Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Due to be released Nov. 19, 2009, and sold exclusively by Nineveh's Crossing, David Lewis Crawford's first publicity for his freshman CD "Double Dog Dare" appeared headlining his local newspaper's website.


Nov 11, 2009 - Dalton, GA

Parenthood inspires songwriter

By Rachel Brown
Dalton Daily Citizen

It was a normally chaotic evening in David Crawford’s Rocky Face home about four years ago when his daughters, then 3 and 7, inspired him.

“They were in the bathtub, and it was one of those stressful times of getting ready for bed — splashing too much water out, one of them got soap in their eye, one of them wanted the little ducky, and the other one didn’t want them to have the ducky,” he said. “So it was a typical stressful bedtime/bath time scenario, and as I was keeping an eye on them from the living room this song sort of popped into my head.”

 <Read More at the Daily Citizen Website>

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Vatican Seeks Signs of Alien Life

Vatican Seeks Signs of Alien Life - International News | News of the World | Middle East News | Europe News -

During the spring of my junior year at college (1968) at a rigorous Christian liberal arts college where I majored in Physics, yet had a strong interest and Philosophy, I was selected to participate in a interdisciplinary seminary. One student from each of the college's 17 majors was selected to participate. Each of us had to present a paper on a major philosophical challenge that we might face in our chosen line of work. I was headed into the space program (trained astronauts for a few years) and my paper posited the discover of intelligent life outside of Earth, and what we as Christians should do about it, or with it, or what implications it would have for the Faith.  (During the semester the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. That year I saw the movie 9 times, and finally got the class to go. Our instructor explained it all... wonderful philosophical premises.)

Unfortunately, no one else in the class shared my curiosity about alien life, and after my report everyone challenged my premise: that there probably was intelligent life out there. We never did discuss what the Vatican is now wanting to explore.  I wish I had been invited to the Vatican ... well, just listen in. It is still a fascinating topic to me....not scientifically, but what the implications for Christianity it might hold.

Arthur C. Clarke, the co-writer of 2001, and a scientist in his own right (he's the guy that came up with the idea of revolving satellites, geosynchronous satellites, and the space elevator that's recently in the news) was an agnostic. But he wrote a couple short stories that explored the concept of what it might take to convince him there was a God. One story had deep space explores coming upon the Crab Nebulae, at the center of which they discover the remains of a civilization on a planet. 2,000 years earlier the planet and all the inhabitants were burned to a crisp from a nearby Supernova. The explorer's discover that during the life time on this planet, the inhabitants never experienced any conflict, war, or what Christians call sin. They were a morally perfect society. And the Supernova? It was the star of Bethlehem.

But I am fascinated more by the possibility that Earth is the ONLY place in the universe where life exists. Imagine the philosophical impliations of that. Wow!

Posted using ShareThis

Friday, August 21, 2009

Generals and Bureaucrates

For those of you following the drama of the MAKING of our movie TIGER'S HOPE, here's the latest. Truly, the making of it is more significant than the movie. But you have to read to the end. What follows is an email I sent out to the staff and crew earlier today. (sw)


Dear Tiger's Hope Cast, Crew, Staff, and Volunteers:

1. September Production is Canceled.
2. God’s Designs at Work
2. Feature Film Development Planned
3. This is Just the Beginning
4. Appreciation and Vision Dinner Coming
5. Surprise Ending


Some of you know we've been dealing the last couple of weeks with an apparent crisis: The seed funding from the Diocese of Lansing for our production was suddenly rescinded after four months of enthusiastic support by the bishop and the Department of Life Justice Director, who wrote the initial grant and was the inspiration behind our attempt to save marriages and thousands of lives. But when the formal agreements were presented the bureaucrats appeared, the bishop was silenced, and the money yanked from the life justice director. I was informed two days ago by the head of Catholic Charities for the diocese, that "the diocese will not be joining" SWC Films in the production effort of Tiger's Hope, and neither will they make available the $55,000 grant awarded by Our Sunday Visitor Institute. Bummer… or so we thought.


Events like this can be maddening to those of us who want to believe in the Church and its teachings. But the reality of bureaucratic problems within institutions is part of human nature. They existed at the time of Christ within the Synagogue, they exist today in all organizations, and for storytellers such problems always provide fodder for drama. As Philip Carrel, our production designer remarked, it’s ironic how “the bureaucracies set up to help people, often times obstruct the help from getting out.” In this case, interoffice politics seems to have prevented the creation of a project that could save thousands of lives and marriages. But there are plenty of reminders to the contrary. I go to confession at St. Bonaventure in Detroit. There, on Venerable Solanus Casey’s tomb are carved these words: “Blessed be God in all his designs. I sense that is what’s at work here.


My partner, Alex Davis, and I talked of the possibillity of losing the DOL’s financial support over a month ago and roughly figured that the two of us could fund the project alone, especially since we could count on the Michigan Film Incentives. But when the $55,000 actually went away we spent some time with cash flow estimates, and decided that taking on the financial risk endangered not only our families’ stability but the project’s quality. Now, as investors, with serious money involved (for us) we looked at our roles differently. First, rather than thinking as filmmakers and how we can make the movie better, we started to cut costs. And second, we kept putting on our marketing hats and trying to figure out how we could sell more DVDs to recover our investment. That kind of thinking was bound to hurt the project’s quality and clarity of message. Bad.


Then it occurred to us that when I wrote the treatment and script for TIGER'S HOPE, which sold the bishop and others on doing the drama instead of the documentary, I was careful to pull my dramatic punches and attempted to please the bishop and Christian cable channels like EWTN and TBN. That is why, if you've read the script, Stacey TELLS us about in vitro and all the dangers, but we never SEE or experience in vitro. Movies are about SHOWING and not TELLING. Stacey’s lines were more appropriate to a play where about all a director has to work with are words. A second thing that always bugged me was Tiger was the only character that had a developed arc. We never investigated Jake, her husband, and in procreative practices the husband is suppose to be an equal partner in all this. Hello! Finally, and third, is something I write and lecture about but in Tiger's Hope was nearly absence—an antagonist that seemed larger and more powerful than the protagonist. Great stories have great antagonists that drive the protagonist to change in ways they would never have done otherwise. That failing I dismissed because I didn't want to reveal the underbelly of the church and it's internal dissidents, nor did I have the time in the shorter production planned to develop such a character.

Then the bishop went away, literally (sounds like a plot point). We lamented his disappearance at first, but then our eyes began to open. WE DIDN'T HAVE TO APPEASE THE BISHOP, or the diocesan bureaucrats, or the censors at Christian networks. We could tell a REAL story, and include what we needed to communicate the full drama of the subject. THAT WAS LIBERATING!

Coupled with that was some dramatic elements to the longer story that we were introduced to by the real life experiences of a Catholic couple who recently went through in vitro with their priest’s blessing. When I first heard their tale I literally came out of my seat in shock, and wanted to totally rewrite Tigers Hope, but realized I'd need a feature length project to tell the story properly.

In another script I analyzed for someone in Hollywood the Chinese concept of Wei Ji was explained. Together the figures Wei and Ji mean "Crisis". The Wei equates with "danger" but the "Ji" equates with opportunity. That's similar to the Christian teaching that every bad thing that enters our life has with it a bigger grace. Romans 8:28 says "All things work together for good to those that are called according to His purpose."

Or, in the words of our project Chaplin Fr. Mike: FEATURE LENGTH Movie. YEAH ! AMEN! ALLELUIA! Thanks be to God going Mainstream YES!


Now a lot of very good work has been done on this project to date, and we do not intend to lose it. The work we've all done has not been wasted, but will all contribute to the next phrase… although for now we will take a pause to regroup and refocus.... even as the story development process has already begun. So, please save your work, and please send me a back-up copy. We will continue, I hope, with the music production as that is almost done, and it’s on-going life can be an inspiration for where we go next.


One member of the team mentioned the advantages of also having a study guide that would accompany the movie, so groups could further study the Bible and Church moral teaching related to marriage. That was always the intent, and it still is. Such guides give the entire film effort on-going meaning and purpose, as well as act as a cross marketing tool. We have study guides for a number of our other best selling DVDs; they are downloaded for free off our websites in the thousands.


Now, we haven't set a date, but we want to invite you and your significant other to a banquet at Mama Mia's in Walled Lake where we will treat you to their great food, and let the producer's of Tiger's Hope share with you our appreciation for all of your work, and our excitement and vision for where we're going next on this journey And maybe we can persuade Angela Maiz (Tiger), Al Jacquez (Jake), and songwriters Janet Pound, and James Stonehouse to share with us the great songs they've created, which I still hope to record in the next couple weeks.

No date for the dinner is set yet, but stay tuned.

Alex Davis sends this along from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (chapter 6 verses 11-20 Contemporary English Version): Let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. Put on all armor that God gives, so you defend yourself against the devil's tricks. We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. So put on all the arms that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will be standing firm.

Stanley D. Williams, PhD.
Executive Producer - Director
Office 248-344-4423

P.S. This just in, moments after this was posted: The Director of Life Justice has been fired.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

With So Many Klutzes..., Why Be Catholic?

What follows is a letter a friend of mine wrote to a guy named Bob. I contributed to it, but it is clearly, Michael King's.

Dear Bob,

This is a personal letter to you and to explain how much I really do understand your situation. Roman Catholics are some of the worst Christians imaginable. They do not read their Bibles. They do not evangelize. Some do not care much for their fellow man and so it goes on and on and on. I do not think it is all their fault as they are badly instructed as to what is really important and true. I am somewhat ashamed of them!! Now you may ask and rightly so why on earth be a Catholic amongst such a shameful bunch? Catholics divorce, abort, and use condoms and birth control just like the heathen and their Protestant counterparts. The Mass service, as celebrated by some priests, is desperately boring and misunderstood. The homilies are often irrelevant and the people you meet in Church are mostly uninterested in you and quite unfriendly. I am talking generally. There are exceptions and thank God for them. But they are only exceptions.

I am a devout and died in the wool Catholic for one reason only. Get this! Just One reason only. Why???????? Because it is TRUE!!!!!! That is the only reason. It is still the Church that Jesus is guiding down through the centuries; it must be because in spite of all the personal sins and mistakes of some of it's leaders, it's still here? How could that be except by the miraculous protection of God Himself?! And, amazingly, its official teachings about the faith have NEVER changed, nor have they bowed to secularism, or popularism, or moral relativism, or deconstructionism as has every other Christian Church in those doctrines that are distinct from Catholicism. Even the Greeks and Orthodox are inconsistent and have given in on issues like birth control. Everything the Catholic Church teaches can be traced back to the Apostles without contamination.

Many of my best friends are Protestants and Not Catholics. Yes, I do have a few very very good Catholic ones that can be counted on the fingers of one hand. I do know a handful of priests that I can admire and I am thankful for them. This picture that I have painted reminds me of the well known account in the Old Testament of Elijah and the Prophets of Baal. Do you remember how much water Elijah insisted be poured over the sacrifice to make sure it would not burn? Then Whoooooosh!!!! The fire came down and consumed the water, the sacrifice, and even the altar on which it was put. That is the Catholic Church for you, and all that water on the sacrifice is its shameful side. Jesus knew well the heart of man so He devised a Church which would not rely on man -- any man -- for survival. We are all gone astray, there is none good no not one. Jesus knew that so He devised a fool proof Church that would last whether there were good people, bad people, or a whole bunch of indifferent people.

Please, I am going to send this not only to you but to many as it has to be said. Bob, I love and I would love you even if you were a Muslim or a Jehovah Witness or a Mormon or an Atheist.

Michael Jaffray King

Sunday, July 19, 2009


It's time to tell this story, which some have heard. But, as of Friday the song writing team of composer James Stonehouse and lyricist Janet Pound came aboard the project to write the four songs for Tiger and Jake in our movie TIGER'S HOPE.

This is one of those stories that helped to confirm that while my name may be followed as "producer" there is more going on here than I can explain. A month or so ago I broke down and at the suggestion of other producer friends, I called a Casting Director, Janet Pound, of Pound-Mooney Casting. Janet and her partner, Kathy Mooney have cast a number of the major movies that have come through Michigan, and they just picked up 3 more, including the huge project RED DAWN. Here's an interview with them about auditions that some may find interesting. It appeared on BACKSTAGE. (Janet is on the left, Kathy right.)

I was looking for a female lead, someone who could take control of a difficult role, could sing, and preferably had dark hair. Janet asked if I would consider a soprano, and I demurred, thinking I needed a mezzo or alto, someone with some soulish guts to her voice. Janet asked again and wanted to send along an mp3 of something sung by an ex-Off Broadway actress-dancer-singer Angela Maiz who had "retired" to Michigan to have kids (Angela had just birthed number four.) The song had been written and recorded two years earlier as part of CAR STARS, a tribute to the automobile industry here in Michigan. "Sure, send it along," I said, not expecting much.

The first track of the mp3 Janet sent had been compressed several times, and with my loss of some high frequencies in my hearing, I couldn't understand a word. But as I listened to the music and voice I started to tear up. What's going on here, I wondered? What was clear was that the melody and style was close if not dead on to the mood of the very important opening song to the movie. (In those first montage scenes we're introduced to the life of an entertainer who is struggling with something sad in her life. Halfway through the song we join her on stage at her dinner club where she sings for an appreciative audience. But at song's end she breaks down in tears and heads for her dressing room. There, on her husband-manager's chest she laments her infertility.) I asked for the lyrics. They came. Click on the song title below to listen as you follow the words. The song will open in a second window or tab, allowing you to come back to this one to read the words as Angela (TIGER) sings. That's her above from her audition videotape.








Now, with the words, I was mesmerized. But I had a small problem. I had just convinced Fr. Eduard Perrone, the musical genius and composer who is also the pastor at Assumption Grotto Catholic Church in Detroit, to write the songs for Tiger's Hope. Fr. Perrone's agreement to be involved inspired me, and excited others that knew him. But he was waiting for me to sketch out some rough words to the four songs, to give him a sense of where the songs should go. I had not had time to do that.

Now, I was faced with telling Fr. Perrone about this song (from another songwriter/composer team) -- that had me in tears as I envisioned the first seven scenes of the movie with this music playing in the background. The mood and sentiment was perfect. Reticent, I sent the lyrics and mp3 to Fr. Perrone, and told him the story of how it came to me. I asked him what he thought of it. He wrote back:
I listened carefully to the song. It seemed to have that blend of misty melancholy and hopeful yearning: the combined effect of the lyrics and the subtly nostalgic music. I do not think I could better this in any way and you ought to allow your instincts about the rightness of this piece for TH to direct its inclusion in it. --- If it's my blessing on this that you seek, you have it in good measure--not only for the use of this song but for the entire project which has the potential of enriching many lives and of averting a tragic end to some difficult but solvable marital difficulties.
Thus, songwriters Janet Pound, lyricist (my Casting Director) and her friend, James Stonehouse, composer, entered the picture. It took a couple meetings and several emails later, and James sending yet another tune he had written for another of the movie's montages, to convince me that these two were cut out perfectly for Tiger's Hope. We agreed last week on the money, and they're eager to get the work done, so we can record the songs at maestro Terry Herald's studio next month.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

God, What Would You Do Without Me?

I'm a tad frustrated with bureaucracy of the Catholic Church. "Tad" may be an understatement. But the Church is a reflection of God Almighty. So, my frustration is with God, actually.

While explaining my latest frustration, to my loveliness (Pam, my wife) I let out with a joking exclamation, throwing my hands into the air: "God!? What would you do without me?"

We laughed.

Then, I thought that my whining would be a great title of a book or a blog. Imagine all the funny, self-deprecating things you would write about... even in the words of historical figures. We could start with creation, and why did it take billions of years to create the universe? Bureaucracy no doubt. It's tough getting billions upon billions of electrons lined up to make a clump of coal, let alone a fusion-fired star. Probably harder than herding cats.

Then Pam said, "How about 'ARROGANCE IN UNIFORM'. That's good. Finally she said to me, as I stood in the hall starring at the floor thinking, just outside the bathroom where she was curling her hair -- "Don't calm down, get going!"

So, I came in here to write this.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What a Way to Go!

Germaine, in her role as Mother Teresa in a skit at Fr. Perrone's 30th Anniversary celebration from Diane M. Korzeniewski's Grotto website. (Not used with permission, but I think Diane won't mind.)

If you're going to die in a car accident, Germaine shows us how. She was the elderly, diligent, hardworking, and street smart housekeeper for Fr. Perrone at the Assumption Grotto rectory. At the end of her day of ministry to a house full of priests and staff, she was crossing Gratiot to catch a bus. She was struck by a speeding car that one witness pegged at 90 mph. She unconscious instantly. Probably felt no pain. Witnesses say she was knocked out of her tennis shoes. As PROVIDENCE would have it, at that very instant, Fr. Perrone, Fr. Bustamonte, and Fr. White were entering a car (to go to the wake for the mother of Grotto blogger Diane M. Korzeniewski) in the rectory parking lot a few dozen feet away. Someone came to them yelling that there at been an accident and they were needed. They ran to the street and found the lady that they loved so much, near death, unconscious, her heart still beating. While Fr. Bustamonte held the oil, Fr. Perrone, in shock, administered Germaine her last rites, and some other prayers of forgiveness that one parishioner said guaranteed her entrance to the pearly gates. Now, I know these three holy priests, and I gotta tell you: I cannot imagine a better way to go, if you're going to go in an accident. Imagine, your life is full -- being the housekeeper of the Church of the living God -- you're struck by something, you don't know what, no pain, no suffering, and instantly 3 priests are kneeling over you in the street ensuring your eternal reward. What a way to go! You can pray for Germaine, but I KNOW Germaine is praying for us and the continual, effectual, ministry of those priests, who are still in shock.

Here is post from Diane about Germaine.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

More IVF Problems

This just in from the London Times.

U.K. Woman Aborts Other Mother's Last Embryo

A mother desperate to have a second child has told how she lost her last IVF embryo when the U.K. National Health Service implanted it into the wrong patient.

When the other woman found out that the embryo was not hers, she aborted it.

Details of the blunder raise fresh questions about the way IVF clinics are regulated.

The Sunday Times has previously revealed that women undergoing fertility treatment have had their eggs fertilized with the wrong sperm.

Deborah, the woman who lost her chance of another baby, is so traumatized by the error that she is reluctant to risk further IVF to have a longed-for sibling for her son, Jamie, 6.

Because Deborah is 40 her prospects of having another child with her boyfriend, Paul, 38, are slim and diminishing.

Deborah, who does not want to disclose her surname, said: “I will never forget the moment the hospital broke the news to us. Initially, the hospital told me there had been an accident in the lab and that the embryo had been damaged. I thought that someone had, perhaps, dropped the embryo dish.

“I remember thinking: ‘That’s our last hope gone – we will never have another child.’ I left the hospital feeling totally shell-shocked.

“When we went back to the hospital two days later and we were told the truth about my embryo being given to someone else I was so angry.”

Full Story Here

Help us tell the truth of IVF with our television drama, Tiger's Hope.

Friday, June 12, 2009


for Catholic Pro-Life Television Movie

http://www.ninevehscrossing.comDear Friends,

WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW to complete the funding of this project and give it the "Green Light." It is a UNIQUE Pro-Life television drama planned for production very soon. We have accounted for 60% of the $250K budget, which leaves us with only $100K. Can you or someone you know meet that (tax deductible) difference by the end of June? If so, please call now, or visit our Contribution Page, so we can properly plan production.

Call either Rory Hoipkemier, Life Justice-Catholic Charities, Diocese of Lansing at 517-342-1469. or myself, Stan Williams, SWC Films at 248-344-4423 Ext. 5. Or visit the Contribution Page at

Inspired by a suggestion from Professor & Pro-Life Advocate Janet Smith, the Diocese of Lansing (under Bishop Earl Boyea's guidance) submitted and received from Our Sunday Visitor a grant to do a video on the physical and moral dangers of IN VITRO fertilization. Quickly we realized that to change society's mind-set a simple documentary was only going to be watched by the "choir." So, we took the high road and have been developing a 30 min drama with original music and top notch actors.


"The script is quite moving and sensitive... cannot wait to see it on film."
(Dr. Thomas Hilgers, The Pope Paul VI Institute)

"A powerful drama portraying the Godly truth of the sacredness of human life from its very beginnings." (Dr. Ray Guarendi)

"Tiger's Hope is profoundly moving and captivating drama of life and love."
(Fr. Mike Lubinsky, Augusta, GA.)

Others have called the script: "A BEAUTIFUL STORY" -- "EMOTIONALLY ENGAGING" and "I COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN."

You can read all about the project at TIGERSHOPE.COM, and even download and read the script. (UN = tiger, PW = naturallaw)

Targeted at Catholics and other Christians the project will reveal the full truth of natural law and the Church's teaching about IVF. The DVD will be captioned, subtitled in different languages, and distributed to high schools, seminaries, and pro-life organizations around the world.

Your help is needed this month to fund this project and also let others know about it by forwarding this email.

As Catholics, we are called to learn our faith and to be ready to share it with everyone. This film presents an important message that needs to be shared.

Stanley D. Williams, Ph.D.
Co-Executive Producer, Writer, & Director
SWC Films

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Presentation of Jesus in the Temple Luke 2:22ff

An Ignatian Repetition.


Hundreds of pilgrims mill around the marble columns of the Temple.

An OLD MAN rounds a pillar and nearly tumbles over an OLD WOMAN resting on the ground.

OLD MAN (M:) (with an uncanny knack for English vernacular)
Good Grief! Why don't you go home for a change?

OLD WOMAN (W:) (looking up and wondering if the subtitles are working)
For the same reason you come everyday to clean the floor with those oversized robes. Who do you think you are, a priest?

M: They keep my feet warm.

W: Well you might get some thicker sandels, or try wearing socks.

M: Socks? What are...

W: (interrupting) In time, in time. Don't push it.

M: You just can't let a guy go in peace, can you?

W: Well, if you weren't so politically correct I'd get out from under your misogynistic feet.

M: Mis-ongen... what?

W: All you think about is being Jewish!

M: What's wrong with that?

W: Some of us aren't Jewish?

M: You're not, Jewish? But you've been here for as long as I've been coming to Temple. You never leave the place, what'd...

W: I didn't say I wasn't Jewish, but do you think all these pilgrims that you're cleaning up after are Jews? Look at that guy over there with the pug face. No nose at all. Where do suppose he's from? And the family... there, by on the steps to the portico. The guy's at least in his 4th decade and still no hair. Why are they here?

M: I... I.... guess. I don't know!

W: Of course you don't. That's because you're just too Jewish for your own good. They're here for the same reason you and I suffer from Temple addiction. Today could be the day. They don't want to miss it either. They come in here to pray, and experience the presence of God.

M: But how could they... they're.... goya -- they are all that is not of Israel.

W: Well, like I've been saying...and even though you're tripping over them, and you're picking up their trash day after day, you don't get it. He's coming for them, too.

M: I still don't believe it. Why would God care about the gentiles and their filthy habits. Look here's another hamburger wrapper just lying on the ground. (The Old Man stabs it with a pointed stick, and then slides it into a trash bag slung over his shoulder. )

W: That was mine.

M: Sun's finally up.

W: He's coming as a light to them, too. See how the sun warms their feet as well as your own?

The Old Man looks around the temple as the early morning sun stirs the pilgrims who have spent the night on the ground. It is warm. It is light. And it falls upon the just and the unjust, the Jews and the Gentiles alike.

M: I just don't believe it.

W: It's not up to you.

As his eyes drift across the crowd toward the entrance steps his eyes notice that several people are moving toward a couple and a young child that have just entered. The sun cuts through the columns like a stage's follow spot and lands on the mother and small child she carries. The man has a worn cloth bag of belongings over his shoulder and a couple of birds wrapped in a net. He seem surprised at how people are looking at them, their eyes following every step. But the young mother smiles to herself, eyes cast down, at the child's face still hidden in the wrap.

W: What is it?

The Old Man is silent. He just gazes at the family as they come up the steps, through the crowd, toward where and the his old lady friend have been bickering and debating future history.

M: They're coming over here.

The woman gets up, slowly, in an aged way, and looks toward the bustle.

She squints in the bright light that now encircles the family... yes, like a halo, as corny as that may sound.

W: That's her. They've been talking about her for weeks now. A young girl, a virgin even, who had a baby in the middle of the night. Her husband's much older. Yes, I'm sure. Those people near them stirring? Those are families from Bethlehem, see the blue dye of their rucksacks. They match the mother's. That's her, Simeon.

Simeon just stares. He can't help but notice that others, the Gentiles that have come to the Temple, not as worshipers, but messy tourists that make his job cleaning up the place more difficult, are being drawn to the young family, who are now almost upon them.

SIMEON: Anna, what should I do?

ANNA: I've always said you pray out loud better than the high priest. Go for it.

Simeon steps forward, into the path of the young mother. The woman's husband is a little more agile and intervenes with his walking stick to protect the mother and her child. But the Simeon's eyes are on the woman, and then the baby. And the mother, after glancing into Simeon's eyes recognizes something special. She looks up at her husband and smiles, who drops his stick.

Then, almost as if it was for thousands of years, she unwraps the child, and hands him to the Simeon's waiting embrace. Anna stands nearby, knowing what is about to happen; she knows this old coot. He may be prejudice against the Gentiles, but he loves God more than most. What a great priest he would have made. But, now... this moment, may make up for some of that.

Simeon takes the child, almost kneels in the process, but then thinks again, and instead holds the child slightly aloft, turns toward the sun, and a throng of people that have gathered. The pug faced man, and the hairless man and his family are standing right in front of him... and all eyes are on the child that Simeon holds so firmly but reverently aloft.

SIMEON: (every word counts as he unblinkingly prays):
Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared...
He glances at the many faces from many nations.
...which you have prepared in the sight of all the peoples, a light...
Then he catches Anna's eyes, as the diminutive old woman gazes up at the child.
...a light for revelation to the Gentiles...
Anna smiles.
...and glory for your people Israel.
There is a hush over the gathering as Simeon so carefully gives the baby back to his mother, an astonished look on her face and her husband's.

SIMEON (to the mother):
Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted. And you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
And he backs away.

The old woman thinks to herself: Not bad. Yes, he wold have made a great priest, listening to confessions, atoning for sins. But then, someone has to pick up the garbage.

Monday, June 1, 2009

"Imprimatur" Granted for New Book

We are thrilled to announce that the book we've been working on for two years, WHAT CATHOLICS REALLY BELIEVE, has just received Detroit Archbishop Vigneron's Approval for Publication. This is a big deal.

The terms "Nihil Obstat" and "Imprimatur" is old least the words are, according to a 2004 USCCB guideline. The fancy new phrase used by American bishops is now: "Permission to Publish." Makes sense, at least I understand what it means. But I wanted to acknowldge the work of Dr. Robert Fastiggi, who acted as censor on the project.

WHAT CATHOLICS REALLY BELIEVE will be a new book based on the video series of the same name featuring Dr. Ray Guarendi, Fr. Kevin Fete, with an answer guide written by David Armstrong. Yours truly was the book's editor, question writer, and manager. Here's a picture of what the cover will look like.

When will it be out? Well, that depends when we can get all the pictures in place and finalize the layout. We had wanted to get it to printing this summer so it would be ready for RCIA this fall, but we're way behind that schedule right now, unless I'm able to spend the next 30 days finishing the layout. But our movie project, Tiger's Hope, is on the front burner, so the book's probably going to be delayed.

Several years ago the diocese couldn't give us an Imprimatur for the video series (not according to Canon Law), so we worked on the book... so, essentially both are now doctrinally approved. Same censor, too. Thanks. Dr. Fastiggi.

The letter reads:

In accord with canon 827.3 of the Code of Canon Law, I, the Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit, hereby grant my approval to publish the book, WHAT CATHOLICS REALLY BELIEVE, Dispelling the Misrepresentations and Misunderstandings of Historic Christianity with Scripture and Tradition, by Ray Guarendi, Ph.D., Reverend Kevin Fete, with Answer guide by David Armstrong."

Notice of this rescript is to be included in the book, as follows:

Ecclesiastical approval for publiation was granted by The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit, May 20, 2009, in accord with cannon 827.3 of the Code of Canon Law.

Given in Detroit, Michigan, on the Feast of St. Bernadine of Siena, this twentieth day of May, in the year ofour Lord, two thousand. nine.

The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron
Archbishop of Detroit.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Stormy Waters and Hope

Family Ties & the author return to the Detroit River
(Photo by world adventurer and photographer, Charlie Scott)

Pam was attending a baby shower, and my eye balls were in need of a distant horizon, instead of the computer screen that even now is but 14-inches away. So, I went sailing.

There is not a better place to feel energized or contemplate God's nature and power than on a sailboat. So, I packed up the books and diary I use for my Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, made sure I had my iPhone Bible with me, dropped off Nineveh's Crossing's orders at the Post Office, stopped by Subway (it takes a while to get to the boat)... and an hour later was pulling out of the dock.

My life as a film producer, distributor, and writer is often filled with anxious moments... mostly centered around money to buy inventory, or pay for a number of projects we're developing. And sometimes those moments stretch into days. It's a constant challenge to keep spiritually focused on God's plans and not those that I devise without God. There's the rub, making sure the day's challenges are put there at the behest of God, and not the foolishness of Stan. Telling the difference is my biggest beef with God.

Lately, working on script, cast, and fund raising for Tiger's Hope, the decisions about how to spend time and money are often difficult to make, especially since both time and money have severe limits. There's never enough of either, it seems ... in the service of God. (my words, not God's)

Two days ago I was doing what all producer's do -- planning. Planning a film project is a little like budget forecasting in a recession. It seems useless, because what you plan never happens the way you thought it would. It generates a lot of chuckles and a few groans along the way. The question is always there: "What shall I do?"

That question was particularly haunting two days ago when my spiritual exercises took me to Jeremiah 29:11 and these words:
For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope.
That fits. But now I have to be sure "God's" plans are mine. Not easy.

That day the second part of my spiritual exercises took me to reflecting on the appearance of the Magi at the Nativity. I laughed out loud at the juxtaposition of Jeremiah's words ringing in my ears and putting myself in Joseph's sandals just before the Magi appear. Here's a guy that has to be wondering what "the plan" is. He's no doubt got a few of his own churning around in his head. He's got this "wife" and "baby" to care for, and he knows they are both a "little bit" special, and what's he got to offer them? Not much. The last time he tried to pawn his wood plain the broker laughed and pointed at his overstocked shelf of other pawned wood plains.

And then OUT OF THE WOODWORK (a phrase Deacon Bob uses on me when he thinks my ideas just may not be part of God's plan) come these three lost "kings" from the East with stars in their eyes, bearing gifts, looking for the King of the Jews. Uh-huh! These guys are seriously lost, Joseph thinks...wonder if they could use a wood plain?

But you know the story, and Joseph, 2,000+ plus years later in heaven is still scratching his head. There's no way he could have planned that. (plained that?) Most of us hope "one" sugar daddy will show up to help us with the latest "Project from God." But THREE?! They just drop in from left field, er.... they just pop OUT OF THE WOODWORK. (Sorry, Deacon, can't help but rub it in.)

Joseph had to have hope after that... at least until after Herod's soldiers started wiping the blood of babies off their swords.

So, I go sailing. Alone. the waters are rough, very rough. The wind is hollowing out of the West at 25-30 knots. I sail out of the Detroit River against the current, which is not something you can normally do. On Lake St. Clair there are gusts to 40, 50, and one time they hit 61 knots. What have I gotten myself into, alone, with a big boat, and just me? So, I find a moment of relative calm, turn on the iPhone Bible and access the scripture I'm suppose to be mediating on. It's Isaiah 43:1-7, which in part reads
When you pass through the water, I will be with you; in the rivers you shall not drown.
Okay, God, I get it, but let's get back to the dock so I can blog this.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


(Updated comments inserted 6/28/11)
Something quite amazing is playing out before us on national television that shows the wisdom of Catholic teaching such as Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life.) In spite of all the horrific pro-death, anti-life, anti-family decisions made by our politicians, one fact remains: In the end, you can’t buck natural law. Or, in the words of another common adage from years gone by, “You can’t fool mother nature.”

But, boy, the drama of watching it play out on reality TV is both heart rending and amazing. Since becoming Catholic I’ve been enamored with the phenomenon of large families, especially Catholic families. As a filmmaker I wanted to do a documentary on a couple of them, but never got together the resources. Lucky for me, others were able to mount projects (although not Catholic), and we’ve been enjoying The Learning Channel’s productions of The Duggars (18 Kids and Counting), and The Gosslins (John & Kate Plus 8). [The Duggars now have 19, and the Gosslins are divorced.]

Both families have Christian roots. The Duggars have a more explicit Christian presence (, but on the Gosslin’s show Scripture verses can be seen taped to the end of John and Kate’s kitchen cabinets, and John has been seen wearing T-shirts with Scripture references on them.

But early on I saw a huge difference in these families, and recently the difference has become a news item on just about every news show and website. I’m speaking about the breakdown of John and Kate’s marriage, and the very public playing out of the conflict on national television. The news media would have you believe the problem is the stress of success by having a hit show to which ten million tune in weekly. And indeed that is probably a contributor. But I noticed something early on. Did you? There has always been a romantic detachment in John and Kate’s relationship. They look at each other as if there was no romantic relationship between them whatsoever. They are like romance zombies… the romantic walking dead. You could never tell by their non-verbal or interactions that these two people love each other as husband and wife. They could be complete strangers thrown together in a reality show where they’re trying to get along, but it’s a strain. I have always felt sorry for them because of that.

But, if you watch the Duggars, the difference is startling. Now, the Duggars don’t have 8 kids to deal with, they have 18. Let’s say that again: THEY HAVE EIGHTEEN!!! And have you ever noticed the nonverbal between Jim Bob and Michelle? It’s like “love at first sight.” When Jim Bob talks and Michelle’s within sight her eyes are on him as if he was the most wonderful man in the world. She is totally in love with this guy. And when she talks, Jim Bob watches her affectionately. His eyes never wander. The love and respect is palatable, even through the silly flat TV screen.

Why the difference? Did you ever wonder? Well, Paul VI could have told you, as well as John Paul II, and a few others. And while I don’t want to be labeled a judge of people, I can’t help but take note of one particularly public difference between the sexuality of these two couples and Catholic teaching about natural law.

In the case of John and Kate Gosslin, all eight of their babies were conceived via intrauterine insemination, which involved implantation of Jon's sperm via a catheter. Kate compares the procedure with in vitro fertilization, (but) "there are no eggs removed or put back, as with IVF." Here's a link to her interview about that:

Compare that to the Duggars. While I’ve found no specific reference to how their children were conceived, (and there wouldn’t be if they were natural) their frank discussion of how they came to give up the contraceptive pill and let God have his total will with their lives and how many children they would have, explains that the Duggars, while not Catholic, have come to understand and apply natural law for all their pregnancies. Here's a link to their website's FAQ where they discuss how God told them to give up the contraceptive pill.

Through these two high-profile network reality shows we see the impact that natural vs. non-natural fertilization methods have. Catholic teaching is founded on natural law. When we follow what is natural, husbands and wives are drawn close together in a natural and supportive love. In the sexuality of marriage, when we reject what is natural we enter the danger zone as we separate the unitive and procreative nature of marriage. Paul VI writes “By safeguarding both these essential aspects, the unitive and the procreative, the conjugal act preserves in its fullness the sense of true mutual love and its ordination towards man’s most high calling to parenthood.” (Humanae Vitae, 12)

This all become very real for me recently as I’m in the midst of producing a pro life Catholic television drama on in vitro versus natural fertilization. The project is titled TIGER’S HOPE, a co-production of the Diocese of Lansing and my production company, SWC Films, with seed funding from Our Sunday Visitor. We hope to shoot it this fall in Michigan. [We had a falling out with the Diocese of Lansing and separated the project from them. We are currently developing it with similar themes but more as a mainstream theatrical film.]

Through the power of story, this short movie will give an accurate picture of the state of both in vitro technology with its health hazards, its low probability of success, and its health effects on children and mothers. All that will be dramatically contrasted with natural methods that have no side effects, almost no cost, and a success rate that is 300-400% greater than in vitro. The cultural ramifications of separating the conception of children from the martial act will also be revealed in light of the Church's teachings on marriage and the dignity of each human being.

The differences between The Duggars and The Gosllins dramatically underscore the need for a clearer understanding of natural law, and why Church teachings are so vital for healthy and happy marriages. TIGER'S HOPE is designed to reach television audiences world wide with that message in a dramatic, movie format.

P.S. I can't help but also notice the differences between the position of the father in the two pictures used to illustrate this article. I did not pick these pictures with this in mind. It just "happened." (Right!) Both are pictures of the entire family around the dinning room table. Notice how John is standing in the background, a cap on his head (as if hiding or ready to bolt for the door), while Kate, in charge, is involved with the kids around the Gosslin table. Then notice how Jim Bob sits at the head of the Duggar table (in charge, and not going anywhere) while Michelle sits (partially hidden) at his side. Telling. Pay attention folks. There are consequences to violating natural law.

The Kingdom of Christ - Contemplation

Here is my reflection on The Kingdom of Christ.... it's a repetition.

God, I beg you for your grace that all my thoughts and actions be directed toward the advancement of your Kingdom. I offer up all my time, money, service, suffering, spirit to the advancement of Christianity both here and there with you.... In so doing I ask that I will act against sensuality and carnality and worldly love of things.

So, here I am in the Lord's presence as I work at my various tasks throughout the day. He labors immediately beside me. I can reach out and touch Him, or look at what he is doing (as if on his desktop)... a co-worker. We are in a large tiled and marble columned round room like a rotunda. Around the perimeter are many Biblical and other unknown saints standing behind the great ancestors of mine, who stand in front of the heavenly throng. I can look around at the crowd of witnesses watching me and the Lord, and in the front row are John Williams (missionary to the South Seas, martyred), Jeremiah Williams (circuit rider preacher to the land of Lincoln and Ohio in the late 1800s), Emily Williams (Jeremiah's wife of 7), Benjamin and Ruth Williams (my parents and active Evangelicals), Hope and Burton Winke (my Aunt and Uncle -- Hope and Ruth helped their mother found dozens of Christian Churches in central India during the early 20th century), Edith & Ross Willobee and their deceased child David (my mother and aunt's missionary parents to India 1907 ff - Ross and David are buried in India), Uncle Smith (the black missionary from Trinidad who immigrated to India was died there as an old preacher who taught me at his knee and shoulder to sing "Rolled Away, All my Sins are Rolled Away" in Hindi). And over the shoulders of these blood relatives are the saints of old, resting their hands on my ancestor's shoulders —altogether watching my every move. ..... My breath and voice of my many murmuring prayers are at the vertex or foci of the rotunda and my audience can hear everything I whisper like those acoustic museum displays. Indeed I am living in Hebrews 12:1.

Then, I notice that the saints (mine and the Biblical ones) are standing, if not hovering, over beautiful polished marble of various colors... and beneath me is compacted dirt. Over the saints is a tall and ornate roof to protect them, and over me the roof is missing, exposing my efforts to sun and wind, rain, and fog, hot and cold. Sometimes my flooring is mud, other times it is hard, but it is never grass. I am in the heavenly court, and I am on display as evidence...but of what kind? Am I evidence for the prosecution or the defense? That is my choice. What will I do?

Tonight, will I make a good examination of conscience and confession? Everyone watches and prays for me.

Smelly Shepherds

I'm bored with politics... at least blogging about the ancient social activity that is suppose to bring peace and goodwill to the common man, but for me only seems to bring distrust and angst. So, I'll try blogging my contemplations from time to time. I'm part of a new Oblates of Mary lay organization, under Fr. Dennis Brown. For the second time in our short Catholic life, Pam and I are going through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius with him as our spiritual director. In short, the idea is to contemplate a Biblical scene, put yourself into it, and gain some spiritual fruit or lesson from imaginatively being there which you can apply today. So here goes.

I'm one of the shepherds in a pasture outside of Bethlehem. We see angels in the sky trying to talk to us. We're scared and start to run not knowing what this is. When we figure it out (how we figure it out I'm not sure) we start to argue. (All good stories have conflict.) There are four of us. One of us is a skeptic and doesn't even darken the synagogues' door step. The other is all excited and starts jumping up and down quoting obscure passages from Scripture....he's nuts. The third is a dim wit and will follow the last person he talked to or fed him. And the fourth is wanting to go back and sleep off his drunken stupor. But when Mr. Faithfilled wants us all to go see this baby in the middle of the night, I think he's off his rocker... angels or not. I mean, in the daylight the villagers wouldn't let us in the gate without taking a bath.... it's been a week and we've been living with sheep. And then there's the problem of leaving the sheep in the middle of the night with only drunk and knocked out Rocky to watch them.... not a good idea. And what would you think if you looked out your house window in the middle of the night (I mean the men back then probably has enlarged prostates, too) and saw three suspicious guys wander into town that shouldn't be there? You'd call the cops, except there was no telephone, so you'd take your stick, rouse your neighbor, and case them out of town as if they were thieves.

So, going to see Jesus, isn't that easy, even if he was born a few hundred yards away. But, in the middle of the night.... wait, how do we know the baby is awake with his parents? This might be the first night they've gotten him to sleep on time, and they're bushed and fast asleep. Wouldn't we be waking them up? "Hey, Joseph wake up Mary so we can see the baby!" Watch out he's got a biggger stick.

So, I'm wanting to believe that we should go see Jesus and bug his parents, and raise the ire of the town folk, especially when the sheep we're suppose to be watching run off into the dark. I have my doubts, because I know that unless God does this, with me an unlikely, unworthy, smelly, otherwise-occupied, and sacred sinner -- it will not happen, and we will all be ridiculed by those that know us.

Now, what was that you saw in the sky? Naw, it was a dream, go back to sleep.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mary Ann Glendon Says No To Notre Dame

April 27, 2009

The Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
University of Notre Dame

Dear Father Jenkins,

When you informed me in December 2008 that I had been selected to receive Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, I was profoundly moved. I treasure the memory of receiving an honorary degree from Notre Dame in 1996, and I have always felt honored that the commencement speech I gave that year was included in the anthology of Notre Dame’s most memorable commencement speeches. So I immediately began working on an acceptance speech that I hoped would be worthy of the occasion, of the honor of the medal, and of your students and faculty.

Last month, when you called to tell me that the commencement speech was to be given by President Obama, I mentioned to you that I would have to rewrite my speech. Over the ensuing weeks, the task that once seemed so delightful has been complicated by a number of factors.

First, as a longtime consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I could not help but be dismayed by the news that Notre Dame also planned to award the president an honorary degree. This, as you must know, was in disregard of the U.S. bishops’ express request of 2004 that Catholic institutions “should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles” and that such persons “should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” That request, which in no way seeks to control or interfere with an institution’s freedom to invite and engage in serious debate with whomever it wishes, seems to me so reasonable that I am at a loss to understand why a Catholic university should disrespect it.

Then I learned that “talking points” issued by Notre Dame in response to widespread criticism of its decision included two statements implying that my acceptance speech would somehow balance the event:
  • President Obama won’t be doing all the talking. Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, will be speaking as the recipient of the Laetare Medal.
  • We think having the president come to Notre Dame, see our graduates, meet our leaders, and hear a talk from Mary Ann Glendon is a good thing for the president and for the causes we care about.
A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision—in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops—to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.
Finally, with recent news reports that other Catholic schools are similarly choosing to disregard the bishops’ guidelines, I am concerned that Notre Dame’s example could have an unfortunate ripple effect.

It is with great sadness, therefore, that I have concluded that I cannot accept the Laetare Medal or participate in the May 17 graduation ceremony.

In order to avoid the inevitable speculation about the reasons for my decision, I will release this letter to the press, but I do not plan to make any further comment on the matter at this time.

Yours Very Truly,
Mary Ann Glendon

Monday, April 13, 2009

Bruskewitz Makes It Clear - Notre Dame NOT Catholic

April 3, 2009

The Reverend John Jenkins, C.S.C
President, University of Notre Dame
400 Main Building
Notre Dame, IN 46556

Reverend and dear Father Jenkins,

Permit me to add my name as well to the long list of Bishops of the Catholic Church who are utterly appalled by your dedication to immorality and wrong-doing represented by your support for the obscenity called “The Vagina Monologues”, and your absolute indifference to the murderous abortion program and beliefs of this President of the united States.

The fact that you have some sort of past connection with the State of Nebraska makes it all the more painful that the Catholic people here have to see your betrayal of the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.

I can assure you of my prayers for your conversion, and for the conversion of your formerly Catholic University. I am

Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus,
The Most Reverend Fabian W. Bruskewitz
Bishop of Lincoln

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Letter to Phyllis

Easter Sunday, April l2, 2009

Dear Phyllis:

Regarding the enclosed “material” you sent, and a request for a reply.

The crux of so munch of this anti-Catholic material is laughable in a way. It all commits logical fallacies called either the STRAWMAN fallacy, or the fallacy of EQUIVOCATION, or the fallacy of DIFVOCATION (aka “distinction without a difference”).

In the strawman fallacy a false position is raised about something, and then it is shot down. It’s typical of adolescents who says to his parents “You hate me because you never give me anything.” When in fact, the parent has sacrificed left and right, hither and yon, but refuses to give the kids things that would do him or her harm. Well, the tactic plays out in anti-Catholic circles. For example, people that hate Catholicism will claim that the Catholics are taught to worship Mary. Then they quote verses from the Bible that say only God should be worshiped. Well, the fact is that Catholic teaching ONLY allows God to be worshiped, and never anything else, including the mother of Jesus.  So their claim about Catholicism is false, and their argument without validity. Catholics love and honor the mother of Jesus just as Jesus loved and honored his mother. We should be like Christ, right? Then we should do what Jesus did? Did he love and honor his mother?  How simple is this?

In the difvocation fallacy two different words or phrases are pitted against each other (they are vocalized differently) but then they are claimed to mean exactly the same thing. When it comes to the fallacy of DIFVOCATION those that hate Catholicism will say that Catholics are taught to HONOR Mary, which is true. But then the arguers will claim that there is no difference between the concept of HONOR and WORSHIP. But, in fact, there is a huge difference, and to Catholics the concept of “honor” is far different from “worship.” We are told, for instance, to honor our mother and father, but we are not told to worship them, or even obey when instructed to do something immoral.

In the equivocation fallacy two words that sound the same, and perhaps are spelled the same (equal vocalization) are given two different definitions by the different parties. It sounds and looks like they are talking about the same thing but in fact the underlying definitions are different, and so no agreement can be reached. When it comes to the fallacy of equivocation those that hate Catholicism will say that the Eucharist is a graven image because it is made by man. Their physical senses claim that the host (bread) and blood (wine) are bread and wine not the body and blood of Christ. The equivocation involves the term Eucharist, which to the Catholic hater means “just bread and wine, thus a graven image” but to the Catholic Eucharist indicates “a miracle of substance, changed by the power of the Holy Spirit, not caused or made by man.”  Where the writer of the literature you sent has it in his or her mind that MAN made the bread and wine, to the Catholic it is GOD that not only made the substance of the bread and wine, but through a miracle change it’s inherent substance into the real presence of Christ. The Euchrist is a gift from GOD, not a gift from MAN.

Equivocation is also involved with the word “prayer” or “pray.” While pray can mean to “worship” it can also mean to “request” or “communicate” with those in heaven. The material you sent suggest that prayer can ONLY mean worship, so when we pray to Mary or other Saints we are worshipping them. But Catholicism has never, NEVER used the word prayer that way when referring to those in heaven.

By the way, the skeptic will see the host and cup at Mass and using their physical senses (not faith) will claim that these elements of communion are only bread and wine, because the physical senses tell him so. But this is “COMMUNION” with Christ, as well as one another. Think about the deep meaning of that word—communion—as you read the rest of this paragraph. The skeptics at the time of Christ looked upon Christ and saw only a man. Their physical senses told them that Jesus didn’t glow in the night, or walk or air; Christ appeared totally human. Therefore, Jesus couldn’t be God. But you believe Jesus was God and is God still today. If God can become man (think of the size of that miracle) why do you claim that God cannot change wine in to his blood. I mean didn’t Jesus turn water into wine? Why is the miracle of the Eucharist so hard to believe? Are you totally without faith? Is your heart so hard that God’s love cannot penetrate with his gift, his presence? We are called to be “one with Christ”. What better way to have a personal relationship with Christ than to make him PHYSICALLY and SPIRITUALLY part of your body each day during Mass. Do you trust Jesus with your life, or are YOU the one to define the terms of your relationship with God? Are you going to worship God’s understanding of his redemption for you, or does it have to agree with your limited, human, finite, corrupt understanding? Is this about your faith in God’s power? Or is it about your lack of faith in God’s supremacy?

So, Phyllis, avoid such fallacies. They are the source of misunderstandings and misrepresentations, if not outward lies. And they will crush your faith and limited God’s power in your life to work miracles.

Now, let’s go back to the Eucharist for a moment, and the “real presence” of Christ. This is not very hard to understand to a Christian who has faith in God’s miraculous power. DO YOU BELIEVE IN CHRIST’S POWER, AND IN THE HOLY SPIRIT’S POWER TO WORK MIRACLES HERE ON EARTH? To the skeptic who does not believe in God’s power to work miracles then the Catholic concept of the Eucharist is entirely ridiculous. But, look at the first part of John 6, where Jesus changes regular food into a miraculous food that feeds not just a young boy, but thousands sitting on a hillside. To the people eating, the food seemed just like regular food. But to the Apostles this was NOT the same substance. It was changed by the power of Jesus’ prayer of blessing upon it and the power of the Holy Spirit. The substance was sacramentally changed. Our senses could not see or taste the difference, but our faith indicates that something is different – miraculously different – because GOD did it, not man. So, this argument that bread made by man can ONLY and EVER be bread made by man and not miraculous changed by God, is entirely ridiculous.

Now, in that same chapter (John 6) Jesus teaches about how it is critically important to eat his body and drink his blood if you will have eternal life within you. He says this sort of thing numerous times, and implies it even more times. Fourteen times in all, I recall.  He’s talking about something that the first Protestants could not fathom. They said to each other: “How can he say this” and “It is hard for us.” (John 6:52, 60) And in John 6:66 these first protestors to the teachings of the Eucharist (the real presence of Christ in the sacramental bread) leave Jesus and never follow him again.

Whoa! Did you see what just happened? The people today that claim the Eucharist is NOT the real presence of Christ are direct descendents of those that left Christ in John 6:66.  This is where the Eucharist began, and it’s been in the Church ever since. (And I guess the Protestants have been “in” the church ever since, as well. Woe is me!)

Notice, there was plenty of time for Jesus to say, “Hey, this is only a symbol” it isn’t REALLY ME. But he persists, and because the skeptical Jews think Jesus is talking about real body and real blood, they are grossed out and leave. But Jesus doesn’t change his teaching, and neither do any of the Apostles in their writings later in the NT, nor does the Early Church fathers in their writings. In fact, Paul and some early bishops point out that those that don’t believe in this gift are to be shunned.

Even the word “remembrance” is an equivocation to the uninformed, uneducated Protestant Bible “scholar”. They are totally ignorant of what the concept of “remembrance” means to a Jew celebrating the Passover. When the Jews “remember” they are living out the actual events. It is NOT like looking at a picture album and remembering a birthday party. It is very, very different. To Jews reliving the Passover, and to Catholics reliving the crucifixion of Jesus, this is no picture album remembrance, but we are reliving the actual event, by participating in the eternity of God WHERE THERE IS NO TIME. Thus, the term “remembrance” has two entirely different meanings, and those that hate Catholicism can’t use their fractured definition to take the place of the real thing that Christian teachers have used since the first century. 

Now, I will take time to inform you of one more thing about Catholics and the Bible. And then you need to find a good priest to talk to. (There are bad priests out there whom you need to stay away from.)

First off, you would not have a Bible if it wasn’t for the Catholic Church. Who do you think gave you the Bible, approved the books in it (although Protestants ripped out 7 books in the 1800s), and through numerous councils of the Early Church defended and defined such things as the deity of Christ and the Trinity against heretics, and gave us the creeds that explain what it means to be a Christian? Jesus wasn’t literally around, so who did all that? Was your Church around to defend these basic Christian principles?  

Then, you have a problem that has developed into a scandal. Where Christ prayed for us Christians to be one with no division (John 17), now there are thousands (one source claims 35,000) different Protestant denominations. And it’s funny how each one uses the Bible to prove the “church” down the street is wrong. They can’t possibly agree on the basic doctrines among themselves but then they have the arrogance to attack the Catholic Church.  Have you heard the expression “the pot calling the kettle black?” It’s what Protestants do to Catholics.   They all use the same Bible but they can’t agree on what Jesus taught.  What’s missing here? 

Here’s what’s missing: SCRIPTURE!  They ignore those Scriptures that would tell them how to resolve their differences. But of course those Scriptures point to an institution that was present at the time of the Apostles and is present today, that was given by Jesus and the Holy Spirit infallible power to know what is right and wrong… and well, Protestant leaders just can’t bury their pride to accept WHAT THE BIBLE CLEARLY TEACHES. So they ignore it, and they ignore the Church Christ established, an institution that Jesus said would never fail and would never teach anything wrong. Yes, the Bible says that, clearly.

So, the material you sent claims that “Jesus” is the authority. (Matthew 18) as if Jesus was sitting on a throne here on Earth making decisions. Jesus isn’t on an Earthly throne today anymore than God was on the throne at the time of Moses. But Moses was on the throne and telling the people what God was saying. Moses sat in “the chair” and governed the people as God spoke to them through Moses. God has always used earthly people to be his spokesperson here on Earth. There was Noah, Moses, the prophets, Jesus, the Apostles, and the bishops, and today the pope. It all follows a Biblical pattern.

And that pattern is in the material you sent. The first section REGARDING AUTHORITY quotes Romans 13:1 that points to an authority on Earth “which God has established.” So where is that authority, Phyllis?

And then Colossians 1:16ff says there are rulers and authorities created by Christ and even mentions the “church” as under Christ’s rule. Hello?! Are you paying attention?

Then you quote Titus 2:15. This is a letter by Paul to Titus (a Catholic bishop) and what does Paul say to the bishop Titus “TEACH. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.” PHYLLIS, WHAT IN HEAVEN’S NAME DOES THAT MEAN?  It means that Christ set up a Church, and then appointed bishops like Titus, and then encouraged Paul to tell Titus to act in Christ’s stead and be His authority on earth.

But don’t be confused, Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would protect his bishops from teaching false things. It’s a miracle of God that the Catholic Church is still around and going strong in spite of the error in the personal lives of the men that hold positions of leadership. Remember, just as fallible men wrote infallible Scriptures, so fallible men today (who are ordained by the laying on of hands) interpret those Scriptures (through the power of the Holy Spirit) infallibly. But that power and promise has only been handed down through the one church that has never changed a single doctrine through it’s 2,000-year history. Why? Because Jesus said it would be so.  More on that in a moment…it’s in your Bible. Like you say you have to listen to Jesus in the Bible. The whole Catholic thingy is based on that premise.

But let’s get back to your material. It’s so interesting how it supports Catholic teaching.

In Hebrews 13:17 your material says “OBEY YOUR LEADERS AND SUBMIT TO THEIR AUTHORITY. THEY KEEP WATCH OVER YOU AS MEN WHO MUST GIVE ACCOUNT. OBEY THEM…..” Phyllis, why are you not obeying the in-line authority that these verses are telling you to obey?

Here ARE some more Bible verses that your preacher friends obviously ignore for fear that if they took Jesus’ words seriously they’d have to become Catholic. Phyllis, if it wasn’t for the Catholic Church over the centuries you would know nothing about Christ. It is the Catholic Church that protected the teachings and traditions of Christianity, and gave you the Bible, and decided the great heresies over the centuries, and yet today defends Christians again the skeptics and confronts presidents who would kill babies, et al. The Nicene Creed and the Apostles Creed came from the Catholic Church. We recite those creeds every Sunday in Mass, does your church?  When you recite the Apostles Creed and you come to “we believe in the communion of saints”  …. What do you think that means? Does it matter what you think it means, or what the writers of that sentence intended it to mean?

But here…

Try Matthew 18:17ff  where Jesus says to the Apostles during instruction on how to deal with a belligerent church member who is sinning: “If he refuses to listen even to the CHURCH, then treat him as you would a Gentile or tax collector.” Jesus does not say, if he refuses to listen to ME, Jesus. And there’s that nasty word “CHURCH” in that verse. Yes, Jesus established a Church to ride herd on those of us who couldn’t tell right from wrong, and then promised that the Church would NEVER make a mistake in its teachings of faith or morals. Notice that there was no promise that the leaders of the church would never make mistakes in their personal lives. (I’m told the pope goes to confession frequently.) Don’t confuse the personal behavior of a church leader with the teachings of the church. Certainly the presidency of the United States is different than the behavior of some of our recent presidents.

Okay, you wanted Bible, so let’s get back to the Bible. How well do you know it?

Matthew 18:18 Jesus says to the Apostles: “Whatever YOU bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Sounds like Jesus is giving them AUTHORITY, Jesus’ authority to make rules about what is right and wrong. Are you obeying Jesus, Phylllis? If you want to, you better be obeying the Church.

Lookie here: Luke 10:16 “those who listens to you listen to me… those who reject you reject me…and the one who sent me.”  If you are going to listen to Jesus, you better be obeying those he left in charge.

Phyllis, there are dozens of verses like these that put the onus on YOU to obey the CHURCH, because only the Church that Jesus established is infallible enough to INTERPRET what Jesus meant.

Could the Church ever be wrong about what it teaches on faith and morals?  Well, DO YOU BELIEVE JESUS?  In John 16:13 Jesus says the Holy Spirit will guide the Apostles and their successors into ALL TRUTH. Not some truth. ALL TRUTH. The Church is pronounced by Christ to be infallible.  In Matthew 16:18 Jesus says that “my church (there’s that nasty word again) … the gates of hell will NOT prevail against it.”  That is the CHURCH is perpetual, never ending.

So, Phyllis, where is that Church that existed at the time of Christ and Jesus says will never error in its teaching, and will be around until the end of time? Where is that Church? Was your church or denomination around at the time of Christ? How old is it? Can your pastor be traced back, through the laying on of hands, to one of the Apostles? Only Catholics, Orthodox and a few Anglicans do claim that, and frankly I think the Anglicans that could claim that died off.

In John 16:26 Jesus says, “the Holy Spirit…will teach you everything and remind you of all.”  That dang infallibility thingy. Jesus said this. You wanted to obey only Jesus, well, pay attention. He’s talking to you.

And there are many, many more Scripture passages that your preachers ignore. Like Eph 3:10 where it says that the wisdom of God comes through the Church. And 1 Tim 3:14-15 that the Church is the “pillar and foundation of truth” (not the Bible, which didn’t exist for several hundred more years).

So, next time TBN airs Common Ground, you would do yourself an eternity of good to pay attention, and not challenge the Holy Spirit like you are currently doing.

In the meantime, find a good priest and get to confession. Jesus said to the first Church leaders, “Whose sins you forgive they are forgiven, and whose sins you do not forgive, they will not be forgiven.” (John 20:23)  And don’t give me this crap about how you won’t confess your sins to a man. A priest is the representative of CHRIST. Did you learn absolutely NOTHING as a child growing up in The Catholic Church? Were you sleeping or goofing off the whole time and ignoring the instruction you were given?

Phyllis, do not blame the church for your own lack of attentiveness.

Finally, if I am completely wrong, then the Bible, Jesus and the Apostles and the great saints of old are wrong, and I guess only Phyllis is right. How amazing could that be?

Get to the real Church Phyllis.

Stanley D. Williams, Ph.D.

Executive Producer - Director