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Showing posts from October, 2011

What constitutes beauty in music?

What constitutes beauty in music? What gives it such force to influence our emotions? It has the capacity to move and put us in touch with a primal well of inner joy. We are 'connected' through music. It transcends the existential isolation of the human condition.  One such example: national anthems. The fact that these national 'hymns' unite citizens in a common experience of connectedness in which they, while even though 'separated' from from others, share a common experience of being 'moved' by the same event. The music becomes the medium by which we are united. To explore this, I turned to the one nation that does anthems better (and worse... remember Roseanne?) than anyone else, the USA. Here are two examples. Listen to them and look within yourself to become aware of what wells up within you. (The 3rd example is only for those who are into self-flagellation!)

New head of Canada’s bishops: Abortion is ‘the most outrageous injustice today’ |

My former boss, +Richard Smith (Edmonton) is interviewed in the wake of his election as President of the CCCB (Canadian Bishops Conference). In it, he speaks of the life agenda as the most immediate and pressing issue for Catholics to confront today. I couldn't agree more. We were incredibly fortunate to have been under his leadership in our Pembroke Diocese from 2002 - 2007. To use a modern secular analogy, we were his 'practice diocese' where he learned the lessons of his craft and ministry among Canada's friendliest people, the folks of the Ottawa Valley. New head of Canada’s bishops: Abortion is ‘the most outrageous injustice today’ |

Weird Weddings; Funny Funerals | First Things

Evidently Lutherans are dealing with the same issues as I face as a pastor who presides at weddings and funerals. You would not believe some of the requests we receive for these events. As a pastor, one does get tired of 'fighting the good fight' in trying to preserve a proper sense of worship. My favorite was a bride who wanted to jive down the aisle with her groom to Elvis! (It didn't happen.) I wonder how long it will be before I find myself face to face with something like this popular YouTube video? Weird Weddings; Funny Funerals | First Things

American Bishop takes a swing at 'SNAP' in the wake of his neighbor Bishop being charged with failure to report priest

"Since Father Ratigan’s arrest, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests has been very active in the diocese. But you have expressed concerns about SNAP’s role. Other critics have charged that SNAP has a close relationship with trial lawyers. In the past, Forbes magazine has documented this relationship. But when the local media recently asked SNAP to provide a list of donors, the organization said contributors were “victims” and their identity thus could not be divulged. My take is that they have a hatred toward the Church. Their mission is no longer to assist victims, but is to strike at the Church and wound the Church. But in the early days of the clergy abuse crisis, SNAP was viewed as a voice crying in the wilderness. In my experience, they have never acknowledged a false accusation. As far as they are concerned, if you are accused, you are guilty. They don’t take anyone off the list. They don’t serve themselves well by insisting that every accusat

For the Children's Sake, These Stereotypes About Priests Must Stop | Blogs |

An interesting argument. Don't know if I entirely agree, but the author makes a few good points. Here's an example: "When the Hare Krishnas in California settled the largest sex-abuse lawsuit in history, resulting from sexual abuse of children, it generated 44 stories in California over a six-month period. During the same period, Californians were treated to 17,310 stories about sex abuse in California Catholic institutions. That’s 39,341 percent more coverage than was generated by the most serious sex-abuse case in history." Click on the link below to read more... For the Children s Sake, These Stereotypes About Priests Must Stop | Blogs |

Defending Our First Freedom | First Things

Archbishop Gomez (Los Angeles) writes an excellent defense of the Church's right to preach, teach and practice according our own beliefs. Well worth the read no matter what side of the issue you stand on. Defending Our First Freedom | First Things

God, I like the way this guy thinks!

" The problem is not that we do not have enough faith, but that we don't really understand what faith is, and because believers themselves do not understand the concept of faith, and hawk about the wrong ideas of faith it gives ammunition to the doubters, atheists and agnostics. So, some people believe that having 'faith' is believing something which they secretly think is a load of codswallop. Somehow or other they have to try very hard to suspend their disbelief and 'have faith' in propositions and stories which everybody really knows are just untrue."   Read the rest of the article by clicking on the link below: Standing on My Head: Evidence and Faith

U.S. Christian group says rapture, end of world is Friday - CTV News

Just in case you missed it last spring, evidently the rapture with its concomitant horrors for non-believers is supposed to arrive (again) tomorrow. Hope you have your 'Rapture Rucksack' all packed and ready to go! U.S. Christian group says rapture, end of world is Friday - CTV News

Canadian bishops elect new president : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

My former 'boss' gets a new job! Congratulations Archbishop Richard Smith on becoming the President of the CCCB. I have no doubt at all that he'll do a great job. Canadian bishops elect new president : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

We grow them big in the Ottawa Valley! A photo taken last week near to my cottage

Taken on Allumette Island, Qc - in the Ottawa Valley & a couple of kms from my cottage

Less is not more, especially when it comes to Mass

The priest was wrong. Jesus taught us that the angels of children stand before God the Father in heaven. They are blessed and holy beings and have more right to be in church (crying or not) than does virtually anyone else... the priest included. He was wrong. Period. OSV Daily Take Blog: Less is not more, especially when it comes to Mass

Proof that the Robinson Family of “Lost in Space” Were Catholics | Why I Am Catholic

Maybe this is why I've grown up a Catholic priest. 'Lost in Space' was an absolute 'must see' when I was a kid. Cool parents, big brother robot to protect you, SPACE SHIP... it was every kid's fantasy to travel with the 'Robinsons'. If they were 'subliminal Catholic agents', they were following in the great tradition of J.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis et al. who used the media of their day (print) to teach the Christian message through metaphor and story. Their books fired my imagination as a youth. So such mass exposure to all these 'Catholic' forces, it's a wonder everyone in the western world isn't a believing Christian! Proof that the Robinson Family of “Lost in Space” Were Catholics | Why I Am Catholic

Aging Pope Uses Wheeled Platform In St. Peter's - This will prime the rumor pump about his health and possible successor.

AP Photo: Gregorio Borgia - credit AP Aging Pope Uses Wheeled Platform In St. Peter's - From the Wires -

An interesting take on the subject of online 'anonymity' when posting on line.

NOTE: Please take note of the fact that online comments are never actually anonymous. When threatening comments were posted anonymously in the threads of this blog, I was able to forward the material to the Police who determined the source. Remember, just because you don't use your name, your IP address is attached EVERY TIME you post something ANYWHERE online.  It's something to consider before using online sites to malign, slander or threaten anyone! Anonymity isn't guaranteed - DAVE DALE’s Soapboxing - The North Bay Nugget - Ontario, CA

Economic fits and starts: Are we in for ‘flash’ recessions?

An interesting article that is calling for a new definition of what a 'recession' is. Given the rapidity of our modern economies to react to changing conditions, the author may have a valid point. CTV News | Economic fits and starts: Are we in for ‘flash’ recessions?

Peanut butter prices set to spike in wake of shortage - The Globe and Mail

MAN THE BARRICADES!!!   I'll pay whatever you demand for gas. I'll even pay $1.50 for a bottle of Evian water (spell it backwards folks... that's what we are for paying for filtered tap water). But DO NOT threaten my supply of peanut butter! There are certain things that are absolutely essential, without which life has no value... and peanut butter is at the top of that list. Time to head out to the closest Costco and purchase a pallet or two to get me through these tough times! ( Grin ) Peanut butter prices set to spike in wake of shortage - The Globe and Mail

A reflection on the recent discovery of 'crazy neutrinos' that travel faster than light

Does God Think Digitally? From that day when Abram & Sari encountered that burning bush in the desert, his descendants have strove to comprehend the mind of God. Through  revelations tested against prophecies and divine promises and by studying the cosmos around them, Jews, Christians and Muslims have sustained a multi-millennial project of inquiry and learning that may have finally brought them to the point of achieving what their scriptural parents failed to possess: an understanding the very thought of God. Religiously this quest has led us to conclude that God sustains all creation through mere thought. He does not require some machine or technology to create or destroy. An omniscient being, omnipotent and eternal in existence, He ‘wills’ creation into existence and  possesses the capacity to end it all. In fact, believers know that He has promised to do exactly that.  He will return in the ‘end times’ to pronounce a final judgment and  remake  a new, perfect paradise where the

Occupy Wall Street to march on millionaires' homes - U.s. - Catholic Online

Hummm... are we all that far from a call to 'storm the Bastille'? Do you think we'll soon hear the seductive siren call to arms at the barricades to shout for the King's head not in effigy but in truth? Exaggeration? Certainly. Impossibility? Sadly if history is a teacher, the answer would have to be 'No'. At what point did King Louis know that the tide had turned and, what before were occasions for 'hotheads' to blow off steam and publicly make their claim to 'justice', had evolved into a murderous mob no long content with a symbolic removal of his head? Clearly, not in time. Reading Conrad Black's latest memoir, ' A Matter of Principle ' it is evident that proximity to power oft times blinds those so blessed to the danger at their door until it's too late. Looking back at his fate (and that of thousands of shareholders who lost everything the invested in Hollinger's various incarnations) he can see from where the

The Associated Press: 4 arrested in Ohio Amish attack

Attacking an Amish man!!! That's the equivalent to kicking and killing a puppy! Western culture has certainly fallen a long way if members of this peace-loving religion are targeted for violence. I sincerely hope that a judge throws the book at these goons. The Associated Press: 4 arrested in Ohio Amish attack


We Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend. It also marks the opening of moose hunting season. So, if everything seem bleak and you can't think of anything to be thankful for... thank God that you were not born either a turkey or a moose!

Confession? Yes, it is still a sacrament of the Church... even if sadly rarely used today

Confession... the Sacrament of Reconciliation and healing. While it may be out of fashion for many to admit to the existence of such a thing as 'sin', it is still an obligation and a privilege for Catholics. Obligation because none of us are capable of perfectly loving God and neighbor.  A privilege because it grants us the opportunity to move past our failings and to grow strong in love with both. The Church teaches that everyone should go to confession whenever they are aware that they are in a state of serious sin. Given that people have such a hard time recognizing 'sin', it has become an almost forgotten sacrament. For this reason I always suggest that people should come to confession at the changing of the seasons so that they can receive the grace of the sacrament, even if people don't admit to the presence of any 'serious' sin in their lives. In this season of Autumn, the falling leaves remind us of the fact that each of us will one day die and

Washington Wants a Say Over Your Minister -

When the Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine (see previous post: "Why Catholic Bishops are Targeting Obama in Religious Freedom) begin to raise the issue of religious freedom, I think it's safe to say that it is not a case of claiming that the Churches are 'whining' over some loss of privilege or status, but a genuine growing concern for the Churches. What do you think? Michael W. McConnell: Washington Wants a Say Over Your Minister -

Don’t Confuse the Common Good with Statism - Institute on Religion & Democracy (IRD)

Michael Novak is a writer of uncommon clarity and insight. In this article he is trying to flesh out a true understanding of the concept of the 'common good' as it relates to our form of government. Put simply, if something is beneficial to the common good, should it necessarily become part of the mandate of the government?  Don’t Confuse the Common Good with Statism - Institute on Religion & Democracy (IRD)

YEAH! Hockey season begins anew today! Here's a prognostication from a CBC reporter.

Only good thing from a Sen's perspective in these predictions? We finish out of the play-offs but ahead of the Leafs! That's as good as the Cup for we Ottawa fans who will probably suffer through a long and difficult season if the pundits are all correct! Go Sen's Go! Timmy the Greek, not quite | Tim Wharnsby | CBC Sports

ZENIT - Profile of a Priest

"The Church's real battlefield is the "secret landscape of man's spirit," and there, priests are invited to enter, with tact and compunction, counting on the grace of state that comes with ordination. This was one of the observations offered Monday by Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, at a meeting with priests of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. That city's Archbishop José Gómez invited the cardinal to participate in an annual conference for Hispanic priests serving in the United States. The cardinal's poetic address offered a profile of the priest of the 21st century. "It is right that the priest insert himself in the ordinary life of men, but he must not yield to the conformisms and compromises of society," he said. The priest "is not like 'others.' What people expect from him is, in fact, that he not be 'like others.'" Read rest of article by clicking on link be

Five Hard Truths That Will Set You Free | Archdiocese of Washington

I always like the offerings put forward by Msgr. Charles Pope from Washington, DC. He is practical, organized and orthodox in his thinking and clear and concise in his writing. Here he borrows from Fr. Richard Rohr in reflecting upon the five 'hard truths' of life, which are: 1. Life is hard 2. Your life is not about you 3. You are not in control 4. You are not that important 5. You will die All truths worth reflecting upon! Five Hard Truths That Will Set You Free | Archdiocese of Washington


Our First footstep on this earth....we walked with our mother in her womb. CLEARLY... it is a LIFE that presses its tiny feet against a thin wall separating it from being a 'person' under the law. It's a life... not a choice!  While I respect the views of others whose convictions are currently reflected in law, I reserve and claim the right to CRY long and loud, to plead, argue and convince others that it is a human baby who is puting his footprint into the cement of the right to life.  A debate with passion and sound argument that resists becoming 'argumentative'; one that gives no corner but throws no elbows; an airing of the arguments as each side pleads their case in the court of public opinion, before courts and the legislatures of this great and just nation. The debate should not be avoided out of some Canadian sense of social propriety... avoiding conflict with our neighbor by refraining for talking about money, faith or politics. After all, as Canu

Suffering Saint: The shadows cast over Francis of Assisi | Holy Post | National Post

Anyone who has any experience with the devastation of suffering, grief and horrors of war would understand the demons that tormented this saintly man. I see the same humility forged and tested in fire when I read Eli Weisel's 'The Night Trilogy', Viktor Frankl's 'Man's Search for Meaning' or Bonhoffer's famous 'Ethic'. Francis was not unique in being challenged to remain faithful to is beliefs. He 'chose' each day, each moment to believe, especially when he found himself alone in his dark and silent soul. He lived out that faith by putting himself among the least of his brothers for he knew the capacity of evil and sin to reach to the very depth of any man's soul. He is most certainly among many others who 'shook hands with the devil' (thank you Romeo Dellaire); who were suffered upon but strove to never be the cause of another man's suffering. There will be many of them who are among the saints. God most cert

A request for prayers, good thoughts and positive vibes and energy

Friends, I haven't spent much time writing on the blog for the past few days as an elderly priest who has entrusted his care into my hands has been admitted into the Pembroke Regional Hospital with a case of pneumonia. Fr. Leon Bélanger suffers from a number of significant medical problems and he has been in a nursing home for a number of years. It doesn't appear as if this is necessarily an end stage event for him, but it is an unsettling and uncomfortable time for a man who no longer possesses the mental acuity to cope with such events. Yours prayers, best thoughts and wishes, positive vibes and energies would be greatly appreciated. I also have found out that comments are not being accepted on this blog for some mysterious technical reason. Hopefully the staff at Blogger will soon get things back to normal. I regret the inconvenience it may be causing anyone.

I hope this is better!

I've been receiving comments through other social media that the new template I chose for the blog was crashing. I tried to change back to my old format only to lose it!  I hope this new version works for everyone. I don't know if I have sufficient skills to ever find my old one! Fr. Tim