11.21.2007

BEWARE: The Golden Compass

The following was taken from the Catholic League Website:

On October 5, the Catholic League kicked off its campaign against "The Golden Compass." The first interview that Bill Donohue granted was to Raymond Arroyo, EWTN's host of "The World Over." He then did two Fox News Channel shows back-to-back: "The Big Story" with John Gibson and "Fox and Friends."

Approximately 500 media sources were sent a copy of the league's booklet on the film. In addition, copies are flying off the shelf as orders from our members and interested parties are coming in at a rapid pace. In other words, we are getting the word out fast: the movie is "bait for the books," i.e., it is designed to lure parents into thinking that Philip Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials, would make a great Christmas gift. Not if we can help it!

Our introductory statement to the media read as follows:
"New Line Cinema and Scholastic Entertainment have paired to produce 'The Golden Compass,' a children's fantasy that is based on the first book of a trilogy by militant English atheist Philip Pullman. The trilogy, His Dark Materials, was written to promote atheism and denigrate Christianity, especially Roman Catholicism. The target audience is children and adolescents. Each book becomes progressively more aggressive in its denigration of Christianity and promotion of atheism: The Subtle Knife is more provocative than The Golden Compass and The Amber Spyglass is the most in-your-face assault on Christian sensibilities of the three volumes.

"Atheism for kids. That is what Philip Pullman sells. It is his hope that 'The Golden Compass,' which stars Nicole Kidman and opens December 7, will entice parents to buy his trilogy as a Christmas gift. It is our hope that the film fails to meet box office expectations and that his books attract few buyers. We are doing much more than hoping—we are conducting a nationwide two-month protest of Pullman's work and the film. To that end, we have prepared a booklet, 'The Golden Compass: Agenda Unmasked,' that tears the mask off the movie.

"It is not our position that the movie will strike Christian parents as troubling. Then why the protest? Even though the film is based on the least offensive of the three books, and even though it is clear that the producers are watering down the most despicable elements—so as to make money and not anger Christians—the fact remains that the movie is bait for the books. To be specific, if unsuspecting Christian parents take their children to see the movie, they may very well find it engaging and then buy Pullman's books for Christmas. That's the problem.

"We are fighting a deceitful stealth campaign on the part of the film's producers. Our goal is to educate Christians so that they know exactly what the film's pernicious agenda really is."

11.16.2007


Twas the night before Jesus Came

'Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house
Not a creature was praying, not one in the house.
Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care
In hopes that Jesus would not come there.

The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head.
And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.

When out of the East there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash!

When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here.
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray
I knew in a moment this must be The Day!

The light of His face made me cover my head
It was Jesus! returning just like He had said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.

In the Book of Life which He held in His hand
Was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name;
When He said "It's not here" my head hung in shame.

The people whose names had been written with love
He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were ready He rose without a sound
While all the rest were left standing around.

I fell to my knees, but it was too late;
I had waited too long and this sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight;
Oh, if only I had been ready tonight.

In the words of this poem the meaning is clear;
The coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There's only one life and when comes the last call
We'll find that the Bible was true after all!

copyright © 1993 Bethany Farms, Carrollton, IL

11.15.2007

BELLA: A Good Message Movie

An international soccer star (Eduardo Verástegui) is on his way to sign a multi-million dollar contract when something happens that brings his career to an abrupt end. A waitress (Tammy Blanchard), struggling to make it in New York City, discovers something about herself that she's unprepared for. In one irreversible moment, their lives are turned upside down...until an impetuous action brings them together and turns an ordinary day into an unforgettable experience. Once a famous athlete, and now a cook at his brother's Mexican restaurant, José has retreated from the world but he recognizes something in Nina, a young waitress, and reaches out to her. In the course of a single day, he not only confronts his past but shows her how the healing power of a family can help her embrace the future.

11.12.2007

Fear: The Reason For Disunity in the Church

"Listen to one another", that is what Reverend Timothy Radcliffe, OP had to say regarding the differences between the conservatives and the liberals of the Catholic Church. On Monday evening of this past week I had the opportunity to attend a lecture given by the renowned theologian at Saint Mary's Abbey, while I was on retreat. The theme of the night was "The Contemporary Church."

Being of the conservative bent, I thought this session would be filled with progressive theological statements regarding how one should view and react to the Church. What I found was an attempt to bridge the two sides of the ecclesiastical coin with an understanding that the divide is fear that causes the parties from hearing one another.

On the conservative side it is the fear that change from the former/present way of life and on the liberal side the fear is that of not changing to meet the needs of the present/future. Radcliffe stated that it these fears that block the entities from hearing one another. But, isn't that the way it is with most debates to begin with? Truth be known, I am more willing to listen with a sincere heart when I know that the audience is receptive to the words I utter. The defenses are lowered.


11.03.2007

Retreat: The Three R's

This week I will take my annual retreat away from the parish. Saint Mary's Abbey is calling me. It is never easy to remove oneself from the normal everyday ministerial duties. Of course, one cannot ever completely forget about those things we love.

Some time ago I read an article which defined a retreat as an experience that should contain three R's. No, not reading, 'riting and 'rithmatic. But rather, Return, Rest and Remember. For those of you that benefit yourselves by such spiritual get-aways, I am sure that you identify with the R's.

Return is the allowing of oneself to the re-discovery of the nature that is around us. Our busy lives and material lives cause us to remove our ties to the gifts that God showers us with each day. The sun, stars, leaves, field, mountains, etc. call us back to the simplicity of life, the simplicity of God.

Rest is the time where schedules do not run each day. Where the silence becomes deafening so that the voice of God is heard and reflected upon.

Remember is the remembering of our purpose here on earth. In my homilies, I often use that question from the Baltimore Catechism which asks, "Why did God make me?" Yes, the answer is still the same and one that needs to be thought about regularly. "To know Him, love Him and serve Him...". Even as a priest, I need to remember why I am here.

I will return next weekend. Let us pray for one another.

11.01.2007

UK Abortions -- The Tide May Be Turning

In Honor Of The Poor Innocent Souls.
Video For Mature Audiences.

Called To Be A Saint


That's you! From the time of our baptism we are called to be saints. Challenging, though it might be, we are called to live lives free of sin and reflecting the Cardinal Virtues of Prudence, Temperance, Courage and Justice and the Theological Virtues of Love, Hope and Faith. Together these are known as the Seven Heavenly Virtues.

If you know anything about the saints that we have in the Catholic Church, one thing is certain. Many with the title were not free of the battle with sin. Often their early lives were filled with contrary actions to the life of a Christian. Look at Saint Paul, St. John of God and Saint Olga who by no means were born saints. Each had human frailties which got in the way of holiness. However, they overcame them and radically altered their life styles.

How did this happen? Well, frankly the answer is with the grace of the Holy Spirit. All too often, Catholics resign themselves to the inability to have a change of heart, mind and action. God's way penetrates our lives with challenge, causing us to choose between right and wrong, comfort and discomfort, ease and difficulty. Age has a tendency to allow the past life to stay set, intact and the person not move toward the life of the holy. Saints, conquered the way they were, take the leap and landed on their feet.

Today, we pray that we too are strong enough to take the leap with God in view. Happy feast day, all you saints in process.