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!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

SUBJECT: SOCIETY!!! (And Politically Incorrect!!!)

Our local Boy Scout troop suffered a loss last Friday.

On Sunday, June 14th, one of our adult volunteers, a blind man, who loved the Scouts and was much loved by the troop was struck by a car. He used both a cane and a guide dog, and there are "Blind Person Area" signs posted throughout our small downtown area (population, roughly 8,000).

He died on Friday and will be buried today. Many of the Scouts will be present at the funeral in their Class "A" uniforms to pay their last respects to a kind and decent man.

There is no excuse for the accident.

The individual driving the car was 81 years old with a history of traffic violations and citations. At this time, I do not know what charges, if any, are pending.

I realize that this is a politically incorrect opinion to hold, but this accident demonstrates to me -- yet once again -- that when one reaches a certain age and/or state of health, one's driving privileges should be restricted, or even taken away.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that everyone over a certain age should not be allowed to drive. I'm not saying that at all. People age at different rates. Mrs. Smith might be fully capable of driving at 90, while Mr. Jones might need to stop at 72. I'm not advocating for an "age cut-off".

What I AM suggesting is that at a certain point in time, 8-year license renewals need to become 5 or 3 or 1-year license renewals, and that past a certain age, road-testing needs to become a requirement for renewal.

When I first learned to drive, the State of Maryland had a graduated license program. First, I got my learner's permit, which was severely restricted. Then, I received my provisional license, which was considerably less restricted. Only after I had completed both "probation" periods (without violations) did I receive my "permanent" license. Wisconsin has a graduated program as well, though not as strict as Maryland's was.

What I am suggesting is that beyond a certain age or state of health, reasonable graduated restrictions be implemented including more frequent renewal periods and road-tests. In addition, I would like to see a provision wherein a license could be revoked after a certain number of age or health related citations were received -- even if they are only minor citations. I will be contacting my state legislators to this effect.

This was a preventable tragedy. Let's prevent further tragedies of this nature from occurring in the future.

Meanwhile, Adam, may your soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace, and may light perpetual shine upon you. And you'll be able to SEE that light!

Papa Z

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Last Sunday was Trinity Sunday -- one of my personal favorites. According to tradition, it was St. Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr (1170) who first instituted the feast for England, and was later spread to the Universal Church.

In honor of Trinity Sunday, I post the full text of my favorite Trinity Sunday hymn "I Bind Unto Myself Today" -- translated from the traditional St. Patrick's Breastplate by Cecil Frances Alexander, a noted 19th century writer and translator of hymn texts.

St. Patrick's Breastplate

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this today to me forever
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in Jordan river,
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb,
His riding up the heavenly way,
His coming at the day of doom
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of cherubim;
The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the star lit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the wizard’s evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave, the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.


Papa Z

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