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Defending the Faith 2006

  /   Sunday, July 30, 2006   /   Comments(0)

I have just been at the Defending the Faith Conference at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Although I’ve seen better years there, it was still a good experience. For one thing, the staff is always great, but this year they seemed even better than I had remembered in the past. However, the weather was as hot as ol’ fiery Gehenna (or Memphis, depending on which you choose to think of), and this was the first year that I stayed in the non-air-conditioned dorm. I plan to sleep for a long time.

I may share some more stuff later, but I had to say that I met Fr. Benedict Groeschel and got his autograph. He was really nice. He does seem to be a bit frail, though. I know he’s been through it with his accident, and I’m grateful that he survived. I have been praying for him since then. He gave the homily at the Holy Hour and reminded us that of all the holy people he knew from the last century (he named Fr. Peyton, Fr. Solanus Casey, Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day, and Archbishop Fulton Sheen and probably others) had centered their lives on the Eucharist.

He also gave us what I see as a hope-filled comment about Scripture study. He mentioned how Scott Hahn is on the cutting edge now. Pope Benedict XVI has a real desire to get rid of “the old comrades of the last few decades” who blather on about “the historical Jesus.” I loved it when he said that the “historical Jesus” is a myth. He’s right when he said that Catholics have been treated to many a sorry sermon because of the overuse of historical criticism. It’s time for more faith-filled Scripture study. Fortunately, resources are slowly but surely becoming available.

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Living Wage

  /   Thursday, July 27, 2006   /   Comments(0)

One principle of Catholic social teaching is that an employer must pay employees a living wage. Other factors may be used in the determination of what an employee should be paid such as the employee’s productivity and the importance of the work to the organization. However, in any case, the employee should be able to support his needs and those of his family on what he makes.

Interestingly, I ran across this article in the New York Times that suggests that stores with more than 90,000 square feet and that are part of companies with more than one billion dollars in gross revenue must raise wages to $10/hour by 2010 and pay at least $3/hour in benefits. Many have hailed this as a great advance in giving a good wage to all workers, but others have concerns. Some of these concerns are quite valid.

My question about raising the minimum wage is whether it will truly raise the standard of living. If it doesn’t, it defeats the purpose. Some places may cut staff, meaning that fewer people will be able to get a job of any kind. Others may raise prices, which would render the increased wage less beneficial. However, it seems that some research has suggested that these problems haven’t happened in other places.

Also, note that the article says that the average wage in some of these places is above the requirement already. So, this may not affect everyone as the business may not raise the salary of everyone. I had some friends who worked somewhere while in college when the minimum wage was raised, and they weren’t given much above the new minimum wage when it took effect. In other words, the people primarily helped were the new people still making at or near the current minimum wage.

As Christians, it seems to me that what we should strive for is that business be more balanced between pay for employees and profit. In other words, we know they need to make money, but perhaps they could be willing to make a little less to ensure that people are able to obtain a good standard of living on what they make. It may be that people with more buying power will spend more, and the businesses may find themselves making even more money.

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Compendium Now Online

  /   Sunday, July 23, 2006   /   Comments(0)

This is just awesome. The Compendium of the Cathechism of the Catholic Church is now available on the Vatican web site. I am so glad that this is avaiable for people. Also, you can go to this page to be able to select either the full Catechism or the Compendium.

It’s great to have this here. The only issue is that one’s only option is to have the whole thing display on one page. I’m just hoping for a pocket edition some time or even an eBook that I can put on my PDA. That would really help me to be able to have it at my fingertips. I want it all, don’t I? Well, anyway, if you haven’t bought a copy of the Compendium, please take a few minutes to visit this page.

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World Day of Prayer and Penance for the Middle East

  /   Friday, July 21, 2006   /   Comments(0)

I have received a news story that Our Holy Father has declared this Sunday, July 23rd, a World Day of Prayer and Penance for the Middle East. He asks us all to pray for peace and for the ability of humanitarian aid to come through. Let us join him this Sunday.

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I Am Alive, You Know

  /   Saturday, July 15, 2006   /   Comments(0)

In case there were any doubts, I am still alive. I had a great retreat at Casa Maria. The people I met, be they retreatants, sisters, or the priest who gave the retreat, were awesome. If any of you are running across this post, please feel free to contact me. I would love to hear from any of you. The priest was awesome, and I bought the tape set of the talks.

Now, here’s the crazy thing I did. I always wanted to know how a Mac worked, especially since I distribute audio of RCIA talks, sometimes over the web to people. I went into CompUSA to get a simple iMac, and I left with a 20-inch monster Intel-based iMac. It is a beautiful machine. I plan to still use my Windows XP machines, but I will definitely spend a lot of time with this one. The graphics are better, and it handles multi-tasking more gracefully so far. I don’t know if all my software will be available for this, though.

Anyway, if you are running across this, please feel free to e-mail me. I’d love to hear from you.

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The Trip So Far

  /   Friday, July 07, 2006   /   Comments(0)

I am about to go to Casa Maria, but before I make it, I wanted to send this note. I just finished eating dinner, and before that I saw the EWTN station. I didn’t go into the studio, but I did go to the Gift Shop and chapel.

While I was in the Gift Shop, Raymond Arroyo showed up to sign some book copies. He was as friendly as he seems he would be on his shows. I got to talk to him briefly.

Then, I checked out the chapel. It was nice to see. It was very pretty and dead quiet. This is just what I needed. On the way here, I got lost in Birmingham and didn’t like where I ended up. Fortunately, I had the number to Casa Maria and was able to get directions to where I was supposed to be.

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  /   Friday, July 07, 2006   /   Comments(0)

I really need to work on this blog more. Well, it won’t be much now. I am going on a retreat at Casa Maria, located next to EWTN. In fact, I’ll probably visit EWTN while I’m up there if I get a chance.

If you are a big fan of my podcast, don’t worry. I’ve already recorded it and even uploaded it. You should see it on Sunday morning.

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Excommunication for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

  /   Saturday, July 01, 2006   /   Comments(0)

By now, if you’ve been reading a lot of Catholic publications online, you have probably heard that Cardinal Trujillo is proposing that excommunication be the penalty for embryonic stem cell research. After all, it is the killing of a defenseless unborn child, and it is often not recognized as such by society. The penalty will reinforce the horrible nature of the act.

Of course, it’s not hard to believe that the New York Times added some stuff in that isn’t quite accurate. Let’s take a look at this quote:

“If we’re defending the principle that human life should not be touched, it should not be done in a punitive, castigatory or burn-in-hell sort of way,” said Paola Binetti, a leading Catholic politician here.

Honestly, I’m not sure what Binetti means here. Strong sanctions are often necessary to convey the seriousness of one’s sin. In this case, the idea is to prevent burning in Hell. Excommunication is designed as a medicinal penalty to help drive home the need for repentance. This seems to be lost on our NYT writer, as evidenced by the quote below:

. . . many women who have had abortions continue to practice Catholicism, and many parishes take pains to embrace and reintegrate them into church life.

First off, if you look at the requirements for excommunication, it gives the impression that the penalty rarely applies. The list includes things like not having been pressured to do it and being aware of the penalty, among other things. I believe there is also a requirement that one be at least 18 years old, which eliminates scared teenagers entirely (though they can still be in the state of mortal sin).

However, there is a more important point that I alluded to earlier that has been missed. Excommunication is a medicinal penalty. This is why, as the above quote says, many parishes take pains to reach out to women who have had abortions. They darn well should. Excommunications sometimes require the Holy See itself to lift the penalty, but I don’t think this is the case for an abortion. The point is that the penalty can be lifted, and absolution can be given in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Women who have had abortions can come home again, and I, for one, hope they do. The same is true for those involved in embryonic stem cell research, and anyone who understands the Gospel will hope and pray for their repentance and return as well.

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Playing with a Mac

  /   Saturday, July 01, 2006   /   Comments(0)

Sorry I haven’t written in a while. I’m in a CompUSA store playing with a Mac Mini that they have hooked up. I have never owned a Mac, but I must say that my pages look better on this thing than they do on my Windows XP computer. This is fun. Well, maybe I’ll write something serious later, like when I’m home again.

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