David Ancell's Virtual Home

Stupid Court Tricks

  /   Friday, October 31, 2003   /   Comments(0)

Of all the stupid court decisions that I have seen lately, I think this one takes the cake. Basically, a lesbian couple splits, and the partner who is the mother of a young child becomes a Christian. The court awards joint parenting and visitation to the lesbian partner and orders the mother not to introduce anything “homophobic” in her upbringing.

If this isn’t a dangerous precedent, I don’t know what is. How in the world did judges like this ever get on the bench? Will the court system decide, without any input from the legislative and executive branches of the government, that teaching the truth about the immorality of homosexual acts is “homophobic” and therefore entitles people to damages?

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Vatican II Resource

  /   Friday, October 31, 2003   /   Comments(0)

I found this page with a link to a streaming talk by Marcellino d’Ambrosio. Dr. d’Ambrosio often speaks for Catholic Answers, so it ought to be pretty good. I plan to listen soon. The topic is “What Was Vatican II About?”

I’m awaiting for someone to write a book entitled “What Vatican II Really Said.” I hear that Dr. Alan Schreck will be writing a book on this subject that may be out next year. Given that the source was Dr. Schreck himself, I would think it would be reliable.

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One Sided Reporting

  /   Thursday, October 30, 2003   /   Comments(0)

Leave it to the New York Times to give us a one-sided account of Terri’s Fight. They are portraying Michael Schiavo as a crusader for Terri’s “wish” never to be kept alive “artificially.” If feeding a person is keeping her alive artificially, then all of us are alive only artificially.

Here are a couple of telling highlights, from no less a source than the ACLU:

“Based on the precedent of this case,” Mr. Simon said, “meddling politicians could set aside court orders they don’t agree with and veto any decision made by a patient or family members.”

Um, hello, the law specifically held that the governor only has jurisdicition to do what he did when there is a dispute among family members and no advance directives by the patient. This was also made clear in Bush’s exeutive order. There is also no indication that any rehabilitation was ever attempted.

By the way, Mr. ACLU dude, aren’t you the guys who try to have any law you don’t agree with declared unconstitutional. Indeed, your comment almost sounds to me like we just ought to let judges legislate. No, wait, they do that anyway.

Let’s not forget that the NYT also omitted a few things that would show a conflict of interest, such as the girlfriend by whom Mr. Schiavo has conceived two children. How about that medical trust fund that he will inherit? Even without making a definitive judgement, these are big enough conflicts of interest that ought to make any judge with any kind of sense stop and think.

If you thought that evidence of bias in the media is lacking, you need not think that anymore. I wonder if Larry King or the NYT will give the Schindlers any kind of hearing. I’d be surprised if they did.

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Blogging Report

  /   Wednesday, October 29, 2003   /   Comments(0)

I don’t know if I will be in blogging condition today given that I am about to go to the dentist for the first time in four years (ok, so I waited a bit long). Therefore, I will leave you with the recommendation to check out Jeff Miller on Voice of the “Faithful.”.

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Marketing Partners

  /   Tuesday, October 28, 2003   /   Comments(0)

I have always been one to make sure that I didn’t allow for a company to send special offers via its “partners.” It sounds like it’s even worse than I suspected. I hate it when people try to trick you into receiving their junk mail.

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  /   Monday, October 27, 2003   /   Comments(0)

I have shamelessly stolen this link from Jeanetta. Fr. Rob Johansen wrote this article on Terri’s fight that I have been blogging much about of late. It’s better than anything that I could write, especially since he is at the scene.

However, I will give my two cents. When I was in pharmacy school, I spent six weeks working in surgical intensive care. I saw people who could hardly breathe, much less eat, on their own. Their family just “knew” they were going to get better, but it didn’t seem likely. We had this very arrogant surgeon telling his students how life was good because you get to participate in it. Well, at the time, I didn’t have the thoughts together to argue the point with anyone. However, something didn’t seem right about what he said.

I now have a clearer understanding that life is precious because it is a gift from God. This is not to say that I have the answer for every case like the one mentioned above. However, we do have to keep it in our heads that life is not ours, and we must treat it with utmost care and not be eager to dismiss it when it becomes an inconvenience for the doctors or the family.

According to Fr. Johansen, the Schindlers are aware that Terri is not likely to recover fully. However, unlike the patients I saw, she does have some life in her, and she could regain something if given treatment. In any case, we should not be so eager to just dismiss her life as useless and let her starve. Her life may not look like much to us able-bodied individuals, but it’s all she’s got, and it is most precious to Our Lord.

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Terri’s Fight Continues

  /   Monday, October 27, 2003   /   Comments(0)

As I suspected would happen, Michael Schiavo is out to have Florida’s new law and Gov. Bush’s new executive order declared unconstitutional. He is apparently invoking the ACLU. As always, they have jumped in on the wrong side of the fence. At least the doctor who apparently thought that removing the feeding tube was the best course of action is no longer in the picture.

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Exposition Tabernacle

  /   Sunday, October 26, 2003   /   Comments(0)

Perhaps some of you can remember this post about the Mystery of the Missing Monstrance. Indeed, many were apparently very upset by the turn of events. I can imagine that the pastor of the parish got plenty of letters, and I would notice a prayer written in the book of the intentions for the return of the monstrance.

The pastor wrote a letter for us to find in chapel. The tabernacle that is now in the place of the monstrance is an exposition tabernacle. Apparently, there has been a concern among people as to what to do when you have to leave the chapel, and the next adorer hasn’t arrived. This happens. We have been instructed to close the door on the front of the tabernacle when this happens. The next adorer who arrives can then open them. This eliminates the problem of leaving Our Lord exposed with no one to adore him. It looks like this:

Whether it is allowable under canon law is something that I do not know. I can’t think of anything off the bat that is wrong with it. I know that Franciscan University of Steubenville actually places their monstrance behind glass in an open tabernacle to expose the Blessed Sacrement in the Portiuncula Chapel.

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Life in the Spirit

  /   Sunday, October 26, 2003   /   Comments(0)

This past weekend, I decided to attend the Life in the Spirit conference led by Fr. John Capuci of the Center of Jesus the Lord. Of course, this is what I believe to be the flagship conference of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. I enjoyed it, but there were some things there that I had mixed feelings about. Then again, I expected as much. Just for reference, here is an EWTN article on the legitimacy of the Charismatic Renewal. While the Church recognizes the legitimacy of the renewal, this recognition does not necessarily extend to every reported experience. Of course, attempting to weed through every phenomenon would require appointing every priest and bishop to the Roman Curia (if that would even be enough).

I found their praise and worship to be a refreshing change from some of the Marty Haugenish garbage that has been foisted on us at Sunday Mass. However, I don’t care much for the hand motions and clapping at Mass. The problem, as I have stated before, is that we are at Calvary when we are at Mass. In fact, there is a crucifix right in front of us. How many of us would be clapping were we physically standing in front of Jesus dying on the cross? It just doesn’t make sense to me, so I can’t bring myself to participate.

I appreciated their enthusiasm and the fact that they prayed over each other (and me). They have a great emphasis on the fact that what Christ did for us on the cross is reality and not just some legend. They also emphasize that God can really act in their lives. I also appreciate their emphasis on praising God. In fact, I learned to say prayers of praise from no less a place that Steubenville.

Some of their spontaneous praising seemed a bit disordered in my mind. For some reason, I have this idea that the Holy Spirit would produce unity. After singing a song, several people in the church would then all start praising on their own. I have a hard time seeing this as a viable form of public worship. If anyone would beg to differ, please do.

Maybe I’m just afraid of an emotional faith. There was plenty of it. I have a natural suspicion of heavy emotion, but it is not a completely healthy trait of mine. I felt at the time that the importance of emotion was overly stressed. However, Fr. Capuci has personally explained to me what was on his mind. He has seen people not even bother to say “Amen” when he begins with the Sign of the Cross. I guess they can’t possibly be tired already, especially since most of them didn’t bother to sing the opening hymn.

Perhaps the one thing that I am really wondering about is speaking in tongues. However, I am currently trying to research more on it. Fr. Capuci says that everyone he ever knew who came into tongues doubted the experience at first. In fact, more than one person, myself included, had no idea if we were making it up or if we really spoke in tongues. The Scripture passages that they cite don’t appear to me to mean what the charismatics say that they mean. I will post more on this as I get information. However, I found this posting to be of interest, though I’m not sure how Msgr. Knox would think that speaking languages you never learned is a sign of demon possesion given that this is exactly what happened at Pentecost. I do want to add that nowhere did Fr. Capuci suggest that those who don’t speak in tongues are headed downstairs. In fact, in one of his tapes, he says the opposite.

I searched the EWTN forum on the Charismatic Renewal and found questioners who think that the movement is anything from Catholic to borderline heretical. I tend to agree with this person. The forum experts may or may not have even felt comfortable giving input, and I appreciate their honesty. I wish to look more into this. Meanwhile, I wish to remain open to whatever the Lord wants.

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Cardinal Arinze on the Liturgy

  /   Saturday, October 25, 2003   /   Comments(0)

This could just as well be titled “Why Cardinal Arinze is My Hero.” I am absolutely not looking forward to the demise of John Paul II, but I wouldn’t mind if Arinze succeeded him. EWTN has posted this address that he delivered on the highlights of the renewal initiated by Vatican II.

Some excerpts . . . .

If many lay people had only one request to make, they would ask that the priest celebrate Mass, or other rites, simply according to the approved books. Many lay faithful complain that rarely do they find two priests celebrating the Eucharistic sacrifice in the same way. The Roman liturgy is not a free-for-all experimentation field where each celebrant has the option to tag on his cherished accretions.

This is right on. I would really just like to see the “if it isn’t in the book, we can’t do it” mentality prevail. Some of us are highly distractable and don’t care to hear the Fr. So-and-So show, or the cantor show, or the inclusive language show.

It is therefore clear that inculturation does not encourage banalization or trivialization of the sacred liturgy. Spontaneity run wild can manifest itself in many ways. At the beginning of Mass the priest can trivialize by amusing the people on the weather, by saying “Good morning everybody” instead of “The Lord be with you” or “The grace of Our Lord… “, which are the proper liturgical opening greetings. He can banalize by an exaggerated autobiographical introduction and trite jokes in his misguided effort to warm the people up for worship! He may not realize that he is now drawing attention to himself instead of to God and the liturgical celebration of the day.

Having a priest say “Good morning!” before Mass is high on the list of my pet peeves. It really breaks the train of thought.

Church architecture also influences active participation. If a church is built and the seats are arranged as in an amphitheatre or as in a banquet, the undeclared emphasis may be horizontal attention to one another, rather than vertical attention to God.

Need I say more?

And the altar of the Blessed Sacrament should be outstanding for its beauty and honored prominence, otherwise in some so-called restored churches one could rightly lament: “They have taken my Lord away, and I don’t know where they have put him ” (Jn 20:13).

I am fortunate to go to a parish where the Blessed Sacrament is front and center. Others in Memphis are not so lucky. We still have one parish where Jesus is literally across the narthex from the main church. I don’t know why the pastor hasn’t fixed it. He was too good of a confessor last time I went to him to be heterodox.

What it comes down to is that all involved in liturgy should just stick to the book. There is no need to change the words, nor is there any need to add rituals like “meet and greet” or the “Welcome to St. So and So’s Church” beforehand.

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