Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pope's Eye View

Pope Benedict XVI sets free a dove from the window of his apartment at the end of his Sunday Angelus prayer in St. Peter's square at the Vatican on January 25. (AFP/Osservatore Romano)

Friday, January 23, 2009

An artist walks among us

Hey hey dear readers. Sorry for the tardy updates. Been rather busy lately. But I'm back to highlight to you, the blogging community, that there's an artist among us.

Evan, server Mark's brother, is a design grad and has started up a blog on art and such complicated stuff which is totally beyond my limited intellect =)

Check out his blog here:

Evan, as some of you might remember, is the designer of such artistic stuff as our parish Marian processional canopy, shown with the artist below.


Evan also designed our Advent Wreath.The design


The final product.



He's also the leader of our parish Youth Ministry and had organized the ICYM Gives Back Christmas concert in Dec (which will be highlighted on these pages soon).

I'm very happy with the progress the ICYM has made thus far and I'm also impressed with forthcoming the plans they have. As a previous leader of our parish youth ministry (and as others who have been involved in youth work can testify), it takes a great deal of commitment, perseverance, hard work and sheer luck in order to have a successful youth ministry which builds up and trains young people, equipping them to be disciples who will come back and serve the Church once the food, games and music stops. It's even harder than it sounds, so they need all the encouragement they can get as they step up to take the place of us young fogeys as the new future of the Church.

So, do drop by Evan's blog and drop him a comment of encouragement.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Non sum dignus

Fr. Daren over at Servant and Steward has honoured me by bestowing on me the Superior Scribbler Award. As always, non sum dignus. In conferring the award, Fr. D said that I "keeps us to speed on things happening on the other side of the world, often with great photos."

Many thanks, Fr. D.

And now the rules for those who receive this award:
  • Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass the award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
  • Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author and the name of the blog from whom he/she has received the Award.
  • Each Superior Scribbler must display the award on his/her blog, and link to this post, which explains the award.
  • Each Blogger who wins the Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List (scroll down). That way, we’ll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives this prestigious honor!
  • Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

By the powers vested in me by the rules, I hereby bestow the Superior Scribbler Award upon:

Matt Doyle of Lacrimarum Valle who gives us who are pondering a vocation to the priesthood a window into what a faithful and beautiful Catholic family is like as he lives out his vocation as a Catholic father and husband.

Fr. Tim Finnegan of the Hermeneutic of Continuity who gives us a glimpse into the the life of a faithful priest and who enlightens us all with his wit and wisdom.

Josephus Flavius of Byzantine, Texas who fills us in to the happenings and goings-on in the life of the Eastern lung of the Catholic Church.

Kat of the Crescat whose wit and insight is most entertaining and whose blog is a visual feast for the eyes.

Lawrence of Deus me vocat who's a great student who is trying to be faithful to God and his call.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Lux lucet in tenebris - The Light shines in the darkness

From the prologue of the Gospel according to St. John comes these words:
'Et lux in tenebris lucet et tenebrae eam non conprehenderunt'
It translates as The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness could not comprehend or understand it. Hardness of heart is a very scriptural phenomenon and we see it with Pharaoh, the Israelites and even with the Apostles. Because of this they simply could not understand for their hearts were closed.

Jesus Himself found it hard to get through to the disciples (cf Mark 6:51b, 8:17) and because of this, I don't account myself too big of a failure for my own inability.

As the Scripture says in Eph 4:18:
They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.
However, after the recent unpleasantness, a light shines in the darkness. I present to you my student Lawrence, who has made several appearances on this blog without a whole lot of tears being spilt or a lot of whining.

Copy of DSC00144

Well, he has own blog, titled Deus me vocat which means God calls me. It's a brilliant and superbly meaningful title by the way which he chose himself.

I'd like to highlight a post which he made yesterday. It's titled "There will come a time when you will choose from what is right and what is easy"

In this post, he shared a new insight about a theme I commonly use when I teach, the one about crossroads and the choices we make all the time, for God or for the devil. But he makes an excellent observation that for many of us, life not always like a crossroad but two roads running in parallel where people can go from the steep and narrow upwards way to God to the large paved way which ever so slighly slopes downward to fire.

I honestly never thought of it being a parallel road with people jumping off one to the other all the time. And this analogy brings with it the warning and caution to always be eternaly vigilant lest we slip from one road to the other. I'm glad to learn this and will use it when I teach.

I'm very impressed, to say the least. Read the post here.

It's even more impressive coming from a 15 year old kid. It takes a great deal of guts to do some of the things he does, especially at his age in the world today. i have to admit that when I was his age, my intestinal fortitude might not have been as strong.


Could you dear readers be so kind as to give Lawrence a visit and leave him a comment to encourage him in his journey to remain faithful to Christ and His Church and to stay the course the in the narrow trek towards God and eternity?

Click here to leave him a comment and give some encouragement.

I'll be grateful.

Attacked and maligned - stating the truth in charity

UPDATED: Addendum at the bottom.

The post on girl altar boys have generated some heated response, including from friends of said girl altar boy. The sister of the girl altar boy posted a comment on this blog and then posted the following on her blog entitled 'PREDATORIAL VICTIM: Altar girls' which compels me to respond. I hope to have done so in charity.

Dear Joey,

I read your comments with interest. And I've also answered the questions you kindly posted on my blog. But let's be fair. Let's look at what you've said, and perhaps you'll be so kind as to answer some of mine and return the courtesy?

I guess I was wrong about assuming the hiao big boobies will be altar girls.
Why would you assume that?

But when my sister served last mid Dec, Andrew Khoo, a big ego-ed Master Altar Server thinking he's holier than the Pope, had a blog posted about her mistakes and even put pictures up!
First, that's a personal attack which I don't think is merited? Where did you get the impression that I am big ego-ed? Could you pls provide an example?

Second, where did you get the impression that I was holier than the Pope? Again, example please. That would make your case more convincing, would it not?

Furthermore, look at the Masses celebrated by the Pope in the Vatican or elsewhere he has travelled? Do you see girl altar boys there? Why do you think this is so? Do you want to know what the Vatican thinks on this? See this video (Which was coincidentally posted on my blog as well which you did not seem to notice) which features Cardinal Francis Arinze, the Prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Vatican department in charge of the liturgy of the Church. Don't believe me. Listen to him yourself.

Am I the one who thinks he is holier than the Pope or perhaps it's not me but others who want to change the Church to fit their own ideas that are trying to be holier then the Pope? Let's be fair in our criticisms.

Third, where did I point out her mistakes? Again, evidence, please.

Fourth, your sister performed in public. Was it wrong to have photographs of something public taken? Is she embarrassed to have done what she did? If she felt that nothing wrong was done, then why be embarrassed? And FYI, even without her requesting it, the photos were taken down. But I can't understand why she or you would be embarrassed to have their photos taken when something is done in public.

Tell me where exactly I have been wrong and I'll correct it immediately but if not, then don't you think that you need to put a correction?

Oh of course she had the scathing post and comments printed and shown to Father Marshall, the parish priest, but I HAVE to have my two cents in tembak-ing this fella who insists on protecting his self-implied masculinity of the church.
Nice and mature, but where in the world did you get the impression that I insist on 'protecting his self-implied masculinity of the church.' When you make such statements you'd better back it up, or take it down.

Post here

I believe the church had always been refered to as a bride (female counterpart of a wedded couple) and the term used was 'She' and 'Her'.
Exactly, the Church is described in the female person, as in the Bride of Christ. And when this imagery is used, Christ is described as the Spouse of the Church, in masculine terms. Good.

The Church is also described as our Holy Mother the Church. When this image is used, we are described as Her Children for She, through baptism, gave us the new birth by water and the Holy Spirit.

The Church is also described as the Body of Christ. When this image is used, we are the parts of this Body and Christ is the Head.

Good observation. You notice the complementarity principle.

And what is this about his fear of us women of the parish wanting to chew off more we can bite by wanting to be popesses and godesses? And is that wrong in the first place?
Good questions. Your observation above shows that when the Church is described as female, as in the Bride of Christ, there's a corresponding male description, Christ is the Spouse. So, there are differences in the genders who, while equal in dignity, play different roles.

When the Church is the Bride of Christ, then Christ is the male Spouse. Similarly, the priest acts in persona Christi, in the place of Christ during the Mass. And so is male as was handed down to us through the Apostles.

Does this mean we negate the dignity of women? In no way. The purest and most blessed of creatures in Mary the mother of God to whom your parish Church is dedicated, whose image adorns the main stained glass window. She is the Queen of Heaven, of the male Apostles, of the martyrs and saints. She is the most exalted of God's creation. In what way does the Church look down on women?

When we eliminate the difference in the roles, when we eliminate the distinction between equality in dignity and equality in function, then that's where the slope slides down to popesses and godesses.

Here's how. If there are no differences between the functions genders, then why can't a woman be a priest, if a priest is merely functional, that is, performs some duties? And if a woman becomes a priestess, then why not a bishopess or a popess? Why do we limit the progression of women priests?

Then in mankind in created in the image of God and we are created male and female, why can't we call God a goddess and call Him her?

If you think I'm joking, I'm not. The same people who promoted girl altar boys in those advanced countries you like so much have also promoted women priests and bishops and call God female, disregarding that Christ came in history as the Son of God, as a man. They remove all references to God as male. Person? No way. Because there's son, which is a male child. So it's perchild.

Similarly, this marks also the approval for gay marriages. If there's no distinction between men and women, then why can 2 women or 2 men get married? Is their love less pure than the love between a man and a woman?

I sincerely hope you understand the point. You can always ask for clarifications and I'll be glad to respond.

Altar girls were proposed since the lack of altar boys.
Untrue. Girl altar boys were first proposed in Holland as a means to promote women's ordination and against the will of the Church and in disobedience to Her. The result? The almost total destruction of the Church in Holland. Check out the stats. You can find them online. Read up the history and be educated and informed.

Secondly, the introduction of women priestesses, as in the Anglican Communion or the Episcopal church in the US have not overcome the shortage of ministers and instead have cause the church to split and it's membership to shrink. Everything that some people want to turn the Catholic Church into has already been tried, tested and found defective. The Episcopalians are the prime example of this.

And hopefully I'm assuming correctly,
Nope. You're not.

the intense 'studying' of altar serving scares the pre-pubescent male parishioners from picking up the white and black robes. Exams and tests, the severely long lectures...
Your ideas are mistaken and I hope you correct them. Think about it. Why would the altar boys discourage people from joining them and serving Mass? But don't you think that people should know what they are doing? And that some things, especially relating to the worship of God, should be done right and with full concious participation? Why are you against training and are those who are being trained against it or are you presuming to speak on their behalf?

I know the Mass is a holy thing but if God and serving Him is forced to be something supremely important
He is God. He IS supremely important.

that we have to be superbly strict and can hardly breathe without Him saying so, that would be force of religion and a WRONG assumption of our Lord.
Acts 17:28 - In Him we live and move and have our being.

Job 12:7-10 - "But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?

In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.

Was Jesus an uptight boy with slick back combed hair?
We do not know what kind of hair Jesus wore. Does it matter?

Were the Angels wearing loose robes with happy smiles or a wearing a stern lip and brow?

The Bible describes angels several times. Here's what it says:

From Isaiah 6:2-4 "each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory."

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke."

We get our Holy Holy which we sing from the Mass here.

Isaiah is from the Old Testament. In Rev 4:8 we see the same song being sung in Heaven.

'Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come."'

Other verses describe angels as well.

Rev 8:7 - "The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up."

Heb 1:7 - In speaking of the angels he says,
"He makes his angels winds,
his servants flames of fire."

1 Cor 10:10 - "And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel."

Isaiah 37:36 "Then the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies!"

2 Chro 32:21 - "And the LORD sent an angel, who annihilated all the fighting men and the leaders and officers in the camp of the Assyrian king. So he withdrew to his own land in disgrace. And when he went into the temple of his god, some of his sons cut him down with the sword."

And many other places. I cant imagine that the angels would be smiling as they were carrying our their duties. But perhaps I am mistaken. Maybe you can show me?

Was Mother Mary portrayed in pictures and visions as a kind Mother with a gentle smile or a stiff back?
The portrayal of Mary our Mother in the Scriptures (as pictures are of the imagination of the artist) depict a woman of faith, of obedience and of sorrow, who kept all the things she experienced in her heart and meditated on them. But it was her obedience to God's will which made her the most exalted of all creatures because she heard the Word of God and kept it.

Were the disciples beating up people to follow the Faith and shooting those who don't?
No, the disciples preached the faith boldly and invited people to believe. But their message was not always received kindly.

For that they as messengers were often cursed, maligned, bad mouthed and killed by the very people they were sent to convert and teach because many chose to remain in darkness. There are none so blind but those who refuse to see, none so deaf but those who refuse to hear.

But still they persevered and continued to preach the truth, in charity. But they continued to speak the truth.

Show me solid proof that my religion forbades the 'fairer sex' in participating in the events of Mass besides being Lector (reading of passages from the Bible) and I'll show you a God that is biased and we've been taught wrongly that He is merciful and forever loving.
I appreciate the role that women play in the life of the parish. Without them, there would be few Communion ministers, lectors, commentators, ushers, etc. They are very much necessary to the life of the parish. They are doing a great job and I'm sure God will bless them greatly for their efforts.

Just several things to clarify. The Church does not institute women lectors. Institution as lectors, like institution as acolytes, whom the altar boys substitute, can be done only to male candidates as the pic in my original post shows because lectors and acolytes are steps towards the priesthood and are formerly minor orders.

The Code of Canon Law, which is the Church law governing all Latin Rite Catholics says the following:

Can. 1034 §1 An aspirant to the diaconate or to the priesthood is not to be ordained unless he has first, through the liturgical rite of admission, secured enrolment as a candidate from the authority mentioned in cann. 1016 and 1019. He must previously have submitted a petition in his own hand and signed by him, which has been accepted in writing by the same authority.

§2 One who has by vows become a member of a clerical institute is not obliged to obtain this admission.

Can. 1035 §1 Before anyone may be promoted to the diaconate, whether permanent or transitory, he must have received the ministries of lector and acolyte, and have exercised them for an appropriate time.

§2 Between the conferring of the ministry of acolyte and the diaconate there is to be an interval of at least six months.

Can. 1036 For a candidate to be promoted to the order of diaconate or priesthood, he must submit to the proper Bishop or to the competent major Superior a declaration written in his own hand and signed by him, in which he attests that he will spontaneously and freely receive the sacred order and will devote himself permanently to the ecclesiastical ministry, asking at the same time that he be admitted to receive the order.

So, you can see that the ministries of lector or acolyte are steps to priesthood.

But Canon 229 clearly states that permanent institution as lectors or acolytes are only open to men. However, Canon 230 also allows lay people, including women, to fulfil these roles temporarily (which is what you see in our parish) but not be instituted.

Note the importance placed on training and formation of those who carry out these duties. That's why training is important.

Can. 229 §1 Lay people have the duty and the right to acquire the knowledge of christian teaching which is appropriate to each one’s capacity and condition, so that they may be able to live according to this teaching, to proclaim it and if necessary to defend it, and may be capable of playing their part in the exercise of the apostolate.

§2 They also have the right to acquire that fuller knowledge of the sacred sciences which is taught in ecclesiastical universities or faculties or in institutes of religious sciences, attending lectures there and acquiring academic degrees.

§3 Likewise, assuming that the provisions concerning the requisite suitability have been observed, they are capable of receiving from the lawful ecclesiastical authority a mandate to teach the sacred sciences.

Can. 230 §1 Lay men whose age and talents meet the requirements prescribed by decree of the Episcopal Conference, can be given the
stable ministry of lector and of acolyte, through the prescribed liturgical rite. This conferral of ministry does not, however, give them a right to sustenance or remuneration from the Church.

§2 Lay people can receive a temporary assignment to the role of lector in liturgical actions. Likewise, all lay people can exercise the roles of commentator, cantor or other such, in accordance with the law.

Note the distinction made between lector and others such as commentator? Because, again, lector used to be a minor order and institution is reserved for males.

§3 Where the needs of the Church require and ministers are not available, lay people, even though they are not lectors or acolytes, can supply certain of their functions, that is, exercise the ministry of the word, preside over liturgical prayers, confer baptism and distribute Holy Communion, in accordance with the provisions of the law.

Can. 231 §1 Lay people who are pledged to the special service of the Church, whether permanently or for a time, have a duty to acquire the appropriate formation which their role demands, so that they may conscientiously, earnestly and diligently fulfil this role.

Nope the emphasis on proper formation which you think is inappropriate.

So you see that these ministries are understood as steps to priesthood. So the Church has reserved the institution of these ministries to men only. But laypeople, including women, may temporarily fill in the role, but not be instituted. I've taken the time to explain all of this, as I explained it to your sister, in the hope that you understand the Church or at least make an attempt to. You may reject the teaching of the Church, but the least you can do is to understand it properly so you know what you are rejecting.

Hope this clarifies your understanding a bit.


Folks, may I direct you to the comments on Joey's (who is the sister of said girl altar boy) blog?

Then let me know if you still think I am slightly uncharitable. Be assured that I have restrained myself as best I can. But I have my failings and my faults.

You may also peruse her blog here:


Check out the sidebar, the posts and the strong and colourful language used. Look at the picture of Truth on the sidebar.

This is no child but a grown-up, an adult who is a commentator at our parish.