Saturday, November 03, 2012

Dozens of mentally disabled registered in stepped-up efforts by state...

Dozens more hold office.

Chapel Hill killer registered and voted from mental hospital.
Recent stepped-up voter registration efforts at state mental hospitals and facilities for the developmentally disabled resulted in the registration of Wendell Justin Williamson, who in 1995 killed two people in Chapel Hill and was judged not guilty by reason of insanity. - Source
I'm not sure anything illegal took place - except convicted felons aren't permitted to vote, right?  And they can't hold office.  So did the voters have to show ID?

Dozens.  Dozens isn't that many as far as votes are concerned.  Dozens in office pose the real poblem.

That said, the article made me wonder:  How many of these people have blogs? 

Novus Ordo watch...

Or rather: Celebrity priest watch.

SAO PAULO — One of Brazil's most famous priests has inaugurated a massive new Roman Catholic church that will hold about 20,000 worshippers when complete.

A mass was celebrated Friday in Sao Paulo to inaugurate the Mother of God sanctuary. It's been in construction for more than six years, and it will take several more to finish.

Father Marcelo Rossi is the driving force behind the project. He's a Latin Grammy-nominated Christian music singer and author of best-selling books in Brazil.

He tells the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper the church isn't meant as an answer to the rapid spread of evangelical churches in Brazil. Instead, the diocese served by the church badly needed a bigger structure.

Brazil has more Catholics than any other nation. - Source

Evangelical churches have made many converts in South American  countries - I hope the Catholic Church doesn't get too Protestant however.  I also hope the priests do not get caught up by pop culture and the cult of celebrity.

It will soon be over... the campaign and political phone calls.

I can't wait.

One call I answered by mistake was a woman sounding extremely desperate -  that if Obama is reelected the country will collapse into Socialism.  "Oh my gosh!" I said, "I heard that too!  Thanks for calling."  And I hung up.  I screen most of the calls and somehow don't make it to the door in time for the political volunteers.  One message left on my phone was for marriage - to protect it.  I already know that.  Even a local pastor stopped by - he wasn't Catholic - he left a card - which is how I found out he was a pastor.

I've also received emails asking me to make calls urging people to Vote Yes for the marriage amendment. 

Interestingly enough, both sides of the marriage issue are calling each other out for lying and exaggerating.  Both sides are getting desperate - if not contentious and contemptuous.

It will be over next Tuesday.  Kind of.  If the amendment passes, the repeal process will commence.  If it fails, we will go through this again.  No matter who wins the presidency - the winner will be disparaged for four more years. 

Despite what happens, the country is divided.  I doubt any kind of politics can fix that. 

Disaster preparedness and Sandy...

All your stored up goods... gone.

Fr. Z was right about one thing - go to confession because you never know the day or the hour - we all could die unexpectedly or from some disaster like Superstorm Sandy.  The death toll on the East Coast alone is at 109 and may continue to rise.  For those people who lost their lives, no disaster preparedness or stockpile of food and drink and warm clothes or fuel or ammunition could have helped them. 

The same with the folks on Staten Island and the Jersey Shore - especially Breezy Point.  Though many escaped with their lives, they lost their homes to the tidal waves as well as fire.  It is shocking to see the fottage of the neighborhood that was burned out - nothing survived save the foundations of the houses - everything else was consumed and reduced to rubble.  If these poor people had stockpiles of anything on the premises - it was gone - not just left behind, but gone.   No electricity, no water, no gas - no nothing.

I've been thinking of these things while praying for the victims.

So what can man do?  What can a man provide in exchange for his life? 

But God said unto him, You fool, this night your soul shall be required of you: then whose shall those things be, which you have prepared? - Luke 12:20

For no man buy his own ransom,
or pay a price to God for his life.
- Ps. 49:8

Watch 'em grow...

Hot Blog

Seriously.  A star is born. 

I'll bet Patheos is panting... 

Hi Kat!


St Martin de Porres - redux for his feast day

I loved St. Martin since a very young age.  At some point, I wrote to the Dominican friars to obtain a relic of the blessed when I was in 4th or 5th grade.  They sent me a 2nd class relic, a swatch of his tunic.  I now have a 1st class relic encased in a reliquary, along with his pals, St. Rose of Lima and St. John Macias.  I was attracted to St. Martin because he seemed to have garnered the very last place amongst Dominican saints.  He was a mulatto, a black, and 'only' a donate-brother.  Oddly enough, at that age I think I wanted to be black, since black people  seemed to be the poorest of the poor in our country at that time.  I had no comprehension that my family was also very poor for the times.  I often embarrassed my parents with sentiments like that.
Art:  Photography:  "Saint Martin de Porres"  -  Pierre et Gilles, 1990

Silver reliquary containing the relic of St. Martin, click to enlarge.
St. Rose and St. John Macias are also included.

St. Martin remains an indiscriminate wonder worker.  He is a helper for our animals and pets too.  Thank you St. Martin for Gabby's recovery.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Adapting adoption... more thoughts.

We got kids.

I'm kind of glad I temporarily closed comments* on the blog - I actually feel free to really say what I want.  That said, some comments are getting through via email, and I liked one so much, I'll share it with you - bits and pieces, that is, respecting the anonymity of the author, since she/he did not give me permission to print what he/she had to say... as if that would stop me.  Anyway, she/he/it said stuff I should have said - the upshot being it/she/he completed my thoughts on some level.

Party of the first part:
Terry, there was a comment I wanted to leave last night under your previous post on adoption. I decided to sleep on it before I did, just in case it would be "too much." And then I woke up this morning, came to your blog again, and saw that you had anticipated it with this post anyway! =P

Or at least the blogger you have quoted did.
I used to be a huge champion of adoption, especially international adoption. What made me start changing my mind were the experiences of two friends, one of whom had mixed-race children in a country that is still overwhelmingly racially homogeneous (and proud of it) and the other of whom brought an Asian adoptee to a Western country.

The former loves his family very much, but the issues his children have had to face have made him a bit neurotic. He finally decided to move his family out of that country and to a home that's more of a "melting pot"--but before he did, he seriously considered finding a home near a Native American reservation. (I can't remember the specific tribe/nation, but apparently, his children could pass for members.) He just didn't want them to keep looking different from other kids their age. Now, his children are not adopted and were only 50% "other" to the rest of their original country, but they had issues so similar to those of the "foreign-born, mostly non-White kids" mentioned by the other blogger that their father is now a staunch opponent of international adoption.

As for my other friend, I will never forget her story of the day she brought her new daughter home from Indonesia, and her biological daughter said, "She's no longer Indonesian! She's Swedish now!" Granted, it was a beautiful expression of love from the older girl--a sign of her willingness to accept another child as a full-blooded sibling. But that's why the family will never understand how misguided it is. Yes, it's true that the baby will grow up Swedish, but it's wishful thinking to say that her Indonesian heritage will no longer be a factor in her life.

The debate over what makes a nuclear family is so focused on blood ties vs. love (as if the two are mutually exclusive) that one important point about the family is forgotten: a family is supposed to provide a connection to the past. Call it a living tradition, if you will--or even a hermeneutic of continuity! =P Parents who adopt will certainly be able to provide a lot of material resources and a lot of love . . . but they will not be able to provide that connection to the past.

Which reminds me. I totally oppose the adoption of orphans from predominantly Catholic countries by Protestant parents. Unless, of course, the children are raised Catholic. Hey, that's our condition for mixed marriages. Why not also for mixed families? =P And although I've just used a silly emoticon, I'm actually quite serious.
I agree.  However, even if the Protestants decided to raise the child Catholic - I would oppose it.  The Protestant influence would cause problems - in my opinion and experience.  My dad was Protestant and never converted until his death bed.  I was often harassed as a kid, and always threatened to be taken out of Catholic school, or kept home from Mass etc..  In a way that was a good thing because it prepared me for the opposition I encounter from gay people who oppose Church teaching on moral issues, such as homosexual behavior and gay marriage.

Party of the second part:
These days, I am deeply conflicted when it comes to adoption. On the one hand, I see all those children who need good homes--and they were already abandoned by their parents, so why shouldn't they be adopted by a couple that truly has a lot of love to give? But on the other hand, I've honestly yet to meet an adopted child who didn't need therapy of some kind.

The parents make me wonder, too . . . There is a lot of talk about adoption being a vocation, but I really think that for many infertile couples (or worse, couples with a messianic complex), this is just rationalisation using Christian terminology. There is exactly one case of interracial adoption that I think really involved a vocation from God: a white couple living in Jamaica (if I remember correctly) just kept getting black babies dropped off at their door. But I think they lost the plot when the whole family eventually moved to America (after the parents managed to find a town that would accept a family with ten or so black kids). The adoption mindset is that the children become what the parents are, but no one ever considers that it could go the other way around. It's not those kids who became American by adoption, but the couple that became Jamaican.

And if I hear one more person justifying this practice by quoting St. Paul, I will go a little nuts. Roman adoption was very different from our modern version. It was not about making some perfect family held together by love, but about the need for a male heir and a clear line of succession. It was political and very open. (Perhaps the truly damning thing about our own system is that records are sealed, as if parentage is a shameful secret.)

Oh, remember when I told you about a relatives best friend who had "two daddies"? Well, it's three daddies these days. =( Anyway, the "two daddies" adopted two boys, so this best friend has a brother. And that brother has been "acting gay" since he was little--to the delight of his adoptive fathers. I remember thinking, "Aren't they sad that their younger son won't have children of his own and will have to adopt like they did?" And then it hit me that their decision to adopt was never about having a family either. It was about having whatever they wanted because they could.
I'll just add that adoption has a pro-life hook to it these days.  We encourage it so that women who would otherwise abort or throw the newly born in the dumpster, will choose to offer their offspring for adoption.  It's not a bad thing, to be sure.  Although it's a little like a veterinarian opting to declaw/amputate a cat's toes, rather than have the owner euthanize it.  Likewise, it almost condones irresponsible sexual behavior and promiscuity, promoting a permissive mindset which is misunderstood as encouraging single parenthood.  Then there are the deeply disturbed Octo-mom types - but I digress.  Point is, human reproduction is really, really screwed up.  I blame it on the general decline and collapse of faith and morals - not to mention Franken-science; IVF, artificial insemination, contraception, fertility drugs, selective birthing, and so on.  Child abuse runs deep...


Quick shot: Gay dad sighting.

Reflections on the perils of adoption.

*Can't comment?  Got a blog?  Write your comment as a post and link to me.  I do it all the time for other bloggers.

Further reflections on the perils of adoption...

I did not know that.

From a blogger* I can't link to:
I have been following the murder case of Moses Alfredo Kamin, a 15 year old Hispanic adoptee who strangled his white adoptive parents in Oakland this past January. The reporting smelled to me of suppressed information, --no photo of the son exists anywhere online--I became curious. His lawyer is now asserting that the 5'9" 220 lb. boy with karate training has "Adopted Child Syndrome."

I discovered that adopted children have a significantly higher level of criminality than biological children. Including the rates at which they kill their parents. Apparently adopted kids are much overrepresented among serial killers, too. Ted Bundy, Son of Sam, Eileen Wuornos, Richard Speck and the Hillside Stranglers, for example. A study of foreign-born, mostly non-White, kids adopted by affluent Swedes showed them having significantly less success and more problems than biological Swede kids.

Adoption is seen by our culture as such a noble deed that it never really occurs to us to ask how the process actually turns out sometimes. It seem that telling a child that they are chosen does not deal with the internal sense of dislocation and rejection. 
The closing of adoption records to adoptees is understandable in some ways, but from the viewpoint of the child, to know that strangers know who his parents are but he cannot must make for a lot of frustration, if not rage.
In the ongoing battle about gay marriage, I wonder if studies about the outcomes of gay-raised kids, many of whom will be adopted, and a significant number of whom will be racially different from their new parents, will be compared to other adopted kids? - The author is gay and a former priest.
I question the findings as regards serial killers and criminality - I didn't see any stats on that.  I know couples who have a United Nations of adoptees - maybe I should call them and warn them.  If it's true, I'm surprised Mia Farrow is still alive.  Maybe Brad and Angelina should sleep with a gun. 

I have a friend whose parents adopted numerous children, in addition to their numerous natural born children.  Great Catholic family, quite wealthy too - deeply dysfunctional as well.  The adopted kids are resented by the natural children, and vice versa.  They are all well into their 40's by now and the issues remain.

People are so screwed up - why inflict more harm on kids?

*The site contains nudity and some of my readers are disturbed by that.  I might add that the author maintains anonymity. 

Blogging continues...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Splitting the Church, splitting the country, splitting friendships and families...

Something about marriage.

Deacon Kandra may be right:  "I have to wonder if same sex marriage will be the issue that finally and irrevocably rends the American church in two."

I think it is doing just that.

"We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel." - Blessed John Paul II as Cardinal Karol Wojtyla in 1976.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Prayers for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Catholic bloggers devastated.

Due to Hurricane Sandy and the resulting widespread power outages on the Eastern Seaboard, blog stats and donations are way down around the blogosphere. 

Hopefully FEMA will have some storm relief funding to compensate their losses.

Prayers for Catholic Bloggers Online.

Another moving tribute: PETA seeks a commemorative sign...

Desperate search for survivor fish after the October 11 accident.

A commemorative sign to mark a tragic fish accident.

The heart breaking story:
An Irvine resident is requesting that the city install a sign to memorialize the hundreds of fish killed in a traffic crash in early October as they were being taken to Irvine Ranch Market.

The sign would read, "In memory of hundreds of fish who suffered and died at this spot," to remind tractor-trailer drivers of their responsibility to the animals who are "hauled to their deaths every day," according to the letter provided by PETA.

The crash occurred Oct. 11 when a truck, carrying 1,600 pounds of live fish and several tanks of pure oxygen, crashed with two other vehicles.

The oxygen was used to keep saltwater bass alive as the fish were being taken to market.
"Although such signs are traditionally reserved for human fatalities, I hope you'll make an exception because of the enormous suffering involved in this case," the letter read.

"Research tells us that fish use tools, tell time, sing, and have impressive long-term memories and complex social structures, yet fish used for food are routinely crushed, impaled, cut open, and gutted, all while still conscious. Sparing them from being tossed from a speeding truck and slowly dying from injuries and suffocation seems the least that we can do," the letter continued.  - Orange County Register
How many fish were injured, killed, tossed out of the ocean in Hurricane Sandy?

I don't know how much more I can take.  How many more fish have to die?!


Hurricane Sandy Update: Bergdorf's Still Closed!

I know!

Thankfully the store suffered no real damage.  What an apocalyptic, if not historic sight, the windows boarded up, the store closed.  I couldn't watch any more storm footage after seeing that.

Twitter Update:

 Bergdorf Goodman@Bergdorfs
Good to know! RT : Just saw that survived !

Big Pulpit - raison d'être


Monday, October 29, 2012

Storm Warnings for the Eastern Seaboard.

Remember when it was just poor people in far away places like Bangladesh or Banda Aceh or Haiti or New Orleans that got all the bad storms?


The blog

“An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself.” - Albert Camus

It is getting boring.  There is little left to say - as far as good things, things that could really help people.  Although that is presumptuous to say.  I can't help anyone.  I also seem to be repeating myself - year after year - writing pretty much the same stuff over and over.  Likewise, as I read other blogs, I notice the same pattern.  Repetitive blogging - until the next scandal or disaster.  But don't get excited - I won't stop blogging yet.  I know I'm a disappointment to you, but join the club.

It is difficult not to view most bloggers as meddlesome busybodies - not so much the professional sites and reputable bloggers, I'm thinking of many of the small wanna-bes.  I include myself in that category - I'm always self-critical about this stuff.

The blog interferes with daily life.  When I was working, it took over my job.  I never wanted to admit that.  I can't see how someone can actually write posts on a daily basis, sometimes posting several posts a day - as well as keeping up on news, blogs, and twitter, facebook, and all the rest without neglecting the duties of one's state in life.  When does one pray?

I've been asking myself:  Is your mind, your heart in your prayer, your duties - that is where Our Lord is?  Or do you experience everything as something to blog about - to discuss?  Do you watch yourself think, pray, act?  Do you focus your attention on the comments and links?  Are you checking your emails and com box all the time?  In other words, are you more interested in what people say and think - about you?  Do you spend time formulating responses?  Do you become upset that someone you don't even know said something that hurt your feelings?  Do you spend too much time defending yourself against the opinions of bloggers and commenters who do not even know you; those who have no power over you, nor ability to affect you or your salvation? 

Unless your job is to blog - and even then one can not only deceive oneself, one can also exploit the goodwill and generosity of others - I think there may be something wrong in your life - some responsibility you may be avoiding, some dissatisfaction you aren't recognizing.  Perhaps you are not being honest - at least with yourself. 

Maybe it's just me.

Gotta work on a painting.

Storms Predicted for the East Coast.

Who will Pat Robertson blame for this one?

Prayers for all suffering from the ravages of nature, evacuation, relocation, loss of property and possessions and life...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mass Chat: Animal House

The Costume Mass.

It's for the kids, they just show up for Mass with their families and camera phones. Mass is reverent - no costumes for the priest or servers. At the end, before the blessing, all the kids land on the altar steps amidst great tumult, and Father speaks about the real meaning of Halloween - All Hallows Eve, saints and holiness, then everyone takes photos and videos on their cell phones, then the last blessing and then pandemonium.

It was stressful. I've been feeling stressed lately anyway - because of the elections and all the anti-Catholic nastiness and homo-hetro-phobia and personal health issues, and everyone knows I hate to complain - yet I had hoped for some recollection at church, but it wasn't to be found - in quiet, at least. After Mass was the pizza party, and before was the children's choir practice and the ushers were locked out of their room and there was a bit of commotion, and, and.

If one desires silence for recollection, one ought to join a monastery I suppose.

Of course we do not always need silence, but it would be nice at church sometimes. I was in the chapel before Mass to pray my rosary, and I suppose my eyes were closed when another man came in, sat beside me and got my attention by tapping his feet and clearing his throat. I think he just wanted to see if I was awake.

Christ walked in peace through the midst of them.

And the blind Bartimaeus prayed amidst the tumult.

We can too.

A Little Prince...

Please pray very much for my friend Wayne - he is a very good man - Catholic, and he works in social service, caring for the dying.  He's been ill and seems to have had a relapse.  (Mother Anne Marie, if you are reading...  Wayne needs prayers.)

Thank you.