Monday, December 12, 2011

Nationalism, Cultural Superiority, and the Century of Fear; Part the Second


Sorry to cut the last part off so suddenly, but it appears blogger has a word limit. Who'd a thunk it... anyways, back to the issue. 


To be sure, this idea like all ideas, can be used for evil when taken to the extreme and adopted by evil men with no regard for human life. This radical cultural superiority is called Social Darwinism. We witness this in the Holocaust and other atrocities of World War II and the Cold War, in the horrible deeds committed against the American Indians, and the exploitation of the Congo Free State. World War II claimed between 62 and 78 million lives. The Soviet Union is estimated to have killed as many as 20 million. Mao's China: 40 million. An estimated 8 million died in the Congo Free State.

 It is safe to say that the effects of this radical Social Darwinism are evil, and we are right to fear and loathe it. But, today's so-called progressives fear too much. In the scramble to avoid the slightest whiff of Social Darwinism, they shun any hint of Cultural Superiority. And thus, we become a society that refuses to condemn a country, people, or religion when it fails to protect the fundamental civil rights of its members. There are numerous examples I could give you, but I want to stay with the theme and talk about Britain, a stunning example of how far a people can fall in such a short time. Britain is being hit with a deluge of Muslim immigrants. They bring with them their customs and their values. As a result, British police are facing a growing wave of so-called "honor killings." These "honor killings" are what happens when a Muslim woman fails to hold up the standards of Islam, mostly in regards to sexual purity. In most cases, the victim's brother of father kills her, pre-meditated, so as to restore the family's honor in the eyes of the rest of the Muslim community. Even if the woman was raped, it is her fault, and she must be killed. But the British are loathe to confront this. It's not like this is happening in some backwater hell-hole the British happen to administer; it's happening right in their backyards! But the British are too progressive to call out this religion's savage practice. They are too progressive to hold the preposterous position that their culture is somehow better than an alien culture that thinks it right to murder their own daughters for being raped, to cut off a thief's hand, to stone to death a man who cheats on his wife. No, that would not be politically correct. 

And this brings me back to my main assertion: that the "progressive" is motivated by fear. It is the fear of conflict. the fear that standing for something may mean we have to fight for that which we stood for. It may mean we have to take a shot to the jaw and maybe a few good body blows before we run the filth out of town. No, the progressive is so paralyzed by the fear of what may happen if crazy, evil men get their grimy hands on such an idea, that he cannot stand for anything. And, inevitably, he finds himself giving up more and more ground to those who would see him dead. It is the same fear that rendered Neville Chamberlain incapable of standing up to the forces of Nazi Germany and led him to infamously appease the German war machine in the hopes of avoiding the good fight. Mr. Chamberlain's appeasement was not enough, indeed it never is, and he was ultimately forced to fight anyways. but by then it was to late and Germany had momentum and organization on its side. Believe me, we are coming upon a Clash of Cultures. The question is: Do we stand and fight, or continue to be paralyzed by fear until it is too late and we are forced on the defensive. 

Now back to studying... Damn. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Nationalism, Cultural Superiority, and The Century of Fear; Part 1

I would like to apologize for my absence from this blog for a few weeks. It's finals time in Aggieland, and my brain feels like a puddle of mush right now. But, while I was studying for my History final tomorrow morning, an incomplete idea popped into my head and I needed to expound on it or else I think I would forget about it. This is not a fully formed idea yet, and there are sure to be mistakes in my logic. I know. Please, point out anything that doesn't make sense to you and I'll try to either explain the point further or fix it. Thanks and Gig 'Em. So, here goes.

Nationalism, Cultural Superiority, and The Century of Fear. That's a daunting title, and I hope I can live up to my own expectations for this post.

We are all well aware of those standards of "political correctness" that are so ever-present in our society. Indeed, it drives many less-evolved folks, such as myself, insane to see the way these standards so contradict common sense. We, as a society, are so worried about offending people that we bend over backwards to accommodate every possible viewpoint and end up making ourselves look like idiots to the vast majority of people. We are constantly bombarded by the message of Cultural Relativism, the less-discussed cousin of Moral Relativism, which claims that all cultures are equal. This, of course, brings about the idea that religion must be kept to yourself, a private affair, lest your public acts of devotion lead to a cultural clash. This idea, of course, is made manifest in the way that today's America insists we change to accommodate new immigrants of every race and creed and not that they assimilate. It is forced upon us under the term "multiculturalism," which along with "diversity" is lauded as the ultimate Good. And then there is the common belief that our country is not inherently better than any other country, we are just richer and more powerful but that still does not give us the right to act as the world's police force. And those great minds who impose these ideas have a name for themselves: "progressives." "Progressive," obviously derived from the word"progress," implies that these ideals are inherently better than their predecessors. That those holders of these beliefs are somehow more evolved (politically, morally, etc.) than their forebears. The term progressive implies that the holder of those ideas is destined to win the intellectual war because his belong to the future. But I believe the exact opposite is true. I posit that these "progressive" ideas stem from the most primal motivation of all: fear.

To explain, I must take us back a few centuries and to another continent.

The place: Europe. More specifically: London, England, Great Britain.
Time: 18th Century
 The late 18th Century marked the beginning of the dominance of the British Empire. Eventually, it would become the largest empire the world had ever seen, holding sway over one-fifth of the world's total population (458 million people), and laying claim to over a quarter of the Earth's total land-area. But that wouldn't come for some time. Britain's remarkable rise to dominance can be attributed mainly to two things: its Navy, and its people. I would like to focus on the latter.

In the Late 18th and 19th Centuries the British believed themselves to be the peak of human civilization. Their schools focused on turning intelligent, tough, well-educated young men under the assumption that, once they were done with school, they could go anywhere in the world and form their own version of Great Britain. And that is exactly what they did. When the British arrived, they did not avoid upsetting the natives at all costs. No, they made sure to bend the local cultures to their own. There is  a famous story of a tough-as-nails British Colonel in India, his name escapes me at the moment, who faced down the local custom of widow-burning. He told the natives no. The natives protested saying that it was their long-held custom that, upon her husband's death, the widow was to be thrown upon the funeral pyre and burned with him. The Colonel informed the locals that the British had a custom of hanging those who burned widows and that the locals were free to keep their custom so long as he could keep his custom. Bam! No more widow-burning. Much of this British culture was eventually absorbed by the Indian People and eventually they gained their independence from Great Britain. This kind of leadership is what allowed the British to rule so much of the Earth. Incidentally, this same idea (better known to us as Manifest Destiny) is also what helped America tame the West, whip the Mexicans, and the Spanish in the 19th Century.
The Empire at its Height

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2 Things

So two interesting stories today. 

First, there's this story. Apparently, Siri, will NOT tell you where to go to get an abortion. Instead, it directs you to crisis pregnancy centers and the like. Further, it won't tell you where to get "emergency" contraception pills. Thank you, Steve Jobs. 

Then, there's this picture. As many of you know, I am a student at Texas A&M University. Recently, we lost to those tea-sippin' hippies from Austin. Granted, we had plenty of opportunities to win on our own. BUT, at the end of the 4th quarter, up by 1 pt, Texas has the ball, and then there's a penalty. Unnecessary Roughness, sets up Texas for their game-winning play a few plays later. It was a bullshit call, even the TV announcers thought so. And then the below picture popped up. I can't be certain of its veracity, but the guy does look familiar. Up yours, good sir. I vote we appeal to the NCAA

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Interesting...

I was reading an old article about a Harvard study which concluded that not everyone should go to college. Then, I read through some of the comments. I found this little gem by "Jersey Patriot" hidden among them:



"I don't get tired of talking about this. My grandfather quit high school, joined the Army Air Force, fought in the Pacific theater in WWII, came home, married his high school sweetheart, and got his high school diploma. He didn't go to college. He could read, write, and do figures, though I doubt he knew anything about Foucault, or ever paid a grad student $500 to write a 10-page essay about it. He joined a large company, which quickly figured out he was intelligent, and they moved him into a clerk position. His wife never worked. He sired five children, all boys, bought a nice house in a small town, took vacation at a lake house, retired, moved to Florida, lived another 15 years, and died just shy of his 80th birthday of colon cancer.
Today, his job title instead of Clerk would be something like Managing Purchasing Coordinator. He would have a Master's degree in nothing in particular, probably from nowhere important, and have $50,000+ in student loans. His job today requires reading, writing, and doing figures, just like it did 50 years ago, but today he would have crippling student loans and 6 years of layaboutry.
Sometime during the last 50 years, our society went Full Retard about schooling. I've yet to see anyone explain why."

It truly is interesting. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Saw this over at Bad Catholic and couldn't resist reposting it

Music

I have a passion for music, many of you know that. It should come as no surprise then that I almost barfed while watching this...  http://vimeo.com/29473559 I apologize for putting you through that.

Seriously, it's wretched. I firmly believe that the look on Pope Benedict's face at the very end was one of disgust. and so I would like to juxtapose that horrendous excuse for liturgical music with this, from B16's visit to England last fall.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is why I am so picky about what we sing at Mass. The "anything goes" mentality ultimately leads to whatever that guitary-thing was. And I think everyone will agree when I say that the world needs FAR less of that guitary-thing

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Modern-Day Lynching

Herman Cain was lynched today. Not in the old sense of the word, no, he's very much alive. But his campaign is done. The kind of accusations that weren't enough to bring down Ted Kennedy or Bill Clinton have the media all in a tizzy. There's no way Cain survives this. The accuser's story is too perfectly unfalsifiable. The media won't wait to corroborate or confirm her accusations, they will jump on this and demand Cain prove himself innocent. This is, of course, the exact opposite of how our justice system is designed to work. Recall  the public lynchings of the past century were perpetrated by the mob with no trial or process, these, too, were the exact opposite of how our justice system is supposed to work.  Unfortunately for Herman Cain, presidential candidates are tried in the court of the media and the court of public opinion. As we saw with the Casey Anthony trial, these courts are all too willing to convict based on feelings and not evidence. In court, Cain's accuser would have to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, his guilt. In the Court of the Media, Cain must prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, his innocence. This, of course, is impossible. And the media knows it, and is counting on it. Witness the fall of a potentially great candidate. Witness the media making up for their failings in the Clinton and Kennedy cases. 

In other news, compare the cases of Joe Paterno and Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City- St. Joseph. Bp. Finn's actions are very similar to those of JoePa, and yet Bishop Finn has been charged with a crime and Joe Paterno is having no charges brought against him. Witness, folks, the death of a once-great system of justice at the hands of politics and public opinion.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Reformation Day!

Today marks the 494th Anniversary of the nailing of the "95 Theses" to the door of Wittenburg Cathedral by one Martin Luther. Now, Luther didn't really nail his theses to the door, that's a lot of paper to nail to a door, but it does make a damn good story. This anniversary is celebrated in some Protestant churches, and in Slovenia. Don't ask me why they celebrate it in Slovenia even though they're mostly Catholic, I don't know. Anyways. Moving on.

I don't want to discount the atrocities that have occurred on both sides of the reformation. To be sure, countless souls have perished over the centuries and neither Catholics nor Protestants are free of blame in this. But that is not my purpose in writing today. I think we need to celebrate today.

You see, the Reformation instituted the Counter-Reformation. And from this Counter-Reformation the Church has drawn immeasurable profit. Let us take a quick look at the fruits of the Counter-Reformation. The Council of Trent was a direct response to the problem of the Reformation. From this Council came the official Roman Canon And the commissioning of the first Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Numerous big-name saints made their marks in this era, including St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Francis de Sales, and St. Phillip Neri. Also a product of the Counter-Reformation are the Jesuit, Capuchin, and Ursuline Orders as well as the reform of the Carmelite Order.

It's hard for me to imagine what the Church would look like today without the Counter-Reformation. So I say we celebrate. Not the atrocities, the wars, the bitterness, and the wounds inflicted on His Sacred Heart. No, I say we celebrate the way that our Lord can take such brokenness and raise it up and sanctify it and use it to His greater Glory. I say we celebrate the fact that our God does not work only through perfect vessels but with ordinary, sinful men and women. For if He could bring such good out of such a division, then surely he can do something beautiful with our broken, sinful lives.

Happy Reformation Day.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Piledriven

This past week's been a tough one. Next week isn't looking much better. Between sports, people, and school, it's gonna be a miracle if I come out of this not half-crazy. So, prayers are greatly appreciated.

You may have noticed the new ads on my blog. If you would go ahead and click on those, I'll wait... thanks. You see, as a starving college student, I need all the income I can get and I get a decent kickback every time you click on those. So please, feel free to click. You don't have to actually read the page it brings you to, you just have to click. Thanks and Gig 'Em

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mea Culpa

I read an amazing piece over on the blog Standing on my Head tonight. I copy it here in its entirety:


"My fault, my fault, my most grievous fault" is what we will soon say in the Confiteo. I know, I know. We will be blamed for dishing out the guilt and making people feel bad, but I think it is going to be refreshing--and here's why:

Our whole culture is awash with the pop psychology counseling mentality which encourages us to blame somebody else for our problems. "I have anger problems because my mother didn't breast feed me" or "I am not self assertive enough because my mother didn't breast feed me." Every problem we have, every fault in our character, every weakness or sin we blame on somebody else. I heard a girl once excuse her promiscuity with the claim, "I sleep with lots of men because my father didn't love me and I'm looking for a father's love." Or what about the guy who was unfaithful to his wife because, "I'm still looking for the perfect woman because my mother walked out on us when I was a kid."

One of the side effects of this victim culture is that, because we blame other people for our problems and weaknesses, we also think that somebody else should solve our problems for us. There's a logic to it: My problems were caused by somebody else. Somebody else should solve them for me. They're not my responsibility. Thus the entitlement culture goes with the victim mentality. Somebody owes me a living. Somebody owes me solutions to my problems. Somebody else will bail me out.

The new Confiteo is a refreshing antidote to the victim-entitlement poison. I beat my breast and say, "My fault, my fault, my most grievous fault" and as I do I take responsibility for myself in a most solemn threefold vow of acknowledgement. I take the blame. I take the responsibility. I take the problem as my own. This is one of the most mature things anybody can do in life--to take responsibility. To decide to do something about the problem, and if nothing can be done about it, then to bear the suffering with dignity and silence. This is not only mature, but it is a little touch of the God image in each of us. When I pick up the responsibility I am engaging my will and deciding that I am going to be involved. Me and nobody else but me.

Furthermore--let's be even more radical and pick up other people's trash. In other words, instead of being the poor little spoiled brat victim. Why don't we be adult and clean up somebody else's room? What I mean to say is that instead of blaming other people for our problems why don't we not only take responsibility for our own sins and weaknesses and problems and failures, but why don't we take responsibility for other's as well?

OK, so maybe your father beat you up and your mother burned you with cigarettes and your teacher hit you with a paddle and your big brother abused you. What if you were to take responsibility for their sins as well as your own? What if we were to see the people who hurt us with hearts of compassion and be the agent of forgiveness towards them? What if we were to say, "Here I'll take all that crap for you. I'll take responsibility for the mess of your life as well as the mess of my life." What if our first 'mea culpa' was for us, and the second was for other people who have messed us up? By taking responsibility in this way we will actually find forgiveness, healing and peace.

If we use the second 'my fault' to take responsibility for other people's sins in our lives what if we were to use the third 'my most grievous fault' and claim responsibility for the sins of the whole world. That sounds pretty ambitious. Megalomaniacal even, but what I mean is this: don't I, in my own sin and selfishness, contribute to the sins of the whole world? What if I were to step out of my own little shell, my own little universe and see the connections? I'm involved. I am not an island. I am a part of the continent, a part of the main. I am a man, but I am also humanity in microcosm.

Have I not shared in the greed that has ruined our country? Have I not shared in the lust that has ruined families? Have I not shared in the pride, the envy, the gluttony, the sloth and the wrath that has soiled the world?  Yes, I have, and when I cry, "My most grievous fault" in the new Confiteo, perhaps I may, in my own small way, identify with Christ the Lord who really did take the sins of the whole world to himself, and perhaps in my own small way, I may come to understand more deeply the mystery of the cross of Christ.

Those who are into the sentimental promotion of 'self esteem' and 'personal fulfillment' and 'individual liberation' may be shocked at such a seeming debasement of the person. They may be dismayed by what seems to be yet more groveling and self abnegation. What they do not understand is the immense freedom and power that comes from genuine repentance. In this action I take responsibility (by God's grace) and I rise above the faults. I am forgiven and I forgive. In this there is not only true freedom, but true self esteem, true fulfillment, and ultimately a supernatural joy.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I'm back

I would like to apologize, dear readers, for my extended absence from the blogosphere. The college life has not been kind to me these past few weeks what with the tests and papers and all. The truth is that I have missed writing here, it is a good release for me and I will try, in the future, to not wait so long between posts.  I have nothing else to say to you for now because I am busy watching NCAA Football and reading "great" American Speeches for my American Oratory class.

God Bless

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Maldives


Ah, the Maldives! A tropical paradise, top tourist destination. Sandy beaches, tropical climate, coral reefs, calm lagoons.


Oh, and it's also an Islamic Hell-Hole. It was reported today that the Maldivian government has thrown one of our Catholic brothers in prison for having a Bible and a Rosary in his home, both of which are banned from the islands. His name is Shijo Kokkattu, an Indian Catholic from Kerala. He has been teaching at a school there for the last two years. While he was transferring files from his flash-drive onto the school computer, he also copied some Marian songs and also a picture of the Blessed Mother. His fellow teachers reported him, his home was raided, and he was thrown in jail. You see, back in 2008, the Maldives passed a constitutional amendment that denies non-Muslims freedom of worship, and making it impossible for non-Muslims to become citizens. In fact simply kneeling, folding one's hands or using religious symbols like crosses, candles, pictures, or statues ( I assume the pictures and statues are icons) can get you arrested and thrown in jail.

Oh, and the Maldives has a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council. One more reason the UN will always be just a huge joke.

Here's hopping Global Warming speeds up and the oceans rise a bit.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Our Lady of the Rosary, and the Salvation of Europe

Do you know what today is? Chances are, if you're reading this, then you already know that today is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Whoop!

But, today we also celebrate the 440th Anniversary of the triumph of the Battle of Lepanto. Stay with me here, this is important! Not just history-major-important, but important to everybody. Today, we celebrate the victory of the Holy League, a loose conglomeration of the Spanish Empire, Venice, Genoa, The Duchy of Savoy, the Papal States and the Knights of Malta, under  the command of Don John of Austria (the illegitimate son of Charles V) and supported by Pope Pius V. They joined their naval forces at Messina, Italy, and set off to engage the Ottoman Empire, the greatest naval power of the day. The met in the Gulf of Patras, off the west coast of Greece. The Holy League had 208 ships, mostly Venetian galleys, with 40,000 sailors and oarsmen and 22,800 soldiers, mostly Spanish Infantry. The Ottomans, on the other hand, had 251 ships, of which 206 were galleys, and had a force of 31,490 soldiers and 50,000 sailors/oarsmen. The battle lasted 5 hours. The Holy League lost 17 ships and about 7500 dead. The Ottomans lost 137 ships captured, 50 ships sunk, 20,000 dead,wounded, or captured, and 10,000 Catholic slaves were freed.

I can hear you guys now, "that's nice and all, but what's that got to do with us, why's that so important?" Well let me tell you. The victory of Lepanto saved Europe from almost sure domination by the Muslim armies. The victory meant that the Ottomans could not control the entire Mediterranean Sea. It saved Italy from sure invasion, kept the Ottomans from reconquering Spain, and slowed the Muslim conquest of southern Europe. Essentially, if the Holy League had lost the Battle of Lepanto, you and I would be speaking Arabic and worshiping Allah 5 times a day. Europe would have been a Muslim territory.

 The incredible victory, over the world's foremost naval power, was immediately attributed to the intercession of  Our Lady of the Rosary. In other words, the Holy League had realized how screwed they were and knew they would need a miracle so they prayed the Rosary a TON before the battle. There was even a Rosary Procession in St. Peter's Square the day of the battle. After the whole ordeal was done, Pope Pius V announced the Feast of Our Lady of Victory, which became Our Lady of the Rosary under Pope Gregory XIII. G.K. Chesterton wrote a great poem about this battle, titled "Lepanto". An exerpt:

Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.Don John laughing in the brave beard curled,Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world.Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.Love-light of Spain - hurrah!Death-light of Africa!Don John of AustriaIs riding to the sea.

Something else that may be of interest: The great writer Miguel de Cervantes, who wrote Don Quixote, lost an arm in the battle and was captured by the Turks and enslaved for many years. He wrote Don Quixote upon his return to Spain. 

So remember, today, that Our Lady has great influence with her Son. Enough even to change the course of History. Do not hesitate to ask for her intercession.
God Bless

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Art vs. Hate Crimes

I came across this picture today while perusing the blogosphere, and I think it is rather enlightening


I think this more accurately expresses the sympathies of modern art far more clearly than my words ever could. Read THIS POST by Christopher T. Haley over at First Things if you want to have your eyes opened to the proper place of art in society. It's truly enlightening.  A quote:

        "Art schools teach students to challenge the audience, but they do not teach them why they should—and no one, certainly, has taught the audience to appreciate it. Many critics even decry this fact, blaming the poor state of the arts in our country on an audience that just doesn’t “get it.”

         The notion that the artist’s role is to challenge the audience is offensive to the audience. It is arrogant and condescending. Learning how to paint, sculpt, write, or compose, does not make one a moral authority on art or anything else. There is no moral value in being transgressive for the sake of transgressiveness. And there is no merit in challenging people just for the sake of a challenge. The old “devil’s argument” is, after all, a very poor argument."

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fall, Mr. Potter, Censorship, and Helicopter Parents

It's FALL! My favorite time of the year (despite my allergies) is finally, officially, here. Now, this being Texas, Fall won't actually be here for a few more weeks. I won't let that get me down.

Ready? Fall Picture Extravaganza!!









I would like to dedicate the rest of this post to Banned Books Week. I know it was last week, but I was unable to post last week due to all of my professors getting together and coming up with a diabolical plan to make me kill myself (A.k.a. I had four tests). Anyways, I would still like to air my two cents on the matter to the Interwebs.

WARNING: I might get a little rambling at times

I was struck this summer by the controversy stirred up by the Premiere of the final Harry Potter movie. In the small world of my childhood, I failed to see how anybody could object to the content of such a wonderful book. and as I grew and matured, I came to believe that those original opponents of the Harry Potter Series had faded to oblivion. The parental outcry that the media showed us in the early days of the Pottermania was no longer interesting. When I cared to consider the folks who would forbid their children from reading the books, I pretty much lumped them in the same category of crazy as the Pastor from Footloose, but slightly above the Westboro Baptist Church folks.

You know the type. I mean, let's be reasonable people! Unless you have incredibly successfully sheltered your child from all experience of the real world, reading Harry Potter is not going to turn your child into the next great satanic cult leader. And even if you have been that successful, it still probably won't. As such, I'm going to pretend that argument doesn't exist, was never used by anybody, and I am just going to pray that nobody who is reading this blog uses this argument to rationalize forbidding the Harry Potter books. No, I am going to focus on the only other argument against Harry Potter that I have ever heard: that the morality of the stories is suspect, and that it can encourage kids to misbehave.

I am not going to expound on this argument too much either, if you want to know what others think you can search out their writings on the subject. What i will do is offer my opinion; I am not an expert, so it is all I can give. Now, let me begin. I will admit that often the ends are used to justify otherwise distasteful means. The best example of this is the killing of Voldemort. Yes, in a perfect world Harry would charitably spare Voldy's life and Voldy would have a total change of heart and the two would be best friends from then on out. In a slightly less perfect world, Harry and the Order would find a way to incapacitate Voldy in such a way as to render him harmless without killing him. But Harry is not given a perfect world. Harry is given a world in which he must face pure evil. And he defeats pure evil through courage, loyalty, friendship, LOVE, and self-sacrifice. Boy, he sounds like a terribly morally corrupt young man. It s also true that Harry and the gang regularly break the rules and that Snape, McGonagall, and the rest of the Hogwarts Authority figures are often seen as obstructing their mission. But let me remind you of some things. In Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer, Tom lies to, and disobeys, Aunt Polly, deceives and embezzles his peers, runs away from home, etc. and Tom Sawyer is considered an American Literary Classic. In fact, in almost every great tale of good-vs-evil, Good seeks to destroy Evil. Not just to defeat it, no, to destroy it. St. George did not seek to go out and make peace with the dragon, he sought to kill it. Gandalf fought and killed the Balrog, sacrificing his own life in the process, he did not try to make it a Christian. The examples are myriad.

I know that I am rambling a bit, but I hope that you have understood my point. Arguing that Harry Potter will leave your child morally corrupt while allowing them to read, or watch, other fantasy stories with the same themes is, in my mind, intellectually dishonest. In the long run, Harry Potter's worth is firmly established in our culture now by virtue of the great many people who discovered a deep love of reading through those books. Its stock may diminish over the years, after all it is unfair to even attempt to compare it to the LOTR or Chronicles of Narnia Series. But I have yet to meet a Satanist who was first influenced by Harry Potter, and have met many, many people who first fell in live with literature through Mr. Potter. If you take the time to read it with or to your younger children, explaining its failings where need be, I can personally guarantee that it will not cause your children to grow up into monsters. You can quote me on that.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Israel

For those of you who don't quite understand the Israel-Palestine Situation, I propose you watch this speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the UN. It's long, but it's excellent. Watch the whole thing.



UPDATE: I fixed the video (i.e. I got a new, lower quality one). I'm sorry for the inconvenience. I promise, it was working when I first posted the update

Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekday Update

Hello friends! I am sorry for the long absence, but school has started into full swing and I am trying to find my rhythm still. I will try to be better about this in the future.

So this past weekend I made a trip to the DFW to see mi familia (mainly my 75-pound puppy), and to attend a TOBET (Theology of the Body Evangelization Team) Conference. I am happy to report that the family is in good health and generally holding themselves together fairly well despite my absence (I fear that it all may have just been a front for my benefit, but I have no proof), and that the conference was, in my eyes, a huge success. The Theology of the Body is, in the words of the inimitable George Weigel, "A ticking time-bomb set to go off," and I can attest that it is so. It was wonderful to see so many Catholics of all ages and walks of life willingly giving up their Saturday to come and learn more about the wonderful teaching of Blessed Pope John Paul II. I learned far more about TOB than I imagined I would, and more than I could adequately relate in such an impersonal format, and I am extremely glad that I went. Congratulations to you, Ms. Monica Ashour, you have put together quite the organization and the Catholics of DFW are richly blessed to have you and your colleagues and interns working in their midst. 

I just checked the TOBET calendar and OH MY GOSH AMANDA AND ELIZABETH!!! TOBET IS DOING A THREE-PART TOB SERIES AT MY HOME PARISH!! I am just a tad excited. But in all seriousness, St Joseph's Parish needs something like this very very much and I can think of no one better than TOBET to bring this message to them.

Now, this being a blog, an inherently narcissistic endeavor, I must turn to matters of the self and you must pretend to be interested. I like this dynamic we have here very, very much. 

I told you, some time ago, about a new Interest in my life (read: an exceptionally beautiful and smart young woman), and how we are choosing to communicate only through the United States Postal Service. 
(Sidebar: I have also faced, for the first time, the realization of how one can sacrifice one's values for a woman. Not in a bad way, I assure you, Object of my Affections. normally, I would say let the Post Office sort out its own monetary affairs, but now I don't care if it's in the hole financially I just need it to stay afloat because I really don't want to have to FedEx all of my letters to her.)
Strange as this idea may seem, in this age of instant gratification and instant impersonal communication, I believe it is working wonders in us. I shall illuminate you by anecdote, prepare yourselves. I sent her a letter today. She will not receive my letter for several days, and it will be several more before I receive her response. and yet, I will open my mailbox everyday until then with the greatest anticipation imaginable. and I will not be disappointed when the mailbox is empty. Nay, the empty mailbox will only intensify my anticipation and magnify my joy when the letter finally arrives. Not only that, but with every letter and every empty mailbox I long all the more for a chance to see her in person. To hear her voice, her laugh, see her smile or the way she can look straight through you with those eyes. Even to be cut to pieces by her wit, which happens far more often than it should; I maintain to myself that she is cheating, dazzling me with those big blues and then taking advantage of my weakness. 

But all brownie-points aside (and there should be a lot of them by this point), it all comes down to patience. Neither of us could be described as a patient person, and yet we force ourselves to practice patience by writing these letters. Of course, the Holy Spirit is a lot of help here; I find myself stopping by adoration much more often, even if just for a minute or two, to ask Our Lord for the patience I need to make it through the day without picking up the phone and firing off a text message or a call. If we were to continue to communicate in other ways while also writing these letters, I believe it would be useless. Yeah, we might have awesome keepsakes down the road, but I don't think that we would grow in patience at all. and, after all, is not a major point of dating and discernment to grow in Love and virtue so as to become more like Christ, to learn to love as he did? 

I was listening to Audrey Assad recently, and her song, "Ought to Be" struck me. In it are the following lines:
"It may not be strong as the Oak Tree yet but
Love planted deeply becomes what it ought to and
Hearts given freely become what they ought to and
Love Planted deeply becomes what it ought to be."
That is what we hope to do in this period of our relationship. We seek to plant our love deeply so that it may thrive and grow tall and stand strong for many years. No, we lose nothing by communicating in  letters. But we have everything, and I mean everything, to gain. 

Pax vobiscum,
 Patrick 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What the Heck?

I don't know if you've heard, or if I've told you in the past, but the Obama administration tried to withhold federal aid to Moldova, one of the poorest countries in the world and one of the most Christian, unless they advanced "gay rights" causes in the country. As sickening as that is by itself, I want to turn our attention to something else at the moment. 

Pakistan. That oh-so-important "ally" in the Middle East. They receive over $300 million in Federal Aid every year. That's $300,000,000 every year! Now I have no doubt that there are countless people in Pakistan that need that aid. The problem is, they hate us. they hate everything about us. In fact, they probably want us dead about as much as anyone else in the world. And we're PAYING them for this. They're taking our money, giving us some semblance of cooperation, and then they shelter our enemies behind our backs (i..e. Osama Bin Laden). But it's more than that. Pakistan is a majority Islamic nation. In case you didn't know, it is a crime under Islamic Law (sharia) to convert from Islam, to marry anyone other who's not Muslim, or to attempt to convert a Muslim. The punishment for these, without exception, is death. Normally public executions. But wait, there's more. Two Christian youths in Pakistan were recently beaten within an inch of their lives with heavy iron bars by 8 Muslim youths for the "crime" of being Christian. But not a peep from the thugs in charge of our Foreign Policy. You see, they don't care if it's Christians are the ones being killed for their religion. But if gay people aren't fully accepted into the fabric of society, by God we'll let your people starve! When I was reading the articles that spurred this post, I was furious. I can honestly say that I don't think I have ever been that angry in my life. The fact that our gasbag-in-Chief can get away with this is beyond me. Where's the media on this? Oh yeah, that's right, they're in his back pocket. Jefferson, Hamilton, and Washington are rolling over in their graves. 








Religion of Peace my ass. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Tax Code Explained, With Beer

So I'm not being original today. And Amanda is. Armageddon must be coming soon. 


I ran across this story on the internet today, and I thought you guys might enjoy it. It's actually pretty accurate. 




Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all
ten comes to $100...
If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something
like this...

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with
the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve ball. "Since
you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost
of your daily beer by $20." Drinks for the ten men would now cost just
$80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes.
So the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free.
But what about the other six men? The paying customers? How could they
divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share?

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted
that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would
each end up being paid to drink his beer.

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's
bill by a higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle
of the tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out the
amounts he suggested that each should now pay.
And so the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% saving).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% saving).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% saving).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% saving).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% saving).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% saving).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued
to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare
their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20 saving," declared the sixth man.
He pointed to the tenth man,"but he got $10!"
"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar
too. It's unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!"
"That's true!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back,
when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!"
"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison, "we didn't get
anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!"
The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine
sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay
the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough
money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and government ministers, is
how our tax system works. The people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore.

In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

Unknown Author...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday News

1. You remember that POS website that was in the news a while back, WikiLeaks? Well, turns out they actually did some good! They recently released a ton of new State Department diplomatic cables and boy are there a few whoppers in there! This via LifeSiteNews.com. 

You know how liberals love to throw around the word tolerance? well, it doesn't apply to them. You see, a bunch of recently leaked cables from the Ambassador to Poland complains that the Catholic Church's teachings are " a major source of 'homophobia' in the heavily Catholic Country." The Embassy notes that the Episcopate in Warsaw has condemned violence and discrimination against gays, but says that it's the local priests who ignore this message and still preach that sexual attraction to the same gender is a "deviant condition." You see, somehow teaching the truth that homosexual attraction is disordered is the same thing as violence and discrimination. Somebody get the State Department some new dictionaries, I think theirs are broken. Here's another one: "Moreover, the Church continues to label homosexual acts as sins and calls on homosexuals to practice abstinence. Most Polish opponents of gay rights cite 'Catholic values' and 'natural law' to support their views."  
Right you are, Mr. Pickard!

Wow. Where to begin with that? Oh, I know. How about the fact that any half-honest person would admit that homosexuality is inherently unnatural? How about the fact that 'Catholic values' are just as legitimate (actually much more so) as your guiding values, if we can call them that, Mr. Obama? Or we could just restate the fact that Holy Mother Church cannot change her teachings on homosexuality/abortion/contraception and leave it at that. The arrogance of these people is astounding. Who are you to think that your short-lived sociopolitical philosophies are more enlightened than those of the Church, who has stood firm in the face of all manner of evils for two thousand years! She will continue to stand firm, as well, despite your arrogance. My reaction to this news:

 That about sums it up. Stepping off my soapbox now...

2. Obama's "jobs" "speech" last night. What a joke. I didn't get to watch it due to an Aggie Catholic Bible Study leadership meeting. So I watched it after the fact. And you know what, I think Mr. Obama has a future as a comedian! I mean, He got more real laughs (not that he was trying, he wanted it to be a serious ordeal) in that speech than David Letterman gets in a regular night (discounting the laugh tracks, of course). Just listen to the Republicans laugh when he says this isn't class warfare!

 WeaselZippers has the story if you're interested. The interesting thing is that, while these addresses are usually standing-room-only for the media, only 26 of the 90 designated media seats were filled. heh. heheheh. hehehehehe. heheheheheh. AAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAH! Seriously, read the story. You'll get a good chuckle out of it. 

That's all for me today, sorry for not being too original, but it's Friday and I'm tired. 

Peace, 
Patrick

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

More than Slavery

First things first: FOLLOW ME!! Seriously, you just have to push the little button to the right that says "join this site." I know there's more than three people reading this, because I have a tracker. That's right, you're busted. 

I wrote a guest column for The Battalion, Texas A&M's campus newspaper today. That is, I sent one in today, no promises they'll publish it. Even though they should. Anywho, I wrote this column in response to an Editor's column they ran today. The article is titled "Confederate On Campus" and is about the history of L. Sullivan Ross.
The statue is at the heart of the A&M campus

The piece is written by a math major, which should set off some red flags in your head right off. That's beside the point, though. The article is here, I highly suggest you read it. If they publish it in the next few days, it will be available to you at www.thebatt.com but just in case they don't, I'm putting the full text of my response here for your reading pleasure. If this kind of reading gives you pleasure. If not, suck it up and read my response, you might learn something.


More than Slavery
The Civil War is a dark time in the history of this great nation. I think we can all agree on that point. What we often forget, or never learn, is that it was about far more than slavery. It is hard for us, looking back upon the actions of our forefathers, to put aside our modern biases and see through their eyes. If we are to understand the War Between the States though, that is exactly what we must do.
 Mr. Carpenter wrote an excellent column yesterday about the legacy of L. Sullivan Ross. I understand his point, but I cannot accept it. Just because a person commanded troops against the Union Army does not make him a pro-slavery bigot and a traitor to his country. We must remember that, before Lincoln’s time, the states thought of themselves as semi-autonomous entities, voluntarily unified under a very weak central government, much like the European Union is today. The allegiance of the people was largely to the state, not the country. At the beginning of the war, the Army of the Potomac, the Army protecting Washington D.C., was made up only of volunteers from the states. There was no standing Federal Army. There was no obligation on behalf of the Northern States to send their young men to fight and die to protect other states. And it was the same in the south. General Lee’s forces, The Army of Virginia, were almost entirely Virginia boys, fighting for their state. Other states had their own armies. It is in this climate that General Lee made the fateful decision, despite being personally opposed to Slavery, to turn down Lincoln’s offer to lead the Union forces and to fight for the state he loved. Slavery may have been the underlying cause beneath the tensions of the time, but it was not the only cause of the Civil War. There was also the belief that the states had the right to govern themselves. We love to glorify the men and boys who laid down their lives to fight for the Union, but we make a grave mistake in vilifying those on the opposing side who did the same for their state and family. General Grant, the hero of the Union, was a drunk and a bully. General Lee, on the other hand, was a true Southern Gentleman. After the war, he accepted defeat, found a new home at what would become Washington and Lee University, where he became the President (since his Arlington estate had been made into a Cemetery) and lived out the rest of his life in peace. Let me ask you this, who is the more admirable man? The drunkard or the Gentleman who fought for his state?
                It is the same with Sul Ross. He fought for what he believed was the right of his state to secede from the union. It was a different time, and they saw things differently. We honor and remember Sul Ross not because of who he fought for, but because he was willing to fight. Let us not forget also that he saved this University from being made into a mental institution, was a governor of our great state, and President of our University. If he is not worthy of being called a hero and given a statue, I do not know who is. Thank you, and God Bless.

                                Patrick Hoelscher, Class of ’14, History major. 

Let me know what ya think.

UPDATE: So I goofed up. There's actually a button that says "join this site" that's the one you've gotta push. Sorry for the mix-up!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Proper Silence.

It's my birthday!!!! Therefore, I shall get on my soapbox and you shall read without complaint. 

What is wrong with the Propers of the Mass? Are we afraid of silence?

I had the pleasure of attending Mass today at St. Mary's here in College Station. As I was kneeling, just as the Extraordinary Ministers were receiving communion, and everyone's attention should have been focused on the Glorious gift they were about to achieve, a young lady stepped up to the microphone and calmly announced, "Our first Communion Hymn will be...." Really? Just when our minds should be focused so totally on the Sacrifice of the Mass, we are jarred back to Earth by a voice that has no place being there only so that we know where to look to follow along with an overplayed hymn that everybody knows by heart already. This is a problem. But it can be solved. My personal preference would be a return in our parish to the Propers of the Mass. For those of you who don't know, the Propers are the little passages of scripture placed throughout your missalette. They are ALWAYS taken from Sacred Scripture. They are given for the Introit, Offertory, and Communion. They are what  the Church says we should sing at those times. Most parishes, though, opt out of singing the Propers and instead choose to sing hymns that are unrelated to what we are supposed to be singing. The Propers don't have to be chanted Latin, there are many different translations and arrangements of them. But we don't sing them. Another solution would be to invest a tiny amount of money in those little number-holder-thingies and do away with the well-meaning chorister interrupting the silent prayers of the people. Either way, really. 

But that wasn't the worst part. The worst part was that that well-meaning chorister kept coming back. It was a super-crowded mass, so the choir decided we needed to have not one, not two, but three(!) Communion hymns. And before each hymn, there she was, announcing what the choir was about to sing. So instead of silently and prayerfully reflecting on the gift we had just received, on how our God humbled himself to die on a Cross for our sins, we had announcements of the songs they were singing. Why? Why is it so important that we follow along with the songs instead of bowing our heads in silent prayer? Why do we even need three Communion hymns? Why can't we just sit in silence after the first one? Silence. 

We've all heard the old adage that "Silence is golden," but do we even stop to think why it's golden? So often in the parishes that I frequent, it seems that silence is terrifying, uncomfortable. St. Mary's is better than most, especially Daily Mass, but it suffers the same problems. Are we afraid that, if we don't constantly entertain them, those nominal Catholics in the pews will just stop coming? I don't know the answer to these questions, and I won't pretend to. But I am bothered by what I see. Feel free to leave your opinions in the comment box. 

Pax, Patrick

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Double Duty

Haha, I just said duty... just kidding.

Part one: I have a new blog addiction, it is Marc at Bad Catholic. He puts me to shame, really. I know it's not really that hard to do, but it makes it doubly painful because he's my age, actually a bit younger, and he has a better grasp on the Faith, and is already smarter and a better writer than I. Three cheers for lessons in humility! Anyways, I read two of his  posts recently, titled "Y'all Suck at Sinning" and an older one from March titled "How Not to Have Sex". They're brilliant, really, you should go read them and comment and like him on Facebook. And then you can subscribe to my blog because it makes me feel important. Back to Marc. The first of these articles deals with how we sin. Marc points out that, "back in the day," before the sexual revolution and relativism and all that, when you sinned you at least new it was wrong and you chose to do it anyways and you probably got a bit of a thrill from that forbidden fruit. Now, however, in our so called enlightened age of liberation, nothing is forbidden, nothing taboo, and so there is no longer a thrill in sinning because many of us don't even know it is wrong. Thus, that which was once forbidden, scandalous, is now oh so banal and boring (+1 for mini-alliteration). That is not to say that we should sin in the first place, as all sin is evil, only that the older generations at least knew and maybe even enjoyed the fact that they were choosing sin and it was therefore much more exciting. Now, however, sex is just sex. Which leads into the second article. It says many of the same things as the first, only it focuses more on sex. There's a line in there though, where Marc writes,  

"Might I take the moment to ask anyone reading this to be skeptical of a man advocating the eradication of a taboo, for the very word implies that human beings have been doing it forever, and it's a certain ugly pride to think yourself better and more brilliant than your hundreds of forefathers. If a thing is really old-fashioned - as in thousands of years of use - then it is not decrepit, not limping with a cane; it is a rugged survivor, probably wearing flannel. Abortion is decrepit. Wine is old. So when the common consensus of all of humanity is that sex is beautiful, doubt and feel free to mock the porno industry that says it's ugly."

There's a line there that really hit me, it's the part about the "rugged survivor." Here, I think of the Church as being any one of the following:
Bear Grylls. Ish.
Sir Edmund Hillary. First man to climb Everest, and the first man to reach the South Pole since Amundsen and Scott 
Ernest Hemingway. No explanation required. 
Sir Ernest Shackleton. Go look him up, you won't be sorry.
These men remind me of the ancient traditions and the Catholic Church. They survive, no matter what Nature can throw at them. So too, the Church and her traditions. And, with the exception of Bear, they all have awesome beards that I am massively jealous of. Then there is evil. Evil is seductive at first, but it soon leads one to decay. Just take these two as examples.


From the immortal imaginations of J. R. R.  Tolkien and Peter Jackson
AAAAAH! NOOOOOO! GET IT OFF THE SCREEN!
Sorry about that, I was trying to make a point.

Part the Second: This is the "update on something interesting in my life and try to share some recently-found wisdom" section, so feel free to stop reading if you don't care. I have recently rediscovered the joy of writing letters. It started, as many things do, as a passing remark from a beautiful girl, lamenting that nobody writes letters anymore. I felt the same way, and that comment reverberated around in my head for a few days. Then I started writing, and i realized the many benefits of letter-writing. A letter, you see, is almost like a part of you. When you write that letter, ink from your pen, held in your hand, is transferred to that page. You hold that page with your hands, you seal the envelope. Then you send it. When that letter is received and read, you are being invited into that person's life. They are reading the words you wrote, touching the paper you touched, etc. And there is a certain excitement when you receive a letter that you just don't get with a text message, phone call, or email. It's a joy all its own and completely inimitable.

So I've been writing letters, and a young lady and I have recently decided, with, I believe, the help of the Holy Spirit, to stop being in constant communication and correspond only through letters. As difficult as it was at first to divorce myself from the instant gratification of immediate communication, I believe it will strengthen our relationship while still allowing us to protect our hearts. One of the dangers of modern communication is that you can quickly cross emotional boundaries without truly getting to know the heart of the person. Or you can get to know someone too well too quickly and cross into that "friend zone" from which there is only hurt and no true way out. I will be the first to admit that I am guilty of this and it is a constant struggle to find the right balance. Which is why this plan of ours is so genius. We are faced with interesting circumstances, which makes it all the more important that we guard our hearts and practice proper emotional chastity. It keeps us out of that "instant gratification" mindset and allows us to take the time we need to get to know each other better. Plus, you get to look forward to receiving a letter from a young woman quite regularly. It's very old-fashioned, I know, but I think it'll work and, like I said earlier, the traditions of old tend to have some wisdom to 'em. Time will tell.

Your prayers in this matter are greatly appreciated.
Gig 'Em and God Bless,
Patrick

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Pope's Divisions

I would like to apologize to you, my readers. I have been a slacker recently. As I'm sure you've noticed, my last several posts have been video-heavy. I seek to remedy that with this post.

Unfortunately, I did not get to go to World Youth Day in Madrid this year. Seeing the images, videos, and media coverage of World Youth Day over the past two weeks though, I was struck by something heavy. I was reminded of the immortal words of Josef Stalin. Yes, you heard me correctly. World Youth Day, a gathering of about 1.5 million faithful Catholic young adults publicly proclaiming their faith and praising God, reminded me of the greatest mass-murderer in human history. No, hear me out, I'm not completely insane... just a little bit. I was reminded of the famous quote wherein Stalin says, in 1935, "The Pope! How many divisions has he got?" Stalin was, of course, dismissing the power and influence of the Pope with the Russian people. But there was a larger meaning there. Stalin, indeed Communism as a whole, hated religion, and Catholicism in particular. The irony of all this is that Communism fell just over 50 years later with nary a shot being fired, largely due to one man: The Pope of Rome, His Holiness Blessed John Paul The Great. It was his Papal visit to his homeland of Poland in 1979 was the beginning of the end for Communism. Lech Walesa, the founder of the Polish movement Solidarity, credited JP2 with giving the Poles the courage to rise up and throw off the shackles of Atheism, Communism, and Soviet domination. He inspired those Poles, he gave them hope, something they had not had for over 30 years. That was then. Flash forward 30 years, and you arrive at the present.

Hope. Above all else, that is what World Youth Day gave me. Hope is the heavy object God hit me with as I was watching coverage of WYD 2011. Let me be clear, I often suffer from a lack of hope for the world. Seriously, ask my mother. I have no lack of Hope for my future, or the future of my friends and family. I tend to think that the world may very well be going to Hell in a hand basket. It is a problem that I struggle with on a daily basis. It is an oft-heard complaint these last 5 years that Pope Benedict XVI is not a charismatic as JP2. That Der Panzer Pope is a stuffy traditionalist, out of touch with today's average Catholic. Ha! Almost 2 MILLION young Catholics, the very people B16 is supposed to be out of touch with, flocked to Madrid from all over the world to see him, to hear him speak, and, above all, to worship our Heavenly Father with him. They came to see this man, this frail, kinda creepy-looking 82 year-old Bavarian theologian.

What attracts my generation to this man? The answer: Love. It is telling that the average of this year's WYD participant is 22. That means that this WYD was attended not just by the remnants of the JP2 generation, but also by the B16 generation. Like me, the majority of the pilgrims grew and matured with Papa Benedict as our Holy Father. It is not valid, then, to say that the crowds in Madrid were drawn by the remnants of JP2's charisma. This year, the crowds were drawn by B16 himself. And you know that every one of those 1.5 million pilgrims represents at least 10 others who wish they could have been there.

A great example of why we are drawn to our Papa is this: the night before the last day of WYD, there was a vigil held at the airfield. B16 was in the middle of a speech when a freak thunderstorm blew in. Frankly, it reminded me of a Texas supercell from the descriptions. It poured, it blew, dust was picked up and whipped the pilgrims. Tents were ripped apart and blown around, some people were hurt. And yet, nobody wanted to leave. Many of the pilgrims, in fact, started dancing and singing, grateful for a break from the heat. Pope Benedict's skullcap was blown from his head and he was forced to abandon his speech, and those wonderful men whose job it is to look after his well-being urged him to leave and take shelter. He didn't leave his flock. Under a large white umbrella, he waited out the storm in solidarity with his children.
And after the storm had passed? They checked the stage for damage. Then, he got up, calmly addressed the crowd and thanked them for coming and being strong through the storm. then, his hair in disarray, without his customary skullcap, and obviously wearied by the storm, he led the entire crowd in adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
There, at that airfield, over a million pilgrims fell to their knees in the mud, silent, adoring the Body of our Lord and Savior.

These holy youth are inspired by the Pope. He leads, and he speaks to us not as unintelligent children, but as young men and women of God, coming into our own in this fallen world and seeking Truth and Love. He understands that we, the future of the Church, desire to be challenged not coddled. We hunger for red meat, while the vast world tries to feed us cake. Pope Benedict XVI understands this. He challenges us, teaches us. We recognize that the enormous sacrifice of Christ on the Cross requires a similarly huge commitment to living his Gospel in the world, even when it's not the politically-correct or popular thing to do, and he points us to the Church and the Sacraments as the way to follow Christ. We are young. We are positive. We are smart. We are energetic. We are strong. And we are willing to sacrifice in order to re-form our fallen world into a better image of Christ's love for us, despite the costs to ourselves. We are not interested in reforming the Church, letting priests marry, ordaining women, letting gay people marry, popular elections of Bishops, or introducing democracy to the church. We are content with the church as it is and, if anything, wish to go back to the old customs. We seek out the full glory of the Sacred Traditions. We seek and recognize true Beauty in life. We are the Pope's divisions, and, if we are any indication, the future of he church looks bright indeed.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Catholicism: The Series

Fr. Robert Barron's Catholicism is coming out soon. I cannot flippin wait. I'm about to post a SUPER long video preview. Bear with me here, and watch it all the way through.
I. Cannot. Wait.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lovely Lady Dressed in Blue

Here I am, returning to my habit of late night posts. Oh well.

Today was my last day of working for the YMCA of Arlington. Can't really say that I am sad or anything.

the main point of today's post is to bring to you a wonderful prayer/poem and a wonderful man. The poem is titled "Lovely Lady Dressed in Blue" by Mary Dixon Thayer. It was made famous in the 19950's b one of the greatest men of the 20th century, and one of the greatest Catholic leaders America has ever produced, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.


Abp. Sheen is sort of a hero to me. He was that rare combination of scholar and personality; one who could understand and explain complex theological, philosophical, and practical issues and in such a way that anyone could then understand them, but who could also hold an audience's attention long enough to really make a difference. He was an incredibly successful Author, television personality, evangelist, apologist, and he had one of the most beautiful, dedicated devotions to the Blessed Mother I have ever encountered.

Anyways, on to the poem:


"Lovely Lady Dressed in Blue"


Lovely Lady dressed in blue ------- 

Teach me how to pray! 
God was just your little boy, 
Tell me what to say!


Did you lift Him up, sometimes, 

Gently on your knee? 
Did you sing to Him the way 
Mother does to me?


Did you hold His hand at night? 

Did you ever try 
Telling stories of the world? 
O! And did He cry?


Do you really think He cares 

If I tell Him things ------- 
Little things that happen? And 
Do the Angels' wings


Make a noise? And can He hear 

Me if I speak low? 
Does He understand me now? 
Tell me -------for you know.


Lovely Lady dressed in blue ------- 

Teach me how to pray! 
God was just your little boy, 
And you know the way.

There is so much wisdom and insight packed into so very few words in this poem. This is, to me, the epitome of poetry. We can all learn a little from this poem. Also, it's a very common-sense example of why we honor Mary in the Catholic Church. Now, here's a four-part video of Archbishop Sheen on Mary