Summers a Piston + “the Blond”

2009-nba-draftDetroit drafted former-Georgetown Hoya DaJuan Summers in the second round of the NBA Draft. He was the 35th pick overall.

I thought Summers should have stayed at Georgetown. If he improved on his poor junior-year showing, he would be in a much stronger position a year from now.

But Summers’ being picked for the NBA makes a lot more sense than Spaniard Ricky Rubio being picked fifth (by the Minnesota Timberwolves–after the Wizards traded away the pick).

rickyIf you were tuned into every moment of Olympic basketball last summer, you will remember Rubio as Spain’s short guard who attempted a lot of nifty passes.

I will be a monkey’s uncle if either Summers or Rubio ever makes much of an impact. But DaJuan could school Rubio up and down the court any day of the week.

The whole Rubio rage is just weird. Someone spiked the Kool-Aid in Minnesota. The Wizards got the better end of the deal.

Commonsense Papism

opportunity

Ego … Archiepiscopus … beato Petro apostolo, Sanctæ, Apostolicæ, Romanæ Ecclesiæ, ac tibi, Summo Pontifici, tuisque legitimis Successoribus semper fidelis ero et oboediens. Ita me Deus omnipotens adiuvet.

“I …, Archbishop of …, swear to be faithful and obedient to St. Peter the Apostle, to the Holy Roman Church, and to you, the Supreme Pontiff, and your lawful successors, so help me God Almighty.”

The new Archbishops who celebrated Mass with the Holy Father today swore their allegiance with these words.

StPeterThe Archbishops’ oath of allegiance is not something strange. It is not something foreign to American sensibilities. It is the most commonsensical statement a person could ever make.

Christians believe things–and we live according to principles–which we could never figure out by ourselves.

Therefore we rely on some source of information that possesses infallible authority. Our faith and morals are based on the testimony of God Himself, delivered to us in writing and by word of mouth.

Now, the authority to give this testimony either resides in me myself, or it resides in someone else.

Some people actually do regard themselves as their own infallible religious authority. But it takes just a little humility and maturity to realize that being your own infallible teacher is a prescription for disaster.

Therefore my infallible teacher must be someone else.

readdumWho is it? Could it be a politician? Could it be the pastor of a megachurch? Shirley MacLaine?

Of all the candidates for infallible teacher, the only really viable one is the Pope. The Pope can claim to hold such an office–the office of infallible teacher and shepherd established by the Son of God when He was on earth.

The Lord Jesus never promised that every Pope would be a saint. Rather, He guaranteed that there would be a spiritual fortress which the enemies of God could never conquer. Within this fortress, the true faith will always survive. The fortress is the Apostolic See of Rome.

Someone might say: Back off! My infallible teacher is the Bible!

Two questions, dear friend:

1. How do you know that the Bible is the Bible (i.e. the compendium of divine teachings committed to writing)? How do you know that the Koran is NOT the Bible? Or Football for Dummies? What authority certifies that your Bible is, in fact, God’s Word?

2. If there is a dispute about what the Bible means, who has the authority to settle the question?

Answer:

FILES-VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

and his successors.

Happy Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, founders of the Church of Rome!

Greetings and Goodbyes

lebron-shaqSo you are saying: “Now the Cavaliers have a lock on the 2010 title.” You are saying the LeBron-Shaq juggernaut will be unbeatable.

I defy these auguries.

Preacher predicts: The Wizards will be a better team than the Cavs in 2009-10…

…Click here for a priest-blog far superior to this pathetic endeavor. The reason it is a better blog is because the blogger is a better priest…

Father Tom King, S.J.  1929-2009

Father Tom King, S.J. 1929-2009

…In 1999, The Hoya newspaper declared that Fr. Tom King, S.J. was Georgetown University’s “Man of the Century.”

He was an irrepressible man of zeal and love. He alone kept Georgetown from falling off the Barque of Peter. He lived in a state of perpetual suspension between heaven and earth.

He is the first Catholic priest I ever spoke with in my life. If it weren’t for him, I would probably still be waiting tables for a living.

Rest in peace, Father King! I will never forget you. Please pray for your unworthy spiritual sons!

…Here is my sermon bidding farewell to the year of St. Paul:

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The Myth of Fingerprints?

fingerprintpaul simon

To you and me, it might seem like a legal footnote.

But the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts will have a huge impact on some of the unsung heroes of criminal justice.

Of course no innocent person should ever be punished for a crime committed by someone else. On the other hand: Should criminals go free just because they have tricky lawyers who can out-talk hardworking crime-lab scientists?

Are there any latent examiners out there who would like to comment on this? Please chime in, and enlighten us ignorant laymen.

In the meantime, rock on out. Happy Friday!

fingerprints hand

Sicut Transit Gloria Mundi

amd_thrillerPerhaps, dear reader, you remember that we have touched on our love for Michael Jackson before.

The album “Thriller” was fun in just about every way–all the songs were good, the videos were delightful, the Vincent-Price cameo was priceless.

Human Nature” is on my iPod perennially. I liked the album “Bad,” too. “Man in the Mirror” was a great song.

Also, let’s not forget that M.J. was acquitted of all charges.

May the King of Pop rest in peace.

mt olivetSpeaking of death, today I drove past the one small piece of real estate I own.

It is only a few square feet.

But it will be more than big enough, when the time comes.

Act V, Scene 1 of Hamlet opens with two gravediggers joking with each other.

The one asks the other, “What is he that builds stronger than either the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?”

The other replies, “The gallows-maker; for that frame outlives a thousand tenants.”

The other replies:

I like thy wit well, in good faith: the gallows
does well; but how does it well? it does well to
those that do ill: now thou dost ill to say the
gallows is built stronger than the church: argal,
the gallows may do well to thee. To’t again, come.

The second one can’t come up with another witty reply, so the first one says:

Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your dull
ass will not mend his pace with beating; and, when
you are asked this question next, say ‘a
grave-maker:’ the houses that he makes last till
doomsday.

The entire scene is very long. Here is the second part of it, worthily done by Kenneth Branaugh and our old buddy Billy Crystal, from the 1996 movie version.

Then, later on in the scene, my favorite phrase from all of Shakespeare makes its appearance. Laertes is bickering with the priest. Laertes thinks his sister Ophelia’s funeral has been too short.

Laertes. What ceremony else?

Priest. Her obsequies have been as far enlarg’d
As we have warranty. Her death was doubtful;
And, but that great command o’ersways the order,
She should in ground unsanctified have lodg’d
Till the last trumpet. For charitable prayers,
Shards, flints, and pebbles should be thrown on her.
Yet here she is allow’d her virgin rites,
Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home
Of bell and burial.

Laertes. Must there no more be done?

Priest. No more be done.
We should profane the service of the dead
To sing a requiem and such rest to her
As to peace-parted souls.

jozy-altidore-2Laertes. Lay her i’ th’ earth;
And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
May violets spring! I tell thee, churlish priest,
A minist’ring angel shall my sister be
When thou liest howling.

“Churlish priest!” Maybe, after this Year of the Priest is over, we can have a Year of the Churlish Priest, and I will be the poster-child.

…P.S. How about our soccer team!

And the Natinals just shellacked the Red Sox! (Not that I am in favor of inter-league play.)

Three Years Our Shepherd

crozier wuerl

Three years ago today, Donald Wuerl took the crozier in hand to guide the Archdiocese of Washington.

Here are a few words about bishops from the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council:

Christ the Lord, Son of the living God, came that He might save His people from their sins and that all men might be sanctified. Just as He Himself was sent by the Father, so He also sent His Apostles. Therefore, He sanctified them, conferring on them the Holy Spirit, so that they also might glorify the Father upon earth and save men, “to the building up of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12), which is the Church.

In this Church of Christ the Roman pontiff, as the successor of Peter, to whom Christ entrusted the feeding of His sheep and lambs, enjoys supreme, full, immediate, and universal authority over the care of souls…

The bishops…, having been appointed by the Holy Spirit, are successors of the Apostles as pastors of souls. Together with the supreme pontiff and under his authority they are sent to continue throughout the ages the work of Christ, the eternal pastor. Christ gave the Apostles and their successors the command and the power to teach all nations, to hallow men in the truth, and to feed them.

Bishops, therefore, have been made true and authentic teachers of the faith, pontiffs, and pastors through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to them…

illuminated-bibleBishops…have been taken from among men and appointed their representative before God in order to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. Bishops enjoy the fullness of the sacrament of orders…Therefore bishops are the principal dispensers of the mysteries of God, as well as being the governors, promoters, and guardians of the entire liturgical life in the church committed to them —Christus Dominus

May the good Lord prosper the endeavors of our father and shepherd, Archbishop Wuerl.

…Want to learn more about the Bible? Are you within striking distance of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, U.S.A.? Come to Scripture Study this evening at St. Mary of the Assumption School, starting at 7:30 p.m.!

Sunday Updates

the_holy_trinityCarleton Bryant quote of the week:

President Obama recently named a “pay czar” and a “Great Lakes czar,” and he thought about naming a “car czar.”

And he already had a drug czar, a border czar, a health reform czar, an info-tech czar and a regulatory czar, among others.

That’s a lot of czars. It looks like the Obama administration is the path to czardom. I just hope that if they ever need a “bacon czar,” they’ll keep me in mind. Because I know bacon.

Fathers’ Day Scripture Ephesians 3:14-15:

I kneel before the Father, from Whom every fatherhood in heaven and on earth takes its name.

…We have nothing against gorillas. But baptizing effigies of them is a sacrilege:

This objectionable travesty reminds me…

1)…of my favorite thing that Bl. Columba Marmion, O.S.B. ever wrote:

(I cannot lay my hands on my collected works of Marmion at this moment, so I will paraphrase.)

…[So-and-so] asked me what I thought of the “historical-critical” method of Scriptural interpretation. He maintained that, although it is flawed, it could be ‘baptized.’

You cannot baptize an ape.

2) It also reminds me of the most chilling atmospheric literary device of P.D. James’ novel, Children of Men.

P. D. James

P. D. James

(They made this novel into a terrible movie which bears practically no resemblance to the book.)

Here is the spectacle:

No children have been born for almost twenty years. Society is fraying at the edges. A man stumbles into a country church. A small ceremony is underway. The curate is baptizing a doll.

Turns out the priest does it regularly. It appeases the women who are desperate for the semblances of motherhood. Creepy.

…Speaking of England, Raffy has withdrawn from Wimbledon due to knee problems. There will be no epic re-match in the final…

God in the Dock?

The Lord addressed Job out of the storm and said: “Who shut within doors the sea, when it burst forth from the womb; when I made the clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling bands? When I set limits for it and fastened the bar of its door, and said: Thus far shall you come but no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stilled!” –Job 38:8-11

soupSomeday, dear brothers and sisters, you and I will have to face God in judgment. It could be today.

The all-important question at that moment will be: Am I okay with God? Or am I not okay? Am I just, or am I unjust?

There will be no tricking the judge at that moment. There will be no subterfuges available to us, no fudging things. All the truth will be out in the open.

When everything is said and done, we will either go to God justified, and then we can look forward to getting to heaven after purification. Or we will go to God unjust, and then…Not good.

The most important thing, then, is to be just before God. Being able to stand before Him–upright, full of divine love—being able to say to Him truthfully, ‘Lord, behold your friend.’—This is the most important thing.

The problem is: How can we hope to be just in God’s sight? We are weak and ignorant sinners, whom God has made out of nothing.

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Laying on of Hands

laying on hands

Aaron shall bring forward the live goat. Laying both hands on its head…he shall then have it led into the desert by an attendant. (Leviticus 16:20-21)

…Also, allow me to point out that “One may smile, and smile, and be a villain.” (Hamlet, Act I, scene 5).

no happy faceWhen it comes to fathers, I will take stern over smiley anytime.

Any fathers who would like to spend their day scowling have my full support–especially if the children deserve to be scowled at.

No more Mr. Nice Guy. Tough love is true love.