Month: August 2011

There goes the bride; a lament of modern Catholic weddings | The Deacon’s Bench

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There goes the bride | The Deacon’s Bench.

What a sad state of affairs that people have fallen so far from realizing what the true nature of the sacrament is …


The wedding sets the tone for the rest of the marriage, and if there is already discord between the couple and the Church who is marrying them, how long will it be before other problems arrive?

UK Riots 2011: “Lack of discipline spawns brutally degenerate youth”, one could say … | Mail Online

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UK riots 2011: Liberal dogma has spawned a generation of brutalised youths | Mail Online.

John Stuart Mill wrote in his great 1859 essay On Liberty: ‘The liberty of the individual must be thus far limited; he must not make himself a nuisance to other people.’

Yet every day up and down the land, this vital principle of civilised societies is breached with impunity.

Anyone who reproaches a child, far less an adult, for discarding rubbish, making a racket, committing vandalism or driving unsociably will receive in return a torrent of obscenities, if not violence.

So who is to blame? The breakdown of families, the pernicious promotion of single motherhood as a desirable state, the decline of domestic life so that even shared meals are a rarity, have all contributed importantly to the condition of the young underclass.

The social engineering industry unites to claim that the conventional template of family life is no longer valid.


Socially draining, the article goes on to call the generation of ‘degenerates’ who are protected by ‘pupil rights’, and do not contribute to society in any way shape or form.

This is the result of a society that is afraid to address the issues of a familial unit breakdown, of a world where consequences don’t exist, and where discipline is not administered on a regular and consistent basis.


Why Are Finland’s Schools [so incredibly] Successful? | Smithsonian Magazine

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Why Are Finland’s Schools [so incredibly] Successful? | Smithsonian Magazine.

“Finland has vastly improved in reading, math and science literacy over the past decade in large part because its teachers are trusted to do whatever it takes to turn young lives around. This 13-year-old, Besart Kabashi, received something akin to royal tutoring.

“I took Besart on that year as my private student,” Louhivuori told me in his office, which boasted a Beatles “Yellow Submarine” poster on the wall and an electric guitar in the closet. When Besart was not studying science, geography and math, he was parked next to Louhivuori’s desk at the front of his class of 9- and 10-year- olds, cracking open books from a tall stack, slowly reading one, then another, then devouring them by the dozens. By the end of the year, the son of Kosovo war refugees had conquered his adopted country’s vowel-rich language and arrived at the realization that he could, in fact, learn.

Years later, a 20-year-old Besart showed up at Kirkkojarvi’s Christmas party with a bottle of Cognac and a big grin. “You helped me,” he told his former teacher. Besart had opened his own car repair firm and a cleaning company. “No big fuss,” Louhivuori told me. “This is what we do every day, prepare kids for life.”

This tale of a single rescued child hints at some of the reasons for the tiny Nordic nation’s staggering record of education success, a phenomenon that has inspired, baffled and even irked many of America’s parents and educators. Finnish schooling became an unlikely hot topic after the 2010 documentary film Waiting for “Superman” contrasted it with America’s troubled public schools.”


The rest of the article is even more interesting – it raises some interesting questions about the American public school system compared to other nations’ systems.  Food for thought.


Speaking about President Obama’s “Race to the Top” initiative:

“In the United States, which has muddled along in the middle for the past decade, government officials have attempted to introduce marketplace competition into public schools. In recent years, a group of Wall Street financiers and philanthropists such as Bill Gates have put money behind private-sector ideas, such as vouchers, data-driven curriculum and charter schools, which have doubled in number in the past decade. President Obama, too, has apparently bet on compe­tition. His Race to the Top initiative invites states to compete for federal dollars using tests and other methods to measure teachers, a philosophy that would not fly in Finland. “I think, in fact, teachers would tear off their shirts,” said Timo Heikkinen, a Helsinki principal with 24 years of teaching experience. “If you only measure the statistics, you miss the human aspect.””

Speaking on Standardized Testing: (PISA, for Finland):

“Still, there is a distinct absence of chest-thumping among the famously reticent Finns. They are eager to celebrate their recent world hockey championship, but PISA scores, not so much. “We prepare children to learn how to learn, not how to take a test,” said Pasi Sahlberg, a former math and physics teacher who is now in Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture. “We are not much interested in PISA. It’s not what we are about.””

“Finnish educators have a hard time understanding the United States’ fascination with standardized tests. “Americans like all these bars and graphs and colored charts,” Louhivuori teased, as he rummaged through his closet looking for past years’ results. “Looks like we did better than average two years ago,” he said after he found the reports. “It’s nonsense. We know much more about the children than these tests can tell us.””


Adult children’s ‘bad mothering’ lawsuit dismissed | The Salt Lake Tribune

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Adult children’s ‘bad mothering’ lawsuit dismissed | The Salt Lake Tribune.

“Chicago • Raised in a $1.5 million Barrington Hills, Ill., home by their attorney father, two grown children have spent the last two years pursuing a unique lawsuit against their mom for “bad mothering” that alleges damages caused when she failed to buy toys for one and sent another a birthday card he didn’t like.

The alleged offenses include failing to take her daughter to a car show, telling her then 7-year-old son to buckle his seat belt or she would contact police, “haggling” over the amount to spend on party dresses and calling her daughter at midnight to ask that she return home from celebrating homecoming.

Last week, at which point the court record stood about a foot tall, an Illinois appeals court dismissed the case, finding that none of the mother’s conduct was “extreme or outrageous.” To rule in favor of her children, the court found, “could potentially open the floodgates to subject family childrearing to … excessive judicial scrutiny and interference.””

Good for that judge.

This story gets more and more ridiculous, especially the “alleged offenses”……

55% Say Abortion Morally Wrong Most of the Time | Rasmussen

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55% Say Abortion Morally Wrong Most of the Time | Rasmussen


Also interesting because if something is morally wrong, then the only chance it has of not being wrong, is if the rules of morality change to fit the situation.

If the rules of morality change to fit a situation, one cannot really call them “morals” at all, since the actual definition of morals (as easily found by anyone) indicate that morals are permanent institutions.  I quote the two most relevant:

1) of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral attitudes.

3) founded on the fundamental principles of right conduct rather than on legalities, enactment, or custom: moral obligations.

If morality is a permanent institution, then if something is morally wrong sometimes, then it is morally wrong all of the time.

It is not a far leap to understand that connection.

In light of this recent poll finding, (published this very week), I say again, “Interesting.”


Phoenix Cathedral won’t allow girl altar servers | The Arizona Republic

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Phoenix Cathedral won’t allow girl altar servers | The Arizona Republic.

*Let it be noted that this is specifically the Cathedral.
The Diocese has not mandated this.*

“It is a shame on how the church continues to abuse the females,” said Bob Lutz of Phoenix, a Catholic with three grown daughters. “Church attendance is shrinking now, and this adds more fuel to the fire on how females are treated as second-class citizens.”

Seriously?  Seriously?

“Carole Bartholomeuax of Phoenix, who attended St. Joan of Arc parish, said girls outnumbered boys as altar servers there.”

Um, exactly why something needs to change…. one of the greatest values of this position is the proximity to priests “in action” and the proven growth of vocations from said proximity.  Like the article itself says, 85-90% of priests were altar servers.  That’s a huge number.  How can altar boys discover their vocations if there are no altar boys?  How do the men of the church know they are wanted, needed, or valued if there is no need for them anymore; what’s to prevent them from thinking they have been replaced?  Bob Lutz speaks of a shrinking Church attendance: has anyone ever thought to examine that perhaps the men of what used to be a congregation feel as if they are not needed anymore?  It may be brash of me to say, but that’s seriously an issue.  Men need to be appreciated and feel that they are truly needed; that is how they are called to serve in a marriage and that is how they are called to serve in the Church.  Women are blessed with different gifts, and their talents are of best use in other areas of ministry for the Church whom they long to serve.

“I believe Mary Magdalene set the example for women to be altar servers. I am so sorry to hear of this going backwards,” she said, adding that she still loves her church, “warts and all.”

Backwards? This is … how it is supposed to be.  “Backwards” implies that there is a “forwards” with this, and her contextual comment reads as if to say that the only “forwards” worth achieving is equality of actions between men and women.  That whole idea is something I disagree with completely; “equality”, or “forward thinking” does not mean “THE SAME THING”.  That belongs in another post entirely, though …..

Mary Magdalen was not a minister.  She offered God her gifts in a way that suited her womanhood and the situation at hand; her actions represented her devotion to Our Lord and showed her thankfulness at His mercies exhibited towards herself.  The examples of Mary Magdalen in Scriptures speak of her service to the body of Christ itself, yes, but this person is forgetting that despite her eventual service to the corporeal body of Christ, Mary Magdalen knew her role in the newly formed Christian church was not the same as the apostles’.  Her service was of a completely different nature than the men, as it should remain today.  I feel as if the argument for female altar servers slides a slippery slope down the argument for female priests….. which …… is again, another discussion entirely.

The history and tradition of having altar boys (instead of altar girls) really is designed to create deep spiritual growth.  I once had a priest say to me “What is wrong with a little girl wanting to help serve God at the altar?” and while it would be great to say “sure, there’s nothing wrong with that…”…. I really feel strongly that the role of women in the Church is different than this.  Women have a valuable role in the Church, but valuable does not mean equal.  And different does not mean lesser.  There are obviously many good things and many good graces to have come from any type of service to Our Lord, and that is to be appreciated.  There is an abundance of grace, however, to come from preventing the altar from becoming a political statement or the mandated “equalizing” of the altar servers into a manipulative power play …

I wish I knew more about the history of this movement so I could more adequately explain what I feel so strongly in my heart.

We are all here to learn, right?


Needless to say, I completely agree with this decision, and I draw particular attention to the “caveat” of the article’s author, who writes:

“Bishops and pastors always have had the option of restricting the role to boys, but only one diocese, Lincoln, Neb., and scattered parishes have done so. …  Anecdotally, the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb., is one of the stronger dioceses in developing new priests.”



EDIT: The Diocese of Phoenix has issued a press release on the topic, which may be read here.

“Boys’ service at the altar has roots in Church history prior to the creation of the modern seminary system where men are formed for priesthood. Before seminaries, serving at the altar was part of an apprenticeship for priesthood. Fr. Lankeit’s decision was made primarily in response to the shortage of priestly vocations, since serving at the altar points very clearly to the specific vocation of priesthood.

He cites examples where limiting altar service to boys in the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb., and in Ann Arbor, Mich., has borne the fruit of many priestly vocations. The Diocese of Lincoln is considered a vocations “powerhouse.” In a single parish in Ann Arbor, in 2008, there were 22 new seminarians and five women in formation for religious life. The same parish is also home to 16 sisters in the Servants of God’s Love religious community.

The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, also based in Ann Arbor, are receiving so many inquiries from young women interested in entering the order that they cannot build facilities fast enough to accommodate the surge in vocations. Their order offers clear evidence that when the God-given differentiation between male and female is honored, both men’s and women’s vocations flourish.”