Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Theme For This Month



Quick heads up: for October, I will be putting up a series of videos and postings on topics related to this time of year. I will try to put the different sets up in a consistent manner every Thursday and Saturday.

So be ready!

Friday, September 25, 2015

I Backhand Bill Maher



No joke…this is an actual quote from Catholic washout Bill Maher in reference to Pope Francis along with my response in red:
“I think it’s the easiest job in the world. I mean you’ve got tenure. 
(in other words, you're jealous that you got fired multiple times and he has more Twitter followers than you)

You’re selling an invisible product that you don’t have to prove exists.
(like you sell your supposed intelligence, Maher?)

 Everything you say people agree with, and you’re playing the infallible card."
(Are you talking about yourself again, Maher?)

 I mean, what other business could you be in where you’re involved with a horrible child-f*** scandal and you didn’t lose most of your customers?"


" I don’t think it’s that hard a job.” 

(Obviously, it must be…you're not doing it.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What You Never Knew About: St Francis of Assisi



Welcome to a new series on my blog titled What You Never Knew About. This will focus on a particular issue, person or trait about the Catholic Church most people don't know much about.

With Pope Francis' arrival to America, what better way to start this off than with the Holy Father's namesake, St Francis of Assisi. People only know him as a monk that loved animals, and some might know him as a statue in a garden but not much else.

Yet he deserves to be known for so much more, like….

                                      He was the first recorded case of stigmata.

That's right: the phenomena of Christ's wounds appearing on a holy person first occurred with him. Although Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians that he bears "on his body the marks of Jesus", Francis brought it to the forefront two years before his death. Although it's not clear whether he was traveling alone or with him, there's no reason to think he was lying about it.
It should also be noted that of all the confirmed stigmata cases, the vast majority are found either in the Franciscan order or orders who follow the Franciscan rule of life.

                                           He invented the Nativity scene.

That depiction you see every year of the baby Jesus with Mary, Joseph and the Magi? That came from Francis. He initially created it to show the humble beginnings of the Lord of Lords after he visited the Holy Land. We think of it now as a collection of statues, but his involved real life people.
Another interesting note: his nativity was not done in his native Assisi but in Greccio, about 56 miles away.

                One of his followers would be the first woman to write a monastic rule of life. 

That woman is known as St Clare of Assisi, founder of the Poor Clares. Some mistakenly believe she is Francis' biological sister, but this is not the case: they just happened to come from the same town. The rule of their order was not approved by the sitting Pope until the day before Clare died.

            He set in motion the tradition of gaining a plenary indulgence just by setting foot in a parish.

This is called the Portiuncula indulgence, named after the little church inside the mother church for the Franciscan order. The story goes Francis built a small hut near a tiny chapel called Our Lady of the Angels and began gathering followers. The local bishop gave Francis custody of the chapel after being impressed by Francis' group and as the years went by, people started building a little church inside the main church. The indulgence at first only applied to Franciscan run churches but over time came to be extended to all parishes on Aug 2nd (the feast of Our Lady of the Angels), the namesake of the specific parish and founder of religious orders (if the parish is run by a specific order). 

                                      He wrote the overlooked Canticle of the Sun.

If you've read Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato si', you might know about this one already. Much like a litany focusing on saints of an order or Opus Dei's Preces, the Canticle of the Sun summarizes the spirituality of the Franciscans. Although it seems like it might have been written by a hippie Dead-Head, I don't know of any hippie that advises people to not die in a state of mortal sin. 
Another interesting side note: the Canticle is considered among the first literary works to be written in Italian. 

                                          He did NOT write the Prayer of St Francis.

That's right: the prayer that begins "make me an instrument of your peace" was NOT actually written by St Francis. Easy way to tell: St Francis died in 1226 and there is no record of this prayer before 1912.
If this prayer brings you closer to God, wonderful..but stop saying Francis wrote it.
Speaking of things Francis didn't do….

                                           He did not invent the Franciscan Crown.

That was invented by a Franciscan novice several years after Francis' death. The name stuck because it was associated with his order.

                                 He tried to negotiate a peaceful end to the Crusades

Yeah…a Christian tried to bring an end to the Crusades…try wrapping your mind around that one, atheists.
Not a lot of information can be found online about this, but I do recommend looking at a researched book on this subject. Sure, he didn't succeed but it was still worth a try.

           Although he is associated with animals, he is NOT the patron saint of veterinarians.

That title belongs (depending on who you ask) to either St Blaise, St James the Greater or St Eligius. Francis is however the patron saint of ecology, based mostly around the Canticle of the Sun mentioned earlier.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

10 Things You Might Not Know About the Catholic Church



All credit goes to for this list.

1.    Vatican City has the highest crime rate in the world! With a population around 500 people and a little over one crime per day, the Vatican crime rate is above 100 percent, per capita. Although the fact is shocking it should be remembered that the Vatican is about one square mile in size, and has nearly 20 million visitors annually. Most of the crimes are pickpockets, purse snatching and other petty offenses done by outsiders.

2.    The ONLY Christian church in existence for the first 1,000 years of Christian history was the Roman Catholic Church. All other Christian churches which exist today can trace their linage back to the Roman Catholic Church. Most non-Catholic churches which exist today are less than a century or two old by comparison. 

3.    The Catholic Church consists of more than just the Roman Catholic Church. There are 22 Eastern Rites that are in full communion with Rome and although they go by different names, they are every bit as much a part of the Catholic Church. 

4.    Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press, was Catholic and the first book ever printed was the Catholic Bible. 

5.    The Catholic Church is entirely responsible for the composition of the Bible, which books are included, as well as the breakup of the chapters and verses. Protestants have removed some books of the Bible because some of the verses were inconsistent with their theology. Martin Luther was a prime offender in this regard, removing Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach and Baruch. He also made an effort to remove James and Revelations, but this was rejected by his followers and those two books were kept. Catholics are often accused of "adding" the books, but despite this common belief, it is false. Older, pre-Protestant, Catholic translations of the Bible include them. 

6.    How many saints are recognized by the Catholic Church? There does not seem to be an official number, but it exceeds 10,000. Of course, any person who enters heaven is a saint, by definition, so it is certain the number of actual saints in existence is much greater than the number recognized by the Church. 

7.    Any Catholic may perform an emergency baptism, such as if a person is in grave danger of death. In such a case, the validity of the baptism only depends upon the wishes of the person being baptized, that they desire the baptism. There are specific guidelines for such practices that Catholics should follow. Anyone wishing to be prepared for such a case should refer to the catechism for a deeper understanding of this allowance. Generally, such practices ought to be left to trained clergy. 

8.    About 15 percent of all hospitals in the United States are Catholic hospitals. In some parts of the world, the Catholic Church provides the only healthcare, education and social services available to people. 

9.    The Catholic Church spends more money than Apple brings in. Expenditures by the Catholic Church, largely on charity, exceeded $170 billion in 2012, according to The Economist magazine. In that same year, Apple took in $157 billion in revenue.

10.    The Pope is protected by the Swiss Papal Guard. Wearing uniforms designed by Michelangelo and commonly armed with halberds, they are capable of using heavier weapons if needed. Each member is Catholic, male, and Swiss, and must complete military training in Switzerland. They must demonstrate good conduct and be at least five-foot-eight in height. Those who are chosen are granted a private audience with the pope along with their families. In extreme circumstances, they are expected to guard the Holy Father with their lives. The Swiss Papal Guard is the oldest active military unit in continual existence since 1506. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Atheist Idiot George Takai: A Rant



I have never been a Star Trek fan. I know enough about it to pick out the various characters but I don't go to conventions dressed like a member of the Federation.

After the idiocy of George Takai, I don't want anything to do with Star Trek. Just look how easy it was to tear apart his stand against Kim Davis:

“So let us be clear: This woman is no hero to be celebrated.”
(That's debatable, since she certainly isn't a martyr. However, I would argue she should be defended against nonsense like yours.) 
 “She broke her oath to uphold the Constitution and defied a court order so she could deny government services to couples who are legally entitled to be married.”
(She took that oath before the ruling. Furthermore, the ruling did NOT say every person has the right to marry whoever they want.)
“She is entitled to hold her religious beliefs, but not to impose those beliefs on others,” 
(So you think it's fine to impose your beliefs on people? I think you're jealous that it's not your beliefs being promoted.)
 “If she had denied marriage certificates to an interracial couple, would people cheer her? Would presidential candidates flock to her side?”
(As a multi-racial person, I take great offense at that, Takai. Furthermore, any law, Jim Crow or other, that did ban interracial marriage were used to uphold a racist legal order. Good luck trying to convince me or anyone these bans were used for an anti-gay legal order.)
“In our society, we obey civil laws, not religious ones. To suggest otherwise is, simply put, entirely un-American.”
(That's a strange statement coming from you, since the Supreme Court also said it's legal to send people of Japanese descent to internment camps…the very same camps you've admitted you were sent to as a boy......But then again, I'm not stupid enough to say the Court has the final word on things.)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Misunderstanding Martyrdom, or "You have not the authority."



Let me ask you something:

Do you know the difference between a victim and a martyr?

I ask this because to me it seems like the majority of people don't know the difference. So, as a quick review:

A victim is someone harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action; a martyr is someone killed for their beliefs. You can kill someone for a reason other than their beliefs, and hence that's why all martyrs are victims but not all victims are martyrs.

I bring this up in light of the news reports of Kentucky clerk Kim Davis who refuses to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Many articles have come out proclaiming her a martyr for the fight against gay so-called marriage. This might make sense since all the pro-side has is the poorly thought out Supreme Court ruling (whereas the righteous side has the Constitution).

but a martyr? Really? 

You can see how people like me might take offense at someone being called that when a) the people giving the label are not the ones who have authority to do so and b) if one were to look at all the declared martyrs, one will find besides their deaths, they were also consistent in what they believed.

This is key because much like certain beliefs (such as the Christian view on God, the concept of the Davidic Kingdom and the End Times), Christianity gets its view of martyrdom from the Jewish faith. 
In Judaism, martyrdom must include dedication to your faith; in other words, one must be consistent in what you believe concerning your faith. In fact, martyr comes from the Greek word for witness (as in, a witness for Jesus) but to be a witness, one must follow all teachings of their Divine Master. 

In news reports, it was pointed out the clerk had been married multiple times and even had children out of wedlock, both actions condemned by Jesus. Granted, these happened before her conversion, but I have yet to see any indication of whether she thinks both actions are wrong now or if she ever repented of her past misdeeds. 

Thus, it's not clear whether the martyr label works here.

As I predicted when I first heard of this case, someone has made a connection between her and St Thomas More, especially in light of her being sent to jail. Much like the martyrdom claim, this comparison doesn't work either.

For those not familiar with the story (or the 1966 film A Man for All Seasons), Thomas More was Lord High Chancellor under King Henry VIII. Although he had an historical disagreement with Henry on whether Henry could divorce his wife Catherine of Aragon, More resigned from office rather than keep his job by signing an oath that made the king supreme head of a church. That, combined with other events (one of which included not attending Henry's marriage to Ann Boleyn and several others that involved him saying "you have not the authority), More was tried, convicted and beheaded for high treason. He was noted 

Let's look at some key points again: resignation, appearances in relation to belief, and proper authority.

In relation to these, I conclude she should resign her position, because as long as she remains county clerk, her signature remains on the marriage licenses, thus she is legally culpable for these abominations and thus she appears to be supporting it. While she is correct in saying no court and no earthly authority has the right to redefine marriage, she is wrong in her approach. 

These sick people hate God's word and all responsibly it stands for. Stop giving them an inch and heed the lesson from St Thomas More: