Scott Brown's Massachusetts Senate Victory A Bitter Pill for Some

January 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

The Courtship of Greg's Puppet

January 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Yes, I know, that headline weirds me out a little bit, too. But trust me, Greg Willits is a fine Catholic fellow, he has a wicked-cool trophy wife (he married up), he’s creative, he’s a dedicated family man, he prays the rosary, he’s bald (which makes me feel good about myself), and he’s funny (this video notwithstanding).

Olly olly Agcas free

January 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Weird. Sad.

Time Machine: See Market Street in San Francisco Days Before the 1906 Quake

January 19, 2010 by  
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The Flixxy website, where I got this footage, contains the following caption:

This film, originally thought to be from 1905 until David Kiehn with the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum figured out exactly when it was shot. From New York trade papers announcing the film showing to the wet streets from recent heavy rainfall & shadows indicating time of year & actual weather and conditions on historical record, even when the cars were registered (he even knows who owned them and when the plates were issued!). It was filmed only four days before the quake and shipped by train to NY for processing.

And here’s what Market Street looks like today, over 99 years later:

Mr. Kilpatrick Comes Home

January 18, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

My grandson, Killian Patrick Madrid, born three months premature, came home from the hospital NICU a couple of days ago. My sincere thanks to all of you who have been praying for Killian and his parents, Tim and Nina. They are now happily all together under the same roof. Deo Gratias. (Click the pic for details on Tim’s blog.)

Trouble in Paradise. What's Wrong With This Picture?

January 18, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

“Our Haitians brothers and sisters are trapped in the misery of their earthquake nightmare while luxury cruise ships still dock at private beaches there!”

That was the comment I made on my Facebook page yesterday. I included a link to this story: “Cruise Ships Still Find a Haitian Berth.” I have a problem with that.

Remember the story of the Good Samaritan? In Luke 10:25-37 we see that he stopped what he was doing in order to attend to the urgent need of the man who had been robbed, beaten, and left for dead on the side of the road. Whatever errand he was on, whatever legitimately important thing he needed to attend to, he stopped what he was doing so that he could do something even more important. And in so doing, as we read in the Gospel, it cost him money to do so.

Lots of people responded to my FB post, some with disgust, others with a reminder that at least the cruise ships in question are doing something to help. Here is my follow-up post explaining why I still see this cruise-ship-cavorting-in-Haiti situation as a problem that goes beyond bad taste and potentially negative PR for the cruise lines:

Thanks, everyone, for your good and insightful comments on this. The reason I chose that article to link to is (as some of you noted) because it includes “the rest of the story,” about how the cruise lines are doing something to help. That needs to be said.

However . . . there is still a serious problem with all this. The stricken people of Haiti are experiencing excruciating suffering on an enormous scale a short distance away from where others are resting comfortably in the arms of luxury.

In my estimation, it poses more than just a problem of bad taste for the cruise ships to continue docking in “safe” parts of Haiti. I don’t think they should.

By way of an analogy, it’s kind of like this:

Imagine that your house burned down and half your family was incinerated. You have nowhere to go, because you’re poor and destitute, so you camp out in the ruins of your yard and smoldering house.

You’ve stacked the charred bodies of your dead family members (children, spouse, etc.) in a corner of your yard hoping that someone will arrive to assist you in burying them. And you wait, miserable, hungry, injured, and grief-stricken.

And then . . . your neighbors (a few of whom have thoughtfully stopped by to bring you a box of doughnuts, a jug of water, and a blanket) go forward with their plans for the neighborhood block party.

The date for the party was set months ago, mind you, and everyone has gone to trouble to save the date on their schedules, so nothing can be done about it except to have the party.

And so, while you huddle in anguish, waiting for rescue, your neighbors on either side and across the street from you have their merry block-party, which abounds with plenty of succulent food, tasty beverages, music, and all-around bonhomie.

All of this is happening right near you and your burned out house and the stack of your family’s corpses in the corner.

So . . . given all of the above, do you think your neighbors are doing the right thing? Or is there something better they could be doing instead of throwing their block party?

My problem with the cruise lines is not that they are catering to their guests’ bought-and-paid-for right to a week of fun in the sun. That’s what cruise lines do. My complaint against them is that they are choosing a far lesser good than the one they should and could choose, it seems to me.

See also this article in the NY Times (photo credit: NY Times).

And let’s not forget these solemn words of Christ about just this sort of thing:

And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty.

And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in:

Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.

Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me. Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee? Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.

And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting (Matt. 25:31-46).

The Problem of Catholic Name-Calling

January 18, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Here’s the audio clip of my recent interview on “The Catholics Next Door” show, which airs on the Sirius Satellite Radio network (The Catholic Channel). Hosts Greg & Jennifer Willits and I discussed the problem of name-calling among Catholics, including epithets such as “neo-Catholic.” Take a listen.

Also, as suggested by a reader of this blog, here are some comments about this problem made back in 1914 by Pope Benedict XV in his encyclical Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum. They seem quite apropos:

As regards matters in which without harm to faith or discipline — in the absence of any authoritative intervention of the Apostolic See — there is room for divergent opinions, it is clearly the right of everyone to express and defend his own opinion. But in such discussions no expressions should be used which might constitute serious breaches of charity; let each one freely defend his own opinion, but let it be done with due moderation, so that no one should consider himself entitled to affix on those who merely do not agree with his ideas the stigma of disloyalty to faith or to discipline.

It is, moreover, Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as “profane novelties of words,” out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: “This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved” (Athanassian Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim “Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,” only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself. . . . (continue reading)

So You Want to Be a Bass Player?

January 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

One of my favorite bands in the early 80s was Haircut 100. And one of my favorite Haircut 100 songs was “Love Plus One.” As a bass player myself (once upon a time), I spent a lot of time studying and trying to learn how to play the rather complicated bassline to this tasty song, and I was delighted when, awhile back, I ran across this video tutorial by Zuma, a very proficient bassist, who splains how to play this one. As you’ll see, it’s complicated but a lot of fun. And if you like this, you will probably also like Zuma’s tutorials on some delectable Duran Duran and Kajagoogoo 4-string goodness. Enjoy!

Lamb born with a human-like face?

January 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Is this a hoax? If not, could it be merely a natural (unnatural) anomaly, or could there have been some kind of vile attempt at human/animal genetic engineering that was responsible for this? If any of you are geneticists or veterinarians, feel free to shed some scientific light on this for us.

Medjugorje Fact-Sheet: Is the Devil in the Details?

January 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Given the turmoil, uncertainty, and speculation that has been engendered by Cardinal
Schönborn’s recent high-profile visit to Medjugorje, I, like many who have been following the story closely, am waiting and watching to see what this new development might portend for the Church’s eventual decision on whether the Medjugorje phenomenon is an authentic Marian apparition or not.

The Catholic Church will, I presume, eventually issue some kind of definitive decision on this question, but in the meantime, before that happens, I believe it is wise to consider all the available relevant information and evidence, those which lend support to Medjugorje and those which do not. As St. Paul said, “Test everything; hold fast to what is good” (1 Thess. 5:21).

In addition to the bemused reaction to His Eminence’s visit there from the Bishop of Mostar-Duvno (within which territory Medjugorje is situated), a few other high-level Churchmen have been speaking up about the matter, including Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, who is disinclined to accept the claims that the Medjugorje phenomenon is base on authentic Marian apparitions.

Regardless of whether one believes Medjugorje is a true Marian apparition, disbelieves it, or is simply skeptical toward the whole thing but remains open to all credible evidence, pro or con (this is my personal position, by the way), it seems clear that these recent statements from such well-informed bishops are certainly worth pondering.

Consider this, too:

Under the heading: “Medjugorje, Secrets, Messages, Vocations, Prayers, Confessions, Commissions,” Bishop Ratko Peric, in 2007, provided an exhaustive chronology and outline of salient facts surrounding the alleged apparitions. For anyone who is serious about wanting to know all the details pertaining to Medjugorje, this “Fact Sheet” is a must read, regardless of where you currently stand on this issue.

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