Francis, Solzhenitsyn & Churchill

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If I were teaching a political philosophy class this month, I would assign students a compare and contrast essay between Laudato Si', the new encyclical on man's place in creation, and student's choice of: Solzhenitsyn's "Letter to the Soviet Leaders" or Churchill's "Mass effects in modern life."

Sage Dominican Advice for Catholics & Sensible Folk

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Fr. Philip Powell, OP:
Remember, Catholics: never, never, and I mean NEVER trust the MSM when it comes to anything related to the Pope, the Church, the faith, etc. Check, check again, and then triple check their reporting.
Unfortunately, this includes many "orthodox" sources, who often try to play "whack-a-mole" with press absurdities before they've read carefully themselves. 

I think "Christian witness" ought to include modeling how to read and respond rationally to texts, particularly magisterial texts. Princeton's Robbie George had this to say on his FB page: 
"Catholic friends: If I may offer a word of advice, please receive the forthcoming papal encyclical in a spirit of willingness to listen and to be taught by the Holy Father. Do not approach it by simply looking for what one agrees with or disagrees with on matters of climate science or anything else. The gift of the papal magisterium to us, the faithful, is just that: a gift--a charism. We are to receive it as such. We can, and no doubt each of us will, appreciate the fact that different teachings or aspects of the teaching contained in the document will be proposed at different levels of authority. That is virtually always true of teaching instruments of this sort. But there will be plenty of time to sort all that out. It should NOT be our first priority. Our first priority should be to open ourselves to learning what is to be learned from the Holy Father's reflections on the physical and moral ecology in the context of the Church's witness to, and proclamation of, the Gospel. We are about to hear the voice of Peter. Our first and most important task is to listen attentively and with open-hearted willingness to be taught."
Many of his followers "shared" that post, and all of them, like the man himself, were met with vociferous protests of, "but not if the Pope says...." Or, "I can't stand it that he's saying....."  Well, it will hard to read with an open mind if you "can't stand" what you don't even know if he says! 


If Only Peacekeepers Were Allowed to Marry

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Oh, goodie, the Blue Hats are at it again. (Previous episodes, in case you missed 'em). 
The UN draft report says hundreds of women surveyed in Haiti and Liberia told they had been motivated by hunger, poverty and lifestyle improvement to sell sex to UN peacekeepers, according to Reuters news agency. "Evidence from two peacekeeping mission countries demonstrates that transactional sex is quite common but underreported in peacekeeping missions," the news agency is quoting the draft report.

Exactly What I Said

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How To Lose 30 Pounds In 30 Seconds

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Do you have days where you just wake up stupid? I have dragged through this entire day as if the coffee never kicked in.  To wit:

  • I sent an email to confirm two speakers for an event. I addressed it to person x's first name, and then also to his last name. So instead of writing, "Dear Frank and Sam," I wrote, "Dear Frank and Sinatra." 
  • On route to a store, I was halfway somewhere else before I realized the error. 
The best was that I needed to weigh the dog in order to order the correct dose for his once-a-month wormer. I used the standard procedure: weigh yourself holding the dog; weigh just yourself; calculate the difference. Only it's been overcast the past few days and the solar-powered scale weighed me, but then decided it hadn't enough battery for the second calculation. 

I carried the dog upstairs and stepped on that scale....and promptly had a near heart attack that I'd gained 30 lbs. Oh, no! This scale is more accurate! How can this be when I've been so good about exercise? What radical diet can I undertake? These and many more panicky things ran through my head. 

Until... I suddenly noticed the dead weight in my arms and the beagle on my hip. 

Doh!

I'm Late, I'm Late, For A Very Important Date

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I have tomato plants, but haven't put them in the ground yet (about a month late for planting based on previous years, but it really hasn't been consistently warm enough until the past week). Should really be today, but it's SO humid.

Which will win: laziness, or desire for tomatoes?

Update: Tomatoes won, though this morning I recall as I do every year why I am such an indifferent gardener: oh, right. I'm allergic. In spite of taking Claritin and showering immediately after hours in the garden, this morning the itch is coming from the inside, especially the head and face. (Where is ISIS when you really need it?)

Updater: Oh, joy, oh, rapture! I was so late purchasing plants this year I didn't get my favorite cultivars. But a neighbor just dropped off two extras he had, so now I have 'em. Summer is looking up.

My Kind of Healthy Living

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A visiting priest friend was over for dinner the other evening, and related his experience visiting a family when he was stationed in ... actually, I don't recall where. Slovenia? Slovakia? Maybe even Germany. No matter: Europe. At any rate, our priest friend observed that a single liter bottle of Coca Cola had been purchased in deference to his being American, and thus, when the lady of the house proudly offered him a Coke, he felt he had to accept even though he doesn't like soda of any kind.

Then he heard the woman's 8-year-old son quietly ask if he could have some Coke too, and the mom replied in hushed tones, "Of course not! You know it's bad for you. Be quiet and drink your wine!"

Memorial Day, 2015

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Can't put it better than Archbishop Chaput:
On this Memorial Day, let’s take time to pause in grateful prayer and remembrance for the men and women of our armed forces who have paid for our freedoms with their lives. Let’ also remember those who have had to bear and still bear great sorrow at the loss of a loved one who served our country. May the Lord give you peace.
Here's a nice piece about military chaplains.