Tom and Jerry: Defenders of All Things Right and Good

Monday, April 30, 2007

Silence for LGBT continued

Is there anything wrong with "The Day of Silence?" On the surface no. The organization seems to seek the safety of students who are LGBT. Certainly, all students should feel safe at school. Teasing, harassment and bullying have no place in education.

As Christians we are called to love and respect the dignity of all people regardless of their sexual attractions. However, we should not condone, accept or celebrate sinful behavior. It is important to always be gracious and loving. We could all learn a lesson from St. Vincent Ferrer. All people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

So it would seem at first glace that "The Day of Silence" is a good thing. Unfortunately, the LGBT agenda does not end there. Gay pride movements and the like are rarely seeking pure tolerance. They are looking for acceptance of sinful behavior.

One might ask, why is "The Day of Silence" just for gay people? Why not be "silent" for all students who are bullied and harassed? Don't straight students deserve a safe environment too?
It is interesting to note that that there is no teasing of LGBT students at my cousin's school, or so sources tell me. I suspect the people behind "The Day of Silence" want more than just a safe place for students. I suspect they are seeking to normalize homosexual behavior. That agenda should be resisted by catholics everywhere, lovingly to be sure, but resisted none the less. The saying goes, "love the sinner, hate the sin."

I will leave it to the teachers and administrators of my cousin's school to decide if the protest disrupted the educational process. Either way, the former have an opportunity to teach their students what the church says about homosexuality (CCC 2357-2359) . I hope they take it.

Good on Justine and Julie for standing up for the Truth.


Silence for LGBT

Julie and Justine started a lively discussion on their blog. Some students at their catholic all-girls school chose not to speak for a day in solidarity with LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered) people.

By the way, have you ever noticed that when a cause gets more politically correct, the name describing it expands? "Queer" is now considered a slur and the longer "homosexual" apparently does not cover all of the bases.

Anyhow, Justine and Julie teed up such a good discussion that they followed it up with another post. Simply put, they opposed disrupting the educational process of a catholic school to protest a lifestyle the catholic church deems sinful.

I'll put in my two cents later, but I wanted to let you know that I'm proud of my cousin.


Sunday, April 29, 2007

One Force

There's an Air Force guy driving from McChord to Ft Lewis, and an Army guy driving from Ft Lewis to McChord. In the middle of the night with no other cars on the road they hit each other head on and both cars go flying off in different directions.

The Air Force guy manages to climb out of his car and surveys the damage. He looks at his twisted car and says,....."Man, I am really lucky to be alive!"

Likewise the Army guy scrambles out of his car and looks at his wreckage. He too says to himself, ..... "I can't believe I survived this wreck!"

The Army guy walks over to the Air Force guy and says,...... "Hey man, I think this is a sign from God that we should put away our petty differences and live as friends instead of archrivals"

The Air Force guy thinks for a moment and says, ...... "You know, you're absolutely right! We should be friends. Now I'm gonna see what else survived this wreck"

So the Air Force guy pops open his trunk and finds a full, unopened bottle of Jack Daniels. He says to the Army guy, "I think this is another sign from God that we should toast to our new found understanding and friendship"

The Army guy replies, "You're damn right!" and he grabs the bottle and starts sucking down Jack Daniels. After putting away nearly half the bottle the Army guy hands it back to the Air Force guy and says, "Your turn!"

The Air Force guy twists the cap back on the bottle and says, "Nahh, I think I'll wait for the cops to show up."

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


The editor of the National Catholic Reporter disagrees with Pope John Paul II.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Ads on METRO #7: A Match Made in Purgatory

An ad for Bill Gates' new operating system boldly claims:

Prepare to welcome new opportunities for Federal Government with Microsoft Windows Vista

Yes, be prepared to give your IT people the oportunity work overtime.

With its new and enhanced features and functionality, Windows Vista has the power to improve efficiency, productivity and constituent services.

I don't know what is more laughable, the claim that Vista will improve efficiency or that federal bureaucracies actually care to improve productivity and services. Perhaps they are perfect for each other.

Chuckle chuckle (I couldn't resist).


Monday, April 23, 2007

Katie's grandma just died

Please pray for Katie's grandma, Genevieve, and her family.

St. Genevieve, pray for us.

Friday, April 20, 2007


The Supreme Court upheld the partial-birth abortion ban! This is certainly one tangible good from the Bush administration. More on that later.


Thursday, April 19, 2007


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pray for the victims at Virginia Tech.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Ads on METRO #6: CFFC - Part II

Catholics for a Free Choice put up this ad (63k PDF) at Washington, D.C. METRO stops. It proudly proclaims, "Nobody wants to need an abortion" (the fine print remains the same).

CFFC's contention breaks down the moment one recognizes that abortion does violence to a living human being. Imagine an ad that proclaims, "nobody wants to kill their next door neighbor."

The theory that abortion should be discouraged but remain legal is common in liberal circles. Well meaning Catholics who identify with most liberal causes (except abortion) are tempted to compromise on this central life issue. They think if abortion is prevented then it does not need be outlawed. I'm not sure they see how detestable that position is.

Imagine if CFFC's fine print read something like this:

Picture a world where safe and reliable sexual gratification is affordable and everyone uses it.

Where the decision to have sex is made responsibly.

Where men have easy access to prostitutes.

Where people have sexual fulfillment whether or not they have a job.

Where sex is both available and pleasurable.

In this world, rapes are not illegal. They're prevented. Isn't that the best choice of all?

Certainly such a world is no more likely to prevent rape than CFFC's world is likely to prevent abortion. One can easily see that substituting the word "rape" for "abortion" clearly highlights the folly of "preventing" abortion while keeping it legal.

Prevention is a good thing. I'm all for crisis pregnancy centers and other ways of prevention (except for contraception). Feminists for Life has some good ideas for supporting women who are faced with unplanned pregnancies. But, if society is to protect life, then it must do more than encourage people to not do violence to their children. It must take a moral stand by making such violence illegal.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

How are you saved?

A Calvinist friend of mine asked me that question. I've been giving it some thought and came up with a multitude of reasons. I make no claim that the following list is sanctioned by the Catholic Church. I am saved:

  • by the incomprehensible love of God
  • by God's infinite Mercy
  • by Christ's redemptive work on the cross
  • by Mary's "yes" to the angel
  • because St. Joseph protected the Christ child
  • because Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James and Peter preached the Gospel and wrote the New Testament
  • because the Holy Catholic Church preserved sacred scripture and tradition throughout the last 2,000 years
  • through the army of priests who hear my confessions
  • through the army of priests who give me the Eucharist
  • through the completely free and undeserved gift of Baptism
  • through my parents who taught me to love Christ
  • through my godparents, aunts and uncles who have encouraged me in my faith
  • through the army of family and friends who pray for me
  • through my pathetic attempts to work out my salvation with fear and trembling (cf Phil 2:12)
  • by grace
  • through faith (Eph 2:8)
  • in Christ who loves me enough to pay for my sins

I'm sure this list is incomplete, but those are some of the reasons why I have moral certainty of my salvation.

But what must I do to be saved? In one sense, there is nothing I can do. Salvation is a free and undeserved gift of God. But in another sense Jesus tells us exactly what we need to do in Luke 10:25-28 (NAB):

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read it?" He said in reply, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." He replied to him, "You have answered correctly; do this and you will live."

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Divine Mercy Novena Day 9

Pray for the souls who have become lukewarm.

Most of us have been lukewarm ourselves. Some of us might be now. It is easy to take our glorious faith, our beautiful church and God's amazing love for granted. How can we believe what we believe and be lukewarm? Let the world see the Light of Christ within you!

Have a blessed Easter Saturday.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Divine Mercy Novena Day 8

Pray for the souls who are detained in purgatory.

I sincerely hope they are already in heaven, but please pray for them anyway: Gueli, Nana, Tata, Grandma, Grandpa, Nino Pancho, Tio Manny, Rick, JP, Bryce and Thomas.

Feel free to add anyone you know to the list.

Happy Easter Friday

Thursday, April 12, 2007

My Carbon Footprint

I checked my carbon footprint using the child-friendly carbon calculator. I produce 33 tons of carbon per year which is almost twice the national average of 18 tons. Most of my carbon emissions are the result of flying cross country. You can blame my long distance relationship for that. Visiting my sweetheart is worth the miniscule changes I may be making to the Earth’s climate. Maybe that is selfish of me, but I’m not going stop based on unproven science.

My sweetheart will be happy. :)

I'm off to add more CO2 into the air by flying to El Paso for Jerry's wedding. I have no idea what I'm going to say during my toast.


Divine Mercy Novena Day 7

Pray for the souls who especially venerate and glorify Jesus' mercy.

Some of those souls come to mind. Thank you Jessica for introducing me to the Divine Mercy.

Happy Easter Thursday.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Social Security

Tony at The Catholic Pillow Fight hit the nail on the head. I'm convinced that the best form of social security is a large family. I'd better get started.

St. Stanislaus, pray for us.

Divine Mercy Novena Day 6

Pray for the meek and humble souls and the souls of children.

Yes, pray for the kids. They are not the future of the Church. They are the Church.

Pray especially for the members of the St. Joseph, Fort Lewis Chapel and St. Thomas More youth groups.

Please use the comments to add more prayers to this list.

Have a blessed Easter Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Jerry's Wedding Preview: Part IV

The Wedding

At 1:30 pm Mountain Time in St. Luke’s Catholic Church in El Paso, I will get married. It will be a traditional Catholic wedding, with a couple of Mexican traditions added:

The 13 Gold Coins (Trece Monedas De Oro)

Traditional Meaning: The groom gives the bride 13 gold coins as a symbol of his unquestionable trust and confidence. He pledges that he places all of his goods into her care and safekeeping. Acceptance by the bride means taking that trust and confidence unconditionally with total dedication and prudence. The number 13 represents Christ and His 12 apostles.

Real Meaning: This will be the last time I get to put my two cents in.

The Lasso (El Lazo)

Traditional Meaning: As part of the ceremony to symbolize unity, a large loop of rosary beads is placed in a figure-eight shape around the necks of the couple after they have exchanged their vows. The loop is symbolic of their love which should bind the couple together every day as they equally share the responsibility of marriage for the rest of their lives.

Real Meaning: I’m being lassoed? Will I be hog-tied and branded, too?

The Reception

Provided that the Apocalypse did not occur during or immediately after the wedding mass, we will now begin the reception part of the day. First, we will take some pictures at both the church and the El Paso Country Club (about 1.5 miles from the church), where the reception dinner and dance will take place. Then:

4pm – 6pm: Reception Dinner at El Paso Country Club

Buffet-style Duck L’Orange, Sirloin Tips, and Halibut. There will be a mariachi band playing during the dinner. All the songs will be in Spanish, but just do what I do - provide your own words:

Look at the tomato
The tomato is so sad
The tomato wishes he could sing and dance
Like the cucumber
But he cannot

6pm – 10pm: Reception Dance at El Paso Country Club

We’ll cut the cake, toss the bouquet and garter belt, etc. An individual from Lynda’s endless supply of cousins, Ryan, will be the DJ. The tunes will be rock/pop/country stuff; however, under no circumstances will the following occur:

--Overly loud/intrusive introduction of the bride and groom, groomsmen, bridesmaids, etc. I’ve been at some weddings where they introduced the wedding party like they were introducing the starting line-ups at the NBA finals:

(spotlights frantically roaming the room)


(stadium anthem playing at 5000 decibels)


No thanks.

--The Macarena – No freakin’ way. The first time I heard/saw this in late 1995, I actually kinda liked it. The next 856,497 times? Not so much.

--The Chicken Dance – Over my dead body.

We will, however, have the traditional Mexican ‘Dollar Dance’. For those of you not familiar with this, it’s exactly what it sounds like: You pin a dollar to bride’s dress to dance with the bride or pin a dollar to the groom’s tux to dance with the groom. Yup, only a dollar….we’re easy. I would like to pull in more cash than Lynda, so I will have a credit card swipe machine on my belt.

The Aftermath

You guys go back to hotel, and fly out next day.

Lynda and I embark on married bliss.

The Honeymoon

Lynda and I board a plane on Sunday afternoon for Rome, Italy. On Wednesday, Pope Benedict has an audience with all new married couples that a) are dressed in their wedding clothes and b) have the necessary paperwork from their bishop (which we do). If we are in the first row of seated couples (and we plan on getting up extremely early to ensure that we are), we may get a personal greeting and picture with His Holiness. I’m not sure what I’ll say or do, but here are a few possibilities:

  • Get a picture taken with the Pope, raising up my index and middle finger of one hand behind his head, giving him ‘rabbit ears’.
  • Ask him if I could try on his hat.
  • Ask him if I could borrow the Pope-mobile to go thru the McDonald’s drive-thru.
  • Ask him if he’ll let me make an infallible statement. Something along the lines of “All cats go to Hell.”
  • Request that he excommunicate any Catholic that roots against Notre Dame.
  • Ask him if he’ll let me canonize a saint. Saint Knute Rockne has a nice ring to it.
  • Ask him if he would consider, instead of using unleavened bread and wine for Eucharist during masses, the Church could switch to using Cheetos and Diet Coke. Jesus may be the King of Kings, but His Body and Blood could use a little flavor....

In addition to the Papal visit, we also plan on seeing a lot of old Roman stuff.

We return on Saturday, April 21. At that point, I will discover if any of my 200+ books are have survived a week and a half alone with Lynda’s pooch. Since I moved my stuff to Lynda’s house last weekend, Lynda’s dog, Tipper, has been gnawing on the books of mine we have stored in her room. I always knew Tipper had an appetite for knowledge…..


Ads on METRO #5: CFFC - Part I

The paradoxically named "Catholics for a Free Choice" placed this ad (63k PDF) in several METRO stations. It boldly tells us "how to end the abortion wars."

The fine print gives CFFC's utopian solution. First, widely distribute contraception and encourage people to use it. Second, provide universal health care and child care. Third, prevent abortion, but keep it legal.

How implementing their socialist agenda will encourage the pro-life movement to give up the fight remains unclear.

Let me address CFFC's fine print one line at a time:

Picture a world where safe and reliable birth control is affordable and everybody uses it.

We already live in such a world. The safest and most reliable form of birth control is abstinence. It is already available for everybody to use and it is free. You can't get more affordable than that.

Where the decision to become a parent is made responsibly.

No disagreement here. The most responsible time to be a parent is in marriage. Everyone knows how one becomes a parent and we all know the most effective way of not being a parent (abstinence). The Church teaches chastity all over the world. Responsible people should listen.

Where parents have easy access to child care.

Parents could care for the child themselves. Of course some working parents are in the difficult position of not being able to be with their kids 24/7. They would certainly benefit from universal child care. CFFC's socialist agenda would have that service provided by the state. If the government raised poor children the way it educates poor children, the prospects are truly frightening for the kids who are most likely to need government care. Charitable organizations, or better yet, extended family, are best suited for this task. Besides, if a pregnant woman cannot afford child care and therefore decides she should not keep her baby, there is a long line of couples waiting to adopt.

Where people have health care whether or not they have a job.

Another noble ideal. However, socialized medicine has been a failure almost everywhere it has been implemented. We have an imperfect health care system to be sure, but CFFC's proposal will only make things worse. Besides, crisis pregnancy centers (which outnumber abortion clinics) offer free health care to pregnant mothers. The thousands of couples waiting to adopt are often willing to provide care to the mother during pregnancy, and will certainly provide care to the child after he or she is born.

Where sex is both serious and pleasurable

I fully agree. The Church teaches sex is not just serious, but sacred. Birth control distorts the sanctity of sex. By the way, according to Pope John Paul's II Theology of the Body, sex is definitely meant to be pleasurable. It is most fulfilling physically, emotionally and spiritually when it is practiced within the bonds of matrimony and open to life.

In this world, abortions aren’t illegal. They’re prevented.
Isn’t that the best choice of all?

This CFFC utopia would not prevent abortions. If it would, then why would abortion need to be legal? Aside from abstinence or surgically removing the sexual organs, no form of birth control is 100% effective. Further, many forms of contraception actually cause early abortions.

Birth control is not about preventing pregnancy or abortion. Abstinence can do that. Birth control is about allowing people to have sex whenever they want without the consequence of children. Abortion is the last line of defense against that unwanted consequence.

Pope John Paul II addresses this issue in EVANGELIUM VITAE:
It is frequently asserted that contraception, if made safe and available to all, is the most effective remedy against abortion. The Catholic Church is then accused of actually promoting abortion, because she obstinately continues to teach the moral unlawfulness of contraception. When looked at carefully, this objection is clearly unfounded. It may be that many people use contraception with a view to excluding the subsequent temptation of abortion. But the negative values inherent in the "contraceptive mentality"—which is very different from responsible parenthood, lived in respect for the full truth of the conjugal act—are such that they in fact strengthen this temptation when an unwanted life is conceived. Indeed, the pro-abortion culture is especially strong precisely where the Church's teaching on contraception is rejected.

Finally, opposing abortion by "preventing" it while advocating for keeping it legal is morally untenable position. More on that next week.

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Divine Mercy Novena Day 5

Pray for the souls of separated brethren.

Some of my best friends are not in full communion with the universal Church. They love the Lord as much as anyone. I am confident that they are part of God's family. Still, they need Christ's mercy as much as anyone.

Happy Easter Tuesday.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Global Warming Must Be True

That is why is snowed over Easter weekend. :)


Divine Mercy Novena Day 4

Pray for those who do not believe in Jesus and those who do not yet know Him.

This would be a good time to pray for Richard Dawkins and the souls at "God is for Suckers." One of their atheist clan died suddenly last October. May Jesus' ocean of Mercy engulf him.

Have a blessed Easter Monday. HE has risen indeed!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

He is risen! He is risen indeed! Allelulia!

From daytime prayer (Romans 6:4):

Through baptism into Christ's death we were buried with him, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live a new life.

This is the day he Lord has made, allelulia.
- Let us rejoice and be glad, allelulia.

Now we get to celebrate Easter for eight days and we get to say "allelulia." Allelulia. Happy Easter Sunday.

Divine Mercy Novena Day 3

Pray for all devout and faithful souls.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Pro-Life with Love

April 5th was the feast day of St. Vincent Ferrer. The Office of Readings includes a passage from St. Vincent's treatise On the Spiritual Life:

When you treat virtuous and sinful acts in your sermons and exhortation, use simple language and sensible idioms. Give apt and precise examples whenever you can. Each sinner in your congregation should feel moved as though you were preaching to him alone. Your words should sound as though they were coming, not from a proud or angry soul, but from a charitable and loving heart. Your tone of voice should be that of a father who suffers with his sinful children, as though they were seriously ill or were lying in a huge pit; and he struggles to free them, raise them up, and cherish them like a mother, as one who is happy over their progress and the hope they have of heaven's glory.

This way of preachig has proven profitable to congregations; for an abstract discourse on the virtues and vices hardly inspires those who listen.

When hearing confession, you should always radiate the warmest charity. Whether you are gently encouraging the fainthearted or putting the fear of God into the hardhearted, the penitent should feel that you are motivated only by pure love. Therefore, speak in a pleasant, friendly way before you use words that will prod his conscience.

Finally, if you truly want to help the soul of your neighbor, you should approach God first with all your heart. Ask him simply to fill you with charity, the greatest of all virtues; with it you can accomplish what you desire.

Priests, religious and laity alike can learn from St. Vincent's teaching. People are rarely moved by clever arguments or "in your face" preaching. They will not listen to someone who is self-righteous or self-serving. But they may listen to those who genuinely love them and care for them.

You who fight on the front lines of the pro-life movement have a particularly difficult challenge. You face the darkest side of humanity. You see mothers murder their children. You see fathers support and often coerce the mothers to do so. You see medical professionals, who are sworn to "do no harm," kill the most helpless and the most innocent.

You who face this tragedy day in and day out are likely to develop anger toward those who commit these atrocities. You will be tempted to lash out with harsh words and righteous indignation. But, you must resist that temptation with all of your heart. Pray for the Lord to fill you with patience, charity and forgiveness.

While He was being nailed to the cross, Our LORD begged the Father to "forgive them, they do not know what they do." Look on the perpetrators of abortion the way Christ looks on them. Look on them with love.

The responsory to the aforementioned Office of Readings declares: (2 Tim 4:2; Acts 26:20):

Proclaim the message, in season and out of season;
- refute falsehood, correct error, call to obedience.

I preached repentance to the people,
that they might turn to God.
- refute falsehood, correct error, call to obedience.

I am not suggesting anyone in the pro-life movement go soft. Stand firm in your task to refute falsehood, correct error and call to obedience. Always, always, always do so with the utmost charity. Love the sinner as much as you love the victim of their sin.

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Divine Mercy Novena Day 2

Pray for the souls of priests and religious.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Don't Forget to Start Your Divine Mercy Novena

Through Saint Faustina, Jesus asked the faithful to pray the Divine Mercy novena beginning on Good Friday. You may want to follow it with a chaplet of Divine Mercy.

Today pray for all mankind, especially sinners.

Jerry's Wedding, Part III

The Pre-Wedding Itenerary

Wednesday, April 11

Evening: I have long thought that if I were ever to marry, surely it would be a sign that the world is coming to an end - like sun exploding or the Cubs winning a World Series.

I fly to El Paso from Dallas. The world braces for the impending Apocalypse.

Thursday, April 12

Morning: I wake up at Lynda's uncle's house, where she and I usually stay when we visit El Paso. Lynda, a morning person, will wake me at 8am with a cheery "The sun is shining, the birds are singing!". I, definitely not a morning person, will reply "Shut the blinds, shoot the birds..." and try to bargain for a few minutes more of sleep.

Noon: Tom, co-writer of this blog and my best man, arrives in El Paso.

Afternoon: Most of the guests comprising my "side" of the wedding arrive. All groomsmen must pick up their tuxes at Mens’ Warehouse before 7pm. There is one within a couple of blocks of the hotel. I decided to incorporate some Southwestern flair into the wedding, so I chose tuxes that will have myself and the groomsmen looking like Doc Holliday. To augment this theme, we will also wear bolo ties and boots.

7pm: Meet at hotel for caravan to bachelor party dinner, to be held at Cattleman’s Ranch east of El Paso. I thought that if we got everyone in town, then had all the men take off, leaving the women to deal with all the kids, that some of the women would be none too thrilled. Therefore, males of all ages are invited.

10ish - Any guys (or gals) that want to hit a local watering hole (sans kids) for a tequila or two….

Friday, April 13

1pm: Boot shopping. Tony Lamas has an outlet store near the hotel, and another on the eastern side of town (about 15 minutes away) next to a Justin boot outlet. Hopefully, the Blackjack outlet will be open by then (scheduled for April, but I don’t know the date).

5:30 pm: Wedding rehearsal. All involved will be at St. Luke’s Catholic Church (about 5 minutes from the hotel) for rehearsal.

7 pm: Rehearsal dinner at State Line Barbeque on the border of Texas and New Mexico (about 5-10 minutes away from hotel). All-you-can-shove-down ribs, brisket, and sausage (along with veggies, bread, and other wastes-of-stomach-space).

Saturday, April 14

Morning: The blessed day/end of the world has arrived! I will try to eat some breakfast, and then put on 12 pairs of socks, ensuring that I don't get "cold feet".

1:00pm: I arrive at St. Luke's church. I will begin to distribute helmets and food rations in case the apocalypse begins at any time during the wedding mass. Better safe than sorry, ya know...

1:30pm: Here we go....

(To be continued...)


Have a Good Friday

Today's office of readings is particularly poignant. Herewith from the Catecheses by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop and doctor (written in the 4th century):

“There flowed from his side water and blood”. Beloved, do not pass over this mystery without thought; it has yet another hidden meaning, which I will explain to you. I said that water and blood symbolised baptism and the Holy Eucharist. From these two sacraments the Church is born: from baptism, “the cleansing water that gives rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit”, and from the Holy Eucharist. Since the symbols of baptism and the Eucharist flowed from his side, it was from his side that Christ fashioned the Church, as he had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam. Moses gives a hint of this when he tells the story of the first man and makes him exclaim: “Bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh!” As God then took a rib from Adam’s side to fashion a woman, so Christ has given us blood and water from his side to fashion the Church. God took the rib when Adam was in a deep sleep, and in the same way Christ gave us the blood and the water after his own death.

Do you understand, then, how Christ has united his bride to himself and what food he gives us all to eat? By one and the same food we are both brought into being and nourished. As a woman nourishes her child with her own blood and milk, so does Christ unceasingly nourish with his own blood those to whom he himself has given life.

It seems fitting that on the only day of year when the Church does not celebrate the sacrament of the Eucharist, that the Divine Office focuses on how that very mystery is manifest in Christ's work on the cross.

The blood and water which flowed from the side of Christ is the very same blood and water we consume at mass. It makes one long to receive the Eucharist under the species of water and wine. Alas, we will have to wait until Easter for that particular blessing. After all, Good Friday is a day of penance, fasting and sacrifice.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Jerry's Wedding Preview, Part II

The Setting - El Paso, Texas

El Paso is a town of about 600,000 on the western tip of Texas, with the border between the U.S. and Mexico running along the southern edge of the town and border between Texas and New Mexico to the north and west. To get your basic tourist-y type info about El Paso, go here. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Now I’ll try to fill in some additional details....

The full name of the town is El Paso Del Norte, or “The Pass To The North”, named so because it is situated in a pass thru the Franklin Mountains. Of course, the name “El Paso” also has different translations, which I will provide in this post.

The terrain surrounding the mountain range is high desert, and area on the whole receives very little rainfall. El Paso (Spanish for “Yeah, There’s A Tree Around Here…Somewhere”) was the natural choice for the location of our wedding, being Lynda’s hometown. Most of her enormous extended family lives within about 35 miles of the town, and will comprise about 90% of our wedding guests: on the bride’s side of the church there will be about 200 Mexican-Americans; on the groom’s side, about 20 Gringos (Italian, Irish, whatever). We briefly considered making our wedding theme “The Alamo”.

We decided on April as our date because a) May is a ridiculously busy month for Lynda at work, b) I’m way too horny to wait until June, and c) El Paso (Spanish for “Scorched Flesh”) reaches about 4000 degrees F in the summer months, but is a relatively cool 2500 degrees F in April.

A brief list of do's and don’ts for your visit to El Paso:

Do…..enjoy the scenery. For those of you who have not been to the southwest, the landscape provides a real treat for the eyes. The mountain range cutting through the center of town is striking, and the surrounding high desert terrain provides the sensation of “wide open spaces” that you don’t get in New Jersey, DC, Houston, or (I imagine) North Carolina.

Don’t….get any ideas about visiting the terrain across the nearby border with Mexico. Juarez is not a safe place. While Mt. Christo Rey is striking to look at, visits unaccompanied by law enforcement officials are prohibited.

Do….bring shorts and swimsuits. The hotel we have booked for our out-of-town guests has a pool and patio. There are plenty of restaurants within walking distance, including Village Inn and Cracker Barrel for hearty breakfasts.

Don’t….forget to take care of your skin. El Paso (Spanish for “Bring Moisturizer”) is in the high desert, and the sun can be rather intense and the air rather dry.

Do….enjoy some of the local cuisine. Here are a few items you may not be familiar with:

  • Chorizo – Spiced sausage. Terrific in omelets and skillets. Somewhat heavy, but very tasty.
  • Carnitas – Spiced, shredded beef. Delicious. Whether served with potatoes or as filler in enchiladas or burritos, I love it. Very filling.
  • Menudo – Personally, I wouldn’t eat this stuff if Jesus Christ came down from heaven and asked me to Himself, but if you’re the adventurous type…. It’s a soup made from boiled cow stomach. Menudo is to El Paso (Spanish for “Sure, I’ll try some of this ‘Menudo’ stuff .... what’s in it, again? .... Oh .... Um, never mind .... ”) what crabs are to Baltimore: available nearly everywhere.

Don’t….worry about being underfed. The rehearsal dinner is at the famous State Line Barbeque, on the border of Texas and New Mexico, and features all-you-can eat ribs, brisket, and sausage. At the reception dinner (4pm-6pm) following the wedding mass, we have buffet-style Duck L’Orange, Sirloin Tips, and Halibut with tomato cream sauce.

Do....come boot shopping on Friday afternoon with me. El Paso is the boot capital of the world, with Tony Lamas, Blackjack, and many other smaller boot companies being founded there. If boots aren’t your thing, take in some of the local shopping opportunities. There are some really good western wear stores, and even the local Sunland Park Mall has some uniquely Southwestern offerings. Augment your current sartorial style or just souvenir hunt. If you aren’t up for shopping Friday afternoon, check out Indian Cliffs Ranch east of town (about a 30 minute drive from the hotel), a real working ranch where a couple of movies (Resurrection, Courage Under Fire) have been filmed. Pet the goats, laugh at the prairie dogs, see the Rattlesnake Pit (but don't climb the fence), the deer, the buffalo, and the many other animals that live there, and let the kids play in the unique Fort Apache Playground or in the Indian Maze. Or, if you don’t want to drive out to Indian Cliffs and like high places, take the skyride to the top of North Franklin Mountain. The view is rather good, and you can see quite a way into both Mexico and New Mexico, as well as get a look at nearby Fort Bliss. Another option, if you’re into losing money, is the Sunland Park Casino and Racetrack a couple of miles from the hotel.

Don’t…. bother with the “Wet ‘n Wild” water park down I-10 from the hotel. It’s pretty disappointing for a water park, and is rather unkempt-looking.

Lastly, for those who are making their first trip to the Lone Star State…

Don’t….be concerned with all the billboards, tee shirts, and bumper stickers you will see instructing you not attempt something that had a) not only never occurred to you, but that b) you would have no idea how to do it if it had:

Don't Mess With Texas

No worries. Texans are proud but rarely rude.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Can anyone verify this?

People who use the phrase, “it is like taking candy from a baby,” have never tried taking candy from a baby.

- Unknown

St. Isidore of Seville, pray for us.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Jerry's Wedding Preview, Part 1: The Couple

Howdy all.

It's been a while since I've blogged, but those of you who have experienced the last few weeks before a wedding (11 days left and counting) can understand where most of my energy has been going. Without further delay, I offer you installment 1 of my "Wedding Preview".

Profile (small but readable) of the happy couple:

* - When Lynda and I went to Notre Dame last September, we stayed in Michigan City, IN, near Lake Michigan. After three mornings of Lynda in the shower, the lake had visibly receded. Lynda’s hometown of El Paso was, up until the early 1970’s, a tropical paradise. About this time, Lynda began to take showers. It is now arid desert. Coincidence?


Ads on METRO #4: AAAS

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has offered its full support to fighting global warming. They’ve produced a short video that is heavy on emotion and light on science.

It begins with the president of AAAS, Dr. John Holdren summarily declaring, “Climate change is real. Humans are responsible for a substantial part of it. It’s taking us in dangerous directions.” There you have it. Case closed. And that’s about all of the science you will get from the film.

The rest of the movie tells the sad story of polar bears floating on broken ice and Eskimos losing their homes. I have deep sympathy for the people who are being displaced by the loss of their island habitat, but I have little reason to believe that global warming and/or carbon dioxide is responsible for it. The Earth’s climate is constantly changing. Sea levels have been rising for years (mostly due to tectonic activity). There is little evidence, outside of dubious computer models, to indicate that the present warming trend (less than a degree in half a century) is man made.

But, hard science doesn’t have as much emotional appeal as people (and polar bears) losing their homes. So those who want to convince you of the “crisis” of carbon dioxide would naturally focus on the human side of the story. Still, I expected more science from the publishers of “Science.”

For the record, I am all for conserving power and exploring alternative energy sources, but not at the expense of human progress and development. And I certainly object to the exploitation of tragedy masquerading as science.

St. Francis of Paola, pray for us.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

O That I Would Be Such an Ass

"The Donkey" by G.K. Chesterson

When fishes flew and forests walked And figs grew upon thorn, Some moment when the moon was blood Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry And ears like errant wings, The devil’s walking parody On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth, Of ancient crooked will; Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb, I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour; One far fierce hour and sweet: There was a shout about my ears, And palms before my feet.

Have a blessed Palm Sunday.