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Monday, June 25, 2007

A Report on the Crisis in the Catholic Church in New Zealand

This report is disturbing, but is worth reading. I had previously found books about dissent, written by authors who have written or associate with groups on neo-pagan goddess/nature spirituality, in the lending library at our parish. Not that it's owned or run by the parish, but rather by some parishioners. We really need to be careful what our children are fed these days. Wolves in sheep's clothing and all that.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Lutherans, Catholics, and the chasm in between

It was months ago when Lito (extranos) and I exchanged ideas about the Lutheran-Catholic gap. At some point, Lito declared that I sound almost Evangelical. He also thought that I was like an Evangelical trying to remain Catholic. Lito felt the need to confront me and declare that I was either Evangelical or Catholic. At several points, Lito declared that I was confusing. :-)

I can't blame him. You see, there is a chasm between us, and no one can say for certain how wide that chasm really is. I had recently found a Ponificator post on the conversion of Prof. Robert Koons, and it confirms what I am about to say.

The problem with chasms is that you can't really tell how wide the gap is when it's too dark to do so. From having read up on converts such as Dr. Scott Hahn and Dr. Francis Beckwith, I think it is true that one can only measure that chasm through the light of charity. Without the light of charity to look at the other side, it is entirely impossible to put things in perspective. The other side might as well be as dark as the chasm.

[Story about Prof. Robert Koons was found via The Catholic Report.]

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Yes, but do Australian MPs care?

You see this normal human skin cell? Flick this genetic switch and -- voila! -- an embryonic stem cell!

The Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ

Thanks to the Catholic Report, I found the best thoughts and words to share about this feast of Corpus Christi. Nothing like a living witness, just as powerful as the Lord showed us it can be, and as he intended every one of our Christian lives to be. Fr. Owen Kearns at the National Catholic Register shares these victorious words on the Eucharist from Fr. Ragheed Ganni, recently martyred in Iraq outside his Church with some deacons:

  “Mosul (Iraq) Christians are not theologians; some are even illiterate. And yet inside of us for many generations one truth has become embedded: Without the Sunday Eucharist we cannot live.

“This is true today when evil has reached the point of destroying churches and killing Christians, something unheard of in Iraq till now. On June 2004 of last year, a group of young women was cleaning the church to get it ready for Sunday service.

“My sister Raghad, who is 19, was among them. As she was carrying a pail of water to wash the floor, two men drove up and threw a grenade that blew up just a few yards away from her.

“She was wounded but miraculously survived. And on that Sunday we still celebrated the Eucharist. My shaken parents were also there. For me and my community, my sister’s wounds were a source of strength so that we, too, may bear our cross.

“Last August in St. Paul Church, a car bomb exploded after the 6 p.m. Mass. The blast killed two Christians and wounded many others. But that, too, was another miracle — the car was full of bombs but only one exploded. Had they all gone off together the dead would have been in the hundreds since 400 faithful had come on that day.

“People could not believe what had happened. The terrorists might think they can kill our bodies or our spirit by frightening us, but, on Sundays, churches are always full. They may try to take our life, but the Eucharist gives it back. …

“There are days when I feel frail and full of fear. But when, holding the Eucharist, I say ‘Behold the Lamb of God, behold, who takes away the sin of the world,’ I feel his strength in me. When I hold the Host in my hands, it is really he who is holding me and all of us, challenging the terrorists and keeping us united in his boundless love.”

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Would you like to hire an employee who refuses to follow company policy?

So Cardinal George Pell is requiring Catholic Educators to swear to uphold the Catholic faith?


Actually the cartoon has it wrong. They actually *need* those brains in order to assimilate that. Otherwise, if we hand the Catholic faith to folks with their brains in the bin, they'll only do what comes natural to them (in that state): dismiss the Catholic faith without a thought.

Pun intended.

Murder and Forced Takeover of a Church in Iraq

They murder the men who are guarding the Church then convert it into a mosque. How are they getting away with this without a squeak from the mainstream media?

Please pray for the Christians in Iraq!

[Story found via The Catholic Report.]

Pride and Hell

So this member of parliament says to the cardinal 'I would rather go to hell than take orders on how to vote from the Cardinal.' Dramatic, no? Lots of cliches I can think of here, but that's not nearly as interesting nor as urgent as what is at the heart of such an outburst. With such a retort, this MP is not appealing to the matter at hand -- which is the ethics of creating human embryos in order to use them as raw material, resulting in their death. No, this statement is about authority and power. Government is ideally about public service, but I wonder how much concern the MP has for the female public who risk the onset of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome from the drugs that are used in the harvesting of egg cells. I wonder how much thought the MP has put into the question of where human life really begins. If he'd care to check with embryologists, he might get the surprise of his life. And does he spare any thought to the dismal track record of embryonic stem cell research with zero successful human treatments so far? Has he considered how this legislation sets back the funding opportunities for adult stem cell research, which is far more promising and has enjoyed more than 70 successful human treatments so far?

But no, this MP isn't about those things. This is about who's in charge. This is about bravado. And sadly, this is about pandering to the crowd, who can be so taken with the idea of standing up to the Church that they can't be bothered to think about the matter at hand.

So the MP would rather go to hell? Oh he's doing his share to get us there, alright. When human beings at their most vulnerable are seen as no more than spare parts? Oh he's getting there..

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Chaldean priest and deacons killed by gunmen outside the Church (right after celebrating Mass). May God grant them perpetual peace in His kingdom, and may God have mercy and shed His light upon those who did this.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Against atheism

Thanks for The Catholic Report, I found two thoughtful pieces against atheism today: one written by Peter Hitchens (brother of militant atheist Christopher) and another by Mark Shea.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Australian Tax Dollars to Pay for Overseas Abortions

This alert was sent to me by Right to Life Australia. Please get involved if possible. And pray!


Dear Friends of Life,

We should like you to immediately contact by mail, fax or phone the Prime Minister John Howard and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer to protest against the proposal led by Dr Mal Washer, M.H.R. Moore, with the support of 50 pro-abortion federal M.P.s to overturn Australia's current ban on providing foreign aid for abortions in poor countries.

Margaret Tighe
Right to Life Australia Inc.

Contact should be directed to:

C/o Parliament House, PO Box 6022, Canberra, ACT 2600

Prime Minister Howard (at Parliament House)
Tel: (02) 6277 7700
Fax: (02) 6273 4100
Mail: C/o Parliament House (as above)

Hon Alexander Downer (at Parliament House)
C/o Parliament House, PO Box 6022, Canberra, ACT 2600

Tel: (02) 6277 7500
Fax: (02) 6273 4112
Mail: C/o Parliament House (as above)

This email was sent by Margaret Tighe, Righto Life Australia, PO BOX 240, Carlton Nth VIC 3054, 0415765742 to jefferson.tan@gmail.com

Couples for Christ

Members. We are. Not entirely sure how. Swept off our feet. But when I think about it, it seems more consistent with the work of God that we would feel like this and be a bit daunted. As some have said of the Catholic Church, it seems that CfC has claimed us (rather than we who claimed the CfC for ourselves). If a group had told us that it was as easy as 1-2-3 -- with no obligations, no sweat and no worries -- then it would be too trivial to be of God.

I'd been searching for a spiritual director for months now, so this seems to be God's answer. And I've been musing over the Catholic/Evangelical divide for years now, and CfC is both -- but while Evangelical, it is not Protestant. Perhaps I am onto the future of Evangelical Catholicism. The evangelizing zeal and spirit of Evangelicalism is alive in CfC! But while it is of the laity, it does not supplant the clergy. It instead focuses on what the laity does best -- to be efficacious leaven in daily living -- while remaining grounded on the Church as having both lay and clerical ministries. There is no inclination to merge these ministries. The household of God is huge, and His children have been given different callings and different gifts. Let the Magisterium of popes, councils and bishops teach and clarify. Let the clergy administer the sacraments. Let the religious orders teach, and minister to the needy. And let the laity, from families at the root, be leaven to the world. St. Josemaria Escriva would be pleased. :-)

May the Lord bless this new direction in our family's life. Veni, Sancte Spiritus!

Friday, June 01, 2007

The trial and martyrdom of St. Justin

From today's office of readings, online via Universalis:
From the Acts of the martyrdom of Saint Justin and his companion saints
I have accepted the true doctrines of the Christians
The saints were seized and brought before the prefect of Rome, whose name was Rusticus. As they stood before the judgement seat, Rusticus the prefect said to Justin: “Above all, have faith in the gods and obey the emperors”. Justin said: “We cannot be accused or condemned for obeying the commands of our Saviour, Jesus Christ”. Rusticus said: “What system of teaching do you profess?” Justin said: “I have tried to learn about every system, but I have accepted the true doctrines of the Christians, though these are not approved by those who are held fast by error”. The prefect Rusticus said: “Are those doctrines approved by you, wretch that you are?” Justin said: “Yes, for I follow them with their correct teaching”. The prefect Rusticus said: “What sort of teaching is that?” Justin said: “Worship the God of the Christians. We hold him to be from the beginning the one creator and maker of the whole creation, of things seen and things unseen. We worship also the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He was foretold by the prophets as the future herald of salvation for the human race and the teacher of distinguished disciples. For myself, since I am a human being, I consider that what I say is insignificant in comparison with his infinite godhead. I acknowledge the existence of a prophetic power, for the one I have just spoken of as the Son of God was the subject of prophecy. I know that the prophets were inspired from above when they spoke of his coming among men”. Rusticus said: “You are a Christian, then?” Justin said: “Yes, I am a Christian”. The prefect said to Justin: “You are called a learned man and think that you know what is true teaching. Listen: if you were scourged and beheaded, are you convinced that you would go up to heaven?” Justin said: “I hope that I shall enter God’s house if I suffer that way. For I know that God’s favour is stored up until the end of the whole world for all who have lived good lives”. The prefect Rusticus said: “Do you have an idea that you will go up to heaven to receive some suitable rewards?” Justin said: “It is not an idea that I have; it is something I know well and hold to be most certain”. The prefect Rusticus said: “Now let us come to the point at issue, which is necessary and urgent. Gather round then and with one accord offer sacrifice to the gods”. Justin said: “No one who is right thinking stoops from true worship to false worship”. The prefect Rusticus said: “If you do not do as you are commanded you will be tortured without mercy”. Justin said: “We hope to suffer torment for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, and so be saved. For this will bring us salvation and confidence as we stand before the more terrible and universal judgement-seat of our Lord and Saviour”. In the same way the other martyrs also said: “Do what you will. We are Christians; we do not offer sacrifice to idols”. The prefect Rusticus pronounced sentence, saying: “Let those who have refused to sacrifice to the gods and to obey the command of the emperor be scourged and led away to suffer capital punishment according to the ruling of the laws”. Glorifying God, the holy martyrs went out to the accustomed place. They were beheaded, and so fulfilled their witness of martyrdom in confessing their faith in their Saviour.

The marvels of parenthood

It's been a rather busy two weeks in the Tan household. The children got sick (one after the other). They got better and promptly took in another virus. Patrick can be particularly high-maintenance when he's ill, and my wife lost hours of sleep as a result. It can only be divine intervention that, through it all, a notable thought actually came to mind: how marvellous it is to be a parent! Why? It is truly gracious of God to share with us this gift of being parents to our children. While my wife and I may whine about the way our children whine when they are sick (hmm.. we do whine just as badly as they), our appreciation of the experience is nothing in comparison to how our Father in Heaven feels when we, his "adult" children, require such high maintenance and patience when we in turn get sick. Or crash in some form, e.g., become depressed, throw tantrums over stressful days. I think I have it bad? How does Abba in Heaven feel with millions of squabbling, whining children all over the world, puportedly grownups but childish in many ways. If I had patience the size of a mustard seed, O Lord! If I had the generosity the size of a grain of sand. How patient and generous Abba is in Heaven!