November 30, 2006

Prayer to St. Andrew

My parish's patronal feast is today.

O Glorious St. Andrew,
you were the first to recognize and follow the Lamb of God.

With your friend St. John you remained with Jesus for that first day, for your entire life, and now throughout eternity.

As you led your brother St. Peter to Christ, and many others after him, draw us also to Him.

Teach us to lead others to Christ solely out of love for Him, and dedication in His service.

Help us to learn the lesson of the Cross and to carry our daily crosses without complaint so that they may carry us to Jesus. Amen.

November 29, 2006

Abortion: The #1 Global Cause of Death.

A paper released this month entitled "Projections of Global Mortality and Burden of Disease from 2002 to 2030" by Colin D. Mathers and Dejan Loncar made a splash on some of the wires because HIV/AIDS will move from being the number 4 cause of global deaths in 2002 to the number 3 cause of global deaths in 2030. December 1 is World AIDS Day.

In 2002 the Top 5 causes of death worldwide were:

1) Ischemic Heart Disease
2) Cerebrovascular Disease
3) Lower Respiratory Infection

In 2030 the Top 5 causes of death worldwide are projected to be:

1) Ischemic Heart Disease
2) Cerebrovascular Disease
5) Lower Respiratory Infection

AIDS is a terrible disease. All the causes of death on this list are terrible ways to die.

But, where is abortion on this list?

The authors did not give actual 2002 numbers for each of the Top 5 causes of death. However, they did give total percentages of death and total overall deaths for the 2030 projections so I was able to calculate:

1) Ischemic Heart Disease (8.69 million)
2) Cerebrovascular Disease (6.87 million)
3) HIV/AIDS (5.77 million)
4) COPD (5.06 million)
5) Lower Respiratory Infection (2.27 million)

According to the Global Health Council from 1995-2000 there were 250.9 MILLION abortions worldwide. Averaging that out per year: 50.18 million. In 2006, there are reportedly 46 million global abortions. These numbers include Russia, which has an extremely high abortion rate (about 4 million per year)

I don't even need to do a complicated mathematical projection to see that abortion is the number one global cause of death. It will continue to be because it's so far ahead of any other cause of death.

Abortion is not considered in population or disease projections simply because the unborn fetus in the womb is not considered a life. I work for a company that does a lot of work with population projections. The abortion rate is never a factor. They just simply look at actual birth trends. Miscarriage rates are also not a factor taken into consideration.

I am not naive enough to think that just outlawing abortion is going to rid the world of it entirely. I want to see abortion outlawed because its murder. But, murder is illegal and murder happens every day somewhere, somehow. What we really need is to convince more people that the life in the womb is a life and a life worth saving-period.

November 28, 2006

Prayer for the Safety of the Holy Father

Heavenly Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name, we humbly ask that you sustain, inspire, and protect your servant, Pope Benedict XVI, as he goes on pilgrimage to Turkey—a land to which St. Paul brought the Gospel of your Son; a land where once the Mother of your Son, the Seat of Wisdom, dwelt; a land where faith in your Son’s true divinity was definitively professed. Bless our Holy Father, who comes as a messenger of truth and love to all people of faith and good will dwelling in this land so rich in history. In the power of the Holy Spirit, may this visit of the Holy Father bring about deeper ties of understanding, cooperation, and peace among Roman Catholics, the Orthodox, and those who profess Islam. May the prayers and events of these historic days greatly contribute both to greater accord among those who worship you, the living and true God, and also to peace in our world so often torn apart by war and sectarian violence.

We also ask, O Heavenly Father, that you watch over and protect Pope Benedict and entrust him to the loving care of Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Fatima, a title cherished both by Catholics and Muslims. Through her prayers and maternal love, may Pope Benedict be kept safe from all harm as he prays, bears witness to the Gospel, and invites all peoples to a dialogue of faith, reason, and love. We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
--Knights of Columbus

November 27, 2006

Birthday Meme

Angela and Christine tagged me for a....

Birthday Meme

Three events on May 7th

558 - In Constantinople, the dome of the Hagia Sophia collapses (hmmm, how timely is this one?). Justinian I immediately orders the dome rebuilt.

1429 - St. Joan of Arc ends the Siege of Orléans, pulling an arrow from her own shoulder and returning wounded to lead the final charge. The victory marks a turning point in the Hundred Years' War.

1824 - World premiere of Ludwig van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in Vienna, Austria. Work was conducted by Michael Umlauf, under the deaf composer's supervision.

Two Important Birthdays on May 7th (you mean, besides mine? ha-ha)

1833 - Johannes Brahms, German composer (d. 1897)
1840 - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Russian composer (d. 1893)

Holiday or Observances

St. Rose Venerini
St. Agostino Roscelli
St. Domitian of Huy

I tag whoever wants to join in!

November 26, 2006

A Non-PC Post

This is not going to be a "politically correct" post.

Gentle Reader: As you know I attended the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, MN. St. Kate's (as it's abbreviated) is a women's college that is supposedly Catholic. It's a women's college but I'm going to go on the public record right now and say it's not Catholic. I was a Theology minor and I attended such "Catholic" courses as Feminist Spirituality and Christian Sacramentality.

I was so poorly catechized before I got to St. Kate's that I thought the street-clothed Sisters were cool and authoritative when they talked about labyrinths, goddesses, women priests and liberation theology. I was about 1/2 way through my course in Christian Sacramentality when I suddenly stumbled upon a book by Peter Abelard and realized: "Hey, wait a minute, the sacraments in this class are CATHOLIC Sacraments" I wondered why the course was not actually called Catholic Sacramentality rather then Christian.

All the courses at St. Kate's are designed to offend as few people as possible by being as generic as possible. In many of my classes I was the only woman who identified herself as Catholic. In my Feminist Spirituality class I got to learn how the Chapel on the campus is designed like the female sex organ. I'm not making this up.

I don't remember seeing any crucifixes in any of the class rooms or buildings. I was an English major and I was one of the last classes to be taught by some nuns in the English program. The Theology Dept. was almost entirely laypeople. I look at the English teachers list now and it's almost all laypeople. 20 years later, some of the same people are still in the Theology and English departments. I have no illusions things have changed for the better in 20 years with the same folks on the faculty.

Why, in spite of all this nonsense, is St. Catherine (Alexandria) the patron saint of my alma mater my patron saint? I loved going to college at St. Kate's. I was picked on in public school most of my life. My parents were big proponents of "turn the other cheek". A lesson I learned well. Naturally, I was a frequent target of bullying and ridicule. My self-confidence was just about zero when I was looking for colleges to attend.

The single-sex environment of St. Kate's really helped me build up my confidence. I became, and still am, a big proponent of single sex education. I don't advocate single sex education for everyone. But, for some people, like me, it can help the learning and confidence processes tremendously. I would not have had the "nerve" to start this blog without it.

However, in my experience, some people want single sex education only one way: females only education is fine but male only education is bad. Why? Because, some radical femmes want in. But, woe to the man who wants to enroll in the female only institution.

I have no problem with male only institutions. I love my brothers in Christ. But, I did not want to see them in my college. If men want to have their own clubs, high schools, prep schools, colleges, sports teams. I have no problem with that. There are instances where people feel more comfortable and do better with their own kind.

I also have no problem with single race institutions. My family is partially Native American and I know from experience that some Natives learn and perform much better surrounded by their own people. Many tribes run their own tribal colleges and in Minneapolis there are several public schools that are almost completely Native American because they are located in predominantly Native American neighborhoods.

I am by no means suggesting that single sex and single race education be FORCED upon people. I am just saying, from my personal experience, that I believe that for certain people at certain times in their lives being surrounded by similar genders or peoples can be helpful. Parents and the individual in question know best.

Some individuals do just fine in co-ed and mixed race institutions. I think it's fantastic that they do well since that is clearly a greater image of our society. However, some people need the security of their own kind in order to flourish.

St. Catherine of Alexandria was a learned woman and a strong woman. She defended the Faith to a gruesome death. Alexandria was the home of one of the greatest libraries in the ancient world. I'm a librarian. As a woman, as a Catholic woman, I try to be a strong woman, a confident woman, and a defender of the Faith. Without my stint at St. Kate's I'm not sure I'd have all the confidence it takes to even try to be all those things.

St. Catherine of Alexandria Pray for Us.

November 25, 2006

Feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria

Happy Feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria! My patron saint.

Entymology for word geeks (like me!): M.L. Katerina, from Gk. Aikaterina. The -h- was introduced 16c., a folk etymology from Gk. katheros "pure." The initial Gk. vowel is preserved in Rus. form Ekaterina.

There are few verified facts about St. Catherine. So few, in fact, that she was removed from the Calendar of Saints from 1969-2002. A major bummer for my alma mater, the College of St. Catherine (Alexandria) in St. Paul, MN. I attended St. Kate's (really, in this case, shouldn't it be St. Cathy's with a C?) during her banishment period. I remember a lot of agitation that St. Catherine was no longer on the Saints Calendar. You could still celebrate her, but she did not have a designated Feast day. I was born in 1968, so for most of my life St. Catherine did not have a Feast day. St. Catherine of Alexandria was reinstated in the Calendar of Saints in 2002.

Because of the lack of historical facts, some people have taken it upon themselves to assign fantastical speculation to her life. For example, I have heard that some are trying to claim St. Catherine of Alexandria was a lesbian. I can no more prove that she was not a lesbian, then they can that she was. However, I see this attempt to assign lesbianism to St. Catherine as an consequence of the radical lesbian feminism that afflicts our society today. I let them have Batgirl (grudgingly) but leave my Catholic saint alone.

Devotion to St. Catherine of Alexandria reached its zenith during the Middle Ages. St. Catherine is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. The Fourteen Holy Helpers are 14 saints that have proven themselves to be tremendous helpers to believers in times of adversity. The Fourteen Holy Helpers used to have a collective feast day on August 8. However, their feast day was removed in 1969 and has not been reinstated.

Most lives of St. Catherine of Alexandria agree on the following in common:

*She was a virgin and martyr.
*She was born in Alexandria around 287 A.D.
*She was a Christian convert.
*She was martyrd in Alexandria around 305 A.D.
*She spoke out against the persecution of Christians by Emperor Maxentius.
*Her intelligence converted many to the Faith, including members of the Emperor's family and staff.
*Because of her defense of Christians and the conversions she caused, she was sentenced to death on a spiked wheel (called the catherine wheel after her martyrdom). When she touched the wheel it broke. As a result, she was beheaded.

St. Catherine's Monastery near Mt. Sinai contains some of her relics. Some belive that angels carried her body there after her death. The site is now under the auspices of the Greek Orthodox Church. For much of its history it was under the patronage of the Russian Orthodox Church. St. Catherine is venerated by both the Eastern and Western churches

St. Catherine is one of the Saints who spoke to St. Joan of Arc. Historically, the French had a strong devotion to St. Catherine. St. Catherine's Day in France is a day where unmarried women who reach the age of 25 years old pray for a husband.

Sainte Catherine, soyez bonne
Nous n'avons plus d'espoir
qu'en vous
Vous êtes notre patronne
Ayez pitié de nous
Nous vous implorons à genoux
Aidez-nous à nous marier
Pitié, donnez-nous un époux
Car nous brûlons d'aimer
Daignez écouter la prière
De nos cœurs fortement épris
Oh, vous qui êtes notre mère
Donnez-nous un mari

They also used to wear yellow and green hats on November 25th. The yellow symbolizes faith, the green, knowledge. Alas, like most Catholic traditions, this one has gone away.

In England, Catherine (kattern) Cakes were baked on November 25th. Here's a recipe. (castor sugar is superfine sugar)

Bedfordshire Kattern Cakes

2 pounds bread dough
2 oz lard or butter
1 oz caraway seeds
2 oz castor sugar
1 large egg

Prepare the dough, then knead in the lard or butter, caraway seeds, sugar and egg. When the ingredients are well mixed, divide in two, kneading one piece to fit into a 2 lb greased loaf tin. Divide the second piece into two and knead each half to fit a 1 lb loaf tin, then cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise until the dough reaches the top of the tins.

Bake 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees.

Serve sliced and buttered.

Why St. Catherine of Alexandria?

*She is the patron saint of my alma mater.
*She was a martyr for the faith.
*She was a defender of the faithful.
*She was an unmarried virgin at a time when at her age she should have been married already.
*She is a strong female role model.
*She was responsible for many conversions to the Faith.
*She is a (St. Jerome is another) patron saint of librarians (my profession).
*I feel in my heart that she lived. I don't need reams of proof.

Catherine (Alexandria) will be my Confirmation name.

P.S.: Today is also the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I am, by no means, suggesting that St. Catherine is more important then the Blessed Mother. I'm just using the opportunity to say it is also St. Catherine's Day.

November 24, 2006

Happy Friday

I hate the phrase: "Black Friday" to refer to the day after Thanksgiving. I know it refers to the fact that retailers are frequently "in the black" for the sales year on this day but I still don't like it. Hence: Happy Friday!

My Thanksgiving was lovely. I hope your day was too.

I was a rebel and prepared a ham rather then a turkey. For Easter, I'll have to prepare a lamb (weak joke!) since I just had the ham.

I only had 8 people. One of my smaller groups. I've had as many as 25. I bought just enough wine but too much beer. Barring another party, I will not have to buy beer for a while.

I was so tired after everyone left that I did not feel like my cognac and cigar. Today, though, today....

Boston Pete provided the music. Do you know Boston Pete? If you like music of the Roaring 20s and 30s, it's fun programming.

Big news: Gravy Guy (B.B.) is going to be my Confirmation sponsor! He was at my dinner. I asked him and he agreed. Remember, in my very first post I said I had received most of the Sacraments of Initiation? I was never Confirmed. I'm ready now. Readier then I've ever been. I'm taking classes. In fact, I'm taking classes from Father Robert Altier. Me. Taking classes from Fr. Altier! 5 years ago, I would have laughed out loud at the thought of it. But, so, here I am. I plan to be confirmed on Holy Saturday 2007.

Sad news: I went to Mass yesterday. My parish, St. Andrew, keeps candles lit thru November for each member of the parish who has died in the last year. Each candle has a card with the deceased's name. I was stunned to see a former neighbors name. Please join me in praying for the soul of Mrs. Sharon. Eternal Rest Grant Unto Her O Lord, and Let Perpetual Light Shine Upon Her. May She Rest In Peace.

November 23, 2006

What I Am Thankful For

The U.S. and Canada are the only two nations that have a day dedicated to giving thanks. Every day should be a day of thanks. Every Mass should be an occasion of Thanksgiving. However, I think it really helps to remind all of us to take a moment and be thankful when you have a national holiday dedicated to it!

It should be a day for more then just food, family and football.

Here is what I'm thankful for:

*The existence of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
*God's creation
*Jesus' Passion, Death and Resurrection
*Our priests, deacons, brothers and sisters
*Our truly Catholic bloggers (without whom I may not have found my way back)
*Our truly Catholic apologists and educators
*That I'm a Catholic
*That for the first time in my life I'm really trying to live in conformity with the teachings of Christ promulgated thru His Church.
*The sublimness of Eucharistic Adoration
*The relief and forgiveness of Confession
*The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
*Receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord
*My family-living and deceased.
*Our troops
*Our firefighters and police officers
*My friends
*My brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world
*My parish
*My excellent neighbors
*My home
*My job
*My cats
*My health
*My blog readers
*The wonderful smell of baking food, the steaminess of my kitchen, the frantic food preparation, the joy when the guests arrive, the satisfaction after they have left, the walk around the lake, the evening cognac and the cigar.

Gentle Reader: May God Bless You and Yours On This Fine Day and Always.

November 21, 2006

Gift Recommendation

If you have a hunter or a fisherman (or a huntress or a fisherwoman) on your gift list who enjoys reading I recommend: Hunting for God, Fishing for the Lord by Fr. Joseph F. Classen.

Father Classen does a really good job of expressing the beauty and awesomeness of God's creation. He also does a good job of explaining WHY a person would choose to hunt or fish and WHY hunting and fishing are acceptable pursuits.

Father also works Catholic teachings into the chapters. He talks about the Church's teachings on abortion, contraception, marriage, grace, sin, confession and redemption. You have to read the book to "get" how he manages to jump from talking turkey hunting into discussing abortion. It works.

It's not a "heavy" book. It's very conversational. In fact, it's almost like Father Classen's giving a homily in each chapter to a parish full of sportsmen. He starts out with the hunting or fishing story and then he segues into Catholic teaching.

My quibbles are two (1) His proofreader missed some spelling, grammar and punctuation errors, (2) I wish Father spoke about the moment(s) he decided to become a priest.

I don't think one has to be Catholic to enjoy this book. Father's entries on his various hunting and fishing disasters are funny and, occasionally, scary. A favorite is the entry about his trip back to his deer stand in Chapter 9. This passage had my Dad and I roaring when I read it aloud at the dinner table during deer hunting season. Any sportsman can relate to the trip when everything goes wrong thanks to your own incompetence.

Another favorite is his account of chasing a turkey in Chapter 15. I give Father Classen mad props for even writing this particular passage for public consumption.

I bought my Dad a copy too. I think this would be a good book to give the sporting person you know, who is not Catholic, some exposure to Catholic teaching.

Father Classen is a priest at St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in St. Louis, Missouri. Father has a website for the book that includes order information.

November 19, 2006

NASCAR Weekend

NASCAR is over for the season. No baseball, no racing...bummer. Johnson wins Nextel, Harvick wins Busch and Bodine wins the Truck series.

For a moment there today, I thought #1 (My Man, Martin Truex, Jr.) was going to win at Homestead today. He took 2nd, which I believe, is his best Nextel finish of the year.

On to Daytona: February 18, 2007!

November 18, 2006

Signs of God

Gentle Reader: You've no doubt heard the phrase: "Times are so bad, there is nowhere to go but up"

If you read this blog regularly, you know it's been that kind of time for me. I bowled Thursday night with my work team and my first shot went straight into the gutter. Not to mention my angst of the other day... My New Age friend says it's all because Mercury is in retrograde. Whatever...

I'm not the only one. My blog sister Adoro and my blog brother Ray have been having some rough times too. Say a prayer for both of them, please.

I've been implementing my recovery plan gradually. Confession, cleaning the house. I even ran to one of our MANY local Perpetual Adoration chapels Wednesday evening and spent some quality time with the Big Guy.

I took my baked offering to my parish Bake and Craft Sale this morning (homemade chocolate fudge bundt cake with vanilla frosting and a dusting of holiday sprinkles) and there was a table of white elephants! . In fact, the sign on the table said just that: White Elephants $1. I laughed.

Then, I'm running my morning errands and I passed a brand new Divine Mercy billboard at Raymond and Robbins.

Things are turning around. I'm feeling better and I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving. Thanks giving, indeed. Thanks Be to God.

November 16, 2006

Baseball News-Twins Dominate Post Season Awards

This just in: Johan Santana has won the AL Cy Young Award!!!
General Manager, Terry Ryan, was named Executive of the Year!!

Throw in Joe's Batting Title win and it was a pretty good year-despite the playoffs.

Alas, poor Gardy. He took it in stride. He was bowling while Jim Leyland of the Tigers won AL Manager of the Year. No word on what Gardy bowled.

Update 11/22/06:Justin Morneau wins the AL MVP award! Yeah!

November 15, 2006

Be Still and Know that I Am God

I am depressed. I've identified it and I have it.

My Litany:

I got up this morning and stared at my disastrous kitchen with 3 days worth of dishes all over the place. I don't have the inclination to do them.

I hate my commute to work. I feel like I spend 1/2 my day in the car.

I'm not sleeping well. I get up late and I'm late for work.

I can barely get to the gym and then I hate myself for my weight gain.

My job quit being stimulating to me over a year ago and my job hunt has yielded little to nothing.

This Friday is the 10th anniversary of my Mom's death.

Next week, I'll be lying my annual wreath on the grave of my Mom and my brother at Ft. Snelling National Cemetary. I know I'll be crying.

There seem to be fewer and fewer people at our annual family hunt. Not because they all quit coming, but because they have died.

I'm not in a State of Grace right now but I can't seem to motivate myself to seek out a Confessional.

The catulpa tree in front of my house is not growing money.

The holidays are coming which is always a stressful time of preparing special dinners and shopping.

Christmas decorations need to be put up and Christmas cards sent out. Where in H am I going to find the time?

The weather is dark and dreary.

I cued some music on my computer without looking and Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely started up. Even I had to laugh at the irony.

What's a person to do? What's a Catholic to do?

My plan:

"Get thee to a Confessional". If Shakespeare did not write that line then he should have. Maybe he thought it.

Clean the house this weekend.

It's ok to cry at my Mom and brother's grave. It's ok to miss them.

Do the best job I can with what I have. Quit b-----n'

Pray for the Souls of the Dead

I need to try a special fertilizer for my catulpa so it will grow money. It's called: saving.

No matter how tempting, I need to make the Lord a priority. I don't want to sacrifice Prayer, Worship or Adoration time to make room in the schedule for secular matters (including cleaning the house, cooking and shopping) that SEEM to be SO important but really aren't. Hmmm...what's more important, shopping for presents, or going to Benediction?

The Lord and I at the Pearly Gates:

Thus saith the Lord: "Cathy, I see you gave up the opportunity to knock some time off in Purgatory for the opportunity to be the first in line when Best Buy opened to get that new XBox. Oh well, that's ok. I sat there and waited for you. Now you can sit in Purgatory and wait for me for a while".

Why am I posting this now? Why am I posting this at all?

Do you know the Advent/Christmas season is the #1 time of year for suicide? How ironic is that? The time of the Birth of Our Lord, is the time that most people will take their own lives. I'm not suicidal. I'm just temporarily down. I know I'm not the only person who gets frustrated and overwhelmed this time of year. I know I'm not the only person who experiences depression.

Next week is the traditional start of IT ALL. Gentle Reader, start planning your mental and spiritual health plan for getting through the Holidays-NOW.

One of my favorite Scriptural versus is: Be Still and Know that I Am God (Psalm 46:10)

Be Still
Be-ing Still
Make your Being Still
Be with God

Two Minnesota Bloggers Featured in Catholic Carnival

Catholic Carnival 93 is currently hosted by Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering

Two Minnesota bloggers: Sister Edith at Monastic Musings and Adoro Te Devote are featured.

Congratulations! Excellent posts!

November 13, 2006

The Pope and the Witch (Il Papa E La Strega): Commentary on the Script by Dario Fo (translated from the Italian by Ed Emery)

With all the hullabaloo about the University of Minnesota's planned production of The Pope and the Witch in March 2007, I decided to buy a copy of the play and read it.

It took me over a month to read. It's a mere 123 pages but it may as well have been 1,230 pages. The Pope and the Witch is an awful play. It exists solely to ridicule the Catholic church. Defenders may say it is biting satire. No, Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal is biting satire. Some of the works of Evelyn Waugh are biting satire. C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters is biting satire. The only people who will enjoy The Pope and the Witch are the people who think the Catholic church, the Pope and all the clergy are inherently ridiculous solely by being leaders in a church that is: "out of touch with modern times".

Artistically, the play is quite dated. It was first produced in Milan in 1990 and copyrighted in 1989. It has references to Panama and Manuel Noriega. "Hot" topics back then, but the average U student is probably too young to remember them.

The fact that the script is dated, as well as the fact that anyone with an ounce of respect for someone's faith would not produce it, is probably why it's rarely staged. The opening scene involves a Cardinal appearing on stage with a mobile phone sticking out of his cassock in such a way as to suggest his genitalia. Think of the size of today's cell phones versus the big mobile phones of 16 years ago, and you wonder how Director Robert Rosen is going to handle this scene so someone in the back of the auditorium can "get it".

The Director of this play will have a lot of room to tweak dialogue, add it, or cut it in order to update it. It will be interesting to see what Mr. Rosen does with dialogue and staging. I think what Mr. Rosen does, or does not do, will be revealing of what his opinion of the Catholic church really is.

Only one member of the Cast of Characters has an actual name. The Pope is not named but it's clear that he is meant to be John Paul II. The only Character with a name is the Second Nun/Healer/Witch; her name is revealed as Elisa. The Witch also has the longest speeches in the play.

The action takes place in the Vatican and the witch's home (possibly Burundi since that's where the Witch is from).

The play opens in the Vatican with the Pope hiding from mobs of children from IMPAC (International Movement of the Protection of Abandoned Children) demanding to see the Pope and receive his blessing. Sounds somewhat benign does it not? But, it is clear from the dialogue between the characters in the First Act that it would have been better if the church would just relax its positions on abortion and contraception so these children would never have been born.

The Pope ends up being hypnotized by the Witch and he believes the children are invading the Vatican and swarming all over. He believes he is killing them with daggers and other weapons. He expresses remorse but the implication appears to be: it is the Pope's fault these unwanted children were born and now he does not care about them. He refuses to see the children.

The Pope ends up suffering from a "crucifixion stroke" (that's what it's called in dialogue) brought upon by the Witch's magic. He ends up strung up on ropes over a table with most of his clothes off. I'll spare you the rest but you get the idea.

The Second Act takes place in the Witch's home. The Pope goes to visit her. The Witch is a drug dealer but she's supposed to be sympathetic. She administers heroin to alleviate the "suffering" of the street children who are ill, or would steal it anyway, and to help them forget their sad existence. She tricks the Pope and injects him with heroin. He ends up talking more nonsense (trust me; the Pope speaks nonsense, if not outright gibberish, thru much of the play).

The rest of the play takes place in the Vatican. The Vatican is all a-tizzy because the Pope has just decided to issue an encyclical calling for the legalization and government distribution of heroin. The Pope now fears for his life and much of the last act involves most of the people around him dying. The play ends with the Pope being shot dead.

There is a line in the play spoken by the Pope: "The best Popes are always the Popes who don't last long...In fact, the best Popes die more or less straight away."

Is Mr. Fo suggesting it would have been best if John Paul II had died when the attempt was made on his life in 1981? Or, is Mr. Fo referring to Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul I? People who love a Catholic conspiracy, like DaVinci Code, will get the references in the play to Pope Paul VI supposedly being injected with substances that paralyzed and weakened him. Is the play Pope’s encyclical a veiled reference to Humanae Vitae? The conspiracy buffs will also "get" the references to Pope John Paul I supposedly being poisoned. Dissenters and conspiracy buffs like to think that Pope Paul VI and John Paul I were really going to "liberalize" the church, but then they were killed by conservative elements in the Vatican.

There is dialogue in Latin towards the end of the play. Mr. Fo’s notes say it is meaningless Latin, that he made it up. I don’t know enough Latin to tell if the supposedly made-up Latin dialogue truly is meaningless or not.

The primary theme of the play is: it would be better for some children not to have been born at all. And those children would not have been born if not for the Catholic church's insistence on abortion and contraception being wrong.

The University of Minnesota is producing this play during Lent 2007. The Pope and the Witch has what is called a "crucifixion stroke". It makes the leader of one of the world's largest religions a buffoon. It has a Pope who really was shot, being shot and killed at the end. Our current Holy Father, is receiving death threats. It advocates the culture of death. I have a healthy sense of humor, and, yet, I'm not laughing.

November 11, 2006

Thank You Veterans

Let me take a moment to thank all of our Veterans; the Veterans future and the Veterans past. Thank you.

Remembrance Day Prayer
All-powerful and ever-living God,
when Abraham left his native land
and departed from his people
You kept him safe through all his journeys.
Protect these soldiers.

Be their constant companion and their strength in battle,
their refuge in every adversity.
Guide them, O Lord, that they may return home in safety.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

--by Catholic Doors Ministry of Canada

Memorial Verse of the Catholic War Veterans

Our dead are not Unknown Soldiers.

We know who they are and whither they seek to go.

We know that they must languish in Purgatory until
the last earthly stain is wiped away and until the last earthly
injustice is repaired.

We also know that we can speed their passage from a
Purgatory of shadow and pain to a Paradise of happiness & light.

We can hasten the dawn of eternal rest and
the rays of perpetual light.

Our prayers and Masses and works of charity can
become eternal ransom money in the justice of God.

We love our dead.

Flowers wither upon their graves.

A daily garland of prayers is better than an armful of roses.

As we approach the Golden Memorial Hour of the Catholic War Veterans stand for a moment in silence, and let there rise from your heart a prayer beseeching Almighty God, the Father of us all, to grant to the souls of our departed comrades,
a peace and glory that is theirs because of the sacrifices they made that others may live.

--by Reverend Father Edward Lodge Curran, Ph.D.
recited before every gathering of the CWV

November 10, 2006

Caravaggio Copy is the Real Thing

Deep curtsy to Ray who alerted me to the news that a Caravaggio in the collection of the Queen of England is not a copy as previously believed. It's the original. The painting Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew will be on display next year as part of the The Art of Italy exhibition. The Art of Italy will be at Buckingham Palace from March 30, 2007, until January 20, 2008, before moving to The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, in Edinburgh, from April 2008.

"Oh, To be In England Now that April's there..."

If the QUEEN has items in her collection that are erroneously perceived as copies; I bet that Gauguin print I have must be the real thing! Really, if it takes over 100 years for a paintings pedigree to be confirmed in the Royal Household, just think of what treasures some of the rest of us could have lying around!

I knew I should have taken some stuff for appraisal to the Fall Festival and Booya at St. Agnes! Oh well, maybe I can visit Antiques Roadshow the next time they are in town...

The Times (London) has the story

November 09, 2006


I just watched my recording of last nights episode. February 7th!!!????!!!! I've got to wait until February 7th!!!???!!!

Wal-Mart Learns the True Meaning of CHRISTmas

Wal-Mart just announced they are going to be Wishing Us A Merry Christmas this year!

And, I don't even have my button yet!

Good news in any case!

November 08, 2006

Fight Goes On

Let us pick ourselves up by the bootstraps and remember that the fight goes on. Today, the Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments for Gonzales v Carhart and Gonzales v Planned Parenthood. Both cases have to do with the legality of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.

Please join me in saying the Prayer to End Abortion by Priests for Life

Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life,
And for the lives of all my brothers and sisters.

I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion,
Yet I rejoice that you have conquered death
by the Resurrection of Your Son.

I am ready to do my part in ending abortion.
Today I commit myself
Never to be silent,
Never to be passive,
Never to be forgetful of the unborn.

I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement,
And never to stop defending life
Until all my brothers and sisters are protected,
And our nation once again becomes
A nation with liberty and justice
Not just for some, but for all.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen!

Election Blues

Some results are still coming in, but, it looks like a lot of Pro-Death candidates won. There are a couple of bright spots. In Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty retained the Governorship and Michele Bachmann is going to Congress. Pro-lifers should watch Governor Pawlenty closely because he recently expressed support for embryonic stem cell research during a debate with his opponents. His revelation was a surprise to me and many others.

According to the Argus Leader (Sioux Falls), the Abortion referendum in South Dakota failed 56%/44%. No word on if anyone plans to bring it forward again with better wording.

It looks like all of the nationwide traditional marriage amendments passed-including the one in Wisconsin.

I think we need to ask ourselves,(again!) why are so many Roman Catholics NOT voting the faith they profess to believe in? I think Bishops and Priests must start, if they have not already, preaching the truth from the pulpit. NOT just tell everyone that everything is great. NOT just telling us Jesus Loves Us every week. NOT just telling us what we want to hear, but what we NEED to hear. We, as Catholics, need to start being more aggressive with the dissenting Catholics that we know and tell them they are wrong. Our clergy leaders can't do it alone, they need our help.

My Dad, Wayne LaDuke, was just elected Mayor of Cass Lake, Minnesota!!! Pray for him, will you? He has a lot of work to do in the areas of economic development, budget cutting and crime fighting.

To my sharp-eyed readers: I may as well come-out since I just announced my Dad's name. You can call me Janice or Cathy.

(November 9, 5:53 a.m. CT) It's still too close to call, but Arizona newspapers are reporting that the traditional marriage amendment may FAIL in Arizona.

November 07, 2006


A cartoon from faithmouse tells you all you need to know about how I'll be voting today.

November 06, 2006

Is It Just Me?

Is it just me? Or, does anyone else in the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis think the Catholic Spirit has moved to the right (in more ways then one!) since their recent redesign?

My latest evidence: The letters section (called "This Catholic Life") in the November 2nd issue, has 6 letters (5 of which) are very strongly pro-life. The 5th letter urges civil discourse and not imposing one's faith on others.

Prior to the redesign, I think the Letters would have been 50/50 with the "social justice only" crowd well-represented.

There have been a few other "markers" recently that have made me think that I need to continue to watch the Catholic Spirit.

I know some of my local blog buddies gave up on the Catholic Spirit a long time ago. You may want to pick up a copy and check it out. Let me know what you think-just wishful thinking on my part? I think most Catholic bookstores in the area carry it.

Update: On 2nd thought, maybe not. The November 9th issue has a reprinted article from Commonweal.

Sports Weekend

Tony Stewart climbs the fence in Texas. My Junior (#1 not #8) BARELY manages to avoid being taken out during the Lap 331 mishap but he dropped from the Top 10 to finish 14th.

I'm REALLY glad I don't follow the Vikes closely or I'd be really upset this morning.

Me? 4-point buck taken at 10:30 on Opening Day. I was the only one in our 10-person party to bag one. But, I spent a large part of yesterday chopping and cutting. My hands and arms are very tired today.

November 03, 2006

Merry CHRISTmas!

Deep Curtsy to Georgette for informing us about these CHRISTmas buttons and car magnets being sold by the American Family Association.

Buy some now! Buy some for your friends! Wear them while doing your CHRISTmas shopping! Put a magnet on your car! Be sure to say: Merry Christmas.

It's worth saying. I would add: It's worth SAVING.

Personal Saints

Jimmy Akin has a post on the forbidden practice of some Catholic parishes adding people that they personally feel SHOULD be saints to the church's list of canonized saints during their All Saints Masses.

I have attended more Masses, then I care to admit, where the practice of assigning whoever is "cool" to the Litany of Saints is done. It was one the things that made me go "hmmmm" on my journey back to authentic Catholicism.

As far-gone into dissent as I was I was certainly able to recognize that Mahatma Ghandi may have been a great man but he was not even a Catholic, nor was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Fr. Mychal Judge may have been a hero for dying while giving last rites to people in NYC at the World Trade Center but he has not been recognized by the Church as a saint. Bob Marley has some great music but he was a Rastafarian.

The Catholic Saints may not have always lead perfect lives but there are criteria for official sainthood. In (extreme summary!) summary, it requires evidence of heroic virtue and miracles.

I pray that my deceased relatives are enjoying the Beatific Vision like a Saint. But, I accept the fact that I don't know that for sure. I pray that they may be accepted into the membership of the Church Triumphant, if they are not already, but I have no right as a faithful Catholic to stand up in Church and call them Saint or Blessed and demand they be recognized as such by all the faithful.

The Catholic church does very serious and careful research into the causes of Canonization, and rightly so. I don't think we should belittle the care taken in that process by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints when we decide on our own, without the benefit of meticulous research and investigation, that our loved ones or people whose political or social positions we liked are official members of the Communion of Saints.

Active Participation

About a year ago, I attended my first Mass where the Priest was celebrating the Mass ad apsidem (facing the apse).

I have been told much of my life to fear and avoid any Mass where the Priest is not facing the people (coram populo). "That's the old way" "We don't have to do that anymore" "The people can't participate" "Vatican II abolished that" are just some of the arguments I heard.

I was surprised to discover I did not care that the Priest was not looking at me during the entire Mass. I am, furthermore, surprised to realize that I don't care if the Mass is celebrated coram populo, ad orientem (facing East) or ad apsidem.

I don't think it matters if we can't always see or hear the Priest. How often is the sound system bad? How often do you end up sitting behind a column or someone who's a lot taller than you?

I've spent most of my life thinking that I had to be using one of my 5 senses to fully participate in the Mass. Since I've made a resolution to work on my inner prayer life, which for most of my life was completely non-existent, I spend some time during the Eucharistic Prayers, and the Communion Rite meditating or reciting Catholic prayers in my head (the Anima Christi, Hail Mary, the prayer before and after communion etc). Because I am very easily distracted, I often have my eyes closed. I am so oblivious to what Father is visibly doing, he could probably be standing on his head for a minute and I would not notice.

Do we HAVE to use our 5 senses (tasting, smelling, hearing, seeing, touching) plus physical and verbal action to fully participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? What do Catholics do who are deaf, blind, mentally or physically handicapped do? They don't stay home, nor should they. My small parish has one blind member and several people who are mentally or physically handicapped. Obviously, they can't "fully participate" if full participation only means limiting ourselves to the 5 senses and physical or verbal action.

An animal may have 5 senses as well as mental capabilities and feelings. But, the mental capabilities and feelings of an animal are not as developed as ours. Why limit ourselves? Why not utilize all the gifts that God gave us to distinguish us from the animals?

I know God exists not by using my 5 senses only. My 5 senses help me appreciate and marvel at His creation but it's my mind that knows there is something created it and my heart that feels it was Him.

I have decided that full, active, and conscious participation, for me, means internally and primarily using my mind and my heart to unite myself with the Holy Sacrifice on the altar. The senses and physical and verbal action are secondary. Not irrelevant, but secondary, since I find the interior participation a lot harder.

I don't mean to indicate that you should completely ignore what is going on. If you are able: you should sing when you are called upon! Respond when you are supposed to! Listen if you can!

It's hard to concentrate on uniting the mind and the heart with the Sacrifice because I don't mean just sitting there like a zombie. I think we all see enough Catholic zombies in church! I believe it means "paying attention" but willfully using a different set of organs then we may be accustomed to using during Mass.

November 02, 2006

All Souls Day

Prayer for the Dead--St. Alphonsus Ligouri

My God! I recommend to Thee the souls of my relations, my benefactors, my friends, and my enemies, and of those who are in purgatory on my account.

I recommend to Thee the souls of evangelical laborers, of religious and priests, and especially of those who had charge of my soul.

I recommend to Thee the souls of those who were most devout to the passion of Our Lord, to the Blessed Sacrament, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the souls who are most abandoned, those who suffer most, and those who are nearest to the entrance into paradise.

Eternal rest give to them, O Lord; and let perpeptual light shine upon them.
May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
And may the divine assistance always remain with us and bring us to life everlasting.

November 01, 2006

All Saints

Blessed Be All Saints: Known and Unknown

I found this prayer the other day. It's a Prayer to any Virgin-Saint. I inserted St. Catherine of Alexandria (who else?) but you may have a Virgin Saint of your own.

O worthy spouse of that Lamb of God which feeds among the lilies, (St. Catherine of Alexandria), you preserved intact the flower of your purity; edifying all by the constant practice of this lovely virtue; obtain for me, I pray, the grace to follow your example, that, overcoming all inordinate earthly affections and living in the spirit of Jesus Christ, I may abound in charity and good works. Make me to be enamored of the angelic virtue of purity, that by word and deed I may inspire others with a love of it, and may become worthy to join the happy choir of your companions who, together with you, enjoy the Beatific Vision, and follow the Lamb "whithersoever He goeth"
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