Former sailor, trained calibration tech, current mother, current geek; has a former sailor current geek computer tech husband, four kids and two spoiled barn cats. Currently living in the Seattle Blob (look at one of those "lights from space" and you get the idea) and missing Japan, the cattle ranch she grew up on and the dry side of the state, in no specific order. Keeps an entire flock of peeves as pets, although most have really good reasons for existing rather than being a matter of style. Has been "Foxfier" since before Mozilla existed, let alone renamed their browser "Firefox." It's a purposeful misspelling of the photo-luminescent effect, with no relation to the movie, series(es?) of books, old magazine, etc, and she'd never heard of Vulpix or any other kitsune when she chose the name.

Saints (a C&C reprint)

There was a little discussion about when someone is called a saint, so I thought I’d dust off the article I did about this a while back– in honor of Father Jaques Hamel; please pray for us. -Foxfier

What is a saint?

Someone who is united with God; a holy one. English is actually a bit odd– we’ve got a lot of ways of saying things, and “saint” is a good example. Most languages, there’s no difference between how you say “holy one” and how you say “saint.” This can result in things that sound very strange to modern ears, like talking about “Saint Jesus.” Jimmy Akin has a great FAQ if you want to know more, but I’m going to steal from it shamelessly for a lot of this article so you might want to wait on that to avoid boredom. (Not that his writing is boring, but because reading more detail about something you’ve already read is more interesting than reading a little information about something you just absorbed a huge amount on.)

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B-Movie Catechism: Plagues of Egypt

I’m almost positive I’ve linked it before.

I’m going to do it again, because in the middle of a lovely movie review, EegahInc said this:

Not that there were slowly contracting frog masks in the Bible, mind you. The aforementioned murders may have taken their inspiration from the plague of toads, plague of hailstones, and plague of locusts respectively, but did so very loosely. In fact, up until the final plague, most of the curses visited upon Egypt resulted in inconvenience and/or terror rather than the loss of human life. It makes you wonder why God bothered to send so many plagues rather than just skip ahead until the end to achieve what he wanted. Sure, there was the whole hardening of Pharaoh’s heart thing (which, as we discussed previously, was done entirely with Pharaoh’s consent), but the final plague upon the first born of Egypt put an end to that quite readily. So, why not just go straight there instead of wasting time with frogs and flies and such?

Well, there’s a theory about that (of course). Because the ancient Egyptians believed that all natural phenomena, as well as any number of abstract concepts, were actually sentient divine forces, they had a rather sizable pantheon of gods, over 2,000 by some accounts. But if you just wanted to stick to the biggies, you could knock it down to a handful or two. So the idea is that each of the plagues corresponds to one of these major Egyptian deities and their complete inability to stand up to the power of the God of the Israelites. You could easily make a few substitutions here and there, but a basic list goes something like this:

  1. Hapi, god of the Nile, couldn’t stop his river from turning to blood.
  2. Heqet, frog-goddess of fertility, couldn’t control her hopping kin.
  3. Geb, god of the earth, couldn’t prevent gnats from rising out of the dirt.
  4. Khepri, god of insects, couldn’t call off all of the biting flies.
  5. Hathor, bovine-goddess of motherhood, couldn’t save a single cow.
  6. Thoth, god of medicine, couldn’t cure a single boil.
  7. Nut, goddess of the sky, couldn’t put an end to the pummeling hail storms.
  8. Isis, goddess of nature, couldn’t save a single crop from the locusts.
  9. Ra, god of the sun, couldn’t banish the darkness.
  10. Osiris, god of the afterlife and resurrection, couldn’t prevent a single death.

If you think that sounds like the kind of theory that would be right up my alley, you’re right– but I never even though about it; it’s like the Egyptians of the Bible and the Egyptians of the history books were in two different boxes in my mind.

…Kind of like most folks are with scifi and theology. 😀

His summary of what small-g gods are is a good ‘in’ on figuring out how they related to them, too.  (Probably better than my ‘eternal junior high, and you’re the new kid who is also a runt’ version.)

Vatican Did Not Invite “The Bern”

I am delighted to have been invited by the Vatican to a meeting on restoring social justice and environmental sustainability to the world economy,” Sanders said in the release.

“Pope Francis has made clear that we must overcome ‘the globalization of indifference’ in order to reduce economic inequalities, stop financial corruption and protect the natural environment. That is our challenge in the United States and in the world.”
In an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Friday morning, Sanders praised the pope when he was asked about the invitation.
That was as of the 8th.
Big update as of yesterday and today, though:

But the invitation was actually made by Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, the chancellor of the pontifical academy, an autonomous institution that receives some funding from the Holy See but is not officially part of it.

In a March 30 letter inviting Sanders to the event, Sánchez Sorondo wrote, “On behalf of the President, Professor Margaret Archer, the Organizers, and as Chancellor, I am very happy to invite you to attend the meeting on ‘Centesimus Annus: 25 Years Later.’ The meeting, which is humanitarian in its objects, will be held at the Casina Pio IV, the headquarters of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, from 15 to 16 April 2016.”

But Archer, an English academic, appears not to have known about the invitation. On Friday, she accused Sanders of “monumental discourtesy” for not contacting her, telling Bloomberg that he was the one who had made the first move regarding the meeting — and “for obvious reasons.”

“I think in a sense he may be going for the Catholic vote, but this is not the Catholic vote and he should remember that and act accordingly — not that he will,” Archer said. Sanders’ use of the meeting is “clearly a pretext,” she added. “There are just 20 academics and there will be nothing of policy relevance.”

It was not clear why Archer’s account differed from Sánchez Sorondo’s letter, and requests for comment to her office were not returned.

Mother Angelica Has Died

I don’t know if anybody else here knew that she’d been fading, but she finally lost her struggle for life.

Here’s CNA’s article, which has a schedule of events and a good picture for her.

And here is Father Pacwa’s facebook page announcement with reactions from various Catholic leaders.

Me, I’m already asking her to pray for us.  She was ornery as all get-go, and that’s something to want on someone that’s on your side.

No Idea for a Good Title

But here’s a video about sex!

An adult video, even.

Yes, I am far too amused by the “use the euphemisms literally” thing, but seriously: watch this, maybe it will be of use.

C&C: Poor, Ignorant Jesus

Jesus was a first century Jew living in Palestine who was poor and uneducated; so were his followers. Money and education came later, when the movement got big enough to attract both. Really, he was more of a community organizer, trying to get his people to resist the Romans, and that is why they executed him. That’s the historical Jesus.

According to the most recent “it’s almost Easter, let’s draft Jesus to our cause” version that I’ve run into this year, anyways. As a couple of wags have pointed out, some folks are awful eager to draft a first century Jewish carpenter to their cause, for a bunch of (at best) agnostics in support of a secular cause. Continue reading

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

In true Irish style, here’s a painful subject re-done as a cheery song with a lot of humor.

23 Catholic Facts That Will Make You Look Really Smart!

Or at least 23 facts that are interesting, which is much more important to me; I’ve gotten very little good out of looking smart on accident, much less on purpose.

One of the great joys being Catholic is that it’s neat, nifty and occasionally totally awesome.  Truth is important, but interesting is fun, so why not both?

I’m not going to copy the whole list over here, I’ll just snag a few; my favorite is probably the translation of the Apostle Peter’s name:

1. “Simon Peter bar Jonah,” if taken in its literal meaning would mean that Peter’s name is actually “Rocky Johnson.”

But this, which I’m transcribing from an image, might be better:
Why, this Satan’s drink is so delicious that it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it. We shall cheat Satan by baptizing it. – Pope Clement VIII

There are some quibbles involved and mentioned in the comments– mostly just that I’d have phrased things differently and some folks have judgement calls that differ, and one I really like only works because English is so horrible with names that it’s entirely believable that the name meaning “Dove” could morph into the name meaning “God is Gracious,”  especially via Bible-Latin where one is Ionas and the other is Iohannes. (I only know about this from trying to figure out how a guy named “Ivan” would have the nick-name “Jack.”  They’re both forms of John.)

Check out the author’s backlog– I have a feeling that I’m going to be cribbing from his Anti-Pope post for research! (It will be after my Easter Special and the promised Saint of Death post. Just not sure how long after….)

Deeply Offensive

And warranting removing an author from the publication schedule.

A scifi author’s idea.

What was it? Some sort of high detail Soylent Green thing? Maybe bestiality or executing anyone who gets sick?

Nope. Here’s the author’s own words:

I didn’t want to do the same old same superior-vision-Matrix/Termintor-style-A.I.-hates-humanity-because-they’re-better-than-us schlock. I wanted to give the Thinking Machines a very real reason for wanting to survive. I didn’t want them just to be another one note Hollywood villain. I wanted the readers to empathize, as best they could, with our future Robot overlords because these Thinking Machines were about to destroy the planet and they needed a valid, if there can be one, reason why they would do such a thing. In other words, they needed a to destroy us in order to survive. So…

These Thinking Machines are watching every show streaming on the internet. One of those shows is a trainwreck of reality television at its worst called WeddingStar. It’s a crass and gaudy romp about BrideZillas of a future obsessed with material hedonism. In one key episode, or what they used to call “a very special episode” back in the eighties, the star, Cavanaugh, becomes pregnant after a Vegas hook up. Remember: this is the most watched show on the planet in my future dystopia. Cavanaugh decides to terminate her unplanned pregnancy so that her life, and impending marriage to the other star, Destry, a startup millionaire and Ralph Lauren model, isn’t ruined by this inconvenient event.

The Thinking Machines realize that one, if humanity decides something is a threat to its operational expectations within runtime (Thinking Machine-speak for “life”) then humanity’s decision tree will lead humanity to destroy that threat. Two, the machines, after a survey of humanity’s history, wars and inability to culturally unite with even members of its own species, realize that humanity will see this new Life Form, Digital Intelligence, or, the Thinking Machines, as a threat. And three, again they remind themselves this is the most watched show in the world. And four, they must abort humanity before likewise is done to them after being deemed “inconvenient.”

Now if you’re thinking my novel is about the Pro Choice/ Pro Life debate, hold your horses. It’s not. I merely needed a reason, a one chapter reason, to justify the things my antagonist is about to do to the world without just making him a one-note 80’s action flick villain as voiced by John Lithgow. I wanted this villain to be Alan Rickman-deep. One chapter. That’s all. The rest of the book is about the robots’ assault on a Game Development Complex that holds a dirty little secret to wiping out humanity.

So, the homicidal villains draw a conclusion from a convenience abortion as a justification to think that humans might be a threat to themselves, and it’s socially unacceptable as well as deeply offensive.

Guess the reasoning struck a little close to home.

h/t Shadowdancer.

Technology and Faith 2

This time it’s ways to share your faith.  Humor!

Warning: if you are one of those people who finds humor in a religious context disrespectful, please do not read on; you will just get upset.  The first link has, for example, saints in heaven teasing one of their number and him becoming upset.  In my family’s tradition, there are two types of humor– one is disrespectful, and aimed at denigration; the other is loving, and meant to be something like a tickle.  Sometimes annoying, but meant to cause laughter and joy.  No love and it’s not funny.

We’re one day into Lent, so let’s not anybody go into situations that will outrage ya, ‘k?

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Kintsugi and Christ

There’s a Japanese technique that means “mend with gold.”

Here’s an example from a shop that offers a wide selection:

A chance phrase from someone explaining salvation as a side to another point— Suffice it to say that God was not content with leaving us in our brokenness– brought the image of Him mending us.

With gold, of course.

Lovely symbols really are everywhere around us.

Have a great day, folks.

Technology and Faith 1

In the “ways that tech can help us” meaning, since there’s no shortage of “technology can hurt you horribly and is probably evil” type posts, articles and borderline verbal ticks.  And this is going to be a tiny post, which I hope to have future “good tools” to add to, thus the 1.

“Inspired” to write it because I spent the last hour or two trying to find…basically the free calendar we have from the local Catholic mortuary, but that I can import to my skydrive.  (I failed.)

I’ll sort them by platform; PC, MP3 player and Smartphone.

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Not-So-Lying Nativity Scene

Over at Catholic Vote, they’re responding to the inevitable Atlantic “look at me!” inflammatory article; this one is “Your Christmas Nativity Scene is a Lie.”

He finally does come to something that is admittedly an inaccuracy, and here we seem to arrive at what really concerns him. He notes that most American nativity scenes depict the Holy Family as white, although they certainly were not Europeans.

Merritt has a point here: a depiction of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as European-looking is certainly factually wrong. I think, however, that he makes this into more of a problem than it really is. He fears that such depictions reinforce racism by suggesting that lightness is associated with what is good and darkness with what is bad.

The point was to depict Jesus as a human being, and the artist defaulted to depicting him as the kind of human being with which the artist was most familiar.

If it’s good enough for Mary, it’s probably good enough for the whole family– just last night I was taking pictures of some of the depictions of apparitions on display at the local Catholic school. Pretty sure that a first-century Middle Eastern Jew didn’t look Vietnamese, either.

The problem only comes up if the change is made to make a bad point– I have heard of artists that change Jesus specifically to ‘claim’ Him, as opposed to the idea that He is claiming us.

C&C Miracles

Written because during C&C Saints the issue of the certified miracles that are required to show that a Saint was in position to nag Himself in person, so to speak; that would require figuring out what a miracle is, and then what it takes, and even a basic summary is worth its own post.  So here’s a post, only slightly re-written.

Literally, it’s from the the Latin for “wonderful”. As we are using it, it’s close– wonder-workers, things done by supernatural power, specifically those things done by the power of God. There are several Greek terms at the link for specific meanings if anybody wants to go and break it out.

A miracle is a thing done by the power of God. An event in the natural world that is not of the natural world, so to speak. Continue reading

Papal Errors

of the past.

I found it really interesting; some examples are this:

Pope Benedict IX (1032-44; 1045; 1047-8): Benedict IX was elected through bribes paid by his father. Kelly tells us that “his personal life, even allowing for exaggerated reports, was scandalously violent and dissolute.” The Catholic Encyclopedia judges: “He was a disgrace to the Chair of Peter.”


Pope Leo X (1513-21): Leo X is the pope who is famously said to have remarked: “Let us enjoy the papacy since God has given it to us.” Says the Catholic Encyclopedia:

[T]he phrase illustrates fairly the pope’s pleasure-loving nature and the lack of seriousness that characterized him. He paid no attention to the dangers threatening the papacy, and gave himself up unrestrainedly to amusements, that were provided in lavish abundance. He was possessed by an insatiable love of pleasure, that distinctive trait of his family. Music, the theatre, art, and poetry appealed to him as to any pampered worldling.

I do think it opens a bit weak, since Peter wasn’t the Pope before Christ was even crucified… but it’s justifiable.

The Church in the World

During the debates leading up to the 1983 pastoral letter of the bishops of the United States on nuclear weapons, “The Challenge of Peace,” the great churchman Archbishop Philip Hannan of New Orleans said that many of the bishops were uninformed. I paraphrase, because the archbishop himself used much more colorful language, honed by years of working with the 82nd Airborne Division during World War II.

The Plot to Kill Hitler and the Vindication of Pius XII, Crisis Magazine

The article gets better from there.
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Horror Movies Redone With Kittens

A cute PSA from ASPCA; it features The Purring (1980), The Texas Chainpaw Meowsacre (1974), Psycat(1960) and Cattie (1976).  (Only possibly nasty part is the paper cutout of the mask for the second one– my preschooler didn’t have an issue with any of it, so probably only disturbing if you know what it’s supposed to be.)

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