten years, what used to take place at ~16. While subjecting them to ever increasing amounts of sexual stimulation.

We are actually in complete and insane violation of "time honored".

Please explain how we should deal with this perversion of traditional values?

Elvira Black
January 28, 2006
11:37 AM
Bennett and KYS:

To quote Katie (comment 422 above):

"I LOVE YOU! I agree with you enough said!"

Heh heh....

January 28, 2006
12:07 PM
Elvira, what country do you live in? You seem so outraged by what Roseanne said about wanting to prevent people from harming others by having laws in place that punish people making bad choices. To this you responded that she must be living in Saudi Arabia, which seemed strange to me because here in the US we have hundreds of laws which tell you which choices you can and cant make. Why is it that you think only the middle east has a state where the people are told what they can and cannot do.

As far as the "them" go, I was talking about everyone on this forum in the pro-choice camp, it would have taken too long to list them all and I didnt want to say heathens because some of those people are actually Christian. BTW the Inquisition, which is what the world has come to use as a reference point any time someone stands up for their religious beliefs, has been totally misrepresented in the common mindset. During the Inquisition, only those who were baptized members of the Catholic church were brought in, and they were only brought in if they were actively teaching heresy. The numbers have been blown totally out of proportion as well, during the entirety of the Inquisition only a few hundred, less than five hundred people were actually executed. Those that were executed were given YEARS to come around and to stop teaching in opposition to the Church. They were only executed because it is better to protect the many from being led into sin by eliminating one. But they were given every opportunity to recant. I love how pissed off this is going to make you. You dont scare make me sad.

January 28, 2006
12:16 PM
Why dont people ever reference the Muslims who swept across northern africa and even pushed east and into Europe converting truely by the sword who killed literally hundreds of thousands of people. I'm tired of people only identifying Catholics as being the only religion to use execution to protect the integrity of their beliefs. However, while in Catholicism it was a sad period of religious corruption, in the Muslim religion it is one of the central tenets of their religon.

Elvira Black
January 28, 2006
01:55 PM

Why is it that 20-something virgins (HOT or not) and priests (celibate or not) think they know enough about the sex act and what it entails to tell the rest of the world how, why, when and if to engage in it?

" I didnt want to say heathens because some of those people are actually Christian."

AHA! Gotcha! Well, I'm a heathen then I guess--being a Jew and all. Do you wanna see my horns too?

"Why dont people ever reference the Muslims..."

Who do you think I was referring to when I mentioned Saudi Arabia?

"You seem so outraged by what Roseanne said about wanting to prevent people from harming others by having laws in place that punish people making bad choices."

So sex is a "crime" for which people must be "punished" for their "bad choices"--by your rules at least? Ever hear of separation of church and state? If you're talking abortion , that's at least debatable--if Roe v. Wade is overturned then we're talking actual law.

I'd like to know specifically what kind of punishment you have in mind and for what offenses--having sex outside of wedlock? If so, how would you propose to punish these people? Can you spell fascism?

"BTW the Inquisition, which is what the world has come to use as a reference point any time someone stands up for their religious beliefs, has been totally misrepresented in the common mindset. During the Inquisition, only those who were baptized members of the Catholic church were brought in, and they were only brought in if they were actively teaching heresy."

Methinks you are rewriting history, and even if you're not, there's plenty of other examples of religious terrorism by Christians. The Crusades, the pogroms in Eastern Europe, etc etc. etc etc etc........

As a Jew, I do not tell others how to worship. However, I am beset by "Christians" of all stripes who want to tell me that they know the light and the way. Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews for Jesus, people banging on my boyfriend's door as if the apartment is on fire to "talk about the bible" with me, and on and on and on. It's a total, total turnoff, but we do have free speech in this country, thank goodness. But make no mistake: this is not a "Christian" country, despite the fact that the majority of its citizens may be Christian (and there are myriad different branches, most of whom do not see eye to eye on all matters of faith). Exactly what would you propose be done with a Jewgirl heathen such as me?

"You dont scare make me sad."

You not only scare me and make me sad, but you make me mad as hell to boot.

As far as rules, I like the Golden Rule, myself. Covers a lot of ground.

Oh Ruvy in Jerusalem, where are you when I need you?

Elvira Black
January 28, 2006
01:58 PM

Do you have any idea how maniacal you sound when you try to get all "medieval" on my Jewish ass?

Ruvy in Jerusalem
January 28, 2006
05:38 PM
Elvira, I may disappoint you, just a bit.

Roseanne Sullivan has taken up many of my cudgels - and Bennett has given a pointed response to them. I'll leave it there.

Mark is right about the Inquisition. Baptized Catholics were brought before it to be purified - and to be tortured to rat on others who were not practicing according to the politically or religiously corrrect mantras of the day in Spain, Italy, Mexico, Brasil, and everywhere else that the Catholic church had official status.

What Mark omits is that the people brought before the Inquisition were Jews who were forcibly baptized. Slick, eh? Then there are all those expuslions by Christian rulers of Jews after squeezing every last mark or louis d'or out of them. Mark doesn't mention that, though you can bet that the boys with the cassocks were pressuring the princes and kings to do the expelling and supplying them with data so as to make the exulsions as painful and as hurtful as possible.

The expulsions of Jews from England, Spain and France all were timed to take place on one day - Tish'á b'Av, the day the Temple had been destroyed in Jerusalem. Do you think this was coincidental? I have some beautiful acres of Arizona seacoast to sell you if you do.

By contrast, the Moslems were much less brutal and genocidal - for a long time, anyway. But in the end, when their own empires were swallowing their own vomit, they were as bad as the Christians.

Having lived with Christians hustling their religions down everybody's throat and having learned the assorted ways of giving all these fools the middle finger they deserved, I fully understand how you feel.

But Elvira, you need to realize that we Jews have our own task - to teach the Seven Commandments of Noah. And we've been slacking off on the job for two millennia.

Christianity and Islam in particular, have mostly been interim solutions until we Jews get our own act together to do what OUR job is.

Something for you to ponder.

January 28, 2006
09:07 PM
When did we stop talking about abortion? thats why ive been saying you shouldnt kill people all this time. i dont care if you have sex, get an STD, die and rot in hell. Sorry to disappoint.

January 28, 2006
09:39 PM

On another thread you seem to care deeply about "genital herpes, gonorrhea, AIDS, prostitution, pedophilia, pornography, etc."

I submit that education is the best weapon against unwanted pregnancy and everything else you've mentioned. NOT an abstinence-only agenda.

Elvira Black
January 29, 2006
02:56 AM

Thank you! I can wholeheartedly agree with nearly all that you said. As far as the mention of teaching the Seven Commandments of Noah--I recall reading a piece you wrote which talked about this, but I need to re-read and/or get more info.

Offhand, it sounded like it might be prosteletyzing to other faiths, which as I said rubs me the wrong way. The only public instances I've ever encountered of Jews trying to actively bring others to the fold is when they approach people around Purim, ask if they're Jewish, and invite them into their vans to pray. But that's just reaching out to their own who have, in their eyes at least, fallen astray.

Thanks again, Ruvy!

Elvira Black
January 29, 2006
03:14 AM
Somehow it doesn't exactly shock me to learn that Mark has visited other forums spreading his heartfelt message of tolerance and goodwill far and wide. Good one.

"When did we stop talking about abortion? thats why ive been saying you shouldnt kill people all this time."

You have GOT to be kidding. Your own words in the earlier comments you've left--and your frenzied cheerleading of Roseanne and her harsh yet ill defined brand of religious frontier justice--remain here, alive and well, to mock you.

"i dont care if you have sex, get an STD, die and rot in hell. Sorry to disappoint."

Of course you don't care, now that you know I'm Jewish. After all, I'm doomed to rot in hell anyway, aren't I now?

Disappoint? Sicken and disgust is more like it.

Buh bye now. Don't let the comment box hit you in the ass on the way off my post--which is entitled, BTW, "Pro-life or anti-sex?" and not "pro-life or pro-choice?" for good reason.

January 29, 2006
03:21 AM

LOL! Silly commenters, they think they won't be seen trying to change their spots on other threads!

January 30, 2006
04:45 PM
Yeah, KYS you need to read words more carefully and sound them out. take your time. c'mon, you can do this. I never said anything about STDs in that other thread, it was some guy named Howard. H-O-W-A-R-D. I know both our names have an A and an R right next to each other, but this is why sight reading is such a dangerous thing for our society to encourage. Hooked on Phonics worked for me.

January 30, 2006
08:23 PM

You are absolutely right, and I owe you an apology! Thanks for the correction.

However, feel free to stuff the sarcasm.


February 5, 2006
03:25 PM
Mark, in 353 you said it PERFECTLY!!!

I want to add though, that the reason we call ourselves "Pro-Life" is because we believe that abortion is murder, and murder is wrong. I know that that sounds simple to some and to some it sounds confusing. The reason is because we continue to try and make arguments on how abortion is murder, but those people who are not Christians don't truly see the reason why. I will clearly say that without Christ, you will not see the light and the truth. THIS is because otherwise someone could make the argument that Murder is okay. There has will clearly one-day be a large liberal group of people that are anti-christian supporters*(maybe they already exist) and believe that murder and rape and lying and sex outside of marriage is okay. BUT that is where they will go wrong. The reason abortion was illegal at one time is because Christ was in America and Was America. Now we want to take "God" out of our schools, continue to keep him out of Government policy and look where we are going. I think it is possible for someone to say they don't believe in abortion and be a non-christian, but I don't believe they would have any valid whole-hearted argument to back it up if they do not have Christ in their heart.

February 5, 2006
03:38 PM
Mark AGAIN, Wonderful argument and perfectly stated in #362. I enjoy that fact that your statements are so true and factual. They further encourage my quest to have abortion illegalized as do many other good Christians. I just wanted to say again to all those people who "think" that Pro-lifers are against any choice in the personal matters. The choice is and ALWAYS will be yours in everything you do in life. We are not against the right to choose, we are just against the legal option that doing so has no repercussions. As stated by Mark before, you can kill somoene if you choose to do so, but you will go to jail, and possibly even have a death sentence. That's what we are advocating; putting the law in its place.

February 5, 2006
03:45 PM
Redtard, #363 is a very good argument again showing how the government already puts the man who took part in creating that baby in his place and makes him take responsibility for his actions. NOW we need to do the same for the women who decide to have sex outside of marriage and tell her it is illegal to have an abortion, so the only reasonable option is to have the child and deal with her actions appropriately by upbringing her child or by putting her baby up for adoption if she or the father or one of her family members cannot properly take care of the baby.

February 5, 2006
09:03 PM

The facts of conception stand within and without the teachings of the bible. So, what is your view of contriception?