Archive for April 2008

Wilkommen in Amerika, Heilige Vater!

April 14, 2008

HT: Shrine of the Holy Whapping.

Rights for Chickens but Not for Monks

April 11, 2008


Well, I was looking for something to blog about, and sure enough I found it. On the front page of this week’s Catholic Miscellany, my diocesan newspaper, I found this story:

The monks at Mepkin Abbey [Moncks Corner, SC] have started the search for a new way to support themselves once their popular egg production business comes to an end.

In December the abbey announced it would begin phasing out the 56 year-old business, citing pressure from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals over treatment of chickens as one of the reasons. Public protests and a threatened boycott by PETA that started in summer 2007 put unwanted pressure on the Trappist monks and interfered with their quiet life of prayer and work.

The story goes on to point out that “Sales averaging nine million eggs a year have generated around $140,000, which is about 60 percent of the abbey’s annual income, according to figures released by Abbot Stan Gumula.”

So a monastery that has supported itself for close to 60 years by selling eggs now has to sacrifice 60 percent of its annual income to satisfy a bunch of animal-rights wackos who espouse opinions contrary to Catholic teaching, historical fact, and plain common sense?

PETA, you may be aware, is that fine, upstanding bunch of Scripture scholars who promote the idea that Jesus was a vegetarian. I’m distressed to see that one of the ecumenical team of clergymen employed to promote this view is Father John Dear, a Jesuit. Father Dear (no pun intended) and his cohorts have to employ some verbal tap-dancing to get around the fact that the only miracle recorded in all four gospels involves Jesus feeding more than 5,000 people–with fish. The whole idea that the Last Supper was a Passover meal, which would have involved eating lamb, poses similar difficulties. They insist that Jesus didn’t eat the Passover lamb, but they provide no persuasive evidence for this. They discount the accounts of post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus which specifically state that Jesus ate fish in the disciples’ presence. Their reason? “Most biblical scholars” or “many biblical scholars” don’t believe these events really took place. It’s enough to make you think that the purpose of a “biblical scholar” these days is to make you believe that nothing in the Bible actually happened.

When I read about PETA and similar animal rights groups, I’m reminded of G. K. Chesterton’s observation about the maniac who “is in the clean and well-lit prison of one idea: he is sharpened to one painful point. He is without healthy hesitation and healthy complexity.” PETA’s one idea, that they carry to maniacal extremes is that animals should be treated compassionately–according to their standard of compassion–and they’re willing to oppose anybody who doesn’t live up to that standard.

No sane, humane person is in favor of cruelty to animals. If PETA had legitimate concerns about the treatment of the chickens, did PETA representatives even attempt to meet with representatives of the abbey to discuss the issue? I don’t get that impression. Someone from PETA faxed the abbot (They couldn’t even bother to send him a letter?) in February 2007. The promotional materials PETA distributed openly accuse the abbey of lying to the press and public about its treatment of the chickens. It sounds as if PETA threatened protests and boycotts almost immediately.

Well, I hope they’re happy. They got what they wanted. But if you ask me, it’s PETA, not the monks who have “egg on their face” this time.

Talkin’ Turkey

April 1, 2008


From time to time I’ve reported on my experiments in crock pot cookery. This weekend, I may have had my biggest success yet. I’m president of the local Praesidium (chapter) of The Legion of Mary, and every year all the praesidia in a given jurisdiction (known as a Curia) get together on a Marian feast day for a ceremony known as the Acies. Our curia holds its Acies on the Saturday nearest the Feast of the Annunciation. There’s a Mass followed by a covered dish supper. It’s a wonderful opportunity to share faith, food, and fellowship. This year, I got really brave and decided to try a turkey breast recipe I found and bring it along. It must have been a success because one of my fellow legionaries asked for the recipe, so I thought I’d share it. This recipe for “Easy and Delicious Turkey Breast” really does live up to its name! I got it from The Fix It and Forget It Cookbook: Feasting with Your Slow Cooker, by Dawn J. Ranck and Phyllis Pellman Good. (p. 196).

Easy and Delicious Turkey Breast
(submitted by Gail Bush of Landenberg, PA)

1 turkey breast

15 oz. can whole berry cranberry sauce

1 envelope dry onion soup mix

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1. Place turkey in slow cooker.

2. Combine remaining ingredients. Pour over turkey.

3. Cover. Cook on LOW 6-8 hours.

That’s all there is to it! You should have a lot of sauce that will keep the turkey moist. I’d recommend serving this with rice or mashed potatoes or even thick slices of bread. Hope you enjoy it!