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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Two Different Worlds

Two stories permit us to juxtapose the two completely dissimilar sides of 'Christianity' in Canada.

One the one hand, Gyapong's story re. the creation of a new Life and Family page on the CCCB website. See it here.

On the other hand, Michael Swan's story re. Elizabeth May's opinion on 'eco-theism.' See it here.

A question. Why do I suppose that they are completely dissimilar?

May believes that the biggest problem with Canada is that it worships money most of all. The idea underlying the Life and Family page is that there are forces attacking the family. But the solution to the one - money, the environment - is the problem besetting the other: government control. The left thinks that the government can help the poor and the environment by controlling the lives of people more and more. The crisis besetting the Christian family in Canada is that it is becoming less and less free to do what it does. The forces working against the family are legal forces - governmental interference with the freedom of its Catholic citizens to live according to their convictions.

May, who is studying for the Anglican priesthood, is a part of a tradition that feels no hesitancy towards imposing strict governmental control over people's lives to bring about the things it seeks. The main enemy of the Christian family is the ever-growing legal-bureaucratic monster called the Canadian Government. To strengthen government is to wage a war against freedom, in this day, the freedom of the Christian family especially.

Is freedom more important to the Christian than certain utopian ideals?

Do you ever wonder about the existence of these two completely different versions of Christianity?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Two Things Marian

1. I got notice about this today. I don't do 'apps,' so let me know whether or not this is a worthwhile piece of information to pass on.

From the promoter:

I wanted to bring to your attention a new mobile app called iMary. The app features an extensive database of all 83 Marian shrines found across Canada including interactive maps and contact info for each shrine. The app also includes a detailed history of Mary’s life, a comprehensive list of devotions and prayers, a virtual rosary, and a thorough list of feast days for each month. I have attached a media advisory and a photo of the app, and here is the link to the Facebook group and the iTunes store where the app can be purchased.

iMary Facebook group:


We are pleased to be able to provide you with a free promo code to allow you to download the iMaryiPhone app. Also, here is a link with instructions on how to redeem your code. This code will expire Monday, April 2, 2012.

Promo code: F74F9EN3TR6J


2. A little while back the same promoter sent me notification of a a documentary on Our Lady. I have not gotten around to checking it out yet myself, but here are the links anyway. Let me know what you think:


Facebook event:

A Few More Blogs

Special thanks again to Alan of The Sheepcat who has told me about a few more blogs.

I'd like to offer, among these, a hearty welcome to Fr. Stuart MacDonald, who is a canonist from Niagara Falls. He blogs at Musings of a Canonist. I know he'll be able to teach us a great deal. It's nice to finally add a canonist to the SCCB. The U.S. has a few good canon law blogs. Now we do too!

Canonists are a generally very secretive group. Or private? Or confidential? Bishops are too when you ask them about canon law and the goings on of chanceries. Thanks for breaking the wall of silence, Fr. MacDonald!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Particularly Attractive Blog

A new-comer to the SCCB, check out How's and Why's.

If we were to give out awards for most attractive blog, this'd be short-listed.

Where is beauty in Canadian Catholic blogging? Let us know.

And speaking of beauty, Tess interviews a fashion designer sensitive to modesty at The Feminine Gift.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The End of D & P is Near

Good thing.

I think the writing's on the wall.

Fr. de Souza has this to say at the Catholic Register, in his post entitled, Is D & P Worth Donating to? You Decide:

It’s a prudential judgment about whether a particular organization is an effective means of carrying out the corporal works of mercy, advancing the cause of liberty and justice, and contributing to the common good. As a commentator, I have given my judgment in light of recent controversies. The pastors of the Church have a different collective judgment. I wish I shared that view, but honesty — and the written record — requires me to say that I do not.

What LifeSite began a few years ago, perhaps the Canadian Government has itself determined with its funding cut. Politics makes for strange bedfellows, indeed. LifeSite and the Canadian Government cooperating!

I'm beginning to reinterpret Archbishop Smith's now (in)famous 'trust us.' Maybe it's (now) open to Cardinal Collins' two-year call for thorough reform? It's clear that Archbishop's Smith's future - his legacy - as president of the CCCB is now tied to the fate of D & P. It's either the D & P staff or His Grace. There will be a fall.

A few days ago at the same site, Fr. Paul Hansen presented 'the other side.' It's the seeming-obliviousness-to-the-issue-at-hand side. Yes, it's good to care for the poor in the Third World - who doubts that? Can't we do it without promoting the grave intrinsic evil of killing unborn babies? Certainly. So, to write about how sad it is for Canada to lose it's John XXIII vision by cutting back on the money going to D & P is just silly. John XXIII was no fan of abortion. Are we to believe that the Church's position on abortion was something John Paul II came up with? Selective memory maybe?

The good Father writes:

As Development and Peace now finds itself in a dramatic reassessment, will it continue to be committed to working ecumenically for justice here in Canada and globally?

It is time for people of faith to examine our own lives and support those efforts that work for the betterment of society. It’s time we questioned an economy based on greed, self-interest and idolatry.

To do all this, we need Development and Peace. It is our vocation as Christians to be connected to the poor, the weak, the stranger, the widow, the orphan. If government is no longer on our side in this, we need to learn to stand up now for who we are meant to be, who every Catholic was baptized to be.

To hell with the unborn, I guess, cuz I don't see them listed there?

I love the insinuation that if anything at all changes with D & P (like the termination of certain people's employment) that will mean that it cannot possibly serve justice "here in Canada and globally." Actual Catholics couldn't possibly be interested in justice, could they?

I got an idea - why not use the money cut-back as the excuse for why D & P needs to get rid of the anti-Catholic staff that has just become such a source of embarrassment to the bishops? I bet I'm not the first to think of that. Pink slips to come.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

COLF Seminar on the Family

The Catholic Organization for Life and the Family held its annual Seminar on the Family on Thursday and Friday in Ottawa. Although I will treat of it more fully soon on thetheologyofdad, I will just mention here that a special treat for the attendees was meeting Msgr. Lepine, Archbishop-elect of Montreal. What a nice man! And to think, just half year ago he was a parish priest. He had lots of time and interest for talking to boring people like me. (I passed him my card with the SCCB address scrawled on it.)

It was quite gratifying to see the half-dozen or so bishops there, not to mention priests, religious and laypeople from across the country - from Halifax to Prince George! So, a suggestion, mark this conference in your planners for next year.

* Update: Archbishop Prendergast has some pictures of the Seminar at The Journey of a Bishop.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


* Various members of the Society are blogging about Montreal's new bishop. A priest hand-picked by Cardinal Ouellet can only be a good thing! If you know any more about him than is being currently circulated, please chime in here. (I love the official photo that's being circulated. lol. Commercial perfect.)

* An invite extended by Socon or Bust to SCCB members for a get-together on May 24th, after the Michael Voris event. Hope I can make it!

* Veritas Liberabit on Heidegger and technology.

* Interesting: "Plan Parenthood's 10 Most Feared Enemies of 2012 List" on Concerned for Life. How does one get on that list? Something to think about. A few days ago Brian Lilly posted about being on CBC's. Same thing.

* Finally, The Busy Catholic tells us about the most promising development against the total de-Christianization of the Canadian public forum, Convivium, edited by one of my living heroes - Fr. Raymond de Souza.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Free Speech: A Canadian and Catholic Necessity

We might not all agree on the value of free speech, and those who do might not do so for the same reasons.

True liberalism, which is so much at the heart of the Canadian Parliamentary Democratic system, is something Catholics should promote, even if it isn't the best of all possible political arrangements. It is the best given that we are who we are: sinful, profoundly, irredeemably.

True liberals believe that freedom is good because people are good. I believe freedom is good because people are bad. According to my reasoning, the best way to offer resistance to the worst of us: Putin, homosexualists, abortionists, is to limit their power. We do this by giving no group carte blanche immunity from criticism and debate.

People try shut others up all the time. Fr Gravel is trying to shut up his critics - i.e. LifeSiteNews. In this matter we - all of us, whether Christian or just plain Canadian - need to stand with them against this enemy of freedom.

Check out LifeSite's long awaited statement vs. Fr. Gravel here.

And check out a great link provided by the Dumb Old Housewives on Mark Steyn, precisely on this subject of free speech.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ephesians 5

Excellent for Lent for the wives out there: Sarah of The Feminine Gift.

It's great when a woman is courageous enough to deal with a topic so many priest won't touch...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Something Beautiful for God

Welcome to our newest artist-blogger, Sallie, who blogs at salliesArt.

She joins two other impressive artists, The TiPSI Mom and With My Cup of Tea.

St. Luke pray for them!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

What's a Conservative?

Read Socon or Bust's powerful critique of Msgr. Charles Pope, who is an otherwise excellent commentator. I wish I could side with the Monsignor. I guess I'm a conservative.

The Holiest Church in Canada

About twice a year I come to Toronto with the family, to spend some time with my brother's family. It's always a treat to attend mass at their parish - Holy Cross.

It would be difficult to make the case for it being the Country's most beautiful church, but I will argue for it being one of the Country's holiest.

File:Holy Cross, Toronto.JPG

The people always amaze me. The pastors too. I have a soft spot for Filipinos, I got to say, and that has a great deal to do with the people of this parish, of which they seem to compose about ninety percent.

How do you judge holiness from the outside? I don't know. There is something about the way they sing and participate in mass, about the way they speak to each other and conduct themselves. Holiness does radiate, I'm convinced, I only hesitate about my ability to perceive it.

I'm sure we can all think of just plain bad masses we've been to, for one reason or another. But let's talk about the good ones. Shrines and religious houses aside, in your opinion, what is the holiest parish church in Canada?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Versus Hitlers, Near and Far

A great post by Everyday for Life Canada on the Declaration of Barmen.

If there's one thing that's lacking in the world today it's courage. Imagine trying to boss around the great Protestant theologian, Karl Barth? Wish we had more like him today! Edifying.

Where does courage come from? Faith. It comes from allegiance to that power higher than the state. Faith coupled with a truly gifted ability to reason - again, that Barth had - makes one truly impressive. To the contrary are ideologues - people whose faith lies in finite things, to which they irrationally ascribe infinite value.

Faith is the ability to die alone, poor, and misunderstood. This is something Barth had. Fear of these things is what keeps Christians in Canada from developing a Culture of Life.

Where are his Canadian disciples? Seriously. I studied with some really nice Protestants in Toronto. But, even despite the fact that I spent my childhood as a Protestant, I don't get them. Aren't they just a bunch of completely secularized liberals with a few drifting conservatives mixed in. (Intended to be provocative.) Give me Barthians, give me Barthians by the bowl full!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Is there a Middle Ground Any More?

I think the 'new media' of the Internet has contributed to putting a finer edge on things. Discourse and exchange has sped up greatly for those interested in it. If the SCCB can contribute to this in some way - and I do think it has an important contribution to make in days ahead - this will be through the creation of a more open forum than that previously made available through heavily editor-controlled 'news' sources.

Socon or Bust got me thinking about this. The whole Winnepeg Statement thing has been allowed to persist because accountability was an almost impossible dream. If the LifeSite expose of D & P has taught us one thing it is that there is a whole new landscape for the waging of ideological wars. This will likely make the inevitable decline of the 'Spirit of Vatican II Age' even swifter than mere attrition through retirement - not just in the episcopacy, but in the media too.

A question: How do we wage this war more effectively?

A hint: note that in his speech to the American Bishops B XVI did not mention the evil of 'homosexual marriage' by itself. Even the popular media was able to pass on the fact that the Holy Father also mentioned pre-marital sex. Did you note the anti-Catholic add carried in the New York Times today, mentioned by Where the Rubber Hits the Road (make sure you read the National Post article he links to as well!)? I'll ask, how would you respond to this nonsense? Are you able to respond to it in a way that is true and effective? This advertisement from the 'Freedom from Religion Foundation' is the sort of extremism that makes most people uncomfortable. Thus we have an opportunity to appear sane by contrast. Did this not appear in the Vatican's response to yesterday's cyber-attack? If the American bishops are able to tow a steady line that will also make Obama appear as the tireless radical he really is.

Christians are still a mighty force in this country. Perhaps we'll be pushed too far some day and then the whole entente cordiale between real Christianity and the political parties will collapse (it is starting to fracture with the Democrats in the U.S. and the Liberal Party in Canada).

I hate politics but it's hard to ignore. My only advice at this point: seasoned arguments. Why do we believe what we do?

There isn't a middle ground anymore, but it is very important to maintain sanity, polish and intelligence.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How is Your Diocese Sharing Lent?

I was really pleased to read in a letter from His Excellency this Sunday that our Bishop Michael Mulhall of Pembroke seems to have completely cut off Development and Peace this Lent. I have not been following all this stuff too closely, but he seems to have been pretty consistent with this over the last few years. (Correct me if I am wrong!) His strong stance should come as no surprise, I suppose, as he is one of the 'slices of meat' in the middle of the Central Ontario episcopal focaccia bun of Cardinal Collins and Archbishop Prendergast, both of whom have taken very strong positions vis a vis D & P.

My question is, how is your diocese living the Gospel of Life this Lent with respect to its distribution of the faithful's money?

(I'll understand if you folks from Edmonton don't want to participate...)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pics from Arch. Prendergast

Check out His Grace's pictures at St. Anne de Beaupre here.

My favourite one:

Notre Dame du Cap

Special thanks to Bonnie at Practicing Mammal for supplying this picture of the Sanctuaire Notre-Dame-du-Cap, Trois Riviere, Quebec.

Friday, March 2, 2012

What to do with Sylvia?

Those of you who read Deborah's Gyapong's article on the SCCB have been 'introduced' to the subject of my trepidation regarding Sylvia's Site.

Initially I hesitated whether to list it or not. It took a few weeks for me to move. Finally I added it. It has been on for a few weeks now. Today I finally got what might not be correctly characterized as a 'complaint', but rather as a 'concern', a 'misgiving'. The person who made his/her concern noted is someone that I know to be virtuous and a lover of the Church. I trust the opinion of people like this. His/her main concern is that of libel, 'misdirection,' swaying public opinion unjustifiably. That's a big thing. I live and work in a small town, at a small school. Reputation is everything. One stray, unmeasured word can do so much damage. This I know.

Now, on the one hand, I'm not directly responsible for what any of you write, really. I'm not talking about the law of man; I'm talking about the law of God - what really matters. On the other hand, as I was also quoted as saying in Gyapong's article something like: I am a theologian for you, more or less. My status implies responsibilities. I know it does. I know I have responsibilities at least equal to all of yours. Would you knowingly propagate falsehoods, heresy? I wouldn't. Do I have a duty to expose every error? Of course not.

I think at this point my feeling is this: let's keep talking about it. I am all ears.

I have read some of Sylvia's postings fairly closely. The key issue here is the presumption of guilt. I don't think she actually presumes guilt. I think she sometimes gives the impression of guilt, but an impression is not an out and out statement. Further, I don't think Sylvia makes the reader aware that there are all sorts of legal and ecclesiastical 'middle grounds' between innocence and pedophilia. I actually know of some people who exist in that middle ground. I have no doubt that pedophilia is a virtually incurable destructive disease of the mind, but pedophilia is not the only reason why a priest would ever be moved. I have been very closely connected to two priest who have had to move. One was absolutely falsely accused of misconduct by a disturbed woman. His bishop moved him to another parish for sake of his sanity. I tend to think the other was truthfully accused, but I have absolutely no proof of it.

Here's a little known fact: when I was a young man, somewhere between 18 and 21, a priest put his hand on my leg when I was sitting next to him in the context of spiritual direction. It was above the knee, but not very far above it. What was this? Yes, it made me uncomfortable, and it was at least a venial sin of imprudence, but was it more than that? Should I have phoned the bishop? In hindsight I am thinking that I should have. But making a call to a bishop is not the same as posting on a public blog.

Maybe I am biased: I know a lot of victims of abuse and more than a few young men and priests with some sexual dysfunction. I have a great deal of compassion for people who suffer honestly, but very little for those who sin egregiously and hide in the shadows, preying on the weak and innocent. It yet bothers me that when a priest is accused of a crime there is a presumption of guilt today and his story makes the front page, but for everyone else it is the back pages of the paper. Does Sylvia do this? I am thinking not. But again, I am all ears.

I suppose we owe her a fair reading too, a reading under the presumption of innocence.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Brother, The Pope

My Brother, the Pope

This is also very exciting and extremely noteworthy. I hope someone does a good review post on it. It was Witness that got me on to this in the first place. Next Autumn I am hoping to offer a course on Pope Benedict at OLSWA, and will definitely want to include this book amongst the assigned readings.

Treasures of the Church

This is really neat. Thanks, to the Sheepcat for the notification.

Please visit their website to learn more about their relics and see below for their schedule.


 Friday March 2 at 7:30 pm
St. Joseph the Worker Church
191 Wade Gate
Thornhill, Ontario   L4J 5Y4
(905) 660-1253

Sunday March 4 at 5:00 pm
St. Elias Ukrainian Catholic Church
10193 Heritage Road
Brampton, Ontario   L7A 0A1
(905) 846-9494

Monday March 5 at 7:00 pm
St Patrick's Church
5633 Highway #7
Markham, Ontario  L3P 1B6
(905) 294-5955


Monday March 19 at 7:00 pm
St. Maximilian Kolbe Church
5801 Kanan Rd.
 Westlake Village, California   91362
(818) 991-3915

Tuesday March 20 at 7:00 pm
 St. Paschal Baylon Church
 155 E. Janss Rd
 Thousand Oaks, California   91360
(805) 496-0222