The thoughts, ideas, findings, and fancies of a Catholic student at Our Lady's University.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


4 months and 4 days after launching this blog, I have officially surpassed 3,000 visitors! Not too bad, if I do say so myself. Doing the math, that's an approximate average of 24.19 visitors per day. In any case, I extend my humble thanks to everyone who has linked, e-mailed, commented on, and read this blog.

Book meme

As Emily has passed on this book meme to me, I'll do my best to answer (though it's not like I stay up late at night counting my books.....well, not too late)

1.Total Number of Books I Own

Like I said, I've never really counted, but I would have to guess and say around 150, or in other words, not nearly as many as I should.
2.The Last Book I Bought
Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis. Yes, it is a real book. Yes, it is Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone translated into Latin. And yes, it is an enjoyable read.

3.The Last Book I Read

The last book I finished was Timeline by Michael Crichton, but I'm also currently reading Harrius Potter, as well as Love Letters to My Husband by St. Gianna Beretta Molla. The latter is a great book, and I highly recommend it to everyone (my first impression was that I would have canonized just based on these writings).
4. Five Books That Mean a Lot to Me (in no particular order, and not counting Scripture)
Little House on the Prairie Not just the individual book Little House on the Prairie, but the whole series (and yes, I can list them all in chronological order). I think these were the first chapter books I ever read, and I've re-read them countless times. These books are undoubtedly the reason Mom made me a sun bonnet when I was little, not to mention the week of "prairie school" we attended several years ago, and the side trip to De Smet when we went through South Dakota last time (not this summer, but the time before that). And just in case you're wondering, yes, we have been told that our family reminds some people of the Ingalls family. If you have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about, read the books. They're well worth the time.

Letters to a Young Catholic Emily gave me a copy for my birthday last year, and I've already read it several times. I love the way he links the "classic" symbols and places of the Church to the modern Catholic life.

Love Letters to My Husband This book is a collection of letters written by Saint Gianna Beretta Molla to her husband Pietro during their engagement and marriage. I'm currently reading it for the first time, and haven't even finished it yet, but already it has had an impact on the way I look at relationships.

Dr. Suess's ABC Undoubtedly my favorite childhood book. About a month ago (on vacation, if I recall correctly), I started reciting it just to see if I still remembered it, and lo and behold, with all of us working together, we got through the whole thing. I was crushed when I picked up a copy recently to read to a girl I was babysitting, only to find that it had been destroyed by PC editors (Warren Wiggens no longer washes Waldo Woo, nor does Uncle Ub have and umbrella and underwear, too). I suggested to Mom that she should find copies of the original edition to give to each of us kids when we have our first child.

Ecce Romani This book is different from the rest on my list because, well, I'd be happy to never crack it open again, but I don't think I'll ever forget those immortal words: "Ecce! In pictura est puellam, nomine Cornelia..."
5. Tag five people, and have them do this on their blog. Well, I don't really know that many people who blog, and most of them have already been tagged, so I'll give it to people who have commented on this blog in the past (that's what you get for commenting!): Kevin, Hugo, Totus Tuus, Jenny, and anyone else who is interested.

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

Because everyone should know some Latin...

Per the Pope's instruction that all Catholics should know basic prayers in Latin, I dug up this website of Latin prayers. I didn't spend a ton of time looking at it, but it looks pretty complete, accurate, and non-heretical/schismatic (though so many Latin sites are, that I can't vouch for anything you might find on this one). It appears to have not only the basic prayers, but also the Precepts of the Church, cheat sheets for the Liturgy of the Hours, and some other interesting stuff. Of course, if you'd rather have a hard copy of all this, there's always the Manual of Prayers, which is my favorite prayer book, and has all this and more.

Finally, Mass

Finally, there was Mass at the local parish this morning. We found out a couple weeks ago that they only offer weekday Mass Wednesday-Friday (Monday & Tuesday are "Communion Liturgies"), and last Wednesday when we went, Father was unavailable. This morning, finally, we went, and found an actual priest there. Of course the opening/closing hymn was a Marty Haugen "song" (Cantacle of the Sun), Father didn't wear any vestments except an alb & stole, and no one knelt at any point during the Mass (that part bugged me more than anything else).
Ah well...better than nothing, I suppose.

Friday, June 24, 2005

You scored as Roman Catholic. You are Roman Catholic. Church tradition and ecclesial authority are hugely important, and the most important part of worship for you is mass. As the Mother of God, Mary is important in your theology, and as the communion of saints includes the living and the dead, you can also ask the saints to intercede for you.

Roman Catholic


Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan






Neo orthodox


Classical Liberal


Reformed Evangelical


Modern Liberal




What's your theological worldview?
created with

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Study finds cell phones take up driver attention

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Using a cellphone -- even with a hands-free device -- may distract drivers because the brain cannot handle both tasks, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

Imaging tests show the brain directs its resources to either visual input or auditory input, but cannot fully activate both at the same time, the team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore found.

"Our research helps explain why talking on a cell phone can impair driving performance, even when the driver is using a hands-free device," said Steven Yantis, a professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences who led the study.

"Directing attention to listening effectively 'turns down the volume' on input to the visual parts of the brain," he added in a statement.

(read the rest here)

I found it ironic that I read about this study 3 days after I almost got in a head-on collision (albeit low-speed, as we were in a parking lot) with a woman on a cell phone who swerved into my lane. I ended up swerving out of her way and side-swiping a light pole, which dented up the side door of the van, though it did miss the hinge, so the door still works. Plus, I was in the big van, and she just had a dinky little car, so even if we had collided, I certainly wouldn't have gotten the worst end of the deal. Anyway, now science confirms what we've known all along: don't drive and talk at the same time. And if you're going to anyway, just don't do it around cars that could run over you and not feel it;)

Monday, June 20, 2005

You know your sister has been at summer camp with nuns when she comes home and one of the first things she asks is if anyone where she can get a long denim skirt.

Bizarre finding in the church bulletin

We've all seen the classic church bulletin "bloopers" ('For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs,' etc.), but I think I found something even more bizarre in this week's church bulletin. I actually had to re-read it a couple times to make sure I was seeing it right, because there, right under the bit about next week's collection going to the Peter's Pence Collection, was the following prayer:

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful: God, you are peace and peace is from you. Please let us live in peace.

-Amin Chanaa, Palestine
Excerpted from "A World on Its Knees
(Honest Prayers in Uncertain Times)"
Compiled by Madonna Theres Ratdiff, FSP

Not quite sure what that's doing in there...

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Reading between the lines

The good folks over at RaptureReady seem to have stumbled across a plethora of hidden Christian messages in secular music.

1. Walking on the Sun (Son): "So don't delay, act now, supplies are runnin' out,.." "but if the offer's shunned, you might as well be walking on the sun (Son)." and "watch the world get Bush-whacked (President Bush?)" Last days.

1. Don't Know Why: (MTV's Best Song 2003) "I waited 'til I saw the sun (Son), don't know why I didn't come. Left you by the house of fun (Earth and its sin).."

And my personal favorite:

Bright Lights: "Well, some things in this world you just can't change. Some things you can't see (Rapture and Jesus) until it gets too late." and "Baby, baby, baby when all your love is gone, who will save me from all I'm up against out in this world? (Jesus will) Well, maybe, maybe, maybe you'll find something that's enough to keep you, but if the bright lights don't receive you, well turn yourself around and come on home (Heaven)." and "Let that city take you down, yeah for God sakes turn around (Before it's too late)." and"..yeah I got a scar (Jesus' scar) I can talk about."

(hat tip to Katie for finding this site)

Woman is kept alive to save unborn baby

ARLINGTON, Va. — A 26-year-old pregnant woman with cancer whose brain function ceased last month is being kept alive with a respirator in hopes she can have a very premature baby who has a chance to survive.

Susan Torres, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), lost consciousness May 7 when an undiagnosed brain tumor caused a stroke while she dined at home. Her husband, Jason Torres, says doctors told him Susan's brain functions have stopped.

Torres, also 26, says he decided to keep Susan on life support when doctors at Virginia Hospital Center here offered him the chance to disconnect the machines after they determined that she would not recover. He says he believes this is what his wife would have wanted.

A hospital spokesperson did not return calls and e-mails to discuss the case.

Against long odds, the baby Susan was carrying when she was stricken appears to be thriving after nearly 21 weeks of gestation, Torres says. If she can stay alive another month, and the cancer stays away from her uterus, the baby could be delivered and have a chance of surviving, he says. The couple has a 2-year-old son, Peter.

“I hate seeing her on those darned machines,” Torres says, “and I hate using her as a husk, a carrying case, because she herself is worth so much more. But Susan really wanted this baby. And she's a very — how should I put this? — a willful lady. That's probably why she's made it this far.”

(read the entire article here)

Wow. What an admirable choice this man is making. According to the article, they are incurring medical costs of $7500 per day, which, multiplied by the 2 or 3 months he hopes she'll be in the hospital, is a staggering amount. Add to that the unimaginable emotional stress he must be going through...

O God, our Heavenly Father, You sent Your Son into this world that He might Bless and Consecrate all life to You.
Your constant Love protected Him as the Ever Virgin Mary bore Him in Her womb for nine months.
In His mission He taught us the Greatness of Your Love and the Sanctity of Life.
We pray that we may always cherish the Life that You give us.
In a special way we ask and pray that You Grace and Protect all unborn children with Your ever caring Love.
We pray this in the Name of Jesus, Who is Lord, Forever and Ever. Amen.

Monday, June 13, 2005


I got up and went to Mass again this morning, only to find that, once again, there was no Mass. This time, however, we had a deacon presiding, so everything felt a little more "right." Everything was by the book, except that while delivering the homily, the deacon stood behind the Altar, leaning on it casually while he spoke. Other than that, though, everything was nice, and lasted about 15 minutes. Before I go again, I think I'll call the parish office and find out when or if there will be a priest there.

Possibly the coolest children's toy out there

I almost forgot to mention my favorite Conference find. One of the vendors was selling a complete children's Mass set. It had all the vessels, etc. that your little Athanasius or Valerian needs to "celebrate" his own "Mass" (Altar linens & vestments are sold separately). Anyway, the piece that caught my eye was the miniature censer. When I bought it, the vendor asked if it was for a little kid, and I replied, "No, it's for a graduation gift." Katie and I bought it and gave it to a friend of ours, an incense lover/Altar server extraordinaire for his graduation. It was really funny to see him as giddy as a little kid playing with his new toy. Definitely a Catholic geek moment.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

When Bishops Speak Up

ROME (AFP) - With less than one out of five Italians casting their ballot, Italy appeared set to keep its tough assisted procreation law after the powerful Roman Catholic Church called for a boycott to scuttle the two-day referendum.

The vote is seen as a first test for newly-elected Pope Benedict XVI, who backed a call by Italian cardinals for predominantly Roman Catholic Italians to abstain on moral grounds.

The appeal appeared to have its effect, with only 18.7 percent of eligible voters casting their ballots Sunday in a vote in which turnout is key since more than 50 percent of the electorate must vote for results to be valid.

The turnout was half of 35 percent turnout experts say is needed for the quorum to be considered attainable by the close of voting on Monday at 3:00 pm (1500 GMT).

(read the entire article here)

It's amazing what happens when bishops take a clear stance on issues. 82.3% of voters didn't turn out, many of them no doubt due to the bishops' request that they not vote. I noticed that none of the articles I have read have mentioned any dissenting or "progressive" Italian bishops, arguing against the "outdated" or "oppresive" part of the Church. No doubt the unity helps their case. It would be interesting to see what would happen if American bishops were to take a similar clear, strong stance.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Cardinal Ruini Urges Italian Catholics Not to Vote

"Cardinal Ruini, in his remarks on the Italian referendum, said that he was grateful to the Catholics who were planning to follow the directive from the country's bishops, for "a conscientious choice not to vote." The referendum, on proposals to amend Italy's law regulating in vitro fertilization, offers voters only the choice to embrace the current law allowing such procedures, or to eliminate restrictions on the practice. The Italian bishops have argued that by abstaining from the vote, Catholics can avoid a choice between evils, and also make it unlikely that the referendum will bring the 50-percent voter turnout that is required to make it legally binding. The referendum will be conducted on June 12 and 13."


This is the first time I can remember hearing that Catholics are being encouraged to not vote. It certainly makes sense, though; even the lesser of two evils is still evil. The only statistic I could find on Catholicism in Italy is that, in 2000, Italy was 94% Catholic. That seems really high to me, so if anyone can provide an accurate number, it would be much appreciated. Anyway, even if the country is only half as Catholic as that statistic states, if Catholics don't turn out for this vote, the referendum can't pass. Kudos to the Italian bishops for making this call.

Mass Wanna-Be

As I had planned, I did indeed go to Mass at the local church yesterday morning. Unfortunately, I was informed upon my arrival that Father was unable to come, so "we'll just be having a nice little Communion service instead." The presider was a 50-something woman who insisted on doing it, even though several men - who said that they had done it before, whereas she apparently hadn't - offered to preside. So, we sang a hymn (which could easily have been concocted here), the OT, Psalm, and NT reading were read by a (female) lector, and then our presider read the Gospel, and proceeded to give what was not merely a reflection, as it should have been, but a homily. I'm not entirely sure what she was talking about - it was like listening to John Kerry talk: a lot of words that sounded good on the surface, but when examined more closely meant nothing at all - but she was clearly trying to teach; it was something about the various circumstances in which it is acceptable to put other things before God. After receiving Communion, no one knelt, which just screamed inappropriatness to me, so I did, and got funny looks. Anyway, the whole thing was over within 20 minutes, and I left right away, before anyone could ask me what I thought. So, my first attempt was rather disappointing, but I'll be back there on Monday to try again.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


I just found out a few days ago that the parish nearest our house (about 10 min. away) is now offering daily Mass at 8:00 a.m. That's really good news, because until now, the option has been to get up for 6:45 Mass half an hour away, which we did regularily during Lent last year (now that was a sacrifice). Anyway, I'm hoping to go tomorrow, as I'd really like to get into the habit.

110 Most-Banned Books

Here for your enjoyment is the list of the top 110 banned books. Bold the ones you’ve read. Italicize the ones you’ve read part of. Read more. Convince others to read some.

1. The Bible
2. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
3. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
4. The Koran
5. Arabian Nights
6. Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
7. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
8. Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
9. Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
10. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
11. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
12. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
13. Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
14. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
15. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
16. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
17. Dracula by Bram Stoker
18. Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin
19. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
20. Essays by Michel de Montaigne
21. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
22. History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
23. Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
24. Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
25. Ulysses by James Joyce
26. Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
27. Animal Farm by George Orwell
28. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
29. Candide by Voltaire
30. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
31. Analects by Confucius
32. Dubliners by James Joyce
33. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
34. Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
35. Red and the Black by Stendhal
36. Capital by Karl Marx
37. Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire
38. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
39. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence
40. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
41. Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
42. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
43. Jungle by Upton Sinclair
44. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
45. Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
46. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
47. Diary by Samuel Pepys
48. Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
49. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
50. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
51. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
52. Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant
53. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
54. Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus
55. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
56. Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X
57. Color Purple by Alice Walker
58. Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
59. Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke
60. Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
61. Molly Flanders by Daniel Defoe
62. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
63. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
64. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
65. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
66. Confessions by Jean Jacques Rousseau
67. Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais
68. Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
69. The Talmud
70. Social Contract by Jean Jacques Rousseau
71. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
72. Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence
73. American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
74. Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
75. Separate Peace by John Knowles
76. Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
77. Red Pony by John Steinbeck
78. Popol Vuh
79. Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith
80. Satyricon by Petronius
81. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
82. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
83. Black Boy by Richard Wright
84. Spirit of the Laws by Charles de Secondat Baron de Montesquieu
85. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
86. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
87. Metaphysics by Aristotle
88. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
89. Institutes of the Christian Religion by Jean Calvin
90. Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse
91. Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
92. Sanctuary by William Faulkner
93. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
94. Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
95. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
96. Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
97. General Introduction to Psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud
98. Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
99. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Alexander Brown
100. Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
101. Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines
102. Ãmile by Jean Jacques Rousseau
103. Nana by Ãmile Zola
104. Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
105. Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
106. Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
107. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
108. Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck
109. Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark
110. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

(from Katie)

I must admit, I have never even heard of a few of these. There are several on there that I have long been meaning to read, and just have never found the time. I'll have to move that up on my to-do list. What else is summer good for, right?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

BERLIN, JUNE 7, 2005 ( Youth requesting visas to visit Germany for World Youth Day should study their catechism.

More than a million young people are expected to attend the event in August, and the German government wants to make sure illegal immigrants, especially from the Balkans, aren't among them.

German embassies abroad have developed a test to sort out the true pilgrims from those seeking to take advantage of the fast-lane regulation visas.

The questionnaire asks, among other things, how and when Jesus died, the seven deadly sins and the sacraments. A passing score is 70.

I see a couple problems with this idea. First, now that they've made their plan public, what's there to stop the illegal immigrants from studying up on Catholicism? Secondly, and more amusingly, I wonder how many legitimate pilgrims will be disqualified through no fault of their own, just bad catechesis. I wonder how many youth ministers couldn't do it. This past year, I taught a class of 7th grade girls for our church's junior high youth program. We had to repeatedly go over the concepts of mortal vs. venial sins, the state of grace, etc., simply because they had never heard it before. I don't even think those topics were technically covered in the lesson plans, but we wound up there anyway. There were definitely times when I wanted to throw away the lessons I had been given and pull out a Baltimore Catechism. It may not have fun crafts like "make a paper-mache Holy Spirit" (or whatever we were supposed to do), but it probably would have been a lot more effective at getting the point across.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

My feelings exactly. Posted by Hello

Well, we made it through this year's Conference relatively unscathed. There were, of course, the expected headaches and problems, but nothing too extraordinary. As always, it was fun to see all the super-Catholic stuff that the vendors had, and I think I bought more books than I ever have over such a short period of time (unfortunately, even this record number was pretty small - 4 or 5, I think - due to my until-recent lack of income). Em, Kate, and I got a treat, though, meeting reader Marie, who was there (Hi, Marie and daughter!).

So, having had a couple days to recover, I can now move on to my "relaxed" summer, meaning a job, 4-H projects for the county fair, Vacation Bible School, Theology of the Body Study Group, etc. Fun stuff.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Sorry for the lack of post recently. Between the MCHE Conference this weekend, tying up a few scholastic loose ends, and other stuff I'm working on, this blog has fallen by the wayside. The good news is, next week is looking more relaxed, so I'm hoping to get back to posting.

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