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Generations

It seems to be an article of faith among many today that we are all members of specific generations.  That is, since I was born in 1984 I am a “Millenial” (which sounds like someone who lives in a cave and thinks the local town mayor is the Anti-Christ, but anyway).  As a Millenial, I supposedly like to “celebrate diversity,” I “make my own rules,” I “assume technology” and soforth.  Other “generations” are known for various things, both good and bad (many liberals praise the generation that was young in the sixties, while many conservatives praise the generation that was young in the forties).  Thus, we all have our characteristics mostly determined for us due to the time we were born.

Does this sound like astrology or divination to anyone else?  Now, I don’t think these distinctions have any power in themselves, but the degree to which people adopt them is really frightening.  Reasonable, scientific people who consider themselves above superstition will find themselves gladly signing on to the idea that they act the way they act because of the year they were born.  I am mystified by the appeal of such a thing: why would one wish to behave in the same way others of his generation behave?  Especially, I must add, when people claim that “challenging the rules” or something of that nature is characteristic of their generation.  If that’s true, challenge the rules and act differently!  Don’t be a slave to your generation!

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Engagement

Here we are in Monterey where I proposed to Catherine.Hello everyone, I realize I have not blogged nearly enough lately.  However, I wanted to let everyone know that I am now engaged to Catherine, about whom I have posted before.  We will be married in December of 2009, at Mission Santa Clara.  Thankfully, given the usual state of the liturgy at the Mission, it is “bring your own priest.”  We have spoken to Fr. Angel Sotelo, who celebrates the TLM in Fresno on alternate Sundays and who was recently mentioned on Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s blog.  I am very happy to have everything set up, and I am looking forward to the wedding.

I think this probably says something about meeting online through a Catholic website.  Catherine and I have immensely helped each other spiritually, and I doubt I would have met her or anyone like her had I not had access to the internet.  So, I believe quite strongly that certain “modern” methods can be used for very traditional and Catholic goals.

A Meme

Well, since Fr. Richsteig tagged “anyone who loves Jesus” I guess I have to answer this meme.

1. Do you wear a name tag at work? No.
2. What kind of car do you drive? A Volkswagen Jetta
3. What do you order when you go to Taco Bell? A cheesy bean burrito without the cheese.
4. Have you ever had a garage sale? I participated in one held by my parents when I was younger.
5. What color is your iPod? Black
6. What kind of dog do you have? None.
7. What’s for dinner tonight? I don’t know yet.
8. What is the last alcoholic beverage you had? Wine.
9. Stupidest thing you ever did with your cell phone? Dropped it in the toilet.
10. Last time you were sick? A couple weeks ago.
11. How long is your hair? Short.
12. Are you happy right now? Yes.
13. What did you say last? Yeah, Macs are just better. (regarding why Mac laptops use a magnetic power cord).
14. Who came over last? Catherine and her parents.
15. Do you drink beer? No.
16. Have your brothers or sisters ever told you that you were adopted? No.
17. What is your favorite key chain on your keys? A shamrock given to me for my baptism and confirmation.
18. What did you get for graduation? Money for a still-to-come trip to Ireland.
19. Whats in your pocket? Nothing.
20. Who introduced you to Dane Cook? I don’t know Dane Cook.  No one has ever introduced me to him.
21. Has someone ever made you a Build-A-Bear? Yes, Catherine did.
22. What DVD is in your DVD player? Zodiac (a film about the Zodiac Killer, not an introduction to Astrology.)
23. What’s something fun you did today? Get books from the library.
24. Who is/was the principal of your high school? Mr. Russell for two years and Mr. Costanzo for two years.
25. Has your house ever been TP’d? Yes.  I don’t know who did it though.  Maybe friends of my sister.
26.What do you think of when you hear the word “meow”? Cats.
27. What are you listening to right now? The sound of my computer.
28. Drinking? Nothing.
29. What is your favorite aisle at Wal-Mart? I would never enter a Wal-Mart.
30. When is your mom’s birthday? February 7.
31. When is your birthday? October 10.
32. What’s the area code for your cell phone? 559
33. Where did you buy the shirt you’re wearing now? I got it for my birthday.
34. Is there anything hanging from your rear view mirror? A Fresno State Parking Pass.
35. How many states in the US have you been to? 9.
36. What kind of milk do you drink? None.  I don’t like milk.
37. What are you going to do after this? Read.
38. Who was the last person you went shopping with? Catherine and her brother.
39. What is your favorite fruit? This one takes a lot of thinking…I like so many kinds.  Right now I think its oranges.
40. What about your favorite dessert? Apple pie.
41. What is something you need to go shopping for? An iMac.  I definitely need to shop for and purchase one :-).
42. Do you have the same name as one of your relatives? The same middle and last name, but not my first name.
43. What kind of car does one of your siblings drive? Ford Mustang.
44. Do you like pickles? PI-CKLES! Pickles are gross! Pickles are gross, gross, gross, gross, gross, gross, gross! (to be sung to the tune of the themesong to the American version of The Office)
45. How about olives? Yes I love them.
46. What is your favorite kind of gum? Orbit.
47. What is your favorite kind of juice? Orange.
48. Do you have any tan lines? No.
49. What hospital were you born in? Kaiser Hospital, Santa Clara.

 Now that you know these secrets, I tag anyone who wants to answer.  I mean, Fr. Richsteig has already tagged all Christians, so I’m just expanding it to non-Christians I guess.

More Death Penalty

Interestingly, Steve Skojec has a post about the death penalty as well.  He describes his own opinion on the issue, which is rather close to mine, and I believe his post provides an interesting perspective on the issue.

The Death Penalty

Like many Catholics and Pro-Lifers, I am against the death penalty.  However, I find I often become frustrated with other death penalty opponents for the way the issue is framed.  Basically, it seems to me that all too often, opponents of the death penalty approach it as an issue of justice.  Some will say “no one deserves to die.”  Worse, it is occasionally framed as “this is cruel to the poor murderer” (though those who use this line of argument rarely say “murderer”).  In fact, while I was in RCIA at Santa Clara, I once complained that the “prayers of the faithful” included a prayer for a condemned murderer who had killed a woman and a child, without mentioning any prayer for his victims.  As if the death penalty had just randomly been applied to him through no fault of his own.

My grandfather, who supports the death penalty, once said regarding executions by firing squad “there’s a way to avoid the firing squad.  Don’t do anything that will get you executed.”  This I think is reasonable.  The people on death row, by and large, committed acts they knew were wrong and illegal.  They committed them anyway, and were sentenced to die for them.  Now, as I said in the beginning I do oppose the death penalty.  This is predominately for three reasons.  Firstly, there is the ever-present risk that an innocent person will be executed.  Though I am sure this is rare, it is a difficulty.  Furthermore, the people responsible for deciding who will die (judges and the public [through juries]) have not always been the most reasonable or respectful group of people.

Primarily, though, I oppose the death penalty as an act of mercy.  Murderers (and in my opinion other criminals) have committed acts which make them unable to fit into society.  They furthermore have committed grave sins deserving of punishment.  Their sins are against the people and the society, not a private matter between them and God.  Therefore, the people (through the state) punish them.  However, I believe mercy to these men (and occasionally women) is necessary.  The extra years they live may lead to their repentance.  Now, death penalty supporters may say that knowing one is to be executed will prompt repentance.  This may be, but is by no means certain in every case.  To put it another way, by showing mercy we may allow someone to chose to go to hell.  However, by executing him we might be sending him to heaven, but also might be sending him to hell.  Thus, I would support a system by which we recognize which crimes are deserving of death, but does not actually apply the death penalty to these crimes.  The criminal and the general public would be aware that execution is not performed by the state, but the crime could still be seen as a crime worthy of death.

 Of course, such a system would probably not work in our legal system.  However, I hope at least that death penalty opponents in America will come to the realization that the death penalty is not wrong because it is unjust to the criminals, but rather because it is un-merciful on our part.

Last Sunday I went to the new Traditional Latin Mass in Pismo Beach.  It was the first mass I have been to that was started under the provisions of the motu proprio.  It was a very good Mass.  I had been to that parish before, and had not really seen it as a remarkable parish: it was good and all, but nothing out of the ordinary.  The fact that they now hold a weekly TLM shows the demand for it, even in a relatively low-population area and in a parish that is not already known a haven of traditionalists.  It seems that when the TLM is not overly limited, as it seems not to be under the new bishop of Monterey, there is real demand for it.

Hello to anyone who still happens to be reading this.  I am going to try to blog more now…I have been very busy, but I am now starting a different program in school and a different job, which I hope will free up some additional time for me to blog.  I hope to at least be able to post enough each week to keep a sustained readership (stable group?).  Anyway, I should have some new posts coming up soon.