Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday: I Could Wait For Inspiration, or Go With This

There's a story I heard, several decades back, about this guy who was stuck on the roof of a building during a flood.

Odds are, you've heard this before. If so, skip to the first heading.

Anyway, he prayed, "God, save me from this flood."

Later somebody came by in a boat and offered him a ride out of the flood. He refused, saying that God would rescue him.

Still later, somebody else came in another boat. Same thing.

As flood waters rose to the peak of the roof, this guy saw a helicopter coming, with a ladder dangling under it. He waved it off, shouting that God would rescue him.

Then the flood waters washed him off the roof, and he drowned.

After being processed in Heaven, he stomped up to God's throne, demanding an explanation.

God told him, "I sent you two boats and a helicopter: what were you waiting for?"

This is the First Heading

Some days, I have a pretty good idea about what I'm going to write for A Catholic Citizen in America. Other days, not so much.

Then there are days like this, when I haven't a clue.

It's not that I don't have any topics. I've got three: I just don't see any of them as the topic for today's post.

I could ponder, contemplate, meditate, and/or pray: which I've done.

Still, three ideas.

I could try cobbling together some half-baked bit of roll-your-own theology about the Trinity: but
  1. That kind of trouble I don't need
  2. That's a horribly mixed metaphor
So - another metaphor - I'm taking that sack of ideas, turning it upside down and giving it a good shake. Here they are:

Everybody Who Doesn't Agree With Me is Going to Hell?!


This is one reason that I converted to Catholicism: Thanks to the Bible, Tradition, and the Magisterium (look it up), we have the answer to those simple, yes-or-no questions.

In the case of "does a person have to be a Catholic, to go to Heaven," the answer is - apparently - yes.

And, no.

Remember, I speak with the full authority of some guy with a blog. I have about as little teaching authority as a person can have, and still be breathing.

I ran across part of what I'll be quoting earlier today, and that got me curious.
"How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:
"Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336
"This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:
"Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation.337"
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 846, 847)
Does this mean that it doesn't matter what you believe, as long as you're sincere? That may cut it with the Great Pumpkin in Peanuts, but out here in reality - not so much.

Again, I'm some guy with a blog. I have just about zero teaching authority in the Church.

Those links could take you to what I quoted - and the footnotes include reference to one of those "secret" Catholic documents you hear about. Like so many others, this one's available in English translation on the Holy See's Website:
  • "Lumen Gentium"
    Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Solemnly Promulgated by His Holiness Pope Paul VI (November 21, 1964)
The bit that's referenced is Lumen Gentium, paragraph 16.

As to whether it's a good idea to get into God's outfit?

Let me put it this way -

I don't particularly like having others tell me what to do, I've had issues with authority, and I have very little respect for folks who claim that I should do things their way because God says so.

And I converted to Catholicism.

Yeah, I'd say it's a good idea.

And Now, For Something Completely Different

Matthew Warner posted this on his Fallible Blogma:He got the list from Patrick Madrid, who modeled it on a Chuck Norris-isms.

Maybe I'm not the only one who came up a little short on good ideas today?

Nope: Look at the post's date. I leaned about it today, but it's been out for months.

Google,, and What Happened

From today's news:
"Vatican website phenomenon could have been 'page hacking' "
EWTN News (July 30, 2010)

"Google's error in placing ahead of the Vatican's website in a search for the word 'Vatican' was not 'Google bombing,' according to an Italian computer expert. The phenomenon, rather, was likely due to 'page hacking,' the orchestrated use of duplicated content to gain authority in a web search.

"The Italian search engine optimizer (SEO) Andrea Vit, who dedicates himself to increasing the ranking of websites in web searches, explained his take on the technology behind the placement of as the top result on a Google search for the Vatican.

"Vit explained to EWTN News that in a search, every website has a value or 'page rank' assigned to it by Google based on the site's 'authority.' Authority is assigned to a site according to the number of links to that site from others. The higher the page rank, the higher the site's placement as a result in a search...."
Google corrected the situation shortly after it was discovered.

As for the standard-issue 'the Catholic Church shields pedophiles and is icky' thing, I've posted about that before.

How to Waste Your Vote

Finally, here's something from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL):
"Third parties fall on the fringe of public opinion"
Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life State and Federal PAC (undated)

"Minnesotans reject extremist Green, Independence pro-abortion parties

"The 2002 election revealed many of Minnesota's political nuances. Among these was a clear lack of support for so-called third party candidates. Following much fanfare and media coverage, the Independence Party was able to claim only one victory in the entire state, picking up a single seat in the state Senate. Other parties such as the Green Party and the Constitution Party were completely thwarted in their efforts to win elections.

"Statewide support among the electorate for mainstream pro-life candidates was partly responsible for preventing marginal third parties from gaining ground in the Nov. 5 election. This widespread pro-life constituency helped repudiate the third parties still able to claim major party status: the pro-abortion Green and Independence parties.

"Thinly disguised extremism...."
Some Minnesotans voted for third-party candidates. Given human nature, if you campaigned heavily enough you could probably get write-in votes for a Furze Party candidate ("You Could Do Gorse!").

America's midterm election is coming in November. Since I'm a Catholic, I have to be an informed citizen, and vote. And I've posted about that before, too:
A tip of the hat to CatholicNotions, MCCL_org and MatthewWarner, on Twitter.

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.