Thursday, November 29, 2007

On the Radio

I just got a call to be on WJJG-AM 1530 tomorrow morning from 7:00 - 8:00 to discuss matters pro-life.

Should be fun.

***UPDATE: 11/30, 12:55 PM: That was fun. What's more, as a thank-you for being on the show, I got a $100 gift certificate for Le Titi de Paris — a place neither my wife nor I have ever been.

Woo hoo! (Or should I say "Oui, oui!") food.

The show's host, Rob Sherman, is quite an interesting fellow, and on a personal level, I can't help but like the guy.

He's both indefatigably pro-life and indefatigably an atheist. He's in the local news not infrequently, most recently for suing the State of Illinois over its moment-of-silence-in-public-schools-law.

The NFL's Sudden Death Overtime Should Die a Sudden Death

I'm with Steve Chapman, who wrote in today's Chicago Tribune:

Imagine an extra-inning baseball game decided by this sudden-death approach: The visiting team bats in the top of the 10th inning, gets a run and everyone goes home. Imagine a National Basketball Association game in which one team is given the ball at the start of overtime and immediately hits a shot to end the game. Fans would be sputtering with rage and incomprehension.

Other sports think it's not enough to decide a winner -- you have to do it equitably. And whatever else you can say for sudden death, equity has nothing to do with it.

The NFL glories in its unique approach, but in this case unique means "so obviously wrong no one would dream of following suit."

Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Dreadfully Misguided Approach to Sexuality

I think I find it as hard to resist online discussions about contraception as Sonny the Cuckoo Bird finds it to resist Cocoa Puffs.

A few days ago my friend and co-worker Matt Yonke posted on his blog simply a few words from Sigmund Freud in which Freud noted that "the abandonment of the reproductive function is the common feature of all perversions".

In the combox, somebody said that quoting Freud on contraception as a way of attempting to show that contraception is bad was "a dead end".

To which I said:

As for Joshua’s comment that “quoting Freud is a dead end”, I’m gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you there.

I’m of the opinion that credit ought to be given where credit is due, and intellectual honesty is worthy of credit. Here, Freud is telling it like it is.

I for one am flummoxed by the attitude taken by many Christians — even many self-styled “conservative Christians” — who have, for all intents and purposes, adopted a just-about-anything-goes-now-that-we’re-married attitude toward sex.

Ironically, perhaps, Freud understood what such as these don’t.


The link above is to an article about one Joe Beam, a Protestant minister whose ostensible raison d'etre is to go around and encourage Christian couples to "have hotter sex".

From the article:

But he [Beam] argues that if the Bible does not forbid it, you can do it. So bring on masturbation. Try any position in the Kama Sutra (but refer to drawings, please, not pictures of real people). Wife away on business? Have phone sex. Birth control is good. Even anal sex is OK if (and Beam believes this is a big if) it does no harm to the body.

Another comboxer asked (out of genuine curiosity) if I objected to Beam's general thesis or just some of his specific recommendations.

To which I said:

I’d say both. I primarily object to his general thesis. It sort of naturally follows that specific recommendations based on said thesis would also be objectionable.

His whole approach to sex is almost hopelessly misguided. One thing we must all remember is that sexual matters — especially in our pornified culture — must be addressed very, very carefully, and prudently. Remember, there’s a reason prudence is regarded as the “charioteer of the virtues”.

One of the (few, it seems) no-nos, according to Beam, is that one must have “no lust for people other than your spouse”. (Of course, one shouldn’t lust after one’s own spouse, either, but that’s a whole other can of worms — which, of course, is addressed in the Theology of the Body.)

And yet, Beam conducts seminars where he talks in great detail about sex positions, oral sex, phone sex, masturbation, etc., etc., etc.

Does he honestly expect that what with such discussion, and with all the couples in the room, and all the hormones and the pheromones flowing therein, that the men in the room (some of them? many of them? dare I say all of them?) are going to be able to resist the gravitational-like pull to lust after at least *one* other woman in their vicinity?

I second Matt’s recommendation of Christopher West’s writings. I’ve not read “ToB Explained”, but I have read some other stuff of his, and I too find it excellent.

In one of his books — I think it was “The Good News about Sex and Marriage”, he pithily explains why it’s absolutely essential for every sexual act within a marriage to be open to procreation.

I’m paraphrasing here, but the gyst of what he said is this:

The one-flesh union is a physical expression of a couple’s marriage commitment. In a very real sense, when a couple engages in one-flesh union, they are renewing their wedding vows, an essential component of which is to accept children lovingly from God (cf. Gen. 1:28, 2:24; Luke 1:38).

Just as it would be wrong for a couple to claim that they can be “faithful” to each other throughout their marriage without each and every sexual act to be with each other, so it is also wrong for a couple to claim that their marriage can be open to the possibility of children without each and every sexual act being so.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sometimes the Best Argument Against Abortion Is an Argument for Abortion

I've often thought that the best thing that could happen to the pro-life movement is for the "pro-choice" movement to get its own 24-hour cable channel.

Just give them a camera, give them a microphone, and let them talk. And talk. And talk some more.

The more they seek to rationalize their beliefs, the more self-evidently repulsive their arguments become.

A few months ago, I started another blog with the aim of cataloging such apologiae, but I've not been tending to it as of late.

This article from the Daily Mail gives me reason to update it again.

It's about a woman who had an abortion in an effort to stave off global warming — because, you know, "[e]very person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population." She then "begged the doctor who performed the abortion to sterilise her at the same time".

James Lileks provides sui generis analysis:

Disaster! She had the awful thing put away, and now she and her husband enjoy hiking and vacations . . . in other countries, accessed via jets. But: “We feel we can have one long-haul flight a year, as we are vegan and childless.” She expresses frustration that other people are unable to accept her decision. I suspect she means “my mum” by “other people,” and I suspect she confuses “acceptance” with “full-throated endorsement."

Of course I accept these people’s decisions not to have children. What am I supposed to do, break into their homes, duct-tape them together into the double-backed beast and play whacka-chicka 70s porn soundtracks until they’re in the mood? But “acceptance” is part of the usual recipe: first we must tolerate, which no decent person should have any problem doing. Then we are asked to accept, which for most means slump-shouldered acquiescence. Eventually it’s not the norm, but it’s standing alongside it on stage, nudging its way into the spotlight.

I’ve said this before: there’s a process with certain steps. Tolerance is required. Then acceptance, which must lead to endorsement, lest people feel marginalized – often by the very people they cant stand, mind you. Endorsement is followed by recognition of the new standard as equal to the old, because all ideas are valid (although some ideas are more valid than others, a judgment that’s determined by the newness of the idea versus the reactionary elements who subscribed to the old idea.) Rhen the new standard must be subsidized, because it is discriminatory not to extend the usual state advantages; then it must be recognized as having superior aspects, in order to empower the marginalized people who believe it. Eventually these advantages will be used as evidence to suggest it’s superior to the old idea in some way that appeals to the intellectual fashion of the day. The process usually takes about 25 years.

But it’s not a new idea. As long as I’ve been alive we’ve heard about people who didn’t want to bring kids into this lousy world, either because the earth was overburdened or the planet was just too effed-up to curse a child with existence and consciousness. I suspect that the new crop is much like the old: misanthropes dressed up in the raiments of altruism.

That said, the idea of having an abortion to stop global warming really is a new wrinkle. What did the character in “Jurassic Park” say? Life will find a way. But an ideology will always find a way around it.

Interesting how Orwell got it completely backwards: he had the Anti-Sex League and ArtSem. Turned out the other way around.

HT: Mark Shea


Square Zero: Babies Are Eating the Planet

How to Address Our In-Laws

I just posted the following on Catholic Dads and figured I might as well post it here too:

A few weeks ago, the Dutchman posted an entry titled "My 'Mister' Problem" in which he opined that teaching our children and their peers to address adults by Mr. and Mrs. is "not a matter of preference, but an attempt to maintain the very fabric of society!"

I'm generally inclined to agree with him on this score, and posted a comment indicating as much.

The Dutchman's post touches closely on another matter that I hadn't thought at the time to mention in the comments section, and it seems to me it's worth its own post — to wit, how to address one's in-laws.

I address my wife's parents as Mom and Dad; ditto my wife for my parents.

I feel very strongly that one should address one's spouse's parents in this way. Yet I don't personally know anyone else who does so. (I should note that my mom and dad addressed each other's parents in this way, but my grandparents are all long since deceased.)

I also don't personally know of anyone who addresses his in-laws by Mr. and Mrs.

Instead, it seems to me that the default setting, if you will, for referring to one's in-laws is by their first names.

This I find loathsome. Presumably, the Dutchman would agree with me. Anyone else? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

I'm very curious to hear the thoughts of others out there in Catholic Dads-Land:

How do you address your in-laws?

Also, on a closely related matter:

How would you prefer (insist?) your future sons/daughters-in-law address you?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

In Honor of Tomorrow

...because tomorrow is Thanksgiving and Eucharist means "Thanksgiving":

(HT: The Ironic Catholic via Catholic and Enjoying It!)

Gratias Agamus Domino Deo Nostro

On this Thanksgiving eve, herein are some words from my two favorite writers—G. K. Chesterton and God (although not in that order).

First, a few choice quotations from Chesterton on gratitude:

When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.

You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.


Psalm 65

To you we owe our hymn of praise, O God on Zion; To you our vows must be fulfilled, you who hear our prayers.

To you all flesh must come with its burden of wicked deeds. We are overcome by our sins; only you can pardon them.

Happy the chosen ones you bring to dwell in your courts. May we be filled with the good things of your house, the blessings of your holy temple!

You answer us with awesome deeds of justice, O God our savior, The hope of all the ends of the earth and of far distant islands.

You are robed in power, you set up the mountains by your might.

You still the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples.

Distant peoples stand in awe of your marvels; east and west you make resound with joy.

You visit the earth and water it, make it abundantly fertile.

God's stream is filled with water; with it you supply the world with grain. Thus do you prepare the earth: you drench plowed furrows, and level their ridges.

With showers you keep the ground soft, blessing its young sprouts.

You adorn the year with your bounty; your paths drip with fruitful rain.

The untilled meadows also drip; the hills are robed with joy.

The pastures are clothed with flocks, the valleys blanketed with grain; they cheer and sing for joy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Yes, Virginia, There Is Abstinence Education (And It Works)

Ruben at No Room for Contraception highlights a new study that demonstrates for the 1258392659812567th time that abstinence education really does work.

But don't hold your breath waiting for the MSM to report about it. (I tried; it wasn't a pretty sight.)

I Like It

I remember once reading an article by Mark Crutcher of Life Dynamics, in which he said -- I forget his exact words, but it was something to the effect of, "It's better to be pro-life and wrong than pro-abortion and wrong."

Going along with this (in my opinion) underused pro-life talking point of, "Let's play devil's advocate and examine the downside of our respective positions," check out this video, titled "Baby in the Box", produced by Inside Catholic (nee Crisis Magazine).

HT: Jill Stanek

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Mother of All Conspiracy Theory Mongering E-mails

I'm not one who goes in for conspiracy theories.

I must admit, however, that I have what could perhaps only be considered a bizarre fascination with those who do. (This might explain why I used to be a huge X-Files fan and why, whenever I happen upon Art Bell's show, it's all I can do to tear myself away from the radio.)

I've never engaged in any formal study (or, for that matter, even any informal study) of the psychology of those who trade in conspiracy theories, but if I had the time, I'd love to delve into what makes such folks tick and to find out what the heck makes them believe — yea, be fanatically devoted to — such uber-kooky ideas.

A few weeks a conspiracy theory mongering e-mail made its way into my inbox at work. We get such e-mails from time to time, but the breadth of this one in particular I found simply astonishing—Jews, blacks, the Chinese, Skull and bones, the mark of the beast—it had everything and more.

See for yourself:

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2007 4:53 PM
Subject: OCTOBER SURPRISE! The Clinton Blood Scandal is Breaking...

October Surprise!

The Forth Way and The Forth Wave

This is the much anticipated October Surprise for the election of 2008. But it's 12 months early. That's the surprise!

The Clintons and the "Mainstream Media" have been hiding their involvement in the creation of the man-made pandemic called AIDS and that this dread disease serves Jewish interests. And they have hidden the truth that they exported poison blood from an Arkansas prison for injection into the arms of black school children in Africa, to fulfill China's Africa Policy: exterminate the indigineous population to make room for wave upon wave of Chinese immigrants yet to come.

Once China occupies Africa, they will seize control of the Mediterranean Sea and choke off America's primary source of energy. This is the reason the Jews (disguised as environmentalists) have not allowed America to drill domestically for oil or build nuclear power plants for decades. And once China controls the Mediterranean Sea, they can turn the continent of Europe red with communism and the blood of Christians, and finally fulfill the Jew's eternal goal: to plant the head of the Pope on a pole in Vatican City in sight of the Holy See.

Download the October Surprise (MP3)

Or read the following script below of the 7 minute MP3 file:

Script for October Surprise.MP3 : track #1 of The Forth Wave

This is the Forth Wave, the kickoff for my book, the Forth Way, and if you listen you’ll feel an atomic explosion of truth, the likes of which the world has never felt.

You’ll learn about why Bill Clinton is actually Gefiltefish in Blackface. Why John McCain will come to be known as Jewface John. And why The Oprah earned the name Mama O. That’s short for Mama Obama because she’s the political birth mother of Obama sin Laden.

What’s Obama’s sin? He’s a black man in the party of Black Slavery. He succumbed to the Yamaka’s of Bill and Hillary Clinton and looked the other way as Bill Clinton literally gave birth to the AIDS pandemic from a bio-weapons lab in an Arkansas prison, exporting the HIV blood to Africa, with the help of Halliburton, for injection into the arms of young black school children. In fulfillment of China’s Africa Policy, the Third Way took direct action to eliminate the indigenous population of Africa to make room for the hundreds of millions of Chinese immigrants yet to come. And in addition to leaving the Microsoft monopoly unbroken, Clinton also built the pathway for Bill Gates (a Jew) to spend $25 billion on Forced African Circumcisions, an ancient Jewish ritual with a modern day blood virus as an incentive.

I show how almost every candidate for president wears the mark of the beast and is part of a conspiracy to destroy America that began thousands of years ago in a place half a world away. I show that all political parties, including Independents, report to the same Jews. Our One Party System is made up of The Democrats, still the Party of Black Slavery. And the Republicans, the Party of the Neo-Coms, short for Neo-Communists.

I reveal that 911 was a Jewish plot with an Israeli agent on flight 11, with a gun, named as the ringleader by the flight attendant, Betty Ong. Preparation involved many governments including Israel, China and the U.S. government. It involved both Bushes, who took an oath to the Third Way at Yale at the so called Morgue of Skull and Bones.

I show that the rise in Radical Islam is a creation of the Third Way, and that 911 was designed to push America into World War III, when Christians will be murdered wholesale in the American heartland, just as you will learn happened in World War I and World War II in the old country.

Historians, hold onto your helmets because the Forth Way is an atomic explosion of truth about our history as a nation. I expose the Jewish interests in World War I, World War II and even the Civil War. Read how the Civil War was Jew in the North waging total war with the Gentile of the South, in blatant violation of the Constitution. To form the Jew controlled government which helped bring down the World Trade Center Towers, in fulfillment of Thomas Jefferson’s worst fears. And if you listen carefully, you may just hear the sound of the South finally Rising again, as promised. Everything you know about the Civil War is a lie. Everything you know about Abraham Lincoln was created by what’s come to be known as the Lincoln Cult. Including that he waged the Civil War to end slavery.

I reveal, shockingly, that Mormonism is actually Judaism. Just ask Mitt Romney to the Armageddon raining down from the sky in Chapter 911 from the Book of Mormon. And ask about the genocide Mormons committed against Christians on September 11th, 1857.

I talk about many event from the 20th century. Like, LBJ was secretly a Jew. And that he murdered John F. Kennedy, a gentile, with the help in part of Jack Ruby, who’s given name was Jacob Rubenstein. Also, Abraham Zapruder, a Jew who was planted exactly where this made for Hollywood murder was staged to take place.
- Munich 1972 was the scene of one of the many False Flags used by the Israeli’s to show the Jews as victims. An Arab-Jew, Abu Nidal, kidnapped 22 Israeli athletes, working for Israel’s Mossad.
- George Bush smuggled narcotics with Barry Seal, under the watchful eye of his father, former director of the CIA, H.W. Bush
- The illegal narcotics industry is controlled by Jewish interests and managed by Freemasonry, and is headquartered in Little Tel Aviv (formerly known as Boca Raton, Florida)

The Big Three were more aptly named, the Jew Iron Triangle. Stalin’s genocide happened because Roosevelt (a.k.a. Rosenfelt) and Churhill were both Jews, and he was murdering Christians, like good Jews are expected to do.

The perpetrators of the Armenian Holocaust, the Judeo-Turks, have prospered well in America, and are counting the months until World War Three will finally obscure the murder of Christians on a far greater scale, right here in your very own back yard.

Rush Limbaugh, (a Jew) Captain of Team Konservative Patriot, conservative with a K, isn’t as diametrically opposed to Hillary as you thought. They are both Jews doing their part to usher in the Secret Jewish War Against Humanity. This secret Jewish labyrinth is here named Jew Chain Mail and the Sixth Column, and shown that it’s waging a Secret Jewish War Against all of Humanity.

Jugo Chavez and his Oil for Bullets program, is the Venezuelan Jumping Bean, and was Yamaked by Bill Clinton. Another of Clinton’s subjects, Juval Patrick, earns the name “Gefiltefish in Blackface”, like his mentor. Juval abides by the theory that the laws are not for Jews. And Juval looked the other way, or even helped, as the Clintons shipped poison blood to Africa, resulting in 100 million Africans that are dead or dying of AIDS.

Absolute proof is revealed in the Forth Way that Bush 41, Clinton and Bush 43 each lied while being sworn in as president. Their secret oaths at Yale were demonstrably more important than the ones said at their inaugurations, but are now shown each to have been harboring plans at that very moment. So, the big news is we have no president now and have had none since January 20th, 1989, when Bush 41 was thought to have been inaugurated president.

Time to roll up your sleeves! We’ve all got lots of work to do!
Robert J. Antonellis

I've seen some vvvveeeeerrrrrrryyyyyy strange conspiracy theory mongering e-mails in my day, but this one takes the biscuit.

It now rightfully occupies a place in a folder I've simply labeled "Weird".

[Note: There were a number of links in the original e-mail, all of which were to subdomains (is that the right word?) at, but none of the pages displays.]

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mr. and Mrs.

Over at Catholic Dads, The Dutchman has a post with which I can readily relate. Titled "My 'Mister' Problem", it begins thusly:

I was raised to call adults “Mister —” and never to call them by their first names. (This rule was so strictly enforced that, even though I am 47 years old, I still call a man I met as a child “Mister Roeser” and probably always will!) I have maintained this practice, insisting that children address me as “Mister Schultz” and that my children address adults the same way. My wife claims that I am being “inconsistent.” She says that I must chose from between two “consistent” positions...

Read the rest here.

My $.02:

I too was raised to call adults Mr. and Mrs., and I am forever grateful to my parents for having done so.

However, this was a normative thing, as there were a (very) small number of adults—specifically, friends of the family—I knew who wanted to be called by their first names, in which case my parents didn't mind that I did so.

As for other children addressing me by my first name, I'm not a fan at all, but I'm not so sure there's a one-size-fits-all approach to, if you will, "enforcing" my preference.

In some cases, some friends of mine have referred to me as "John" in the presence of their (very young) child, and I've said to the child with a smile—and with what I hope is not the slightest bit of nose-in-the-air style sarcasm—"But you can call me Mr. Jansen". This, I've found, usually seems to get the point across to child and parent alike.

My wife and I both agree strongly that our children should not address adults by their first names only. Our kids call many of our friends Mr. and Mrs., but for those who really don't like to be called Mr. and Mrs., we ask them if it's OK to have our kids call them, say, Aunt or Uncle [First Name], or Mr. or Miss [First Name].

We've yet to meet an adult who has objected to this.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Rest Is Just Details

Today's meditation in Magnificat was written by the late Father Karl Adam.

It begins:

The structure of Catholic faith may be summarized in a single sentence: I find God, through Christ, in his Church.

Pithy is always good.

Men and Abortion

A couple years ago, I was invited to give a talk on abortion at an all boys' school. For this talk, I was asked to include some material on the effects of abortion on men. I had somewhat of a hard time preparing for it, as there simply hasn't been a lot of research done in this area.

The National Organization for Post-Abortion Reconciliation & Healing (NOPARH) is hoping to change that. Later this month in San Francisco, they're sponsoring the Reclaiming Fatherhood conference to examine the often overlooked effects of abortion on men.

More information and online registration are available here.

NOPARH was founded by Vicki Thorn, who gave an excellent talk at our TeenSpeak conference earlier this year. She is one of the most knowledgeable, compassionate, and down to earth people I've ever met in the pro-life movement. I'm sure that this conference she and her staff are her organizing will be first-rate.

Regrettably, family obligations, work obligations, and finances won't allow me to attend. But if you, dear reader, have the means, get thee to it.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Myths about Porn

One morning a few months ago, I opened the living room shades, and on the sidewalk directly in front of Haus Jansen, I saw this:

That's unusual, I thought, but kinda cool. What a way to remind people of the reality of sin in the world!

Later, after a walk around the neighborhood, I saw similar "N" and "S" markings on other portions of sidewalks, curbs, and streets, and realized that what was written on the sidewalk in front of Haus Jansen was not actually the word "sin"—well, it was, of course, but it wasn't intended as such—rather, it was intended as some sort of "north/south" marking (apparently these were made by the gas company, as they've been doing a lot of work in the area lately):

Anywho, I wanted a picture to accompany this post, and I figured this one...

...would do nicely.

I borrowed stole the self-explanatory text that follows from the Dutchman at FestungArnulfinger, so one great big tip o' the hat to him:

Nine Myths about Pornography

(by one angry girl designs)

Myth 1: Women who become strippers and hookers choose these careers, so who are we to judge them?

Myth 2: Strippers and porn stars lead glamorous lives, and men have nothing but respect for them.

Myth 3: Porn is an outlet or safety valve for men who might otherwise do Bad Things.

Myth 4: Men like variety in women so porn use helps a man stay faithful to his woman.

Myth 5: Porn is harmless and has no effect on the person using it.

Myth 6: Women who work in porn are empowered, because they get to call the shots.

Myth 7: Porn is for men who sincerely appreciate the beauty of the female body.

Myth 8: Everyone knows porn is just a fantasy, so no one would try to apply it to real life.

Myth 9: Porn enhances relationships.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Say It Ain't So

Baseball general managers recommend that instant replay be used

Call me a neo-Luddite curmudgeon if you must, but I'm of the opinion that using instant replay in sports is among the Most Boneheaded Decisions Ever Made.

(Other such decisions in this category include, but are not limited to: Adam and Eve's decision to eat the apple; Coke executives' decision to introduce New Coke; Pepsi executives' decision to introduce Crystal Pepsi; the decision made by whoever it was who invented light beer to invent light beer; Steven Bochco's decision to produce Cop Rock; and the Weimar Republic's decision to let Hitler take over.)

Don't drink the Kool-Aid, Bud. Stick to your guns.

Monday, November 5, 2007

"Introibo ad Altare Dei..."

Berwyn, Illinois, the working-class Chicago suburb that has been home to Haus Jansen for the past two and a half years, is probably best known as being the home to an alleged piece of art called The Spindle:

Happily, as of tomorrow night, our corrupt fair city will have another claim to fame: It will once again be home to a Catholic church that offers the Tridentine Mass!

Father Tony Brankin, the pastor of St. Odilo Parish—which is located just a few blocks from Haus Jansen—will be offering the Tridentine Mass at 7:00pm on each of the next three Tuesdays (6, 13, and 20 November).

For those of you unfamiliar with the Chicago Catholic scene, Father Brankin enjoys a well-deserved reputation among local orthodox Catholics. He's down to earth, brilliant, and holy. He's also a real Renaissance man. Musically talented, he plays the harp, the fiddle, the accordion, and he's also an accomplished sculptor. (I recall hearing recently that he has been commissioned by St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke to create a sculpture of the Holy Family.)

As I wrote several months ago, at the Mass when he was installed as pastor earlier this year, he didn't pull any punches. In the homily, he said:

I will preach on behalf of families and against things that hurt families like contraception. I will preach for life and against abortion—and against any Culture of Death politicians who support abortion.

There will be no "Well we don't really believe in that anymore" from me.

I am not smart enough to start my own religion—so I will follow Christ's—His revelation about what we must believe and do to be saved.

I will try to remember what I told a young priest once who asked me if I had one single thing I could tell him that would help him in his priesthood—and I was taken aback and responded, "Jim, just try to remember that things are a lot simpler than we often make of them—it's about God's grace and saving souls."

As I've said before, although I've only attended a handful of Tridentine Masses in my lifetime, and although I have exactly no sympathy for those insist on the abolition of the Novus Ordo, I'd definitely say I'm a fan of the Tridentine Mass.

Needless to say, perhaps, our family is planning to attend all three Tridentine Masses at St. Odilo this month.