More proof cats are evil

‘Berserk’ house cat sends owner to hospital – CNN.com

A house cat attacked its owner, sending her to the hospital by ambulance with more than 20 bite wounds.

The cat, a black and white domestic male, went on the rampage Wednesday when a neighbor showed up at the door with a different cat, mistakenly thinking it belonged to the woman.

“She went to the door, and her cat went berserk,” Jeff Nevins, assistant fire chief for Wood River Fire and Rescue, told the Idaho Mountain Express.

The woman in her 60s was taken to St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center with what Nevins described as “pretty serious puncture wounds.” Neither the hospital nor the fire department would provide any details to The Associated Press on Saturday, or say whether she has been released.

“I think the owner said she was going to take it to the shelter because that’s not the first time she’s been attacked,” Nevins said.

A dog wouldn’t have done that.

Out of Egypt

While praying the Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours on Friday, a interesting thought occurred to me. (Note: any insights I have, I presume to be non-original; I’m nowhere near arrogant enough to imagine that I discovered something new after 2000 years of Christianity.)

Since the beginning of Lent, we’ve been working our way through Exodus in the Office of Readings. As I noted in an earlier post, Lent can be viewed as a short version of our entire lives: birth on Ash Wednesday, sacrifice and attempting to grow closer to God before death on Good Friday and the resurrection of the dead on Easter Sunday.

The crossing of the Red Sea has long been seen as a prefigurement of Christian Baptism. Just as God parting the Red Sea and freeing the Israelites from Egypt led them out of slavery to the Egyptians, Christ dying for us allows us to be saved from slavery to sin in Baptism.

However, just because the Israelites were out of Egypt doesn’t mean that the work was done. The Israelites were out of Egypt, the Egypt was not out of the Israelites. The Mosaic law can be viewed as an attempt to drive the longing for the ways of Egypt out of the Israelites. As an example of why this was needed, think of how the Israelites turned to worshipping the golden calf after Moses was on the mountain with God. This was a relapse to worshipping the Egyptian gods as they had while in captivity in Egypt.

This is why the Mosaic Law was necessary: to get Egypt out of the Israelites. The sacrifices weren’t for God’s benefit. As David wrote in the greatest of the Penitential Psalms: “For you do not desire sacrifice; a burnt offering you would not accept.” (Ps 51: 18) The sacrifices weren’t for God; they were for the benefit of the people to purify their hearts, an outward sign of an inward purity and detachment from the ways of Egypt.

Similarly, Christ has freed us from sin. But sin is still in us. We no longer sacrifice animals, but we do make sacrifices. We pray, we give to the poor, we abstain from meat on Fridays (and some other sacrifice when it’s not Lent), we put up with annoying coworkers. All of these things are not to aid God, but to aid ourselves. We have been freed from sin, but sin is still in us.

Christ has freed us from sin just as God freed the Israelites from Egypt, but like the Israelites had to get Egypt out of them, we have to get sin out of us. Fortunately, Christ has shown us the way and will help us to get there.

Hannity vs. The Church

Quotes and transcript via The Cafeteria Is Closed.

Well, even though he claims to be a “good Catholic,” Hannity is hardly a credible commentator on Catholic matters. The chicken sandwich scandal was fairly trivial in the overall scheme of his show, but it said much more about the depth of his faith than anything else. I suspect that a great number of Catholics live their faith in the same way—rule-bound and juvenile—but we need something better from a public “Catholic” like Hannity. We need a vibrant witness of someone who knows and embraces his Faith as deeply as he articulates his political passions.

Just for the record, he did not commit a sin when he ate the chicken sandwich—he had no intention to violate the Church precept, and he corrected himself immediately when he realized what he did. That’s not a sin, and issuing a dramatic “apology” for doing that is, well, entertainment, not witness. This, unfortunately, is what passes for a deep discussion of the Catholic Faith in the public forum nowadays.

If apologies are the order of the day, then the repentance I would like to hear out of Sean Hannity’s mouth is for his shameless—even scandalous— promotion of birth control.

Father Thomas J. Euteneuer, President of Human Life International wrote the above (read it all here) after hearing Sean Hannity tell the story of throwing away a chicken sandwich after having accidentally ordered it on a Friday in Lent. Given that the offense was accidental and not intentional, Hannity was guilty of no sin as Father Euteneuer points out. Honest mistakes aren’t sinful. In fact, throwing the sandwich out might have been a greater sin than continuing to eat since that was a waste of food, but Hannity was trying to do the right thing so that’s not a big deal.

As Father Euteneuer goes on to say, though, Hannity’s promotion of birth control is a sin. His claims to be a good Catholic are called into doubt by his promotion of a sinful practice that he obviously knows is against Church teaching. (Disclaimer: I neither watch nor listen to Hannity on TV or radio, and I’d never heard of Father Euteneuer before this, although I was vaguely familiar with Human Life International.)

Hannity was apparently greatly offended at having his Catholic credentials questioned. He had Father Euteneuer on his TV show.

(View the video or read the transcript.)

Father Euteneuer was pointing out to Hannity that he was essentially pulling a John Kerry, proclaiming his great Catholic faith, while using his public position to undermine Church teaching. Notice how quickly Hannity falls into his usual political combative mode, rather than actually listening to a representative of the Church he claims to hold dear. And despite his claims of understanding theology, here’s some of what he says:

Judge not lest you be judged, Reverend. Maybe you ought to spend a little more time that our Church covered up one of the worst sex scandals and I wasn’t involved in it. And the fact that public people after that are willing to still be Catholic is something you should be applauding. Considering the levels of corruption at the highest levels of the Church was frankly embarrassing to every person.

This first sentence is obviously taken out of its proper meaning, as I discussed a few days ago. The rest is nothing but an ad hominem attack. The sins of some members of the Church has no bearing on the doctrinal soundness of its teaching. (See Matthew 23:1-3: “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example.”) Even if Hannity is right that the sins and corruption go up to the highest levels of the Church, that still does not affect our responsibility to listen to them as the above quoted passage tells us.

But Hannity’s not done.

Do you know that I went to a seminary? Do you know that I studied Latin? Do you know that I studied theology? Do you know anything about my background? Anything at all, sir?

A general rule is that whenever anyone falls back on “I was raised Catholic, and I can tell you that…” is that whatever comes out of their mouth next is not Catholic teaching. This is another example of that. Besides, there are plenty of people who studied theology and went to a seminary who are just wrong on important aspects of Catholic teaching.

Still not done proving the shallowness of his thought, Hannity says:

You know what I’m going to say this. I don’t really care that you’re judging me Father. I really don’t care. But I’m going to tell you this: You know what? With what you’re doing here. You are doing more to chase people away from the Church.

Yeah, because what we care about is a large Catholic Church. Jesus never would have turned anyone away because they couldn’t handle his teaching. It’s ridiculous to think so.

Except…

Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.
And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”
As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6: 60-69)

and…

An official asked him this question, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother.'”
And he replied, “All of these I have observed from my youth.”
When Jesus heard this he said to him, “There is still one thing left for you: sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have a treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
But when he heard this he became quite sad, for he was very rich. (Luke 18:18-23)

Note that in these stories, Jesus didn’t say “Oh, would this teaching drive you away. Then forget it, no biggie.” No, in the story from John, Jesus not only allows people who can’t accept His teaching to walk away, He even approaches His Apostles and basically says they’re free to leave too if they “can’t handle the truth.” (By the way, John 6 is one of my favorite Bible passages. The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is laid out so explicitly there and Christ makes it known how central it is to His Church by challenging people to leave if they can’t accept it.) After the passage quoted above from Luke, Jesus goes on to comment how hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God, using the famous camel through the eye of a needle metaphor. He didn’t soften the teaching or downplay it. Rather, he noted how hard it makes it for some people to enter His Kingdom.

As I noted above, I’ve never been a particular fan of Hannity’s. (To quote Scrubs, “I don’t dislike you. I nothing you.“) Now, I have to say, I’ve fallen to the side of disliking Hannity, but my respect for Father Euteneuer has grown. Especially with this closing bit:

Colmes: You guys need a Jew to break this up. But let me ask you this: Would Hannity be welcome at your Church? Would Hannity be welcome at your Church, Father?
Fr. Euteneuer: Well, if [he] renounced his belief in birth control and stop professing it publicly.
Hannity: Wait, would you deny me communion?
Fr. Euteneuer: I would.
Hannity: Wow, wow.

Father Euteneuer is apparently the man.

Update: K-Lo raises a good point tweaking Father Euteneuer’s role in this:

I have no idea if Fr. Euteneuer talked to Sean first privately, but it sounds like he probably didn’t. That’s an approach I would have preferred. Instead of writing the Hannity-is-a-“rule-bound and juvenile”-Catholic column, he could have tried reaching out to Hannity, who’s always struck me as a reasonable and good guy. A TV and radio star who gave as much airtime to Terri Schiavo’s right to life as he did, for instance, deserved that. I’m all for priests correcting people — public Catholics — when they’re wrong. But I think there might have been a more fruitful, more persuasive approach that could have been taken in this situation.

Father Euteneuer was right to defend Church teaching on this issue, but K-Lo is right that it probably should have been dealt with privately first. Although, given the prominence of this issue and the fact that hannity is apparently outspoken on this matter, the confrontation needed to happen.

Quote of the Day

The Church believes that a holy hour spent before the Blessed Sacrament does more good for the well-being of the world than whole days spent in talking about progress to the utter oblivion of the fact that the only true progress consists in the diminution of the traces of original sin; she believes that a penitent returning to God is of far more consequence than the cancellation of war debts; that an increase of sanctifying grace in a soul is of far more value than the increase of international credit; that a group of cloistered nuns in prayer are more effective in preserving world peace than a group of world politicians discussing peace to the forgetfulness of the Prince of Peace. — Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, Manifestations of Christ

Quote of the Day

The Church believes that a holy hour spent before the Blessed Sacrament does more good for the well-being of the world than whole days spent in talking about progress to the utter oblivion of the fact that the only true progress consists in the diminution of the traces of original sin; she believes that a penitent returning to God is of far more consequence than the cancellation of war debts; that an increase of sanctifying grace in a soul is of far more value than the increase of international credit; that a group of cloistered nuns in prayer are more effective in preserving world peace than a group of world politicians discussing peace to the forgetfulness of the Prince of Peace. — Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, Manifestations of Christ