Friday, December 16, 2011

The "Church" of Scientology

Doyle Mills, a Scientologist Auditor met Blessed John Paul II.
I must inform Mr. Mills that the Pope is weilding a much more
powerful "e meter" than you've ever been hooked up to!
Have you ever taken one of those Cosmo quizzes to find out which personality type you are?  Have you ever read your horoscope and believed it?  Do you believe that these diversions are just insightful entertainment?  You may have primed yourself to take a "stress test" or "personality test" by a practitioner of Dianetics (Scientology).

Many years back, I had a friend who was an ex-Scientologist.  Her family had paid big bucks to get her out of the cult and deprogrammed.  A bunch of us in a dorm sat down and heard her explain Scientology for a few hours.  It blew our minds!  I'll give you a thumbnail sketch of what I learned.

How to become a Scientologist

  1. Take a personality test
    1. Like many cons, this test makes everyone a "winner".  Since people like to be part of the "in crowd," they are pleased to "pass" the Oxford Capacity Analysis test (OCAT), the main recruiting device of Scientology.  
    2. If you don't "pass" the test you an an "S.P."  My friend (we'll call her Heidi) said that if you are approached by a Scientologist, just tell  them you're an s.p. and walk away.  
  2. Get Audited
  3. This woman is attached to an e meter.  The Scientologist
    Auditor would be with her.  This is a kind of cross between
    psychotherapy and lie detection.  The irony of this being the
    cornerstone of Scientology is not lost on me.  Scientology
    is adamant that modern Psychiatry is a lie.  
    1. This is the most ironic part of Scientology!  After you pass the OCAT, you pay for auditing sessions.  In these sessions an e reader machine measures your electrical output and various waves of energy while you talk about your history and your problems with a Scientology Auditor.  The concept is a mix of psychotherapy and lie detection.  
    2. Every bad thing that has ever happened to you or you in a past life is stored on you in the form of an "engram" on your mind.  In order to be happy and live up to your potential, you must rid your mind of engrams.  Auditing is how this is done.
    3. As a bad experience is discussed, the auditor reads the e meter.  Through this kind of talk therapy, the cult member gradually eliminates the engram through self-empowerment, a bit like ironing wrinkles from a shirt with multiple strokes of the iron.  
    4. Evidently, confession to the engram of homosexual attraction is a standard part of all members' auditing experience.  Auditors lead subjects into their present and past lives to find engrams and discuss the experiences in detail.  
    5. Did I mention that auditing sessions are recorded?  If you try to leave the group, they use confessions to keep you in.  
    6. Once all engrams have been eliminated from your mind, you are "clear."  This might be likened to a state of Nirvana among the Buddhists, but instead of becoming jolly and serene like Buddah, you turn into Tom Cruise!
  4. Learn more
    1. Once clear, the new Scientologist begins to learn more about the story of Xenu (their god who is L. Ron Hubbard in another form) and other elements of the story of Dianetics.  
  5. Recruit
    1. This goes without saying.
I believe that the practice of Scientology is antithetical to the practice of Catholicism.  You cannot be a Catholic Scientologist!  While the Vatican has yet to make a pronouncement about Scientology, many Catholics, both clergy and laity have stood up to Scientology.  The Sisters of Saint Paul have courageously published a book that exposes abuses within the cult.  Cardinal Marc Oulette has been strong in his stance against the dangerous cult.

Scientology has stuck by its policy of offensiveness.  It is suing constantly.  Scientology is currently suing an Orthodox Church in Russia because the church had criticised Scientology and warned members about their tactics and stress tests.    They are also seeking a civil judgement against Paul Haggis, a former leader of the "church."  Oh, did I mention that they are suing the Sisters of Saint Paul?

I think it's time for the USCCB and The Vatican to make an official statement.  

Friday, December 9, 2011

Frosty The Snowman

The story of Frosty the Snowman is a kind of miniature of the Gospel.  Not the story of Jesus, but His promise to us of the resurrection.  Frosty prances about with the children, having fun and singing.  When he begins to melt away, he promises a return.  One imagines a glorified Frosty who is even stronger, happier, and even more of an adventure.

The song was recorded in 1950 by Gene Autry.  Autry had struck gold with his hit Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer in 1949.  This was indeed the hayday of classic Christmas music. Silver Bells, All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, Jingle Bell Rock, Santa Baby, Nuttin' for Christmas, and Let it Snow all had their first hit recordings in the 10 years following the war.

A variety of artists have recorded Frosty the Snowman. The Beach Boys, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, The Jackson 5, and even Burt Reynolds have recorded Frosty's song.  Second Degree, Bing Crosby recorded a version of the song too.

Now, we've already done the post on Bing Crosby (click above link), but I wanted to share some unsettling things I discovered while reading Bing's obituary on the Holy Cross Cemetery website.  I had heard that he was a stern father who had disowned his gay son and was harsh with his other children as well.  In his final requests he writes
"Except as otherwise provided in this will and the trust, I have intentionally and with full knowledge omitted to provide for my heirs, and I have specifically failed to provide for any child of mine whether mentioned in this will or in said trust or otherwise."
Okay, so he probably continued the disavowing of his son through the trust.  Perhaps he excluded the others as well, but trust records are not public, so he may have left his straight children or grandchildren something.  You have to admit that the wording is harsh, distant, cold, and final.  He goes on
"my funeral services be conducted in a Catholic church; that they be completely private with attendance limited to my wife and the above-mentioned children; that a low Mass be said and that no memorial service of any kind be held. I further direct that, insofar as possible, services be held without any publicity, other than that which my family permits after my burial, which shall be in a Catholic cemetery."
The obituary continues
 After his death, several of his sons painted a picture of Crosby as a cold and distant father, who severely punished his children. Son Gary Crosby wrote a controversial tell-all biography titled, "Going My Own Way" in 1983. Two other sons, Lindsay and Dennis, committed suicide.
Here he is singing with his wife and three of the seven he would eventually have.  Notice the extreme awkwardness of the family dynamic.  Did one of these boys end up taking his own life?

Does anyone else see a disconnect between the insistence on a Catholic burial and the hateful will?  What about the two suicides and (we read in the article) two marriages.  Do you think Bing is currently being praised for his Catholic faithfulness or suffering purification for the abandonment of souls he was blessed to have as children and charged to raise?  Can a Catholic parent disown a child because they struggle with or are plagued with a sin?   Perhaps Bing should have taken his character from White Christmas' advice and counted his blessings.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Penn State Football: Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice's sake

Jerry Sandusky, Penn State, and the Cover-up

The Thanksgiving football were on and I just couldn't help but look at all the "manly" and "masculine" men with the Motorola headsets and the men with very tight pants who are probably hopped up on testosterone and think, wow, which ones are raping boys when they think nobody is looking?  It's the same way the world is looking at priests since the abuse scandal broke almost ten years ago.

Human beings want to find order and predictability in their world.  If they hear about a scandal like this, they want to find ways that this would be impossible in their own sphere of influence.

In Massachusetts, at a basketball camp, some older students put "bodily fluids" on an oreo and forced a younger student to eat the oreo as part of a "hazing ritual."  Here is a link to the news video.  Here is an incident in Idaho of sexual hazing in sports.  Is it any wonder that Jerry Sandusky was able to sodomize children for decades and not be caught?  Let me rephrase, he was caught, he was not reported and the behavior was not considered unusual enough to consult the police or to EVEN STOP IT RIGHT THEN AND THERE.

The sheer masculinity of American football's image makes the rape of boys by a famous coach very shocking.  Isn't masculinity defined by protecting women and children, by honor and dignity, and by truth and justice?  No!  Christian masculinity is all those things.  Relativist masculinity is power, might, use of others for sex, sexual conquest, porn, and fame. Jerry Sandusky had all these things.  Let's learn more.

Before his discovery as a child rapist, he was interviewed about his project to "help" underprivileged children, The  .

Here is the interview with on the NBC show "Rock Center."  Note a few glaring tells of lying.
  • repeating the question and otherwise delaying an answer
  • evasive answers, hesitation
  • "I have hugged them.. I have touched their legs." Attempts to minimize the damage.
  • lack of affect.  Mr. Sandusky is being accused of horrendous offenses and is cool and unphased by this.  The ONLY way he could be unsurprised or unoffended by these allegations is if he had thought about them before.
So, is Jerry Sandusky innocent? Not likely.  If you would like more information on liespotting, check out the post, "blessed are the clean of heart."  Will football be tainted by this scandal for the foreseeable future?  Yes.   Will innocent men be looked at with hatred and suspicion?  Probably.   Is this a natural consequence of sin?  Yes!

Jerry Sandusky is not someone who is persecuted for justice's sake.  All the other coaches who are not guilty, but must forever change the way they are around kids are making those changes "for justice's sake."  I hope public outrage does not wane before those changes are made.

3 Degrees 
Sandusky outraged The Devil who tempted Jesus Christ, the boss of Blessed John Paul II.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Liespotting: Blessed are the Clean of Heart

Who are the clean of heart?  Those who rejoice in the truth?  Those who avoid lying?  According to Pamela Meyer, we all lie.  Now, while it's important to not be a rude person who just blurts out painful truths and covers up cruelty by saying, "I was just being truthful," it is also important to remember that real love "rejoices in the truth."  If we are to serve God, He who is Love, we must rejoice in truth too.  I saw this Ted Talk and it blew me away.  I decided to make it the focus of this post on the Beatitude, "Blessed are the Clean of Heart."

Let's practice our new skills.  I've embedded some videos of untruthful interactions and then tied the liars to Pope John Paul II.  Enjoy!

  • repeating the question and otherwise delaying an answer


  • evasive answers, hesitation

  • "I have hugged them.. I have touched their legs." Attempts to minimize the damage.

  • lack of affect.  Mr. Sandusky is being accused of horrendous offenses and is cool and unphased by this.  The ONLY way he could be unsurprised or unoffended by these allegations is if he had thought about them before. 

  • In this video:  Duping delight (inappropriate smiling): This is especially evident when he defends waterboarding and "extraordinary rendition," (kidnapping of suspects).

    Evasive answers (not answering the question but making unrelated statements that don't answer the question that was actually asked): "My job is to protect the American people" is never an answer to one of Mr. Lauer's questions.  "Within the law" is another favorite of President Bush.  Overly formal yet unspecific phrases such as "within the law" and "within the constitution" are used, but the actual laws and passages in the Constitution are never quoted.   "We had lawyers look at it and say, Mr. President, this is lawful," this is buck-passing.  Rather than use his own judgement or accept responsibility for a decision, he pawns the decision off on a nameless "lawyer."

    Sporadic outrage: A person telling the truth is outraged at false accusation throughout an interview.  They directly attack the arguments against them and work cooperatively with the interviewer to clear their name.  The President does none of that.  The most inflammatory accusation, that there is "a blurring of the line between ourselves and the people you are trying to protect us against."

    Also, appreciate the physical mirroring that Matt Lauer does in mimicking the President's gestures and aggressive body language.  This mirroring is common to all primate communication.  It's great when you are in an argument with someone to mimic their body position.  If you want them to stop crossing their arms and leaning back you must first cross your arms and lean back.  After a while you can begin to open up your own posture and the other person, even when angry, will begin to unconsciously mimic you and open their own.  Pretty soon you have helped the person be less aggressive and more open to your argument and you did it physically.  I love watching Matt Lauer do this.  It's really impressive.

    One Degree!
    George W. Bush and Blessed John Paul II

    This video is rich with head tells.  There are so many, I need to number them!

    1. Varied blink rate.  As A-Rod thinks of answers and considers his story, his brain is working overtime to come up with something plausible.
    2. But somehow his brain didn't give his neck the memo, he says "No" but nods "yes" enthusiastically.  This is seen throughout the interview.
    3. shoulder shrugs during poorly constructed lies
    4. Duping delight, the half-smiles toward the end of the interview are little smirks.  He got away with it, at least at this point.  Another interpretation is that this is a look of contempt.  Why should drugs be such an issue?  He's annoyed with the constant questioning.
    5. Check out his later apology for using steroids and other drugs, lots of duping delight there!
    4 Degrees
    Alex Rodriguez was boyfriend to Cameron Diaz
    Ms Diaz was admired by President Clinton
    President Clinton Met John Paul II

    Here we need to pay attention to the verbal cues for lies.  He dodges the question.  "I believe they have not been proved to be unsafe."  He uses overly formal language such as "injurious" and distances himself from victims by using the word, "human".  Smoking doesn't kill people, it "has not been proven to be no injurious to human health."  Now that's linguistic gymnastics!  Oh, and don't miss the little zinger at the end about women wanting smaller babies!  

    Connecting smoking to any pope is easy, smokers visit him all the time.

    Here is another video from our beloved tobacco industry.  Try not to laugh.

    Hmmm, applesauce, really?!  Let's see if our little friend is lying, shall we?
    Evasive language: "at concentrations which would be considered harmful," this doesn't answer the question.
    Stiff upper body:  "People don't eat much applesauce," is given as the reason people don't die from excess apple consumption.  Again, try not to laugh.
    Duper's Delight: smiling as he says, "they're not eating that much."  It's so ridiculous, he is even laughing.
    Lying eyes: Varied blink rate which is faster when formulating the lie and slower when telling it.  Blink rate speeds up again when formulating the next lie. Subject tries not to blink and to look interviewer in the eye to check his believing the lie.  Also, note the eyebrows raising when he says "everybody dies" and following.  That look says, "you don't believe me, do you?"
    Shoulder shrugs: "Anything can be considered harmful," with the shoulder shrug he's actually saying, "look out, big load of bullshit coming your way!"  He then says, "applesauce can be harmful."  Look toward the end when he says "people who eat sugar die..."  Here he is combining a variety of tells simultaneously.

    Here we see Ruth Madoff, Bernie Madoff's partner in crime and her surviving son.

    The son shakes his head and shrugs his shoulders, negating what he is saying at the beginning of the interview.  He talks without affect about his parents' "attempted suicide," but his facial expressions and tone do not match the words he's using.  There is a flash of contempt on the word "thinking" in "what were they thinking,"  his lip snears. He also smiles when recounting his questioning of his mother, "what were you thinking, I don't understand."  I don't know if this son was a con artist like the rest of his family, but he may have been less involved in his family's business than his late brother.

    Ruth Madoff claims to have attempted suicide and have been very depressed, but her language and her face tell a different story.  "We decided to kill ourselves" at 59" she shakes her head, exactly as her son did in the previous clip.  She uses a very perky tone that doesn't match the meaning of her words.  Duper's delight, a lovely smile on "we took pills and woke up the next day."  "It was so horrendous, what was happening." while flitting little smiles.

    The Madoffs defrauded many famous people, among them the great Sandy Koufax.   Mr. Koufax met President Obama.  President Obama met Pope Benedict XVI who was one degree from Blessed John Paul II.

    Oh Bill!  Why must you lie?  Again, so many, they need numbering.  I got most of these points from Pamela Meyer's video that heads this post.
    1. Overly formal language, "I did not" rather than "I didn't.  And "sexual relations" instead of...
    2. Qualifying language, "I want you to listen to me.  I'm going to say this again." 
    3. Fist pounding and unusual body gestures for him
    4. "that woman" distances himself from the victim or object of the lie, dehumanizing her and making Bill look less horrible
    5. Overly adamant denial, "not a single time, never."

    Now look for THE EXACT TELLS as Clinton on Richard Nixon.  OMG, this is too much!

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    The Marshall Plan: Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy

    There is universal agreement that the major reason for World War II were the crippling reparations on Germany imposed at the close of World War I.  These reparations not only brought Germany down, but the financial aftermath of the war plunged the world into The Great Depression.  After the defeat of Germany, the world did not want to plant seeds for World War III.  General George Marshall came up with a plan to rebuild Germany so that it would be an economic force and not a drain to the world.  His proposal was known as The Marshall Plan.

    Today Germany is the most solvent and solid of EU countries.  Mercy was shown to Germany by the world, especially The United States.  No matter the political stripes of Americans, there is a great pride that we have in The Marshall Plan.  We answered evil with justice and mercy.  The Nuremberg trials brought the guilty to justice.  The Marshall Plan brought mercy.

    There was no similar plan for Japan.  As a result, Japan did not become an economic power until the 1970s.  Now, we are drowning in Japanese cars and electronics.  Their economy is booming and our manufacturing jobs are gone.  If we had had a Marshall Plan for Japan, the 1950s would not have been so prosperous, but we would not have had the bubbles and bursts that have plagued us either.  With a world that had been rebuilt earlier, it is quite possible that alternative energy sources would be discovered and replacing oil at this point.  When mercy is extended, the people we ultimately save are ourselves.  Kindness coats the world in balance and peace.

    We linked General George Marshall to John Paul II in a previous post.  The three degrees are...

    General George Marshall to FDR to Pope Pius XII to Pope John Paul II

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    State Sponsored Terrorism: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness

    Peace sculpture outside The United Nations
    All atrocities are rooted in sin.  We all sin.  When we are children, our parents correct our behavior and point out our sins.  They introduce us to God with their love and loving correction.  Later, it is confession, friends, spouses, workmates, and neighbors who help to guide and direct us to righteousness.  For countries, it is other countries and the international community.  The only authorities that officially stand up to the United States and many other powerful countries are The United Nations, The Church, and The International Court at The Hague. The Church and The United Nations are both one-degree from Pope John Paul II.

    Many have said, "Nobody can control the United States, the UN doesn't stand up to them" or "The church has no weapons, how can they effect change?"  Without faith, these statements are perfectly true.  Recent events make me fear for the future of my country.  I see my president not standing behind the precedents of The Geneva Conventions, and the Nuremberg Articles.  I see a rise of The Tea Party, a group claiming to be Christian that is steadfastly against love of neighbor and forgiveness.  History tells us that "absolute power corrupts absolutely," and The United States has more absolute power with each passing day.

    The International Court
    In the face of their daunting task, members of The U.N., The Vatican, and The International Court persist in their mission of justice.  Let's examine their struggles using a few examples of injustice in our world.

    Under the Bush administration (W,) various "enhanced interrogation techniques" or "tortures" were approved. They include water boarding, sleep or food deprivation, walling, and placing a person in a box with insects.

    Water boarding is defined as torture by The United Nations.  Pardoning or not prosecuting torturers because they were acting under orders of superiors is indefensible according to the Nuremberg articles.  The particular act of pardoning for this reason is commonly known as The Eichmann Defense.  Adolf Eichmann was a torturer under Hitler and used this defense at his Nuremberg trial for war crimes following World War II.  If this defense was not acceptable then, it is not acceptable anytime!  Here is a portion of Eichmann's trial in Israel in 1961.

    In the light of news of torture by Americans, American religious leaders, lead by a Roman Catholic Cardinal, signed a statement denouncing torture.  This was widely reported in THe New York Times and has been revisited by American bishops and other religious and lay faithful since.

    Torturers using The Eichmann defense were pardoned by Obama, denounced by International law, denounced by The Church.

    2 Degrees

    Torture to International Court or The U.N. or American Cardinal who was elevated by John Paul II.

    Oh, by the way, The Pope spoke against this too!


    Rape is a horrible distortion of our bodies.  The body is a gift from God, meant to be given to one another in love and service.  The most intimate form of love is reserved for husbands and wives and involves genitals.  When this same act is forced and becomes violent it is an abomination to the image of God.  Just as it is an abomination to take a beautiful tree, which is given for fruit and shade, and use it to crucify God's Son, it is an abomination to take a body, which is an icon of Jesus Himself, and use it as a means of torture and violence.  Yet rape in war and as a tool of torture and ethnic genocide is common in our world.

    In Congo, rape has been a tool of war, victimizing hundreds of thousands of women, men, and children!  Not only has an entire generation of child fighters been habituated to rape as soldiers, but they are also victims of rape when captured.  The entire country is demoralized and bleeding from these atrocities.
    Congolese man who works for
    Catholic Relief Services

    Catholic Relief Services is on the ground in Congo.  They have rape crisis counselors working with victims as you read this.  CRS will not abandon the people of Congo, but they could use your help.  Why not donate or support a missionary.  Also, write your Congressmen (Senate and House) and tell them you care about Congo and violence in Africa.

    John Paul II, one of the popes to honor
    Catholic Relief Services.  
    Catholic Relief Services has been honored by all popes since CRS has existed.  Pope John Paul II honored the head of CRS in 2000.  
    Financial  Robbery, My Congress at Work!

    Why the hell do men and women spend millions to gain a job that pays $140?  They are crooks!  Last night's 60 Minutes episode exposes the corruption.  They write the laws (definition of "legislature") and they control business and know information before it is public.  That is why they sold stocks in September of 2008.  That is why they bought stocks before the health care bill passed, before we knew that it would, in health insurance companies.  They make millions from these trades.  This is wrong.  My congressman is chair of the House finance committee.  I'm sickened by this!  It doesn't surprise me, but it sickens me.  How can we stop this!
    They profited when the rest of us were losing our savings!
    My own congressman, Barney Frank, is heavily invested in health care stocks.  In his last report, he has accepted trips to The Virgin Islands on a private jet, and to Los Angeles at NBC's expense.  The value of these trips are reported far below what they would have actually cost.  Mr. Frank also did not lose money in the 2008 financial drop, he broke even, "wisely" having invested heavily in municipal bonds.  I wonder why his portfolio was so well managed.  Did he know something that we didn't?  OF COURSE HE KNEW!  He was chair of the House Finance Committee.  He knew about the collapse several months before anyone else and acted accordingly.  He sold his Washington residence just months before the housing collapse.  He now lives in an apartment.  This whole thing stinks to high heaven!

    I used to find documents of financial disclosure for Congressman Frank.  You can look up your own representatives.  I urge you to write about what you find, write letters to the editor, and generally embarrass these politicians.  Then, find people who will represent our interests.  I think we should pay congressmen $1,000,000 per year, give them health care in keeping with comparable earners, and take away their ability to flout the laws we are supposed to abide by.  

    4 Shameful Degrees
    Congress imitating Judas who betrayed Jesus to Peter to The Popes

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Steve Jobs, Blessed are those who mourn

    As I write this post, Steve Jobs has recently died.  By all accounts, he is an acceptional human being.  He is missed and he is an example of good corporate leadership and inspiration.  Jobs saw death as a great gift for a well-lived life.  Perhaps without death we cannot truly know joy.

    Those who die a good death give us the love and the tools to live our life well.  Please take this day and listen and enjoy those who surround you.  The joys you experience with them today are the comfort they give you and the comfort you give them.

    In this hysterical satire we link two degrees to John Paul II.  Embedding has been disabled, so please take 4 minutes to click and enjoy.  Fantastic!  Humor is often a great comfort to those who are mourning.

    3 Degrees
    Steve Jobs to MadTv to George Bush to Pope John Paul II

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    Julia Bacha, Blessed are the meek for they shall possess the land

    h Arab Spring was a phenomenon this year when oppressive Middle Eastern regimes were peacefully overturned, one after the other.  Now, millions of Arabs are peacefully discussing and deliberating their futures and setting the stage for a peaceful world for their children and grand children.
    An idea vs an army

    Wait a minute!  Aren't Arabs supposed to be uneducated, war-mongering, terrorists?  How could such an Arab Spring be possible?  Isn't that kind of peace against the nature of such barbarians?

    We've been lied to!  Many of those lies are lies of omission!  Arabs are not what they've been made out to be.  Can one assume that Americans are murderers, psychopaths, and godless materialists?  Certainly not, yet the majority of school shooters, legendary serial killers, and celebrities are!  Just as we cannot be know through our wacko or hedonistic citizens, so to Arabs cannot.  Yes, those who attacked us on 9/11 were Arab, but they were not a representative sample.

    The vast majority of Arabs are meekly demonstrating and claiming their God-given freedom.  Blessed are they, for they ARE inheriting their lands at long last!  A lone voice, that of Julia Bacha is crying in the wilderness.  She is hoping that someone will listen.  Let's take fewer than 10 minutes to hear her speak.

    Queen Noor of Jordan (tall in a light blue gown) with Julia Bacha
    at the 2009 Dubai film festival
    Queen Noor has been acquainted with many first-degreers.  Among them...



    Nelson Mandela
    let's see
    3 Degrees

    Julia Bacha to Queen Noor to Bono to Pope John Paul II
    Julia Bacha to Queen Noor to Nelson Mandela to Pope John Paul II

    Saturday, October 22, 2011

    The Uncreated Light, Blessed are the poor in spirit

    Moses and The Burning Bush
    This post begins a series that I'm dedicating to Jesus' Beatitudes.  The first offering in this series is The Uncreated Light.  This miracle is an annual event that announces the Risen Christ EVERY EASTER!   This unconsuming flame has appeared without ceasing every year to encourage the faithful that The Trinity has not abandoned them in this valley of tears.  Both Eastern and Western traditions incorporate new flame and the lighting of candles in a darkened church to commemorate and celebrate this beloved Kiss From God that he bestows on his bride's expectant face each Pascha (Easter).

    Iconography of The Transfiguration always
    has this stylized light.  Could this painting be
    more realistic than previously thought?
    The Uncreated Light, the Flame that Does Not Consume, the Bright Light that blinded the apostles on Mount Tabor and appeared above their heads at Pentacost, is a sure sign of God's Love.

    Friends, it is only from The Crucifixion that we have The Resurrection.  It is only through becoming lost that we are found.  It is only by losing our life that we gain life eternal.  The Uncreated Light of God that we see on earth each Pascha (Easter) is a glimpse of Heaven.  Note that most people who are surrounded by the flame are completely unaware of its presence.  We all ignore blessings and squander opportunities to encounter the divine.  God is continually forgiving us these oversights (but we should still confess them.)  We should never lose hope but know that God will continue to reach out to us without fail, even as we take our last breath.  Enjoy these films.

    2 Degrees
    Holy Fire to Apostles to Pope John Paul II
    Holy Fire to Moses to Jesus to Saint Peter to Pope John Paul II

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    The Prophet Muhammad

    Did the title of this post make you  bristle?  Did you wonder, is this going to confirm my beliefs?  Is it going to be hype?  Is it going to be hate-mongering? Is it going to be politically correct?

    There is precious little information about the Arab world before The Prophet.  In fact, among non-Muslim sources, the very existence of The Prophet Muhammad is often questioned.  As with many Christian texts, original documents regarding Muhammad (peace be upon him [pbuh],) may be incomplete or lost.  But many careful and faithful copies of Muslim texts, including the full version of The Qur'an, were completed after the death of the original authors.  This does not mean that the original documents never existed, it is merely a hazard of history, war, the elements, and mobility.  During the Protestant Reformation, 7 books of the bible were taken out of the canon of scripture because of original versions being lost to time.  Coult this be a grave mistake that has done a severe disservice to Protestant spirituality?  The historical Church sure thinks so!

    The Catholic Church and The Orthodox Church have NEVER doubted the historical Prophet Muhammad [pbuh].  In fact, Christians have enjoyed a treaty with the founder of Islam for centuries.  This treaty is known as The Achtiname of Muhammad and its authenticity has not been questioned since Muhammad's [pbuh] lifetime by Christians or Muslims.  In fact, the treaty has been renewed with Islamic leaders over the centuries.   Would this mean that The Prophet Muhammad's [pbuh] words became invalid upon his death?  Certainly not.  That would invalidate the Qur'an.  The renewal of the treaty simply showed new generations of Christians and Muslims that The Prophet's words would be respected and upheld, much like the way U.S. presidents swear to uphold The Constitution or witnesses swear on The Bible.

    Here is a translation of The Achtiname of Muhammad.
    "This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.

    No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.
    No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims' houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God's covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.

    No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.

    Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world)."

    English translation from 'Muslim History: 570 - 1950 C.E.' by Dr. A. Zahoor and Dr. Z. Haq, ZMD Corporation. P.O. Box 8231 - Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8231 - Copyright Akram Zahoor 2000. P. 167.
    Similar language and sentiment is recorded in Persia  in The Chronicle of Seert.

    I have seen many videos and heard speeches by online personalities, who are otherwise not idiots, talk about Muhammad with hatred and a complete lack of respect.  While it is true that one cannot hold Christian and Muslim beliefs together, it is not true that hateful and disrespectful language toward Muslims is acceptable to God.  If our aim is to convert the world and give His creation back to Him, we must love one another.  Only through Love can the Holy Spirit work toward conversion in the heart of another.
    St. Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai
    3 Degrees

    The Prophet Muhammad signed the above treaty at St. Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai in Egypt.
    El Greco was a painter of The Spanish Renaissance.  

    El Greco painted St. Catherine's on the back of his Modena Triptych

    He also painted Pope Pius V.

    Pope Pius V, portrait by El Greco in the 17th Century

    Muhammad to El Greco (via St. Catherine's Monastery) to Pope Pius V to Blessed John Paul II

    Thursday, September 29, 2011

    Justin Bieber

    5 Degrees

    Tween idol, Justin Bieber and fourth degree, Kim Kardashian are friends.
    Here they pose together in a photo reminiscent of the Dustin Hoffman
    film, The Graduate

    Kardashian (front row toward the right in a blue dress) and third degree, Beyonce Knowles (blue cigarette pants and yellow shoes front row toward the left) at 2012 Fashion Week for Vera Wang's show.

    We already read in a previous post how Beyonce went to Egypt and met Zahi Hawass to give her three degrees.  Let's take a different tack here to link to Blessed John Paul II.  
    In January of 2011, Vera Wang was invited to a state dinner at the White House to greet
    Chinese President Hu Jintao
    Jackie Chan was also on the guest list
    Yo Yo Ma was awarded the Medal of Freedom at
    the Chinese State Dinner.  He also performed at Senator
    Ted Kennedy's funeral with first degree, Placido Domingo.
    This is another picture of the Kennedy funeral.  Note first degree,
    President George W Bush and first degree Jimmy Carter.  Cardinal O'Malley is also
    a first degree.

    Blessed John Paul II and President Jimmy Carter at the
    beginning of JP's pontificate
    At Castel Gandalfo
    4 Degrees

    Bieber to Kardashian to Vera Wang to Placido Domingo to Pope JP2

    5 Degrees

    Bieber to Kardashian to Beyonce to Dr. Hawass to Laura Bush to Pope JP2

    Bieber to Kardashian to Vera Wang to Yo Yo Ma to Jimmy Carter to Pope JP2

    Bieber to Kardashian to Vera Wang to Yo Yo Ma to Cardinal O'Malley to Pope JP2

    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    The Saints and Heroes of 9/11

    May their memory be eternal.  I'd like to tell the story about brave and loving people who were cut down by self-righteousness and judgementalism.  The terrorists who used planes as bombs on 9/11 were certain that they were right and just in their actions.  They were wrong.  The people they murdered were some of the finest that mankind has to offer.
    Even in death, Father Mychal saved lives

    The man who has since been called, "the saint of 9/11" was a Franciscan friar and chaplain to the New York City Fire Department.  His name was Father Mychal Judge.  His death saved the life of every man in this picture.  If he had not died, these men would have been in the towers, trying to save victims, when the towers collapsed.  Father Mychal's was the first death recorded on 9/11.

    For a biography on Father Mychal, click here.  Here is a trailer for the film, The Saint of 9/11.  A documentary film was being made on 9/11 and Father Mychal was captured staring out a plate glass window with his lips moving.  He was absolving people as they fell to their deaths.  Moments later there was an explosion and Mychal Judge was blasted to his death.  As members of his flocked carried his body out of the tower, the tower fell.  For the NPR story remembering Mychal Judge, click here.

    1 Degree

    The plane that started the fire that killed Father Mychal tipped off the passengers of Flight 93.  Through a series of plane-to-land phone calls, the passengers figured out that their plane was being hijacked to be used as a bomb and that they needed to act in order to save others and possibly themselves.  This past week some tapes were declassified.  These tapes give a clearer picture of what happened on that flight.  Families of those heroic passengers have requested that the final 30 minutes, the portion after "Let's roll," not be released.  That struggle and the impact are private and making them public would not be appropriate.  The 9/11 Commission heard them however, and used the knowledge from them in their report.

    Here are some videos and audio clips.  May their memory be eternal.

    For a transcript of the above video, click here.

    The passengers formulated a plan, voted and ratified it, and implemented it in 30 minutes.  They rammed drink carts into the cockpit door.  In response the terrorist rocked the plane from side to side to knock the passengers down and stop them.  Finally the terrorist flying the plane said "should I put it in" and another said "yes" and the plane was crashed into the earth.  Here is a link to a story which describes that from the tapes.

    Monday, August 29, 2011

    Priorities and Frequency

    Dear Readers,

    I love writing this blog, but I need to slow down a little bit.  Posts won't be as regular or as frequent.  I need to attend to Fantasy Bishball until Advent because I said I would.  Also, and this is the main reason, I need to concentrate on weightloss and focus on that.  I'm cutting out Tiny Tower and blog posts I don't need to write to make time for workouts and maybe starting a Catholic/Orthodox weight loss blog.

    Please continue to read older posts, there are almost 200 of them!  I'll add more as things hit the news.

    Random O.C. Christian

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Margaret Sanger

    4 Degrees

    Margaret Sanger's life's work is at odds with that of Jesus Christ.  But I think it only fair that Ms Sanger be allowed to speak for herself.  Here is an interview with Mike Wallace from the early 1960s.

    Take a moment now to jot down the reasons why you believe abortion should be legal.  Even if you are a Catholic in step with The Church, go ahead, write them down.  Fewer poor people, fewer people born into instability, economic power for women might be among your reasons.

    I think that abortion is still legal because Christians have not really put their heart into the issue.  Some distinctly annoying and distasteful Christians scream and yell on sidewalks and put gruesome pictures of baby pieces on their front lawn.  Some Christians hold long discourse with pro-choice friends over glasses of Merlot and agree to disagree.  Most just leave the fight to someone else, their view on the topic an ambivalent mix of understanding and revulsion.

    In this Freakanomics piece, we see how the explosion of abortion in the 1970s made for far fewer criminals in the 1990s.  
    Back to Ms Sanger.  Did you know she was the darling of the KKK lecture circuit?

    Guess who drank Ms Sanger's cool-aide?

    Second degree Barack Obama is carrying on the Aryan crusade of Margaret Sanger.  I don't believe that President Obama is ultimately comfortable with his public support of abortion.  Father Robert Barron thinks so too.

    So think about it, is racism, classism, or a dislike of children keeping you from actively opposing abortion?  What about guilt for having an abortion or fathering an aborted baby?  Statistics from Planned Parenthood and The National Organization for Women say that between 30-40% of American women have an abortion in her lifetime.  Sure, shame comes from sin and abortion is a sin, but there's a cure for that, CONFESSION! Just go to confession and get on with it.  Quit wasting your time sitting on the fence.

    If you need help recovering emotionally and/or spiritually from abortion, contact Project Rachel.

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    Rupert Murdoch

    Rupert is only two degrees from John Paul II as evidenced by the following photos.

    Rupert Murdoch and Second Degree, Tony Blaire, check out the clenched smile
    of the Prime Minister

    A much more relaxed Tony Blaire

    Murdoch on left and his wife in red next to President George W Bush.
    Mr. Murdoch runs the most prolific media empire in the world, but he's an absolute idiot.  Well, he claims to be an idiot.  In his "humble" testimony before British Parliament, he claimed not to know about his most successful newspaper's journalists tapping the phones of politicians and celebrities.  
    Prince Charles was tapped by Murdoch's
    organization.  Charles is shown here with
    Pope John Paul II
    This guy was also tapped by Murdoch's minions.
    But it's the suicides and inhuman cruelty that surrounded News of the World that we'll remember.  When a reporter hacked into a phone system and deleted messages so that more calls to a dead kidnapping victim could be recorded, Murdoch's organization was finally caught.  After years of treachery, he's been caught.  Only now, he's turned into Sgt. Schultz from Hogan's Heroes.  

    Embodying evil?
    Bearing false witness, it's considered a lightweight commandment by many, but it's actually one of the biggies.  We lie routinely, we gossip for entertainment, we think nothing of it.  But as we've seen in these past few posts, lying destroys the work of the good and facilitates the work of The Evil One.  To falsely accuse a priest of abuse means that children are less safe and a good man is ruined.  To cook up stories about people for ratings or paper sales drives the subjects of stories to despair and rips lives apart.

    I remember learning that gossip was considered a sin when I was in High School.  I decided to cut it out of my life and didn't talk for over  a week!  Before that, you could never shut me up.  I'll never forget how amazed I was that all my vocal impulses were gossip.  I was ashamed.  Try it, you might be surprised too.

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    Michele Bachman

    Michele Bachmann is making headlines because she is a Tea Party candidate for the 2012 election.  It's highly improbable that a Republican can defeat Obama and Michele's threat to the president's job is beyond unlikely.  It's impossible.  That having been said, let's have some fun.
    Please, don't let someone who is so misinformed or disinterested in facts become a nominee.  Please, if you are Republican, push for a qualified candidate.
    7 Degrees
    Michele, the history L'Enfant terrible, the only woman who could make Sarah Palin look like the president of Mensa, is married to "Dr." Marcus Bachmann.

    Separated at birth are Marcus (methinks the "gentleman" doth protest too much) Bachmann and Chastity (Chas) Bono.

    Chas is the offspring of Sonny and Cher.

    Cher appeared on Sex and the City alongside 4th degree, Sarah Jessica Parker.

    Thursday, July 28, 2011

    Father John Corapi

    1 Degree
    Father John Corapi
    A funnel cloud of garbage is swirling around Father John Corapi and hundreds of other priests accused of sexual sin with adult women.  This matter is very personal to me, not because I know Father John, but because the man who married me (to my husband and The Holy Spirit) was also accused of sexual sin with an adult woman.
    My priest's charges were leveled by a single "victim" over the course of the past few years.  Father M left the cathedral where he married me and where he spent decades as a priest because of these charges.  The community has suffered a great loss.  Father has suffered a professional and personal pain of an extreme degree.  

    How do I know that Father M is innocent?  Well, ultimately, I don't, but I do know a few things.
    • the propensity to be violent and a sexual preditor generally does NOT begin later in life, these sins tend to be strongest when one is younger. 
    • Father M's temperament is very mild, it's not like him to become violent
    • with all do respect to Father, he just doesn't isn't strong enough to do what he's accused of doing with a compliant partner, much less with someone being forced.  He just could not have pulled it off
    • the scene described by the victim is very similar to scenes in The Exorcist.  Maybe she is suffering from a "recovered (false) memory". It doesn't add up.
    • the DA admitted that evidence could not support the rape charge and the charges were reduced and may be reduced further.  
    John Corapi is at retirement age and is just now being charged with sexual misconduct.  It seems that such charges or, at the very least, gossip, would have followed him throughout his ministry if this were true.  We were all better looking in the 90s, heck, it's 20 years ago!  Things are continuing to unfold with Corapi.  I will say that Father Corapi's response to his troubles has been less than Christlike.  He's disobeying his bishop and continuing to preach and perform priestly duties before the investigation is conducted.  I understand his frustration, but his actions make him appear guilty.  For help clarifying the situation and what is going on, check out this post of The Deacon's Bench blog.  There you'll find two interviews that shed light on what's going on and what it all means.

    Here are Father John and Father Michael in better days.  
    When we take away civil rights in order to achieve security, we have neither civil rights nor security.  We're finding this in post 9/11 laws like The Patriot Act, and we're learning this in the wake of the clergy sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church.  If we keep true to the ideals of American justice, we can protect and defend all citizens, children, adults, the mentally ill, the unborn, clergy, laity, everyone!  We cannot let fear throw the baby out with the bath water.