Boinkie's Blog


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Problems in the third world

In the Philippines, there are many problems in the church.

But in Africa, the problems are worse, especially where HIV has hit.
Like other fatal diseases, people get desperate and turn to witchdoctors/traditional medicine; many traditional healers are okay (using herbs and ceremonies that reconcile the patient with those he insulted in the past to remove their curse on him) but some are into evil. One notorious "treatment" for HIV is to have sex with a virgin; as a result many young girls are raped and even contract HIV from the abuse. And others are treated with cermonies that invoke powerful demons.

In Zimbabwe, the problem is exacerbated by a communist president who, when his power was slipping, started to impose "land reform" and confiscating businesses. Of course, since the land confiscated were the white farms that grew surplus for the cities and irrigated crops, and since the land was not "given" to the farm workers who knew how to do this but to the president's cronies who did not, the result was a collapse of the economy and famine in excess of what one would expect from the periodic droughts. In addition, many opponants were small business owners, so the president "cleaned up" huge neighborhoods of houses that had small shops, leaving 70 000 people homeless. These sisters lost their main convent in the "operation cleanup"...

With the collapse of morality, and the withdrawal of many foreign missionaries, many isolated priests slipped into concubinage. That would be bad enough, but some merely became promiscuous, and rumors of sex with church workers and nuns became rampant (note: like the "pedophile" crisis in the west, the numbers were probably lower than the rumors suggest, but it was enough to hurt many people).

The letter posted if from a new charismatic community of nuns seeking a cloistered/contemplative life. Several of the nuns were SJI sisters, an order whose rule is based on simplicity and works. However, some sisters felt the call to deeper prayer, and left to found this order. In their naivity, some did not do the paper work first.

Another problem was the inter church cooperation and praying with other churches, and the charismatic lifestyle.
Sister claims that they are persecuted because others disliked their condemnation of immorality. I have no reason to question her, since the nun I know best is a very practical woman and not one who would put up with immorality around her....

May I take this opportunity to let you know that at
long last we now have a Bishop in our diocese. His
name is Bishop Martin Munyanyi. He saved for many
years as a rector at the major seminary (Giving
lessons and monitoring the training of seminarians. He
was ordained Bishop on the 26th of August.

Sr Martha, our oldest and latest addition made an
appointment to see him last month. She had previously
worked closely with him before. She explained how we
were banned from attending mass and how she was
expelled from S.J.I. The Bishop had a very different
and distorted version of both incidents, he also asked
about the five suspended priest and one deacon. The
Bishop asked Sr Martha to ask the expelled priest to
come and see him.

About our case all he said was that we should pray for
him so that God may show him how best to resolve the
case. What is most important is that he was able to
sift the truth from lies, and he supports what we
stand for. He said that he is going to do everything
in his power to see that we go back to church. He said
that at present, there is a lot of speculation going
on especially about how he is going to handle our
case. He thinks it best to ignore it and concentrate
on many other issues wanting his attention. He said
keep on praying and be patient. Dr Nancy I am very
happy. We are all very happy about this turn of

One of the expelled priests went to see the Bishop.
They had a good time together and he said their case
was much more complicated since it involves the most
senior Bishop Bhasera. All he said was that, now that
he is armed with correct facts he is going to make use
of them when ever the issue is discussed at the many
conferences held by Bishops. We are all not very much
concerned with how long it will take we are just happy
that the Lord has a very willing instrument in him.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Pastoral problems, globalization and lay organizations

Here in the Philippines, the church is under seige by many social problems, including the confusion of the elite who flirt with new age ideas and the middle class who are seduced by strict protestant sects who promise salvation with rules. And that doesn't even count the corruption, the poverty, the drug problem, street kids and other "normal" problems of urbanization and globalization.

I have been coming here on and off for 18 years, and see a big change in how people treat each other. When I first came here, the roots of feudalism were dying but still alive. Indeed, my husband, who was considered the titular "head" of his farmland even after it was given to the tenants under land reform (Translation: When the fiesta came, they gave him a small gift, and he gave them money...if someone died, he gave money. If someone was sick, he gave money. And our "employees" were more like family than paid help: if they didn't like you they quit...but my husband's cook has worked for his family for two generations and their house is on our land).

Now things are different. My stepson pays a salary, and if you need money, he advances the salary, and keeps track of every peso (so they come to my husband for help, but that's another story). When they are "imperfect" or slack off, they are fired. The maids come and go quickly, and he usually hires from other towns, and prefers people from his church, not Catholics. The Catholic locals are "uppity" and won't work overtime, and are always taking off for funerals or weddings or fiestas....

So essentially our home is no longer an extended family but a business, run with honesty and hard work but little mercy.

Traditionally, in villages, the church is part of the society, and Jesus is older brother, Mary is Mama Mary, and God is the father. You show solidarity with each other at fiestas, and the rich show their generosity by giving to the poor in public.

But with "globalization", we see large numbers of children going away, either to the local city, to Manila, or even to Saudi/the middle East to work.

And as literacy, TV, and going away is eroding the extended family, so too is the parish eroded.

What has taken it's place are churches...many many different Protestant sects all over the place.

And for Catholics, this "home away from home" type community is often the Charismatic movement or other lay movements.

They are good in many ways, since they fulfill the need for closeness that is no longer supplied by family.
And they enable Catholics who need this psychological way of worship to stay Catholic. These groups can foster deep holiness, and are the key to the rejuvination of the church, and often inspire the laity to good works. (Father Groeschel on EWTN discusses how Catherine of Genoa helped reform the medieval church in this way by prayer groups).

But still it is hard on the priests, who are in the middle of it, and like American priests, no longer may be smarter or looked up to by educated laity who run their own groups.

So go to the link and hear the bishop of Boragan discuss the stresses on his priests by these lay movements (and then go to earlier posts where he discusses the laity and the church).

Then write him a short note and tell him you are praying for his priests. I suspect he would like to know that.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Liturgy for the Blessing of the Minivan

go to link...

for parents of small kids only

Attention "we are church": The JP2 generation is here

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Theology discussion

bumbling neocons of the John Paul II generation? Thomism?

Sorry, but I'm not a theologian.
There is a good argument that all priests should have ph d's in philosophy, but we also have to remember that Christ didn't chose Paul to head the church, but a bumbling fisherman who had a big heart.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Pray for that country that politically correct liberals don't want to mention the name

I am getting the USSB emails on the gospel, as I noted in my earlier post.

However, I may stop them. Why? Because I'm a dyspeptic bitch, that's why.

You see, at the end of each "meditation" (I only read the gospel...not the meditation. I hate sermons that restate the obvious), there is a nice asterisk and it says:


Well, right now the French and other countries that entered Lebanon to keep the peace are doing so by refusing to disarm Hizbollah and threatening to shoot down Israeli planes that are monitoring the situation.

And returning Philippine OFW who fled Lebanon report a 70 percent rate of abuse (indeed, on my other blog, I reported about 5 women badly hurt and two killed because when the war started, and the Philippines arranged to have their OFW, mainly women working as maids, to find a safe haven at a local church, their nice Lebanese employers locked them up...and so they jumped out of windoows to escape

So yes, I will pray for a country that mistreats the weakest and most vulnerable employees.

But where exactly is "THE HOLY LAND"?

This sounds like something out of a Southern Baptist church.

Do you mean Israel? If so, say Israel. It's not a dirty word. It's a country that is struggling for existence against a huge propaganda machine. And it is the scapegoat for all the failed policies of the Arab world that imports Bengalis and Philippinos to do their dirty work while diverting their unemployed to blame Israel for all their economic problems.

And why pray for "Lebanon and the Holy Land" when there are a hell of a lot of other places where things are worse?

Why not say "Pray for Mindinao" where the church is trying to encourage the peacetalks with the MILF (many of whom already have made peace) while the J.I. and Alquaeda funded splinter groups are bombing our chruches? And why not "pray for Luzon" where schismatic bishops and ministers are killed for defending the rights of the peasants while the NPF is killing and kidnapping businessmen to make money?

Why not "pray for central Africa" where 5 million have died of disease, or "Pray for Uganda" where another rebel group is kidnapping children and terrorizing the north in the name of Jeusus...and again where peacetalks are trying to settle things down.

And why not "pray for Zimbabwe, and Angola, and Mozambique" where Marxist regiemes have killed opponants and where corrupt governments are ruining the economies in the name of liberation?

But these are only the deaths of the innocent, and these innocent are not "politically correct", so I guess no one cares.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Spengler defends Pope

Spengler is the pen name for a sardonic writer in the Asian times.

His essay on Benedict's speech about Islam denying Reason is a good explanation. Go read it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The daily gospel

There are several web sites that let you download the daily readings.
One is the Universalis site I have up top.
When my PDA used windows, I would download the office weekly.

Another is the above link, which will email you.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Catholic heaven

Actually it's a Simson joke. Yet the "perfectionism" of too many Evangelicals ignore the "fun" side of humans.
But is "fun" important?
Well, if heaven resembles a wedding feast, then yes. Duh.

And Jesus enjoyed a good party.

Most catholics understood this vaguely, but what is interesting is that few people are ever taught the importance of joy/fun/celebration.
The only "Catholic" popular author who did this was Andrew Greeley
And of course, the last Encyclical God is Love insists that we need not only Agape, giving love, but Eros, receiving love...we have the need for love, and if we do not receive love and the pleasures of love, agape becomes withered in meaning.

Finally we see the heroes of the "greatest book of the twentieth century" are not athiests nor intellectuals nor artists, but hobbits.

Frodo's sufferings "elevate" him above us, but he is the one who sang a ditty about the man in the moon in Bree...while everyone drank beer and had a good time.

The reason the meek shall inherit the earth is that they reject pride and manipulation of other people (power).

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Catholic Heaven vs Protestant heaven

He he he he...

headsup from the angrytwinsblot

Thursday, October 12, 2006

How to witness for Christ without being pushy



Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A dud?

Rumor from experts on the internet yesterday had been hinting the North Korea bomb either was "only" TNT or didn't go off properly.

Now the rumor is printed in the NYTimes


And then they came for the Jello....

"Passers-by called police after finding a pool of a flabby red, orange and green substance on the roadside," a police spokesman in the eastern town of Halle said.
Fears of toxic waste led to the closure of a wide area after the emergency call on Sunday, and experts wearing chemical warfare suits spent two hours examining the gelatinous substance before deciding that it was jelly

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Trophy babies

The search of the rich for trophy babies to make a political statement is again getting publicity since Madonna is searching for her own little trophy baby to get publicity.

I mean, it's bad when even the husband opposes the adoption

"His family are very concerned Madonna wants an African baby as a celebrity status symbol, like Angelina Jolie."Guy has adoption issues in his family and is all too aware of the problems. He doesn't think Madonna has really thought View the profile for Madonna on Celebrity Spotlightit through."
Meanwhile, it has been reported that Madonna has already picked the orphan she plans to adopt, a one-year-old boy called Luca.

The dirty little secret
is that babies are NOT political statements. They are children. They need to be raised (although in Hollywood this merely means hiring another nanny).
And children don't stay young and cute. They GROW UP TO BE TEENAGERS.

And although you can show your trophy child to the press to bask in your own glory, when they overdose in your living room, it can cause embarassment, as many celebrities have found out.

Of course, not all trophy babies are adopted. Some are born. Look at Chelsey Clinton. Does anyone in her right mind think Hillary would have gotten pregnant if Clinton had not just been defeated for reelection in Arkansas, partly because of his feminist wife?

The fact that Chelsey turned out so well only speaks to the warmth and love of Bill...who loves too well but not wisely. Too bad he didn't have a dozen kids to raise. Makes one wish to see what he would have been if he had not married an ambitious political wife.

But anyway, when you go thru a home visit evaluation, all this is supposed to be detected.

Even the worries of the father would be enough normally to nix the adoption.

But money speaks.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Praise the Lord all you angels, praise him all you men

The last cartoon is a joke, since I tend to be sardonic at Polyannas.
Too often they are those who never suffered rather than those who bear suffering.
Yet cheerfulness in the face of suffering is part of Philippino society.

Today on EWTN (actually Saturday's sermon) was about giving God your faults and sins.

I am more a social gospel Christian, and influenced by the enlightenment.
In some ways this is not bad: The idea of the communion of saints is that none of us can be everything, so we need both the Marthas and the Marys...yet how often do we remind Martha of this?

The good part of the social gospel is that it stresses that we use our talents for the good of the poor.
Been there, done that.
But without love, it deteriorates into buying love for ourselves, and an egotistical use of the poor for our own self esteem.
And the "flip" side is that if we are unable to "help" others, we get depressed, since all our ego is involved in work...the sin of the workaholic.

All good things can be twisted into evil, but luckily God loves us as immature children and saves us all at the end, faults and all, because we are trying our best.

But what of those of use who no longer can work, or chose to give up work for sake of family?
This is also the "flip" side of the social gospel: That there is a real danger we will forget and neglect family for the "work".

The first lecture we were given when we started medical school was a lecture that medicine was fascinating and rewarding, but that it was NOT life, and it should not be an escape from life.

The idea is balance.

Often as a doctor, I would see worn out women, trying to juggle family and job and often volunteer things. We live in a society where women are supposed to be imitation men at work, yet be their mothers as full time housewives.
The result is they can carry it so far, but then crash. Often it is when their energy level goes down in their 30's, or with menopause, or with an illness or something unexpected.

As a doc, I could treat the medical problem, but a lot of my time was spent giving them permission not to be "superwomen"...I told them a phrase: The "tyranny of the shoulds"...

All the things they "should" do was destroying their lives, and the answer was to stop.

Often I would instruct them to budget time by using the advice of a Time organizer class I attended.

Every morning, they should get up and spend a half hour reading or relaxing or writing or whatever they liked to do to relax. THEN they needed to list everything they needed to do...and then go down the list and decide what really needed to do.

If they read, I would recommend them to read the bible, cautioning them to read the "Good parts" not the negative things. But almost any great book and a lot of cruddy books similarly allow us to relax our thinking to lift us up beyond our daily grind.

Without this escape from the tyranny of the should they cannot see clearly what actually is important in life.

This is why praise is so important, because praise comes from the idea that there is a wonderful God who is above us and with us, and who cares for us: Isn't that wonderful? And like saying "I love you, you great big hunk of man" to one's husband, you praise God and it reinforces the idea that the universe and even our little corner of it is a mirror of this love, and that even the lousy stuff will end up okay at the end.

Isn't that wonderful?

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The church in Africa

I know hardly anyone reads this blog, but could you spread the word about the Church in Zimbabwe?
That country has a terrible government whose economic policies are destroying that beautiful country. And in some areas, the high rate of HIV has resulted in a demoralization of people including a return to witchcraft.

The below letter is from a new congregation formed in association with a local charismatic group. I do not know the letter writer, but one of the cooks from our mission when I worked in Africa, a droll hardworking sister, left her order to join them a few years ago.

On behalf of all the Light of Life Sisters, I would
like to thank you very much for your letter and
advice. We all feel that this is not yet the
appropriate time to make an appeal to the pontiff.

Rest assured that we are not prepared to abandon our
church. We shall remain loyal to our church. As I said
before that there are quite a number of priests who
are affiliated to our group.

Although they are being
harassed and their cars have been withdrawn, they do
use public transport to come and give us mass when
ever they can. This does not happen as frequently as
we would have liked because of distance and transport
problems due to shortage of fuel.

But I tell you, each
mass service leaves us stronger and energised and much
more prepared to weather the storms of establishing
our congregation of LLS.

The general state in the Roman Catholic Church in
Zimbabwe right now leaves a lot to be desired. The
breaking of the sixth commandment among the priests,
nuns and brothers is now regarded as the norm. The
Priests, Deacons and Seminarians and Nuns affiliated
to our group are practicing true celibacy. This is
proving to be a real threat to those who are leading a
promiscuous life

We have a five hundred acre farm some thirty km out of
Kwekwe. On this farm the Light of Life Christian Group
members are building a very big dining hall which can
carry about 2000 people. There are two cottages for
caretakers and two dormitories which are not yet

When this place was discovered that is when
our persecution started. The parish priest thought
that our goal is to lure members from the Roman
Catholic Church so that we can fill our big building
which they believe is a church. Since no one is
interested in talking to us directly and we were so
popular with the parishioners we became a threat to
the church.

All the priests, deacons and seminarians
who are members of the LLCG do not drink any alcoholic
staff or smoke. They do not encourage any ancestral
worship but teach that with enough faith in the Lord
Jesus Christ there is no problem that cannot be

What is also common in our culture is
consulting witchdoctors and false prophets which are
all over. Members of the LLCG are not allowed to do
that. Those who find the going getting tough always
approach us for counselling. And with the Lord?s help
they always arrive a solution without breaking any of
God?s commandments. They are easily identifiable
because of their quality of faith.

Of late most of
them held positions of responsibility such as being
chosen as a parish chairperson, secretary, treasurer
etc. This happened in Kwekwe, Redcliff, Harare and
Triangle. Some of our members have positions at
deanery level. So we are well informed of all the
plots and plans of how some church leaders hope to
destroy us. But believe me the Lord is on our side.

Well, just like any good thing starting, the pioneers
have to be tried and tested. Of late, everything that
can go wrong has done so. Several of the nuns suffered
from different types of ailments when we had no money
to buy medication. Since we are all on medical aid
seeing a doctor was not a problem, but buying the

You know what, each time one of the
sisters brought a prescription with a quotation, and
someone would just offer us enough money to cover the
expenses plus fruits for the sick nun.

What I would
consider to be the biggest blow we have suffered is
when our old house was destroyed by the clean up
operation going on in our country.

( Boinkie's note: This was when the government decided to destroy all houses and businesses that the government claimed did not have proper paperwork...about 700 000 people were left homeless and many small businesses destroyed..

The nine of us were
sharing 6 bedrooms and when the one house was
destroyed, we remained with 3 bedrooms. Most of our
property we had to ask well wishers to keep for us
whilst we did our best to fit into the remaining 3
bedrooms. Our chapel which was in the old house is now
gone so we are using our sitting room as a prayer room
as well.

Plans are underway to build a cottage. And we
all have faith that as soon as the plan is ready, our
Lord will provide us with enough money.

Well I have just completed my Bachelor of Science
Degree in counselling. I am going to graduate on the
7th of October 2005. Nancy, despite all our hardships,
the Lord is so good to us. The bond that is between us
is getting stronger with each storm that we face.
We believe that God?s love for his children during the
period of their severest trails is as strong and
tender as in the days of their sunniest prosperity.

It is appropriate for us to be placed in a furnace of
fire so that our earthliness maybe consumed so that
the image of Christ may be perfectly reflected. The
season of distress and anguish before us will require
a faith that will not faint though severely tried.

Those who are unwilling to deny self, to agonise
before God, to pray long and earnestly for His
blessing will not obtain it.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Enya singing for John Paul II