Category: Leisure

All things that are a part of our culture but not necessarily specifically Catholic.

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Kobe Bryant and His Catholic Faith

Here is something interesting, that I never knew about. Kobe Bryant is Catholic, and turned to a priest in his hours of need.la_u_kobe_600x600

From a GQ story out today (Note: GQ isn’t known as the most morally sound site, so please be cautious if you visit for the whole article, I link only for attribution purposes):

Which brings us to the hinge-point in the career of Kobe Bryant: the week he checked into a Colorado hotel room, had sex with a woman who worked there, and was subsequently arrested on a sexual-assault charge. A year later, the charges were dropped and Bryant apologized. But the incident will (obviously) never go away. When Bryant dies, the accusation will probably appear in the second paragraph of his obituary. And he knows this.

“I started to consider the mortality of what I was doing,” he says. At the time, he was 24. “What’s important? What’s not important? What does it mean when everybody loves you, and then everybody hates your guts for something they think you did? So that’s when I decided that—if people were going to like me or not like me—it was going to be for who I actually was. To hell with all that plain vanilla shit, just to get endorsement deals. Those are superficial, anyway. I don’t enjoy doing them, anyway. I’ll just show people who I actually am…. The [loss of the] endorsements were really the least of my concerns. Was I afraid of going to jail? Yes. It was twenty-five to life, man. I was terrified. The one thing that really helped me during that process—I’m Catholic, I grew up Catholic, my kids are Catholic—was talking to a priest. It was actually kind of funny: He looks at me and says, ‘Did you do it?’ And I say, ‘Of course not.’ Then he asks, ‘Do you have a good lawyer?’ And I’m like, ‘Uh, yeah, he’s phenomenal.’ So then he just said, ‘Let it go. Move on. God’s not going to give you anything you can’t handle, and it’s in his hands now. This is something you can’t control. So let it go.’ And that was the turning point.”

Most people know right away who Kobe Bryant is without explanation. But for those of you who may not, the simplest way to explain him is to say that he was once called “the next Michael Jordan,” and that quickly turned into “could he be better than Jordan?” He is the all time leading scorer for the Los Angeles Lakers. He won 3 NBA championships in his first years in the league, is a perennial All-Star, a 3-time Gold Medalist, Slam Dunk Champion, NBA MVP, Scoring leader… the list goes on.kobe_bryant_quote_typography_by_nathanhankinson-d5x7afc (1)

But, since 2003 what most of his bio’s mention, almost immediately, is a 2003 sexual assault charge. Over the course of the next year as the legal battle waged, his image and name were decimated in the media. His rise from High School star, to heir apparent in the NBA, to his icy cool demeanor, all compounded with this crime resulted in huge fall from the top.

The charges were eventually dropped by prosecutors after the accuser refused to testify. Bryant admitted that he had an adulterous encounter, but denied the rape allegations. Yet, he did apologize publicly:

Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.

I am not here to exonerate or even apologize for Bryant, his actions, or his days since. This is simply to say, that there has always been something about this story that made me wonder how he got through it, how he had some of his best years AFTER the fact. Many sports stars will enter a storm, come out ok on the immediate other side, but languish soon after. Kobe more or less did the opposite, but for some teammate and injury problems.

But all that said, more than a decade later he mentions his faith, specifically his CATHOLIC faith. He could have referenced God, and leave out the Church, especially knowing how it is viewed in professional sports and the media world. But he didn’t…

I am not here to re-try, or litigate his case. I am here simply to say that it is impressive, only in-and-of-itself, that Bryant trumpets his Catholic faith as what he leaned on during his darkest days.

True Love. – A New Catholic Video

There is a lot of talk about what Love is, and what it isn’t, these days. With all the hub-bub over certain movies, Valentine’s Day, and the cultural discussions of late it seemed fitting to turn the world upside down a little, and reclaim what is truly ours, as followers of God, – LOVE.

Because, God is love  – and therefore love is ours, not the world’s.

I hope you enjoy it, please feel free to share it, and I pray that it helps a few people who are afraid to love, waiting for love, or looking for love.

What are you waiting for? He is waiting for you.

 

Where is God in all of this? – Robin Williams, RIP

While many are listing their favorite movie, their theological arguments about the state of his soul, my one thought goes to a line in a much misunderstood movie of his:

What Dreams May Come“: A story about a man who dies (Williams) and goes to Heaven, but risks eternal damnation by going into Hell to rescue his wife after she commits suicide in the wake of his death.

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Chris Nielsen (Williams’ Character): Where is God in all of this?

Albert (Cuba Gooding Jr.): Oh, He’s up there. Somewhere… shouting down that He loves us. Wondering why we can’t hear Him. You think?

ICYMI: Undeniable Signs That The Pope Is Doctor Who

Here is a little Doctor Who/Papist humor… meant to be funny, not disrespectful.

From Qwantz via Buzzfeed:

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You won’t be able to look at the show, or the office in the same way again.

You’re welcome.

Oh, and Buzzfeed’s take:

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Podcast Suggestions

Podcasts - Looking for Catholic theological as well as pop culture podcasts.
Podcasts – Looking for Catholic theological as well as pop culture podcasts.

I am on a podcast search for good Catholic podcasts. I’d prefer more theological/educational podcasts (e.g. The teachings of St. Aquinas) as opposed to pop culture offerings (e.g. Catholic life…). Yet, I am not totally opposed to the latter, if you can convince me why it is worth my time.

I would like to spend the time  I have to listen to podcasts learning something. I have considered Catholic audio books, but I sometimes get distracted listening to books, and prefer to read them. But, here again, I am willing to be sold on specific titles, knowing that the reader and the content of each book is unique. My ultimate goal here is to find something and be swept away to learning-land. So please help me!

Also, I am also looking to listen to non-Catholic offerings, but I am once again looking for something unique, off the beaten path a bit. I am somewhat familiar with popular shows like T.A.R., Fresh Air, etc… but not necessarily all of them, so please leave any and all suggestions just in case I have overlooked even the most popular.

 

 

Believing in the Devil: Justice Antonin Scalia & Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson

Recently two articles came out where the person being interviewed affirms the belief in spiritual warfare. In fact both men boldly declare their belief that the devil is real, and that what we battle against isn’t simply the human condition but evil.

The first, an interview of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in the New York Magazine. Justice Scalia is known for being one of the more approachable members of the Court, but this interview is quite candid even for his standards. The interview is long, but a worthwhile read.1

Justice Antonin Scalia believes in the devil.
Justice Antonin Scalia believes in the devil.

Here is the section on the Devil. [BOLD is writer Jennifer Senior; regular typeface is Justice Scalia]

You believe in heaven and hell?
Oh, of course I do. Don’t you believe in heaven and hell?

No.
Oh, my.

Does that mean I’m not going?
[Laughing.] Unfortunately not!

Wait, to heaven or hell? 
It doesn’t mean you’re not going to hell, just because you don’t believe in it. That’s Catholic doctrine! Everyone is going one place or the other.

But you don’t have to be a Catholic to get into heaven? Or believe in it? 
Of course not!

Oh. So you don’t know where I’m going. Thank God.
I don’t know where you’re going. I don’t even know whether Judas Iscariot is in hell. I mean, that’s what the pope meant when he said, “Who am I to judge?” He may have recanted and had severe penance just before he died. Who knows?

Can we talk about your drafting process—
[Leans in, stage-whispers.] I even believe in the Devil.

You do?
Of course! Yeah, he’s a real person. Hey, c’mon, that’s standard Catholic doctrine! Every Catholic believes that.

Every Catholic believes this? There’s a wide variety of Catholics out there …
If you are faithful to Catholic dogma, that is certainly a large part of it.

Have you seen evidence of the Devil lately?
You know, it is curious. In the Gospels, the Devil is doing all sorts of things. He’s making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and whatnot. And that doesn’t happen very much anymore.

No.
It’s because he’s smart.

So what’s he doing now?
What he’s doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way.

That has really painful implications for atheists. Are you sure that’s the ­Devil’s work?
I didn’t say atheists are the Devil’s work.

Well, you’re saying the Devil is ­persuading people to not believe in God. Couldn’t there be other reasons to not believe?
Well, there certainly can be other reasons. But it certainly favors the Devil’s desires. I mean, c’mon, that’s the explanation for why there’s not demonic possession all over the place. That always puzzled me. What happened to the Devil, you know? He used to be all over the place. He used to be all over the New Testament.

Right.
What happened to him?

He just got wilier.
He got wilier.

Isn’t it terribly frightening to believe in the Devil?
You’re looking at me as though I’m weird. My God! Are you so out of touch with most of America, most of which believes in the Devil? I mean, Jesus Christ believed in the Devil! It’s in the Gospels! You travel in circles that are so, so removed from mainstream America that you are appalled that anybody would believe in the Devil! Most of mankind has believed in the Devil, for all of history. Many more intelligent people than you or me have believed in the Devil.

I hope you weren’t sensing contempt from me. It wasn’t your belief that surprised me so much as how boldly you expressed it.
I was offended by that. I really was.

I’m sorry to have offended you! 
Have you read The Screwtape Letters?

Yes, I have.
So, there you are. That’s a great book. It really is, just as a study of human nature.

This conversation is such a summation of truth and reality, as it relates to this issue and our culture. When Justice Scalia points out that the Devil is smart, by making people disbelieve in him and in God it reminds me of the saying, “the greatest trick the devil ever pulled is convincing the world he doesn’t exist.”

Then, when he explains that throughout most of history, even some of the smartest and most learned people believed in the existence of the devil, you can sense his dismay and disbelief that the author is, as he puts it, “so out of touch” that she is surprised by his belief. In fact, it “offends” him.

Similarly, Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty shares the belief that the devil does indeed exist and that we are wrapped up in a battle of good and evil.

Phil Robertson, of Duck  Dynasty, believes in the devil and spiritual warfare.
Phil Robertson, of Duck Dynasty, believes in the devil and spiritual warfare.

In a recent interview, Phil says:

You gotta remember, it’s spiritual warfare. I mean, you’ve got people with no moral compass. It ain’t there. So what I tell people is be patient.

They’re the ones, they own the network and we’re filming the show.

We signed the contract with them, ok, and it’s a workhouse, but what people have to understand is, the people of God have to understand, you’ve just got to be patient. You don’t turn that ship quickly. It’s a big ship. A lot of depravity and a lot of heathen and a lot of the evil one. He is entrenched in the United States.

He speaks about it in a very matter-of-fact way. To him, the idea that this is a battle not of flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities is a reality. Just like it is for Justice Scalia.

Two very different men, in very distant parts of culture and society, but they share a common set of core beliefs about good and evil, and the reality of the devil.

  1. There is also a section where the Justice addresses the most recent comments by the pope. []

New Encyclical Published: Lumen Fidei – written by both Pope Francis and Pope Benedict [Download]

Lumen Fidei
Lumen Fidei

The new encyclical: Lumen Fidei has been published.

Both Pope Francis and Pope Benedict are known to be contributors to this Papal Encyclical.

You can download the .PDF here or read it online.

NB: There seems to be some controversy about the Vatican not allowing people to convert the file format into Kindle/Nook/etc… Will try to keep up on this story.

An update from AquinasandMore.com

As many of you know, Aquinas and More announced they were selling there inventory and would be closing at the end of February. Well, over the weekend many of us received the following letter, and for those that didn’t I wanted to post it below.

This is an excellent company, and although they had some stumbles in their business model, it was a desire to serve and provide that got them in the position to close, not a profit motive. At this point, I can say I support their change of mind and heart, and hope that you would consider a small offering:
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Friends,

I write to you tonight with an announcement to make. As you all know, after 10 years, Aquinas and More announced it would be closing at the end of February. This was not an easy decision for us.

To our wonder, the outpouring of support for Aquinas and More from our customers and the Catholic community at large has been overwhelming.  We graciously, graciously thank you.
This has left us in a bit of a quandary. We could not realistically continue in our present state of affairs But the void in Catholic shopping and Catholic service left by the closing of Aquinas and More is also real.  We’ve always felt that Aquinas and More was truly a mission.  Are we being called to continue? Are we not? I know what I want, but I also know that — more importantly — I want God’s Will.
In this regard, Aquinas and More.has decided to launch an “all-or-nothing” crowdfunding campaign over the next two weeks (Tuesday March 5- March 19) to return to its mission of serving others with their authentic Catholic online shopping experience.

Our Goal:
Our goal is to raise $250,000 in two weeks in order to replenish inventory, overhaul the website and retain excellent Catholic customer service and results. It’s a big number, we know. But we also know that we have more than 30,000 Facebook fans, and we’ve served more than 200,000 customers. We have been richly blessed. So we have joy and hope, gaudium et spes.

Our Campaign:
We our calling our campaign the “Aquinas and More Angel Campaign”. You can visit the site at: http://www.gofundme.com/aquinasangels. We have different levels of support, and will be “giving back” for your generosity. The important thing to remember, however, is that if we don’t reach our goal, your Angel donation will not be processed. Simple as that, all-or-nothing. We will not be benefiting from any of it until and unless our goal is reached. And if we don’t reach it, Aquinas and More will not reopen. It’s in His hands.
Outreach:
As fellow Catholics and bloggers, I ask you first to pray for our campaign. We will be praying the Saint Michael the Archangel prayer daily for this endeavor. Secondly, I ask you to please help us spread the word about our Aquinas and More Angel Campaign. This is a “We” Campaign. We can’t succeed without your help! You have your audiences, your friends, your families, your parishes. If you would like the work of Aquinas and More to continue, please share our story, our site, and your experiences out there with your networks. I thank you.

Talking Points:
If you want to help, but aren’t sure what to say or emphasize, you can always talk about some or all of the following:

Aquinas and More is not just a Catholic store – it’s a way of life. We are unabashedly and authentically Catholic in our policies, products, & projects
The only place where you’ll find a “Good Faith Guarantee” policy– making sure our products are guaranteed to be in conformity with official Church teaching. As a Catholic store, our mission is to clearly present the Faith for pur customers
Anti-China Policy: Aquinas and More does not buy products from China, guaranteeing money isn’t spend supporting forced abortions and the persecution of Christians in China
Projects:
“Military Chaplaincy Program”: providing for the spiritual needs of our soldiers defending our lives and liberties with a soldier registry and free shipping
“Church Supply” Catholic products for parishes, priests and seminarians
“Tiber River”: Catholic books reviews from fellow Catholics
“Behind the Counter” Radio Show: Catholic product advice from the experts
Catholic Literacy: Articles on Saints, being Catholic, Church history, and more
Generosity:
In the community:

For example, Aquinas and More donated a portion of their sales to wildfire relief efforts in Colorado last summer;
In their family:  Paula and I (Ian) Rutherford, have had 10 children in 13 years – need I say more?
Why Donate?
Giving to the Aquinas and More Angel Campaign means helping to build and restore an authentic Catholic culture. No where else can you find such a ministry and mission – a living and serving, Catholic approach to shopping.

Aquinas and More is the “New Evangelization” in a nutshell. As part of the Year of Faith, we are called to deepen our faith, believe in the Gospel message, and go forth and proclaim the Gospel. That is the essence of Aquinas and More.
Supporting the Aquinas and More Angel Campaign means supporting:
— the New Evangelization.;
— makers of Catholic products and other Catholic businesses;
— our parishes and religious;
— Catholic families;
— Catholic writers

When is the Aquinas and More Angel Campaign?
Tuesday, March 5 – Tuesday, March 19 . Our site is not live yet (it will be on Tuesday), but you can check it out as we get ready to launch at:

http://www.gofundme.com/aquinasangels.

How can you help spread the word?:
A blog post(s), tweets, sharing on your Facebook page, letting your Catholic network know, talking it up to family and friends, etc. We really need a strong online presence especially in the first 48 hours (Tuesday/Wednesday) to raise awareness and excitement.
Goal Recap:
Raise $250,000 in two weeks in order to replenish inventory, overhaul the website and retain excellent Catholic customer service and results. If Aquinas and More doesn’t reach its goal, your angel donation won’t be processed, and we will not be reopening.

Friends, thank you so very kindly for taking the time to read my rather long email and outpouring. I thank you all for your support throughout the years. Whatever happens, I am grateful for your friendship.

Oremus,

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host –
by the Divine Power of God –
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Amen.

Manti Te’o, Notre Dame, & The Hoax

imagesI took down my original post… there are too many facts, corrections, new facts, and all sorts of developments that are continuing to come out, and change every half-hour or so. I don’t think it is fair to keep the original post up, as it was based on the initial report. I am still of the mind that those involved in this story might have some culpability, but to what degree may be impossible to tell. If you want to read the reports, the best places seem to be Deadspin and ESPN.

The whole story is just insane. Every hour or so new information comes out and it gets stranger and stranger. (The weirdest being that an NFL Fullback is now claiming to have met the alleged girl before Te’o allegedly dated her, and asserts that she is a real person.) I think that once the dust settles there will be a lot of lessons learned, and a lot of lives changed. I just pray that the Te’o famil, Notre Dame, and whatever NFL team drafts Manti Te’o, will in the end be smarter and stronger from all of this.

There will probably be a lot more coming out in the next few days and weeks. It is hard to think that we have seen the end of this story, and it is hard to really know if we will ever know the 100% truth. As I said above, every few hours something new is revealed and the entire story changes once again.

The biggest lesson here is, ‘Don’t lie.’ Lying is harmful. Even the little white, “no one will get hurt” lies.

 

PTI: Hockey Strike – Ryan Miller

Occasionally I will post about something that isn’t really at all related to much of what this blog was created for. It will usually be something to do with hunting, trapping, sports, or ‘Doctor Who’. PTI stands for ‘Pardon the interruption.’

This one is about the Hockey Lockout/Strike. It is a statement from Ryan Miller, goalie for the Buffalo Sabres. He hits the nail on the head:

“In my mind, it always had to be January in Gary Bettman’s mind,” Miller said. “Obviously, he had something in his head and he was going to see how far he could take it. So there’s really no going up against Gary, when he has something in his head.”

I said this all along, and feel that fans should recognize it, and accept this as truth if nothing else. Gary Bettman is a problem for the NHL. He always has been, and always will be… unless the league undid everything he ever did. Even then, it wouldn’t be enough.

I guess at this point I am just glad to have hockey back.

 

 

Laudamus Te – A magazine for the Extraordinary Form (Tridentine) of the Mass: A Review

Laudamus Te

A few weeks ago we previewed a new magazine, or periodical, missal for the extraordinary form (Tridentine Latin Mass) called Laudamus Te. You can read that post here. There was some uncertainty of whether it would get off the ground, but today I received my Advent 2012 – Volume 1, Issue 1 in the mail. I am quite excited and decided to do a review of it. I am sure others will give you a much more academic and detailed review, but as our family attends the Mass in usus antiquior semi-regularly it seemed that a review from my perspective would be helpful to some.1 Continue reading

  1. Full disclosure: I paid for this subscription and nothing was offered to me in return or for free for this review. []