Wednesday, June 26, 2013

After the Death of DOMA

The death of the Defense of Marriage Act is the death of religious liberty.  All faithful Catholics and Christians, Muslims and Jews, who believe that homosexual behavior is fundamentally sinful, and that homosexual inclinations are akin to other evil temptations, are now incapacitated by law from prohibiting same-sex couples from seeking to 'bless' a 'marriage' in their churches.  Here is the blood-money quote from the decision:

“DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty.”

When liberals talk about singling "out a class of persons"  for enhancing "their own liberty,"  what they really mean is that if you disagree with them you are headed to the concentration camp.   The "Patient Protection and Affordability Act"  actually protects no patient, but does create more IRS agents, and "Affordability" can be defined as an average increase in premiums of about 20% per person.  I only mention this in case you are one of the low-information voters, or elected representatives, who haven't been reading the laws passed by Congress in the last 5 years, and therefore haven't understood the linguistic trend to turn the English language into a hot-yoga class.

But I digress.  Here is a simple hypothetical situation to assist you in understanding what the impact of this 5-4 (!) vote will be at your local parish:

Mary Fran is a 65 year-old grandma.  Her divorce in 1974 left her free to pursue her ambition to learn liturgical dance at the local Jesuit/Sacred Heart combined university.  Her daughter, Chastity, never married,  but does have three children who have never known their fathers any more than Chastity did when she picked them up at the local rave nightclub. 

Mary Fran has been working as Liturgical Minister for her Pastor, Father Lupusinoves, at Saint Edward Parish in Snowden.  She is delighted to hear from Chastity that her grandchild, Pat is engaged to Chris.  She asks Fr. Lupusinoves if the young love-birds can be married at St. Edward after measuring the length of the main aisle for the proper ratio between the walk up to the front and the dress already purchased by Pat for the big day. 

Having appreciated Mary Fran's incredible choreography for many years, particularly the nymph-dance and bacchanalia for the last Good Friday service, Father signs the papers without a second thought.  An appointment is made for Father to  meet with Pat and Chris and take care of the marriage instruction, but Father can't work it in until 2 months before the wedding, so he trusts Mary Fran with passing on the paperwork and helping her grandchild and fiance with the basics of marriage prep. 

Reports come back to Father that everything is progressing wonderfully.  The parish hall is booked.  Caterers and decorators are hired.  Dresses and Tuxes are purchased or rented, flowers are on special order.  Every material aspect of the wedding is planned, and non-refundable deposits are paid, well before Father meets the couple.

As you probably guessed. Pat and Chris are two women.  Or two men.  Mary Fran has followed the logical path of what she has taught during her time as Liturgical Minister.  Father Lupusinoves might or might not get a reprimand from his bishop if he goes through with this.  The one certainty is that he if doesn't honor the contract he signed, he will face a major lawsuit from Pat and Chris.

If people of faith do not want this to happen in their parishes, civil/legal marriages will have to be separate from the sacrament of marriage.  Ironically, that is at the core of what Mary Fran has believed since her divorce in the 70's.  The Mary Fran's of the world have convinced themselves that the sacrament of marriage was invalid, personally and globally.  She passed this belief on to Chastity who never even bothered with it. 

And now the third generation not only disregards the sanctity of marriage, but mocks it.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

On the Hunt

I haven't been writing as much this summer because I'm on the hunt for a new/second job.  I'm hoping for a full-time job working with freshman at the University of Nebraska where I currently teach, but as long as I still get to teach, I'll be happy.  This decision has been brought about by my son's desire for pilot lessons, a need to reduce debt, and the possibility of sending said son to the local Jesuit high school for about $9,000 a year.

This has been an interesting learning experience for all of us.  First, it is reminder that all actions have consequences for our son.  He and I have loved home school, and that may need to end.  Second, I have discovered that in the digital age, applying for positions is more time consuming, not less, because everyone has a lengthy application that is designed to avoid spammers with resumes.  Third, I'm once again thinking about why I teach.

I teach because I love ideas.  I enjoy watching the wheels turn behind a student's eyes as he struggles to express a thought.  I'm older now, and  have learned some patience with waiting for the thought to form.  I also have learned not to take it personally when the thought doesn't form.    Teaching is like setting out a banquet; offer the best dishes you can muster and  hope that the students will eat.  Sometimes they don't.

I've learned that tests are not a chance for me to punish low achievers.  This may seem like a no-brainer to those who have never been teachers, but too many teachers take an adversarial position around midterms and finals.  The questions get obscure, the answers uncertain, and the trust between students and teachers disappears in favor of imposing a bell-curve.

Trust is the basis of all true education.  Can you trust the teacher to give you the best possible opportunities to learn?  Can you trust the student to be honest and industrious in completing her work?  Agenda driven education, far too common at the university level, is dishonest because it is not open to ideas, but rather prescribes ideas and demands compliance.  Without trust between teacher and student, learning is a furtive, sickly business, more like a prison term than a gateway to life.

Trust, and it's twin sister, respect, are earned.  They don't mature well  in dark, closed off spaces.  When they are allowed to mature, deep learning takes place.  Without them, what is learned in a semester can probably be written on an index card.  There will be no memories of the class that are brought on by later experiences, unless you get pulled over by a cranky traffic cop.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Renovating the Right Way

I've been in many parishes while renovations were taking place, and it can be hard to make a space that feels reverent.  Folding chairs, basketball hoops, and bad sound systems can make it hard to focus on why we are at Mass in the first place. 
I was reprimanded last weekend for speaking too loudly as I was leaving our parish hall, which is substituting for our church during renovations.  The irony was that I was taking about how wonderful it was to have so much of the sacred in our temporary chapel.

Look at this:

I want you to notice a few details here.  The altar was crafted for this purpose, and holds the Tabernacle.  There is a table between the chairs for Father's biretta.  In the dark opening in the distance, you can see the door of the temporary plywood confessionals.  The statue of Saint Anthony is one of several that we moved from the church to increase the sense of the sacred in this temporary home.  The icons of the Madonna were transferred as well. 

You can pick out other features, but special note must be given to the communion rail.  It was lovingly crafted last week by a parishioner who knew it was important.  I'm thinking of making some small foam pads to assist those who cannot kneel on the floor during the Eucharistic prayers.

So, Father Cook, I'm sorry I was being loud after Mass.  I was just so happy that such care has been given to create a holy temporary space.

For more on the renovation please visit:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


If there is a mortal sin I'm prone to it is rage.  I know, big surprise from someone who calls herself a Ranting Catholic Mom.  But the hate that I am holding is not rage-filled.  The hate I am combating now is paralyzing.

The problem is that I really hate liars.  I don't even like the little white lies of flattery.  And yet when someone is lying to you, calling them a liar is generally fruitless.

Is it wrong to hope that the truth will out?  Obama and his bride are seeming more like Macbeth and his Lady every day.  Can't you just hear her whispering to him as they drift off to sleep, "But screw your courage to the sticking place and we'll not fail."?  Or maybe, "I have given suck and know how tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me: I would, while it was smiling in my face, have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums and dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you have done to this."  Just ask the lesbian who heckled her yesterday, Our First Lady will not accept opposition.

But seriously, Obama never seems to waver in his narcissistic desire to remake our very lives into the living expression of his dreams of dominion.  Every time a crack or chasm opens before those who could truly oppose his wholesale support for the murder of innocents, American soldiers, and any opposition that gets too strong, Republicans, and news editors around the world seem to get bored.  I wonder if they are busy watch reruns of the Kardashians.

Where is the powerful bearer of Truth who will stop this madness?  Is it Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Trey Gowdy, Darryl Issa...?  Will any of them fight to the end if the cameras or the polls turn against them?

Assad in Syria is being given Russian weapons and is allied with Iran.  Secretary of State Kerry wants us to support the rebels fighting Assad.  If this was the end of the Cold War, we are about to be engaged in a very hot one.

Why would we even engage as a country in this invitation to mass destruction?  Obama hates anyone who does not bow down to him.  (Never mind his own bowing to other leaders...  that was just for show.)  Putin is his own brand of megalomaniac.  Assad has his own dreams of power.

Obama?  He has never demonstrated a single redeeming character trait that wasn't exhibited expressly for the cameras that follow him everywhere.  I think I really hate him.

But that's not enough.  There is another level of hate that is on the rise, particularly because this president and his colleagues insist on shoving their ideology  on Christians while denying that Muslim extremists are dangerous. They canonize any member of the LGBT community, except the heckler, at the expense of people of faith.  I end with this from Bishop Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, shamelessly lifted from

A similar search on the Internet for the name “Mary Stachowicz” yielded 26,800 results.  In 2002, Mary Stachowicz was also brutally murdered, but the circumstances were quite different.
Mary, the gentle, devout 51-year-old Catholic mother of four urged her co-worker, Nicholas Gutierrez, 19, to change his gay lifestyle. Infuriated by this, as he later told police, he allegedly beat, stabbed and strangled her to death and then stuffed her mangled body in a crawl space in his apartment, located above a Chicago funeral home, where they both worked.
I know about Mary Stachowicz, not from the Internet, but personally, because Mary was my secretary at the parish where I was pastor before I was named a Bishop.
She worked part time at the funeral home and part time at the parish. One afternoon, she didn’t show up at her usual starting time. This was unusual because she was always on time. A call to the funeral home disclosed that her car was still in their parking lot and her purse with her car keys was still at her desk, but there was no sign of Mary.
As Mary’s family and friends prayed and worried about her disappearance, Gutierrez prayed with them. Three days later, her mutilated body was discovered in a crawl space in his apartment.
Both murders were senseless and brutal, and I condemn them both unequivocally. However, the fact that there are over eleven and a half million more Internet stories about Matthew Shepard than Mary Stachowicz indicates where popular sentiment lies today on the question of same-sex relationships. Shepard’s story has received such widespread attention because his homosexuality was the chief motive for his murder.
Mary’s murder was widely ignored by the media, despite the fact that she died as a martyr for her faith.