Francesco Flavored Friday Foto!

31 May

fuf

A big thank you to Cyrus Johnson for coming up with a very fine image!

Pope Francis Looks Strangely Like…

13 Mar

Ed Wynn! The actor who played chronic laughing man Uncle Albert in Mary Poppins! 

Ed Wynn!

Ed Wynn!

Regardless: thank you, Holy Spirit! How does one say “Viva il Papa” in whatever language they speak in Argentina? Whatever it is: THAT, to Pope Francis! 

Not Ed Wynn!

Not Ed Wynn!

If This Cardinal Doesn’t Get the Vote, I’m Leaving the Catholic Church

11 Mar

You can keep your  Scolas, your Dolans, your Schonbörn with the fancy pants umlaut over the “o” and all that. I’m putting every last dime of my savings on His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos.

220px-Baselios_Cardinal_Cleemis

And can’t you just smell the fear in the Curia? If only because Cleemis is the only Cardinal at the Conclave who wields a scimitar? I’m telling you all: this man is IT. The Conclave is over before it begins! Call off the dogs! No, they aren’t going to vote for Bertone–he’s a Company Man. And, no, they aren’t going to vote for Peter Turkson–that would only confirm St. Malachy’s prophecies about the last pope and then we’d all be doomed; the Cardinals aren’t stupid, you know.

I don’t care if you like Piacenza–he cannot defeat Cleemis. I don’t care if you’re koo-koo for Coccopalmerio–he cannot defeat Cleemis. It’s Cleemis, I tell you! He’s the next Pope! He’s the best-dressed Cardinal at the Conclave. Open your eyes, people!!!

Note: as per legal counsel, the author of this post reserves the right to delete this post on the day of the election. Thank you.

Captain Quirk

16 Jan

I’ve watched this a couple of times now, and the word that keeps coming to me is “quirky.” I’m kind of the Jeff Goldblum of Catholic evangelists, I think.

Anyway, this is a “Today’s Message” installment from the Renewal Ministries website that goes along with my appearance on “The Choices We Face,” which should air sometime in March. I’ll keep you posted. 

More significantly, though, now that I’ve dropped Jeff Goldblum’s name, I’m sure all you can think about is that 2002  interview he did with Jiminy Glick (played so masterfully by Mr. Martin Short who somehow never, EVER breaks character). So, here it is! See if I’m crazy–me and J. Goldblum share some idiosyncrasies that I was never aware of before tonight. Or maybe it’s just late and I should havewritten another That Strangest of Wine Guides installment. You tell me.

The Hobbit!

12 Jan

The Hobbit isn’t just “O.K.” It’s a masterpiece. There. I wrote it. I felt compelled to do so, considering all the humdrum, long-faced reviews I’ve been reading lately, whether in formal critiques or comboxes.  I’ve read how bored some people were, especially during that much-maligned first hour when apparently there was nothing going on and the movie screen was little more than a big blank, except for some chalk drawings of what appeared to be dwarves and a cold vacuum where there ought to have been meaning and character development.

I have no idea what these people were actually doing during that first hour. I personally was riveted for the entire film. Thankfully, I’m not alone in the universe. My two oldest sons were thrilled to bits; my younger brother and I had the longest, nerdiest phone conversation possible trading lauds back and forth…well, that was it, I guess, until I read these two great reviews, both of which capture my feelings nicely and toss a few well-deserved barbs at critics (so I don’t have to):

Fr. Dennis At the Movies

And, my favorite, this one by Seth Abramson

 Enjoy!

Pass me that rag, will you? Someone splashed negative criticism all over the side of my face!

Pass me that rag, will you? Someone splashed negative criticism all over the side of my face!

Fr. C’s Handy Guide to Getting an Exorcism!

5 Dec

My Resident Evil trilopost continues to get a strong response from people, many of whom are interested in investigating the possibility of a demonic presence in their lives. I was talking with “Father Cornelius” recently about this, and he helped me put together the following guide:

Fr. C’s Handy Guide to Getting an Exorcism

† Who do I talk to in my diocese about this? The chief exorcist in every diocese is…pause for effect, raise eyebrows, lean forward…the bishop! He’s really the guy who handles exorcisms, using the power and authority passed along to him by all the bishops before him in a super-long-rosary-bead-strand of bishops stretching all the way back to the apostles, who got it from Jesus Christ himself. But, let’s face it: bishops have a lot to do. So, they delegate that responsibility to one particular priest who acts as the lead exorcist for the diocese.

† So, where do I find him? Exorcists do not advertise. They prefer not to have everyone knowing who they are and what they do. Why? Reason # 1: people would be pounding on the door all day, calling on the phone, hanging off the windowsills, sending them devil-grams, skywriting, whatever, all kinds of nosy, talkative, interruptive, baloney-filled people who lack lives. Or people who work for the secular media who would love to take the opportunity to scoff at the Catholic Church. Reason # 2: the Devil is constantly looking for ways to harass Exorcists. Fr. Cornelius already has to deal with enough of that, and I’m sure plenty of other Exorcists can say the same. They would rather not have to be bothered by people who may unwittingly be pawns of the Devil coming around and working mischief.

"An Exor-hootily-what?"

“An Exor-hootily-what?”

† Got it! But wait…you didn’t answer the question. Where do I find him? Go to the chancery—the bishop’s office—in your diocese. Ahhhh, I can already feel the warm ire of chancery staff members everywhere, cursing me for advising people to bum-rush the chancery! But there’s no other answer. There is no hotline (that I know of), no Directory of Exorcists (for all the reasons listed above). Just go to the chancery, and ask to speak with the exorcist for the diocese.

† Are you crapping me positive? There is no way I’m going down to the chancery and telling some 78-year old secretary who looks like a Gary Larson cartoon (pictured left) that I would like to see an Exorcist. Touché, mon ami. Then just ask to see a priest. You’ll probably have to schedule something. That’s cool. Be persistent.

† What do I say when I finally get to talk to a priest? You tell him your concerns. Don’t hem-and-haw—just tell him. Say “Father, I suspect that I am being harassed on some level by evil spirits, and I would like to see the diocesan Exorcist about it.” Let him interview you—and, you might as well know, he will (in the nicest possible way) be looking for any signs that you may have some kind of purely natural mental illness. You can’t blame him for that—sometimes mental illness is all it is, and the care you need is that of a mental illness specialist, not an exorcist.

† This makes me uncomfortable. What if he tells someone? I don’t think I can do this. Yes, you can! If it helps, before you begin talking to the priest, tell him that you would like for the conversation to be under the seal of Confession. He will not be allowed to share anything you reveal.

† What if he just starts busting out with an Exorcism, and I’m not ready, and I get freaked out? It’s just too weird! No Exorcist is just going to start blasting you like that. There will be a very calm interview first, as I indicated. He’ll be looking for signs that you do not need an exorcism. As things progress, he may simply do some Prayers of Deliverance over you—not a full-on Exorcism, but exorcistic prayers that are especially powerful because they will be coming from a validly ordained Catholic priest. That may, in fact, get the job done—some evil spirits will vacate the premises due simply to that. Wouldn’t that be nice? Afterwards, you’ll take a break, schedule another appointment, and when you go back to see him you’ll hopefully know if it was sufficient.

† What if I go the chancery and find nobody who will help? What if even the bishop refuses to take me seriously? It’s possible. We live in a materialistic, atheistic time, when the spiritual is badly neglected by many. If push comes to shove, take a trip to the neighboring diocese. Go to their chancery, and their bishop. Eventually, you’re going to meet a Catholic bishop or priest who will help. Remember that Pope Benedict himself is very much on the case here. Since 2009, he has urged a greater exorcist presence in all dioceses, along with increased training for exorcists. Now’s the time!

† Follow-up question: what if it’s not me who I’m concerned about, but with someone I love? First and foremost, you pray. But you can’t force a person to address these concerns—they have to recognize and want it for themselves. Certainly (if you think it’s appropriate) talk to them, be a friend who listens, and gently urge them to seek help. Remind them that there is no harm whatsoever in simply going to a priest and asking for a Prayer of Deliverance—it’s quick, it’s painless, and it confers healing and grace in all cases. What’s bad about that?

I hope all this is of help, everybody. God bless!

Before You Read It, Read About It…

3 Dec

Thanks to all of you supportive readers, Choosing Joy is doing very well at whatever the equivalent of “the box office” is for books. Below are some really well-done reviews/interviews for you to chew on, if you like:

jennifer-fulwiler-profile-pic1

Jennifer Fulwiler, from Conversion Diary

Elizgotnewglasses

Elizabeth Scalia, from The Anchoress

Guess which one is Tony...

Guess which one is Tony…

Tony Rossi, of The Christophers. This is Sirius XM’s The Catholic Channel  interview we did–good fun!

CateCate Roberts, from Dainty Cate

There are also some shorter reviews here, for which I’m very grateful, and big thank you’s to Jen, Elizabeth, Tony and Cate for their thoughtful treatment of Choosing Joy. I’m honored!!

apple dapple

Before You Read It, Read About It…

3 Dec

Thanks to all of you supportive readers, Choosing Joy is doing very well at whatever the equivalent of “the box office” is for books. Below are some really well-done reviews/interviews for you to chew on, if you like:

jennifer-fulwiler-profile-pic1

Jennifer Fulwiler, from Conversion Diary

Elizgotnewglasses

Elizabeth Scalia, from The Anchoress

Guess which one is Tony...

Guess which one is Tony…

Tony Rossi, of The Christophers. This is Sirius XM’s The Catholic Channel  interview we did–good fun!

CateCate Roberts, from Dainty Cate

There are also some shorter reviews here, for which I’m very grateful, and big thank you’s to Jen, Elizabeth, Tony and Cate for their thoughtful treatment of Choosing Joy. I’m honored!!

apple dapple

If We’re On the Same Team, Why Are You Yelling At Me?

29 Nov

It’s not just a magazine

I hope its no secret to anyone that I am completely, radically, and unassailably pro-life. Bonkers pro-life. The only person more pro-life than me is Jesus. And Mary, and some other people, I guess, but most of them look at me and are like, “How are you capable of being so flippin’ p to the ro v. wade has got to go to the l-i-f-e pro pro PRO pro-life, dawg?” And I say, “please don’t call me ‘dawg’. It’s dehumanizing, and probably not pro-life.” And then they’re like, “Oh, sorry, daw–I mean: Dan. And thanks for being so pro-life and all.”

Having said all that, there are some pro-life people who I have trouble…understanding. We are technically on the same team, and yet they make me feel uncomfortable in a way that I normally only feel when I’m around adult bed-wetters.

For instance, I received the following email earlier today:

“From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.”  Matthew 11:12
If foolishly not yet PRO-LIFE, please either repent or unsubscribe; otherwise, please Forward to and Reply with all known of PRO-LIFE eMail contact address

So, let’s examine this a little. First, there’s zeal. That’s a plus! I love zeal! Zeal is important to have when you are defending innocent babies and their anxious mothers. I suppose, though, that what we have here is more a flaw in tactics than anything else.

For instance, there’s no greeting. No introduction. Just a stark biblical passage (and not even my favorite translation). And then: you’re a fool! At least, you are if you’re not pro-life. And if you’re not pro-life, Stupid Person Who I’ve Never Met Before In My Life and Could Be the Pope For All I Know: REPENT! Or unsubscribe. One or the other. Take a second to weigh that choice: Repent? Unsubscribe? Repent? Unsubscribe?

On the other hand, if you’re not a fool, then you are hereby commanded to forward this to lots of other people I don’t know, but who you know. That’s right: I want you to let me boorishly harangue all of your friends and associates, because the fact that I’m pro-life gives me that unquestionable right! And notice who, specifically, this person wants to reach: “all known of PRO-LIFE eMail contact addresses.” That’s an awkward phrase that quickly brings to mind the “all your base are belong to us” meme, but, more importantly, it’s utterly pointless: as if this one-person pro-life embassy is going to end abortion singlehandedly by sending emails to other pro-life people and telling them that ABORTION IS WRONG, fools!

At the bottom of the email the sender then gives us some handy links to his own websites [I’m not revealing them, out of what’s left of my barely intact sense of civility and a basic sense of respect for this person]. Suffice it to say: only one of the websites has to do with being pro-life. The others are merely propaganda for his various professional aspirations, including (naturally) his LinkedIn profile!!

Sometimes I think: this is what’s wrong with the Pro-Life movement in America. It’s not that there isn’t enough support (because there is), it’s not because their aren’t enough prayers going up or enough interest in seeing something so evil be eliminated from a nation that is founded upon a respect for life (because there are and there is). The problem might be tactics. Some things are only cast out “by prayer and fasting” as it says in the New Testament, and abortion in our country is probably one of those things. So we should fast, and we should pray, and we should conduct all reasonable, peaceful resistance efforts. But let’s not simultaneously subvert those efforts by misguided, vainglorious salvos of overemotional emails and proverbially beating our breasts on the street corner–because that convinces a sum total of nobody.

Advent Time!

27 Nov


“Catholics” and “the walking dead” may have combined in your mind before now if you’ve ever been to a 6:00 am sunrise Mass, but author Ryan Trusell offers us an application that is more literal. Ora et Labora et Zombies is a horror story told through a series of letters from a husband to his missing wife, written while on the lam from wheezing undead hordes.

But don’t expect a Milla Jovovich Resident Evil script–thank God. The pacing and tone of this “epistolary novel” is reserved; the husband’s writing style is often florid and even anachronistic, instantly recalling the fictional letters scattered throughout Shelley’s Frankenstein and Stoker’s Dracula. And, of course, there is the religious content. There are I-don’t-even-know-how-many letters in all, and I’m only up to letter #5, but it’s clear that Trusell is using the zombie mythology to explore deep religious and existential truths, which is just a very cool idea. 

Trusell has now produced a 4-part anthology, and guess who’s in it? Well, Simcha Fisher, Brandon Vogt, and Dorian Speed, that’s who—luminaries, all. But there’s also me! My contribution is called “The Offended,” a short fictional story of gothic horror that ties in to the season of Advent (which begins December 2). Advent is what the anthology is all about, in fact (hence the title: “Adventhology”). Advent is such a great season, and so misunderstood and badly neglected, so it’s good to find ways to explore its richness. I hope Adventhology will help with that.

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