Seventy years ago today, Bing Crosby recorded “White Christmas.” Sure, it’s warm, maybe even hot, where you’re reading this, but who can resist?

How not to evangelize: Speaking of Bing Crosby, in a boarding area at the Mitchell International Airport the other day, there was a religious order priest looking very Bing Crosby-like in his cassock and sash. A man tried to engage the priest in conversation, e.g., where he was from, why he was headed to St. Louis — usual boarding line stuff. The priest’s answers were not welcoming; in fact, they were downright off-putting.

The man stopped trying to start a conversation, but the priest continued his — with God. He was praying the rosary. Given the current emphasis on evangelization, I’m just wondering if God would rather have had the priest pause, converse with the man for a few minutes, and then resume his prayers? 

Plaintiffs, for a change: Nice to read a story about the Catholic Church and the courts in which the church isn’t the defendant. Forty-three Catholic dioceses, institutions and social service agencies have filed a total of 12 lawsuits in U.S. District Courts throughout the country.

The defendants are Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; Labor Secretary Hilda Solis; and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, along with their departments. From the “With Friends Like These” file, let it be noted that Sebelius and Solis are nominally Roman Catholic.

Not sure why some people are angry about the church taking this to court. Heck, I’d be angry if the church didn’t take it to court. After all, religious liberty is at stake. To give you an idea of how serious and intense this is, I quote from the letter Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis, one of the parties to the suit, wrote to the people of his archdiocese May 21, the date the suits were filed:

“Please understand that every effort has been made to dialogue in this matter and time is running out. The mandate, with its extreme requirements on sterilization, contraception, and abortion-inducing drugs, will begin taking effect in August of this year. In a few short months, our federal government will force our Catholic institutions to choose between violating the law and violating our moral convictions.

“Never before has the U.S. government forced the Catholic Church to provide a product that violates our religious beliefs. Any scenario that forces us to do so is unacceptable. As your shepherd, I simply cannot stand by while our first, most-cherished freedom is eroded…that is our religious liberty!” He put a bold line below “that is our religious liberty!”

Earth angel: As my oldest son was changing his son’s diaper, he asked him, “Where does the diaper go?”
“In the garbage.”
“That’s right,” his father replied. “And where do vegetable scraps go?”
“In the compost.”
“To grow the garden.”
Today is Learn to Compost Day. If a 21-month-old can figure it out, all of us can.