Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Bible and Catholic Liturgical Prayer Shows 8 Hour Sleep Pattern Was Not Common

I guess like many people I have labored over a misconception on human beings history of sleep. I recall watching the Beverly Hillbillies and seeing a constant comedy theme was how the family was going to bed at some strange hour of like 7 p.m.

It was not till in recent years when I saw a History Channel show dealing with night in Colonial America that I learned what was I seeing in that comedy show was only telling half the story.

 People went to sleep early but they were not sleeping till the crock crowed . They got up after a few hours and did household chores , visited people at like 1 a.m. in the morning , and did farm work. Then they would sleep for a few more hours till morning.

Early  roads were often built so the light of the Milky Was helped people see their way. In fact during portions of the farm cycle ( planting and harvesting ) working during night time hours were critical. In many ways this very much contributed to the myths and popular folklore of scary creatures of the night we have seen through history. People were roaming around doing all sort of things when they heard unsettling things go bump in the night.

One reason we have trouble of conceiving this today is overwhelming interplay with artificial light. Even in rural areas security lights, and the lights from nearby towns seriously reduce how one can see with just moonlight and starlight. Further the ability to have artifical lighting in abundance no doubt changed the sleep pattern for other reasons.

In fact the talk of prayer times in the New Testament and in Catholic liturgical prayer should have given our modern minds a hint that the 8 hour or more sleep pattern was not the norm.

First Thoughts has a good post on all this at Rising at Midnight: Sleep Patterns and Daily Prayer

Beligium Jewish Schools and Photographing Same-Sex Weddings In New Mexico

Law Prof Josh Blackman has an interesting posting linking these two events in the news .

It's well worth the read.

A few observation. I think People of Faith don't need to assume that  all liberals , people of little Faith, and even many  people of the LGBT don't have concerns how this case in New Mexico was resolved by the New Mexico Supreme Court. I suspect many are suspect  that Government can just run over the Freedom of Exercise issues here and the assorted speech issues. They should be engaged and highlighted.

Second I was struck by the Josh Blackman's Orthodox Jewish example in New York City as to the use of political power. I have never liked how the term culture war is thrown out. Mainly because it seem to be an attempt to shut people down on some big issue involving  such things as life and death itself. Still if something is going to be called a culture war this seems to have all the hallmarks of it. There are no doubt there are people that think having a 100 year like War on issues such as gay wedding cakes is needed. If you are one that thinks the thinks the culture war has got the Church too involved in politics issues like this I suspect you better expect that to expand more.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Its That Time of Year - The American Catholic High School Football Player and Pope Francis

I thought this was a nice column from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati newspaper.

 See Local prep athletes, remember the Pope’s words  . Whether its packed crowds watching Catholic High School Football teams in my part of Louisiana or elsewhere there are good words here. Here is a part of the piece ( read it all at the link )  :

The end of August and beginning of September means the fall sports season — particularly the high school football season — is here.
The lessons that sports can teach apply across all types of competition, including all of Ohio’s high school fall sports. Cross country can teach endurance and fortitude, golf can teach patience, tennis can teach focus, volleyball, soccer & field hockey can teach teamwork.  Football can teach all the same lessons, but for good or ill, it is the one played under the brightest lights and before the largest crowds.
High school football in this archdiocese far outdraws any other sport in fans and media attention, meaning that our Catholic school football players have the greatest opportunity to witness to their faith as athletes. While we’re known in the GCL and elsewhere for our successful teams, a message Pope Francis delivered recently to the Italian and Argentine soccer teams can speak to all athletes. It needs to be about more than winning.
“This is a social responsibility. Let me explain,” the Pope said. “In the game, when you are on the field, you find beauty, generosity, camaraderie. If a game is missing this, it loses its might, even if the team wins.”
The Pit at Elder will hold more than 10,000 fans on a given Friday night. Catholic Central’s Hallinean Field might have a smaller crowd. Whether you’re playing in the Crosstown Showdown, at home or on the road, the opposing teams will be looking at you, as a Catholic athlete, with the same scrutiny.
They may ask, “Do those Catholics play the game with beauty, generosity and camaraderie?” By doing so, you will live up to the Pope’s call of social responsibility for athletes.

Insanity ? Department of Justice Intervenes to Stop Louisiana Student Voucher Program

Rod Dreher notes some of the insanity in the fact that the Louisiana Department of Justice has filed suit to stop the Louisiana voucher program for students in almost half of the school districts of Louisiana.

As he points out most of the students that are using these vouchers are black !

He quotes African American Ken Campbell who opposes this move :

But Campbell points out that in many public school systems, real racial balance is impossible because white families have moved away or put their children in private school.
He said it’s unjust to put up roadblocks to vouchers. Doing so, he said, essentially tells the state it must make poor black children stay in schools that rich children can leave. After all, if they had the money, those families could choose private school and disrupt integration on their own.
Nor did Campbell, who lives in Ascension Parish, see a problem with some Louisiana voucher schools being 100 percent black. The real question, he said, is what society’s goals should be and how it gets there. “I don’t think our ultimate end is just to have racially integrated schools,” he said. “I think our ultimate aim is to have quality schools.”
I think that is largely correct. I think intergration is laudable goal but I am not sure it should be the end all in all matters dealing with education.

The fact is as he points the fact is a good many people have just put there kids ( both white and  minorities ) that put their kids in private schools or if they had the means just left their Parish or County to go to an adjacent one where they view the school system as better.

In fact its is now quite common to even see black students in private  schools that had their origins as " Seg Academies ) in Louisiana.

 Of course there are some legal thinkers that think it is possible to make public education mandatory and pretty much eliminate private and religious schools . I gusss one would also to have to elliminate things such as country lines on a map too to address the other problem I mentioned. However I think both of these revolutionary proposals are a tad extreme.

In the end I do wonder. If we are having more intergration in private schools then are not some of these goals being met in reality ?

New Book On the Missionary Bishop of Texas and Second Archbishop of New Orleans - Jean Marie Odin

This looks like a good book on Archbishop Odin. Archbishop Odin was the second Archbishop of New Orleans as well as was the first Bishop of the Diocese of Galveston ( all of Texas  .

The book Missionary Bishop: Jean-Marie Odin in Galveston and New Orleans publised by Texas A & M Press  is written by noted historian Patrick Foley. Much of the book is focused on the incredible effort of Bishop Odin and his group of priests, nuns , and brothers to basically have to rebuild the Catholic Church in Texas.

The North Texas Catholic has a very nice review of the book here. I plan to try to get a copy.

A book of some interest as perhaps the American Catholic Church undergoes another change .

Friday, August 23, 2013

25 Million Dollar Campus Ministry Expansion at University of Nebraska Brings New Catholic Fraternity House

I talked last year about the massive $25,000,000  capital expansion plan as to various Catholic aspects of the campus ministry at the University Nebraska.

Talk about putting your money where your mouth is on the importance of Campus Ministry !! Listen up Bishops!

So far they have collected 13.5 million. Much of this money will going to be much needed expanded Newman center and chapel on campus. However part of that money is going to other things. Such as beautiful new Catholic Frat house that has now just opened.

The Lincoln Journal Star has a nice article on this at Catholic fraternity house completed at UNL

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fellowship of Catholic University Students Expand To Eleven More Colleges This Year

Seems when I post on FOCUS the posts come in bunches it seems . This is good news. FOCUS is on eleven more Colleges this year.

As is listed at the link those locations are :

  • University of California – Berkeley
  • University of California – Santa Barbara
  • University of Southern California – Los Angeles
  • Eastern Michigan University – Ypsilanti
  • Georgia Tech – Atlanta
  • Murray State University – Murray, Ky.
  • Oklahoma State University – Stillwater
  • Stephen F. Austin State University – Nacogdoches, Texas
  • Temple University – Philadelphia, Penn.
  • University of Rhode Island – Kingston
  • Wayne State College – Wayne, Neb.

On a personal note it is nice to see FOCUS will have a presence in my neighbor Diocese that is the  Diocese of Tyler Texas at Stephen F Austin  .

I note that Archbishop Chaput , a great supporter of FOCUS ,  appears now  tohave their presence in his new Archdiocese again via Temple.

The FOCUS moves to 3 major California universities is also significant.

New Louisiana Catholic Blog - A Catholic Missionary At Tulane In New Orleans

Just wanted to give the heads up on a FOCUS Catholic missionary that has arrived at Tulane in New Orleans. See  Focus and Claireity

She is giving encouraging signs she might be an active blogger. See her latest entry Team Tulane’s First Week

Hurricane Katrina Victims ( Even Republicans ) Don't Deserve to Be Pawns For Public Policy Polling

Public Policy Polling was out with a poll on various matters relating to Louisiana this week. There was one question that has people seeing Red including me. That is a question on if Louisiana Republicans blamed Bush or Obama for the poor response to Katrina.

The poll itself is problematic with a sample size of 274 Louisiana Republicans . I might well as spend the day at the local Sonic taking a poll with a sample size like that . It also had other problems. But the question at the end " Who do you think was more responsible for the poor response to Hurricane Katrina: George W. Bush or Barack Obama? " was I find unprofessional and very well tone deaf to feelings and good taste. The Hayride ( from the conservative Louisiana side had a good post on this at Public Policy Polling Owes Louisiana Republicans An Apology -

However New Orleans media voices also are really questioned the why of this.From The Gambit :

...A statistically insignificant difference, to be sure. Of course, Bush was president at the time and Obama was a freshman Illinois senator in his first year of office. (In the crosstabs, older people were more likely to blame Obama, while younger voters were likely to be not sure.) But it raises a further question: Why was it asked in the first place? PPP, which largely conducts polling for Democratic and liberal groups, is fond of throwing curveballs. In 2011, PPP asked GOP voters whether they thought either Obama or former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin would be Raptured into heaven (19 percent thought Obama would; 51 percent thought Palin would). Three months ago, PPP conducted a poll about Americans' attitude toward "hipsters," which included a question about whether hipsters just “soullessly appropriate cultural tropes from the past for their own ironic amusement.” It also asked respondents to rate the palatability of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. Whatever the motivation behind the Katrina question, it's sure to be used as ammo against Louisiana Republicans' brain power (and ammo against Louisianans as a whole), while it also will give conservatives a chance to squawk they were set up.


As I mentioned yesterday the problem with the poll is among other things

( 1 ) As a smart ass question you are likely to get a smart ass answer

( 2)  This question is a no winner and that leaves no other options as an answers. It is very close to Yes or No Have you quit beating your wife. You either answer Bush or if you say don't know or Obama you look like a idiot.

The reality is this .Most Louisiana residents ( Republican or Democrat ) have a realistic view of the horror of Katrina. They see blame and shortcoming in all sort of different directions. Including blaming the hurricane itself. In other words in the land of blame people might assort blame depending on where they are on such things as " Ray Nagin " City of New Orleans " ,  Parish Government " " Blanco " , State Govt etc. These feelings can be quite intense.You present an scenario like PPP polling does and and split second choice and " Obama " becomes the entry for all that other.  Note the poll question did not ask do you blame the Katrina reponse on Bush or the action of the then SENATOR Obama.

The Lakeview area of New Orleans , to take just one example ,  is just one area that was full of Republicans that got completely devastated by Katrina. Many of those " Ha Ha look at these stupid Republicans "  have moved back to the area to rebuild. As we approach the anniversary of Katrina they and all Louisiana residents deserve a tad more respect than to be used as a PR tactic for a  poll company.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Southern Baptists Lay Out Religious Liberty Concerns With New Jersey Reparative Therapy for Minors Law

See New Jersey governor signs bill banning reparative therapy for minors in which they lay those out.

A couple of thoughts here .

I am constantly amused and tad frightened at times how people think that they happen to be walking around they think we got the science on this down so pat. It should be recalled the abuses we saw as to reparative therapy were also in part because people thought they had the science on this down so pat.

Also this debate is still very much put in the term of gay versus straight. There is again a vast amount of in between and I am not quite sure this law is the answer for people that have dominant heterosexual attractions and feeling but must deal with some level of same sex attraction in those relationships

Monday, August 19, 2013

Shock Stat of the Day - 20 percent of North Americans Don' t Know any Christians

This is sort of jaw dropping .  ( note Mexico is not part of the sample ) . I am pretty shocked at the Muslim number but even more as to the " Chinese Folk " and Hindu numbers. My first thought was what do these people do for a living.

It does appear the Christian community continues to have challenges with people with backgrounds from Eastern Religions. Though I had no idea that the situation was so stark on just the social level.

It would have been interesting to see this broken down on a educational level . Most of my contact in north Louisiana  with Hindus and Muslims in fact came while at college. A place where College Ministry might need to take another look.

Despite Town Hard Times - Small Rural Arkansas Catholic Church Booming Through Hard Work

My College roommate and best friend's  dad was with the U.S. Forest Service. While he was  in college his dad and family moved to Booneville Arkansas . As with many places in rural  Northwest Arkansas it had some unique interesting qualities to the say the least.

So I had several occasions to attend Mass at the Church mentioned ehrn  many moons ago I went with him on weekend trips to see his family.

I talked about this Church late last year because of an event of great sadness. See Seminarian killed; dreamed of being 'Father Daniel'

Happily I can talk about this Church and it's lesson it might have for us all on a more positive note . See Despite town’s setbacks, Booneville church is growing.

What ? “Fifty percent of our parish members are under 18,”, packed Vacation Bible School classes , and healthy RCIA classes to boot ! What is happening there.

I thought  there might be a of course some  Hispanic immigration factor playing  out to some degree but from the article that does not seem to the major driving factor. In fact as the article points out it's hard economic times for all and it does seem there is a lot of migration into the area period.

“Glenmaries have the charism of cultural sensitivity, and when we first got into town after the fire, we formed a ministerial alliance and organized a job fair with 34 employers within six or seven days,” he said. “Assumption donated $19,000 for a Cargill fund, assisted by Glenmary and the Knights of Columbus. The alliance was incorporated as a 501c3 and has a full-time staff person working five days a week.

 It helped people through a food bank, utility help, outplacement and resumé services and a thrift shop.” Although Catholics are less than 10 percent of Booneville’s population, the entire community attended fundraisers to help finance the church building project. Parishioners have raised $400,000 toward the project since 2009.

 Assumption’s focus on youth also helped the parish grow. “Fifty percent of our parish members are under 18,” longtime parishioner John O’Bar said. “We had 75 students and staff at vacation Bible school last week.” The parish youth group was honored twice as the best youth group in the diocese in the small-church category.

 “We embraced stewardship and sweat equity,” Father Tranel said. “We didn’t hire anyone to do things we could do ourselves. Everyone took turns mowing the lawn. We had calluses and calluses. Being in church is a privilege, not a convenience.” Father Gudipalli, who arrived at the parish in 2012, said that RCIA, youth and family enrollment is continuing to grow each year. -

Good article read it all /

Governor Chris Christie , Porn , and Bans on Same Sex Sexual Orientation and Behavior Therapy.

There is no doubt much to discuss and indeed endless controversies to be had on the new New Jersey law that prevents licensed counselors from trying to change a minor's sexual orientation.

Denny Burk  has a quick take on this at Governor Chris Christie’s broadside against religious liberty

Let me talk about one issue that is lurking in the background and for many reason people are uncomfortable talking about. That is porn.

When I was a kid getting a porn magazine was at times harder than getting a beer in some places. When you did acquire one the " hardcore " of then was nothing like the hardcore of today.

The internet of course changed all that and there is no real practical way to keep massive amounts of the most hardcore porn away from minors.

I bring that up because there are indications that excessive porn use at an early age can possibly effect the hard  wiring of the brain itself. Further in porn addiction groups among grown men problems of some level of  same sex attraction for many where many had none before their porn addiction is common.

I am not saying porn is turning people " gay " in big numbers However there there is a vast amount of sexual activity between " gay " and straight. Notice the  Washington Post article thsy Denny cites fails to be mention the " B " word that is bisexual.

So we are in a strange situation. The First Amendment gives wide protection to porn . Porn  that perhaps can warp a person's sexual attractions when one becomes addicted. However the First Amendment protection and rights of people in counseling have now been limited to perhaps combat this.

Bob Smietana Departure From The Tennessean Will Create Waves Beyond Nashville For the Religion News Beat

Bob Smietana the religion news writer for The Tennessean creates some waves way outside Nashville since many of articles went national via Gannett.

Get Religion looks at his departure. See Godbeat losing one of its best and brightest

Friday, August 16, 2013

Keeping America 's Fortress Catholicism Vocation Numbers of the 50's In Perspective

Msgr Pope has a good post up Welcome to 1950! A Surprising Statistic About the Number of Priests per parish

He is not saying of course the current situation is great or idea or does not need improvement. However I do think it is good to look at all the dynamics of that era.

A good bit of American Catholicism existed in times where there was not a Priest per Parish and Priests had to ride circuits. While that was not tideal that Catholicism surviced and flourised often because of Catholic Devotions and the fact that parents took the prime responsibility for passing down the faith.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Seven Shotgun Shells Gets Man 15 Years in Prison - Sentencing Reform & Catholic Legal Thought

Greg Sisk looks at at a Nicholas Kristof article that examines the latest insanity in Federal Sentencing. Something that happens way too much at the Federal level and is sadly duplicated in most of the 50 states.

See Seven Shot Guns Shells, No Weapons, But 15 Years in Prison .

This insanity is caused by people in both parties and if truth be told the emotional whims of John Q Public that have not thought a rational sentencing system out.

Add to that Presidents and Governors that are politically  gun shy from using their pardon powers to correct things like this and  we thus have this system that make no sense and causes injustice.

The good thing is it appears we are at one of those moments of time where there can be a real bi partisan coalition to maybe reform this state of affairs.

Atlanta Catholic Problems - So Many Seminarians Taking Annual Photo Like Planning D - Day Invasion

That is a nice problem to have. The engaging story behind the photo here.

There Are Some Executions That Even Pro Captital Punishment Christians Need to Oppose

It is indeed often forgotten in early American history the medicinal effect  on a person to be executed was of prime concern to society and the legal system. In light of that Aaron Taylor at Capital Punishment and Christian Mercy says there are indeed Christians that even support State execution must oppose .

Monday, August 12, 2013

George Zimmerman Verdict Cause People To Lose Their Minds - Example Infinity

A sort of WTH article by Richard Baker in some mag called In These Times . See The Illusion of Juror Sophistication -Like most people on juries, the six jurors thrown into the Zimmerman trial were totally unprepared.

There is so much happy nonsense in that article one does not know where to start. I think the average jury has a pretty good B.S. detector myself.

Anyway the A Public Defender took some time to do a much needed unmerciful  fisking of this article.

Could Mystery Priest Be Missouri Monk That Died In 1927 Car Accident ( Updated - Priests has Been Found ALIVE ! )

This is pretty fun as the " Mystery Priest " still had the nation's attention. See Could Fr. Lukas Etlin be the Missouri “Mystery Priest”? via The Practicing Catholic .

Update- Oh well it was fun while it lasted. Te Mystery Priest has been found alvie and kicking.  :)

Friday, August 9, 2013

28 Women To Become Postulants With the Nashville Dominicans This August

Its turning into Vocation Friday today with my posts it appears :)

Nice story here. 28 young women will start their journey to if they have a Vocation to be Sisters as they become postulants with the Nashville Dominicans.

So Why Again Is It That For-Profit Corporations Can't Have A Religious Purposes?

A nice post by Prof Adler questioning this premise.

Two College Students To Enter New Convent Right Off University of Louisiana Lafayette Campus

How many Catholic Churches on an American  secular or public university campus have  and even expanding Convents. I expect not many.

However this is just another day in the life of the Catholic campus ministry at the University of Louisiana Lafayette.

The newspaper in Lafayette has a great story on this convent that touches campus and of the two COLLEGE students that are entering it as they complete their degrees. See Local convent seeing surge in sisterhood

The article notes that in recent years 5 women from Our Lady of Wisdom that serves the University of Louisiana Lafayette have entered the sisterhood

Thursday, August 8, 2013

How Do We Know A Business Has Sincere Religious Beliefs - Religious Liberty and the Courts

Rick Garnett highlights a very interesting case out of Indiana involving a Nigerian employee that got fired after having to attend his Father's funeral . According to the plaintiff the failure to participate at this rites would have some dire consequence. Those included that he and his family members would suffer at least spiritual death if they did not attend.

I think this case gives us some guidance not only as employees but as had been in the news lately the accommodation and religious liberty rights of EMPLOYERS and business owners. More on that after the excepts from the Court opinion .

An interesting defense by the company was the employee actually did not believe in these beliefs ( that appear to be  mixture of Christianity and of customs  /practices . beliefs of his native village ) but just wanted to fulfill a son's filial duty to his father which was not protected under the law.

The Court said:

The evidence presented by Adeyeye and discussed
below is sufficient to show that Adeyeye’s religious
request to attend his father’s funeral in Nigeria so that he
could perform specific rites, traditions, and customs
was borne from his own personally and sincerely held
religious beliefs. That is to say, a jury could find that
for Adeyeye to observe his religion appropriately,
it was necessary for him to participate in the burial ceremonies.
Adeyeye has argued this from the beginning,
so challenges to his evidence on this element focus
on whether or not Adeyeye’s claim that his religion
compelled him to participate in the burial rites was
in fact sincere.

In our view, the issue is Adeyeye’s sincerity, but that
does not require a deep analysis of his conscious
and/or subconscious reasons or motives for holding
his beliefs. As Adeyeye’s counsel aptly noted in oral
argument, the prospect that courts would begin to
inquire into the personal reasons an individual has
for holding a religious belief would create a slippery
slope we have no desire to descend.

Has the plaintiff
had a true conversion experience? Is he following
religious practices that are embedded in his culture and
family upbringing? Is he making Pascal’s coldly rational
wager to believe in God based on his self-interest?
These questions are simply not an appropriate or
necessary line of inquiry for courts. We are not and
should not be in the business of deciding whether a
person holds religious beliefs for the “proper” reasons.

We thus restrict our inquiry to whether or not the
religious belief system is sincerely held; we do not
review the motives or reasons.

Later on in the opinion:

Under Title VII’s broad and intentionally hands-off
definition of religion, such beliefs and practices are protected
from discrimination. “A personal religious faith
is entitled to as much protection as one espoused by
an organized group.”
Vinning-El v. Evans, 657 F.3d 591,
593 (7th Cir. 2011).

 It is not within our province to
evaluate whether particular religious practices or observances
are necessarily orthodox or even mandated by
an organized religious hierarchy. “Courts should not
undertake to dissect religious beliefs because the
believer admits that he is ‘struggling’ with his position or
because his beliefs are not articulated with the clarity
and precision that a more sophisticated person might
” Thomas v. Review Bd. of Indiana Employment
Sec. Division, 450 U.S. 707, 715 (1981).
Title VII and courts also do not require perfect consistency
in observance, practice, and interpretation when
determining if a belief system qualifies as a religion or
whether a person’s belief is sincere. These are matters
of interpretation where the law must tread lightly.
in this sensitive area, it is not within the
judicial function and judicial competence to inquire
whether the petitioner or his fellow worker more
correctly perceived the commands of their common faith.

 Courts are not arbiters of scriptural interpretation.”
Id. at 716; see also Grayson v. Schuler, 666 F.3d 450, 454–55
(7th Cir. 2012) (“[A] sincere religious believer doesn’t
forfeit his religious rights merely because he is not scrupulous
in his observance; for where would religion be without
its backsliders, penitents, and prodigal sons?

I think this is good guidance and indeed helps illuminate some objections we hear in cases involving Employer rights. The Court of course must still make sure their is no blatant fraud . As Prof Garnett notes : " The “sincerity” inquiry functions as a filter, to weed out sham and disingenuous claims for accommodation, but it is not supposed to authorize a judicial inquiry into the genealogy of a claimant’s religious beliefs. "

For instance if Walmart decided it had religious objections to providing blood transfusions via the Affordable Care act  the Court would rightly be leery.

But we see these issues relating to same sex marriage and forcing some employers to provide services for these weddings. The common response is well what do they think about DIVORCE ! The argument being if if they provide services for non annulled second marriages then they have no defense to not providing services for a same sex wedding.

Notwithstanding the fact that there are various theologies relating to remarriage and divorce it appears such arguments are not the roadblock some envision.

Further its not likely the in ever conflicting world of medicine and " rights"  a employee nor a employer objection to providing a certain medical procedure can be tossed aside by their  lack of adherence to some part of the Catechism or irregular at times Church attendance.

The circuit court I think gives us some guidance in these matters in how they apply the law to this fact pattern.

Car Accident Involving Mystery Missouri Priest Miracle Has A Louisiana Angle

The young woman that was in this car crash attends Tulane in New Orleans. The Hayride has excerpts from the newspaper article as well as a local TV news video that adds some detail . See We Need A Miracle – And In Missouri, We Had One This Week - 

Americans are more likely to be killed at church than in a school ?( 75 Dead in 2012 alone )

Important article from Terry Mattingly at  Protecting the Flock from Gun Violence.

Some of those numbers are surprising as well as the fact that smaller congregations are most at risk.

Of course there are a LOT OF CHURCHES and there is no need to overreact and cause a moral panic on the issue which could cause some Churches to become even more fortress like. Still as the article states a good idea if  Church leadership has a game plan and some training on this.

Family That Owns New Orleans Saints Playing Critical Role In Catholic Seminaries Growth

Some rather good news  from the Archdiocese of New Orleans . See Notre Dame Seminary expanding its enrollment

Mention is made of the efforts that Karl Benson and his wife have made in some critical areas at Louisiana's two Catholic  seminaries.  There is a lot more interesting details at the article.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Lawsuits Against Vatican Involving Sex Abuse Scandal Not Doing Well - Another Case Dismissed

This is not shocking to me since the the legal theory of liability by the Plaintiffs have always seemed very thin to me .

Here is the statement by the Holy See's lawyer ( and interesting man himself ) on the most recent dismissal.

Young American Catholic Missionaries Face Obstacles : Their Family & Friends ( World Mission Day )

Pope Francis today released his message for the 2013 World Mission Day. It is a wonderful message.

He said in part :

The work of evangelization often finds obstacles, not only externally, but also from within the ecclesial community. Sometimes there is lack of fervour, joy, courage and hope in proclaiming the Message of Christ to all and in helping the people of our time to an encounter with him.

Many of those obstacles are firmly in the camp of the laity.

On that note yesterday Father Chern had a good article relating to this as to FOCUS missionaries that put their lives on hold to witness to the Gospel on College campuses. The biggest roadblock sadly are those closest to them at times.  See Spoiled by FOCUS .

Monday, August 5, 2013

So What Kind of Catholic Was Alexis de Tocqueville

The St John Center or Law and Religion 's legal blog is having a guest doing a series of post on Alexis de Tocqueville this month. In this first posting there is quite a big of discussion of the role Faith or perhaps anguished lack there of at times had in his life.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Some Startling Presbyterian Church (USA) Numbers ( Rapid Decline )

Juicy Ecumenism looks at rather bleak demographic numbers for Presbyterian Church ( USA ) . See The Coming Collapse of the PC (USA)

The Presbyterians still have an imprint in the Deep South but not as much as it was in the past. I kinda of look at the Presbyterian Church in my town and see some of the issues this report is talking about .

.Most  Presbyterian Churches down here they are more " conservative " than the national leadership and their national body. Some have left to go to other Presbyterian bodies , but most have decided to stick it out. One problem they are having is much like the problem other Churches are having in the rural South That is a migration of kids to the city and no new migration into the town.

IF these kids that come from families that have a Presbyterian heritage that dates from when the area was settling are  keeping their Presbyterian ID when move to the big city is something I wonder about..