Posted in Anti-Christian

#EyesOnElSalvador Campaign Lying about Abortion Laws

“American pro-abortion supporters, Western embassies and international human-rights bodies have taken part in the war against El Salvador’s full ban on elective abortion by supporting a fraudulent campaign that promotes impunity for infanticide in that country.” Read the full story here.

In a nutshell, El Salvador jails those women who murder their children after delivering a living child in a natural birth or in a failed attempt to self-abort. The bloodthirsty pro-abortion supporters are, as usual, portraying these women as victims. Just as they lied in the Roe v. Wade case when they said Norma Nelson McCorvey (Jane Roe) had been a victim of rape. The true victims are the babies who were “were beaten, stabbed, strangled, and drowned in toilets and septic tanks” by their own mothers.

Another misrepresentation is of El Salvadorian law which the pro-aborts say does not include an exclusion when the mother’s life is in danger. Human Life International says differently. It’s not a difficult decision on who to believe. The choice is those who lie so they can profit off of the deaths of innocent babies or those who spend their lives trying to save them.

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Posted in Christian Life

Why Pray the Rosary

Joseph Pronechen posted an article at Catholic Exchange explaining why Our Lady instructed us to pray the rosary every day. The gold nugget in the piece is this quote by Sister Lucia:

Even for those people who do not know how, or who are not able to recollect themselves sufficiently to meditate, the simple act of taking the Rosary in their hands in order to pray is already to become mindful of God, and a men­tion in each decade of a mystery of the life of Christ recalls Him to their minds; this in turn will light in their souls a gentle light of faith which supports the still smoldering wick, preventing it from extinguishing itself altogether.

Sister Lucia

Posted in Anti-Christian

Were Christians Mean to the Pagans?

Verbum, the name of a company that produces electronic bible software, has a free book out this month: Among the Gentiles: Greco-Roman Religion and Christianity by Luke Timothy Johnson. Don’t let the author’s name fool you. This man is about as Christian as the pagans he writes about. I’m writing about it because it amazed me how the company was able to coordinate their free book-of-the-month with the Amazonian Synod. It’s almost as if they knew pagan ceremonies would be taking place at the Vatican this month. Here’s part of the book blurb:

Continue reading “Were Christians Mean to the Pagans?”

Cdl. Ottaviani’s Revenge?

On June 30, 1962 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (then called the Holy Office) issued a monitum against Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s writings. Cardinal Ottaviani was the Prefect of the Holy Office at that time. It was Cdl. Ottaviani, (and his ideas?), who was, basically, pushed aside during Vatican II in favor of those who were influenced by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Whose influence can be seen in Gaudium et Spes.

A few questions arise: 1. How does someone whose writings have been prohibited end up in a Pastoral Constitution of Vatican II? and 2. Does the fact they have been prohibited invalidate Gaudium et Spes in its entirety or portions, thereof? 3. Was it Cardinal Ottaviani’s intent to invalidate the documents or simply to slow the spread of ideas which would imperil the souls of faithful Catholics or both?

Posted in Anti-Christian, Research

Integral Ecology and Religion

Since Pope Francis is so fond of Integral Ecology, I thought I’d take a closer look at it. Here’s what I found in Integral Ecology Uniting Multiple Perspectives on the Natural World.

“The commonwealth niche studies the shared worldviews of spiritual relations with the natural world and the Kosmos. There are at least seven main categories within this domain: ecofeminist theology, liberation theology, creation spirituality, the new cosmology, ecology and religion, tantric wisdom, and transcendentalism.

Most of these categories re-vision current religious traditions into ecological contexts. Keep in mind that we are emphasizing the post-conventional aspects of these categories.

Continue reading “Integral Ecology and Religion”

Be Careful What you Research

October 1, 2019

Things are moving along quite well. God finally got me past my dumping a post mid-writing. Some of the problems I have with my writing still apply, but this was a larger issue of which I wasn’t cognizant. Three nights of dreaming the same themed dream and I got a clue: I stopped writing because I didn’t feel qualified. This was even after I had acknowledged that I didn’t have to be an expert in a subject, if I was just going to report on it. Reporting was what much of the research and writing entailed. I do have to admit being experienced in what you’re writing about makes for better reporting, but does not exclude someone from performing them. Anyway, it was an immense help and, now I just keep on going.

Continue reading “Be Careful What you Research”
Posted in Christian Life

Oh, yes we can go back!

The most common excuse for restoring the liturgy or anything else in the Church is, “We can’t go back.” And the most oft quoted phrase for continuing change in the Church is, “We can’t go back.” I’ve heard it said from the highest echelons of the Church hierarchy to the lowest. Most recently, in an article by Matthew Gambino over at CatholicPhilly.com. Mr. Gambino wrote

“Catholics must take responsibility for how we effectively live the Catholic faith in our time and place. If we merely ask leaders to “fix” this or that perceived problem, as if to return the church to some perfect state from the Golden Age of yesteryear, we’re going to be disappointed, because going backward is no option.”

Continue reading “Oh, yes we can go back!”

Commonplace Books

I just discovered what I had been calling my Bible Journal is more aptly named a Commonplace Book. Commonplace books are blank books people have been using , since the Middle Ages, to store information on one or more subjects. Hence, the derivation of the name as all entries have something in common. The information was gathered from many different sources and recorded in the book. It may have been a drawing, pressed plants, a tidbit from a conversation, or a copied entry from something they had read. The recorder may have also included their thoughts on a piece of information noted in the book.

What fascinates me is how very, well, common they were. I guess anyone who could read and write carried one around with them which enabled them to capture the information on the spot. In Early America, a tradesman was not only required to teach his/her apprentice trade craft, but also reading and writing. So many Americans knew how to read and write, therefore, many Americans were running around with these books. Making them a good source of information for subjects being discussed and written about in a certain time period.

Q. Would the United Front tactics mean that Communism would seek to enter Catholic organizations in order to secure “predominant influence”?

A. Yes. ‘It would exert a powerful influence on the ranks of the Catholics, anarchists and unorganized workers, even on those who had temporarily become the victims of Fascist [anti-Communist] demagogy.‘ (G. Dimitrov, The Working Class vs. Fascism, p. 32. Italics in original; brackets mine.) ~ Fulton Sheen

The Tactics of Communism by Rt. Rev. Msgr. Fulton Sheen, ~1945, p. 17

Fulton Sheen on Infiltration

[Lenin] advanced philosophy in so far as he had advanced political doctrine and practice. The realisation [sic] of an apparatus of hegemony, in so far as it creates a new ideological soil and determines a reform of consciousness and of the methods of knowledge, is a fact of knowledge, a philosophical fact.

In Crocean language: when we succeed in introducing a new morality in conformity with a new conception of the world, we end up by introducing that conception of the world too, so that an entire reform of philosophy is brought about (QC, 1249-50; PN, 365-66). ~Antonio Gramsci

Antonio Gramsci by James Joll , 1977, p. 128

Gramsci crediting Lenin for Cultural Marxism

Posted in Notes from the Field

Time Flies

July 8, 2019

I knew it had been a long time since I had posted anything, but I hadn’t realized it’s been this long. My last post was four five months ago. I figured it had been a month at most. I don’t know where the time went or what I was doing. There has been research for an article, but four months of research? That doesn’t sound right. If I ever do get the magazine up and running, at this rate, it looks like it will need to be published once-a-year. Perhaps, even every other year. I do know one person that publishes her magazine only when she enough money to print it. I suppose I might follow her lead. Instead of weekly, quarterly, or yearly it could be whenever. How would it be advertised? Subscribe and get your first issue whenever it’s ready.

Continue reading “Time Flies”
Posted in Contemplation

Holy Saturday: A Time to Regroup and Reassess?

There is a lot going on in the Church today causing discouragement among faithful Catholics.  While there are many similarities between our time and the apostles, we have one thing they had not yet received: hope in the resurrection.   They had a theoretical understanding: there was going to be a resurrection some day in the future.  But I doubt they felt it was going to be anytime soon, most especially, not the next day.  And when the resurrection did occur, although nothing else in their lives had changed, it made all the difference in the world.

Continue reading “Holy Saturday: A Time to Regroup and Reassess?”
Posted in Notes from the Field

Nothing Exciting: Editing and Writing

Editing hasn’t been going so well.  What I’m supposed to be doing is reading the article, then writing down needed improvements on a sheet of paper.  These would then need to be communicated to the writer, so he/she can do a rewrite.  Since I’m randomly pulling articles off the internet there is no communication with a writer.  I’m just making notes or doing it myself.  It simply isn’t working.  Plan B is to start researching (which I need to do anyway) and writing articles.  I’ll let them sit for a week or so,  re-read them, make notes, let them sit for another week, then go back and make changes based on those notes.  Hopefully, it will sharpen both my communication and editing skills.  It’s not optimal, but it’s the best it’s going to get for a while.

Continue reading “Nothing Exciting: Editing and Writing”
Posted in Christian Life

9 Days for Life: Day Nine

From the USCCB website:

Did You Know?
In the Catholic Church in the United States, January 22nd is designated as a particular day of prayer and penance, called the “Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.” As Catholics, we are called to observe this day through the penitential practices of prayer, fasting, and/or giving alms.

More Information: www.usccb.org/january-22Intercession: May the tragic practice of abortion come to an end.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: Today, on this 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we mourn the many children’s lives ended by abortion and remember in prayer those who suffer the aftermath. The Church comes together today to pray for the protection of all unborn children and to make reparation for abortion, trusting that the Lord hears our prayers.

Pope Saint John Paul II wrote, “A great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world. Through special initiatives and in daily prayer, may an impassioned plea rise to God, the Creator and lover of life, from every Christian community, from every group and association, from every family and from the heart of every believer” (Evangelium vitae, 100). May that prayer arise in our hearts today and each day forward until every human being is protected in law and welcomed in life.

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Abstain from snacking today. Eat three meals only.
     
  • Learn how to pray the Angelus (www.usccb.org/angelus), and consider saying it every day for the next week—on awakening, at noon, or at 6 p.m. (or all three times).
     
  • Offer some other sacrifice, prayer, or act of penance that you feel called to do for today’s intention.

One Step Further: More women and girls consider abortion than we may realize. They are our relatives and friends, people who work with us or for us. Even if someone identifies as being pro-life, the shock of an unexpected pregnancy, the devastation of a difficult prenatal diagnosis, shame, pressures, or fears may influence her to consider abortion.

If someone shared with you she was pregnant and hadn’t ruled out having an abortion, would you know how to respond in a loving way that is life-affirming for both her and her baby? Learn about the four steps of the L.O.V.E. Approach™*: Listen and Learn, Open Options, Vision and Value, and Extend and Empower (www.usccb.org/l-o-v-e).

For other simple tips on how to provide loving, life-affirming support for a friend who is unexpectedly pregnant, read “10 Ways to Support Her When She’s Unexpectedly Expecting” (www.usccb.org/support-her).

*The L.O.V.E. Approach™ is trademarked by Heartbeat International, Inc. and may not be adapted or modified. The L.O.V.E. Approach™ is used in “What to Do When a Friend Is Considering Abortion” with permission from Heartbeat International, Inc.
 

Evangelium vitae (The Gospel of Life), no.100 © 1995, Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2018, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

Posted in Christian Life

9 Days for Life: Day Eight

From the USCCB website:

Intercession: May those nearing life’s end receive medical care that respects their dignity and protects their lives.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: The dying process is a sacred time—a final season to seek closure in this life and prepare for the next. We know earthly death is not the end, but rather the door through which we must pass to gain eternal life. The deadly practice of assisted suicide—now legal in several states—shortens or even eliminates this sacred season, carelessly cutting short the life of the patient. To support the “false compassion” of assisted suicide is to see people as a problem to be eliminated. End-of-life care should instead help eliminate or alleviate the patient’s problems, whether they are physical, spiritual, or emotional.

Those who die in God’s grace and friendship live forever with Christ. Because of our belief and hope in the Resurrection, we can face death not with fear, but with trust. We pray that society might recognize that every day of our lives is a gift and is always worth living, especially our final days. We need not fear. Christ is with us.

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Sacrifice some of your free time to do a small act of service, such as making breakfast for a family member, writing a note of encouragement for a coworker, or praying for the intentions of a friend.
     
  • Pray a decade of the rosary (www.usccb.org/rosary) for your friends and family who have passed away, as well as the departed who have no one to pray for them.
     
  • Offer some other sacrifice, prayer, or act of penance that you feel called to do for today’s intention

One Step Further: Assisted suicide is in the news and on lawmakers’ agendas. Supporters call it “aid in dying” and claim it is just another option for ending intolerable pain as part of end-of-life care. Learn why assisted suicide is radically different from end-of-life care and the practice of palliative care in “Killing the Pain, Not the Patient: Palliative Care vs. Assisted Suicide” (www.usccb.org/killing-the-pain).

When family members or friends approach life’s end, we may not know how best to accompany them. For suggestions on authentically compassionate care anchored in unconditional respect for human life, read “Caring for Loved Ones at Life’s End” (www.usccb.org/endoflifecare).

Posted in Christian Life

9 Days for Life: Day Seven

From the USCCB website:

Intercession: May those who long to welcome a child into their family be filled with trust in God’s loving plan.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: It can be very difficult and painful when the Lord doesn’t answer our prayers in the way we hope. A couple that finds themselves unable to bring a child into the world through their loving union can experience this disappointment very deeply. During such times of trial, we may wonder why we face the particular challenges that we do. Yet even though suffering is often shrouded in a sense of mystery, we believe that the Lord loves us with great tenderness and compassion that is beyond our imagination. Knowing this, we can trust that “all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28).

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Smile. Ask God today for the grace to be extra joyful and share Christ’s love with those who need encouragement the most today.
     
  • Offer the Prayer for Those Hoping to Conceive or Adopt a Child, and spend some time reflecting on the accompanying excerpt from Psalm 145.
     
  • Offer some other sacrifice, prayer, or act of penance that you feel called to do for today’s intention.

One Step Further: “Seven Considerations While Navigating Infertility” (www.usccb.org/navigating-infertility) seeks to provide compassionate guidance that is both practical and informative for married couples who are walking on this road. Although geared to such couples, the article is also helpful for anyone to read, offering insight into the experience of infertility and giving awareness of the need for sensitivity in our relationships with those who may be affected.

Posted in Christian Life

9 Days for Life: Day Six

From the USCCB website:

Intercession: May all victims and survivors of human trafficking find freedom, refuge, and healing.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: Those who are vulnerable are most at risk for being lured into situations where they are trafficked. Migrants and refugees often face increased risk factors like changes to language and culture, lack of support systems, and the burden of poverty. Young people on the margins, especially runaway and homeless youth, are targeted for sex trafficking and may subsequently be forced to have abortions. Easily tempted by the false promises of traffickers, victims often find themselves enslaved with no means of escape.

Christ came “to bring good news to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives” (Is 61:1, cf. Luke 4:18). May all who are trapped in situations of slavery be released from their chains of captivity and find freedom, refuge, safety, and healing in Christ and His Church.

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Give up sleeping on your pillow tonight. Allow this small sacrifice to remind you of the sufferings endured by those in our world who are enslaved.
     
  • St. Josephine Bakhita, who was born in Sudan and sold into slavery, has become known as the patron saint of human trafficking victims. Pray for victims and survivors of human trafficking, asking the intercession of St. Josephine Bakhita.
     
  • Offer some other sacrifice, prayer, or act of penance that you feel called to do for today’s intention.

One Step Further: Would you know how to identify a potential trafficking situation? Learn more about human trafficking and recognizing the red flags through the USCCB’s Anti-Trafficking Program at www.usccb.org/stopslavery.

Almost half of the reported victims of human trafficking in the U.S. in 2016 were foreign nationals. Consider bringing the Amistad Movement to your parish to help raise awareness about human trafficking among immigrant populations. www.usccb.org/about/anti-trafficking-program/amistad.cfm

If you suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline (888-3737-888) for immediate assistance. They can communicate in over 200 languages and provide immediate information, assistance, and local referrals for potential human trafficking situations.

Posted in Christian Life

9 Days for Life: Day Five

From the USCCB website:

If you or someone you know is suffering after abortion, confidential, non-judgmental help is available. Visit www.hopeafterabortion.org.

Intercession: May each person suffering from the loss of a child through abortion find hope and healing in Christ.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: After more than four decades of legalized abortion, many children’s lives have been ended, and many parents and family members suffer that loss—often in silence. Yet God’s greatest desire is to forgive. No matter how far we have each strayed from His side, He says to us, “Don’t be afraid. Draw close to my heart.” Be assured that it is never too late to seek God’s forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Consider the parable of the Prodigal Son. After repenting of sinning against his father, he returns from far away to seek forgiveness and work as a servant. But the father sees him approaching from far away, runs to warmly embrace him, and hosts a banquet to celebrate his return. So, too, does God welcome all repentant sinners, no matter how serious the sin. Let us run into the arms of Our Lord, Who is love and mercy.

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Abstain from meat today. If you are already abstaining from meat today, skip your favorite snack, too.
     
  • Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy (www.usccb.org/divine-mercy-chaplet) for those who are suffering the loss of a child through abortion, asking that they find healing and peace.
     
  • Offer some other sacrifice, prayer, or act of penance that you feel called to do for today’s intention.

One Step Further: If a friend confided in you tomorrow that she had an abortion, would you be able to respond in a way that brings her closer to healing? Learn what to do and say in “How to Talk to a Friend Who’s Had an Abortion” (www.usccb.org/friend-had-abortion).

Posted in Christian Life

9 Days for Life: Day Four

From the USCCB website:

Intercession: May God’s peace fill the hearts of all who travel upon the path of adoption.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: The Letter to the Hebrews reminds us to “hold fast to the hope that lies before us. This we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm” (Heb 6:18-19). Families hoping to adopt children and mothers considering placing their children for adoption often face many challenges along the way. We pray that all who are involved in the adoption process would be filled with the hope of Christ and “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding” (Phil 4:7). We also remember that we too can cling fast to this anchor of hope, for we have received “a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’” (Rom 8:15). May our loving Father envelop each of us in His love today and open our eyes of faith that we may see and rejoice in His love.

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Do you have a sweet tooth? Or do you prefer salty snacks? Pick your favorite kind of treat, and give it up for the day.
     
  • Make an act of faith, hope, or love (www.usccb.org/faith-hope-love).
     
  • Offer some other sacrifice, prayer, or act of penance that you feel called to do for today’s intention.

One Step Further: “Accompanying Expectant Mothers Considering Adoption” suggests nine ways to offer ongoing support to a woman who is considering placing her unborn child for adoption (www.usccb.org/women-considering-adoption). Many of the tips given are also helpful for supporting a friend who is experiencing a challenging unexpected pregnancy, even if adoption has not been brought up.

Supplemental resources regarding adoption can be found at www.usccb.org/adoption-resources.

Posted in Christian Life

9 Days for Life: Day Three

From the USCCB website:

If you or someone you know has been abused by a member of the clergy, please report the abuse to law enforcement. You may also contact your local Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator.

Intercession: May all who have experienced sexual abuse receive justice, healing, and God’s peace.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: Recent reports have once again exposed the terrible abuses that many have suffered at the hands of a member of the Catholic clergy. Our hearts ache for the grave harm that has been inflicted on our brothers and sisters. Words alone cannot express our sorrow, shame and disappointment that such affronts to human dignity have been carried out within our Church.

It is our prayer and hope that all who have experienced abuse will find the healing and justice they so rightly deserve, knowing that they are never alone. For, “only by confronting our own failure in the face of crimes against those we are charged to protect can the Church resurrect a culture of life where the culture of death has prevailed” (President of U.S. Bishops’ Conference Response to Pope Francis’s Letter to the People of God, 2018).

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Fast from one meal today.
     
  • Seek the intercession of Our Lady by praying a Rosary for Healing and Protection.
     
  • Offer some other sacrifice, prayer, or act of penance that you feel called to do for today’s intention.

One Step Further: In 2002, the crime and sin of child sexual abuse in the Church was brought out in the open for all to see. While there is still much more to be done, over the past 16 years, the Church has worked to provide healing for victims and survivors and to prevent future abuse through the implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

To learn more about preventing abuse, read this article: “Protecting Children

Posted in Christian Life

9 Days for Life: Day Two

From the USCCB website:

Intercession: May all people embrace the truth that every life is a good and perfect gift and is worth living.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: At every stage and in every circumstance, we are held in existence by God’s love. The presence of an illness, disability, or other challenging circumstance never diminishes the value of a human life. For God does not call us to perfection of appearance or abilities, but to perfection in love. Christ invites us to embrace the lives we have been given, for as long as they are given, as true gifts.

Our relationships on this earth are meant to help us grow in God’s perfect love. Everyone we encounter is a gift, not because of what they can do or accomplish, but because of who they are—a beloved child of God. May each of us experience the power of God’s transforming love, that our eyes may be opened to the incredible beauty of the people the Lord places in our lives.

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Take a break from television, movies, and social media today. Consider spending some of that time reflecting on today’s message.
     
  • Pray the short prayer “Every Life is Worth Living,” reflecting on how you can bring Christ’s love to others today. (The prayer is also available at www.usccb.org/worth-living.)

Heavenly Father, thank you
for the precious gift of life.

Help us to cherish and protect
this gift, even in the midst of fear,
pain, and suffering.

Give us love for all people,
especially the most vulnerable,
and help us bear witness to the
truth that every life is worth living.

Grant us the humility to accept
help when we are in need,
and teach us to be merciful to all.

Through our words and actions,
may others encounter the
outstretched hands
of Your mercy.

We ask this through
Christ, our Lord.
Amen.

  • Offer some other sacrifice, prayer, or act of penance that you feel called to do for today’s intention.


One Step Further: Our culture is obsessed with perfection—a superficial perfection. Social media, magazines, and television are staged and edited to depict seemingly perfect lives. When life doesn’t seem to measure up to these standards, we may doubt our worth or God’s love.

In “A Perfect Gift” (www.usccb.org/perfect-gift) one parent shares about the experience of raising a child with Down syndrome, contrasting it with what onlookers might perceive: “It’s like looking at a stained-glass window from the outside: The colors look dark, and you can’t quite make out the figures. From the inside, however, with the sun shining through it, the effect can be brilliant. From inside our family, love illuminates our life with Charlie.* What may seem dreary to others, perhaps even unbearable, is actually filled with beauty and color.” Every life is a gift.

Posted in Christian Life

9 Days for Life: Day One

From the USCCB’s Pro-Life Activities

Intercession: May a culture of life grow ever stronger in our communities.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: God has carefully, lovingly created every person—in His own image and likeness—to be in a loving relationship with Himself. From each tiny child knit within a mother’s womb, to every person approaching death, all are loved perfectly and completely by God. “It is therefore a service of love,” Pope Saint John Paul II explains, “which we are all committed to ensure to our neighbor, that his or her life may be always defended and promoted, especially when it is weak or threatened [emphasis added]” (Evangelium vitae, 77).

In a world in which the most vulnerable are so often overlooked and disregarded, Christ calls us to embrace and uphold the unconditional dignity of every human life. In doing so, we help to build “a new culture of life, the fruit of the culture of truth and of love” (EV, 77).

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Do you love your cup of tea or coffee? Abstain from caffeine today, or try your coffee black.
     
  • “Unplug” for some time, and reflect on how God may be asking you to help build a culture of life in your home, workplace, or Church community.
     
  • Offer some other sacrifice, prayer, or act of penance that you feel called to do for today’s intention.

One Step Further: Watching the news and reading headlines, we may often feel helpless in the face of a heartbreaking lack of respect for human life. When our efforts to make a difference feel small, it’s important to remember that changing the culture is a process of conversion that begins in our own hearts. It includes a willingness to be instructed and a desire to be close to Jesus—the source of joy and love.

For more ideas, “How to Build a Culture of Life” (www.usccb.org/culture-of-life) briefly explains where to start.

Posted in Notes from the Field

Learning the Job

December 30, 2018

I’m on my third book about magazine editing.  I’m sticking to something I learned a few years back: if you don’t know something, then read about it.  Keep reading even when it doesn’t make sense.  With enough exposure to the subject and the different authors writing styles you’ll finally get it.  I like this book the best so far.  One, it is beginning to make sense, and, two, because the author gets into the weeds.  Doesn’t sound attractive, but sometimes it’s where you need to be.

For future self: This is when you started pulling poorly written articles off the internet in an attempt to improve them.  Because you’ve just learned most stories written need improvement and it’s the editor’s job to determine how.  You had your doubts as to whether you could recognize good writing much less turn something bad into good, but you went ahead anyway.  You figured it would be good copyediting practice, too.  The first story you pulled was awful.  It had extraneous information, the opening paragraph was a snooze, and information was repeated for no apparent reason.   You didn’t realize all of this when you decided to make it your first editing trial (what an apt word).  You just knew it was awful.  When you actually sat down to do it you were stymied.  “Was there a way to make this better?”  Then the ideas started coming.  Move this to the opening and create some tension.  Get rid of this.  Trim that.  Expand here.  Is it better?  It couldn’t be any worse, but I’ll let you decide.  I’m going to save it for you: the original and the revised.  A reminder of when you first put your blue pencil to work.  I expect it’ll be a humbling experience.

Back to the present.  I also held my first brainstorming meeting with myself.  It sounds stupid to hold a meeting with oneself, but I’m trying to instill some discipline into all of this.  Plus, the book said another of the editor’s responsibilities is to generate ideas.  It was actually a good meeting.  It started off a little slow, but once I started to think in terms of the magazine title, then I began to get more ideas.  In a way, it could be considered a flop as I didn’t generate ideas for articles, but the magazine started to take shape as to the type of stories it will include.  And that will lead to ideas for articles, so a pretty good start.

And this is a pretty good place to stop.

May God bless you and keep you!

Posted in Notes from the Field

Discovering a lot about Myself

December 23, 2018

I’m learning quite a bit about myself.   This is surprising.  I knew I would be learning new skills, but I didn’t realize learning these things would also teach me about myself. 

I learned I like copyediting.  This was a huge surprise as I hate grammar and copyediting involves grammar.  But there’s something satisfying about transforming an ugly sentence into one that’s ship-shape.  

I learned I like diagramming sentences.  Thanks be to God for that one as it was my final attempt to learn grammar and it seems to be paying off.  I took it up because trying to learn by reading books on grammar made my eyes glaze over and put my brain to sleep.  But diagramming sentences is more like a puzzle and those I enjoy.  Or, perhaps, it’s because it’s active rather than passive.  Whatever the case, finding I enjoyed doing them was a pleasant surprise.

For someone who dislikes grammar I was surprised to learn I don’t like bad English.  I was doing some copyediting exercises whose instructions stated not to make any changes to the language.  I got to this one quote and I just couldn’t leave it alone as it was so bad.  Instead this little grammar Nazi reared its ugly little head and proclaimed, “No direct quotes in the magazine from people who don’t speak good English.  Paraphrase it, instead.”  Copyediting doesn’t have a paraphrase symbol, so I guess I’m going to have to make one up.

Of course not all my lessons have been good.  I also learned I have all five personality traits of CEOs who can’t manage to execute properly.  I think that was the first time I’ve ever been insulted by a book.  It made me laugh.  The author stated all CEOs have one or two of these traits and I had all of them.  Insults aside, it was good to learn where my problems lay.

While it’s a good book for building execution into a company it wasn’t what I needed.  I needed some kind of organizational system, so I started reading Getting Things Done by David Allen.  The principle behind his system is to get everything off of your mind and onto paper.  This relieves stress because you are no longer getting constant mental reminders to do these things.  It worked like a charm.  It took away all of my stress.  It also took away all of my motivation.  I came to a complete halt.  Now, nothing was getting done.  That’s when I learned I must work better under stress.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to recapture it.  I guess once stress is gone, it’s gone.

Of course, it might not be the stress.  It might be the change in days.  I was getting a little upset when the days started getting shorter as I couldn’t get as much accomplished.  I guess I was getting on God’s nerves with my grumbling because the next thing I know the Holy Spirit was telling me it’s so we can rest.  So I tried to go with it by turning everything off when it got dark outside.  This allowed me to see what God meant.  Even while working it was restful.   

So if anyone ever wants to know what’s wrong with them, I’m going to suggest they start a ministry to find out.  You learn a lot about yourself.

P.S.  If you’re building a ministry from scratch, then, insults aside, Execution : The Discipline of Getting Things Done  by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan seems like a good book to read.  It shows you how to build execution into the fabric of your company.

P.P.S. And if you’re getting stressed by all the things you need to get done, then Getting Things Done: the Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen might be of some help.

God bless! And here’s wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Posted in Notes from the Field

Work on the Magazine Continues in Spite of . . . Well, Everything

I’m finally getting a breather.  I was so drug out from all that’s been going on I didn’t have enough energy to get out of my chair one day.  Life was that crazy.  Things are better now.  I finally found some help and I’m beginning to feel rested.

HaHa!  As soon as I wrote “things are better now” my computer graphic card went out. Corruption has its challenges, so the craziness continues.  Sans computer, I ended up reading Jennifer Fultweiler’s One Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Tale of Family Chaos, Personal Passions, and Saying Yes to Them Both.  While reading, I came across her account of how much Resistance she received while trying to write her book: everything from self-doubt to major illnesses.  Resistance, as she describes it, is a term used by Steven Pressfield in the The War of Art to explain the pushback phenomenon everyone experiences when they begin to create.  If that’s the case, then Resistance rears his ugly head every time I turn around.  This is the second attempt to write this blog post.  The first time the graphics card in my computer went out.  This time the computer froze up and required a restart to get it back up and running.  Those are minor examples.  There have been larger ones.  The largest–the clerical sex abuse scandal and cover-up–almost derailed me.  I still don’t what I’m going to do.

What I can’t do is point people to the Catholic Church.  What would I say?  Join the one holy and apostolic Catholic Church where your children can be sexually abused by the priests and bishops.  So your beautiful child can be turned into a drug-addicted wreck, live a horribly wounded life, and, possibly, finish that off with suicide.  All caused by the men who act in persona Christi and the apostolic successors.  What a friggen joke. God, I’m so angry.   Of course, they keep it all under wraps because people learning about it would create a scandal and give the devil something which to RIGHTLY accuse the Church.  That’s the real scandal according to the pope.  Not the actual crimes themselves, but reporting the crimes and being upset about them.

I could tell people about synodality.  I’m sure that’ll be a wonderful evangelization point.  It must be of great concern to people because even though the pope claimed they weren’t prepared to talk about the sex abuse crisis during the synod on young people they worked overtime to get synodality included.   This is all so ridiculous I can’t even continue.  There’s too much to list and it just keeps going on and on and on.  I get so angry I can’t even think straight.

So ixnay on all that.   There is good news.  Thank be to God.  Literally.  Like I stated earlier, these scandals nearly derailed me.  I was incredibly disheartened until the Holy Spirit informed me God can fix the Church.  Not only did it hearten me, but it reminded me of a couple of dreams I’ve had.

One was not too long after I became a Christian.  I never dreamt much, prior.  I know people say everyone has dreams, but you just don’t remember them.  Whether it was memory or I just didn’t have them that all changed.  After becoming a Christian I not only had them but remembered them.  It’s been about 16 years and I still remember many of them from those days.  In one of them I saw a beach and scattered all over it were these broken tinker toys.   Then I saw God walking along the beach picking up the pieces.  I think I recall that one now because I think it’s appropriate to say the Church has been wrecked.  This is what’s so damnable regarding the Church today: all the souls whose lives are in peril of being lost and/or cast off because these men have been allowed to run amuck.

Another one was more recent.  I believe it was before the Vigano letters and the Pennsylvania grand jury report.  In this dream/nightmare I was walking towards a narrow alley.  There were two men with me.  One was on my left, the other on my right.  Out of nowhere this huge knife appears. In the dream, the knife didn’t come out of the sky, but more like a pendulum that swung along the horizontal rather than the vertical.  It was leveled at the head of the man on my left, much like when they say someone levels a gun at a person.  It appeared, swung until it bashed his head in. Then it disappeared.

Then just lately, I saw a large room.  It looked like a flophouse, it was dirty and disgusting, but I understood it to be a commune.  In this dream, in the middle of the commune a man was raping a woman with what looked to be the wooden end of a plunger.  There were other men with him.  They were standing, if it can be said, at every corner of her: one at each foot and one at each shoulder.  They were just standing there watching.  Then they were gone and another man (who looked like Lord Jesus) was there and he stood by the woman while other men made short order of cleaning up the commune.  It was almost suddenly clean with the exception of few men working around the periphery to finish it up.

I get the sense that the woman represented the Church proper while the commune was the church at large (not really sure what that means).  I don’t know who the men were, but their positions signified they were from every corner of the Church.  The second man represented Lord Jesus who will stand by the Church proper and He and his helpers will clean up the rest.

In light of the Holy Spirit’s comfort I’m going ahead with the magazine.  Another help is focusing less on what I can’t do and more on what I can do.  That’s when the ideas start to come.

God bless! And thanks be to God for God!

Posted in Notes from the Field

Marketing Dos and Don’ts

July 30, 2018

I’ve been thinking about marketing a lot lately.  Specifically, when is it annoying and when welcomed.  I want to get these down before I forget :

Emails

  • Assuming they have subscribed to your emails, then one email a day is not too much. There are many sites I receive an email a day from and I don’t get annoyed.  I simply delete it.  It doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear from them again I’m just not interested in hearing from them that day.
  • If someone deletes an email from you, don’t turn around and send them two more. If I don’t want to hear from you that day, then sending me more emails is just going to annoy me.  Like that one site I recently subscribed and unsubscribed the other day.  The first email was fine, but didn’t sound like anything I wanted to read, so I deleted it. They sent me two more emails.  I deleted those and believe I received some more.  It was like the Tribbles in that Star Trek episode they just kept multiplying.
  • Keep in touch with them between issue notifications unlike the magazines I’ve subscribed. What bothers me so much about this is they have other content they’re putting out between issues, which I paid for, yet they don’t send me an email to let me know it’s been released.
    [I’m glad I discovered this now as I wasn’t planning on publishing any material in-between issues.  I was only going to send out email notifications when a new issue is released, but I’ve learned from this it’s not a good idea to stay out of contact with my customers. I’ll have to think of something to send them just to stay in touch.  Letters to the editor (if there are any), perhaps?  That might help keep articles alive and conversations going. 
    To Do!  Consider ways of staying in contact with your customers between issues]
  • UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES never communicate with your customers, and then send them an email telling them they are family, especially when that email is asking for money. One of my paid magazine subscriptions was doing their summer fundraiser.  Asking for money was not that big of deal.  Never hearing from them and then telling me I’m like family was ludicrous.  Then I thought about it: only hear from you when you need money.  Yeah, I do have some family members like that, but I don’t want to hear from them.
  • NEVER EVER use heartbreaking personal stories to sell your products. That happened to me twice in one day.  I couldn’t believe it.   These people bared their souls in a story and at the end they tried to sell me something.  An ad at an end of email or article is no big deal, but the sales pitch was tied into the stories they used.  Never do that.

Subscriptions

  • Don’t ask for people’s preferences and then ignore them.  I’m tempted to unsubscribe from the one who did.  I wouldn’t be so peeved if they hadn’t asked, but to ask then ignore is annoying.  Every time they send me an email about something I specifically said I didn’t want to hear about I get a feeling of annoyance when I should be looking forward to reading their emails like I usually do.  Either don’t ask for preferences or respect their preferences if you do ask.
  • If you use a pop-up window asking people to subscribe to your site, don’t have it appear in the middle of the page after only 5 seconds. I was reading an article at one site and they referenced another article at another site.  I went to read that article and hadn’t finished the first paragraph before the window asking me to subscribe popped up.  Since I hadn’t enough time to check out the site or read the article I wasn’t ready to make that decision.  It was too soon.  Give people time to look over your site or have it pop-up where it doesn’t interfere with what they are doing.
    ! Place pop-up subscription-ask at bottom right-hand corner.  The movement catches their attention, but doesn’t get in the way. 
  • Have a fixed place where people can subscribe in addition to the pop-up window. After I had finished the article I decided I did want to subscribe to the site, but I could find no place to do that.  Apparently, it was only available through the pop-up window I had clicked out of.

Ad Placement

  • Should blend in seamlessly. I’m not quite sure what I mean by that but I remember the suggested posts Facebook used to put in the news feed were really annoying, then they changed something and I had no problem with them anymore.  I can’t remember what they were like before.  I think they were smaller.  Now, they look like just another post, so they seem seamless.  I may just mean don’t interrupt what they’re doing: like commercials and pop-up ads tend to do.
    I know this: ads in magazines and newspapers are usually around the periphery of the article(s) or on their own page.  How to do that on a webpage, especially a responsive webpage, may be a little harder.  I have no idea what happens to the side columns on a responsive website.
    To Do!  Go to a website on your mobile phone where you know they have ads on the side and see how and if they are displayed.
Posted in Notes from the Field

Day 20: Google Ads Don’t Make Sense

July 28, 2018

It’s been almost a year since I’ve posted a journal about the ministry.  That’s crazy.  They say time speeds by faster as you get older.  They sure weren’t whistling Dixie.

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I heard today on an ACT 8 YouTube video that 70% of the online advertising clicks are not from potential customers but from bots.  That has to mess up any numbers used to determine the effectiveness of any advertising campaign.  Say you spend enough to reach 100 people and you get 70 clicks.  That sounds to me like a good click-through rate and would get me really excited.  If it wasn’t for the fact that nothing was getting bought because bots don’t buy.  At this point, I would be thinking the advertising campaign was effective, but there was a problem farther down the road because there were no sales.  Was it my webpage? My prices?  Etc?  I’d be doing all of this when the real problem was with the ad because no humans clicked on it.  What I should be looking at was the ad itself, the demographics I’m trying to reach, etc.  Diverting manpower and money chasing down false trails could really mess me up my ministry.

To do! Find out if you can tell whether it’s a bot or human clicking on your ads.

Another problem is I might not have budgeted enough for advertising.  If I’m trying to reach 100 people and pay for 100 clicks, then I’m going to have to triple my advertising budget just to reach 90 people.  So, if my original budget was $100 I would have to adjust it up to $300.   I don’t think it costs $1 per click for doing those ads, but it does highlight the problem: the amount budgeted doesn’t have the reach I think it does and budgets will have to be adjusted accordingly.

And the stalking!!!  I never would have thought I would be stalked by a chair, but it happened online one day.  I went to a website and clicked on a chair.  Every website I visited after that was an ad for the chair.  I hate to break it to them, but If I was going to buy the chair I would have bought it at the time.  If I didn’t have the money, then I would have bought it later.   Showing me the chair ad nauseum only made me hate it.  Seriously, the only time I should have seen that chair again was something letting me know it was on sale.  If I hadn’t been stalked by the chair I may have kept it mind for a later purchase, but it’s never going to happen now.  And if I didn’t like it enough to buy it, then seeing it over and over again isn’t going to make me like it anymore.  That’s crazy!

To do! Consider adopting absence makes the heart grow fonder as an advertising rule-of-thumb.

The flip side of this is you rarely get to see new products.  I wanted to check out a website I wouldn’t normally visit because I heard they did a great job on Instagram branding. It was aimed at a different demographic and I decided while I was there I would see what type of products were being advertised.  Guess what?  The same products advertised on the all of the other websites I had been to that day.  That makes no sense.

Technically, since I was on the site then and I was looking at that product, then you could say that product matches that demographic.  But I was a definite outlier, so I should have seen products for the demographic the site was drawing in.  I don’t know if Google understands this (they don’t seem to), but I don’t mind seeing new products.  Matter of fact I like to see them.  Even if I won’t buy the product I still like to see what’s out there.  Google should change their algorithms and base them on the demographics of the actual site and not, necessarily, on where the individual has been that day.

I think I read somewhere advertising software exists which allows you to choose the ads which are displayed on your site.  Whether it was speaking of software like AdSense© I don’t know.  I’ll have to look into it further.

To do! Research advertising software.

Posted in Notes from the Field

Why won’t I Write?

I used to love to write posts for my blog.  Now I don’t.  It’s like my writing desire just got up and left one day.  No good-byes, no note, no nothing.  Just poof.  It’s gone.

So nothing’s getting written.  Not even a blog post.  I’ve stopped writing for some reason and I don’t know why.  I think part of it is I’ve gotten greedy with articles having to do with God.  Instead of writing them for the blog I save them for the magazine.  That should still leave me with things to write about because the blog was meant for commentary on things I’ve heard or read.  It turns out I’ve overestimated the variety of my interests. Seems most everything I read or listen to pertains to God and since those ideas are being saved for possible use in the magazine, I guess, I have nothing left to say.

There is one thing I still do and that’s write in my personal journal.  Even though, it’s not all that personal.  It’s usually my thoughts on a biblical passage, but not much about my life.  There are times, like this entry, where I’ll try to work through a problem, but there aren’t many of those.  They’re mostly about God.  I’m starting to see a theme:  I only seem to write when it involves God.  Am I really that focused on God?   I wouldn’t have thought so.  It seems to me I don’t spend enough time on God.  Hhmmm.

I see something else: I don’t spend much time writing about myself.  This could explain why I’m not posting any journal ministry entries either.  That’s sad because I not only wanted to keep them to look back on, but so others could learn from what I’ve experienced.

There’s also the fact that most of what I’m doing is magazine specific and I don’t want the journal entries to be about magazines.  I want them to be about the experience of stepping out in faith into the unknown.  That’s not going to happen, unless I start writing about myself a little bit more.  [action item]

Another thing which keeps me from writing is the rewriting, second guessing myself, and deciding where and whether to publish it.  After reviewing and revising a post a couple of times I’m pretty sick of it.  Or I get half finished and start to wonder if it’s even worth the time and trouble.   I received the solution to these problems during prayer.  It was go ahead and write the article then determine what should be done with it: blog post, magazine, or trash can.

As if I didn’t have enough problems there’s the lack of time and energy.  When I started this ministry I was in an optimal position as far as time and energy was concerned, but that’s all changed.  Now, I have less of both.  It got crazy around here.  [I didn’t think it was possible, but it got even crazier around here since I began writing this.] More and more is getting dumped on me.  It’s getting very hard to keep up with, much less work on anything personal.

One way to do that is only commit to blog posts for the Journal Ministry entries.  If I choose to write other posts, then all well and good.  If not, then all well and good.  Also, they are going to be true journal entries.  Up until now the writing style has been too influenced by trying to attract readers with the suggestions on what to do or how to do it. I don’t know if I’ve read too many blogs, but I’m sick of these types of posts.  Do this and you’re life will be great.  Do that and it will be improved.  Solve this with that and that with this.  Blech!  It’s not that I don’t appreciate people trying to help others.  It’s the tone I don’t like: sales pitchy.  I’m going to write my experiences and that’s it. If a reader receives help from them, then I’m glad I could be of service.  If they decide they would do it a different way, then that’s great, too.  They’ve now discovered what not to do: that’s 1 down and 10,000 ways left to discover.

May God watch over you and keep you!

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash