my vision of the world.


Shalom Community thanks Pope for approval of statutes


Did you see “Zeitgeist”? I din’t believe, neither this Guy.

The Catholic Church and Condoms

this post was taken from


They don’t have any clue about what the Church teaches in the fist place, nor do they have any care for telling us the full truth. They want to make money and create sensational headlines.

If you want to know what the Catholic Church really teaches, it is going to take a bit more work than reading one bad article.

So, here is the deal – the Pope is NOT saying that condoms are a moral choice.
Jimmy Akin has the best summation of the nuances that the Pope is talking about, so I highly recommend you read his post here.

As for other stories:
**Vatican clarifies statements on condoms
**Some call for Vatican newspaper editor to be fired for gaffe on condoms.
**Ed Peters argues that the problem is in the communication of the message, not the message itself.
**Amy Welborn has read the book and has a bunch of comments.
**Thomas Peters explains it all in this video:

Surprise: Halloween’s Not a Pagan Festival After All


The holiday and its customs are completely Christian, and some are uniquely American.

We’ve all heard the allegations: Halloween is a pagan rite dating back to some pre-Christian festival among the Celtic Druids that escaped church suppression. Even today modern pagans and witches continue to celebrate this ancient festival. If you let your kids go trick-or-treating, they will be worshiping the devil and pagan gods.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The origins of Halloween are, in fact, very Christian and rather American. Halloween falls on October 31 because of a pope, and its observances are the result of medieval Catholic piety.

It’s true that the ancient Celts of Ireland and Britain celebrated a minor festival on October 31–as they did on the last day of most other months of the year. However, Halloween falls on the last day of October because the Feast of All Saints, or “All Hallows,” falls on November 1. The feast in honor of all the saints in heaven used to be celebrated on May 13, but Pope Gregory III (d. 741) moved it to November 1, the dedication day of All Saints Chapel in St. Peter’s at Rome. Later, in the 840s, Pope Gregory IV commanded that All Saints be observed everywhere. And so the holy day spread to Ireland.

The day before was the feast’s evening vigil, “All Hallows Even,” or “Hallowe’en.” In those days Halloween didn’t have any special significance for Christians or for long-dead Celtic pagans.

In 998, St. Odilo, the abbot of the powerful monastery of Cluny in southern France, added a celebration on November 2. This was a day of prayer for the souls of all the faithful departed. This feast, called All Souls Day, spread from France to the rest of Europe.

So now the Church had feasts for all those in heaven and all those in purgatory. What about those in the other place? It seems Irish Catholic peasants wondered about the unfortunate souls in hell. After all, if the souls in hell are left out when we celebrate those in heaven and purgatory, they might be unhappy enough to cause trouble. So it became customary to bang pots and pans on All Hallows Even to let the damned know they were not forgotten. Thus, in Ireland at least, all the dead came to be remembered–even if the clergy were not terribly sympathetic to Halloween and never allowed All Damned Day into the church calendar.

But that still isn’t our celebration of Halloween. Our traditions on this holiday center on dressing up in fanciful costumes, which isn’t Irish at all. Rather, this custom arose in France during the 14th and 15th centuries. Late medieval Europe was hit by repeated outbreaks of the bubonic plague–the Black Death–and it lost about half its population. It is not surprising that Catholics became more concerned about the afterlife.

More Masses were said on All Souls Day, and artistic representations were devised to remind everyone of their own mortality. We know these representations as the

danse macabre,

or “dance of death,” which was commonly painted on the walls of cemeteries and shows the devil leading a daisy chain of people–popes, kings, ladies, knights, monks, peasants, lepers, etc.–into the tomb. Sometimes the dance was presented on All Souls Day itself as a living tableau with people dressed up in the garb of various states of life.

But the French dressed up on All Souls, not Halloween; and the Irish, who had Halloween, did not dress up. How the two became mingled probably happened first in the British colonies of North America during the 1700s, when Irish and French Catholics began to intermarry. The Irish focus on hell gave the French masquerades an even more macabre twist.

But as every young ghoul knows, dressing up isn’t the point; the point is getting as many goodies as possible. Where on earth did “trick or treat” come in?

“Treat or treat”

“Treat or treat” is perhaps the oddest and most American addition to Halloween and is the unwilling contribution of English Catholics.

During the penal period of the 1500s to the 1700s in England, Catholics had no legal rights. They could not hold office and were subject to fines, jail and heavy taxes. It was a capital offense to say Mass, and hundreds of priests were martyred.

Occasionally, English Catholics resisted, sometimes foolishly. One of the most foolish acts of resistance was a plot to blow up the Protestant King James I and his Parliament with gunpowder. This was supposed to trigger a Catholic uprising against the oppressors. The ill-conceived Gunpowder Plot was foiled on November 5, 1605, when the man guarding the gunpowder, a reckless convert named Guy Fawkes, was captured and arrested. He was hanged; the plot fizzled.

November 5, Guy Fawkes Day, became a great celebration in England, and so it remains. During the penal periods, bands of revelers would put on masks and visit local Catholics in the dead of night, demanding beer and cakes for their celebration: trick or treat!

Guy Fawkes Day arrived in the American colonies with the first English settlers. But by the time of the American Revolution, old King James and Guy Fawkes had pretty much been forgotten. Trick or treat, though, was too much fun to give up, so eventually it moved to October 31, the day of the Irish-French masquerade. And in America, trick or treat wasn’t limited to Catholics.

The mixture of various immigrant traditions we know as Halloween had become a fixture in the United States by the early 1800s. To this day, it remains unknown in Europe, even in the countries from which some of the customs originated.

But what about witches? Well, they are one of the last additions. The greeting card industry added them in the late 1800s. Halloween was already “ghoulish,” so why not give witches a place on greeting cards? The Halloween card failed (although it has seen a recent resurgence in popularity), but the witches stayed.

So too, in the late 1800s, ill-informed folklorists introduced the jack-o’-lantern. They thought that Halloween was Druidic and pagan in origin. Lamps made from turnips (not pumpkins) had been part of ancient Celtic harvest festivals, so they were translated to the American Halloween celebration.

The next time someone claims that Halloween is a cruel trick to lure your children into devil worship, I suggest you tell them the real origin of All Hallows Even and invite them to discover its Christian significance, along with the two greater and more important Catholic festivals that follow it.

Father Augustine Thompson, O.P., is an associate professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia.

New habitable Planet found

By Joel Achenbach  | September 30, 2010; 8:07 AM ET on the Washington Post

Finally, astronomers have found a planet in the Goldilocks position — not too hot, not too cold, not too big, not too eccentric, not too young, not too stupid, not too self-involved, not too prone to staying out until 3 a.m. with unsavory characters, etc. A nice little planet in a good neighborhood. This is pretty huge, and congrats to Vogt and Butler, the astronomers, for teasing this thing out of the data.

But can I just point out that there’s a difference between “habitable” and “somewhere you, or anyone else, or any creature, would actually want to live.”

This would not be like Earth. For one thing the sun would always be on the horizon, just hanging out. (You call it a sunset, but I, the optimist, say it’s a sunrise.)

We don’t know the atmospheric chemistry (assuming it has an atmosphere). We don’t know if it has plate tectonics to recycle the carbon. We don’t know if it has water (though wouldn’t it, just from comets?).

As I understand planet-hunting technology, it’s not possible to get a spectrum of this planet to learn anything about it directly. We see it entirely though Doppler shifts in the light of the parent star. It’s like backpacks, shoes and empty lunch bags in the foyer: You know the kids are home from school even though you do not actually see them.

The biggest thing we don’t know is how life originates. That’s a question you can argue round or square. Seems to me it emerges naturally from the chemistry of the universe, but Paul Davies thinks not. (See my discussion of Davies vs. Morowitz.)

The fact that Gliese 581g is relatively close and was found relatively soon in the process does suggest strongly that the galaxy is lousy with Goldilocks planets.

So it’s a good day for the Sagan scenario. If life is common (big if), and habitable planets are common, then you’re looking at night into an extremely biological universe.

More at Wikipedia

The changes

I did it to make the blog look a little more like me. But I’m not yet happy with it. I like it but I think there is still something missing, I think it’s still too dark. But I liked the fact that now it’s easier to find older posts. There is a search engine (on the side bar, you have to scroll down a little to find it but it’s there).

There is this painting from the Sistine chapel that shows a lot of what I want to say. I make a little effort to reach God and He stretches out to touch me. But He gives me freedom to touch Him or not. Did you know that there are exactly 3 centimeters of distance between their fingers on the real scale? I always think of this as the space for freedom the Lord gives us to find Him or not.

Well I hope you like it and I wait for your comments.

I’ll be trying a couple other backgrounds in the days to come so I need your feedback.

While I try to do some changes try to find in the older post something you may like, I wrote a lot before my blog started to be “famous”. So if you are a new visitor I invite you to take a look around.

Vatican astronomer downplays 2013 solar storm fears

From Catholic Culture

Brother Guy Consolmagno of the Vatican Observatory is downplaying apocalyptic scenarios associated with the 2013 solar storm, which may disrupt cell phone and wireless communication.

Recalling that a similar storm in the 1960s shut down the power grid in Quebec for a day, the Detroit-born Jesuit brother said that while “everything is possible, whether it’s likely is another issue.” Nonetheless, Consolmagno cautioned that it is important to have “more than one way of communicating so we don’t have all our eggs in one basket.”

Consolmagno’s seven-minute interview with Vatican Radio is particularly helpful because he explains solar storms and other solar phenomena in layman’s terms.

Radio Vatican

Brother Consolmagno (Wikipédia)

2013 Solar Storm Could Create Widespread Panic (RedOrbit)