Thursday, March 31, 2005

Terri Has Died

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace.

CNN's report --
Schiavo dies amid legal, ethical battle.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Stolen from Eric Ewanco's blog:

Top Ten Excuses Given By the Guards At the Empty Tomb

10. "I thought he was the pizza delivery guy leaving. No wondered he smiled when I tried to give him a tip!"
9. "I was putting another denarius in the chariot meter!"
8. "With the earth shakin' and all the bright lights, we figgered we was abducted by aliens!"
7. "Since the tomb was already empty when the stone was rolled away, I'm afraid you're speaking to the wrong department. Let me give you a BR#245-A-Res form and direct you to Burial Services."
6. "As we've already stated several times before, according to the legal definition of "escape", we emphatically deny any wrongdoing in this matter!"
5. "We was HYPNO-TIZED! Centurion Bobicus is still clucking like a chicken!"
4. "You told us to secure the tomb as best as we know how (Mat. 27:65). We did! May I suggest an assessment of our current training program?
3. "All I know is, this better not mess up my early retirement package!
2. "Hey! What'd you expect? Did you tell us we were guarding the Son of God?--NOOOOOOOOO!"
And the number one excuse given by the guards at the empty tomb is:
1. "What's the big deal? He said He'd be back!"

Happy Birthday Jeanetta!

It's the lovely Jeanetta's birthday. Go visit her blog!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Schiavo Appeal To Be Filed

Good news, apparently the Federal district court has agreed to hear an appeal.

Let's pray that they actually hear something before it's too late.

[Correction: I had a too-optimistic headline for this post initially. It's not that the appeal has been granted, it's that it's at least allowed to be filed.]

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Happy Easter!

I sang at the Easter Vigil last night. Since my voice has been rather iffy I gave up my solos for Good Friday and Easter Vigil, and just did my best in the choir. I'll try to post the music for those later.

Last night's celebration was a joyous one. We welcomed the 5 member of our RCIA into the Church, along with 12 children. The Vigil is the time when we as instructors/team members can really see the result of our efforts in a tangible way. It's a wonderful thing to watch.

Friday, March 25, 2005

The fight for Terri Schiavo continues. I spent a good chunk of time during the Good Friday service (and at Stations tonight) thinking about her and praying for her. How can you contemplate the suffering of Christ and not think of her suffering? How can you see Mrs. Schindler crying on national television, begging anyone who will listen to save her daughter, and not think of our Blessed Mother?

Cathy wrote in a comment yesterday:
I also learned about myself. I questioned who I was and how I reacted. Did I pray enough - no. Did I actively preach to my friends and family over the past two years - no - I instead shared only when asked. What was I afraid of? Did I financially support the Schindlers - yes; should it have been more - yes; could it have been more - absolutely. Even though I'm on the "right" side of this issue, my actions have been highly inadequate.

I have to agree. Lord, forgive me for my sins of omission. Have mercy on our nation that has brought us to this point, and deliver us from the Culture of Death.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

After Mass I went to grab some dinner, then came back and prayed before the Blessed Sacrament for a while. The main focus of my prayer was Terri Schiavo. I begged the Lord, I pleaded. I cried. Finally after a while I came to a grim conclusion... the Lord who "spared not His only Son" isn't going to spare Terri. There, I said it. It's grim. I think it's true. So now I have to ask myself, Why? What good can come of this? How can God allow this? How can he allow her to suffer so? How can he break the Schindlers' hearts so, who have already suffered so much? So many people, most of whom have never met Terri or her parents, have worked so hard to try to save her life, to be frustrated by an evil, adulterous husband and an evil judge. Why?

And yet... there is good that can come of this horrible tragedy.
  • I firmly believe that after all the suffering she has endured, Terri is going to Heaven.
  • I firmly believe that Terri will spend her Heaven praying for others in such circumstances -- a patron saint for those in danger of euthanasia.
  • Her case has stirred up the consciences of so many that, I pray, change will come.
I hope and pray that it is so.
On a personal note... while I don't usually ask for prayers, please pray for me. I'm supposed to be singing a lot tomorrow and Saturday, and I've had really bad allergies and have lost my high notes. Please pray that if it be His will, I recover enough to be able to serve the Lord in this way.

Barb Nicolosi writes eloquently about the rhetoric of the culture of death.

We are not supposed to WANT to live this way! It's a world wracked by sin. But we trudge on, "making up with our sufferings what is lacking in the suffering of Christ." We suffer and we offer, and we believe that nothing offered to God with a pure heart is a waste.

Thanks to the lovely Jeanetta for the link.
Music for Mass
SSPP Combined Choirs
Holy Thursday

Gathering Song: Lift High the Cross(CRUCIFER)
Penitential Rite: spoken
Gloria: Ss. Peter and Paul Gloria (Schiavone)
Responsorial Psalm: Our Blessing Cup (Joncas)
Gospel Acclamation: Lenten Gospel Acclamation (Walker)
Washing of the Feet: Love One Another (Dufford)
Preparation of the Gifts: Jesus, You Are Bread For Us (Walker)
Holy,Holy: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Memorial Acclamation: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Great Amen: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Our Father: (Traditional Chant)
Lamb of God: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Communion: The Supper of the Lord (Rosania)
Procession of the Eucharist: Pange Lingua/Tantum Ergo (Traditional)
In other news... WooHoo! The Wildcats beat OK State in a nailbiter of a game, 79-78, to advance to the Elite 8! Wow. I only caught the last 5 minutes and it was pretty hairy. Eeep!
Peggy Noonan writes eloquently on In Love With Death: The bizarre passion of the pull-the-tube people. She's spot on:

Once you "know" that--that human life is not so special after all--then
everything is possible, and none of it is good. When a society comes to believe
that human life is not inherently worth living, it is a slippery slope to the
gas chamber. You wind up on a low road that twists past Columbine and leads
toward Auschwitz. Today that road runs through Pinellas Park, Fla.
Thanks to the lovely Jeanetta for the link.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Disturbing evidence that Michael Schiavo is indeed a scum -- one of Terri's former nurses is now speaking out. She says that Michael injected Terri with insulin in hopes of inducing a coma, and that he deliberately withheld rehabilitation from her.

This man must not win.
I've been doing a lot of thinking, obviously, about Terri Schiavo, and trying to understand what is going on. I don't mean with Terri, or the actual situation (although of course I've thought about that a lot); I mean with public reaction and the reaction by so many in our country.

First, the most obvious thing is that Terri's plight has garnered a huge amount of interest and attention. People everywhere are talking about it. Most amazing has been the incredible response by the executive and legislative branches at the Federal and state level. So many legislators seem to recognize that there's something fundamentally wrong here; others are just going along perhaps. Most heartening has been the pro-life community recognizing what an incredible challenge this is. Unlike 1973 when so many were caught sleeping by Roe v. Wade, there's been an outpouring of concern and action, much of it galvanized by the Internet. The Terri's Fight website has been able to bypass the media's constant misrepresentation of the case as being a "right to die" case and take the facts straight to the people. The same Internet has been used by pro-lifers to organize into groups like Blogs For Terri.

Second, it's made abundantly clear the depth and breadth of the Culture of Death in our country. When an opinion poll shows something like 55% of Americans think it's okay to starve Terri to death, that's a problem. When the media consistently misrepresents the situation and repeats lies and half-truths about Terri, her husband and her parents, that's a problem. And of course when unelected judges consistently ignore facts and rule in ways that defy both common sense and reason, that's a problem.

If Terri is saved it will be a miracle; but it will almost assuredly be a miracle of the spirit emboldening those with power, strength, or ingenuity to find ways to circumvent the death-dealers (mostly in black robes) who seem intent on her death.

This is an inspiring story -- Former POW Jessica Lynch honors fallen comrade. It's two years today since Lori Piestewa died -- may she rest in peace. She served her country well.

Jessica Lynch put the money from her book deal into a foundation to help Piestewa's children. I really admire that.
As I feared... Appeals panel refuses to order Schiavo feeding. God have mercy on their souls.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Please continue to pray for Terri Schiavo. It's looking more and more like despite an amazing effort by the executive and legislative branches (unprecedented and, really, inspiring), the judicial branch is determined to kill her.

I've had an intuition for several days now that she will die on Good Friday, or Holy Saturday. I pray that I am wrong.
Update on Diocese of Tucson Chapter 11. The Star reports that some of the claimants are objecting to the Diocese's claim that the parishes are separate entities. This classifies as "the other shoe dropping." Appropriately enough the next hearing is on Good Friday.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Thanks Be To God!

CNN is reporting that the House has just passed Terri's bill. President Bush has promised to sign it immediately.

After all the ups and downs (and believe me, I know it's not over) I find it very, very inspiring that so many lawmakers worked so hard to make this happen. If this were Europe she'd be dead already.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Happy Feast of St. Joseph!

We had our RCIA retreat today, and then later I went to a dinner of the local Opus Dei cooperators and supernumerary to celebrate the feast day. I encourage you to check out St. Josemaria's excellent homily on St. Joseph, In Joseph's Workshop. Here's a sample:

Work is part and parcel of man's life on earth. It involves effort, weariness, exhaustion: signs of the suffering and struggle which accompany human existence and which point to the reality of sin and the need for redemption. But in itself work is not a penalty or a curse or a punishment: those who speak of it that way have not understood sacred Scripture properly.

It is time for us Christians to shout from the rooftops that work is a gift from God and that it makes no sense to classify men differently, according to their occupation, as if some jobs were nobler than others. Work, all work, bears witness to the dignity of man, to his dominion over creation. It is an opportunity to develop one's personality. It is a bond of union with others, the way to support one's family, a means of aiding in the improvement of the society in which we live and in the progress of all humanity. (47)
Here's the text of an email I just sent my congressman. I don't have high hopes that he will listen, but at least he will know people are watching.

To the Honorable Raul M. Grijalva:

I'm writing in regards to Terri Schiavo and the Incapacitated Persons Legal Protection Act. I urge you to support this act and protect the life of Terri Schiavo and others like her.

Terri Schiavo's situation has been horribly misrepresented in the press and by her husband. She is not terminally ill, yet is being cared for in a hospice. She is healthy but needs to be fed via a tube -- a situation that happens to many people at times in their lives, e.g. stroke victims and others. She is brain damaged, yes, but she is aware of her surroundings and can feel pain. Her husband said on Tuesday (3/15) night's "Nightline" that "she has no cortex" -- untrue.

Most appalling of all about this issue is that the person who should care most for her, her husband, has a clear conflict of interest -- he is in an adulterous relationship and stands to gain financially by her death. He is hardly an objective guardian of Terri's best interests.

As a lifelong Democrat, I've always believed that if the Democratic Party stood for anything, it stood for protecting the weak against the strong, being a voice for those who have no voice. Terri Schiavo is a prime example of the weak in our society being oppressed by the strong.

People being starved to death by court order because their lives are deemed "not worth living" is behavior I associate with the Nazi Third Reich, not with the United States of America. If we can't stand up for the rights of someone like Terri, how can we hope to protect our elderly, the poor, the disenfranchised?

Please suppor this bill, and please help to save an innocent woman's life.


Gordon Zaft
Good News! Congress has apparently resolved their differences enough to be able to pass a bill to save Terri Schiavo's life, at least long enough for a federal judge to hear the case.

It's really sad that apparently no (or almost no) Democrats are willing to help in this effort. When I was growing up I thought the Democratic party was about standing up for the weak and defenseless, but apparently the culture of death so thoroughly rules the Democratic party now that they can't even prevent an innocent woman from being starved to death.

I had an entry in the Arizona Daily Star's "NewsTalk" section on the issue:

Terri Schiavo should be fed! Food and water are not "extraordinary" care; they are the normal requirements of any living being. I never thought I'd live to see the day an American citizen would be starved to death by court order. It's a sad day for our country.
Gordon Zaft

Sadly, few others seemed willing to stand up for Terri.

Friday, March 18, 2005

NRO has an article on Torturing Terri Schiavo. Ironically, she'd have more protection if she were a terrorist.
Apparently I spoke/wrote too soon. CNN is now reporting that Terri's feeding tube has been removed. In the flurry of paper going on between Washington and Florida (and, apparently, dueling judges in FL) it's not surprising things are confusing.
Good news -- A House committee has subpoena'd Terri Schiavo to appear before them. And apparently a Florida judge has issued a stay -- no word yet on which judge or the circumstances.
Heartbreaking news -- the US Supreme Court won't hear the Schindlers' appeal. I just don't understand how this woman can be starved to death by judicial fiat and no one seems to be able to do anything! God bless Jeb Bush, he's been fighting for her but there's not a lot he can do now it seems.

I can't help but think it's no coincidence that this is happening as Holy Week is upon us, and that Terri's suffering will be joined to Christ's suffering on the cross. What are we to make of this juxtaposition? Will Terri experience her own Good Friday?


Thursday, March 17, 2005

Efforts are under way on numerous fronts to save Terri Schiavo from being starved to death. Interesting how an innocent person can be sentenced to death in America, isn't it? President Bush's statement:

The case raises complex issues. And the President believes our goal, as a
nation, should be to build a culture of life. Those who live at the mercy of
others deserve our special care and attention. And the President believes a
society that is built on a culture of life ought to welcome, protect and value
all individuals.

Meanwhile, CNN reports that efforts continue in the US House to pass a bill to allow federal habeas corpus review of such cases.

Please continue to pray for Terri, her parents, Michael Schiavo, Judge Greer, and all those in similar situations.
I'm working on a presentation on the Creed for RCIA tonight. I came across some great quotes. The first is from Dorothy Sayers (not a Catholic, but her heart was in the right place):

Christ, in His Divine innocence, said to the Woman of Samaria, "Ye worship ye
know not what" — being apparently under the impression that it might be
desirable, on the whole, to know what one was worshipping. He thus showed
Himself sadly out of touch with the twentieth-century mind, for the cry today
is: "Away with the tendentious complexities of dogma — let us have the simple
spirit of worship; just worship, no matter of what!" The only drawback to this
demand for a generalized and undirected worship is the practical difficulty of
arousing any sort of enthusiasm for the worship of nothing in particular. (Creed
or Chaos?, 19)

The second is from Peter Kreeft in his excellent book, Fundamentals of the Faith:

Faith is not the relation between an intellect and an idea, but the relation
between an I and a Thou. That is why faith makes the difference between
heaven and hell. God does not send you to hell for flunking his theology
exam but for willingly divorcing from him (109).

Excellent stuff!
Here's a cool site at LMU that has the Order of the Mass with lots of nifty info. Check it out!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

As far as I know, I have no Irish blood in me -- more's the pity!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Beware the ides of March! At least, if your name is Julius Caesar...
Wow. I got to watch the last 10 minutes or so of the Nightline interview. Michael Schiavo is either very evil, or very deceived. He told some outright lies in the interview. I was yelling at the TV, that's how upsetting it was! Among the lies:
  • "Terri has no cortex."
  • "She can't feel pain."
  • Dying by withdrawal of nutritition and hydration is not painful (how would HE know?)
He also tried to say that withdrawal of the feeding tube wasn't causing her death. Good God! This is where our society has gone.
ABC's Nightline will carry an interview with Michael Schiavo tonight. Let's hope that they ask some of the hard questions, like, why don't you let her live? Why won't you let her parents care for her? And how can you be a fit guardian for your wife when you are shacking up with a woman and have 2 kids with her?

Friday, March 11, 2005

Okay, this is just sad. Apparently large numbers of Americans don't even know the lyrics to the national anthem. That's just absurd! How can people not know this stuff? What are they teaching these days, anyway? Sheesh!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

More Diocese of Tucson bankruptcy news -- Diocese to sell off 85 properties. It's necessary, but it's unfortunate since it means the diocese is going to have a hard time establishing new parishes where they are needed most.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

If you love literature, you have to check out Open Source Shakespeare. This is a project of Eric Johnson, who is a blogger on Catholic Light. Very cool, Eric!

Monday, March 07, 2005

Check this out -- how to build your own PBX! If you've got a junker PC sitting around this might be the perfect application for it.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Here's an interesting Slashdot discussion of a Slate article on Warner Brothers DVD mastering. Although the article reads like a puff piece for WB there's some interesting info in there.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Fr. Rob Johansen has strong words on the latest statement of the Florida bishops about Terri Schiavo's plight. Why aren't the bishops out there at the nursing home? At least ONE of them?

If you are tired of reading about Terri Schiavo, imagine how her parents feel.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005