Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ad hominem

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An ad hominem (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or belief of the person supporting it. Ad hominem reasoning is normally described as a logical fallacy.

On thing that bloggers tend to face is finding that not everyone agrees with their stated point of view. I understand as a blogger that there will be some who disagree with me about different topics. I'm not afraid to discuss something I've posted, that is why I post on some of the topics I present on this blog.

Unfortunately, it is so easy on the internet to hide behind the name Anonymous. A lot of the time those using that name are seeking clarification and a deeper understanding. They are even willing to point out fallacies in my arguments. Unfortunately, others use Anonymous to hide their real identity and make personal attacks concerning my posts.

I want to remind everyone that I moderate all comments on this blog. I have also made a change that will not allow Anonymous post comments. I ask that comments actually address the argument being presented in my blog post and not resort to ad hominem attacks against myself or other commentators. Ad hominem attacks will not be posted. I also ask that you have the strength of your conviction to use a real name and identity when you engage in discussions on the blog. Remember, one should never say something online that they would not say to someone's face.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Accidental Pregnancy?

I've always wondered how one accidentally becomes pregnant. I'm trying to imagine what that must look like. How is it that two are people walking down the street naked and happen to bump into each other in just the right way to make the connection necessary for conception to take place.

Anything other than that would have to be an act of choice. (Even in cases of rape and incest a choice is made on the part of the perpetrator) Every time one participates in the marital act, even those outside of marriage, they are making a choice that may lead to pregnancy. The act on their part is not an accident, it is a choice. Even with the best birth control, there is still a chance that conception may occur. The baby that is conceived is not an accident, it is a choice.

Since this is a matter of choice -- no one is told they must engage in the marital act -- why should others be expected to pay for this activity? There are sources out there that tell people they are being responsible if they use contraception and want to prevent a pregnancy. Being responsible means taking control of yourself. If one does not want does not want a pregnancy to result from the marital act, don't engage in the marital act. There is nothing accidental about becoming pregnant.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Homily for Mar 25, 2012

Today, we are having my farewell from the parish. I will be leaving after Easter and it was felt that we should not have a celebration over Holy Week. I hope this helps put the homily into context for those who do not know me and have stumbled upon this homily. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

First, I’d like to thank everyone who is here today. As I mentioned just before the beginning of Lent that I’d be leaving, our Lenten journey is taking a slightly different flavor this year as I prepare for my move. Today’s gospel passages tie in well with our additional activities today.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us,

“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”
In a way, my pending departure is a death experience for the community. Some of the concerns I’ve heard concerning my move:

“What about Mass at the Bluffs, or the hospital?” “What about daily Mass?” “Who will take pictures at our games?” “What about the projects we’ve been talking about doing?”

There will be something missing and also a sense of grieving over the loss. However, through this death like experience, new things can take fruit.

We already have prayer taking place at the Bluffs and the hospital. As for new life in these areas, we need additional volunteers who are willing to take part in these activities. While we have a group of people who take communion to the homebound after Mass on Sunday, we need some help take communion to the hospital on Thursdays. This could be the rising of new life not only for the people at the hospital, but also for the people who might step forward to help in this weekly ministry.

What about daily Mass? We can not have Mass without a priest, but a community can gather daily to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, the Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, or other devotion in the life of the Church. I want to encourage our daily Mass goers to continue to gather on a regular basis to pray for the community and to pray for vocations. Don't forget to gather on Wednesdays for the devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. With God’s help, you’ll have a permanent priest assigned here again soon and be able to return to the practice of having Mass each day.

Pictures at ball games – I hope someone realizes what a great thing this is for the kids who are playing. As a non-parent, I could focus on taking pictures of all of the kids at a game. Not only did this practice inspire the kids, but I had comments passed on from family members states away who appreciated the fact they could see their grandchildren, or nephews, or nieces, or even their children, taking part in their high school sporting events. Again, this is an opportunity for someone else to rise to a new life.

Then we have the other projects we’ve been working on. Some are more substantial, like saving the old church, or covering our exposed surfaces on the church in Geraldine. They still need proper coordination with the diocese and I’m willing to act as a resource person for this until a new priest is assigned, but it is good for others to learn how the permissions and such truly work. This is again a chance for new life, or at least a difference in the life of those involved.

In a way, my “death” should bring some new life to the parish.

But, while our immediate experience may give us an example for today’s Gospel, we need to remember what our Gospel is really about.

It is not about our life and death, but about Christ foretelling his own death and new life. Starting tomorrow we transition from the Eucharistic Prayer Prefaces for Lent to those of the Passion. Tomorrow we will hear:

For through the saving Passion of your Son, the whole world has received a heart to confess the infinite power of your majesty, since by the wondrous power of the Cross your judgement on the world is now revealed in the authority of Christ crucified.
We are preparing to celebrate the dying of a grain of wheat that did bear much fruit. When we celebrate Christ’s passion and death we are also ready to celebrate the new life we receive through him. It is Christ who is our hope. He reminds us,
“Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.”
Christ was not focused on this world, but on the world to come. He knew the joy of eternal life with the Father. We, too, need to learn to focus all of our actions so that they lead us to the life to come. It is not always easy. We need to be a people of hope realizing that we are called to carry crosses in every aspect of our lives.

What is the new life that will come to the parish as I leave? We can not answer that question today. We’ll have to see how it develops. Let’s remember what we heard at the end of this part of Jesus’ discourse:

Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.
In my service to the Christ and his Church, I've been called to serve in Livingston. The challenge for all is to find ways to follow Christ and serve the Father.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Signs of Lent

We see the same thing happen in Catholic churches around the country. Ash Wednesday comes and the church is transformed. The green that was decorating the church is changed to violet. Things are introduced that give a sense of the desert to represent Christ's 40 days in the desert. Perhaps we see empty crosses or crowns of thorns used in the decorating. Unfortunately, some places even remove their holy water during this penitential season. We can see the "symbols" of the season.

These symbols let us know that we are now in a new season, but they really don't mean much, unless we are changing for the season. How many of you have noticed signs of the season of Lent? Are the churches fuller as people take their faith seriously and participate in the Lenten observances offered at the parish? Has the daily Mass attendance gone up? Are people coming to pray the Stations of the Cross? Are the lines for confession longer than they have been? Do we see Catholics and other Christians doing more during this time to feed the poor, visit the sick or those in prison, releasing those unjustly imprisoned, and clothing the naked?

We can have all of the symbols of the season that we want, but what God wants is for us to change ourselves. What are you doing this Lent to bring about a real transformation?