Sunday, April 29, 2007

My Favorite Hymns Meme...
I was tagged by Paul, and so I pass on this meme about my favorite hymns...
Latin Ones....
  1. Ave Maria by arranged by Schubert
  2. Panis Angelicus (Trans. "Bread of the Angels")
English Ones...
  1. Jesus Remember Me (no video found)
  2. I Am the Bread of Life (no good video found)
I'm tagging these new friends of the Catholic Warrior...
Crescat, there is always hope!!!

In my article about driving, I apparently scared a new reader when I said that careless driving is a venial sin, and reckless driving a mortal one. Let me give further definition as to what I was mean by "careless" and "reckless", and I think you will see there is hope for salvation!!! By my Colorado Diving manual's definition Reckless driving is: "Any person who drives any motor vehicle, bicycle, or motorized bicycle in such a manner as to indicate either a wanton or willful disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving."
As you can see, reckless driving (being considered mortal sin) is a willful and serious disregard for life by driving in a manner intentional of being dangerous.
Careless driving on the other hand (being considered venial), is defined as: "Any person who drives any motor vehicle, bicycle, or motorized bicycle in careless and imprudent manner, without due regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic and use of the streets and highways and all other attendant circumstances, is guilty of careless driving."
Careless driving is less serious because the driver here is not intentionally trying to bring harm, but is not showing proper attention and care while driving. This doesn't mean if you have been in accidents that you are guilty of any of these sins; only you can know. Some people are simply bad drivers and need more practice. So don't worry Miss Carolina Cannonball---there is hope for everyone, and you may come to realize that you can drive with a clean conscience--though perhaps a bad driving record?

Friday, April 27, 2007

All roads lead to Rome....
At least that's what they say. Please pray for me as I discern whether I should go on a pilgrimage to Rome/Vatican City and Assisi. I am very excited as our priest is leading a pilgrimage there in October and I am welcome to come. Obviously the cost is expensive (looking around 3 thousand), so I will have to give this some prayer. Though I promise my readers to get some good pictures while I'm there and maybe I can get a close up of the Swiss Guard!!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Response: War on Drugs...
As I posted earlier on the drug issue and asked that people give a response, I received some good responses which I am finally getting to responding to. This first post is specifically intended to respond to Terry's comment(s) which he left. I personally thank Terry for the work, research, patience, and kindness he has exhibited throughout his comments on the Catholic Warrior. Below is the comment that summed up Terry's thoughts and under that comment is my response:
"Terry said...
Dear Catholic Warrior,
Thank you for your kind words and I did have a Happy Easter. Since you stated that you were going to look into my arguments I thought I would give you my research here so we don’t have to go around and around on it.
Calamus vs Cannabis In the Holy Oil ????
I previously stated that if you actually buy the Calamus translation for the Holy Oil, then you assume that God specified in Exodus 30:23 a drug commonly known as Ecstasy. Calamus contains an ingredient called aserone. This is a hallucinogen which is metabolized in the liver as trimethoxyamphetamine or ecstasy. The Middle Eastern version of this plant is far more toxic than it`s North American Cousin. This is deadly to flies and other insects.The Exodus 30:23 reference refers to sweet Calamus. If you look at this in the Strong’s concordance where they spell this as qaneh rather than kaneh, they pronounce this as Kaw-Naw, a reed, calamus, and cane are listed as possible translations. The term sweet used in Exodus 30:23 in Hebrew is Bosem. According to the Webster's New World Hebrew Dictionary, Bosem is perfume; scent. The Concordance: the Hebrew is Bosem #1314, fragrance, by impl. spicery; also the balsam plant:----smell, spice, sweet (odour). In some Bibles sweet calamus is translated as aromatic or fragrant Cane. It is where the bosem is fused to the word kaneh or qaneh that the cannabis translation becomes apparent. So then to pronounce this we have kaw-naw-bosem, and is spelled in English qaneh-bosem or kaneh-bosem. In 1936, Sara Benetowa, later Known as Sula Benet, an etymologist from the Institute of Anthropological Sciences, in Warsaw wrote a treatise, "Tracing One Word Through Different Languages." This was a study on the word Cannabis, based on a study of the oldest Hebrew texts. Although the word cannabis was thought to be of Scythian origin, Benet's research showed it had an earlier root in the Semitic Languages such as Hebrew. Benet demonstrated that the ancient Hebrew word for Cannabis is Kaneh -Bosem. She also did another study called Early Diffusion and Folk Uses of Hemp. There is a reprint of this in Cannabis and Culture ISBN:90-279-7669-4. On page 44, she states, "The sacred character of hemp in biblical times is evident from Exodus 30:23, where Moses was instructed by God to anoint the meeting tent and all of its furnishings with specially prepared oil, containing hemp." On page 41 Sula Benet writes, : In the course of time, the two words kaneh and bosem were fused into one , kanabos or kannabus know to us from the Mishna. According to the Webster's New World Hebrew Dictionary, page 607 the Hebrew for hemp is kanabos. You argued previously that the Anointing with the cannabis based oil has no redeeming value. I would like to quoted a couple early Christians, that it was by this anointing that we became Christians: For the Father anointed the Son, and the Son anointed the Apostles, and the Apostles anointed us. The Chrism or (anointing) is superior to baptism, for it is from the word chrism that we are called Christians. Gospel of Phillip. Are you unwilling to be anointed with the Oil of God? Wherefore we are called Christians on this account, because we are anointed with the Oil of God. Theophilus of Antioch (181AD)
I would also like to point out that all Orthodox Churches practice the Chrism anointing. What started me into The Fire Baptism and the Lost Sacraments is that not one Church uses the Holy Anointing Oil as described in Exodus 30:23 even with the Calamus translation. Regarding your pharmakeia argument and the association with cannabis in witchcraft. There are Greek references to Pharmakeia in the Book of Revelation and translated into sorcery in most modern Bibles. Also cannabis became associated with witchcraft during the inquisition where millions were burnt at the stake. Many modern theologians argue this against cannabis users and perpetuate the war against cannabis and its use. I honestly do not think that this refers to drug use or healing with drugs. Sorcery does have associations with making potions as a part of worshiping other Gods and even Satan. Should we try to shut down all pharmacies and all doctors. Should we build more prisons, burn millions more at the stake, continue to declare others heretics. Jesus taught us differently than this. But this is really not what I am after. I am trying to return the Seal of God, Revelation 7.
May God Bless
Terry Winger"
Fist of all, drugs, drunkenness, and intoxication were considered wrong before the Spanish Inquisition. In fact, they have been condemned since the very beginning of the Church. The use of drugs for strictly medical reasons is allowed because this is attempting to preserve life and not seek after inordinate pleasure. Also, I don't see why you so easily brush off the translation of the word "pharmakeia" in the Bible. This site gives a good description of the meaning of "pharmakeia" as found in the Bible.: "The root meaning of this group of Greek words is 'druggist' 'poisoner' or, 'giver of potions'. These particular 'sorcerers' were persons able to prepare and dispense potions. But why did they dispense these potions? Was it in order to give relief from illness?
Absolutely not! It was in order to stimulate hallucinations or visions! We must understand that it was long part of pagan religious practice to administer potions, or drugs, which would encourage hallucinations!"
So, you see, that word can be translated as to drug use and I think it is quite clear that drugs were very much condemned in the Bible. The Bible has many references as I have given earlier about staying sober and how "drunkards" will not enter Heaven without repentance. Drunkenness refers to intoxication and intoxication is found in drugs and therefore drugs are wrong. Again, I ask how and why would God ordain that an unhealthy drug that leads to intoxication be used by Christians, and not only encouraged but pretty much mandatory when God has spoken so clearly to us through His word that intoxication is evil? It doesn't add up.
Then again, if this "Holy Oil" (which I do not doubt that God did indeed give Moses the Holy Oil recipe) is so important in the New Covenant and necessary for salvation (as seemed to be implied by you if I am not mistaken) then why is there not more talk about it? Why do we hear Jesus tell the Apostles right before He ascended into Heaven: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." (Matthew 28:18)
Yet if "by this anointing that we became Christians:" is true, then why does Jesus talk about baptism instead? Baptism seems to be a very important doctrine and a means as entry into God's Grace, but this anointing is kept much quieter and we hear almost nothing mentioned of this anointing rite in the Bible. I do not deny that there are some references to the word "anointed" etc. yet if this was a sacrament (as I believe you have said or implied from the material you have given me) then why wasn't this sacrament talked about in Scripture like baptism and the Eucharist. Jesus talks a lot about giving us His Body and Blood (John 6 and Matthew 26:26) through changing the elements of bread and wine. This was obviously an important doctrine as many people left Jesus when they heard it (John 6:66) yet Jesus didn't revoke what He said. Also, this doctrine is later brought up by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:23 and other parts of the Sacred Scripture. So why don't we hear more than these vague references to the use of Holy Oil in a sacrament? The two references you gave me (aside from the fact that they are not in the Holy Bible and therefore are not proven infallible) don't give much description on the Holy Oil or its use. Yes, it is an important symbol but perhaps the original oil was never used by Christians but they sure didn't write much or continue the practice for us to find out.
Another question of mine would be, assuming that cannabis was the plant the Holy Oil partially contained, why would the oil lead to intoxication? Marijuana is something that is smoked and inhaled into the lungs for its main effects and I don't think that people would become intoxicated off an oil that was 25% cannabis oil that wasn't consumed. The incense prescribed right after the Holy Oil contained different ingredients. Though again, translations from this ancient writing are debated and it is not certain by any means that the Holy Oil contained Cannabis in the first place.
Anointed is certainly still retained in the Catholic Church in conjunction with baptism, for Confirmation, and for healing of the sick. However, the oil used is not made from the original recipe given by God to Moses. Wouldn't it be more clear that we were to continue the use of the Holy Oil originally prescribed by God in the New Covenant? And if the Jews were continuing to make this Oil then why are we so unclear as to what the ingredients were?
I again emphasize (because I think this is the fundamental key) and that is that:
1. God said intoxication is wrong
2. God said it and that's good enough... We obey Him. (Period)
I don't understand why this Holy Oil has become such a major issue of debate for you. Remember also, that this Oil that God prescribed in the Old Testament was for "Aaron and for his sons" (Exodus 30:30) and "It shall not be poured upon the bodies of ordinary men," (Exodus 30:32)
So, it was not originally intended for all men anyways. We are anointed priest, prophet, and king, at baptism but that doesn't mean we are to use the same Holy Oil God prescribed for use for Aaron and his sons in the Old Covenant.
Finally, as a side point, you said: "during the inquisition where millions were burnt at the stake." This is a very common fantasy that has been grown, (though I'm not addressing the issue of the Inquisition right now) as in reality, about 3,000-5,000 people may have been killed and not the "millions" that you said.
Again, drugs used for solely medical purposes are acceptable, but God clearly condemns intoxication.
Let me end with this beautiful quote from our Saviour: "and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 11:38-39)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Below is a good reminder I think for all of us! The other day I just sped right through a stop sign not realizing it was there until I looked back and saw it!! Lord have mercy on me! I'm glad the Lord protected me and that there were no cars coming through (it was a two-way stop). Anyway, please remember that careless driving is considered a venial sin and reckless driving a mortal one so we should be very careful in how we drive and obey the law in this matter. In fact the Pope had something to say about this recently, and I'm wondering if whoever drives that popemobile has been a little bit of a lead foot....


VATICAN CITY, APR 25, 2007 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, the Pope reminded those present that, "by initiative of the United Nations, this week is dedicated to safety on the roads.

"I would like," he added, "to address a word of encouragement to the public institutions that seek to maintain highways safe and to protect human life with appropriate means, and to the people who dedicate themselves to research into new technologies and strategies to reduce the many accidents on roads all over the world."

He concluded: "As I invite people to pray for the victims, the injured and their families, it is my hope that a conscious sense of responsibility towards others may induce drivers, especially the young, to greater prudence and respect for the highway code."
AG/ROAD SAFETY/... VIS 070425 (140)

Monday, April 23, 2007


VATICAN CITY, APR 21, 2007 (VIS) - Shortly after 3 p.m. today, Benedict XVI departed from Rome's Ciampino airport bound for the northern Italian town of Vigevano, on the first stage of his two-day pastoral visit to the dioceses of Vigevano and Pavia.

At 4.40 p.m., after a brief stopover in the airport of Milan, the Pope's helicopter landed in Vigevano's "Dante Merlo" stadium from where he travelled by popemobile to the town center. Along the route, he passed in front of the convent of cloistered nuns of the Sisters Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament who came out to greet him. At 5.15, he arrived at the bishop's residence where he was welcomed by the local religious and civil authorities.

The Pope appeared at the balcony of the episcopal residence, overlooking Piazza Sant'Ambrogio, to greet the thousands of people gathered there, including many young people and groups of sick. "I thank you," he said, "for your cordial and enthusiastic welcome. As I descended from the helicopter, I could almost hear the echo of the bells of all the churches in the diocese which rang out at midday today to wish me a choral welcome."

"Here in Vigevano, the only diocese in Lombardy not visited by my venerated predecessor John Paul II, I have chosen to begin my pastoral pilgrimage within Italy. Thus it is as if I am resuming the path he followed, to continue to proclaim to the men and women of Italy the announcement, ancient yet ever new, that resounds with particular vitality in this time of Easter: Christ is risen! Christ is alive! Christ is with us today and forever."

After his greetings, Benedict XVI went to Piazza Ducale where he presided at a Eucharistic concelebration with Lombard bishops and priests of the diocese of Vigevano.

In his homily he recalled the words from the Gospel reading, "cast the net ... and you will find" which Jesus addressed to His disciples on Lake Tiberias after a fruitless fishing expedition that had lasted all night. The empty net, the Pope remarked, must have appeared to the Apostles "as the outcome of their experience with Jesus: they had known Him and accompanied Him, and He had promised them so much, and yet there they were with their nets empty of fish."

Christ came out to meet them, though the disciples did not recognize Him. Nonetheless "they trusted Jesus and the result was a miraculously abundant catch of fish." It was then that John became aware of the presence of the Risen One and exclaimed: "'It is the Lord!' This spontaneous profession of faith," said Pope Benedict, "is also an invitation for us to proclaim that the Risen Christ is the Lord of our lives."

"I have come here among you," the Holy Father continued, "above all to encourage you to be zealous witnesses to Christ. It is faithful adherence to His word that will make your pastoral activities fruitful. When the work in the Lord's vineyard seems in vain, like the Apostles nighttime efforts, it must not be forgotten that Jesus is capable of overturning everything in a moment. This evangelical episode ... reminds us, on the one hand, that we must commit ourselves to pastoral activities as if the outcome depended entirely upon our own efforts; on the other hand, it brings us to understand that the true success of our mission is entirely a gift of Grace. In the mysterious designs of His wisdom, God knows when it is time to intervene."

"What does Christ's invitation to 'cast the net' actually mean?" the Pope asked. "In the first place it means, as it did for the disciples, believing in Him and trusting in His word. Jesus asks you, as He asked them, to follow Him with a sincere and firm faith. Listen, then, to His word and meditate upon it every day. ... Following the fundamental guidelines of the Synod and the instructions of your pastor, remain united and open yourselves to the vast horizons of evangelization. ... Sharing, collaborating and a feeling of joint responsibility, this is the spirit that must constantly animate your community.

"Such a community requires everyone's contribution" he added. "Individual parishes - like the tiles of a mosaic and in full harmony among themselves - will form a living Church that is an organic part of the People of God." Moreover, "an indispensable contribution to evangelization comes from lay associations, communities and groups."

Benedict XVI also encouraged his listeners "to continue to look after young people, both those who are 'near' and those who are 'far away.' In this context tirelessly promote ... a form of vocational pastoral care that helps the young in their search for a true meaning to give to their lives." The Pope also recalled that the family "is the principal element of social life, and so only by working in support of families can we renew the fabric of the ecclesial community and of civil society itself."

The Pope concluded his homily by mentioning the patron saints of Vigevano: St. Ambrose, St. Charles Borromeo and Blessed Matteo Carreri, and he also referred to other people from the local area whose causes of beatification are currently underway. These include Fr. Francesco Pianzola who "went out to meet the spiritual poverty of his time with a courageous missionary style," and Teresio Olivelli, a layman of Catholic Action "who died at the age of just 29 in the Hersbruck concentration camp, a sacrificial victim of a brutal form of violence which he tenaciously opposed with the ardor of charity."

Finally, the Holy Father commended the community to the Mother of God "that a renewed effusion of the Holy Spirit" may descend upon the diocese. He also reiterated how the "disciples' tiring and fruitless night's fishing is a perennial admonishment for the Church of all times: alone, without Jesus, we can do nothing!"

Following the Mass, the Pope travelled by helicopter to Pavia where he arrived at 8.15 p.m.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Caption Contest!

I found this cool picture off of St. Peter's Helpers and thought this would make a great photo caption! Any ideas?

"Pope Benedict playing 'Hide and Seek' with his cousins and fellow Cardinals"

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dear Catholic Warrior...
Q. "Is it a sin to have intercourse with a woman and being only secularly married to another at the same time who does not live with him? Suppose the married couple does not have children."
A. The short form of this answer is simply put that yes it would be a sin. Let me explain. Jesus in the Bible said: "I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery." Then again in the Bible it says in I Corinthians 6:9: "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God."
I underlined "adulterers" to point out how this is saying that those who commit this sin will not enter Heaven unless they repent of their sin. From the information you have given me I must assume that this woman is married to this man, and although she may be separated from her husband at present, in God's eyes they are still married.
Also, our belief based on the Bible and the Church's teachings (God's teachings) that sexual relations before marriage is gravely wrong is true. Sexuality is only for those who are validly married because sexuality is not only for the closeness of the married people but also for the creation of the family. It is something sacred and should not be used outside of God's boundaries. Sexual relations outside of marriage is considered grave matter and would be a mortal sin. See the Catechism of the Catholic Church #2353.
You may believe however that this woman's previous marriage was invalid as it may have been one outside the Church and outside any sacramental institution. However, you need to talk to a trustworthy priest and get a hold of a canon lawyer if you have questions on whether the marriage is/was valid. Remember though that marriage is sacred and that the CHURCH has to decided weather or not the previous marriage was valid or not. I'm afraid I cannot tell you for sure if the marriage was valid or not. Weather or not the couple had children doesn't matter.
Anyway, it would be best for the person in this situation to pray and ask God if He wants him to be pursuing this woman at this time while obeying God by remaining chaste. Although this may be difficult, by following God's Will we will never be disappointed in the end. I really hoped this helped and if you have other questions feel free to ask them. Be assured of my prayers and God Bless!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Is our Faith Immigrating into the US?
This article from the New York Times caught my eye last night. It is discussing how many Catholic Hispanics are immigrating into the US, but yet many drop out from their Faith. I have provided the link to the article above, but I am also pasting it below and commenting on the ridiculous and terrible aspects of it...
For Some Hispanics, Coming to America Also Means Abandoning Religion By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
RICHMOND, Va. - On Sunday afternoons, when the local Roman Catholic church holds Mass for Spanish-speaking Catholics, Edgar Chilín is playing soccer in a league with hundreds of Hispanic players.
As a child in Guatemala, Mr. Chilín attended Mass every Sunday. But after immigrating to the United States 25 years ago, he and his family lost the churchgoing habit. "We pray to God when we feel the need to," he said, "but when we come here to America we don't feel the need."
[OK, this is stupid. Why do people only turn to God when they feel "weak" and that they "need" Him? God is not just for "weak" people, but He is for everyone. Actually, we are all weak spiritually and in need of God's saving Grace. So, just because you might be doing well financially and physically, doesn't mean that you no longer need God, but rather means that God has blessed you in a certain way. He can at anytime take everything away from you. God loved us so much He died for us--how can we refuse Him and give Him back so little?]

A wave of research shows that increasing percentages of Hispanics are abandoning church, suggesting to researchers that along with assimilation comes a measure of secularization.
[Aw Ha! There we have it. When Hispanics become "Americanized" they start acting like the average American who doesn't attend Church and would rather put other things before Almighty God.]
Several studies show that Hispanics are just as likely as other Americans to identify themselves as having "no religion," and to not affiliate with a church. Those who describe themselves as secular are, without question, a small minority among Hispanics - as they are among Americans at large. But, in contrast to many of the non-Hispanic Americans who identify themselves as secular, most of the Hispanics say they were once religious.
The Roman Catholic Church, the religious home for most Hispanics, is experiencing the greatest exodus. While many former Catholics join evangelical or Pentecostal churches, the recent research shows that many of them leave church altogether.
"Migrating to the U.S. means you have the freedom to create your own identity," said Keo Cavalcanti, a sociologist at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., and a co-author of a recent study that found a trend toward secularization among Hispanics in Richmond. "When people get here they realize that maintaining that pro forma display of religiosity is not essential to doing well."
[What is that supposed to mean? "...religiosity is not essential to doing well." OK, if your talking about making tons of money and worshiping this world and staying physically fit, then no-religion doesn't have that much purpose. But Religion is about taking care of our souls that are eternal. Religion can bring one to peace and happiness, however, something that this world can never do. Oh, and yea, people need God in America just as much as they do in Mexico or wherever else.]

A separate study of 4,000 Hispanics to be released this month by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and the Pew Hispanic Center found that 8 percent of them said they had "no religion" - similar to the 11 percent in the general public. Of the Hispanics who claimed no religion, two-thirds said they had once been religious. Thirty-nine percent of the Hispanics who said they had no religion were former Catholics.
Hispanics from Cuba were the most secular national group, at 14 percent, followed by Central Americans at 12 percent, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans at 9 percent, and South Americans at 8 percent, the Pew poll found. Mexicans in this country were the least likely to say they had no religion, at 7 percent.
A larger survey, called the American Religious Identification Survey, a study of 50,000 adults, including 3,000 Hispanics, found that the percentage of Hispanics who identified themselves as having no religion more than doubled from 1990 to 2001, to 13 percent from 6 percent.
This change is happening even though many Hispanics immigrated from countries steeped in religion, where saints' days and festivals mark the passage of time, and grandmothers round up their progeny each Sunday to go to Mass.
"They come, they adopt the American way, and part of the American way is moving towards no religion," said Ariela Keysar, associate director of the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture at Trinity College in Hartford.

[ Actually, the United States of America was founded on Christian principles and therefore, the "true" American way is not "no religion". However, if this lady is talking about how most Americans have given into this world today, then yes, that does describe the average American. However, just because a culture is a certain way, doesn't make it good or right. If I went to an Indian village where the "culture" was to eat humans, then I wouldn't do it because I wanted to adapt to the culture. And actually, it is quite impossible to move to "no religion". Even if you are following this world and think you have no religion, you are still worshiping something---most likely yourself.]

Each year, Diana Lemus - a real estate agent and owner of Happy Mart, a busy Latino market in Richmond - makes New Year's resolutions that include working out more, getting out of debt, being a better mother and attending church once a week.
Ms. Lemus, a first-generation immigrant, said that this year she had kept all of them, except going to church - and spends Sunday mornings at the gym. She thinks her faith is important, but said that perhaps she has grown "too materialistic."
"I need God in my life, but I told the pastor, I get sleepy," she said. "You have to stay in church from 1:30 to 5. I think if services were shorter, more entertaining."

[This woman is probably referring to a Protestant church service (as Catholic Church serves would probably never go more than 2 hours and usually are only about 1 hour.), but nonetheless---how can you say your are too "sleepy" for God? If God meant everything to you, you would do anything, no matter what, to love Him.]

Like Ms. Lemus, many Hispanics in Richmond said that even though they no longer attended church, their religion remained important to them.

[Ah. So important they go to the gym instead of worshiping God. OK.....?]

This confirms research findings that Hispanics who said they had no religion represent a small subset; many more Hispanics are living rather secular lives but still identify themselves as Catholics or Christians. The phenomenon is similar to that of "cultural Jews," said Roberto Suro, director of the Pew Hispanic Center.
"You can feel very strongly about the Virgin of Guadalupe and believe your children ought to be baptized, and still not participate in the Catholic Church or make it a major factor in your life," Mr. Suro said.

[Really? You mean you can just baptize your children with no intention of raising them in the Faith? Yes, it would be a valid baptism for the child, but the parents who have no intention of raising their children in the Faith (which includes going to weekly Sunday Mass) commit a very serious sin. Mr. Suro, sorry, I'll pray for you---but I hope you find the truth before it's too late.]

Richmond and adjacent Chesterfield County have a rapidly growing and diverse Hispanic population, with immigrants from the Caribbean, Central America, Colombia and Mexico. Some are new arrivals, but many have been in the United States for years and resettled here from Northeastern and Southern states, attracted by the area's jobs, relatively affordable housing and receptive local governments.
The increase in the Hispanic population has meant a proliferation of churches. But even when their own churches are thriving, Hispanic ministers say that most Hispanics they approach are not interested.
"Church is not very popular," said Francisco Hernandez, who is pastor with his wife, Connie, of the Iglesia de Dios Alfa y Omega, a Pentecostal church with 400 members. "The majority don't go, and those who go, go one time."
Asked why, he said that his church's strict rules were a hard sell, adding, "People like a superficial religion."

[That last sentence really hits the nail on the head. People are too lazy to get real about their Faith. Many just seek after "feel good" religions which don't help them, but rather hinders them in their finding God. If one ate sweets all the time because they didn't want to suffer eating "gross" food, then they would become very sick and never grow. Religion is the same. The Truth will set you free--though it may hurt a little.]

This may be true, and a few young Hispanic women said in interviews that they avoided strict evangelical churches because they frowned on women wearing pants or makeup. However, many more Hispanics said they were simply too busy to attend any church. They said Sunday is a work day, or it is their only day off to wash clothes, go to the market, do errands and relax.

[Isn't this a good excuse? No. So you can work hard all the time to provide for your physical needs, but are never able to take time enough to follow God and save your soul? I don't think so. If something is important enough for you, you will always find a way of doing it.]

Before Mirna E. Amaya and her husband bought their restaurant, Palacio Latino, three years ago - and when she lived in Maryland - she went to Mass every Sunday. Now she says she is working too hard to go, even though she says she misses it.
"In El Salvador, people went to the church because there's nothing much else to do," Mrs. Amaya said.

[That is so ridiculous it almost makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time. If that is true, then no wonder "busy" Hispanics don't go to Church--because they never had Faith to begin with.]

She said that some of her women friends had stopped going because they became disillusioned with the Catholic Church after the priest sexual abuse scandals.

[Just would like to remind everyone that Faith is not placed in people but in God. Jesus said out right that there would be weeds in the wheat. That meant there's going to be bad among the good in the Church. That doesn't make your religion false just because it has sinners. No religion is free of sinners.]

But she said the Roman Catholic Church was still her preference. The closest parish, St. Augustine Catholic Church, has bent over backward to minister to Hispanics. It offers Mass in Spanish, classes in English, a medical van, job assistance and an instant community for lonely new arrivals. The Sunday Spanish Mass is standing room only.
And yet, the pastor, Msgr. Michael Schmied, also the vicar for the diocese's Hispanic Apostolate, said: "My fear is the strength of secularization, the influence of Americanized pop culture. Is the spiritual tradition of the church, Catholic and Protestant, strong enough to withstand the secularizing cultural influences?"

[Only if we stand up and fight!]

Jesus Cerritos, a 37-year-old construction worker who immigrated from Mexico 18 years ago, said he spent his weekends running errands, going to Wal-Mart and watching television. His children, ages 11 and 9, tell him that church is boring and that they have no desire to go, but Mr. Cerritos has mixed feelings.
"Here, the people get more materialistic," Mr. Cerritos said. "The culture here is really barren. There's no traditions."
If he were still living in his hometown of Guanajuato, he said, "I would probably go to church."

[Do you let your kids skip school because it's "boring"? Only if your stupid. Now school is where you can grow academically, however, in nurturing our Faith we can become close to the God who saved us and brings us eternal life which is infinitely more important. You can't expect people to come to Church who have no Faith. If they have no Faith the only reason they would go is for a personal reason (e.g. entertainment or "feeling good") "And after that John was delivered up, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying: The time is accomplished, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent, and believe the gospel." (Mark 1:14-15)

Well, talk about voting...

I would like to thank Snarphman for nominating me for "Best Religion Blog" on "Bloggers Choice Awards". So far, as of now, I have 7 votes and thank everyone who voted for me! I'm looking for about 159 more votes to put me in the lead. OK folks, do you appreciate this blog? Well let's see it at the polls!!!

(For the scrupulous--it's not a sin not to vote for me, however it may be an imperfection)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

"Bless me Bloggers, for I have Sinned..."
Envy:Very Low
Lust:Very Low

This was fun!
Discover Your Sins - Click Here

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

And the results are....
I want to thank everyone that participated in these polls and encourage everyone to do the next ones! Also, if you voted "other" on the Friday in Lent question I would be interested in what you are accustomed to eating. God Bless and have a blessed Easter Season!

What do you normally eat on Fridays in Lent since there is no meat?

Fish or sea food: 10 56%

Vegetable or clam chowder soup: 1 6%

Nothing---I just fast: 2 11%

Breakfast foods minus the bacon and sausage: 0 0%

The new KFC fish sandwich: 1 6%

other: 4 22%

How dare you say no meat on Fridays!: 0 0%

18 votes total

How do you normally receive Holy Communion?

On the tongue: 15 75%

In the hand: 3 15%

Both--- just depends how I feel: 1 5%

What do you mean tongue?: 0 0%

I don't receive Holy Communion: 1 5%

20 votes total

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Tell me if this isn't irony...
OK, so Easter Mass was pretty great and beautiful. I served at Holy Mass as an Altar Boy and helped all the other "little" Altar Servers serve a high Mass (which they did great). My relatives were in town from Florida and they attended Mass as well which was a great blessing. But here's the punchline. You have heard my venting and later my rejoicing at the end of the liturgical abuse of the pouring of the Precious Blood. Well guess what! Since this was Easter Mass and all of those folks who seem to drop in all of sudden were filling up our pews and then some, the deacon and others were concerned about having enough wine to consecrate for Holy Communion. We had more wine than our 9 chalices could hold and so it was decided that the priest should consecrate the remaining wine in the *cough* glass flagon and then pour more of the precious Blood if the Extraordinary ministers ran out. Now get this... Guess who was asked to do the "pouring-as-we-go"??? Did you guess? Well, the answer is ME. Yep, that's right. 15 minutes before Mass, and being the "Senior" server I was asked to do this for some reason. I didn't know what to do exactly. I am happy because the abuse had come to an end, and I was thinking the only reason they're doing this is because of the extraordinary circumstances. So yep, big hypocrite me gave in and did the pouring. However, I was glad in some ways it was me as I ensured with all of my ability to honor the Precious Blood and not allow it to spill or drip at all. I felt terrible that I had to do this. So what do you think I should've done? Was I wrong? They plan on doing this now every Christmas and Easter... Lord have mercy on me a sinner!
Still some things to work on....

The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!

Here is how you matched up against all the levels:

Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very High
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)High
Level 2 (Lustful)Very Low
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)Low
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test
The Lord has Risen! ALLELUIA!!!

Today we can recall how Our Lord Jesus Christ conquered death through His death and His Resurrection. The gates of Heaven are now open and man can enter if he takes up his cross and follows Christ. For remember that we too must follow in the footsteps of Christ and take up our crosses. We must die with Christ so that we may rise to new life with Him! I hope that this Lent has blessed you in enabling you to renounce Satan and all of his works so that you may follow in Our Lord's footsteps!

"'O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?'" (Luke 24:26)

Friday, April 06, 2007

thanks Esther: Today we Remember how our Savior Saved us........
C. Truman Davis, M.D.,in The Expositor's Bible Commentary writes:
What is Crucifixion?
A medical doctor provides a physical description:
The cross is placed on the ground and the exhausted man is quickly thrown backwards with his shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire
feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy,
square wrought-iron nail through the wrist deep into the wood. Quickly
he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to
pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flex and movement. The
cross is then lifted into place. The left foot is pressed backward
against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail
is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees flexed. The victim
is now crucified. As he slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to
explode in the brain -- the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on
the median nerves. As he pushes himself upward to avoid this stretching
torment, he places the full weight on the nail through his feet. Again
he feels the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the bones of his feet. As the arms fatigue, cramps sweep through his muscles, knotting them
deep relentless, and throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the
inability to push himself upward to breathe. Air can be drawn into the
lungs but not exhaled. He fights to raise himself in order to get even
one small breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream,and the cramps partially subsided. Spasmodically, he is able to push
himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen. Hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-renting cramps,intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from
his lacerated back as he moves up and down against rough timber. Then
another agony begins: a deep, crushing pain deep in the chest as the
pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart. It is now almost over. The loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical
level. The compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish
blood into the tissues. The tortured lungs are making frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. He can feel the chill of death creeping through his tissues. Finally, he allows his body to die!

Remember today is a required day of fasting and abstinence. I suggest you keep this day very sober in spirit and meditate throughout your day as to what Jesus went through to show how much he loved you. Suggestions of mine would be:
1. Keep silence between the hours of 12-3PM (the last hours of Jesus)
2. Go to your parish's Good Friday service (there is no Mass today)
3. Watch The Passion of the Christ film by Mel Gibson
4. Attend or personally recite the stations of the Cross
5. Pray the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary and pray extra
6. Resolve with the Cross in mind, something to change in your life that will bring you closer to Christ.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The War on Drugs...
Drugs must be one of the most hotly debated subjects ever. Ranging from politicians to Church leaders, to your everyday person, drugs are a huge subject of debate. I have touched earlier on the drug issue, but here I will present more ideas and open the comment box up for a friendly debate. However, previous comment rules still apply and charity in the discussion must be used no matter what side you are on.
First of all, as a Christian and Catholic who believes in the Bible and in what the Church teaches I have no doubt on this subject: Drugs (except for strictly medical purposes) are wrong. The Catechism of the Catholic Church in #2291 says: "The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense. Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs are scandalous practices. They constitute direct co-operation in evil, since they encourage people to practices gravely contrary to the moral law."
The Bible has many passages condemning drunkenness (a.k.a. intoxication) and there are at least two references in the Bible that strongly condemn "pharmakeia" the primary translation being "the use or the administering of drugs". Passage references condemning intoxication include: Galatians 5:19-21, Revelation 9:20-21, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 19-20, 1 Peter 5:8
1 Corinthians 6:9-10: "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God." Drunkenness in intoxication can be achieved through alcohol or other drugs. The Bible is saying here that those people who engage in drunkenness will not enter Heaven. This makes a very clear statement that marijuana can not be compatible with a Christian as marijuana can never be used without abuse.
As I have pointed out earlier marijuana and all drugs are harmful to your health and therefore damaging of the body (and soul) that God has given us for Him to dwell in. For those people who are claiming that cannabis (marijuana) is actually something holy and is a part of a sacrament, then I challenge them to ask why would God would institute a substance for religious purposes that is harmful to your mental and physical health? Why would the Bible shout out so loudly that intoxication is wrong yet promote intoxication within its sacraments?
An argument given for marijuana is that in Exodus 30:23 cannabis is one of the ingredients for the holy oil, yet remember that that is only a theory. As pointed out from Wiki-Pedia, "The Septuagint translates kaneh-bosm as calamus" which is not cannabis.
Let's look at another problem with this holy oil turned sacrament theory: It's novelty. Now just because it's new doesn't prove it's wrong, but it should lead us to suspicion. It would be claimed by believers of this, of course, that this sacrament was preached by Jesus and the early Church Fathers yet where do we see this recorded? Where do the apostles go around preaching the importance of this sacrament? Drugs have long (meaning back around Jesus time at least) been associated with witchcraft and black magic and therefore would have been rejected as this stuff was condemned by the authors of the Bible and --oh yea--God. Baptism is preached by Jesus and the apostles as the first essential element for being saved---but not baptism with cannabis oil.
What about God saying when He created the Earth "'Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.'"
You have to be pretty stupid to translate that as God saying every plant is OK to consume---at least now living in a fallen world (Don't forget that God said that before the fall.). Are you going eat poisonous mushrooms? No. Yet those mushrooms play a role in the ecosystem. Will you play with King Cobras? No. yet cobras have their proposes on earth. Cannabis is good for making rope--yet I know of nothing else yet, and God creating marijuana doesn't mean it was meant to be smoked and for intoxication.
How can I believe that God would promote a drug? The culture of drugs have torn nations apart, brought murder, death, torn apart relationships, and more. How can I believe God wants a drug used in a sacrament when he condemns drugs?
I don't mean to be presumptuous and I know some people may indeed be sincere, but this theory seems like an excuse to allow for an action clearly condemned by God.
Sorry if I seemed to ramble on here, and if you have specific questions I will do my best to answer them. Comments posted here may be used for further publication on this blog.
"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own. You were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
"Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour." (1 Peter 5:8)
Happy April Fool's day!!!
Here, at least in the US, today is April Fool's day, one of my favorite days of the year. So, please let me know what jokes you played or what jokes were done on you today in the comment box. I'm still planning my jokes--though there is one on this blog if you noticed...