Friday, December 23, 2005

Los Angeles March For Life

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles and Hispanics For Life are sponsoring a very special event on the upcoming anniversary of the RoeVsWade decision:

The Los Angeles March For Life/Life Chain
Sunday, January 22nd, 2006, 2:00pm until 4:30pm

The event will begin at the Los Angeles Cathedral Plaza with some speakers and will then form a procession to La Placita/Olvera Street.

Check it out!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Dinner with Pliny

People should know better than to stand up Pliny Secundus when he makes a dinner date with you. From his Epistulae, 1st century AD:


How happened it, my friend, that you did not keep your engagement the other night to sup with me? Now take notice, the court is sitting, and you shall fully reimburse me the expense I was at to treat you -- which, let me tell you, was no small sum. I had prepared, you must know, a lettuce and three snails apiece; with two eggs, barley-water, some sweet wine and snow (the snow most certainly I shall charge to your account, and at a high rate, as it was spoiled in serving). Besides all these curious dishes, there were olives, beets, gourds, shalots, and a hundred other dainties equally sumptuous. You should likewise have been entertained either with an interlude, the rehearsal of a poem, or a piece of music, as you like best; or (such was my liberality) with all three. But the oysters, chitterlings, sea-urchins and Spanish dancers of a certain (I know not who), were, it seems, more to your taste. However I shall have my revenge of you, depend upon it; in what manner, shall at present be a secret. In good truth it was not kind thus to mortify your friend, I had almost said yourself; and upon second thoughts I do say so: for how agreeably should we have spent the evening, in laughing, trifling, and instruction! You may sup, I confess, at many places more splendidly; but you can be treated no where, believe me, with more unconstrained cheerfulness, simplicity and freedom: only make the experiment; and if you do not ever afterwards prefer my table to any other, never favour me with your company again. Farewell.

Mmm... a hundred other dainties equally sumptuous...

Did you know that the Latin Wikipedia site has almost 4,000 articles in Latin already?

Videte! Vicipaedia (Libera Encyclopaedia)

Georgius Bush:
Georgius W. Bush (Anglice: George Walker Bush) praesidens Unitorum Statuus Americae Septentrionalis. Bush in Connecticuta die 6 Julii 1946 natus est.

Ad Civitates Americae Unitae praesidendum anno 2000 electus est, primus praesidens fractionis Rei Publicae abhinc patrem eius, Georgius Herbertus Walker Bush. Bush magno conservativo, nullum favorem cum Liberalibus et Democraticis cepit. Anno 2003 Civitates Americae Unitae in bellum Iracae duxit. Bush iterum electus est anno 2004, parvo margine oppositorem Iohannem Kerryem reppulit.
Johannes Kerry:
Senator Iohannes Kerry adversarius Georgii W. Bush in commitiis anni 2004 erat. In Americ? habitat.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A good evening...

Today is the feast of St. Lucy, virgin and martyr.

Just got back from a mass with our young adult ministry group here in Santa Barbara, celebrated by our regional bishop, Thomas Curry, in our private chapel at the former residence where we meet. Thank you, bishop, for your generosity and willingness to spend time with us, celebrate the mass for us, and talk with us amongst all the activities on your busy Advent schedule. Afterward, we had a little advent/pre-Christmas social time. Thanks be to God.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Rosa sine spina

I'm back from the annual candlelight procession for Our Lady of Guadalupe through downtown State Street in Santa Barbara. Once again, it was quite amazing... I reported on it last year as well. It's just such a powerful witness to see thousands of people from all parts of Santa Barbara filling the streets, with sounds of prayer and song, in English and Spanish, echoing down alleyways and between store fronts. Once again, our regional bishop, Thomas Curry, came out to lead us from De La Guerra plaza up to the church of Our Lady of Sorrows where, for a large church packed with people (I stood), he led us again in prayer in honor of the Patroness of the Americas, the Patroness of the unborn, our Blessed Mother.

Santa Maria, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, Patrona de las Américas, ora por nosotros.

UPDATE: I found out from Bishop Curry that over 5,000 people turned out for this year's procession.
Homer Simpson on Marriage

Marge: Homer, is this how you pictured married life?
Homer: Yeah, pretty much, except we drove around in a van solving mysteries.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

World Youth Day 2008

WYD Sydney, Australia 2008 has setup its website:
Lingua::Romana::Perligata -- Perl in Latin

I think someone had way too much free time on his hands...
#! /usr/local/bin/perl -w

use Lingua::Romana::Perligata;

adnota Illud Cribrum Eratothenis

maximum tum val inquementum tum biguttam tum stadium egresso scribe.
vestibulo perlegementum da meo maximo .
maximum tum novumversum egresso scribe.
da II tum maximum conscribementa meis listis.
dum damentum nexto listis decapitamentum fac sic
lista sic hoc tum nextum recidementum cis vannementa da listis.
next tum biguttam tum stadium tum nextum tum novumversum
scribe egresso.

Friday, November 18, 2005

300 BPS N81

In the early nineties, the music group "Information Society" produced an obscure song on their album Peace & Love, Inc. called "300 BPS N, 8, 1 (Terminal Mode Or Ascii Download)". If you listen to it, I'm sure you won't be impressed by its musical quality. But supposedly if you feed the song to your modem, it will establish a 300 bps connection with it and send a message in ASCII text. Because modems modulate/demodulate sound to/from data for transmission over the phone lines, your modem will basically interpret the noise as another modem attempting to connect and send data. Apparently this is lost on some folks, as evidenced by one of the reviewers at
The majority of songs on here are like this: airy and synth-heavy, except for filler tracks like #3: "To the City" (which I liked) and #12: "300bps N, 8, 1 (Terminal Mode or ASCII Download)" (which just gave me a headache; it's three minutes of high-pitched computer screaming).
If you're curious as to the contents of the ASCII message that the song produces, look at it here:
Make of it what you will! ;)
Back to Linux

Well, yesterday I said goodbye to the wickedness and snares of Windows XP and installed Fedora Core 4 Linux on my laptop; also added 1GB of memory. It's super smooth... Initially, my conversion was rather lukewarm; I had intended on keeping an NTFS partition up with XP, but after struggling a bit with the partition manager (and not wanting to divide my system against itself), I decided to just go head on. Sometimes bold change is good. It's taking me a while to get everything working. I'm using the wired ethernet right now - struggling to get this silly wireless card to work! Anyway, it feels good to have a dedicated Linux machine again.

UPDATE: Wireless card works now - watch out if you have a Netgear WG511. The firmware isn't easily available.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Big News

The Paulist Fathers are withdrawing pastoral leadership from St. Mark's in Isla Vista.
Last week, in an extraordinary painful decision, our General Council determined that to continue to utilize effectively our limited Paulist resources to accomplish our ongoing objectives, the Paulist Fathers will be required to reduce some commitments and withdraw from others. With great regret, the Paulist ministries at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Saint Mark's are among those from which we must withdraw.
New leadership will be forthcoming from the archdiocese. I was a parishioner at St. Mark's for about seven years. It will be interesting to see what this brings.

UPDATE: This article from the UCSB Daily Nexus provides more information.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

FDA labels for condoms

The FDA is finally recommending some important warnings for condom labels:
The FDA wants condom packages to warn that condoms are less effective at stopping some sexually transmitted diseases, such as herpes and human papilloma virus, than others... Under the proposed rules, condom packages would say that they are thought to be less effective against certain STDs, including herpes and human papilloma virus, because those diseases can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact in places not covered by a condom.
Now, you knew that condoms wouldn't protect you from some of the most common (and most detrimental) sexually transmitted diseases, right? Herpes is spreading at an alarming rate, and the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is one of the leading causes of cervical cancer in women, is even more common than herpes.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Action Hero?

You scored as Neo, the "One". Neo is the computer hacker-turned-Messiah of the Matrix. He leads a small group of human rebels against the technology that controls them. Neo doubts his ability to lead but doesn't want to disappoint his friends. His goal is for a world where all men know the Truth and are free from the bonds of the Matrix.

Neo, the "One"


Batman, the Dark Knight


Indiana Jones


Lara Croft


James Bond, Agent 007




The Amazing Spider-Man


The Terminator


William Wallace


Captain Jack Sparrow


El Zorro


Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with
On a lighter note...


Tri-cornered hat tip to Alison...
Tallis is dead, and music dies...
Following the death of Thomas Tallis in 1585, William Byrd wrote in his consort song Ye sacred muses "Tallis is dead, and music dies", thus capturing the esteem and veneration in which Tallis was held by his fellow composers and musical colleagues in the sixteenth century and, indeed, by the four monarchs he served at the Chapel Royal. Tallis' claim to the 'crown' of English music is justified by his lasting influence on English musical composition.
Read more here.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


We lost proposition 73. Apparently even common sense isn't popular these days. Things out here in CA are bad, folks. Organizations like Planned Parenthood are so powerful. 30 other states already have similar laws. But it wasn't a sound defeat -- it only lost by 52%. We will keep fighting.

The other propositions didn't fare so well either. Arnold doesn't have much choice left but to raise taxes.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Say what?

As in this line written by "W" over at Traditio in Radice blog:
I think it is beyond doubt that every member of the Communion of Saints (with the possible exception of St. Escriva, if he truly is a saint, but that is a whole other point of discussion which I shall not pursue here) would attend the Traditional Latin Mass. If any of the great saints whose pictures I have posted this week attended a Novus Ordo, they would think they had wandered into a Protestant service or at best would not recognise what they saw as a Catholic mass. They would, however, be right at home in any chapel with the T.L.M.
I hope I'm misreading this, and perhaps I should just defer to that doubt... but with all due respect to W's preference for the Tridentine mass, this statement seems, well, downright dangerous. Whatever one's argument for preferring the old mass over the current ordo missae, the reality is that we are all united around the same One Sacrifice of Christ. This is what the Saints in Heaven see. Let us be careful that we do not only see and elevate what is external and changeable and miss what is intrinsic and unchangeable, no matter how trite the language or sappy the music. Yes, I have my liturgical preferences as well. However, I count myself profoundly fortunate that I can even participate in this most glorious act, this most awesome mystery, even though I attend a Novus Ordo parish that happens to be in communion with my Archbishop and the Bishop of Rome. God's grace is abundant there.
Quotations by Pierre Abelard
O quanta qualia sunt illa sabata,
Quae semper celebrat superna curia!

-- Hymnus Paraclitensis
O how great and glorious are those sabbaths which the heavenly court for ever celebrates!
Under the pretext of study we spent our hours in the happiness of love, and learning held out to us the secret opportunities that our passion craved. Our speech was more of love than of the books which lay open before us; our kisses far outnumbered our reasoned words.

-- Historia Calamitatum
and other quotations...
Deep Thoughts...

by Jack Handey (Note: some crude language!)
Before a mad scientist goes mad, there's probably a time when he's only partially mad. And this is the time when he's going to throw the best parties.

Anytime I see something screech across a room and latch onto someone's neck, and the guy screams and tries to get it off, I have to laugh, because what is that thing?
On Truth
Why does truth call forth hatred? Why is Your servant treated as an enemy by those to whom he preaches the truth, if happiness is loved, which is simply joy in truth? Simply because truth is loved in such a way that those who love some other thing want it to be the truth, and precisely because they do not wish to be deceived, are unwilling to be convinced that they are deceived. Thus they hate the truth for the sake of that other thing which they love because they take it for truth.

They love truth when it enlightens them, they hate truth when it accuses them. Because they do not wish to be deceived, and do wish to deceive, they love truth when it reveals itself, and hate it when it reveals them. Thus it shall reward them as they deserve: those who do not wish to be revealed by truth, truth will unmask against their will, but it will not reveal itself to them. Thus, thus, even thus, does the human mind, blind and inert, vile and ill-behaved, desires to keep itself concealed, yet desire that nothing should be concealed from itself. But the contrary happens to it - it cannot lie hidden from truth, but only truth from it. Even so, for all its worthlessness, the human mind would rather find its joy in truth than falsehood. So that it shall be happy if, with no other thing to distract, it shall one day come to rejoice in that sole Truth by which all things are true.
Confessions of St. Augustine, Book X, Chapter XXIII.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Not too bad...

The new website of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Of course, the tabloid blogs are busy trying to find everything that they can possibly find wrong, but that's the type of behavior I would expect. There is room for improvement here, and I do see that there is an awful lot of content to navigate through at the new site, but the presentation seems tasteful and appealing. I'll decide how intuitive it is as I use it over the next few months. Nonetheless, I can say that this is an improvement over previous website incarnations.

I offer my judgments based on my personal experience of working with the website. When I interned at the downtown chancery office a few years ago (which was an experience I enjoyed immensely), I contributed some work to one of the previous website incarnations as well as the first website for the Los Angeles Cathedral. But things get better with time :)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Rosa Parks, RIP

Rosa Parks, interviewed by Howell Raines for the book My Soul is Rested: Movement Days in the Deep South Remembered (1977):
I had left my work at the men's alteration shop, a tailor shop in the Montgomery Fair department store, and as I left work, I crossed the street to a drugstore to pick up a few items instead of trying to go directly to the bus stop. And when I had finished this, I came across the street and looked for a Cleveland Avenue bus that apparently had some seats on it. At that time it was a little hard to get a seat on the bus. But when I did get to the entrance of the bus, I got in line with a number of other people who were getting on the same bus.

As I got up on the bus and walked to the seat I saw there was only one vacancy that was just back of where it was considered the white section. So this was the seat that I took, next to the aisle, and a man was sitting next to me. Across the aisle there were two women, and there were a few seats at this point in the very front of the bus that was called the white section. I went on to one stop and I didn't particularly notice who was getting on the bus, didn't particularly notice the other people getting on. And on the third stop there were some people getting on, and at this point all of the front seats were taken. Now in the beginning, at the very first stop I had got on the bus, the back of the bus was filled up with people standing in the aisle and I don't know why this one vacancy that I took was left, because there were quite a few people already standing toward the back of the bus. The third stop is when all the front seats were taken, and this one man was standing and when the driver looked around and saw he was standing, he asked the four of us, the man in the seat with me and the two women across the aisle, to let him have those front seats.

At his first request, didn't any of us move. Then he spoke again and said, "You'd better make it light on yourselves and let me have those seats." At this point, of course, the passenger who would have taken the seat hadn't said anything. In fact, he never did speak to my knowledge. When the three people, the man who was in the seat with me and the two women, stood up and moved into the aisle, I remained where I was. When the driver saw that I was still sitting there, he asked if I was going to stand up. I told him, no, I wasn't. He said, "Well, if you don't stand up, I'm going to have you arrested." I told him to go on and have me arrested.

He got off the bus and came back shortly. A few minutes later, two policemen got on the bus, and they approached me and asked if the driver had asked me to stand up, and I said yes, and they wanted to know why I didn't. I told them I didn't think I should have to stand up.... They placed me under arrest then and had me to get in the police car, and I was taken to jail.
If you're ever in Montgomery, AL, pay a visit to the Rosa Parks Library and Museum, located very close to where this historical event occurred.

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Holy Eucharist

by: Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600-1681)

HONEY in the lion's mouth,
Emblem mystical, divine,
How the sweet and strong combine;
Cloven rock for Israel's drouth;
Treasure-house of golden grain
By our Joseph laid in store,
In his brethren's famine sore
Freely to dispense again;
Dew on Gideon's snowy fleece;
Well, from bitter turned to sweet;
Shew-bread laid in order meet,
Bread whose cost doth ne'er increase,
Though no rain in April fall;
Horeb's manna freely given
Showered in white dew from heaven,
Marvelous, angelical;
Weightiest bunch of Canaan's vine;
Cake to strengthen and sustain
Through long days of desert pain;
Salem's monarch's bread and wine;--
Thou the antidote shalt be
Of my sickness and my sin,
Consolation, medicine,
Life and Sacrament to me.
More on Prop 73

Just over a week until the California special election.

Valerie Schmalz on Protect Our Daughters: Support Proposition 73:
Harlon Reeves didn't learn his 13-year-old daughter had received two coerced abortions -- or that she had been repeatedly raped by her mother's live-in boyfriend -- until Texas child protective services notified him.

This is a situation that is not confined to Texas - as a series of call-in radio interviews in California this fall show, parents whose daughters are coerced into abortions are appalled, saddened and helpless.

In the Reeves family case in Texas, the abortion clinic had contacted the state with its suspicions after performing the second abortion on the developmentally delayed young girl, who was brought to the clinic by her molester.

Reeves' story spurred passage of Texas's parental notification law in 1999, and the girl's rapist was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Reeves' daughter is now in her 20s, but Reeves, who has another young daughter, has lent his name to a friend-of-the-court brief filed by Liberty Legal Institute in support of a New Hampshire case, Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of New England, to be heard by the US Supreme Court November 30.

"It's one of those things where if just one parent would have been notified, all of this would have been exposed," said Jonathan Saenz, one of the Liberty Legal attorneys representing Reeves. "You would think if a little girl, who's 13 years old, comes in to have an abortion, something is going on. These child predators are taking advantage of a system that is broken. It is a real assault on parental rights; it's a real assault on young children."
Apparently this is what Planned Parenthood calls the emancipation of women. I, for one, intend to hold Planned Parenthood accountable.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

A Year of Prayer for Priestly Vocations

From Cardinal Mahony:
The end of October brings to a close the special Year of the Eucharist proclaimed in 2004 by our late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. During this Year we have focused more deeply upon the great mystery of the Eucharist, and how our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ flow to, and flow from, the Eucharist. The Catholic Church is rightfully known as the Eucharistic Church since the Eucharist is the center, font, and source of our life in Christ. Essential to the regular celebration of the Eucharist are ordained priests...

I am establishing a special Year of Prayer for Priestly Vocations beginning November 1, 2005 and continuing through October 31, 2006, and I invite all of the Catholics of the Archdiocese to join in fervent prayer that Jesus Christ will call more and more men to serve the Church as priests, and that they will respond generously to that call.
Also add to this prayer a petition for nurturing environments and for families and friends to encourage discernment of this vocation, since I know many families around here who seem to be opposed to their sons investigating priesthood and religious life.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Shangri-La and Lost Horizon

I'm not sure why, but today I starting thinking about one of my favorite exchanges from the film Lost Horizon (1937). I remember reading the book in high school. Pay attention to what is (and isn't) said, and what is (and isn't) implied.
Robert Conway has stumbled upon the lost utopia of Shangri-La, where everybody is youthful and happy, there is no war or violence, and the weather is always perfect. Chang, a leader, is showing him around, fielding his many questions about their perfect way of life:

By the way, what religion do you follow here?

We follow many... To put it simply, I should say that our general belief was in moderation. We preach the virtue of avoiding excesses of every kind, even including -- the excess of virtue itself.

That's intelligent.

We find, in the Valley, it makes for better happiness among the natives. We rule with moderate strictness and in return we are satisfied with moderate obedience. As a result, our people are moderately honest and moderately chaste and somewhat more than moderately happy.

How about law and order? You have no soldiers or police?

Oh, good heavens, no!

How do you deal with incorrigibles? Criminals?

Why, we have no crime here. What makes a criminal? Lack, usually. Avariciousness, envy, the desire to possess something owned by another. There can be no crime where there is a sufficiency of everything.

You have no disputes over women?

Only very rarely. You see, it would not be considered good manners to take a woman that another man wanted.

Suppose somebody wanted her so badly that he didn't give a hang if it was good manners or not?

Well, in that event, it would be good manners on the part of the other man to let him have her.

That's very convenient. I think I'd like that.

You'd be surprised, my dear Conway, how a little courtesy all around helps to smooth out the most complicated problems.
Later, the characters find out just what Chang meant when he said that, as a rule, his people were moderately honest.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Church needs lay saints...
Yes, it needs saints, more than reformers, because saints are the most authentic and productive reformers. Every great period of renewal in the Church is linked to important testimonials of holiness. Without such testimonials, the updating undertaken by the Councils would be illusive.

But the conviction that we must share and spread this call to holiness is addressed to all Christians. This call is not the privilege of a spiritual elite. Nor is it for a few who feel heroic courage. Still less is it a tranquil refuge, suited to a certain type of piety or to certain eccentric temperaments. It is a grace offered to all the baptized, in varying forms and degrees.

It is not reserved for particular states of life, although some favor it, or for the practice of certain professions. St. Francis de Sales showed effectively that holiness, with piety or devotion, could be an attribute of men and women in any family situation or career. Thus lay people must be encouraged to live every aspect of their life in the world -- whatever the specific circumstances in which God has placed them -- in a holy manner, in faith, hope, and love. In this sense, there is a kind of holiness specific to lay people.

-Pope John Paul II, June 7th, 1986
Reposted from an earlier post...

Friday, October 14, 2005

I should append...

I should append to each of my reflections about marriage that these things are so easy to write about but are quite difficult to live out, human beings being what they are. Personally, I have seen a great amount of divorce throughout my lifetime, and I have witnessed its effects. Sometimes people enter into this without fully comprehending what they are consenting to; other times they were unwilling to communicate and actually develop a close relationship with their spouse, one based on real love and not just fuzzy feelings or infatuation. It is a comfort to know that my fiancee and I do not make these intentions alone and will not be left alone when times get rough; rather, we are entering into a sacramental bond through which God bestows grace for the purpose of bringing us closer to Him as we grow closer together in our relationship. I said before that what I say here may cause many of you married folk to roll your eyes because I speak from complete lack of experience. But we believe that we understand what we are consenting to, and we can only ask for your prayers of support!

UPDATE: Thanks to the contributors in the comment box for helping to clarify this -- When I said that "we understand what we are consenting to", I only meant this to mean that we understand that we are consenting to live out a mystery that is greater than these mere words (as represented by my recent reflections). We intend to live out what we understand Christ asks of us, but obviously how this is lived out as well as the sacramental mystery of what makes marriage what it is cannot be fully understood, especially beforehand. So that is why it is necessary for us to remain humble in the face of such mystery and grace and ask for your prayerful support.
What God Has Joined...

One aspect of the Catholic understanding of marriage that I have always admired is that it affirms the Christian understanding of the indissolubility of the marital bond -- that marriage is a sacramental covenant affirmed by Christ between man and woman, lasting until death. Obviously, this understanding is a difficult pill for our society to swallow, and it has prompted the Church to stand firm in defense of what it considers to be basic Christian teaching.

What we know about Christ's affirmation can be drawn from His words as related by Matthew (Ch 19:3-12) in the Gospels. In response to the questioning of the Pharisees concerning divorce, which had been allowed, Christ affirms the original quality of marriage by recalling Genesis 2:24, relating marriage back to the story of Creation as the union between man and woman:
And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?"

He answered, "Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, men must not divide."

They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?"

He said to them, "For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery."
Christ raises marriage back to its original dignity. The "exception" clause is also very interesting. The word translated here as unchastity comes from the Greek word porneia. In other places, it is translated as immorality. Other translations render it in very loose terms, such as marital infidelity, although this doesn't seem very accurate. It most likely relates to an illicit sexual situation that distorts the state of the marriage, rendering it unlawful and invalid from the beginning. For example, St. Paul uses the same word, porneia, in his first letter to the Corinthians (Ch. 5:1) to describe an incestuous relationship, here translated as immorality but then explained:
It is actually reported that there is immorality (porneia) among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father's wife.
Back to Matthew's account. Christ restores the original understanding of marriage as the union between man and woman as a divine embrace so tight that no man can separate it; and if a marital bond is lawful and valid (i.e. lacking any impediment, porneia), subsequent marriages, even in the presence of a civil divorce, would be considered adulterous. Yes, even Christ's disciples thought this was a difficult teaching, as Matthew continues:
The disciples said to [Jesus], "If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry."

But he said to them, "Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given... He who is able to receive this, let him receive it."
So here we come to what happens when a couple receives this teaching. They affirm their intentions in marriage by expressing their freely given consent to the teaching of the Church. Their consent affects the validity of the marital bond. This would entail the intention to remain faithful in marriage, the intention to remain together until death, and the intention to be open to the gift of children. The couple is asked to declare their intentions and give their consent during the Catholic marriage ritual itself, so that all may bear witness to it. This is a very profound moment, one that I am very much looking forward to. The priest or deacon will ask:
- Have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourself to each other in marriage?

- Will you love and honor each other as man and wife for the rest of your lives?

- Will you accept children lovingly from God and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?
After the couple declares their intentions and consent, the priest or deacon will conclude:
You have declared your consent before the Church. May the Lord in his goodness strengthen your consent and fill you both with his blessings. What God has joined, men must not divide. Amen.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Got back from Dallas last night; overall, a productive and very busy trip. I had some free time on Sunday, so I attended mass at St. Mary the Virgin Catholic Church (Anglican Use) in Arlington (which, I was surprised to learn, uses the Rite II liturgy in their sung mass), and after that, I visited the legendary Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, the site where President Kennedy was assassinated.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Who shot J.R.?

This week, I'm off to Dallas, TX on business. I'll most likely be returning late next week! I may have some free time to kick around while I'm there.

Gratia vobis et pax
The mystery unfolds...

Our last meeting with Fr. E, who is preparing us for marriage, went very well! We spent some time discussing sections from the Scriptures including, of course, Genesis, St. Paul, and Christ Himself in the Gospels, and from them we were able extrapolate the Church's understanding of marriage as being the permanent, fruitful union of man and woman; its role in approximating the great love that unites Christ with His bride, the Church; it's ability to ensure the continued outpouring of God's love in the perpetuation of humanity; and, ultimately, it's ability to help us get to Heaven itself through God's grace! We're still reflecting on all of this and will be, no doubt, throughout our married life, but there's no question why the Church is so determined in its defense of marriage. Like all of the sacraments, marriage is of such immense depth, it continues to reveal the awesome nature of our God.

Monday, October 03, 2005

YES on Prop 73!
Proposition 73, the Parents' Right to Know and Child Protection ballot measure will require a doctor to notify a parent or guardian forty-eight hours before performing an abortion on a minor daughter. Please help restore parents' protective and rightful role in their daughters' healthcare and well being by voting YES on 73.
Californians, vote YES on Proposition 73 in the special election this November! Protect young women and the rights of parents. Marylee Shrider has written a pretty good explanation at Parents aren't the enemy. Stop the INSANITY!!
Inferno V

Dante's Divine Comedy, and particularly Dante's Inferno, has got to be one of the greatest works of medieval literature. I recently began reading the Inferno for myself, and I just finished Canto V. This is such a fascinating story, and Dante's style truly directs you in his journey through Hell. Dante's use of real-life characters is very interseting, as they are all quite fascinating!

As an example, I would like to discuss the scene depicted in the second half of Canto V. This is where Dante (as the pilgrim, not as the author) encounters the lost souls, or shades, who suffer eternal torment because of the sin of lust in the second circle of Hell. Among the many famous individuals present there (Helen of Troy, Achilles, Tristan), Dante spies two "lovers", which we can identify as Francesca da Ramini and Paolo. In life, the two were slain by Francesca's husband, Paolo's brother, Gianciotto, as depicted in this painting by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres:

When asked how they ended up in Hell, Francesca engages Dante with beautiful and idealistic language concerning how they were basically caught up as victims in romantic love. She engages Dante to the point where Dante can do nothing else but take pity on them in their plight. So taken is he by her words, that he actually loses all sense and faints to the ground. When I read this, I was also taken with the romantic notion that perhaps, even in the pits of Hell, the love of Francesca and Paolo survives. Turns out many others have considered this as well. But this impression is naive. Like Dante, I was duped and charmed by her words!

Francesca explains to Dante:
Love, that on gentle heart doth swiftly seize,
Seized this man for the person beautiful
That was ta'en from me, and still the mode offends me.
Love, that exempts no one beloved from loving,
Seized me with pleasure of this man so strongly,
That, as thou seest, it doth not yet desert me;
Love has conducted us unto one death;
Caina [in the lower pits of Hell] waiteth him who quenched our life!
Those of you who have read the Inferno will remember the warning of Minos, the judge, as Dante entered this area: don't let yourself be fooled! Remember that this is Hell, and, in particular, this is the level where the souls of those lost in lust suffer eternal torment. It is not that Francesca and Paolo are joined as victims by their love. In fact, Dante's description is littered with clues as to what's really going on in this scene. What Francesca and Paolo had during their earthly lives was not love, but merely bodily lust. They gave in to their lust and were murdered in their embrace. Dying in this state was definitely not romantic - it was extremely embarrassing to Francesca, as she lets on that the mode of death "still offends". Francesca's torment in Hell is precisely that she must spend eternity joined with Paolo, whom she really doesn't love at all. In the full account, he is always referred to in an impersonal form and is merely described as the one from whom she shall "never be divided". Perhaps she has no true conception of her sin, or perhaps she is unable to face it. Still, the lines she feeds Dante are contrived to encourage pity for their plight in an attempt to remove her guilt, and Dante, naive about the true nature of sin at this stage on his journey, falls for her charms... and so do we, as readers, if we are not careful!

In his article, Becoming Aeneas, Becoming Paul, Peter Leithart examines some of the central themes in The Divine Comedy and summarizes Dante's intention with this scene:
Readers of the Comedy have always been attracted to Francesca. Dante meant us to be. But he also meant for us to learn that this attraction is a symptom of our blindness. If we find her attractive, it is because we are still wandering in the dark wood, having lost the path of truth. If we pity her, it is because we have not learned the meaning of true 'pieta'. If we think that her love was genuine love, we have not learned the true nature of charity, a lesson that only Hell can teach.
Of course, this is the reason why Dante is on this journey into the pits of Hell in the first place - to comprehend the true nature of sin... and we are along with him.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Eating dirt...

It's late, but I am eating dirt... As in this little thought from St. Francis de Sales:
Consider that there was a time that you did not exist.
It's late, and I can't help but think to myself... my life is not so significant. The world was here and spun, lo, these many, many years and functioned just fine without me (except for the 70's - sorry, bellbottoms still don't make sense to me). And this little statement is worth a year of reflection. If only I could ponder this little thought alone before ever opening my mouth to speak in the future.

Let's look at the continuation of the thought, as St. Francis de Sales continues to point out in his "Introduction to the Devout Life":
The world had been around for a very long time before you ever appeared. The Divine has drawn you out of nothing and made you something: a son or daughter of the living God. Consider the nature God has given you. Your nature is the greatest in this visible world, capable of eternal life and of being perfectly united to God, who is the source of all life.
Quoth Wayne and Garth, We're not worthy! Quoth Christ, For God so loved the world... Our worth is derived from love. And as he said to St. Paul, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness. And so, quoth St. Paul, when I am weak, then I am strong.
Sin... and Grace

Never despair...
... ubi autem abundavit peccatum, superabundavit gratia...
... and where sin did abound, grace did much more abound!

from the letter of St. Paul to the Church at Rome (Romans 5:20).

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

All the world's a float

I know the title of this post makes no sense, but, well, there it is... but seriously...

Over at *Coder Blog, Mike points out an excellent article at the ridiculous fish blog about the formatting of floating point numbers in memory. Didn't you know it wasn't particularly trivial to store fractions of a number with just ones and zeroes? I haven't thought much about the details for a few years, but here is a pretty thorough description, good demonstration.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Hurricane Rita

Bill and his family have fled Houston as Hurricane Rita gains strength and takes aim at the Gulf Coast of Texas. If you have friends or family in the area, or even if you don't, start praying and fasting.
Exhortation Before Marriage

I recall this post from 2003 concerning the old Exhortatio Ante Matrimonium. Prior to the Second Vatican Council, this exhortation was typically read at weddings (actually before the marriage, hence the name). It is truly beautiful and sums things up quite nicely -- so well, in fact, that there isn't much more I can say other than it is something truly worth reflecting on. No harm in posting it again:
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.
As our late Holy Father Pope John Paul II was fond of saying, Laudetur Iesus Christus. Let Jesus Christ be praised.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Marriage and Mass

Really cool:
In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ. In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized, the New Covenant in which Christ has united himself for ever to the Church, his beloved bride for whom he gave himself up. It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but "one body" in Christ.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1621. Wow!
Not even the angels in Heaven can ...

My fiancée and I have our second marriage preparation meeting this weekend. We are looking forward to it! We really want to engage our preparation for marriage, not as a list of requirements to be checked off, but as a great mystery to be embraced. Yes, there are regular prep sessions, engaged encounter retreat, FOCCUS, NFP classes, witness forms, relationship biographies, etc... but these requirements reflect, for us, how intricate and significant married life really is. It spite of requirements, it seems marriage is something that is simply profound, or is that profoundly simple? But that's too easy to say...

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in paragraphs 1623 and 1624, says:
In the Latin Church, it is ordinarily understood that the spouses, as ministers of Christ's grace, mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church... The various liturgies abound in prayers of blessing and epiclesis asking God's grace and blessing on the new couple, especially the bride. In the epiclesis of this sacrament the spouses receive the Holy Spirit as the communion of love of Christ and the Church. The Holy Spirit is the seal of their covenant, the ever available source of their love and the strength to renew their fidelity.
I think there is a tendency in our culture to see marriage as our own... that is, it belongs solely to the couple (and to society at large, seeing fit to redefine marriage in whatever way). The Roman Catholic understanding holds that matrimony is a sacramental covenant, given by God, sealed by the Holy Spirit, and mutually conferred by the couple upon each other. What is a sacrament if not a means by which God gives grace for sanctification and holiness? So, then, marriage is a means through which God perfects a couple in holiness, both in their mutual self-giving and consent as well as in their self-giving to God as one flesh. It therefore seems that marriage cannot belong to the couple alone simply because such an understanding omits the essential element of God, since He gives grace in order to draw the couple closer to Him! The sacrament binds the couple together as one flesh, but it also binds the couple together to God in a sacramental bond.

This is quite profound, actually! As the Catechism paragraph above states, the sacrament is conferred by the couple on each other by expressing their consent before the Church. Consent is at the root of what makes a marriage valid and sacramental:
- Fidelity: Consent to be faithful to each other.
- Commitment: Consent to be faithful until death.
- Openness to new life: Consent to be fruitful by allowing love to grow and bear fruit, opening the relationship to children.
A marriage that includes the full consent of the couple to each other is, then, indissoluble until death. But these should not be taken just as formal requirements. If that is all they are, then it's difficult to expect them to be taken seriously. No, they are actually at the heart of marriage itself. In an era of quick divorce, fidelity until death is quite a challenge. The same can be said of the third requirement of openness to new life.

For couples that are biologically capable, welcoming children involves allowing the extension and expansion of an overflowing love to bear fruit in new life. As stated above, the ever available source of this love is the Holy Spirit. Yet, having children is, as you parents know, a great responsibility. Yet, it is inseparably linked to married life, which is also a great responsibility. This, of course, demonstrates something basic about our God: that love and life are inseparably linked to one another. Just as God's love bore fruit in the garden of Eden and in all creation, so does a married couple's love grow and bear fruit in new life. And, because of His love, God always gives of Himself, from Himself, (directed outwardly) for the good of His Creation, even so does married love also give of itself, from itself, not just the couple to each other (as one flesh), but also outwardly into creation. And, just as God sacrificed His only begotton Son, Jesus Christ, out of love for the entire world, so the couple must embrace sacrifice in subordination to each other. (remember St. Paul - husbands must love their wives just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself over for the Church's sanctification!) Where is this leading...?

The Second Vatican Council beautifully summed this up in Gaudium et Spes, by drawing upon Scripture:
Hence, true married love and the whole structure of family life which results from it, without diminishment of the other ends of marriage, are directed to disposing the spouses to cooperate valiantly with the love of the Creator and Savior, who through them will increase and enrich his family from day to day.
True married love enables a man and woman to become sacramental participants in God's divine love, as one flesh, and through this, they also become participants in God's act of creation as co-creators in the outpouring of God's love of the world.

As St. Paul said, this is indeed a great mystery to me. But what I understand is this. Not even the angels in Heaven can do what a couple does when it brings new life into the world, or what a woman does when she nurtures new life in her womb. We humans are of great value to God, and women, in particular, are richly gifted.

Friday, September 16, 2005

BBS: The Documentary

Ah, to be young again.

Check it out...
Long before the Internet escaped from the lab, connected the planet and redefined what it meant to use a computer...

....there was a brave and pioneering band of computer users who spent their time, money and sanity setting up their home computers and phone lines to welcome anyone who called. By using a modem, anyone else who knew the phone number of these computers could connect to them, leave messages, send and receive files.... and millions did.

They called these places "Bulletin Board Systems", or BBSes. And their collections of messages, rants, thoughts and dreams became the way that an entire generation learned about being online.

When the Internet grew in popularity in the early 1990s, the world of the BBS faded, changed, and became a part of the present networked world.. but it wasn't the same.
I ran a BBS for about one year in 1993-1994 in Santa Maria running programmer Roland de Graaf's The Virtual BBS software. I remember the software was cutting edge (in spite of having been written in Q-Basic), and it had this strange, ANSI pull-down menu option that was cool at first, but no users actually found it practical to use. I was fond of the VirtualNET network standard, also written by de Graaf, although I was particularly in love with the (now somewhat deficient) FidoNet standard of email. Okay, who out there knows what I am talking about here??? ;)
Aliud vinum, aliud ebrietas

Aliud vinum, aliud ebrietas (~Wine is one thing. Drunkenness is something else).

From Latin Proverb of the Day blog by Bob Patrick (via rogueclassicism):
This proverb has many expressions: balance in all things; avoid extremes; the middle way; vital balance; don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
A good lesson, more specifically, on how to enjoy alcohol without abusing it to the point of inebriation and sickness!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Hurricane Katrina: Donate!

Just like with the tsunami disaster, what can one say about all of this that hasn't already been said? For one thing, we should not cease to get the word out that we can help the survivors of this disaster. We may not be able to physically travel to the various locations, but just like for the victims of the tsunami, we can give of our possessions, our prayer, and of course, our money, at the very least -- this goes a long way. You've seen the images, and you've heard the stories. I can't even imagine what it must be like to be displaced in such a way from one's home, family, and other loved ones, but it happens.

There are many organizations through which we can donate, and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has indicated that donations can be made to Catholic Charities USA, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the Knights of Columbus, and the Catholic Extension Society. I plan to make a donation through Catholic Charities, which is collaborating with the American Red Cross and other organizations.
Predominant Faults

I could easily relate to Fr. Jim Tucker's post on Predominant Faults. As one who tries to confess monthly, I believe that my spiritual life has been aided immensely from the graces of this sacrament and a regular examination of conscience. It has helped me become more aware, for example, of myself deeply, as well as my faults, including my predominant faults. But we must allow God's grace to work its sanctification. I am thankful that I can look at myself and say, "I'm a sinful man! Have mercy on me!" without stepping over into an unhealthy scrupulosity which can, of course, be dangerous to one's spiritual growth. God asks us for daily conversion of heart and mind with the help of His grace.
Les Très Riches Heures

One of the early illustrated pages (Folio 2r) from the Très Riches Heures, one of the most richly decorated and most famous Book of Hours to have survived.

The book was written and illuminated sometime between 1412 and 1416 by Paul Limbourg and brothers, for their patron Jean, Duc de Berry.

This page follows the calendar for the month of January and illustrates the day for exchanging gifts which occurs in January. The figure in blue robes towards the right is the Duke himself, seated at the table in front of the fire place. Above the fire hangs his coat of arms with golden fleurs-de-lys on a blue ground.

In the middle of the illustration a number of guests are invited to approach the fire with their hands out stretched to the warmth. One of these with a white cap folded over his ear is possibly a self portrait by Paul Limbourg.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The History of Algebra

From the 1911 Encyclopedia
, courtesy of
Various derivations of the word "algebra," which is of Arabian origin, have been given by different writers. The first mention of the word is to be found in the title of a work by Mahommed ben Musa al-Khwarizmi (Hovarezmi), who flourished about the beginning of the 9th century. The full title is "ilm al-jebr wa'l-muqabala", which contains the ideas of restitution and comparison, or opposition and comparison, or resolution and equation, "jebr" being derived from the verb "jabara", to reunite, and "muqabala", from "gabala", to make equal. (The root "jabara" is also met with in the word "algebrista", which means a "bone-setter," and is still in common use in Spain.)

Friday, August 26, 2005

Christian Witness Inspires Youth

I wish I would have been able to attend World Youth Day in Cologne this year!

Cardinal Mahony offers some reflections about his experience at WYD2005:
For everyone, the centrality of the Eucharist was so evident. Throughout their pilgrimages to Cologne the youth shared in the celebration of Mass each day - their lives nourished through this remarkable participation in the great gift of Jesus to us in the sacrifice of the Mass. Each of the three Catechetical Days concluded with a special Mass with a particular emphasis: the Holy Spirit, the Eucharist and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation was made available to our youth every day, and they readily took advantage of those graces. Several commented to me that going to confession while on their pilgrimage was an additional grace through which God's love and mercy were poured out upon them.
Pray for Paul

Just found out that another friend from high school has died. I guess he got mixed up in drugs a few years ago, and last night, an overdose took his life. It had been a number of years since I last corresponded with him.

Grant him eternal rest, O Lord. May your perpetual light shine upon him.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Famous Last Words...

Software developers will know what I mean. This was shown to me at work.

An article from the Washington Post written 10 years ago about the "upcoming release" of Windows 95. My favorite quotation:
"The extraordinarily extensive testing they did makes a show-stopping bug a pretty unlikely occurrence," said Chuck Stegman, a vice president at Dataquest Inc., a high-tech market research firm in California. "Someone would have stumbled on it already."
Sorry for the evil, ghoulish laugh, but... Muhahaha!

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Book Meme

I was tagged for this Book Meme by Brian at In Pectore, and I apologize if I missed anyone else who may have also tagged me!

1.) Total Number of Books I Own
I think I have collected around 200 books, either by purchasing them myself or by donation. Many pertain to Computer Science related topics (my profession and area of study at the university), others for French, Latin, Theology, Liturgy, and Church History -- (including a half-dozen bibles (from my pre- and post- Catholic days) as well as the Catechism of the Catholic Church). A lot of my French and Latin books were given to me as gifts (most notably the Nova Vulgata [editio minor] in beautiful condition).

But don't let such a collection fool you. I am far from being one of the literati, and I struggle to discipline myself to read half the books I have collected over the last few years. My fiancée has an extensive collection of her own (but, unlike me, she's read all of her books!)
2.) The Last Book I Bought
Actually, I purchased two books during my last trip to Houston, both works by our present Holy Father, when he was still better known as Cardinal Ratzinger:

Many Religions, One Covenant

The Spirit of the Liturgy
3.) The Last Book I Read
"The Cloud of Unknowing" (Penguin Edition in Modern English), Author Unknown. I spotted this at a used book store in downtown Santa Barbara. Knowing that it is considered to be one of the foundational works of medieval mysticism, I decided that I would check it out. I'll post my thoughts eventually!
4.) Five Books That Mean a Lot to Me (in no particular order, not counting Scripture or official Church documents)
Well, before I do that, I will mention that the books that mean the most to me that are official Church documents are the Catechism of the Catholic Church, my bible (RSV - Catholic Edition), and Christian Prayer (Liturgy of the Hours).

Not counting official church documents? Okay...

- "To Kill a Mockingbird", by Harper Lee.
Would that I might never forget my Southern roots, both good and bad.

- "Candide", by Voltaire.
This book, along with Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels", helped introduce me to the world of political and religious satire and the modern dilemma of relevance. I very strongly object to many of Voltaire's characterizations, but I am intrigued by his wit. I wonder if he would object to sitting down with me for a beer or two.

- "Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin", by John F. Collins.
I have been teaching myself ecclesiastical latin from this book, in addition to using supplemental material. I know that not everyone who studies latin prefers Collins, but thus far, I have been fine with it. Over the last two years, it has enabled me to drink centuries of knowledge the Church has passed down and developed -- directly from the source. (I'm still working on digesting it, though!)

- "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", by Victor Hugo.
This was the first book to spark my interest in medieval history about a year before I had any interest in learning more about the Catholic Church. I also thought this book best portrayed the dueling themes of the grotesque vs. the sublime. What is true beauty, and do humans have the capacity to recognize it by themselves?

- "The C Programming Language", by Brian W. Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie.
I'm a Computer Scientist. Where would I be without this book? Digging graves somewhere, perhaps. Maybe not.
5.) Tag five people, and have them do this on their blog.
If you haven't yet been tagged, consider yourself tagged now.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Salvation in the way God intends...
We comply with God's declared will whenever we accept what God shows us to be his plans -- when we believe what he teaches, trust in his promises, fear his threats, love his commands and counsels, and live by them... We must intend our own salvation in the way God intends it. God desires that we should be saved; we, too, need constantly to desire what God desires. God not only means us to be saved, but he actually gives us all we need to achieve salvation; so we are not to stop at merely desiring salvation, but go a step further and accept all the graces God has prepared for us, the graces he offers us. It is all very well to say, "I want to be saved." It is not much use merely saying, "I want to take the necessary steps." For that, we need to make the definite resolution to take and use the graces God holds out to us; our wills must be in tune with his. Since God wants us to be saved, we should want to be saved; we should also welcome the means to salvation that God intends for us to take.
St. Francis de Sales, from Finding God Wherever You Are.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Thursday, August 11, 2005

NARAL caught in another lie...


NARAL Falsely Accuses Supreme Court Nominee Roberts
An abortion-rights group is running an attack ad accusing Supreme Court nominee John Roberts of filing legal papers "supporting... a convicted clinic bomber" and of having an ideology that "leads him to excuse violence against other Americans" It shows images of a bombed clinic in Birmingham, Alabama.

The ad is false.

And the ad misleads when it says Roberts supported a clinic bomber. It is true that Roberts sided with the bomber and many other defendants in a civil case, but the case didn't deal with bombing at all. Roberts argued that abortion clinics who brought the suit had no right use an 1871 federal anti-discrimination statute against anti-abortion protesters who tried to blockade clinics. Eventually a 6-3 majority of the Supreme Court agreed, too. Roberts argued that blockades were already illegal under state law.
This isn't surprising, since according to NARAL co-founder, Dr. Bernard Nathanson, NARAL was itself founded on a lie and has used lies to successfully exploit women and children since even before RoeVWade.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I'm back...

Hey everyone... I returned to Santa Barbara this evening after a very full trip to the San Diego area as well as Houston, TX (by way of planes, trains, and automobiles). All in all, the trip was very smooth and very productive, thanks be to God. Got to spend some time with my fiancée, Christina, and her family, as well as with Bill in Houston, and it was awesome being able to attend mass again at Our Lady of Walsingham, which is a Roman Catholic parish of the Anglican Use. Many thanks to Bill for the great suggestions (and for giving up so much of his time!) ;)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

O quam gloriosum est regnum in quo Christo gaudent omnes sancti!
Amicti stolis albis Agnum sequuntur quocumque ierit.
It's good to know that it's still summertime. This week, I'll be taking the train down to Oceanside, and then it's off to Houston for a few days. Then it's back to Southern California for a few more days. It'll be good to see my buddy, Bill, as well as visit Our Lady of Walsingham (paging Woody Jones...), among other things.

Wedding preparation is coming along! I will blog more about our reflections when I return.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The mouths of babes...

Saw this (and many others like it) posted at church a few months ago from children...

I couldn't resist sharing it!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Fargo diocese will require pre-marriage course in natural family planning

Alicia and Brian link to this story.
Bishop Samuel J. Aquila of Fargo has announced that engaged couples across the diocese will have to be instructed in the theology of the body and complete an approved course in natural family planning before they can marry in the Catholic Church... Bishop Aquila said the policy arose "out of a genuine concern for the right formation of conscience, the understanding of the truth, dignity and meaning of human sexuality and the responsibilities a couple accepts in married love."
This is excellent news. This isn't yet a part of every diocese curriculum, but, in my opinion, it should be -- or at least something like it, and maybe this will begin a trend. My only concern is for couples who, for legitimate reasons, may be unable to able to complete a full course together during their marriage preparation. Bishop Aquila continues:
"Through my personal experience in preparing couples for marriage and through discussions with priests, I have seen a great need for this instruction to help couples fully live the sacrament of marriage," he said.

"Young adults are bombarded with negative images of sexuality, with attitudes that demean the marital commitment and with lies about the so-called 'freedom' contraception provides," he added. "They need to know and they deserve to know the plan that God has for them regarding their sexuality and the conjugal love they will share as husband and wife."
Here is basically what the policy entails:
-- Couples preparing for marriage "shall receive an introduction to the church's teaching on conjugal love, modeled after (Pope) John Paul II's theology of the body during their interview with their parish priest, deacon or qualified married couple."

-- They will participate in a Marriage Preparation weekend that will include a presentation on natural family planning. It will also include at least a one-hour introduction to the theology of the body, which the late pope outlined in 129 general audience talks in the early years of his pontificate.

-- They must complete "a full course of instruction in a method of natural family planning" from an instructor approved by the diocese. A certificate of attendance is to be given to the parish priest, who is to place it in the couple's marriage file.

For couples entering a second marriage, past training and experience will be taken into account, the policy says. It says if they are still of childbearing years, the instruction in natural family planning is expected unless "previous equivalent training is already present."

Couples beyond childbearing years are to receive instruction in the theology of the body but need not learn natural family planning, it says.
Some couples may not like being forced to do this, but then it seems many couples come to the Church asking for marriage who only give lip-service to something the Church takes seriously. Other couples may have more legitimate reasons, like I said. We shall see. Perhaps the experience of the Fargo diocese over the next year or two will help other dioceses.
Toothless in Appalachia

Mobile dental clinics hope to brighten smiles

Friday, July 22, 2005

Maria Magdalena

Today is the feast of St. Mary Magdalene. As I reflect on the meaning of this day, I can't help but recall how this special saint has been used to push forth so many misconceptions about church history. It seems "Da Vinci" mania is all the rage these days, but it didn't start there (understandably, since Dan Brown got a lot of his ideas from previous works, most particularly Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent and friends). Marcellino D'Ambrosio sends over some useful articles:
- Art historian Elizabeth Lev explains why Dan Brown's assertion that it is Mary, not John, who is seated next to Christ in Leonardo da Vinci's famous Last Supper is silly to anyone who knows basic art history.

- Catholic author Amy Welborn (also of the Open Book blog) explains why it is important for Catholics to educate themselves about church history and why Dan Brown's mischaracterizations shouldn't be taken lightly.
Considering that more than a few Catholics base their understandings about the Catholic Church from books like "The Da Vinci Code" as well as the mainstream media alone, I can understand the significance. Personally, I am thankful for the many resources we have available where we can study the writings of the early church (both before and after Constantine). One such resource is the Christian Classics Ethereal Library. I can't count the number of hours I have spent reading this tome over the years.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Like music on the waters...
There be none of Beauty's daughters
With a magic like Thee;
And like music on the waters
Is thy sweet voice to me:
When, as if its sound were causing
The charmèd ocean's pausing,
The waves lie still and gleaming,
And the lull'd winds seem dreaming:
And the midnight moon is weaving
Her bright chain o'er the deep,
Whose breast is gently heaving
As an infant's asleep:
So the spirit bows before thee
To listen and adore thee;
With a full but soft emotion,
Like the swell of Summer's ocean.
George Gordon Byron (1788 - 1824)

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Bad Blog Latin?

Yes, I suppose Fr. Jim Tucker has a point:
At least once a week, usually more often, I cringe with pain upon reading horribly elementary Latin errors in the learned pages of good Catholics who are quite knowledgeable about other things. I'm particularly amazed by clergy who do this. As Latin is again becoming the badge of a good and thinking Catholic, people are a bit too hasty in throwing the language around.
... only because I plead guil-diddly-ilty to this myself. As my regular readers know, I like to use this blog to practice my rudimentary Latin skills from time to time, so I expect it to be bad, even though I am quite anal about trying to do it correctly. I don't want anybody to be embarrassed as a Catholic when I use Latin poorly. Rather, I want to try it out a bit in an open venue and be educated so that I don't continue to make the mistakes I make. I also appreciate those who engage me in Latin in the comments (I do read them! I don't often respond, though, but I will try!) And if any of my poorly constructed Latin causes you to cringe, then, by all means, let me know! I'm a student of the language, and I always want to be humble enough to learn from my mistakes.

You will also find me posting Scripture in Latin from time to time as well (particularly from the Nova Vulgata), because I love, appreciate, and enjoy the translation and rendering of the original Greek, which far surpasses English.

Monday, July 04, 2005

I announce a great joy!

My girlfriend, Christina, and I are now engaged to be married! On Saturday, I took her to a nice dinner on the waterfront in Carlsbad, CA (just south of Oceanside), and afterward, we went for a nice walk along the beach. After a while, we sat down on a bench overlooking the ocean, and I proposed!

We are looking forward to embracing the profound sacrament of matrimony and the ultimate gift of mutual love for God and for each other, which our Catechism describes as that which "becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man." A magnificent vocation! Please pray for us and for our preparation for this sacrament.

We haven't decided upon an actual date for the marriage ceremony, but we are looking toward next summer. I would like to use this blog as a place to reflect upon the sacrament of matrimony and our marriage preparation as we get closer! For those of you who are married, this may probably be nothing new; but then I would appreciate reading your reflections as well!

I want to start by posting the great challenge of St. Paul to husbands from his letter to the Church at Ephesus (Ch. 5:25-32):
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.
"For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." (Genesis 2:24)
This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
Marriage is indeed a profound mystery, and what more challenge is there than to love your wife even as Christ loved the Church!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Feast of St. Irenaeus

Today is the feast day of St. Irenaeus, 2nd century defender of the early Catholic faith. I am often fond of citing one of my favorite readings from his work "Against Heresies", Book III, Ch. 22 which portrays Mary as the New Eve:
In accordance with this design, Mary the Virgin is found obedient, saying, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." But Eve was disobedient; for she did not obey when as yet she was a virgin. And even as she, having indeed a husband, Adam, but being nevertheless as yet a virgin (for in Paradise "they were both naked, and were not ashamed," inasmuch as they, having been created a short time previously, had no understanding of the procreation of children: for it was necessary that they should first come to adult age, and then multiply from that time onward), having become disobedient, was made the cause of death, both to herself and to the entire human race; so also did Mary, having a man betrothed [to her], and being nevertheless a virgin, by yielding obedience, become the cause of salvation, both to herself and the whole human race. And on this account does the law term a woman betrothed to a man, the wife of him who had betrothed her, although she was as yet a virgin; thus indicating the back-reference from Mary to Eve, because what is joined together could not otherwise be put asunder than by inversion of the process by which these bonds of union had arisen; so that the former ties be cancelled by the latter, that the latter may set the former again at liberty...

And thus also it was that the knot of Eve's disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith.
While Eve was made the cause of death to the entire human race, Mary became the cause of salvation to the whole human race. Through her obedience to God, she freely and willfully bore the Savior of the world in her womb.

Monday, June 27, 2005

St. Gregory Thaumaturgus (the Wonderworker)

There is an interesting pious legend concerning what is said to be one of the first recorded visits of the Blessed Mother to an earthly man. Apparently, the account records the divine vision of John the Evangelist together with the Blessed Mother to St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, 3rd century Bishop of Caesarea. Such a vision was said to have helped Gregory elucidate the truth of the Trinitarian God, equipping him with the confidence and grace necessary to go forth and preach.

The account of the visit is recorded by St. Gregory of Nyssa in his work, "The Life of Gregory the Wonderworker."
At night he beheld the foundation of the faith. Various thoughts troubled him, for certain people perverted true teaching and often obscured it through persuasive, clever attempts.

As he laid awake, there appeared to him in a vision an aged person in human form adorned with solemn raiment and whose countenance was striking by great virtue and kindness in addition to the integrity his form... After quieting his fear, [the aged man] said in a soft voice that a divine order bade him to appear, the reasons of which were obscure to [Gregory], in order to reveal the truth of correct belief and to encourage him to speak while gazing upon him with both joy and respect. Then the old man suddenly extended his hand and with his finger pointed to something which appeared near him which was a splendid female form instead of a male one... Not only was [Gregory] revered with regard to true knowledge of faith but recognized the names of each man who appeared when they called each other by their respective names. It is claimed that this vision of a female form told [Gregory] that the evangelist John was exhorted to manifest the mystery of truth to a young man, saying that she was chosen to be the mother of the Lord whom she cherished. He also said that this fitting vision had vanished again from his sight. He was immediately ordered to write down this divine revelation and later proclaim it in the church. In this way it became for others a divinely given legacy through which the people might repulse any evil of heresy. The words of that revelation are as follows:
There is One God, Father of the living Word (who consists of wisdom, power and who is the eternal pattern), perfect Begetter of who is perfect, Father of the Only Begotten Son.

There is One Lord alone from him who is alone, God from God, pattern and image of the divinity, mighty Word, wisdom which encompasses everything, true Son of true Father, unseen [Son] of the unseen [Father], immortal [Son] of the immortal [Father], and eternal [Son] of the eternal [Father].

There is One Holy Spirit whose life is from God and who was made manifest through the Son (as well as to men), perfect image of the perfect Son, living source of those who are alive, holy provider of sanctity in whom God the Father appeared who is above all and in all, and God the Son who is in all.

A Perfect Trinity to whom belongs glory, eternity and kingship which can never change. (Thus the Trinity is not created, has anything else which claims to be first, nor is there anything which exists that can be introduced later. Similarly, the Son neither lacks the Father nor does the Spirit lack the Son; rather, the Trinity forever remains immutable and constant.)
...After that vision had filled him with confidence and courage, much like an athlete who competes in a contest after having acquired stamina from a trainer, he strips himself for the stadium and prepares for the struggle. In similar fashion, so does [Gregory] exercise himself and the assistance of grace which appeared to him anoints his soul and makes it worthy to undergo the contest... After leaving his solitude, [Gregory] at once hastened to the city where he felt obliged to establish a church for God.
Of course, the authenticity of the account is questionable, but I find it an interesting record nonetheless... a private revelation from God, given through the Blessed Mother and John the Evangelist, so that an essential truth, revealed by God in the person of Jesus Christ, might be articulated more fully.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

RIP Jack Kilby

As a TIer, I could not go without mentioning this. Jack Kilby passed away yesterday. The modern world owes a great deal to him. But who is he?
His invention of the monolithic integrated circuit - the microchip - some 45 years ago at Texas Instruments (TI) laid the conceptual and technical foundation for the entire field of modern microelectronics. It was this breakthrough that made possible the sophisticated high-speed computers and large-capacity semiconductor memories of today's information age.
Requiescat in pace.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

27 years ago today...

I came forth from the womb...

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Prince of Peace Abbey

While I was visiting Christina and her family in the Oceanside, CA area about a week and a half ago, I took the opportunity to visit the Prince of Peace Benedictine Abbey. It was certainly peaceful up there, although it was windy that day. The place was remarkably vacant, not that I would have expected it to be bursting with activity. I did see one or two people milling around, and I did have a brief conversation with the porter after I tried to get into the gift shop, which was closed at that time (through the window, I did spy a fairly good selection of Pope Benedict XVI's works laid out). After exploring a little bit, I spent some time in the chapel with the Blessed Sacrament, walked the Stations of the Cross prayer walk along the outside of the abbey, and after that, I went to the library to read some periodicals and study their book collection. It might be nice to come back and make a retreat.

Apparently the abbey has been in existence in the Oceanside area for about 50 years, after it was founded by monks from St. Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana in the 1950s. The abbey church wasn't constructed until the 1980s. It was nice, though the architecture was decidedly more modern than what I am used to seeing -- but then I haven't been to many places like this. Have any of you been to Prince of Peace Abbey in Oceanside before?

Monday, June 06, 2005

One of the cool things...

This is one of the cool things about studying at UC Santa Barbara...

UCSB's Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics is pretty world renowned. Even the fellow whose name is shown in the picture linked to above visits frequently for colloquia, events, and various other research activities. When he visits, he can sometimes be spied lecturing a group of young physics minds at the University Center during lunch. Alas, though, I never saw him.


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