Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

A good household will inevitably include within it an area for a good library, a book shelf, table books, or some combination of these. And in every single one of those homes the one indispensable 'must-have' book is a good, readable copy of the Bible, the very Word of God.

In every Catholic household, and in fact in any home that wishes to explore an even deeper study and understanding of the Bible and the teachings of the Church, there is one more book that is also important to own. That book is the official "Catechism of the Catholic Church", which has now been available for more than a decade.

On September 8th, 1997, Pope John Paul II promulgated changes to the 2nd Official English Edition of the book in order that it might conform to changes made to the Latin version on that same date. In the end, what currently stands is intended to be a 'universal catechism', one to be used as a resource or reference point for all other such efforts within the Christian Church at large.

The modern Catholic Catechism is in John Paul II's own words "a full, complete exposition of Catholic doctrine, enabling everyone to know what the Church professes, celebrates, lives, and prays in her daily life."

In 1985, the Catholic Bishops recommended that the effort should be made, particularly with the many changes to Church practices in the decades since Vatican II, to explain more fully, clearly, and substantively the Church official teachings on the many and varied topics for which it is responsible.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

1980: Not A Kid Anymore

All this year at my Facebook page, which you can view from the link in the sidebar here at my website by joining up yourself and 'friend'-ing me, I am taking a daily trip back in time to the 1980's.

Each month I am highlighting a different year chronologically, and this month have been featuring the music, tv, movies, and important events of the first year of the decade: 1980.

In 1980 the world changed, both in my own individual life and the world at large, in some of the most important and influential ways it ever would. Just one year earlier, as 1979 dawned, I was a 17-year old high school senior living in an apartment in South Philly with my dad and brother. Little did I know how much a life could change in less than a year.

I had been dating a girl, Anne Jacobs, ever since meeting her down at the Jersey shore in Wildwood, New Jersey during the late summer of 1976. We overcame the fact that I lived in South Philly without a car and she lived out in the Delaware County suburb of Prospect Park to become high school sweethearts.

Anne was a year behind me in school, and so while I was finishing up my senior year and preparing to graduate from St. John Neumann high school in South Philadelphia during the first half of 1979, she was still just a junior at Archbishop Prendergast high school out in Drexel Hill, Delaware County.

It was at some point in the late spring of '79 that we began to realize something big might be up. There were increasingly unmistakable signs to us that Anne had become pregnant, and by the early summer we knew it was true. We told our parents at the end of that summer, and I put my LaSalle University plans aside to go out and find a job.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Obama's State of Anti-Americanism

President Barack Obama strutted in front of Congress and the nation last night to give his State of the Union address. This time his undeniable oratorical skills simply could not save him from the facts that have become clear in his first full year in office. Facts that now have his speeches sounding more and more like skips on a broken record.

Let's start by taking a look at what his programs have actually done over the past year, and see what he said last night. Directly because of the programs and initiatives launched by the Obama administration, our unemployment rate has soared past the 10% mark for the first time in decades and our national debt has been set on course to triple over the next decade.

But what is Obama suggesting that we do as we move into his vision of the future? Spend more, go further into debt, reward cronyism and failed industries. Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress wish to throw massive amounts of good money after excessive and irresponsible amounts of bad.

The President proposed in his speech last night to "take $30 billion of the money Wall Street banks have repaid and use it to help community banks give small businesses the credit they need to stay afloat." 

So we taxpayers, who did not want to do it in the first place, loaned money to banks. It was repaid, but now we lend that same money back out to banks? So what exactly is going to have been "repaid"?

Why again did I lend money to banks in the first place? Do you know why? To save the financial system from collapse? Really?

Why do we taxpayers need to prop up any business that cannot succeed on the strength of it's own hard work, value, worth, and entrepreneurial skills? Businesses large and small have gone under for centuries. Why do we have to save some now with taxpayer dollars?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Thanks Mom?

My mother was a very good woman, of that I am as certain as anything I have ever known in this life.

She loved God, loved her family, and despite being overwhelmed by a debilitating illness that robbed her of much of her life's full enjoyment, she never ceased to express that love to either.

My mom mattered. She mattered in my life, the life of my brother, the lives of my children, and the lives of a great number of other friends and family members. She touched us all in a way that will always be with us.

But for as much as she was to everyone else, what she was to my brother Mike and I was extra special. But did she choose life for us? Roe did not exist then, should it have, should we have been her 'choice'?

This is an important idea to discuss, as yesterday was the awful anniversary of the 'Roe v Wade' court decision that made abortion a legal medical procedure here in the United States. What 'Roe' effectively did was lead to the mass slaughter of more than 50 million American babies over the next three and a half decades.

Supporters of that decision would argue that had 'Roe' been in effect in 1961, my birth would not have been the miracle from God that it was considered at that time, but instead it would have been a medical 'choice' made by my mom. And it would have been a 'choice' that she could make regardless of what my dad wanted.

Of course her 'choosing' to nurture and birth me out into the world should probably be something that would make me happy, right? What is better, to be considered just some random accident of nature, or something forced on her by God, or a conscious choice made by one's mother or parents together?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Shameful Che Shirts

Do you own, or have you owned and worn, or know someone who owns and has worn one of those allegedly 'cool' Che Guevara t-shirts? Do you know the reason that the shirt was being worn? Does the image on the shirt actually stand for something? Do you even know who Che Guevara really was?

The 'Che Guevara' t-shirt and image has become a symbol of sorts for all that is 'counter-cultural'. It is often meant as a protest symbol for those who feel that the 'little man' is being intentionally repressed in some way by government and/or business.

Wanting to help those who are less fortunate than we are is a noble sentiment. So is wanting to effect positive changes on a government or on a society that has become repressive or abusive to it's citizens. So what exactly does that have to do with America, the most free country in the history of the world? And why on earth would this man be an appropriate symbol for such protests anyway?

Ernesto 'Che' Gevara was born in 1928 in the South American country of Argentina to parents of mixed Spanish and Irish heritage. He was brought up in a very political and intellectual environment, and became a reader of the works and teachings of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin at an early age.

In 1951 he took a year off before entering medical school in order to travel around South America on a motorcycle. During this trip he experienced first-hand the poverty in much of the land, and as a result ultimately wrote 'The Motorcycle Diaries' in regards to the trip. The book was subsequently made into a major release film in 2004.

As Guevara matured into manhood his views became more and more radical, and he eventually established the stated viewpoint that Marxism achieved through armed struggle and defended by an armed populace was the only way to rectify what he believed had become 'American imperialism' in Latin America.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Real American Hero: Michael Murphy

On October 7th, 2001 in direct response to the 9/11 attacks on America which had occurred less than a month earlier, the United States military launched 'Operation Enduring Freedom' in Afghanistan to wipe out the bases from which the terrorist al Qaeda organization was then operating.

The American military worked with a group of coalition forces, and a group of Afghani Northern Alliance forces, and was able to quickly wipe out the abusive Taliban military that were operating in the region and drive them from power. This began an effort which continues today to establish peace and stability in the historically backwards and worn-torn nation.

It was into this continuing conflict that Michael P. "Murph" Murphy from Patchogue, New York entered in early 2005. Murphy was a natural athlete who enjoyed playing football and soccer as a kid, and who became a life guard as well. He went on to attend Penn State University where he graduated in 1998 with degrees in both Psychology and Political Science.

Murph had been accepted to law school, but decided instead to serve his country by challenging himself to try to become a Navy SEAL. He entered the Navy's Officer Candidate School in fall of 2000, and over the next two years trained with various Army Airborne and Navy SEAL units. He finally realized his goal of joining the Navy SEALS on his deployment at Pearl Harbor in the summer of 2002.

The SEALs are perhaps the most integral part of the Navy's special operations force. They are experts in special recon and direct action missions. They take their names from the terrain in which they operate: the Sea, Air, and Land. Only an elite few are equipped and able to make it through the rigorous training, and Murph had joined that group.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

American Political Revolution

It might be a bit too premature and over dramatic to use such terms, but it is not very difficult to make the case that what happened yesterday in Massachusetts is not some isolated election anomaly, but part of a burgeoning nationwide American political revolution.

Since Republican Henry Cabot Lodge was defeated by a young, upstart politician named John F. Kennedy in November of 1952 and left office in January of '53, at least one of Massachusetts' two U.S. Senators has been a Democrat. Two years after JFK was elected to the Presidency in 1960, his brother Ted Kennedy assumed the seat and owned it until his death last year.

The other Massachusetts Senatorial spot was won by Paul Tsongas for the Democrats in 1979. He was succeeded in 1985 by ultra-liberal John Kerry, and so the Democrats have had solid control of both U.S. Senatorial seats from Massachusetts for a generation.

In what has to be a stunning, bitter, ironic defeat for the Dems, the seat virtually owned by the Kennedy's and controlled by liberal interests for over a half century was lost yesterday.

In the special election held yesterday to replace the deceased 'Lion of the Senate', 50-year old Scott Brown was chosen by the previously reliable voters of Massachusetts to become the first Republican U.S. Senator to represent the commonwealth in three decades.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Haitian Mess

One week ago today on Tuesday, January 12th at 4:53pm local time, an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale rumbled from 6 miles under the Caribbean island of Hispaniola not far from the capital city of Port-au-Prince in the nation of Haiti.

Widespread damage and massive death resulted almost immediately, and as the ensuing week has passed the death toll estimates have risen into the hundreds of thousands. It was the worst quake to strike at Haiti in over two centuries, and is going to prove to be one of the largest natural disasters in human history.

There is a story here that is being mostly buried under the literal rubble that is now the nation of Haiti. It is a story that most humanitarians would say is secondary at this stage to the human loss and suffering. They are correct on one level. Help is needed, massive amounts of help, and it is needed quickly.

But that story needs to be told as well, because it tells the story of a nation that was a complete mess even before the earthquake struck. It is a story of a nation run by criminal gangs and thugs with little or no national authority. It is a cautionary tale about allowing anarchy to take hold and destroy lives.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Britt Hume's Advice to Tiger Woods

Everyone pretty much knows the story of Tiger Woods' recent fall from grace. It became public that the mega-star athlete and corporation head was a serial adulterer.

The married Woods is the father of two kids in diapers and cashed in greatly not only on his golfing acumen, but also on a squeaky-clean family man image.

Since the numerous affairs began to become public on Turkey Day following a late night domestic incident and auto accident at his home, Woods' sponsorship deals have disappeared and his golf career put on hold as his family disintegrated in public.

Into this mess last Sunday waded Fox News political analyst and veteran newsman Britt Hume. On the program 'Fox News Sunday', the network's key Sunday news offering on major events, the panel participants were commenting on the big stories in the coming year. In the category of sports, Hume decided to tackle the immediate future of Tiger Woods, opining that Woods would indeed recover his golfing career this year.

However, Hume did not stop there. He went on to add that though Woods, who is believed to be a follower of Buddhism in his religious leanings, would indeed regain his golfing status, he might have a more difficult time in battling and overcoming his personal moral demons. Here is the full, exact quote by Hume at it's relevant point:

"My message would be to Tiger..turn to the Christian faith, and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world."

Friday, January 8, 2010

Jersey Gets Same-Sex Marriage Right

Embed from Getty Images
Marriage in NJ remains between a man and a woman

All across the United States and all across the spectrum of ideas, liberals and progressives have been attacking traditional American values for the better part of a century now. These attacks have gained momentum in recent decades thanks to persistent, pervasive, and often subversive campaigns by leftist organizations.

One of the most recent attacks came in the State of New Jersey, where a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage was being pushed through the legislature and being vocally supported by ultra-liberal Governor John Corzine. In today's editions of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Corzine actually implied that gay marriage is a "fundamental human right" and to deny it would be a violation of civil rights and liberties.

Thankfully, the New Jersey Senate did not see it that way. They voted by a solid 20-14 majority yesterday to protect marriage as solely between a man and a woman, as God intended. The vote comes on the heels both of New York's rejection of the idea and the electoral victory of Chris Christie over Corzine in November. Christie will take over the Governor's office in 10 days and had promised to veto such a measure should it have passed.

The 'gay marriage' (sic) issue is yet another in a surge of issues over these last few decades that liberals and progressives simply could not win in referendums at the ballot box, and so they have resorted to pressuring and bribing politicians, infiltrating the media, and bringing law suits in jurisdictions where the courts are known to be solidly liberal in their rulings.

Traditional Americans are beginning to both understand these threats and to grasp the seriousness of their nature when taken individually and as a whole as threats to our society. True mainstream America has begun to fight back and win. In November 2008, California passed 'Proposition 8', which put an end to court-backed gay marriages begun months earlier and recognized marriage as only between a man and a woman. Maine voters then followed suit in November of last year.

The issue, of course, is not one of whether or not some State or Commonwealth may come up with some type of civil union legislation allowing couples of the same sex to reap the same civil benefits as opposite-sex couples. The issue is the protection of a particular type of union called 'Marriage' or 'Matrimony' the basis for which was established by God Himself as being between a man and woman at the creation and which has been in existence for millenia.

If there are men out there who wish to insert their penis in another man's anus or mouth and call that a normal, loving, sexual experience with a straight face, that is their business within the privacy of their own home. But for them to foist such an idea on the rest of society as something that we should all embrace as a normal, human act to be celebrated and sanctioned under the moral umbrella of 'marriage' is ludicrous on it's face.

Marriage about morality? You bet it is. How does that jive with the legality of divorce and the practice of adultery? It doesn't, frankly. Having gone through them myself, I can tell you that divorce and annulment are serious processes that should not be entertained, supported, or granted frivolously, and that certainly have no business being celebrated. And adultery may be the dumbest and most hurtful thing in which any married person could ever engage.

The marital ceremony is about bringing together a man and a woman as one, as were Adam and Eve by God. Marriage is about a loving celebration on a daily basis between a man and woman, husband and wife, in the course of developing more fully their own relationship with one another and with God, and in attempting to build a family. If you are not a man and a woman committed to these concepts, then you shouldn't be married or entertaining the idea.

I am extremely fond of my dog, Petey. He is a good dog. Loyal, faithful, fun. We have lots of great times together. In fact, I would say that I care more about Petey than some gay people care about their partners. Should I be allowed to marry Petey? I mean, I love him, and would love to have society pay for his veterinarian bills. If I have to pay for the medical bills of some gay person's 'partner' then why shouldn't they pay for Petey's vet bills?

Once men can marry men, and women can marry women, would we move next to allowing such further obscenities to the institution of marriage as me marrying my dog, or some farmer marrying his cow, or some shepherd marrying his sheep? What about a computer programmer marrying his computer-generated, life-like, animated, 3D female character? Where does it end?

Think that is stupid, inane, ridiculous, trivial? Well that is exactly how many of us in normal society sees the idea of men marrying other men, and women marrying other women. It has nothing at all to do with hate, or fear, or discrimination against gay men or lesbians. It is about protecting a particular God-given institution and Sacrament that is meant solely to be between a man and a woman. There is no Biblical or historical basis for, or constitutional right to gay marriage.

Currently there are 39 of the 50 U.S. states already fully and specifically prohibiting gay marriage with laws modeled after or pre-dating the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, including Pennsylvania, which thankfully despite the ultra-liberalism of the Philadelphia area actually remains the most socially conservative state in the northeast region.

We can no more make a gay person straight than we can make a stone come to life. Gay people were created that way by God. It is something with which they will have to go through life dealing. We don't need to hate, we need to be compassionate. But compassion does not extend to supporting every action of an individual. It also does not mean surrendering our most cherished institutions and our God-given Sacraments to the ideology of a tiny minority.

The State Senate of New Jersey got it right yesterday when they voted to hold back the abomination of same-sex marriage. They also got it right a couple of months ago when they tossed Corzine out on his typical high-taxing, low-morality, America-hating can. Here's to hoping that Americans continue to awaken to what has been going on in our country and continues to take it back, as New Jersey may have begun.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hall Welcomes the Hawk

On September 11th, 1976, the Montreal Expos were winding down the final weeks of both that '76 season in Major League Baseball and their final season at Jarry Park. The following season they would move into the new Olympic Stadium, built for the Summer Olympics which the city had hosted that summer.

On that particular night, however, the team was on the road in Pittsburgh, and the 4-3 loss suffered at the hands of the perennial N.L. East power Pirates was the Expos 90th of the season. The night would be lost in memory but for one small tidbit. Starting in right field for the Expos on this night would be a rookie prospect by the name of Andre Dawson.

Dawson had been an 11th round draft pick of the Expos just a year earlier, the 250th player selected overall in that draft. Dawson would go 0-2 in that night's game and would be lifted for pinch-hitter Jose Morales in the top of the 7th inning as the Expos rallied from a 4-1 deficit to cut the lead to 4-3. It would be one of the only times that Andre Dawson would be removed from any kind of Montreal rally for the next decade.

Dawson thus began to get his feet wet in the Majors that September with 85 mostly uneventful at-bats for a last place team. His batting average was just .235, and he hit no homeruns. In 1977, however, it was a different story. Dawson was a starter right from spring training, and ended up as the National League Rookie of the Year after posting a .282 average with 19 homeruns and 21 stolen bases.

Those Expos of '77 improved by 20 wins over the previous year, and Dawson's bat and centerfield play was only one of the reasons for the fans of the franchise to finally feel as if a winner might soon be coming to MLB's only Canadian franchise. The franchise also had a 23-year old catcher named Gary Carter and 23-year old outfielder Ellis Valentine on board to build around.

This group of players would lead the team to it's initial glory years, finishing with the franchise' first-ever winning record by posting 95 victories in 1979 in what was the first of five consecutive winning seasons. That run was highlighted by the 1981 season in which the Expos made the playoffs for the only time in their history before losing the NLCS to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Andre Dawson was one of the main reasons that the Expos experienced so much success into the early 1980's. He regularly would hit .300 and was a consistent power/speed combination offensively while his strong glove and arm developed to the point that he led the NL in putouts for three straight years from 1981-83 and became a regular Gold Glove winner.

After a decade of mostly success in Montreal, Dawson became a free agent following the 1986 season. His knees had taken a pounding on the Olympic Stadium turf, forcing a move from centerfield to right field and taking a physical toll on him. One of the key requirements as he sorted through his free agent suitors was getting to play his home games on grass. For this reason he campaigned to sign with the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs general manager at the time was Dallas Green, who believed that Dawson was on the decline and did not want to sign him. Dawson and his agent presented Green with a contract offer that included a blank salary which the team could fill in itself at any figure that it deemed appropriate. Green took the challenge and filled the contract in at $500,000 with another $250,000 in incentives, a healthy pay cut from Dawson's final Montreal season.

At 32 years of age and with his knees mostly shot, Dawson's days as a centerfielder and speed threat were mostly over. But he had slid over to right field where his strong arm and excellent range allowed him to remain a Gold Glover. At the plate, Dawson exploded with the Cubs as one of the greatest power hitters in the game, and would end up being rewarded with a 5-year contract extension to stay in the Windy City.

In his very first season at Wrigley Field, Andre Dawson showed the Cubbies and Green that he was worth a full contract by putting up a season for the ages that resulted in his winning the National League Most Valuable Player award. He bashed 49 homeruns and knocked in 137 runs for a team that Phillies fans might find interesting included a 24-year old, 2nd year pitcher named Jamie Moyer.

In 1989, Dawson battled injuries to help lead the Cubs into the NLCS where they were beaten by the San Francisco Giants. He continued to put up consistently strong years for the Cubs, including a 1991 season in which he bashed 31 homers and drove in 14 runs. He would wind his career down with two seasons each playing for the Boston Red Sox and Florida Marlins, with his final game coming with the Fish on September 29th, 1996.

During his 20-year MLB career Andre Dawson had been an 8-time All-Star, including the winner of the 1987 Home Run Derby. He was a 4-time winner of the Silver Slugger for hitting excellence at his position. It wasn't nearly all about offense for the all-around Dawson, however. He was also an 8-time Gold Glove Award winner. All of this to go along with the '77 NL Rookie of the Year and '87 NL MVP awards.

Finally, Andre Dawson was one of only 3 players in MLB history to finish his career in the 400/300 Club (at least 400 homeruns and 300 stolen bases) with the others being Willie Mays and Barry Bonds. After waiting the requisite five years, Dawson received just over 45% of a needed 75% vote in his first year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame.

In 2003, Dawson, who was nicknamed 'The Hawk' during his playing career, received his only World Series ring as a member of the Florida Marlins front office, and he currently serves that team as a special assistant to the team president. He had his #10 retired by the Expos before the franchise moved to Washington. It was announced just yesterday that he was finally elected to full enshrinement as a player in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

I watched Andre Dawson all throughout the 1980's and into the early 90's as one of the most dominant all-around players in the game during that pre-steroid era. In the first half of his career he had it all: power, speed, arm, defense. Later in his career he remained a consistent middle-of-the-order power threat. He won major awards, including an MVP for a last place team. In my opinion, Andre Dawson's election to the Hall is a long overdue honor.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The 1980's

My life has pretty much been able to be compartmentalized into and defined by each of the decades in which I have lived. The 1960's were my childhood at home on American Street in South Philly being raised by my parents.

The 1970's were defined by my own adolescence and high school days, as well as my mom's illness and my parents divorce.

The 1990's were my early policing days, and highlighted by meeting and getting married to my wife. This past decade by our life in Somerton, my becoming a grandparent, becoming a police supervisor, and attending and graduating college.

The decade of the 1980's were my 20's, highlighted by my becoming a young parent, my first marriage, my days in the banking industry, and my joining a softball team that would lead me to the best friends of my adult life.

The decade began with a life-changing event, the birth of my first daughter on February 2nd, 1980 and ended with another when I took the written exam to become a Philadelphia police officer in December of 1989.

Those who know me or have followed this website over the years know that those 1980's were not just another world for me as far as my family life and my career, but they also found me a completely different person politically and culturally than I am now.

As I've stated here before, I spent the 80's and early 90's as a political liberal Democrat who voted for Ted Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, and yes, even Michael Dukakis during the decade's various presidential races.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Rock & Roll Heaven: Karen Carpenter

Karen Carpenter at the White House in 1972
(Photo: Robert L. Knudsen via Wiki Commons)
On February 4th, 1983, one of the most beautiful voices in the history of modern popular music was silenced forever when Karen Carpenter was rushed to a California hospital and pronounced dead. She was only a month shy of her 33rd birthday. The cause of death was heart failure brought on by a long term battle with anorexia.

Back in November of 2008, I began what was to be a series of articles called "Rock and Roll Heaven" that would examine the controversial deaths and lives of artists in the modern music world. At that time the series began with articles on Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Michael Hutchence, and Jim Morrison. This examination of Karen Carpenter continues that series.

Karen and her brother Richard were born and raised in Connecticut, but their parents moved out to California in 1963. Richard became a piano prodigy, but Karen was more of a tomboy into sports and showed little interest in music as a young girl. On entering high school she joined the school band, and from that developed an interest in playing the drums.

Karen fell in love with the drums and became an outstanding drummer. She joined up with Richard and a friend named Wes Jacobs, and the three became 'The Richard Carpenter Trio', playing mostly jazz at local clubs. They also played with a band known as 'Spectrum' and recorded numerous demos, but they had little recording success throughout the mid-1960's.

Karen and Richard finally were signed to a recording contract by A&M Records in 1969, and then in 1970 released their second album and first big smash titled 'Close to You'. The album and the two hugely popular singles "(They Long to Be) Close to You" and "We've Only Just Begun" proved to be hits, the songs becoming modern masterpieces.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Resolve to Come Back to Church

In these first few days of the New Year many of us are struggling with beginning resolutions to improve our lives. For many this involves losing weight and getting in better physical shape. For some it involves straightening out their financial lives.

No matter what your particular resolution, deciding to go back to Church, or perhaps even to go to Church regularly for the first time in your life, would be the single most important and rewarding for yourself and your family.

Going to Church requires taking care of a few formalities first, such as which Church to attend. There are many 'fly-by-night' operations out there disguised as churches. There are also any number of churches run by a strong pastor wholly dependant on that one person, always a dangerous proposition.

At the risk of alienating some, I am going to make a very brief case for you to give the Roman Catholic Church a try. Most of you probably already know which Catholic parish in which you live. If you don't just visit the Archdiocese website at archphila.org or give them a phone call at 215-587-3600.

The Catholic Mass is one of the most solemn and comforting services that you will ever experience. The solemnity comes from it's respect and reverence for the experience of worship. There is rarely any jumping around or hollering or dancing here. Prayer, scripture, and sacrament are the highlights of a Catholic Mass.

When you attend a Catholic Church service you are getting virtually the same general Mass service being experienced by hundreds of millions of Roman Catholics the world over on any given Sunday.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Predictions for 2010

I don't own a crystal ball, nor do I have any special psychic powers or connections to the Almighty that would grant me privileged insight.

But I do understand a little bit about what is going on in the world, and it's a challenge to look ahead and try to figure out what a new year may bring.

The following are 10 predictions that I am willing to make for the new year that we just began. Every year brings with it major news developments, exciting sporting accomplishments, political intrigue, public scandals, celebrity gaffes, natural disasters, and other headlines.

We can take a look back at the end of 2010 and see how I faired with these:

1) Israel-Iran War: There is just no way that Israel can allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. If the mullahs are not overthrown and Ahmadinejad kicked out on his apocalpyse-desirous butt within the first few months of the year, Israel cannot wait much longer. It's a bit of an upset that the Israelis have waited this long. This will be huge.

2) American Congress: The Republican Party will make major inroads in both Houses of Congress in the 2010 mid-term elections. Probably not enough to take over either House, unless of course the Obama administration continues to bury the U.S. in debt and continues to take over private industry. My bet is the Dems up for election will paint themselves moderately enough to salvage a slight Dem majority.