Papa Z's Views and Comments

Location: Wisconsin, United States

I am a convert to the Catholic Church after serving in ordained ministry for more than nine years in another denomination. I hold a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in historical theology, and another in systematic theology, and am currently working (very slowly) on my doctorate. I work in Christian Education and Formation and teach at the University level. I am blessed with a wonderful wife and eight great kids! When I'm not studying, reading, or blogging, I enjoy eating and drinking! Like Bilbo Baggins, I have been specializing in food for many years, and my table has a high reputation!

Friday, November 21, 2008

SUBJECT: BOOKS!!! (And Illustrations!!!)

Yes, I know I'm a bit behind the times, but I recently learned of the death of Pauline Baynes. She died a few days short of her 86th birthday. For those amongst my six readers who may not be familiar with her, you would probably recognize her work. Pauline was the illustrator for JRR Tolkien's "Farmer Giles of Ham", "The Adventures of Tom Bombadil", and "Smith of Wooten Major" among other works. At Tolkien's suggestion, she was also engaged by CS Lewis to illustrate "The Chronicles of Narnia".

Anyway, I'd like to draw the attention of my readers to the very fine obituary written by Brian Sibley and posted on his blog.

Pauline Baynes -- "Further Up and Further In". Rest in peace.

Papa Z

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Okay -- now for something a bit lighter!

Readers of my blog will know that my wife's father passed recently. It's weird, but the positive thing about family tragedy is that one actually gets to see family and loved ones one normally does not get to see! This past trip to Maryland was no exception.

I'm a big fan of the Food Network (which probably explains my waist size!). One of my favorite shows is "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives". Well, while in Baltimore, my wife's sister and her husband took us to one of the restaurants featured in an episode of that show.

The food was terrific. Incredible veal sliced over pasta with a cream sauce -- and topped with crabmeat. YUM!!!

BUT, dear reader, a word of advice!

NEVER order a mixed drink in a diner -- no matter if said diner was featured on a famous television show or not!!!

It was late in the evening (9:00+) when we finally got to the diner (coming straight from the airport) and my brother-in-law (who is very much like myself in many respects) decided that a round of drinks would be a good idea. Matt ordered a Tanqueray Martini, straight up, very dry, with olives -- and I did likewise. We each received a shot glass full of straight dry vermouth! Matt patiently explained to the waiter (whose English was not very good) "Tanqueray". We each received another shot glass -- full of Chardonnay! Finally, in desperation, Matt asked for a shot glass of straight Beefeater's, hoping that he would finally be understood! The waiter returned with two shot glasses filled with room-temperature Beefeater's, with which, using ice from our water glasses and the vermouth, we were able to assemble -- at our table -- something remotely resembling our (by this time desperately needed) martinis!

Oh well!

Papa Z

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

SUBJECT: RELIGION (And Politics -- but MOSTLY Religion!!!)

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a recent statement on the recent election and its implications on that most fundamental right -- the right to life. I post excerpts here. Ancillary commentary (mine!) will be clearly marked!

STATEMENT of the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
“If the Lord does not build the house, in vain do its builders labor; if the Lord does not watch over the city, in vain does the watchman keep vigil.” (Psalm 127, vs. 1)
The fundamental good is life itself, a gift from God and our parents. A good state protects the lives of all. Legal protection for those members of the human family waiting to be born in this country was removed when the Supreme Court decided Roe vs. Wade in 1973. This was bad law. The danger the Bishops see at this moment is that a bad court decision will be enshrined in bad legislation that is more radical than the 1973 Supreme Court decision itself. (Emphasis Mine!)

In the last Congress, a Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) was introduced that would, if brought forward in the same form today, outlaw any “interference” in providing abortion at will. It would deprive the American people in all fifty states of the freedom they now have to enact modest restraints and regulations on the abortion industry. FOCA would coerce all Americans into subsidizing and promoting abortion with their tax dollars. It would counteract any and all sincere efforts by government and others of good will to reduce the number of abortions in our country.
Parental notification and informed consent precautions would be outlawed, as would be laws banning procedures such as partial-birth abortion and protecting infants born alive after a failed abortion. Abortion clinics would be deregulated. The Hyde Amendment restricting the federal funding of abortions would be abrogated. FOCA would have lethal consequences for prenatal human life.
FOCA would have an equally destructive effect on the freedom of conscience of doctors, nurses and health care workers whose personal convictions do not permit them to cooperate in the private killing of unborn children. It would threaten Catholic health care institutions and Catholic Charities. It would be an evil law that would further divide our country, and the Church should be intent on opposing evil. (Again, Emphasis Mine!)
On this issue, the legal protection of the unborn, the bishops are of one mind with Catholics and others of good will. They are also pastors who have listened to women whose lives have been diminished because they believed they had no choice but to abort a baby. Abortion is a medical procedure that kills, and the psychological and spiritual consequences are written in the sorrow and depression of many women and men. The bishops are single-minded because they are, first of all, single-hearted.
The recent election was principally decided out of concern for the economy, for the loss of jobs and homes and financial security for families, here and around the world. If the election is misinterpreted ideologically as a referendum on abortion, the unity desired by President-elect Obama and all Americans at this moment of crisis will be impossible to achieve. (Again, Emphasis Mine!) Abortion kills not only unborn children; it destroys constitutional order and the common good, which is assured only when the life of every human being is legally protected. Aggressively pro-abortion policies, legislation and executive orders will permanently alienate tens of millions of Americans, and would be seen by many as an attack on the free exercise of their religion. (Once again, Emphasis Mine!)"
I truly wish such a statement had been published by the Bishops PRIOR to the election -- preferably, at least one month prior to the election. Perhaps this would have given the lie to those Catholics, clergy and otherwise, who felt that they could contort their consciences into pretzels in order to vote for the most radically pro-death candidate ever elected to lead our great nation.

For the full statement, please check out the excellent blog "Whispers in the Loggia" which I follow quite closely. It can be found here:

May God have mercy.

Papa Z

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Come Nineveh, Come Tyre.

Allen Drury -- 1973

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