Friday, October 29, 2010

Elections and Catholic citizenship -

It's election time in America again. As a Catholic, I always am a bit apprehensive about this time of year. It is always brought into the press reports of one or more Bishops making a pronouncement that any Catholic who votes for a "pro-choice" candidate should not present themselves for Communion, or even call themselves Catholic. That because of its moral gravity, a candidate's position on abortion trumps all other issues.

This makes me angry for several reasons. First of all, I don't like anyone telling me how to exercise my right to vote. I mean, my wife and I vote differently on most matters - WE don't even listen to each other on how to cast our votes! Secondly, while pro-life/pro-choice positions of candidates rightly ought to be given great moral consideration (even more) than many other issues, I refuse to be a single issue voter, particularly if a) I abhor the candidates other positions, and b)I don't believe that said candidate can or will act on their stated pro-life stance.

I am of the 'seamless garment' pro-life school. No abortion...and no death penalty, no preemptive wars, no slavery/human trafficking, no euthanasia. Pro-life...means ALL life. Protect the unborn, AND the "born"; including the guy on death row, the kids in sweatshops around the world, the collateral damage victims of our wars, the women who keep their babies, and the women who've made the somber decision to abort. "From conception to natural death" is what the Church teaches, it doesn't end in the womb.

In this article on Catholic citizenship from America magazine, I was particularly taken with one of the comments on the article, by a Catholic Deacon. It sums up my views on this, perhaps better than I could:

"Surely no one votes for a candidate based on what that candidate says they will do; that would be gullibility in the extreme. Rather one votes based on what one foresees the candidate can or will deliver. There is a personal prognostication that enters into the decision. To illustrate the same point slightly differently: how am I as a faithful Catholic to vote when I judge that the pro-life candidate is unlikely to be able to deliver much of anything in the way of a reduction of abortion (I may even be convinced that they are cynical in their pro-life stance) whereas the pro-choice candidate is almost certain to deliver a significant advance on the social justice front while in no way likely to exacerbate the abortion rate (if that is even possible)? One cannot simply say that abortion as the greatest of all evils trumps every other consideration and therefore I must vote for the self-styled pro-life candidate. Surely for myself as a moral individual the primary consideration is my own judgement of the good or evil that will actually result from my vote."

Thanks go to the Rev. Mr. Carroll!

Whatever your position, VOTE. It is one of our most precious rights as American citizens that we sometimes take for granted (particularly in non-Presidential election years).


Daily Mass Readings
Phillippians 1:1-11
Psalm 111:1-6
Luke 14:1-6

Thursday, October 28, 2010

On the lighter side...from my Aunt Joan

I get email forwards from my Aunt Joan regularly. This one made me laugh out loud, which is a rarity whilst procrastinating my getting ready for work. Come to think of it, my posting this right now is part of said procrastination. Anyhoo, it's good to leave for work with a laugh. Enjoy your day!
Truths For Mature Humans

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the heck are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection ...again.

13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this - ever.

15. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello?), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voice mail. What did you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?

16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

17. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

18. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

19. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.

20. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

21. Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.

22. I would rather try to carry 10 over-loaded plastic bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

23. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I'm trying to finish a text.

24. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

25. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

26. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

27. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

28. Is it just me or do high school kids get dumber & dumber every year?

29. There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

30. As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate bicyclists.

31. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

32. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

Daily Mass Readings
Ephesians 2:19-22
Psalm 19:2-5
Luke 6:12-16

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rest in peace Father Robert Giuntini, AKA, "Deacon Bob"

Father Robert Giuntini passed away this weekend. I knew him primarily as Deacon Bob when he was assigned to New Hyde Park's Notre Dame parish in the 1970's before his ordination to the priesthood.

I remember it was the year before my First Communion. I had already firmly established my role as the "CCD Geek" in my class; I loved going to religious instruction, loved learning about the faith, and was endlessly fascinated with the Church's rituals and ceremonials. One Sunday, I noticed that a new priest - or so I thought - was helping Father Uris at the altar. His clerical garb differed slightly from Father's; they both had that white robe on, but the newcomer's stole went from his shoulder to his opposite hip, instead of around the neck like I was used to seeing. I asked my dad why that was.

Dad said "He's not a priest, at least not yet. That's Deacon Bob. He'll become a priest next year after his studies are finished.

Unfortunately, I'd misheard Dad; when he said Deacon Bob, I distinctly heard Dick and Bob. I was immediately confused; how could there be two of them if I only saw this guy and Father Uris? Was this along the lines of that Trinity "3-in-1" thingy they'd had been trying to teach us this year? I deduced there must be a second guy somewhere behind the scenes. I concluded that the guy at the altar with Father Uris was "Dick"; the guy somewhere behind the scenes therefore must be "Bob". I kept quiet about my little dilemma and we left Mass.

A couple of weeks later, Dad took me to Baskin Robbins for some ice cream. As we waited, I noticed that the man from Church was a few customers ahead of us, in his black clerical suit. Looking around, I couldn't find a second guy in a black suit; there was only "Dick". The elusive "Bob" had yet to make an appearance. I asked Dad if we could go over and say hello. He nodded and we both walked over.

I confidently stepped up to shake his hand and greeted him -


It took several minutes for Dick and my Dad to stop laughing; apparently they were mightily amused by something I said, but I couldn't figure out what. I mean, all I did was say "Hi". Then I thought that perhaps this was "Bob", and "Dick" was the man-behind-the-scenes. That didn't' seem to warrant such an outburst, though. A moment later, through his tears, Dick re-introduced himself to me, "Hello Tommy. My name's Bob. I'm a DEACON." I blinked in thought for a moment, and finally had my A-HA experience for the day; I got the joke and laughed along. I shook his hand again and said, "It's nice ot meet you, DEACON Bob!"

I was relieved to have this thing cleared up. That "2-guys-in-one" thing had me flummoxed. [Author's note: The Trinity "3-guys-in-one" thingy still flummoxes me from time to time, but that's neither here nor here.]

Deacon Bob had been assigned to Notre Dame for his pastoral year. He visited our classrooms frequently, teaching us different ways to remember how to pray the Rosary, a sung version of the Our Father, not to mention a sign language version of the same, if memory serves. He often preached the homily at the 9am Family Mass and would invite all us pre-Communion kids up to the altar. Deacon Bob could always explain the Gospels and readings in language we could understand. I looked up to Deacon Bob. I knew I wanted to be "holy" like him. During his assignment to our parish was the first time I ever thought I might like to become a priest when I grew up.

He was ordained to the priesthood on my birthday in 1976 and served various parishes along the Island. Father Robert Giuntini passed away on Friday October 22nd 2010, shortly after he celebrated his 34th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood. Unfortunately, I never saw him again after he left Notre Dame.

Thank you, Father Bob, for being someone who will forever hold a place in my heart by shaping and nurturing my faith, for being an icon of what it means to embody Jesus the Servant in the diaconate. Most of all, thank you for having a sense of humor. I knew you for only a short period, but you still left an indelible mark on me, and I will miss you. Pray for us!

Daily Mass Readings
Ephesians 4:32-5:8
Psalm 1:1-4,6
Luke 13:10-17