David Ancell's Virtual Home

Pro-Life Cause

  /   Monday, May 29, 2006   /   Comments(0)

I believe it is very important to support legislation that fights the Culture of Death and promotes the Culture of Life. However, there are other things that we can do. A few weeks ago (ok, I’m way behind), I found out about the story of Morgan Norton in a local paper. She was a high-school student who suffered extensive brain injuries in a car accident in which alcohol was involved. I do not know, nor does it matter at this point, whether she was the one who was intoxicated.

When I read this, it reminded me of my commitment as a Catholic to uphold the sanctity of life. It also reminded me that all human life is precious in the eyes of God, no matter what the person’s condition. People should receive the care they need. I do not know Morgan Norton or her family, but I can still help.

I want to ask if there are people willing and able to make a donation towards her care. There’s no doubt that there will be plenty of bills for her family. This is just one small step we can make in promoting a Culture of Life.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized

Blogging About Work

  /   Friday, May 26, 2006   /   Comments(0)

Apparently, some people have been blogging a little too much about their jobs, according to NY Times article. One was asked to stop using the company’s name. Others were fired. I can’t understand why they didn’t know better than this.

Many of my coworkers know I have a website. I used to have the name of the company I worked for on my page, but I have removed it since then. It’s no one’s business, and I don’t want to appear to be representing the company’s views in any way. Given that I work in health care, it would be illegal for me to post stories about my patients. I take no chances in that area. My work in biotech pharmaceuticals is such a specialized area that it would be very difficult to explain what goes on anyway. I am certainly not going to post things about my coworkers for the whole world to read. It’s hard for me to imagine how that would not be detraction.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized

Seeking Church Teaching on Immigration

  /   Monday, May 22, 2006   /   Comments(0)

Last night, I went to a talk on a Catholic perspective on immigration. Well, the speaker’s view seemed to be that we should just open the border because, as Catholics, we are a “Church without borders.” Needless to say, he was dead set against sending the National Guard to the border.

In the discussion that followed, I raised an issue, as I often do. My point is that openness to immigration and securing our borders were not necessarily mutually exclusive ends. We need to keep our borders secure enough that someone with an idea other than that of coming to find work (e.g. terrorists) won’t find easy entry. On the other hand, we can make our immigration process better for those who truly want to come in and work. By having them here illegally and without proper documentation, we open them up for exploitation.

Well, a certain professor whom I won’t name took issue with my idea that Al Queada might enter though the Mexican border, calling it “absurd.” His reasoning, spoken with the attitude of an angry liberal, was that they hadn’t done so in the past. Well, first of all, it might not be Al Queada, but someone else. Second, these guys were smart enough to find a plane with enough gas to fly from NYC to LA and hijack it. If we open our borders completely, I find it difficult to believe that no one will figure out that they can use it to get into the country. Keep in mind that I’m speaking only in terms of possibilities here.

Anyway, I do believe that it is important to be well-grounded in what the Church actually teaches. So, I looked in a couple sources. The Catechism of the Catholic Church has an explanation in paragraph 2241. Basically, it speaks of the obligation of a more prosperous nation, to the extent of its ability, to welcome the foreigner in search of a better life than he can find in his own country. However, the Catechism also states that political authorities can, for the sake of the common good, make immigration subject to certain conditions and to require certain duties of them. Immigrants are required to respect and support their new nation.

The Compendium of the Social Doctine of the Church has more good information. The relevant articles are 297-298. Paragraph 297 mentions that immigrants ought not to be perceived as a threat to the level of well-being obtained in a more prosperous nation. They can fill an important labor need that might not be fulfilled by the citizens. However, paragraph 298 explains that foreign laborers should not be exploited or denied their human rights. Interestingly enough, it goes on to say that appropriate regulation of immigration is an “indispensible condition” for ensuring that “immigrants are integrated into society with the guarantees required by recognition of their human dignity.” It also speaks of fostering appropriate conditions in the immigrant’s country of origin.

Of course, there can be health debate about exactly what our nation is able to do. There will be debate over what conditions should be placed on immigration. It seems necessary that we consider immigrants from all places and not just those from just across the borders. However, we must remember the guiding principles in the Church’s teaching in any solution that we propose.

I don’t know enough about the issues to know just how many people we can allow to come here. It seems to me that we aren’t likely to be able to completely secure our borders to where no one can get in, and we do need to have the means available for people seeking a better life to come here. I’ll end here by citing a couple of blog posts that I’ve found interesting:

This one from Steve Kellmeyer.

This one from Jimmy Akin.

I’ll leave these uncommented as they speak quite well for themselves.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized

Mining the Exchange

  /   Monday, May 22, 2006   /   Comments(0)

I found a couple of timely articles on Catholic Exchange that I wanted to share:

On the Da Vinci Code and Women in the Church

On how the “Lesser Evil” principle is a bunch of garbage, especially as it relates to condon usage

I like Russell Shaw’s explanation of the problems with proportionalism in the second article. Even if the “lesser evil” principle were legitimate, it could not apply to condom use because it is the use of a moral evil to prevent a physical evil.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized

More About the Da Vinci Load

  /   Saturday, May 20, 2006   /   Comments(0)

I occasionally buy courses from The Teaching Company. They have great lecturers, but some of their philosophy and religion courses don’t exactly appear to be conducive to faith. They feature a professor named Bart Ehrman who seems to put the Gnostic writers on an equal footing with orthodox Christianity.

However, if you are looking for something to listen to to debunk myths of the Da Vinci Code, they have offered two free lectures by Ehrman. Much of what is in here appears accurate. The only flaw that I find is that he states that there has been developed “rigorous criteria” for scholars to determine what the “historical Jesus” really said and did because the Gospel writers weren’t objective. They had, according to Ehrman, a “theological agenda.” However, other than that, you can find some great explanations of how the ideas that Constantine influenced Christianity and that Jesus was married to Mary Magdelene are not true.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized

Liturgical Translation, Again

  /   Saturday, May 20, 2006   /   Comments(0)

I have to sent forth my usual disclaimer that I don’t endorse everything that Diogenes on CWN says. Sometimes he is downright uncharitable. However, it’s hard to fault him on this one. He brings forth a letter from Cardinal Arinze to Bishop Skylstad, president of the USCCB, regarding the translation of the liturgy. I just love Cardinal Arinze. Maybe this will bring us a step closer to getting a better translation of our liturgy. Then again, maybe it will cause a continued stalemate.

From reading the letter, it sounds like Skylstad was wanting to request that a new translation of the Roman Missal not be promulgated under the grounds that people are so used to our translation that it would not be “pastoral” to change it. Cardinal Arinze wasn’t buying it. I think he summed it up well like this:

The attitudes of Bishops and Priests will certainly influence the acceptance of the texts by the lay faithful as well.

This is so true, and not just of the clergy. Anyone who is a catechist can have an influence on others. For example, when I was a senior in high school, we watched a video on the Church’s teaching on contraception. The video was very dry. Afterward, we heard a somewhat sarcastic-sounding statement from our teacher that said something to the effect of “Well, there’s the Church-approved version of birth control.”

On another occasion, years after the above occasion, I was in a group where the ordination of women was discussed. The arguments against the ordination of women were talked about, but it was clear from the context and the tone that the person presenting them did not believe them. She basically said she didn’t. It was clear that the context in which these were being presented was not a proper understanding of Sacraments.

No doubt we will have some upheaval when the new translation comes out. If something isn’t done, it is likely that the only explanations of the new translations that gain wide circulation will be sneers. Of course, people who know the best resources will go to them, but the average person in the pew may not. It’s sad to report that few people think to go look for an explanation that shows the goodness of a teaching or decision of the Magisterium.

It would be a shame if people didn’t come to an appreciation of a more accurate translation of the Liturgy. I’ve made some comments on this before, and I wish to expand them here. I really don’t know what the motive is behind people not wanting to use a better translation of the Liturgy. Maybe they don’t understand the problem with the current translation. Maybe they have a theological agenda that is not exactly Catholic or even Christian. Maybe they really are concerned about people not being able to understand the text. Maybe they are afraid of the rebillion of the dissidents. I won’t judge their motivation.

However, I want to look especially at the idea of making the text understandable. Sometimes, people have, whether intentionally or not, watered down the theology in order to make something more acceptable or understandble. Well, it’s true that the translation may be easier to understand, but the understandble translation might make the actual text harder to understand because it isn’t accurate. In other words, one gains an easy understanding that is not correct and therefore doesn’t learn the truth.

Here’s another problem with making the text more understandable . . . what we are dealing with in the Mass is the Paschal Mystery. Notice the word mystery. We can’t completely understand this. If we translate the texts so that we think we can understand them, we can turn our faith into a dull intellectual exercise. We fail to teach ourselves to wonder at this marvel that we cannot fully comprehend. The finite cannot fully comprehend the infinite.

I really hope that some teeth will be applied to ICEL and whoever else may be involved in the translation. When I hear some people giving better translations of, for example, the Nicene Creed, I long to be able to say the words at Mass just like this. We need that new translation of the Liturgy as soon as possible.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized

Going Over the Hedge

  /   Friday, May 19, 2006   /   Comments(0)

I am sitting in the theatre waiting for Over the Hedge to start. I am blogging on my Treo 650. There is some guy behind me who has been talking on his cell phone the whole time I have been sitting here. How annoying! Well, I am sure that you know that this is the Othercott. I don’t usually come to the movies on Friday night.

Unfortunately, the first bit of news has not been encouraging. There was a sign at the ticket counter that said that “The 7:40 showing of Da Vinci Code is sold out.” I hope things go better in other places.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized

Abortion and the Poor

  /   Tuesday, May 16, 2006   /   Comments(0)

I ran across this article on LifeNews.com. It suggests that the husband of one of the Roe attorneys suggested that we need RU-486 to slow the growth of the poor population. Well, I have no idea just how accurate this is, but I suspect there is at least some truth to it.

I have believed for some time that the pro-aborts are targeting the poor. Instead of trying to help them, they want to prevent them from having children. Look at some of the things you can regularly see them doing. It wouldn’t take much effort to find pro-aborts calling a crisis pregnancy center a “fake clinic.” You can find them lobbying for government funding for abortions. You can also read some information about Margaret Sanger to find that she was quite interested in eugenics.

Contrast this with Christ’s love of the poor. There’s mention of feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty. There’s no mention of contraception and abortion to eliminate the “problem.” Now, I am an advocate of “teaching a man to fish” rather than just “giving a man a fish,” but the principle remains. We need people to work, provide for themselves and their families, and do well, but this is for their good, not the good of the state. Our goal is to bring Christ to others, not to eliminate them.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized

It’s Greek to Me, and That’s Fine

  /   Sunday, May 14, 2006   /   Comments(0)

Yesterday, I spent a little time at the Greek Food Festival at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Memphis. I had heard of it before, but I never had a chance to go. Well, here was my chance. The food was great. It was a huge meal for the price. It was only $2 to get in and $10 for the main meal. The people were really nice.

The best part was getting a tour of the Greek Orthodox Church. Although some of the practices were different, nearly everything that the priest said about worship could easily be said in a Catholic Church, and it would apply easily to Catholics. I guess the best way to explain it is that they have preserved their tradition, while we let the moderns run over us with their views on liturgy. We are much the poorer for it. No wonder some Catholics have chosen to go to Eastern Rite liturgies when they were available.

The priest described the Communion of Saints beautifully. He clearly had a great devotion to Mary, Mother of God. They use icons instead of statues in their church, and they knew what they signified. Unlike some Catholics, they were not ashamed of their beautiful artwork. He described the Church as “Mother Church” who not only informs the intellect but engages the senses. They use the narthex as a place of preparation for the “hard work of giving proper worship to God” instead of a place where a “hospitality committee” stands and says “Welcome to _____ Church?”

Why do we not hear Catholic priests describing the Church and what we do in this manner? Our beliefs are identical in most things, but the way things get explained to us is so bland so much of the time. Don’t get me wrong. I will certainly stay Catholic for a number of reasons that I won’t go into here. My point is that I have gained a whole new respect for the Orthodox, and there is no reason why we Catholics can’t explain our faith in such a manner.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized

The Othercott

  /   Saturday, May 13, 2006   /   Comments(0)

I heard about the “Other-cott” on Catholic Exchange today. The idea is that the best way to fight against the blasphemy of the Da Vinci Code is to go see another movie. They recommend Over the Hedge just because it is a more family-friendly movie. Some may see this as some kind of conflict of interest, but I think that giving an alternative suggestion is going to make the plan more effective. There will always be people like me who don’t follow movies much who won’t know of anything else to see.

I went to a wedding last night, and on my way in I saw a protest rally that was being organized. While I agree that we need to do something about this movie, I think the “Other-cott” is a better solution. Money-driven businesses will pay more attention to a competitor who is taking a bite out of their sales. The protest flyer says to bring a Rosary. Well, I’ll pray the Rosary, but I think I’ll do this in the Blessed Sacrament chapel where Christ is truly present in the Holy Eucharist.

Of course, this also gives us an opportunity to get the real truth out about Jesus Christ to those who will listen. Let’s do it. I think this can be done well by educating ourselves about the lies of the book and movie and speaking to others about them when the opportunity arises.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized

            Older posts

David's Pages

RSS Feed
Atom Feed