Friday Five (Vol. 23)

— 1 —

Two weeks ago I delivered a 2-3 minute talk after all five weekend Masses at our parish to announce and promote the upcoming program I’m facilitating on Fr. Robert Barron’s excellent Catholicism series. We begin on Feb. 29, a week after Ash Wednesday, and will continue for a total of eleven Wednesdays for 90 minutes each week. Half of our time spent will be watching one of the ten episodes from the DVD set (each one lasts 45-50 minutes) and then breaking into smaller study groups.

I was hoping to get at least 20 people to sign up since we were giving very little advance notice. As of this morning there are 60 persons registered.

I guess I should dare to dream a little bigger, eh?

To learn more about the Catholicism series, go here.

— 2 —

I’ve been reading Amy Welborn’s new book Wish You Were Here: Travels Through Loss and Hope on my Kindle and I have to say it’s every bit as good as I knew it would be. If Amy is anything when she writes I would have to use the terms “real” and “accessible”. This morning I read an article in which she describes using writing as a process through which to work her way through loss and to help get to a place of understanding.

But why the writing? Why sit down every night, recording the present, remember the past and reaching out for eternity? What good can it do?

Because that’s how I seek understanding.

We all have our ways. For some of us, it all clicks and makes sense as we meditate or read. We work it out through our building, planting and digging in our gardens, or in the midst of bowls and pots in our kitchen, dusted with flour, fingers scented with garlic, we gaze out the window and think, yes. I understand.

For me, it’s writing. When I’m even simply in the habit of journaling, I’m far more alert to the ways of the world and the ways of God in that world than I am when I fall out of the habit. (And I do.)

In those weeks and months after my husband’s sudden death of a heart attack, I was extremely alert, because I had to be. It all happened so fast, it was such a wrenching event, it turned our world so joltingly on its head, that if I didn’t write, I would be left with just the surface of events, and the surface – that worldly, flat surface – seemed quite bleak at the time.

And so, knowing that my journal – and eventually, when I felt it was appropriate, my blog – awaited, I tried to keep my eyes open, and I noticed.

While I haven’t experienced the same kind of loss as Amy did I do understand where she’s coming from in her use of writing to get through a time of trial. I think a lot of us can.

— 3 —

Perhaps like me you’re considering your options for what to do during Lent this year to prepare yourself for Easter. I usually find myself a good spiritual and Catholic book to use for both meditation purposes as well as to ready myself for Holy Week. If you are looking for something as well I’m going to suggest a FREE book for you to download to your PC or eBook device. It’s by Amy’s late husband Michael Dubruiel. I’ve downloaded it because while I already have something chosen for Lent 2012, due to Amy’s generosity I have Lent 2013 taken care of as well.

To read a little more about why she’s doing this as well as download the book The Power of the Cross, go here.

— 4 —

A few weeks ago I asked a question with regards to how the world may be today had the Crusaders not lost in 1099. It was purely rhetorical and my musing out loud. This week I once again had someone snark at me that the Catholic Church and the Christian religion in general was responsible for more deaths than any other reason in history. I have to say it’s tiresome having to point this out to those whose sole mission in life, it seems, is based upon hating the Church. So I did a little research. Here is a partial list from just the last century:

  • Mao Ze-Dong (China, 1958-61 and 1966-69, Tibet 1949-50): 49-78,000,000
  • Jozef Stalin (USSR, 1932-39): 23,000,000 (the purges plus Ukraine’s famine)
  • Adolf Hitler (Germany, 1939-1945): 12,000,000 (concentration camps and civilians WWII)
  • Hideki Tojo (Japan, 1941-44): 5,000,000 (civilians in WWII)
  • Ismail Enver (Turkey, 1915-20): 1,200,000 Armenians (1915) + 350,000 Greek Pontians and 480,000 Anatolian Greeks (1916-22) + 500,000 Assyrians (1915-20)
  • Pol Pot (Cambodia, 1975-79): 1,700,000
  • Kim Il Sung (North Korea, 1948-94): 1,600,000 (purges and concentration camps)
  • Menghistu (Ethiopia, 1975-78): 1,500,000
  • Yakubu Gowon (Biafra, 1967-1970): 1,000,000
  • Leonid Brezhnev (Afghanistan, 1979-1982): 900,000
  • Jean Kambanda (Rwanda, 1994): 800,000
  • Suharto (East Timor, West Papua, Communists, 1966-98): 800,000
  • Saddam Hussein (Iran 1980-1990 and Kurdistan 1987-88): 600,000
  • Tito (Yugoslavia, 1945-1987): 570,000
  • Fumimaro Konoe (Japan, 1937-39): estimated up to 500,000 (Chinese civilians)
  • Jonas Savimbi (Angola, 1975-2002): 400,000

Total it all up and what do you get? An obscene number of senseless carnage in just the 20th century alone. And this does not include the millions upon millions that would be added if I were to include Planned Parenthood…

The biggest boogeyman tossed out by those who want to slam the Church is that the Inquisition murdered “millions” of people across Europe. Please note that I am not going to defend the Inquisition itself, but I am going to refute that increasingly stupid strawman. Over the course of 500 years historians estimate that the Inquisition was responsible for the deaths of between 3,000 – 6,000 people out of approximately 150,000 persons that were investigated. That is the high estimate.

Then there were the Crusades. Over the course of 200 years it is estimated that the Crusades were responsible for between 1,000,000 to 9,000,000 deaths. (No scholar has ever published a death toll of less than one million or more than nine million, so the order of magnitude is generally accepted even if the precise number is unknown.) These totals include Jews, Christians and Moslems. I’m not defending the event itself, merely stating the statistics.

Let me be clear when I say that killing, whether it be for a religion or for the state is to be condemned. Over the course of one century, non-religious genocides and wars caused anywhere from 101,900,000 to 130,900,000 deaths (again, not including what Planned Parenthood has wrought). That’s billion with a B.

— 5 —

In America today…

Praying on your knees in protest of an unprecedented un-Constitutional power grab will get you arrested:

Weeks and months of OWS will not:

Strap yourselves in tight. It’s gonna be an interesting election year.

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