Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Novena

Here's the novena I pray November 30 - December 24.

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment at which the Son of God was born of a most pure Virgin at midnight in Bethlehem in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, oh my God, to hear my prayers and grant my desires. (Mention your intentions here) Through the merits of our savior Jesus Christ and of His blessed Mother. Amen.

Say 15 times a day from St. Andrew's Day until Christmas.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Willing Victims


Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik has been deemed criminally insane and thus unfit to stand trial. This means he is unlikely to be sent to jail; rather, he will live out his days in a psychiatric institution. That assumes, of course, that he isn't deemed healthy at some future time -- in which case he could be released.

One young survivor of the killer's murderous rampage said, "The most important thing for me is not to punish Breivik...what matters to me is that he no longer poses a threat to society."

Such sentiments give encouragement and hope to future sociopaths, who are confirmed by such tolerant and judgment-impaired remarks in their murderous notions. To paraphrase Martin Luther, the contemporary message is kill and kill boldly, because nothing will separate you from the tolerance of the modernist mind -- i.e. the mind that holds "free will" to be the mechanism by which one accepts illogical precepts as truths. Delusional unreality means innocents suffer.

Prosecutor Svein Holden said Breivik "lives in his own delusional universe and his thoughts and acts are governed by this universe." And there Breivik shall remain, having no external constraint brought to bear that would oblige him reconsider his assumptions. Justice, meanwhile, is deferred -- for a time.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Advent Upon Us

I Sunday of Advent

Advent is upon us. The next few weeks are a preparation for Christmas. This time parallels the period in history when the faithful ones waited with great longing for the arrival of their Messiah.

In practical terms, my own efforts will involve minimizing my exposure to activities that are premature for the pending holy day. The Advent wreath will be out; Christmas carols will be postponed; Christmas decorations will go up Christmas eve and will stay up at least until January 6 -- the 12th day of Christmas.

Soon the Savior will be here -- soon, but not quite yet.

Friday, November 25, 2011

What a Choice


Apple guru Steve Jobs was adopted as a child. In the early 80s he set out to find his birth mother, even hiring a private detective for the task.

The reason? Jobs explained:

"To see if she was OK and to thank her, because I’m glad I didn’t end up as an abortion," he said. "She was 23 and she went through a lot to have me."

Jobs did locate his birth mother. He said that after they met she would often burst into tears and apologize for giving him up for adoption.

"Don’t worry," he told her. "I had a great childhood. I turned out OK."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Forming a Conscience

A women I spoke with years ago informed me she was giving up being Catholic.

"I don't like feeling bad all the time," she said.

"I feel bad only when I've done something wrong," I replied.

She didn't like the reply -- in fact, she became downright caustic.

It turns out that she'd made a wreck of her marriage and was abandoning her husband; small wonder she felt bad. Worse, her Catholic faith obliged her to do the right thing, which meant owning up to her misconduct and repairing the harm she had caused through her neglect and selfishness. Ergo, the Catholic faith had to go.

We're responsible for the right formation of our own conscience. A correct conscience is not something that happens to us -- rather, it is something we develop just as we develop correct grammar, correct posture, correct handwriting. We start with the instruction given by those in authority over us -- e.g. parents, teachers. With time we learn to recognize good sources of authority and follow their lead. Just as we'll never be at a point where we won't need to go back to the dentist to check out our teeth, we'll never get to a point where we won't need good instruction and helpful reminders on how to live a good life.

"I have a clear conscience" can be a sign of a bad or selective memory.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Abp. John Donoghue, RIP

The retired Archbishop of Atlanta, John Francis Donahue, died last Friday. Requiescat in Pace.

An article published by a local paper ended its story on the topic with this parting shot:

"The AJC cited several controversial stands, including refusing the participation of women in foot-washing ceremonies and denial of the Eucharist to politicians who took pro-abortion positions."

Not surprisingly, the article's author describes himself as "a registered Democrat, with moderate to liberal beliefs" and a "casual Catholic." Pity he didn't also include the moniker "casual reporter."

Anyway, the irony here is that the controversy is not the late Archbishop's lawful directives. Rather, the controversy is (1) the intrusion of anti-establishment notions into ancient Catholic ceremonies and (2) the fact that pro-choice opportunists try to exploit the good name of "Catholic" for their own political ends. If the agitators would quit trying to outrageously pass off these utterly foreign elements as Catholic, then the Archbishop's routine statements about everyday Catholic matters would have a better chance of being reported in the proper light.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran Relatives

Three of my Great Uncles served in WWII.

Cyril F. Wehrkamp
* January 21, 1922 - November 8, 1944 (age 22)
* Served with the 318th Infantry Division, Company C in France under General Patton.
* He was killed in France at the Battle of the Bulge.
* He was awarded the Meritorious Service Award and the Purple Heart.
* Buried in the St. Aloysius Catholic Cemetery, Carthegena, OH.

Bred ("Bud") W. Wehrkamp
* Great Uncle Bud was my grandmother's twin brother.
* September 8, 1924 – January 8, 1954 (age 30)
* Entered the Air Force and served in the Pacific Theatre of War with the 5th Air Force.
* Was wounded several times and was awarded the Purple Heart.
* Dad said it was the war wounds that eventually caused his death.
* Buried in the St. Aloysius Catholic Cemetery, Carthegena, OH.

Cletus J. Wehrkamp
* August 3, 1919 – July 2, 1978 (age 58)
* Served in the U.S. Army December 6, 1941 - March 31, 1963.
* Great Uncle Cletus took officer training at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey, and was stationed in Vint Hill, VA and England, Italy, Japan, Korea, Turkey, and Germany.
* He died at Walter Reed Hospital in 1978 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery (grave 884, section 65 on Marshall Drive).

That part of the family is German Catholic (with a Prussian army officer thrown in to boot). The various German families came to the States in the 1840s and 1850s and settled for the most part in Ohio.

My father’s father also served in the US Air Force in WWII. He was a bombardier navigator on a B17 that flew sorties over Germany and took out oil refineries. My grandpa blew up Nazis.

In your charity, kindly remember the repose of the souls of these veterans this Veteran's Day.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Hotel Room Service Fees

So the restaurant in the hotel where I stayed was out of commission, but the hotel offered room service.

The room service tab came with a 19% service charge. Well and good, one might think, that way the staff gets its tip and the hotel gets a little markup.

But no, there is also a $3.00 delivery charge. I suppose every little bit helps.

When I signed for the meal, I noted that the bill had a line where I could also add a tip.

Are these people crazy?