Friday, June 30, 2006

Fr. Martin Fox Visits an Empty Field in Pennsylvania

Fr. Martin Fox at his blog Bonfire of the Vanities writes about a recent side trip to an empty field while travelling back to Ohio from Washington, D.C.:
Wednesday, as I considered my route back home to Ohio from Washington, D.C., I remembered: there was a special site, somewhere in Pennsylvania--was it near I-70? I checked, and indeed it was: Shanksville, Pennsylvania, not too far off the path I would take home.

Do you recall that name? Does it sound vaguely familiar? I wager so: that is where United Airlines Flight 93 plummeted to earth, as a group of "hell, no, we're not going to take it anymore" Americans rose up against the terrorists on September 11 (yes, that September 11) and fought back.

So, as I departed northern Virginia, I dithered about whether I would get off the Pennsylvania Turnpike for this visit. "It will take too long," I thought; "I can do it the next time through," I rationalized. Then came a firm response: "No, I may never do it. This is the time; I am in no hurry; I am not due back for another it now!"


Many Happy Returns

Drop by Darwin Catholic to wish Darwin and Mrs. Darwin well on their 5th wedding anniversary.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Valedictorian Complains of "Hollow" Public School Education

From Cybercast News Service:
( - The valedictorian of a Blue Ribbon-awarded high school in New Jersey has left teachers and administrators with a sour taste in their mouths after using his June 20 valedictory speech to describe his education as "hollow" and one filled with "countless hours wasted in those halls."

"I felt like the most important questions were not asked." said Kareem Elnahal, the top rated student at Mainland Regional High School in Linwood, N.J. "Things like ethics, things that defined who we are, were ignored so in that way I thought it was hollow." he told Cybercast News Service Wednesday.

Mainland High School was ranked 403rd among the nation's top 1,200 schools in Newsweek Magazine's "America's Best High Schools" report from August 2005.

But at the June 20 commencement, Elnahal told his audience that "the education we have received here is not only incomplete, it is entirely hollow."

Elnahal told Cybercast News Service that teachers refused to discuss certain topics because they were too closely tied to religious views. In his valedictory speech, he argued that there is a connection between a person's faith and that person's power of reasoning.

"Is there a creator? And if so, should we look to it for guidance," Elnahal asked the audience gathered at the high school graduation ceremony. "These are often dismissed as questions of religion, but religion is not something opposed to rationality. It simply seeks to answer such questions through faith."

(emphasis added)

Cardinal Fears Church Could Face Court on Abortion; Also Says Involvement in Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bars One from Communion

From Reuters:
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Catholic Church could one day be prosecuted for its right-to-life stance by some countries where abortion is considered a woman's right, a senior Vatican cardinal said in an interview published on Thursday.

Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, criticized several Western countries for allowing abortion and introducing gay marriage and civil unions.

"I fear that faced with current legislation, speaking in defense of life, of the rights of the family, is becoming in some societies a crime against the state, a form of disobedience of the government, a discrimination against women.

"The Church risks being brought in front of some international court, if the debate gets any more tense, if the most radical opinions are heeded," Lopez Trujillo told Famiglia Cristiana, a Catholic Italian weekly.

Last week, another cardinal said he feared human rights group Amnesty International might start campaigning against countries that make abortion a crime. The group said it was discussing the issue but no decision had been made.

In his interview, Lopez Trujillo, a 70-year-old Colombian, said scientists who experiment on embryonic stem cells should be viewed in the same light as abortionists and be barred by the Church from taking Communion.

"Destroying an embryo equals abortion and that excommunication goes for the woman, the doctors and the scientists who eliminate the embryo," he said.

Bishop Robert Lynch: New Mass Translation "Slavish" and "Strict"

(Hat tip: Rich Leonardi at Ten Reasons)

Bishop of St. Petersburg, Florida, Robert Lynch, reports to his flock on the new Mass translation:
The [previous 1973] translation was rejected by the Holy See because between its passage and its approval by the Vatican, new principles of translation were forthcoming which insisted on a slavish, strict translation of the Latin text.
As Rich notes at his blog:
Brought to you, of course, by the man who twiddled his thumbs during the Schiavo crisis and then misspelled her name once she was dead.

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi.
My Comments:
Let me just say that I am not fond of Bishop Robert Lynch's leadership (or rather, lack thereof).

Father Martin Fox's comments to this post are, of course, entirely correct regarding the respect one should show to the office of Bishop. I have, therefore, revised my comments above accordingly.

I suppose if you have to stop to ask yourself whether the doing of something makes you a "bad Catholic", you've probably already answered your question.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Bishop Lynch FINALLY Speaks Out ...

Terri Schiavo's Brother Critical of Bishop Lynch

New Blog: The Two Hearts Ablaze

G. Thomas Fitzpatrick of the blog Recta Ratio announces a new joint venture between himself and Ginny of the blog The Inspired Traditionalist - a blog devoted to honoring The Sacred Heart of Jesus and The Immaculate Heart of Mary, titled The Two Hearts Ablaze:
We will be bringing our readers excerpts from the many out-of-print devotional books about the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, as well as images relating to the Two Hearts (both individually and collectively). In the coming weeks, I will be transcribing and serializing Saint John Eudes' classic work, The Admirable Heart of Mary. We are maintaining a list of links relating to the Sacred Hearts that we hope will make it the "go to" place at St. Blog's, or even on the whole Net, for information on the Sacred Hearts. We have over 120 links related to the Sacred Hearts right now, and expect that list to grow as time goes on.

What it isn't is a topical blog. Both Ginny and I have our own blogs for that (and they will remain in full swing). The Two Hearts Ablaze blog's sole focus is on the spirituality and devotion to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts. We think there is certainly a place at St. Blog's for a blog like this. And if there isn't, we'll build one.
Sounds interesting and quite inspirational. Please spead the word about what is sure to be a worthwhile endeavor.

Quote of the Day

From someone commenting at The Cafeteria is Closed on a post about protecting the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance:
I can understand someone NOT wanting to vote Republican. I cannot, for the life of me, understand how anyone calling themselves Catholic can vote for a Democrat... The Democrats now represent Secular Humanism, Moral Relativism, Anti-Christian/Catholic, Modernist, anti-life ... I could go on.

Annie Lamott Yells "JUMP!"

You've seen or heard about those few spectators in every crowd watching a suicidal person standing on the ledge of a building. You know the ones I'm talking about - the ones who egg on the suicidal person by yelling "JUMP!".

Well, apparently The Los Angeles Times has one of those types writing Op/Eds for them in the person of allegedly "Christian" progessive Annie Lamott. Amy Welborn has the details:
THE MAN I KILLED did not want to die, but he no longer felt he had much of a choice. He had gone from being tall and strapping, full of appetites and a brilliant manner of speech, to a skeleton, weak and full of messy needs.

He and his wife still loved each other very much, but he'd lost the ability to do the things he had most loved to share during their 30 years together: to cook and overeat, hike and travel. He had always been passionately literary, but he was losing the ability to read and write, which had defined his life. Both elegant and down-to-earth, with lifelong depression and a rich, crabby sense of humor, he was 60 when he was diagnosed with cancer.

Mel and Joanne (that's what I'm going to call them) told me about it one night over dinner. Their grown kids wanted him to do chemo, but aggressive treatment might buy him six months, or maybe not, and he had decided against it. He wanted to feel as well as he could for as long as he could, savor his family and friends and the beauty of life, on his own terms, in the strange basket of sickness. And if the fear and suffering got too great? Well, they'd deal with that then.

That night was the closest I came to drinking in all the years I'd been sober, but somehow I didn't. I believed that God would be close to us all no matter how things shook down, even though Mel was not a believer. And the next three months were sort of lovely, a mosaic of beauty, love and his body breaking down. He could no longer hike, and he wasn't ever hungry. He was, by turns, depressed, fascinated, scared, fine, exhausted, sad, accepting, enraged, grateful and amazed at the love and support that surrounded him. If you have a body, you are entitled to the full range of feelings. It comes with the package.

So I offered to help Mel if he ever needed me. We talked about it briefly. What did I think death was like, he asked? I didn't have a clue, but I'd heard an Eastern mystic say that it was like slipping out of a pair of shoes that had never fit very well. Then we moved on to what we were reading, and how our kids were. I knew for a fact, though, that Mel believed in assisted suicide. We had discussed a story in the paper once, about a local man who gave his wife an overdose, and then sealed her upper body in a plastic trash bag with duct tape. Then he had done this to himself, and they died holding hands. What love!

Mel was sort of surprised that as a Christian I so staunchly agreed with him about assisted suicide: I believed that life was a kind of Earth school, so even though assisted suicide meant you were getting out early, before the term ended, you were going to be leaving anyway, so who said it wasn't OK to take an incomplete in the course?
My Comments:
Sick. Remember this whenever the so-called "Religious Left" or "Progressive Christians" or whatever rail against the "Religious Right" or "Christian Conservatives" for their misplaced priorities, especially our emphasis on pro-life causes.

When you hear religious liberals - who apparently think Annie Lamott is the bees knees - talk about their vision of the Gospel and of the Christian calling, think about this very ill athiest man who reached out to a friend he knew to be a "Christian". And think about the "Christian" who, instead of offering him Christ, offered to kill him.

"Progressive" Christianity, indeed.

See also
Albert Mohler's commentary

Maclin Horton's commentary

Now that I've thought about this a little more, Annie Lamott did a hell of a lot more than yell "JUMP!" She went up to the roof of the building and gave the jumper a strong shove.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Ohio Judge to Planned Parenthood: Turn Over Records

Advocatus Militaris at Fumare has the details:
All it took last year for a 14-year-old "Jane Roe" was a cell phone number. A staffer at a local Planned Parenthood clinic called the number and got permission - from a 21-year-old man who was molesting the girl and coerced her into an abortion.

The man, now in prison, pretended to be her father on the phone, then posed as her brother at the clinic. He paid with his credit card, and had the girl injected with Depo-Provera birth control, so he could resume having sex with her three days later.

"Jane Roe presented her school identification card, which showed that she was a junior high school student," a lawsuit by the girl's parents says. "(He) presented his Ohio driver's license, which showed that he was 21 years of age and his last name was different than Jane Roe's. (Planned Parenthood) did not question (either) about the differences in their ages or their different last names."

And that was under Ohio's parent notification law. State law also requires notice to law enforcement, because a girl 13 or under who seeks an abortion is automatically a victim of rape.


Abortion and the New Archbishop - A Shot Across the Bow

(Hat tip: Amy Welborn)

From The Wasington Times' "Insider Politics Blog":
Two Catholic politicians fired a shot across the bow June 22 at the installation of Archbishop Donald Wuerl at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Many of you may remember that abortion was one of the issues that blindsided Sen. John Kerry in the 2004 election. About a dozen Roman Catholic bishops informed the Democratic presidential nominee that his pro-choice stance made him ineligible to take Communion in their dioceses. It was unbelievably embarrassing for the senator, and in the end he lost, in part because of opposition from conservative Catholics.

But Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick never backed such an eligibility policy while he was archbishop, making life a bit easier for the many pro-choice Catholics — including Catholics for a Free Choice President Frances Kissling — who attend church in the Archdiocese of Washington.

But now there’s a new guy in charge. On the very day of Archbishop Wuerl’s installation, two of Massachusetts’ most pro-choice Catholics — Kerry and the state’s senior U.S. senator, Ted Kennedy — showed up and sat in the VIP section. Archbishop Wuerl shook their hands as he moved toward the altar. I didn’t see whether Kennedy took Communion, but I know Kerry did because I talked with him immediately afterward. He was there, he said, as a longtime friend of the archbishop’s.

Isn’t it odd that two of the Senate’s most liberal Catholics made time in their schedules to be at the installation Mass while their conservative Republican colleague from Pennsylvania, Sen. Rick Santorum, did not?

Santorum, I heard, had to stay close to his office for a vote. All the same, here were two Democratic senators giving the new archbishop notice that they intend to ignore any move to disenfranchise them from the Eucharist. No one could miss the message.

Welcome to Washington, Archbishop.

–Julia Duin, religion writer, The Washington Times
My Comments:
It is pretty clear that Archbishop Wuerl does not intend to deny access to Communion to pro-aborts.

In fact, if Archbishop Wuerl had had his way, the result of the recent report of Cardinal McCarrick's commission (on which Wuerl served) would have been to require those bishops who would deny pro-aborts access to Communion to first seek his and the other bishops' permission before doing so.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Wuerl to be Installed Today - Mass in Washington, D.C., Will Mark His Debut as Archbishop

McCarrick's Successor Seen as Loyal, Diplomatic, "a Vote for Continuity"; Not Denying Communion has "Served Us Well" (15 links)

Pope Names Wuerl New Archbishop of Washington, DC

Bishop Wuerl's Name Surfaces for D.C.

Bishop Wuerl: Bishops Should Consult One Another Before Speaking On National Issues Like Kerry And Communion

Religious Left Seeks to Silence Church's Voice

(Hat tip: Jean at Catholic Fire)

From the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights:
June 27, 2006


A coalition of religious leaders in Massachusetts who are pro-gay marriage has lashed out at Boston Archbishop Sean Cardinal O’Malley and other Catholic leaders for opposing same-sex unions. The coalition accuses the Catholic leaders of practicing “religious discrimination” and has requested that they stop campaigning for laws that protect the institution of marriage.

“We respect the Roman Catholic Church’s desire to speak in a public forum about this, but it has come to a point where the advocacy about same-sex marriage has come to impinge on our own religious practices, because not everyone believes same-sex marriage is wrong or sinful or against religious beliefs,” said the Rev. Tiffany Steinwert, a United Methodist minister who works with homosexuals. She added, “What happens when the Roman Catholic Church seeks to create public policy based on their religious beliefs is that they negate other religious beliefs that might be contrary to that.”

Catholic League president Bill Donohue responded as follows:

“It is important that the religious coalition stop practicing religious discrimination against Roman Catholics and stop campaigning for laws that weaken the institution of marriage.

“We respect the religious coalition’s desire to speak in a public forum about this, but it has come to a point where the advocacy about same-sex marriage has come to impinge on our own religious practices, because not everyone believes that same-sex marriage is not wrong or sinful or against religious beliefs. What happens when the religious coalition seeks to create public policy based on their religious beliefs is that they negate other religious beliefs that might be contrary to that.”
My Comments:

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
The Swimmer on Bigotry

UK: Churches "Could be Forced to Bless Gay Weddings"

The Coming Persecution of Churches Over "Gay Marriage"

The Coming Conflict Between Same-Sex "Marriage" and Religious Liberty

San Francisco's Hateful Anti-Catholic Resolution Prompts Lawsuit by Thomas More Center

Catholic League Says Gay Adoption Issue Spurring Anti-Catholic Bigotry

Howard Dean "Optimistic" That "We're About to Enter the '60s Again"

From Cybercast News Service:
( - America is about to revisit one of the most turbulent decades in its history, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean told a religious conference in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. "We're about to enter the '60s again," Dean said, but he was not referring to the Vietnam War or racial tensions.

Dean said he is looking for "the age of enlightenment led by religious figures who want to greet Americans with a moral, uplifting vision."

"The problem is when we hit that '60s spot again, which I am optimistic we're about to hit, we have to make sure that we don't make the same mistakes," Dean added.
See Video

"It's nice to see that Howard Dean's hostility to the religious community ends when people of faith vote Democrat," Republican National Committee spokesman Josh Holmes told Cybercast News Service.

Holmes added he was not surprised that "Howard Dean's political perspective is derived from a 1960s counterculture view of the world. What is surprising -- and disturbing -- is that he can urge a massive expansion of government and denounce the Democrat mistake of creating a 'culture of dependence' in the same speech."

"He may want to revisit that mistake to update his talking points and the Democrat policy manual," Holmes said.

Before leaving Tuesday's conference, the DNC chairman thanked those in attendance for giving him "a big lift."

"I came in the wrong door when I first got here," Dean said. "I came in the back, and everybody was talking about praising the Lord, and I thought, 'I am home. Finally, a group of people who want to praise the Lord and help their fellow man just like Jesus did and just like Jesus taught.' Thank you so much for doing that for me."
My Comments:
At least he's being honest about where the Dems want to drag our country.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Dean Statement on Marriage Sparks 'Gay' Backlash

Howard Dean Threatens Religious Voters

Catholic League Responds to Dean Threat

Fidelis on Howard Dean's Statement Against Religion

Left-Leaning Preacher to Howard Dean: You Can't Fake It, So Shut Up About Religion

House GOP to Focus on Abortion, Guns

From Associated Press via The Guardian (UK):
WASHINGTON (AP) - House Republicans intend to hold votes this summer and fall touching on abortion, guns, religion and other priority issues for social conservatives, part of an attempt to improve the party's prospects in the midterm elections.

The "American Values Agenda" also includes a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage - which already has failed in the Senate - a prohibition on human cloning and possibly votes on several popular tax cuts.

"Radical courts have attempted to gut our religious freedom and redefine the value system on which America was built. We hope to restore some of those basic values through passing this legislative agenda and renewing our country's commitment to faith, freedom and life," Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said Tuesday.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Self-Appointed Black "Leaders" Kick Off Clergy Conference to Combat Christian Conservatives

From Associated Press via The Guardian (UK):
DALLAS (AP) - Prominent black leaders said they will work to combat Christian conservatives they say have used gay marriage and abortion to distract from larger moral issues such as the war, voting rights, affirmative action and poverty.

The Revs. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Joseph Lowery and hundreds of black leaders from around the country are focusing on mobilizing black voters for the fall elections. They kicked off a three-day black clergy conference Monday in Dallas.

"There are no gay people coming to our churches asking to get married," Sharpton said. "But there are plenty of people coming with problems voting or their sons in jail."

Sharpton said tours are planned of swing states starting in July to bring out black voters and push Democrats to take a tougher stand on social justice issues.

Jackson said the mid-term elections, which will determine hundreds of congressional seats and many governorships, are a "fight for America's soul."

My Comments:
Meanwhile, black clergy in Ohio seem to be open to Ken Blackwell's conservative message of traditional values, hope, and opportunity.

Flood Recovery Slow, Painful for Norwalk

From the Toledo Blade:
NORWALK, Ohio - Marilyn Seiler said she doesn't know when she'll again be able to live in the house she bought just more than a year ago in this northern Ohio city.

After she was evacuated from her home Thursday because of the floodwater accompanying the storms that swept through the state, she's only returned to clean up the damage caused by 9 feet of water that climbed up to the floor joists in her basement at 51 East Elm St.

"It can't get no worse," she said, surveying her street littered with blankets, clothes, carpets, furniture, and other ruined possessions piled high at the curbs to be carted away.

Throughout the area, the storms that began Wednesday night and continued into Friday morning killed two people, produced several tornadoes, and knocked out power to thousands.

Norwalk, about halfway between Toledo and Cleveland in Huron County, was one of the areas hit the hardest. The city's reservoir overflowed the spillway into Norwalk Creek, causing flooding of up to 12 feet in low-lying areas.

"It was just way too much rain for all the streams to handle it," said Bill Ommert, director of the county's emergency management agency. "We got 6 inches in a three-hour period, and it just plain backed everything up."

He said the storms affected about 800 houses in the county, ranging from a few inches of wa-ter in basements to seven or eight homes that were destroyed.

"We're trying to get into the recovery stage at this point," he said. "But we're in trouble if it rains because it might get us back where we were Thursday."

And rain is exactly what is predicted for Huron County throughout the next five days, according to officials at Accuweather in State College, Pa., and the Cleveland office of the National Weather Service.

Accuweather Meteorologist Megan Woodhead said there is a strong possibility that scattered showers and thunderstorms will hit Huron County and other local areas every day until Sunday.

It's expected to rain the most later today and during the day tomorrow, though some areas may see only a quarter of an inch.

My Comments:
When I was Mayor of Columbia, Virginia, I was leading one of the most flood-prone towns in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Columbia is famous throughout Virginia for its floods. The 2 most prominent floods in Columbia's history occurred in 1969 with Hurricane Camille and in 1972 with Hurricane Agnes. Those 2 major floods basically wiped out the town, so that Columbia 35 years later is a mere shell of its former self.

Little did I know that we would be in for more of the same when we moved to Norwalk, Ohio. We were definitely caught off guard by the extent of the flooding that hit Norwalk last week. I found it somewhat ironic in learning last week that the last major flood that Norwalk experienced was back in 1969 - as a result of Hurricane Camille, the same flood that virtually destroyed Columbia.

Camille must have been one big, bad momma storm to cause the amount of death and destruction it did along the Gulf Coast, sweeping up the Mississippi River valley, through the Ohio Valley, and into the mid-Atlantic - and maintaining much of her strength the whole length of her journey. Sorta makes Katrina look like a strong spring breeze.

Black Candidates Paint New Picture for GOP Politics

USAToday notes that "African-American voters in Ohio, Pa. and Md. [are] being asked to rethink Democratic allegiances":
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Two years after the 2004 presidential election, Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell still faces accusations that he made it hard for Democrats to vote. Here at a public housing community center, however, black ministers — many of them Democrats — are showering him with applause, laughter and amens.

The Republican candidate for governor, an imposing 6-foot-4 in this small, packed room, is sharing his experiences as a black person in America. His father was a meatpacker, he says. He grew up in public housing, selling peanuts and helping at a funeral home. He worked in the civil rights movement, and he challenged the lending practices of white bankers in Cincinnati.

He did not, he says, try to suppress minority turnout in 2004. (“Do you think Mrs. Blackwell raised a dumb child? Why would I suppress the black vote when I understood how well I do in the African-American community?”) In fact, he says, a record number of blacks voted in Ohio in 2004.

When he's done, several Democratic pastors say they might vote for Blackwell for governor this fall over Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland. Henry McNeil, pastor of Alpha & Omega First Baptist Church, says Blackwell closed the sale. “I didn't come with a made-up mind. It was made while he spoke,” says McNeil, who backed Democrat John Kerry for president in 2004.

Voters like these are making Democrats edgy this year. In Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland, some African-Americans are rethinking their party loyalties in light of black Republicans running for high office.


Pennsylvania Senate: Casey (D) 52% Santorum (R) 37%

From Rasmussen Reports:
The reelection campaign of Republican Senator Rick Santorum has been a rocky road so far, and the latest Rasmussen Reports election poll of the Pennsylvania race for U.S. Senate offers only minor comfort at best.

Now trailing Democrat Bob Casey by fifteen percentage points (52% to 37%), Santorum has gained a few points since last month. Of course, gaining a few points after lagging by twenty-three points is hardly an accomplishment for an incumbent to brag about. The overall trend remains very unhappy for Santorum: he has reached a 40% level of support just once in our last eight polls of the race. Casey has topped 50% in all but one of those polls.

My Comments:
The bad news continues for Santorum.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Topic of the Day: Divorce, Annulment, & Remarriage in the Catholic Church

(Bumped to the top. Please scroll down to read all of today's posts.)

What is giving rise to today's theme, you may ask? It seems that there is some consternation over the Carolina Cannonball's "singles ad" (see here and here) in which she mentions her divorce. [NOTE: Carolina Cannonball has stated in the comments at her blog, as well as to me personally, that she is free to remarry within the Church. So, Catholic guys, go for it!]

If you read this blog regularly, you may be aware that I, too, am divorced (not of my choosing) and that I have remarried. Both my divorce and remarriage took place prior to my entering the Church, and I had to get a declaration of nullity from a Catholic tribunal before Sarah and I could be received into the Church. I mention this just by way of full disclosure.

Anyway, I plan a number of posts today on the topic of divorce, annulment, and remarriage in the Catholic Church. This post will stay bumped to the top, so please scroll down to read all of today's posts. Your comments are appreciated and strongly encouraged.

St. Helena - Patron Saint of Divorced People

Divorce, Annulment, & Remarriage - My Final Comments on the Matter

Finally today, I want to clarify my own personal beliefs regarding the Church's definitive teachings on divorce, annulment, and remarriage:
(1) Divorce is abhorrent. God hates divorce.

(2) Divorce and remarriage = adultery.

(3) The Church recognizes that some marriages are void ab initio.

(4) The Church has authority conferred by Christ to determine which marriages are void and which are valid. Unfortunately, it seems that the Church (at least in the U.S.) has been somewhat permissive in granting annulments as a form of "Catholic divorce".

(5) Marriages entered into within the Church (or convalidated by the Church) should be damn near impossible to have annuled.

(6) Converts seeking to enter the Church should have a lower bar (but still have a bar) for proving a prior marriage bond to be invalid.

(7) Once a Church tribunal has declared a marriage null and void, and all appeals have been exhausted, no Catholic should question the validity of that decision.

(8) No one should ASSUME that just because someone is divorced and seeking remarriage that that person has an intention to commit adultery. Charity demands that you assume that person has done what the Church requires to normalize their situation. If there is some doubt, the proper thing to do is admonish that person privately, NOT publicly accuse that person of being "still married" with the implication that the person is going to commit adultery.
As noted earlier, I have myself been a "beneficiary" of the Church's annulment process. Sarah and I, who were married prior to our decision to convert, would not be Catholics today had that option not been available to us. I believe strongly that my previous marriage was invalid in the eyes of the Church. The tribunal that heard my case agreed. So did the appellant tribunal. I am confident enough that my first marriage was invalid that had my first wife even cared to contest the annulment (which she didn't), that I believe had it gone all the way to the Rota it would have nevertheless been declared void ab initio.

One thing this discussion today has caused me to do is to think twice before I condemn someone of violating the Church's teachings without at least considering what that person's individual circumstances might be. An individual's unique situation does not validate whatever sin he may be engaging in, but it certainly helps to give some perspective on how a person got where he is and how he might be helped out of those circumstances.

Finally, several times today, I have stopped to ask myself whether my pontificating about "orthodoxy this" and "the teachings of the Catholic Church that" may come across as self-righteously to others as some of the comments directed toward Carolina Cannonball did to me. If so, then I seriously need to reconsider whether my blogging is doing anything to further the Kingdom, or whether I'm just a resounding gong or clanging cymbal.

Previously Married Nicole Kidman Weds Keith Urban in Catholic Ceremony

Celebrity Catholic wedding news:

Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman who is 39, married country music singer Keith Urban. A traditional Catholic ceremony at a cliff-top chapel in Sydney marked the occasion. The wedding took place on Sunday, June 25, 2006 at 5.30p.m. (9.30a.m. local time).

Reuters reported that Kidman wore an elegant ivory-colored dress, designed by French fashion house Balenciaga, and sheer veil and carried a simple posy of white roses. Kidman arrived at the church in a cream Rolls-Royce.

Australian television reported that Kidman's friends, Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman, were among the guests.

Kidman had a very public divorce from actor Tom Cruise in 2001, ending a 10-year marriage. They have remained friends, sharing custody of their two adopted children.

(emphasis added)
My Comments:
This highlights one of the absurdities in how the Church determines validity/invalidity of previous marriages.

Nicole Kidman, raised Catholic and, presumably, with full knowledge of the Church's teachings on marriage, marries Tom Cruise, also raised a Catholic. However, because they were married outside the Church, their marriage is automatically void ab initio.

Now, you take Joe Protestant who married Jane Evangelical in a Baptist ceremony. Neither Joe nor Jane grew up with the benefit of Catholic teaching on the dissolubility and sacramental nature of marriage (i.e. without the same view toward marriage as Nicole or Tom). In fact, both Joe's and Jane's parents were divorced and subsequently remarried (thus, 4 sets of parents were seated in the front rows of their wedding ceremony). Joe and Jane were divorced 7 years later when Jane decided she wasn't being "fulfilled" by their marriage and left.

A couple of years after Joe and Jane's divorce, Joe marries Eunie Tarian. After 3 years of marriage, Joe and Eunie come to have a belief in the Real Presence and decide that they want to enter full communion with the Catholic Church. However, Joe and Jane's prior marriage is presumed valid by the Church.

So, Nicole and Keith can marry in the Church despite Catholic Nicole's previous marriage, but wannabe-converts Joe and Eunie (at least without the option of annulment) are stuck on the outside of the Church looking in.

I'm sorry, but that's just screwy.

UPDATE (27 June 2006)
From BBC News:
How did Nicole Kidman re-marry in a Catholic church?

How did Nicole Kidman, one-time spouse of Tom Cruise, get re-married in a Catholic church if she didn't have an annulment? Clue: she wasn't actually married before.

Nicole Kidman's wedding to country singer Keith Urban in Sydney at the weekend drew plenty of media attention.

But some Catholics will have looked on perplexed at how the former bride of actor Tom Cruise managed to tie the knot for a second time, in a Catholic church.

It was widely reported in the run up to the weekend wedding that Ms Kidman had received an annulment for her previous marriage - the Catholic Church's procedure for allowing a follower to wed again.

Father Paul Coleman, who conducted the latest nuptials, was said to have advised the Oscar-winning actress on the dissolution.

In fact, Kidman didn't need an annulment for one simple reason: in the eyes of the Catholic Church her 10-year union with Tom Cruise, a renowned Scientologist, never happened.

The original wedding was performed in the Church of Scientology and wasn't recognised by the Catholic faith.

The divorce granted to the couple in 2001 was a legal rather than religious procedure for Kidman.

So Kidman would only have had to have obtained a licence from the Catholic Church saying that she was legally free to marry and that the Church had not recognised her first marriage.

Not recognised

"The Catholic Church sets down requirements to have a valid Catholic marriage. In the case of Nicole's first marriage, those requirements were not fulfilled," said Father Coleman, who married Kidman and Urban.

Kidman had dabbled with Scientology and Father Coleman talked of her Catholic wedding in terms of a spiritual homecoming.

Annulment is, nevertheless, controversial in some Catholic circles. How can the Church rule a marriage never really happened, especially if it's been a long one and generated children?

The Catholic Church began to make annulments easier to get in the 1970s, adding a category of "psychological grounds", which includes "lack of due discretion" - in other words, an applicant might claim they'd not fully appreciated the responsibilities of marriage.

Today, this category - which also takes in "psychological incapacity assuming the obligations" - is the main grounds upon which annulments are granted.


Dr Phil on Annulments

Earlier today, I received the following in an email from Bai Macfarlane:
Hi Jay Anderson [et al]

The Dr. Phil Show had a recent episode about a family in which one of the adult daughters was disgusted with her father for getting an annulment and joining his new "wife" in a Catholic wedding ceremony. I've heard that non-Catholic Christians laugh at the US Catholic tribunals' annulments. The non-Catholic Christians know that US tribunals are giving out divorces - even though the Canon Law Society of America might use some fancy double-talk to explain that a couple was never really married in the first place.

This Dr. Phil Show hit a chord with the members of our "defending marriage" yahoo group Someone needs to publicly say that this annulment nonsense is "the king is really wearing just his underwear, not some fancy fabric the sophisticated can only see." This annulment process adds insult to injury after dedicated spouses and children have had their families ripped apart by no-fault divorce while immoral attorneys get rich who work to protect the abandoners' and adulterers' supposed right to a no-fault divorce. In no-fault divorce children are taken from the dedicated spouse much or most of the time and abandoners and adulterers are treated just like the spouse who wanted to keep an intact family for the children. The children always lose.

If any of your blog readers would like to let Dr. Phil know that all Catholics don't agree with the US tribunal's way of giving out annulments, especially because the US practices are not supported by the actual Universal Roman Catholic Church, please forward this message.

I wrote to Dr. Phil and told him about my experience in which I'm simply trying to get the Catholic Tribunal to adjudicate canon law regarding separation. According to canon law commentary recommended by the Vatican's canon law office, one is not to approach the civil divorce courts without a church separation decree first. I explained to Dr. Phil how we are challenging the constitutionality of forcing civil no-fault divorce on those who marry in accordance with the rules of their church, especially the Roman Catholic Church's rules which don't allow for no-fault divorce (or rather separation). Dr. Phil could choose to cover our side of the divorce story.

I also cautioned Dr. Phil to make sure he has a canonist who is recommended by the Vatican rather than the Canon Law Society of America (CLSA), because the CLSA is run by its members and has no authority to definitively speak on behalf of the actual Roman Catholic Church.

Please visit Dr. Phil show about annulment

Write to Dr. Phil on this page.

I list much info from Vatican Sources about annulment on my page


Bai Macfarlane
- praying to remain a trusting servant
- dedicated homeschooling mom whose children were taken away by no- fault divorce court - because I homeschooled
- founder
My Comments:
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I suppose you could say that I'm something of a "beneficiary" of the Church's annulment process, so I'm not sure that I am the appropriate person who should be blogging about this. But I'm nevertheless posting this at Bai's request.

Divorce, American Style: An Interview with Bai Macfarlane

(Hat tip: Mark Shea)

Bai Macfarlane's interview with GodSpy:
Her high-profile Catholic marriage — and divorce case — has sparked a debate about the injustice of no-fault divorce and the tragedy of marital abandonment. We spoke to Bai Macfarlane about her struggle to reform civil and ecclesial marriage laws in the U.S.

"All happy families are alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

If ever there was a couple to make a liar out of Leo Tolstoy, it seemed that Bud and Bai Macfarlane were it. As parents of four home-schooled young boys, and founders of Catholic media apostolates like the Mary Foundation, St. Jude Media and CatholiCity, they appeared—at least from a distance—uniquely happy in their role as young leaders of the "New Faithful" Catholic revival inspired by the pontificate of Pope John Paul II.

But Tolstoy's maxim reasserted itself early last year when Bud left the family and filed for divorce, accusing his wife of "extreme cruelty" and "gross neglect of duty"—charges Bai vehemently denies. Even worse, according to Bai, her refusal to give up home-schooling her sons—per Bud's demand—and to go along with the divorce, was twisted by the courts into an excuse to punish her by giving primary custody of her children to her husband.

The irony—in a story filled with ironies—is that while formerly irrepressible Bud has withdrawn from public view, Bai is now in the spotlight because of her new mission: to reform Catholic marriage and civil divorce in this country. Bai's fight is personal, but extends way beyond her marital problems. No-fault laws, she says, together with church diocesan policies that encourage marital abandonment and easy annulments, puts innocent spouses (and children) at a disadvantage in civil divorce cases and helps tear families apart. We talked to her about how the past year has shaped her view of these issues.

GodSpy: Bai, I want to be clear about what no-fault divorce is: One spouse can unilaterally divorce the other for no reason. How does no-fault affect society's view of marriage?

Bai Macfarlane: No-fault divorce makes people think that a marriage just "breaks." It makes people think they have no responsibility for repairing or working on their marriage. It's the idea that if you decide that your marriage isn't working, or if it's not giving you the satisfaction you expected, it's the normal thing—it's almost the brave or heroic thing—to move along. You can just try again with somebody else.

Even the term "no-fault" says no one is responsible...

Yes. A good example was the literature from our diocese's divorce ministry. It talked about divorce as if it were like a car accident—two drivers in a car accident, both kind of dazed, they get out of the cars, the police are there, and they don't really know what's going on. This infuriated me because it totally eliminates any culpability.

Before no-fault, divorce was a way to protect someone who was in a truly abusive situation. In those situations someone was at fault. But thanks to no-fault, there is no longer any sense of responsibility for a marriage, or any sense of the indissolubility of marriage at all.

No-fault divorce laws spread in the early seventies when a national group that was trying to get uniform divorce laws in all the states wanted to provide a way for a judge to grant an amicable divorce when both parties wanted to end the marriage. With fault divorce, one person is guilty of something, and that person loses out in the settlement. What happened was that when the American Bar Association's Council of the Family Law Section reviewed the suggested changes in the law, they also added the requirement that if a couple lived apart for 180 days the judge would automatically grant the divorce. Up until then judges had the discretion to keep a couple together when there was really no fault. What ended up happening was the absolute opposite. Now when one person wants out there is a bias against saving the marriage, a bias against the other person who wants to keep it together.

Can you be more specific about how no-fault makes divorce more likely?

In the old days when you went to an attorney for a divorce, that attorney knew he was going to have to prove some fault before he would accept you as a client. I think one of the damaging aspects is that there is a whole industry making lots of money on no-fault divorce. When one unhappy spouse goes to an attorney thinking "I might want a divorce," the attorney sees the unhappy spouse as next month's cash flow.

Also, no-fault puts a couple into war mode. Two people who are having serious marital problems go talk to attorneys, and the attorneys—unless they're exceptional—are bracing themselves for a battle. And the battle is going to be about money and kids.

For example, in my case I sought out lots of advice about how to repair a marriage that's in terrible shape. One of the repeated themes is—you make yourself very vulnerable. You accept responsibility for your personality quirks that have annoyed your spouse, and you apologize. Now, if I send one of these apology letters, and I list the things about me that I know irk my husband, and I say—I'm really sorry that I'm this way and I really believe we can work on this—that letter can show up in court and be used against me to demonstrate how horrible I am. You step into a war zone instead of a healing zone; you step into a trap.


Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Law Professor Defends Marriage in Appellate Court: Says No-Fault Divorce Unconstitutional as Applied to Catholics

Legal Appeal Challenges Civil No-Fault Divorce

Ohio Woman Seeks Reform of US Divorce Law

Email Exchange Over Divorce and Remarriage

From Reader to Jay:
This is a joke right?

She's divorced and you know what that means- nothing. She is still married.
From Jay to Reader:
"She is still married."

And you know this how? Was her first marriage valid within the eyes of the Church? Has she received a declaration of nullity?

By the way, I'm divorced and remarried. Now, you tell me: Am I still married to my first wife? (Hint: the Church says "no").
From Reader to Jay:
Dear Jay,

The question is not "Do I know that she is still married"? but do you?

You are the one encouraging her to date. Have you ascertained that her first marriage received a declaration of nullity? That is your responsibility. Otherwise you are engaging in scandal and encouraging her to commit a mortal sin.

Thank you for informing me that you are divorced and remarried. Now it makes sense to me that you would encourage her to remarry as well. This justifies your actions.

Are you aware that God hates divorce? Malachi 2:13-16, Matthew 19:9 and 1 Cor 7:10-16 and that "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another she commits adultery." Mark 10:11-12 ?

So, the Church has granted you a declaration of nullity. That isn't anything to celebrate and I fail to see how it builds up the family, the Church and society.

She should still seek to reconcile her marriage especially since she has a child. Her son deserves a mother and father and an intact family. The reasons for receiving an annulment are very narrow. You can see a list here according to Church law.

You have a responsibility to encourage and promote sanctity not sin. How many saints were divorced? Exactly none.

My best wishes and regards,
From Jay to Reader:
First of all, I don't celebrate the fact that my first wife left me for absolutely no reason other than the fact that she wanted to go off and be "fulfilled", whatever the hell that means. Suffice it to say, the marriage was one that took place before I was Catholic, involved the use of artificial means of contraception, and had enough "problems" from before it even took place that the Church found that it was void ab initio. It is NOT something that I'm proud of, and it is to my eternal shame that I made a marriage bond that was doomed from the start.

Secondly, you should be ashamed of making comments like "it makes sense to me that you would encourage her to remarry as well" based on what little knowledge you have of my situation or hers. Your assertion that I would "encourage" someone to sin to "justify my actions" is the height of arrogance on your part, and is an extremely UNCHARITABLE assumption for you to make about me. Again, you have no knowledge of the specific situation. I told you the Church has declared my first marriage null and void. Christ has given His Church authority to enforce His teachings. If the Church's judgment on these matters is insufficient for you, that's your problem.

Third, as for the Church's teachings on divorce and remarriage, suffice it to say I probably know more about it than you do. I know and believe all the scriptures related to divorce. I've read it, I've studied it, I've learned it by heart. I've been through the process of divorce (against my will) and I've done what the Church has required of me (in order for me to enter the Church when I converted) with respect to going through the annullment process. One doesn't go through that without acquiring a keen appreciation for the Church's teachings with respect to the horrors of divorce. So, no need for you to preach to me about it. The orthodox Dominican priest who helped me through the process didn't see the need to do so, and, unlike you, he actually knew the facts of my situation.

Fourth, no, it's not my place to assume the worst about someone who I know is a traditional Catholic and who knows what is required by the Church's teachings on marriage. Instead, I will assume that she is a Catholic in good standing, and that, if she is ready to start dating, that she has done what the Church requires of her to normalize her situation.

Finally, you assert that exactly NO saints were divorced. That is false. St. Helena, the mother of Constantine and the woman who discovered the True Cross and the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was divorced. There may be others, but I KNOW of St. Helena - who is also the patron saint of divorced people.

Look, I think your heart is in the right place. I, too, abhor divorce. I have been victimized by it. I believe remarriage following a valid marriage to be adultery, and thus, a grave sin which excludes one from Communion with the Church. That being said, the Church recognizes that there are invalid marriages, and thus, valid remarriages when an invalid marriage ends in divorce. I encourage you to not assume the worst of those of us who have suffered through divorce, and rather to assume that we have done what the Church asks of us. I encourage you NOT to assume that I am encouraging others to sin in order to justify some action on my part. Charity demands as much.

Yours in Christ,
From Reader to Jay:
Dear Jay,

Thank you for a very nice letter. I think we are basically on the same page. But saying that you must admit it is completely improper for someone to say "I am divorced and ready to date and remarry". Carolina may be free to marry but that is a completely different thing. It is your responsibility to make sure that she is free to remarry especially because she is a convert and may not be aware of what the Church teaches. That is charity and not condemnation. Charity means admonishing someone who is acting scandalously. I submit that it is scandalous to advertise the fact that you are divorced and want to marry without making it clear that you are free to marry.

You are the one who volunteered that you are divorced, annulled and remarried in defending Carolina's statement that she wanted to remarry. I thought you were giving that as a rationale. I'm sorry if I misunderstood your point.

Obviously there is a terrible scandal in the American Church with annulments being handed out liberally. I'm sure you know of many cases where husbands discard their wives and children for a newer, younger model with apparently the Church's blessing. We have an obligation to build up marriages and attempt to restore them.

I continue to believe that you should have verified Carolina's ability to marry before encouraging her to meet someone Catholic. That is true charity. Don't let human respect be your guide in matters like these. She responded to my comment calling me a bitch. That's fine but I think statements like that reveal something about someone. It would have been a sin of omission for me to say nothing.

On an interesting side note did you know that when appealed to the Roman Rota, American annulments are being overturned by a ratio of 1 to 2? I'm not making any assumptions about anyone's private life but I think you can say there are some problems with some of these annulments. Have you been following Bai McFarlane's case? I think we have a responsibility to encourage marriage restoration and not see every divorce as an opportunity for an annulment and remarriage.

I'm very sorry for the pain of your divorce.
From Jay to Reader:
In volunteering that I was divorced and remarried, I was being honest in disclosing what might be viewed as a personal bias. In a sense, it is a personal bias, because I am willing to give people in my situation the benefit of the doubt as opposed to condemning them as violating the Church's teachings. I assume that they are doing what the Church has required of them to get their situation normalized.

I, too, am concerned about what is going on with annulments in the Church today. It is truly a scandal. My belief is that annulments should be liberally allowed for non-Catholic marriages (i.e. people like the Cannonball and like myself who were married and divorced outside the Church, but who subsequently seek to convert), and damn nie IMPOSSIBLE for those who have been married within the Church (or who have been married outside the Church and later had the marriage convalidated by a Catholic priest). I know many disagree with me on this, but it is clear that Prots take an altogether different view of the sanctity and indissolubility of marriage than does the Church. Let's not forget why it was that Henry formed his own "church".

Finally, I am indeed familiar with Bai's situation, as she and I are email correspondents and have spoken on the phone with one another on a number of occasions. I have blogged several times about the scandalous situation regarding her husband leaving her and taking her kids away. The purpose of my blog is to encourage ecclesial and public policies that promote the family (thus "Pro Familia").

Warrant Issued for Omaha Nun

(Hat tip: Rick Lugari via email)

So much for that vow of poverty:
Omaha police are on the hunt for a Catholic nun tonight.

Police issued an arrest warrant for Sister Barbara Markey. She was fired as director of the Omaha Archdiocese Family Life Office in January.

Police say she embezzled more than $300,000 And spent it on casinos and other expenditures.

Markey is facing a charge of theft by deception. That is a felony.

Friday, June 23, 2006

On the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus - a Parish Dedicated to the Sacred Heart Located in the Old South

St. Mary's Catholic Church
The Mother Church of Catholicism in the Upstate South Carolina

St. Mary's Catholic Church, a parish of the Diocese of Charleston, was founded in 1852 and is dedicated to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

If I'm ever back in Greenville, South Carolina (my ex is from that area, so I used to go down there all the time), I'd love to visit St. Mary's. I first read about this parish in George Weigel's book Letters to a Young Catholic. The pastor of St. Mary's is the Reverend Jay Scott Newman, an evangelical convert to Catholicism.

Two years ago (just after my entering the Church on Corpus Christi Sunday), I encouraged my wife's Godmother - who was making a trip down to Atlanta to visit her son - to stop in Greenville on the way and visit St. Mary's (which I had just read about in Weigel's book). She did so, and it just so happened to be on the Feast Day of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus - the parish's patronal feast day. She reported that the Mass she attended and the church itself were absolutely beautiful.

Here are a few pictures from the St. Mary's website:

Main Entrance

Church at Sunset

Altar at Easter


Baptismal Font & Aisle

Statute of Mary

The Lady Chapel

Statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

"Scott Has a Plan for Your Life"

(Hat tip: Amy Welborn)

Another funny story about how writers at the major newspapers don't "get religion":
Earlier this year, inspired by a laugh-out-loud correction in Newsweek, I wrote what I hoped was a funny column for Scripps Howard asking why so many newsrooms seem to be a few tacos short of a combination platter when it comes to getting basic religious facts right. Then people started sending me other corrections that were just as funny and that led to a second column — built on the now-infamous “crow’s ear” mistake in the International Herald Tribune coverage of the funeral of Pope John Paul II.

Well, I can sort of understand someone hearing “a salt ministry” and, if they were inclined to a somewhat negative view of the Rev. Jerry Falwell, hearing “assault ministry.” After all, evangelicals often speak in their own code language and expect outsiders to understand what they are saying. And I can imagine, maybe, someone hearing “crosier” and thinking that they heard “crow’s ear” (although I find it hard to understand that happening with a veteran New York Times reporter who is sent to cover one of the biggest religion events of the decade).

But I’m having trouble understanding what happened with the following puzzler from the Los Angeles Times. The story is about pitcher ace pitcher Luke Hochevar of the University of Tennessee (which is, let’s face it, in Bible Belt territory) and his professional agent Scott Boras. Here is the original passage in the story:
Being selected No. 1 overall affirmed that his decision to shun the Dodgers had been the right move, Hochevar said.

“Scott had a plan in this, and his master plan definitely worked,” Hochevar said. “It was tough through it — you go through it and you fight it — but when it all comes down to it, Scott has a plan for you, and he definitely worked a miracle in my case.”
Now, for the record, here is the correction:
An article in Sports on June 7 quoted pitcher Luke Hochevar, drafted by the Kansas City Royals, as referring to “Scott” — Scott Boras, his agent — when in fact he used the word “God.” Here is the correct quote: “God had a plan in this, and his master plan definitely worked. It was tough through it — you go through it and you fight it — but when it all comes down to it, God has a plan for you, and he definitely worked a miracle in my case.”
For starters, I’m not sure how anyone would hear the word “God,” which is a fairly common word in mainstream American life, and think they heard “Scott.”
My Comments:
I agree that writers at the major newspapers are completely clueless and out-of-touch when it comes to writing about religion. This seems to be more evidence of that.

But, on the other hand, if you know anything about Major League Baseball, you'll know that it's not out of the realm of possibility that a player would speak about his agent Scott Boras in such glowing terms.

Just ask my Texas Rangers whether "Scott" has a "plan" for his clients' lives (and whether it usually involves screwing over the Rangers in some fashion).

Cannonball Looking for Someone to Light Her Fire

Carolina Cannonball at The Crescat is looking for a good Catholic man:
Cannonball Looking for Someone to Light Her Fire:

Find me a single Catholic man 30-45.

I KNOW someone who reads this has to have a brother, cousin, friend, co-worker, sixth cousin twiced removed on their wife's side... Not every man in my age group is married. I know this, I have to beleive this.

Spread the word... post this on your blog "Find the Cannonball a Man". You can start pouring in your offers to solekat205 at yahoo dot com [as well as any questions you may have for me].

After being [secularly] divorced [receiving appropriate annulment] for 2 years this month, I decided [with counsel from my priest] that I was ready to start dating again [I am free to marry with in the catholic church and my status is "single"] & I am imploring everyone's help.

Look at me, look how cute I am (I am the one not wearing a miter). Look how pious and devout I am standing there next to our Bishop... so obediant & faithful.

Funny, smart, orthodox , good husekeeper, lousy cook, and I love monthy python movies and sports. I am the whole package. Who wouldn't want me as their loving loyal wife?
She's definitely a cutey. Come on all you single fellas at St. Blog's! Drop a line to our little cannonball of fire.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Businesses Flooded, City Of Norwalk Under Water

From Ohio News Now:
NORWALK, Ohio -- Strong storms raced across northern Ohio, dumping heavy rain, toppling trees and flooding roads and basements.

Up to 8 inches of rain fell in Huron, Erie, Ottowa and Lucas counties overnight, Power of 5 meteorologist Susanne Horgan reported.

Officials told NewsChannel5 that about 50 to 60 percent of the Erie County is under water.

Most of Huron County is also flooded. The city of Norwalk took the biggest hit.

State Route 250 in the middle of town is under water. Water Street just off Route 250 and the adjacent railroad tracks are flooded, along with the Northern Bridge on Ridge Road.

The Huron County Sheriff's Department and Emergency Management Agency was hit by lightning during the storm.

Several business and cars were flooded. Traffic in the area is at a standstill.

EMA officials said parts of Ottawa County west of Port Clinton are under water, along with the fields near the Sandusky Bay Bridge.

Flood watches and warnings are in effect for northern Ohio.

Copyright 2006 by WEWS.
This story has a slideshow attached to it, showing some of the flooding:
Parts Of Ohio Flooded After Storms

NORWALK, Ohio -- Parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania were a soggy mess of flooded basements, downed trees, flooded roads and flooded basements Thursday after powerful storms blew through overnight.

Toledo, Ohio, wound up with 5 inches of rain in just five hours. About an hour away, the city of Norwalk, Ohio, was split in two by floods. Up to 800 homes were flooded from Norwalk to London, Ohio, according to WEWS-TV in Cleveland.

Midway between Toledo and Norwalk, a hospital lobby was flooded. Both cities had to send rescue workers out -- sometimes in boats -- to rescue stranded residents.

Up to 8 inches of rain fell in Huron, Erie, Ottawa and Lucas counties, according to WEWS-TV meteorologists. Flood warnings continued Thursday across the region.

In addition, most of Huron County, Ohio, is flooded. Huron County commissioners and Norwalk Mayor Sue Lesch declared a state of emergency.

Nearby Medina, Lorain and Wayne counties have offered aid, WEWS-TV reported.

Lesch called the flooding in Norwalk the worst since a dam broke there in 1969. Floodwaters reached as high as the top of playground equipment in parts of the city, and an estimated 20 homes were evacuated.

Several business and cars were also flooded. Traffic in Norwalk was at a standstill, and only rooftops could be seen sticking out of the water in some places (see slideshow, above).

No injuries were reported, but firefighters and police were battling fatigue after working around the clock, Lesch told WEWS-TV. Sewer backup was also causing health concerns, the station reported.
My Comments:
We were lucky. No flooding in our neighborhood, apart from some water that came in under the basement door and seeped in through the basement walls. But nothing that won't evaporate in a couple of days.

However, just a couple of blocks away, the park where our children play is completely submerged, as are some of the businesses in parts of downtown.

Wuerl to be Installed Today - Mass in Washington, D.C., Will Mark His Debut as Archbishop

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
WASHINGTON -- Dressed in plain black clericals, Archbishop-designate Donald Wuerl entered the nearly empty Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception yesterday and walked to the sanctuary where he will be formally installed today as head of the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.

He took his place alongside retiring Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and, with the basilica's chief liturgist acting as a stand-in for papal nuncio Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the three men bowed before the altar. The other two escorted the former bishop of Pittsburgh to the archbishop's throne, where he pantomimed receiving the crozier, or shepherd's staff, from the papal nuncio.

Yesterday's rehearsal was brief, while today's 2 p.m. Mass will last about two hours. The procession will include nine cardinals, 70 bishops, 250 priests -- about 50 of them from Pittsburgh -- 63 deacons and seven Eastern Orthodox Bishops and priests. The installation, like other large archdiocesan events, is being held in the 3,000-seat basilica because the 1,000-seat cathedral is too small for the expected crowd.
My Comments:
Interesting that this should take place on the Feast Day of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher.

I'm praying that those saints will watch over and intercede on behalf of Abp. Wuerl, that he will have the same strength of conviction and resolve as did those martyrs in confronting the modern-day Henrys who would use their political power to assault the Church and her teachings.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Man For All Seasons: Today (22 June) Is The Feast Day of St. Thomas More

“…it would be hard to find anyone who was more truly a man for all seasons and all men…”
~ Erasmus, 1521

Today is the feast day of St. Thomas More, martyr and patron of lawyers, civil servants, politicians, statesmen, "difficult marriages" (and this blog).

As he went to his death, ordered beheaded by Henry VIII for refusing to swear the Oath of Supremacy declaring the King head of the Church in England, More humbly stated that he would die "the King's good servant, and God's first."

From the Patron Saints Index:
Memorial: 22 June

Profile: Studied at London and Oxford. Page for the Archbishop of Canterbury. Lawyer. Twice married, father of one son and three daughters, and a devoted family man. Writer. Friend of King Henry VIII. Lord Chancellor of England, a position of power second only to the king. Opposed the king on the matter of royal divorce, and refused to swear the Oath of Supremacy which declared the king the head of the Church in England. Resigned the Chancellorship, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Martyred for his refusal to bend his religious beliefs to the king's political needs.

Born: 1478 at London, England

Died: beheaded in 1535; head kept in the Roper Vault, Saint Dunstan's church, Canterbury, England; body at Saint Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London, England

Canonized: 1935 by Pope Pius XI

Patronage: adopted children, diocese of Arlington Virginia, civil servants, court clerks, difficult marriages, large families, lawyers, diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee Florida, politicians, politicos, statesmen, step-parents, widowers
A Prayer to St. Thomas More:
Thomas More, counselor of law and patron of statesmen, merry martyr and most human of saints:

Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be able in argument, accurate in analysis, keen in study, correct in conclusion, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, trustworthy with confidences, courageous in court. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul.

Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain -- their good servant, and God's first.

"The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest."

"What does it avail to know that there is a God, which you not only believe by Faith, but also know by reason: what does it avail that you know Him if you think little of Him?"

~ Saint Thomas More

Apostolic Letter of Pope John Paul II, naming St. Thomas More the patron of politicians and statesmen

Saint Thomas More - Open Directory Project (links to practically everything you'd want to know about St. Thomas More)
Center for Thomas More Studies
Sir Thomas More (1478-1535) - Luminarium
St. Thomas More on The Franciscan Archive
St. Thomas More on the Patron Saints Index
The St. Thomas More Web Site
Sir Thomas More - Oregon State University Philosophy Dept.
Thomas More Law Center
Thomas More Society
The St. Thomas More Society
The Life of St. Thomas More by William Roper
Saint Thomas More - The King's good servant but God's first! (The Angelus)
"Thomas More For Our Season" by Judge Robert Bork
Saint Thomas More: A Father for All Seasons - Essay on Thomas More as a model Christian father
A Man For All Seasons (DVD available from
A Man For All Seasons Study Site
Thomas More's England: A Guide Book (hat tip: Rich Leonardi)
Chelsea Old Church - Sir Thomas More

Prayer to St. Thomas More for Conversion of Pro-Abortion Politicians

Argent by the Tiber also has a couple of nice posts today regarding St. Thomas More:
Optional Memorial of St. Thomas More, martyr

Thomas More's last letter to his daughter

Also, A Penitent Blogger:
The face of the man

And faithmouse:
faithmouse liturgical calendar / St. Thomas More, Martyr

And Rich at Ten Reasons:
Victims of Royal Displeasure

And Fumare:
Feast of St. Thomas More

And The Curt Jester:
St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher

And Publius:
Today the Feast Day of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher

And Maior autem his est caritas:
Ss. Thomas More and John Fisher

And An Examined Life:
Justice and Mercy

And Catholic Laity:
Thomas More, John Fisher and the English Martyrs

And Bethune Catholic:
The prayer of saints

And Seeking Justice:
The Man for All Seasons

And Epiphany:
An appropriate day

And Father Rob's homily at Thrown Back:
The King's Good Servant, But God's First...

And Catholic+Linux+Monkey:
Memorial of St Thomas More (June 22)

And Dymphna's Well:
St. Thomas More (1478-1535)

And Libertas et Memoria:
Saints Thomas More & John Fisher

UPDATE # 2 (23 June 2006)
From the Medieval Saints Yahoo Group:
Thomas More, Knight, Lord Chancellor of England, author and martyr

Beheaded in 1535; head kept in the Roper Vault, Saint Dunstan's church, Canterbury, England; body at Saint Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London, England Beatified in 1886;

Canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1935 as the "Martyr of the Papacy"
Commemorated June 22, feast day formerly on July 6 (with fellow martyr, St. John Fisher)

Patronage: adopted children, civil servants, court clerks, difficult marriages, large families, lawyers, politicians, statesmen, step-parents, widowers

In art: English Lord Chancellor carrying a book; English Lord Chancellor carrying an axe

SAINT THOMAS MORE, Martyr (1480-1535)

Saint Thomas More, born in 1480, was the precocious and amiable son of an English magistrate. Very well educated and brilliant, when he was placed at the age of fifteen in the household of the Archbishop of Canterbury, he soon attracted the Archbishop's attention, and was sent by him to study at Oxford. He debated interiorly for a long time as to whether he should become a priest, but decided otherwise with the approbation of his director.

The practice of civil law was not enough to absorb all his time or energy. The author of the famous satire "Utopia," wrote poetry while still young, in both English and Latin. He had completely mastered Latin, as he had also the Greek tongue, "by an instinct of genius," as one of his preceptors said. Saint Thomas in 1505 married a virtuous and beloved wife who, after bearing four children, three daughters and a son, died six years later. His second wife, older than himself, took excellent care of the household and of the children; but it was said she could not grasp the sense of her husband's subtle humor, which was a characteristic trait of his cheerful disposition.

Saint Thomas came under suspicion by King Henry VII when he strove in the Parliament to reduce the burden of excessive taxes which the people bore, though he never spoke against the king. But his capacities were appreciated, and when Henry VII died, his 18-year-old son, who was to become Henry VIII in 1509, showed him great favor during the first twenty years of his reign. Saint Thomas was knighted in 1521, and was made Speaker of the House of Commons in 1523, High Steward of Cambridge University in 1525, and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the same year. Nonetheless, the king's protege foresaw what could easily happen to anyone who did not agree with his sovereign; he said to his son-in-law in 1525, "If my head could win him a castle in France, it would not fail to go." In effect, when in 1530 the order was issued to the clergy to acknowledge Henry as "Supreme Head of the Church, insofar as the law of God would permit," Saint Thomas immediately resigned as Lord Chancellor.

His resignation was not accepted. Two years later, in May 1532, after he had lost the royal favor on several counts — his reticence concerning the king's divorce, his non-attendance at the king's illegal marriage, and his formal non-recognition of any future children of Henry and Anne Bolyn as rightful heirs to the throne — he was permitted to retire. The king, the apostate Archbishop Cranmer, and Anne Bolyn were all excommunicated in that year.

Saint Thomas lived in retirement from the age of 52, his revenues considerably diminished, and his health somewhat uncertain. When the king decided to require of the laity, as well as of the clergy, the oath supporting his alleged "supremacy," he wanted to obtain first of all the signature of Thomas More, to make of him an example. The Saint declined to sign the oath and thereby brought upon himself a sentence of incarceration in the Tower of London, and a short time afterwards, of death. He was beheaded in 1535, after having said, with his ordinary humor, that "he did not consider the severing of his head from his body as a circumstance that should produce any change in the disposition of his mind."

Saint Thomas while in retirement continued to write a number of religious treatises of great value, including an unfinished one on the Passion. He was beatified by Pope Leo XIII and canonized by Pius XI in 1935, with Cardinal John Fisher, who was martyred like himself in the same year and for the same reasons. That year was the 400th anniversary of their death.

"These things, good Lord, that we pray for, give us Thy grace to labor for." --Saint Thomas More.

More on St. Thomas More at:

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