Virtue Is Attractive: The Crossroads Walk

Monday, September 1, AD 2014

For the past 20 years, some wonderful young college students have been participating in “Crossroads Walk,” dedicating the 3 months of their summer vacation to trek each year across the nation on behalf of life.

The walk started in 1995 when 15 Franciscan University of Steubenville (OH) students took up then-Pope John Paul II’s challenge to you to spread the gospel of life. Those 15 students now number several hundred thousand and their 1 annual walk has grown into 3. Beginning in May and ending in August, participants trek from Seattle, San Francisco, and San Jose-Los Angeles, crossing 36 states before reaching their destination: Washington, DC. Each group covers anywhere from 10k-15k miles. Weekends feature the groups praying, providing counselling in front of abortion clinics, and speaking at local churches.


No doubt about it, Crossroads is a pro-life “civil rights” organization whose members seek to protect the civil right of the “right to life.”

Catch a glimpse of Crossroads Walk 2014:

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4 Responses to Virtue Is Attractive: The Crossroads Walk

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  • “It’s too bad these students aren’t being given attention in the media.”

    I’m afraid if they we’re given attention in todays media that it would of been misrepresented. The final cut would likely portray a band of hate mongers bent on ruining the reproductive rights of countless innocent women.

    These men and women are heroes.
    If todays media passes them by then it’s for good reason.

    God bless these young disciples.

  • I hope the group has learned a little bit about “evangelizing” lately. Several years ago a group came to the parish where my father was serving as deacon. They had a table in the foyer after Masses. I know they were probably exhausted from their journey but they just stood/sat at the table and then complained to me that no-one came over to see them. Having been involved in pro-life for decades myself, I tried to explain you have to get over by the doors and encounter people personally — meet them at the doors as they come out of Mass and the doors to the outside as they leave. Perhaps approach them as they socialize with each other in the narthex after Mass. I tried to demonstrate but I don’t think the lesson really took. I believe their lack of interaction stemmed from their youth and absence of public relations experience/training.

  • If they are harrassed by police, they have a right to sue. They all own the public places, especially if they are walking, they cannot be accussed fo loitering. They need one dollar, the smallest amount of money to be legal, and they cannot be accused of anything. A pro-life demonstration in Belle Air, Md. ended with a lawsuit and the city paid for strip searching the teens involved. big bucks.
    Many people have a vacancy where pro-life ought to be. Some do not even know that a person begins with fertilization and the beginning of existence. The immediacy of the ensoulment at fertilization makes of the human being a child of God and a sovereign person with free will. The state gives the innocent person a tax bill and citizenship, but the sovereignty comes from a sovereign Creator.

A Heresy in Education (or An Education in Heresy)

Thursday, January 17, AD 2013
“In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Eloquent though he may be, Benjamin Franklin would have done well to add “heresy” to his infamous pair of unavoidable realities.

Philosophical preconceptions once condemned by the Church have an odd way of rearing their ugly heads. Take Manichaeanism for example. Battled by the great St. Augustine of Hippo, the Manichaean school taught the profound separation of soul and body, a dualism that has been condemned by the Church more than once throughout the centuries. With two equally powerful deities, one good and the other evil, the human person of this heresy becomes the battleground for their contest of power, with the body being the domain of evil and the soul being the domain of the good. The Christian faith, of course, has taught the contrary, the inseparable union of body and soul, both good because of their creation by the one God who is pure goodness.

I was a high school teacher of mathematics and computer science for nine years, and Manichaeanism is only one of the many heresies I see deeply imbedded in modernity, particularly amongst adolescents. In the years I spent in the classroom, the cases of academic dishonesty had noticeably gone up. What is perhaps more noticeable, however, was the change in students’ reactions when the dishonesty is exposed. There was a time when the remorse was authentic, but more recently, when present at all, it seemed more like mere regret over being caught.

I found myself repeatedly in conversations about how students view the act of cheating. A colleague of mine once remarked, “I honestly do not think that the students see it as wrong.” On the contrary, the students’ actions do not reflect any moral confusion. After all, students will go to great lengths to see to it that they are not caught, and when they are, they will craft the most elaborate of stories to exonerate themselves. I once had a student who plagiarized a computer program off of a university professor’s web site. When confronted about it, he claimed, with a great deal of confidence and conviction, that he would like to meet the professor who stole his code to post on the university web site. While the creativity is remarkable, the same cannot be said for character.

What, then, is at the root of the issue? While teachers generally recognize this as a growing and problematic trend in the education environment, they are often at a loss to explain the trend, and therefore end up remarking, “I honestly do not think that the students see it as wrong.” The truth is that students do understand the difference between right and wrong, and they do understand that cheating is a morally impermissible action. The problem is not in their ethics; the problem is in their anthropology. Students are Manichaeans.

The heart of the matter is that adolescence often do not understand the profound connection between body and soul that the Christian faith has always taught. Quite the opposite, students have a tremendous ability to keep a rift between body and soul. Said differently, these adolescents do not see a connection between their actions and their personal character. While they know and understand that certain actions are morally unacceptable, they do not see these actions as reflective of their person. They sincerely believe that they are good people and that this goodness cannot be tarnished by any action.

What adolescents fail to understand is that the human person is not only the source of his actions, but is also a product of his actions. What we do is reflective of who we are, and who we are will influence what we do. Philosophically, we would say that the human person isconstituted by his actions. There is no rift between the actions of our body and mind and the state of our soul. Body and soul are mutually interpenetrating. This is the essence of the Catholic teaching on mortal sins. Because there is an indestructible link between the body and the soul, there are certain actions that can affect the very state of the soul, remove it from the state of God’s grace.

We are how we act. A thief is nothing more than one who steals, and a lair is nothing more than one who lies. Similarly, a cheater is a person who cheats, and it is impossible to cheat without at the same time becoming a cheater. The student, however, does not see himself as a “cheater”; instead, he sees himself as a “good person” who happened to cheat, but the action of cheating is not reflective of his character. How is it that they are able to maintain this disconnect? It is simple: they are Manichaean. How is it that they are Manichaean? That is also simple: modernity is Manichaean, and this is perhaps the greatest heresy of our time. It is a heresy that is not only at the heart of academic dishonesty in the schools, but also constitutive of the greed and avarice in the market place, the sexual permissiveness in the media, and the utter disregard for the sanctity of life in the abortion industry.

Being a heresy, however, I have a feeling that it, like death and taxes, is inevitable. This does not mean we give up an authentic education in the virtues. It does not mean that we neglect to expose the lies for what they are. But it does mean that, while the battle has already been won on the Cross, the enemy of heresy is as certain in this world as death and taxes. Perhaps, though, heresy has more in common with death and taxes than its inevitability. “In this world” certain the trio may be; yet in the next it is certain that all three will be abolished.

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9 Responses to A Heresy in Education (or An Education in Heresy)

  • The world is very rapidly going to hell as we write. I hope we can turn the tide in time.

  • Huh. I’m not sure I agree with this analysis, but it is provocative.

    I remember reading C.S. Lewis talking about ethics, how the proof of the moral law written on our souls is that when we’re caught doing something wrong, we try to make up an excuse or an exception. I think he used the example of someone not giving his seat on a bus to an old woman. When caught, they try to justify their action. The thing I’ve noticed lately is that we’re not bothering to do that as much. It does seem like we’ve successfully drowned out the conscience.

  • Jake-
    “modernity is Manichaean.”
    Good point.
    I’m reminded of Jesus carrying the Cross and His discourse to the weeping women; “Don’t weep for me, but for your children.”
    Thanks for the view, even though it’s gloomy.
    Prayer to the destroyer of all heresies is greatly needed…Our Lady and her Holy Rosary.

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  • Teaching in Catholic schools for 12 years now (5th, 7-10th grades) and I’ve heard much of the same excuses by students and, unfortunately, parents. What really astonishes me are principals who are intent on blaming teacher! Somehow we “failed to teach it was wrong” or “maybe they didn’t understand it was wrong.” Not taking action or attempting to sweep it under the rug is exactly the wrong thing to do.
    And yes, there are the students who act like they don’t know what they’ve done wrong – and there are parents who do it, as well – which really drives you crazy.

  • Then there is the ever-present example of teachers who hold students responsible for material that they do not teach in their lessons. In many cases, students merely attempt to figure out how they will be judged before taking the test or turning in the assignment, and teachers refuse to divulge the points on which students will be judged. Students caught with material that divulges this information are often accused of “cheating.” However, when teachers refuse to offer the information in the ordinary course of lessons, it is the teachers who lie. The teachers who cheat. The teachers who are Manichean. Of course there are authentic examples of Manichean students. But many such examples merely reflect the honest attempt of students to figure out the dishonest motives of their teachers.

  • For students who need tutorials and wish to take personal responsibility for their progress, I recommend For teachers who would like to be freed up to teach, rather than continuously tutoring rote subject material, this is also an invaluable resource. Students become responsible for their own learning, parents ‘and teachers can also track students’ progress using this program to keep abreast of where students may be falling behind and intervene in a timely manner. This program is used worldwide and is available free of charge. It covers core subject material for K -12 including college prep math, sciences, history, arts and computer sciences and SAT Prep. Includes tutorials and self assessment tools which again place the responsibility for learning squarely on the shoulders of the student. Any student can register at this site with or without parental involvement. It is completely confidential and is self paced. Courtesy of the Gates Foundation. Check it out.

  • I am far beyond an age of adolescence and have no idea of a connection between body and soul; between body and mind I do most of the time.

  • The student, however, does not see himself as a “cheater”; instead, he sees himself as a “good person” who happened to cheat, but the action of cheating is not reflective of his character. How is it that they are able to maintain this disconnect?

    Whether or not he’s a ‘good person’, you might just keep your eye on his acts and habits and refrain from characterizing his essence.

Some Advice Before You Get Married

Monday, November 2, AD 2009

I am a single man that believes that my vocation is that for marriage.  So when I came across this article I thought it prudent to read it since I have much, much to learn about marriage.  Me being the type that I would like to prepare for it the best I can rather than “learn on the job”.

Regardless, this struck home, not because of any past sin, but because it is rare to see a good priest speak truth to power.  Once cloning technology gets perfected I plan on mass-producing this priest.  Yeah, I know, cloning destroys the dignity of man so I was only speaking rhetorically.

So here is a warning for you all before you read the article.  Of course the author issues his own warning, but it is best to be safe than sorry!

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30 Responses to Some Advice Before You Get Married

  • I have seen/been to weddings like this – well, maybe not so caricatured – thankfully though, not in the Catholic Church. Mainly the garden variety wedding.

    But don’t let your own post put you off Tito. It doesn’t have to cost $29,000 you know.

    I would have thought that an articulate dude such as yourself would have been hitched by now anyway. 🙂

  • Don the Kiwi,

    I’ve learned that it will be on God’s time! 🙂

    But, yes, I’ll be keeping an eye on costs if I ever get there. It probably won’t be that much since I’m nowhere near where I need to be to afford something like that!

    I gave up on credit long time ago. I only use credit for home and car loans. (and sadly I need to have a credit card because rental car agencies don’t accept cash, debit cards, nor checks anymore.)

  • My wife and I had our wedding reception at the Parish Hall of Saint Mary’s in Paris, Illinois with food supplied by my Mom and her friends. I doubt if more than $500.00 was spent for the whole thing. 27 years later, I’d say my wife and I have gotten our money’s worth.

  • Getting married in January, I will say it’s very very difficult to keep costs down. You can’t find bridesmaids dresses for much less then 200, and when you do you have to pay for alterations to put sleeves on them to make it proper for churches. Having a rehearsal dinner & a large family for guests at the reception racks up very quickly. In the end, I think we’ll be under 10,000 but we’ve had to be real smart about it.

    Of course, if you can get away with a small wedding, then the costs will be much cheaper, as you can ditch the large cots with catering i.e. Donald

  • I agree some of the absurdities of modern weddings, but I have to take issue with this:

    “All this tells me that the photographs are over one hundred times more important than the grace of the sacrament, in most peoples’ estimation.”

    If a priest really held that opinion, I would harbor serious doubts about his orthodoxy. Would he then expect people to pay big dollars to the priest every week for all the sacraments?

  • Michael,

    You can get the materials for the sleeves by cutting out the mid-riff area. You see girls showing their belly buttons as being the fashion now, so you can be hip and cost effective at the same time!

  • This was certainly tongue in cheek; however, it is sadly quite true.

    Our modern culture has elevated the wedding far above the marriage. I think that may be one reason why we are tempted to have multiple weddings and virtually no marriage.

    My wife and I paid for our own wedding, our bridal party was no help because most people think the job of the bridal party is to plan the debauched bachelor and the worse bachelorette party, rather than host the wedding so the bride and groom can celebrate the sacramental union.

    We didn’t spend much money because I didn’t have it. Thank God for that – it can be a waste of money – not that money shouldn’t be spent but it should only be spent in honoring Christ and sharing the best wine, not on frivolous and vain trimmings. Our marriage has been great because of Grace and not any of my doing. We were so hip when we did it that I convinced my wife that we did not need the sacrament so we had a civil wedding. No one in the family objected and I wouldn’t have put up with it anyway because I was going to give my wife her day because I was an arrogant prick.

    God had different plans, as He always does. He allowed us to be married because He ordained the union even though this prideful sinner had no idea at the time. We so easily blind ourselves. Bridezillas and $10,000 dresses institutionalize the vanity of that pride. God breaks it down.

    Thanks be to God we enjoyed the convalidation of our wedding without fanfare, without a million people who could care less about the sacrament or about Jesus and we had a nice (albeit expensive) dinner following with both of our fathers and a couple of close friends and relatives. It was amazing and I cried. I didn’t cry the first time. It was just a contract that I was going to will to keep because I was my own god. This time it was a sacrament and I was called to climb on the cross for my bride and she was called to submit to me. Without the acknowledgment of sacrifice in a marriage instituted at the wedding, it is just a mere modern convenience (or is that inconvenience). Why would I be emotionally caught up in that? I didn’t. I love my wife. That is with MY OWN love for her the first time.

    When we did it right I loved and love her more today with His Love, He is Love and without that, the marriage is dead before it starts.

    Before anyone is to think that our marriage worked or didn’t until we came back to the Church let me clarify. Our marriage worked but not because of our wedding, it worked only because of our convalidation. Since God is not subject to time, He must have graced us in advance of our convalidation prior to our own knowledge of the convalidation. He knows that we were coming back home.

    I tell you these things because I want you, especially Tito, to know that He has blessed you with a wife or He has blessed you without a wife. What transpires doesn’t matter. All that counts is that you turn to Him, He’ll do the rest. I thank Him everyday for my wife and more importantly, I think Him for Him. Without Him I don’t know how long I would have had a wife (or for that matter a living soul), not that we had any shattering problems, but I am sure we eventually would have. He married us. I used to think I did that. Pride and arrogance lead to envy and vanity. The modern wedding is vain, the modern marriage is empty, the modern family is dead.

    We must have strong sacramental weddings, which lead to stronger trinitarian marriages. A marriage in which the purpose is to help each other get to the third person in the marriage – God. It is not a 50/50 (partnership) split. It is 100% (communion)! Either you are all in, sacrificially, or you may as well be all out. Strong marriages make for even stronger families and authentically orthodox Catholic families are what this vanishing country, this dying civilization and this decadent world needs to be lifted up out of the mire and set on a hill.

  • Tito:

    Between telling me to have the bridesmaid bare their midriffs (which would cause a heart attack for the poor priest at whose church-which has mandated Latin hymns at all weddings there, god bless them-we’re having the wedding) and telling me to move to Houston on facebook, you’re just full of terrible ideas.


  • And people wonder why kids these days are just living together.

    Let’s see….

    “Dear ignorant slut;
    How dare you ask about something like how long the main isle is? I will proceed to assume that it is to prolong “your” section of the ceremony, which you have somehow managed to bully the poor idiot you’ve been sleeping with into going through with, and which you only want because it’s the Done Thing.

    What kind of creature are you, to hold a once in a lifetime event as somehow special, or something to be daydream about? You are obviously totally ignorant about anything to do with the Church, and you don’t even care about the actual sacrament, because I won’t charge you as much as the photographer or DJ will.

    (Nevermind man hours invested, material investment, supply and demand or any other things that change price– it’s purely an expression of what you value, and you can set the price at will!)

    There is no way you could actually have everything not related to the location under control and just want to know how long the isle is; you can’t actually both be Catholic, or give a damn enough to have researched what’s required to be married in the Church. Because you’re an ignorant slut trying to get married to the first guy who didn’t run away fast enough.

    -Yours truly, Rev. Know-it-all
    PS- why are so few people getting married in the Church, and why do the young not follow the Church’s teachings on sex?”

    Yeah, totally not offensive to those folks who actually grew up faithful, and fought against the assumption that they were going to have sex with anyone they dated for more than a month, or for that matter that they screwed anyone male they were around socially for more than a month.

    How dare a young woman dream about a celebration of her unity with the man she loves, before God and all? What, does she think marriage is special or something?

  • I’ve heard it said that many women these days get divorce only so that they can get married again simply because of how they’re so infatuated, not with the Sacrament of Marriage itself as any such sacred institution (obviously), but because of the very experience behind all the big hoopla of a wedding event.

    As regarding how non-Catholics view the Catholic version of Marriage, it’s often a common complaint that Catholics take marriage too seriously by requiring too many things prior to an actual marriage (e.g., Cana, etc.). Those non-Catholics I’ve met who’ve married Catholics (including the Catholic herself) often complain why the Catholic Church can behave so unreasonably.

    Whenever I hear such things from non-Catholic acquaintances, in the back of my own mind, I often wonder if only marriages were taken as seriously as the Catholic Church does, then perhaps their marriage might perhaps live up to the Sacrament that it actually is.

  • Foxfier, I’m mostly with you. I saw this linked elsewhere and did find it entertaining at first — and was very surprised that it was on a real parish website! But it laid on the sarcasm so thick that I started to think that rather than shedding new light for anyone, it would serve mainly to inspire pride and self-righteousness like I started to feel in myself reading it (because I mostly don’t see myself in the negative description, although I was hardly the ideal bride,) or to alienate those who either have not been taught or have rejected the different and better way and who are being so harshly characterized.

  • Clearly this was ‘sarcastic’ and somewhat tongue in cheek. Perhaps that isn’t the best approach. Nevertheless, it is precisely because the Church is ‘strict’ that makes her attractive. When I decided to come back to the Church the difficulty I had was in accepting Christ; choosing which church was easy. There is only one Church. If I had found the Church lax in the application of the teaching of Jesus Christ or in her sacraments or precepts then why would I waste my time?

    The Church is attractive because she is strict. If I had found the church to be relaxed or I had stumbled into a liberal parish I am not so sure I’d be Catholic today and I may not have brought my marriage into the Church. I found no appeal in any of the Protestant churches and I may as well have remained totally democratic in the church of me.

    I had a good marriage and I thought that was because I made it so. Marriage is only good in Christ. Can someone stay married and maybe even seem ‘happy’ without? Probably, but it is not real and the purpose becomes to exult each other rather than help each other get to Heaven. It degrades into hate or idolatry. Ultimately, it is a loss. Deep down inside we know that; so if we know it is a loss anyway, then why bother keeping it when it gets hard. Why not just get a do-over?

    Weddings do overshadow marriages in the modern culture and it is the responsibility of the Church and her clergy to remain faithful to the sacrament else marriage will fall apart. Look at what is being proposed now. Men marrying men, women marrying women, multiple partners seeking the same ‘right’. It is falling apart and the only constant seems to be the ever expensive ‘virginal’ white dress worn by non-virgins marrying drunk grooms after sleeping with the bridesmaid – that may be the groom or the bride – hard to tell these days.

    Marriage has become a joke and the wedding just another debauched party. If we want weddings back and we want wedding feasts back we have to restore marriage to what it is supposed to be. I have never been happier, more in love or had a clearer sense of purpose and duty in my marriage than now after bringing the marriage back into the Church. How many more are out there? Unless the Church offers a true solution, who cares?

    Human freedom is broad, but it has limits. Those limits, set by God through His Catholic Church are what set us free to become who we are supposed to be. Without those limits, our priorities get skewed and we fall into slavery disguised as freedom. The married state is for the purpose of bringing the bride and the groom to Heaven where they can be united, all in all, eternally. Without that intent it is just a legal contract and headed toward disaster even if it is not legally dissolved.

    Stable marriages, even those without a huge reception and expensive accessories, may be especially those, build stable families and stable families build stable communities. It is absolutely necessary. Additionally children from sacramental marriages and stable families make for single people who are more likely to choose the priesthood, religious life, consecrated virginity or matrimony. Why? Everyone of those is a lifelong commitment, you know, like a sacramental marriage. We have been too lax and careless about this for too long.

    We cannot confuse the message and the messenger. I am a sarcastic person so this letter appealed to me. You may not be so it won’t. The message is still accurate.

    There is money to be made in weddings, marriages lead to families and that is a burden on our government and Mother Earth. If we could just kill all the married people before they are born, we’d solve the problem and then Fred and John can walk down the isle and act like bridezillas with virginal dresses by Vera Wang and drive off in a Humasine. How cute?

  • There is a world of difference between being abrasive or sarcastic, and being flatly insulting to someone who has shown no sign of deserving it.

    Again, I’ll point at the assumption that the Rev. puts forth that anyone who would be interested in being married in his church is a slut. Amazing how when my mom was growing up, that was a major insult– and now, it’s a defended base assumption against any young woman interested in a wedding.

    Maybe if folks showed the least hint of respect for chastity, it would be a bit more common, instead of being a punchline in both secular and, apparently, religious media.

  • “it is the responsibility of the Church and her clergy to remain faithful to the sacrament else marriage will fall apart.”

    It is not the responsibility of the Church and her clergy to remain faithful to the sacrament or else marriage itself falls apart.

    The responsibility lies where it has always been in the first place: both spouses.

    This is why the sacrament of marriage itself is actually not conferred by the priest but by the spouses themselves. As the Catechsim itself teaches:

    1623 According to Latin tradition, the spouses as ministers of Christ’s grace mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church. In the tradition of the Eastern Churches, the priests (bishops or presbyters) are witnesses to the mutual consent given by the spouses,124 but for the validity of the sacrament their blessing is also necessary.125

    The only reason why the ceremony has to take place in the Church in the presence of a priest is precisely because:

    1621 In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ.120 In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized, the New Covenant in which Christ has united himself for ever to the Church, his beloved bride for whom he gave himself up.121 It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but “one body” in Christ.122

  • I was just wondering what the point is for most people who already have basically good Catholic marriages to sit around reading this stuff. It’s not full of particularly fresh observations, though perhaps a particularly bold statement of them. Like I said, I read it at first with some feeling of enjoyment — and superiority, essentially, not really gratitude to God for His grace that my life isn’t like that. I already know the writer’s point and it’s not giving me ideas on how to evangelize those who don’t. I’m not saying there’s no place for this kind of commentary anywhere, but seriously, what is its effect on most of the people reading it?

  • It made my laugh.

    e., you are right, perhaps faithful wasn’t the right choice of words. However, most lay people look to the clergy for guidance and cathechesis, so the clergy’s committment to the sacredness of all the sacraments including matrimony will guide the flock.

    Reverence for marriage is essential for society to fucntion. The bride pursuing her wedding based on popular media, modernist cultural (de)values and the peer pressure of prurient minds is not going to respond to a ‘nice’, PC message about how holy marriage is. And young men don’t even want to bother – why should they? They get all the sexual benefits of marriage and they can hang out with their buds, drink beer and play video games without ever growing up. If they have an ‘oops’ there’s always abortion.

    Some people, especially stupid young ones and their hippie parents need an in your face approach. Or I could be wrong, but it is worth a shot.

  • “I was just wondering what the point is for most people who already have basically good Catholic marriages to sit around reading this stuff. It’s not full of particularly fresh observations, though perhaps a particularly bold statement of them.”

    Foxfier’s comments more than made up for it:

    “Maybe if folks showed the least hint of respect for chastity, it would be a bit more common, instead of being a punchline in both secular and, apparently, religious media.”

    American Knight may have a point here:

    “And young men don’t even want to bother; why should they? They get all the sexual benefits of marriage and they can hang out with their buds…”

    I remember some saying that goes: why buy the cow when you’re already milking it? Or something like that.

    Anyway, most acquaintances I know from university practically utter the same: that is, why marry your girlfriend when you’re already receiving fringe benefits from her already?

    Sad, but true.

  • Why would anyone marry in the Catholic Church when annulments are so easily obtained that “counting” on a life long commitment has become a farce?

    It is a sad state of “affairs”, quite literally.

  • Karl,

    The easy access to annullments is a problem, no doubt. But why would someone want to marry in the Church? I married outside of the Church and I can tell you the grace we have been freely given since we married in the Church is amazing. The reason to marry in the Church is to be married to each other in Christ, the bridegroom supreme. It makes a difference and those who do not beleive are missing out on the beauty of this world and I shudder to think what awaits in the next.

  • One of the best articles I ever read on this topic was “The Wedding Merchants” by Caitlin Flanagan, in the February 2001 issue of The Atlantic. You can read it at this link:

    I wish I’d read it before my own wedding in 1994. I tried very hard to do everything on the cheap and be elegant but not extravagant. In the end we (me and my parents) spent just under $5,000 on the whole thing, well below the national average to be sure, but in retrospect, even THAT amount of spending probably wasn’t necessary.

    The formal wedding as we know it today is really a relic of early 20th-century high society culture, in which 1) brides married very young and went directly from living with their parents to living with their husbands; 2) they were presumed to be innocent, not only of sexual experience, but also of experience in running a household; 3) women didn’t work outside the home, and so could devote all their time to planning and attending social events like weddings; 4) attending and giving formal parties was a routine part of life, so they didn’t have to learn the etiquette involved from scratch.

    As Flanagan says, there was a time when a girl who “aped the ways of rich folk on her wedding day” would have been ridiculed, not admired.

    Perhaps more Catholic couples should consider getting married during regularly scheduled parish Masses… it CAN be done, sometimes very beautifully; it saves money on flowers and church decorations since they are already there; and it enables an otherwise tiny wedding party to enjoy the presence of a packed church.

    This story contains a wonderful example of how it can be done:

  • Dear Am Knight,

    I was married in the Catholic Church and once believed as you do. In theory, only, I still do.
    Pray for the Church and if you have time left over, for my family as well. Thank you.

    My snide remarks come from heartbreaking experience, not bigotry against the Church. I appreciate the kindness of your response.

  • Karl,

    You will be in our prayers. Life can be painful and we are all looking for healing and you are already in the right place to receive it even if the perception is that the problems are caused by the Church – God only allows that which sanctifies us; that is probably going to hurt.

    I didn’t find your remarks ‘snide’; I think you are accurate re: annullments. The question we have to ask is why bother getting married at all? It is biologically possible to have children without marriage and these days a willing partner for ‘just sex’, ‘friends with benefits’, ‘I don’t want a husband just give me a baby’, etc. are easily found. If you do bother, why stick through the rough spots? I can just get marriage 2.0, you know, an upgrade.

    There is only one reason – Christ. We can keep our marriage vows to our spouse even if they do not reciprocate. Remember that our disposition at judgment is in how we directed our will, selfishly or conformed to God’s. Will there be pain and damage? Yes. Will there be grace? Of course.

    God bless you.

  • It thought the article was a hoot. I somehow missed the slut part, but the opening question is just plain funny. “I visited your church *once* and am thinking about having my wedding there ….” That alone is worth a chuckle, and then punctuated with “how long is your main aisle”? Come on, that is just classic display of superficiality.
    Sarcasm and parody can be effective. Many people who are invincible to measured reason (often due to their own arrogance) are quite vulnerable to well-placed ridicule. Like the fellow who insists on wearing white socks with dress trousers because he thinks the conventions of dress are just stupid anachronisms. He’ll stop only after folks point at him and giggle.

  • I guess horribly superficial things like “I’d like my parents to be able to come to my wedding” never crossed your mind, Mike.
    Most of the folks I know who aren’t getting married near a parent’s home do get married at a different place than the one they live– so that people can actually make it to the celebration.

    Silly, superficial things like “airports” and “hotels” come into play, though occasionally “the church is breathtakingly gorgeous” or “my grandparents were married in that church” will influence such a desire.

    Oh, and when you accuse a lady of routinely sleeping with whoever they’re dating, you’re calling them a slut. First block-quote in, second line.

    I must say, I didn’t know that we had so many mind readers around! To know that Mary is a shallow, materialistic person who knows nothing of her faith from a single line? And to know the only thing she’ll respond to, from a two-line note, is to be publicly mocked and accused of multiple violations of binding Catholic teachings?

    So, where’s the “funny” and “effective” accusation against the lady of having had a couple of abortions?

  • Another issue I’ve seen discussed in other forums is the difficulty of finding MODEST wedding dresses that aren’t strapless or cut extremely low in front or back. Apparently designers assume that all brides want to look “sexy,” which creates problems for those who want to show proper reverence in church.

    One way to get around this problem is to shop at a store or website that sells Quinceanera dresses (for Hispanic girls celebrating their 15th birthdays). The online stores carry all sizes (up to size 28!), most styles are available in white or off-white, and most come with matching jackets or shawls to solve the problem of dressing modestly in church.

    There are also stores and websites that cater to Mormon brides who need modest dresses for their temple weddings. I don’t think there’s any law against non-Mormons shopping there 🙂

  • Elaine,

    That is what I see among my friends as well.

    The difficulty of finding modest wedding gowns. It’s amazing how our culture have degenerated.

    Like I joked before, but it’s true, I’ve noticed now bare mid-riffs at wedding ceremony’s.

  • Tito:

    Now, come on.

    What precisely can be a better way of celebrating the Sacrament of marriage than having your to-be-wife dressed up as a crack whore, except without the dignity?

  • Pingback: Round Up – November 3, 2009 « Restrained Radical
  • e.,

    I hear the crack *#ore look is in!

Football Player Flagged For His Faith After Touchdown Celebration

Wednesday, October 7, AD 2009

Most football fans can relate to scoring a touchdown.  Especially when seeing your favorite team or player score one youChris Johnson flagged for praying or celebrating too much jump up and give high-fives, chest bumps, or take shots of your favorite spirits.

Well in the NFL, or what is sometimes called the “No Fun League”, this past Sunday Chris Johnson of the Oakland Raiders went to his knees and claimed he was giving thanks to God after intercepting a pass for a touchdown.  He was immediately flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for excessive celebration.  Chris Johnson claims it was because he made a religious display while celebrating the touchdown.

I’m of a different mind when it comes to celebrating touchdowns.  The town I grew up in playing football as well as how I practice my faith I generally frown upon celebrating in the end zone.  The way I look at it is that it’s your job to score points.  I don’t chest bump my colleague each time I turn on my computer at work?!  I don’t high-five the secretary for each message she hands over to me?!

It’s your j-o-b to intercept footballs and run them back for touchdowns.

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24 Responses to Football Player Flagged For His Faith After Touchdown Celebration

  • Sounds like a bad call. Ref probably misunderstood, that’s all.

  • I don’t chest bump my colleague each time I turn on my computer at work?! I don’t high-five the secretary for each message she hands me over?!

    Thank you! This is the point I have always made. At least with the guy scoring a touchdown he has done something really significant. What really infuriates me are the guys who dance around like idiots after tackling a guy who has made a 5-yard gain. Err, what exactly are you celebrating there buddy?

    Then again, considering how few tds the Raiders will score this year, maybe the ref should have just let this one go. After all, what other than divine intervention can explain a Raider actually getting into the end zone?

  • Yeah, I agree Paul. And it is worse than simply celebrating for doing your job. A defensive player who celebrates for making a good tackle after a successful offensive play is placing his individual performance over that of his team. It is unseemly and irritating to real football fans everywhere.

    I have absolutely no problem with celebrating after a team makes a particularly good play, but it should not cross the line into taunting.

  • If you want to celebrate in the NFL it’s a called a “Super Bowl Parade”.

  • My mother, a devout Catholic from Italy, would practically foam at the mouth when athletes would credit God with their success. “So, what, God hates the Vikings?! God doesn’t care about your game!” she’d yell.

    I’ve always wanted to see someone stand up after a game and say, “I was doing great until Jesus made me fumble.” (If God is making one team win, he’s making the other lose.)

  • LOL, foam at the mouth!

    I don’t worked up about it. But I do not approve of it.

    I’m not saying it’s wrong, but the way I read about humility, what they do in the endzone does not portray what a practicing Christian should behave as.

  • I don’t know, getting on your knees and thanking God for your success in front of multitudes of people seems pretty humble to me. Though, I don’t care for over the top displays.

  • In and of itself, I see nothing wrong with an athlete publicly thanking God for giving him the opportunity and ability to make a great play. I don’t understand these practices as thanking God for favoring them or their team as such, just acknowledgements that their talents come from God and gratitude is in order.

  • Katherine B.,
    I agree completely.

  • What’s wrong with praising God? Thought America was a land where we can have freedom of Speech.

  • I’m not so sure what to make of Tito Taco’s commentary here.

    There are many examples where you might witness folks giving thanks to God in sports be it a touchdown in football or a homerun in baseball, simply because they’re genuine grateful to God or perhaps due to a certain enthusiasm that overwhelms them that very moment or maybe even both.

    Now, if Tacoboy were talking about certain folks, say rappers (in fact, one in particular), who did a rap song about God supposedly in order to glorify Him, but when he failed to win the award for it for Best Song way back when, complained like a petulant child and even arrogantly bragged that the award belonged to no one but him — that demonstrates not only a severe lack of Christian humility but also, I dare say, hypocrisy, too.

    Heck, that might also go for rappers in general who, for the most part, promote gang violence and even engdender much hatred towards white folk; yet, when they win a music award, the first one they thank *SHOCK* is God!?

  • Luiza & e.,

    So you’re telling me that each time your boss gives you a pat on the back you immediately bend to your knees in front of him and pray out loud?

  • Tito:

    There is the possibility that it might simply be for “show”, but for the most part, I would think that the person who just made the touchdown/homerun was (1) genuinely thankful for having made such an achievement within a game, (2) overcome by the exhilaration he felt at that very moment, which manifested itself in a rather ostentatious display of thanking God then, or (3) both.

    In fact, there’s a time I recall while playing basketball with some friends during free time at university, that when I made a 3-point shot from a very considerable distance; because of what I considered then to be a “miracle” shot for myself, coupled with a sense of excitement right then after I made the shot, I happened to thank God for my having made it.

  • It’s not the “praising God” that’s a problem, it’s that “for show” part.

    I went to high school with a guy who used to cross himeslf before running a track event. It wasn’t that he was particularly religious; he was of South American parentage and did it for reasons of “cultural identity.”

    In the immortal words of John Riggins:
    “When you get to the end zone, act like you’ve been there before.”

  • That quote existed long before Riggins played football. It is most commonly attributed to the Bear.

    It is plain that you never played football. Trying to discern appropriate behavior on the gridiron by analogizing to what is appropriate at the office just doesn’t work. When I win a big case, we don’t carry our managing partner or first chair litigator to the champagne, but it these types of celibrations are certainly perfectly fine for football.

  • Mike,

    Lets play logic.

    Does a heart surgeon have to have heart surgery in order to operate?

    Like I said, a Super Bowl parade is the time for such behavior.

    And yes, I played football, right tackle thank you very much.

  • It’s a GAME! They are PLAYING. Let them PLAY!

  • Bill,

    Glad to see you around here!

    I agree it’s just a game, but you have to agree to some extent that some celebrations do get out of hand.

  • You’re right: it was the Bear, not Riggo.

    This is what happens when one is married to a D.C. boy. Everything begins and ends with the Redskins, even when they’re losing.

  • Tito:

    Lets play logic…. Does a heart surgeon have to have heart surgery in order to operate?

    Is there anything the matter with a heart surgeon, after having successfully operated on a patient who had little or no chance at all making it, thanking God afterwards for quite possibly making that very operation a success?


    It’s not the ‘praising God’ that’s a problem, it’s that ‘for show’ part.

    Personally, I have great admiration for major league baseball players who actually have the guts to cross themselves during a game in spite of the fact that they might get persecuted not only by secular thugs but *SHOCK* fellow Christians who are only too happy to stone them all because of their paying witness to Christ in front of a largely anti-Christian crowd (and that would most certainly include those purportedly Christian hypocrites, too)!

  • Oh, and by the way:

    But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven. (Mt 10:33)

    In other words, there is much to be said for the Protestant notion of paying witness that, quite unfortunately, certain Catholics have been remissed at professing in public; worse, they would even stone those who actually do!

  • Tito,
    To answer your logic question, the answer is no. But before a person critizes a heart surgeon for his performance, it would certainly be helpful to have experience as a heart surgeon. And being a patient would seem to be pretty inadequate.
    Make no mistake. I cannot stand gratuitous displays of taunting and celebrations that are inordinate or, as you state, get out of hand. But spontaneous displays of joy upon accomplishment is not offensive to me; and I agree with e. that public displays of gratitude to one’s Creator are actually somewhat counter-cultural and pleasing, as long as they do not appear gratuitous and designed predominantly to bring attention to oneself. It is a matter of degree and context. I do agree that many, perhaps most, of the celebratory displays we see are unsportsmanlike and regrettable, but it just isn’t clear to me that this is an example of such. The rule was promulgated to combat unsportsmanlike taunting, and I agree with the rule; but I find it doubtful that this was such a case.

  • Mike,

    I agree about the rule.

    What I am saying is that, beyond the rule, if you want to thank God do it appropriately, not to show off.


    Stop drinking your hippie neighbors kool-ade.

  • The lord gave each of us gifts, skills, hobbies and trades to which he blessed us to be great in.

    Celebrate the achievments, honor him and shine light on great, glorious moments.

    I know there have been MANY times I have stopped dead in my tracks and Thanked the Lord and I’m betting all of you have too. The only difference is that he was on National television and we are not.

    Should all of us be flagged and fined because we weren’t in the confines of our home when we have fell to our knees in appreciation or because we bow our heads in a public restraunt?

    I am proud to honor my lord and whether it be on television or at home I am not ashamed nor am I not being humble.

    But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven. (Mt 10:33)

    Perfect example.

Pithy Thoughts on Prudence

Monday, October 6, AD 2008

I used to dream about the great things I would set up someday when I had the money. I had ambitions of expanding Casper College into Wyoming’s second university. I had aspirations of setting up a scholarship fund that would help worthy students attending college. I built businesses in my mind, crafted scenarios where, once I had the money, I could start doing things that would make a difference.

To an extent, those dreams remain, even though reality is slowly draining my hopes that I’ll ever have millions of dollars lying around to fund these projects. Still, in my spare time, I think of smaller ways to make a mark on the world. I think of soup kitchens or adopt a family or something that would help some poor family get back on their feet, or at least endure another day.

It doesn’t take a Catholic conscience to want to help those less fortunate, and it doesn’t take supernatural charity to want to give a hand up to those coming after us. That much decency, I believe, exists in most, if not all of us.

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