Saturday, July 19, 2003

Avez-vous un e-mail? Non, j'ai seulement un courriel!

According to this article, the Ministry of Culture in France is banning the word e-mail in all government ministries, documents, publications and Web sites in deference to the term courrier electronique, better expressed as courriel. The Ministry of Culture and the French Academy have been trying for several years to prevent the infiltration of the English language into French in order to preserve the French language as much as possible. But I believe that, inevitably, linguistic evolution will dominate.

Oddly enough, we used courriel in all of my French literature and composition courses at the university, so I never figured that this particular battle over words was too significant. But I guess that is what they are worried about the most - linguistic infiltration is slow and subtle, and before you know it, you have a completely new language! In a French popular culture class that I took, we studied the effect the English language is having on spoken French, particularly among French youth, and it is really extraordinary. Franglais, we called it, is much like the phenomenon of Spanglish out here in Southern California:
Je vais pas filer mon number à un keum quand j'ai un plan girlfriends soir ce!

C'est cool up ici! C'est bien cool!

Je le trust pas, il m'a pas caré de la résoi.

Arrête de me chauffer, tu me laves trop le cerveau avec tes stories de tomi.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

The Pill's dark secrets

Valerie Nahmad, of the Chicago Tribune (registration required), writes a pretty biased, but nonetheless interesting article concerning one of the many side effects of the birth control pill: sexual dysfunction.
The exact cause is unknown and the issue is rarely discussed, but it is a medical fact that oral contraceptives can cause sexual dysfunction in women, often in the form of decreased libido, vaginal dryness and painful intercourse.

The issue has been studied only twice since the pill's appearance in American markets 40 years ago. Research is so insufficient that doctors do not know which pills are more likely to cause sexual dysfunction, which patients are more likely to suffer from it or how to best treat it. Doctors speculate that the effect is triggered by the pill's manipulation of various hormones, including testosterone, estrogen and progesterone, but they cannot say for sure.
Of course, this particular side effect is minor when compared to the fact that one of the safe-guard functions of the pill, should breakthrough ovulation occur, is to reduce the entrometrial lining in the uterus in order to prevent embryonic implantation, which basically results in an abortion when the embryo is then discarded (Some estimate that this occurs as many as 3 or 4 times per woman, per year) - and also when compared with the pill's potential risks for breast cancer and other problems, which is currently being studied, caused by the pill's manipulation of various hormones that basically force a woman's body to malfunction in its attempts to suppress ovulation. It is for this reason that the pill should not be considered medication, as though it was something that helps the body heal from some disease, unless you consider children a disease.

Nahmad also says this:
Indeed, there are several benefits to oral contraception, most notably its role in liberating women from pregnancy concerns.
When children are something people have to be liberated from, the future of our civilization is grim indeed. What did I say about considering children a disease?

I am so grateful and appreciative for the Catholic Church's beautiful teaching on human sexuality, which stand against the pervasive lies in our society and seeks to affirm the human dignity of both woman and man and the sacred, sacramental nature of the sexual act itself. The Church inspires me to speak up for truth and human dignity even when it's counter-cultural. For more information on approved methods of natural family planning, or to network with couples throughout the nation who practice it, contact the Couple-To-Couple League.

Thanks to Alicia at Fructus Ventris for the article link.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003


At first I thought this article was a joke! How in the world can you even measure the linguistic inferences of a cat? It's like translating baby noises into spoken English. I'll charge you half as much to tell you what your cat is saying. Feed me, go away, or, I don't care.

Monday, July 14, 2003

World Youth Day 2005

The official webpage for World Youth Day 2005, which will be in Cologne, Germany, is now online. Unfortunately the English version is still under construction. On a more interesting note, the Cathedral in Cologne is the place where tradition holds the remains of the three wise men are kept:

Has anybody taken the time to research this story? Who has been to Cologne?
Today's Epistle - Eph. 1:3-14

A reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before him.
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ,
in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise of the glory of his grace
that he granted us in the beloved.
In him we have redemption by his blood,
the forgiveness of transgressions,
in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us.
In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us
the mystery of his will in accord with his favor
that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times,
to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.

In him we were also chosen,
destined in accord with the purpose of the One
who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will,
so that we might exist for the praise of his glory,
we who first hoped in Christ.
In him you also, who have heard the word of truth,
the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him,
were sealed with the promised holy Spirit,
which is the first installment of our inheritance
toward redemption as God's possession, to the praise of his glory.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

The Passion

Here is the infamous movie trailer for Mel Gibson's upcoming film, The Passion. The film will recount the last few hours of Jesus' life, with dialog being in two prevalent tongues of the day: Latin and Aramaic. Caution: The trailer is about 22 MB. You will have a better chance if you have a direct Internet connection.

Yes, it looks magnificent. I hadn't blogged on this before, and while I am looking forward to the movie's release, and while I also think that rightful criticism should wait until the film is out, I nevertheless think that those who have asked questions as to the possible anti-semitic tones in the script haven't been treated fairly by those who see them as somehow attacking the film. From what I have seen, a script was released, people saw it, and based on that and other things, they felt it important to ask some good questions regarding the nature of some of the elements in the script. From what I see, this amounts to nothing more than honest inquiry, which we as Christians should welcome in order to ensure that a film about Christ, albeit his last few hours, is as honestly and factually portrayed as possible. I disagree with those who feel that asking questions somehow constitutes an attack, even if those questions are challenging. If the story in the film is legitimately told, it should be strong enough to stand up to challenging questions, which we should have no problem asking. A sort of advocatus diaboli, if you will. I have seen very little honest answers given and a lot more hateful drivel than I care to see from Christians regarding the matter.

I can judge a film based on its plot, cinematography, music, and character development when it is released. But if a script is put in front of me (however that happens), and if what I read prompts me to ask some questions as to what will be in the final release, why should my questions be met with hostility and not with charity?
Exhortatio Ante Matrimonium

Fr. Jim over at Dappled Things has been bogging on and off about the wonders, beauties, and intricacies of Catholic marriage. One such post today concerns the exhortation that had been given at marriages prior to the Second Vatican Council, which I agree is quite beautiful:
Dear friends in Christ: As you know, you are about to enter into a union which is most sacred and most serious, a union which was established by God Himself. By it, He gave to man a share in the greatest work of creation, the work of the continuation of the human race. And in this way He sanctified human love and enabled man and woman to help each other live as children of God, by sharing a common life under His fatherly care.

Because God Himself is thus its author, marriage is of its very nature a holy institution, requiring of those who enter into it a complete and unreserved giving of self. But Christ our Lord added to the holiness of marriage an even deeper meaning and a higher beauty. He referred to the love of marriage to describe His own love for His Church, that is, for the People of God whom He redeemed by His own blood. And so He gave to Christians a new vision of what married life ought to be, a life of self-sacrificing love like His own. It is for this reason that His Apostle, St Paul, clearly states that marriage is now and for all time to be considered a great mystery, intimately bound up with the supernatural union of Christ and the Church, which union is also to be its pattern.

This union is most serious, because it will bind you together for life in a relationship so close and so intimate, that it will profoundly influence your whole future. That future, with its hopes and disappointments, its successes and failures, its pleasures and its pains, its joys and its sorrows, is hidden from your eyes. You know that these elements are mingled in every life, and are to be expected in your own. And so, not knowing what is before you, you take each other for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death.

Truly, then, these words are most serious. It is a beautiful tribute to your undoubted faith in each other, that, recognizing their full import, you are nevertheless so willing and ready to pronounce them. And because these words involve such solemn obligations, it is most fitting that you rest the security of your wedded life upon the great principle of self-sacrifice. And so you begin your married life by the voluntary and complete surrender of your individual lives in the interest of that deeper and wider life which you are to have in common. Henceforth you belong entirely to each other; you will be one in mind, one in heart, and one in affections. And whatever sacrifices you may hereafter be required to make to preserve this common life, always make them generously. Sacrifice is usually difficult and irksome. Only love can make it easy; and perfect love can make it a joy. We are willing to give in proportion as we love. And when love is perfect, sacrifice is complete. God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son; and the Son so loved us that He gave Himself for our salvation. "Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

No greater blessing can come to your married life than pure conjugal love, loyal and true to the end. May, then, this love with which you join your hands and hearts today, never fail, but grow deeper and stronger as the years go on. And if true love and the unselfish spirit of perfect sacrifice guide your every action, you can expect the greatest measure of earthly happiness that may be allotted to man in this vale of tears. The rest is in the hands of God. Nor will God be wanting to your needs; He will pledge you the life-long support of His graces in the Holy Sacrament which you are now going to receive.
Catholicity in Liturgical Diversity

I really enjoyed Bill's post concerning catholicity. It's one of the reasons why I love this Church so much!
Today, the languages of liturgy are many. In the diocese of Galveston-Houston, masses are celebrated in Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Polish, French, Czech, Igbo, and other languages. The Eastern Churches are well represented by Ukrainian, Ruthenian, Syro-Malabar, Maronite, and Syro-Malankara. There is an Anglican Use parish, where the Gospel is proclaimed and lived in the cadences of the olde King's English.
I'm still itching to see an Anglican Use liturgy! But the thing that I love the most is that in this catholicity there is also unity, not necessarily uniformity. Regardless of where I attend it, the mass is still the mass, and Jesus is still Jesus, and that I can receive Him into my being in His very Body and Blood is awesome.
Cardinal Arinze at the Cathedral

It looks like Cardinal Francis Arinze, himself a Nigerian native, will be celebrating a mass for the Igbo Nigerian community in Los Angeles at the new Los Angeles Cathedral on July 20th at 3pm. I wish I could get down to the Cathedral for the mass, but I don't think I will be able to. They will also be dedicating a chapel to Bl. Michael Iwene Tansi at St. Cecilia's Catholic Church in Los Angeles the day before. Back in 1998, I interned at the Chancery of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and got to spend time with a lot of priests and seminarians involved with the Missions office. In particular, I lived with a Nigerian seminarian who introduced me to the customs of the Igbo community there. I remember most fondly the Igbo Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Cecilia's he invited me to, which was one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had. Following that mass, there was a celebration. At that time, I was also blessed to sit next to a Claretian missionary from Nigeria who took time to explain to me the significance of everything that was done.
Back in Santa Barbara

Well after a busy week in Dallas, I have returned to Santa Barbara - at least for the week. From one soap-opera city to another. Dallas is fun, but it's good to be back in 75 degree weather :) We worked hard to get our software release out by our Friday afternoon deadline. I was working in Dallas with the hardware, and my co-worker, Ken, was working in Hong Kong packaging the release. All of these timezones make teamwork very interesting! I was impressed with how well we are all able to work together to accomplish some pretty amazing things. A week from this Tuesday I fly out again to Pittsburgh for the week.


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