Saturday, July 4, 2015

Blessed Giorgio Frassati

Mountain climber.

Hiker.

Rock climber.

Pipe Smoker.

Full of life.

Died young.

In short - a real man


Here's to his canonization if it is God's Will!


Thursday, July 2, 2015

"Laudato Si" quotes you'll never hear from secular atheists

On the US only giving foreign aid if mothers stop having children in poor countries: "Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate. At times, developing countries face forms of international pressure which make economic assistance contingent on certain policies of "reproductive health"...to blame population growth instead of extreme selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues." LS, 50


"Judaeo-Christian thought demythologized nature. While continuing to admire its grandeur and immensity, it no longer saw nature as divine. In doing so, it emphasizes all the more our human responsibility for nature"  LS, 78


Dear those who think evolution explains the totality of how humans came to be: "Human beings, even if we postulate a process of evolution, also possess a uniqueness which cannot be fully explained by the evolution of other open systems....[humans have] a uniqueness which transcends the spheres of physics and biology"  LS, 81


"We have only one heart, and the same wretchedness which leads us to mistreat an animal will not be long in showing itself in our relationships with other people."  LS, 92


"If architecture reflects the spirit of an age, our megastructures and drab apartment blocks express the spirit of globalized technology, where a constant flood of new products coexists with a tedious monotony."  LS, 113


"When we fail to acknowledge the worth of a poor person, a human embryo, or a person with disabilities, it becomes difficult to hear the cry of nature itself; everything is connected" LS 117


"Our relationship with the environment can never be isolated from our relationship with others and with God. Otherwise, it would be nothing more than romantic individualism dressed up in ecological garb, locking us into a stifling immanence."  LS, 119


"Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo"  LS, 120


On welfare never being permanent: "Helping the poor financially must always be a provisional solution in the face of pressing needs. The broader objective should always be to allow them a dignified life through work."  LS, 128


Huge irony I'd never thought of: "It is troubling that, when some ecological movements defend the integrity of the environment, rightly demanding that certain limits be imposed on scientific research, they sometimes fail to apply those same principles to human life. There is a tendency to justify transgressing all boundaries when experimentation is carried out on living human embryos"  LS, 136


"A wholesome social life can light up a seemingly undesirable environment...the feeling of asphyxiation brought on by densely populated residential areas is countered if close and warm relationships develop...in this way any place can turn from being a hell on earth into the setting for a dignified life."  LS, 148


"we need to grow in the conviction that a decrease in the pace of production and consumption can at times give rise to another form of progress and development."  LS, 191

Dear Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Steven Hawking, et. al.: "It cannot be maintained that empirical science provides a complete explanation of life"  LS, 199


“If someone has not learned to stop and admire something beautiful, we should not be surprised if he or she treats everything as an object to be used and abused without scruple.”  LS, 215


“Many people today sense a profound imbalance which drives them to frenetic activity and makes them feel busy, in a constant hurry which in turns leads them to ride rough-shod over everything around them.”  LS, 225


“We have had enough of immorality and the mockery of ethics, goodness, faith and honesty.  It is time to acknowledge that light-hearted superficiality has done us no good.”  LS, 229


“A world of exacerbated consumption is at the same time a world which mistreats life in all its forms.”  LS, 230


The Sacraments are a privileged way in which nature is taken up by God to become a means of mediating supernatural life.”  LS, 235


It is in the Eucharist that all that has been created finds its greatest exaltation.  Grace, which tends to manifest itself tangibly, found unsurpassable expression when God himself became man and gave himself as food for his creatures.”  LS, 236


“The Eucharist is also a source of light and motivation for our concerns for the environment, directing us to be stewards of all creation.”  LS, 236


“The day of rest, centered on the Eucharist, sheds its light on the whole week, and motivates us to greater concern for nature and the poor.”  LS, 237



Awesome Conclusion:  “In the heart of this world, the Lord of life, who loves us so much, is always present.  He does not abandon us, he does not leave us alone, for he has united himself definitively to our earth, and his love constantly impels us to find new ways forward.  Praise be to him!”  LS, 245
(That's called hitting a walk off home run AND dropping the mic at the same time!)

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Worst Generation?

Someone told me the day the SCOTUS marriage ruling came down:

"Father, on behalf of all the older adults in our country, we need to apologize to your generation because the country we're handing you; we are probably the first generation that has left this country worse than we found it.  Our parents lived through the depression, fought in World War II etc. and my generation spit on soldiers coming home from Vietnam, worked for abortion, saw drug use jump astronomically, and now have capped things off with the destruction of marriage.

If our parents were indeed the greatest generation, perhaps we are the worst generation."

Quick thoughts on same sex marriage decision

So I just returned from a lovely vacation out in Colorado and I left my cell phone in Indiana and didn't get online for two weeks, and it was glorious!


Of course, as I've been away, the SCOTUS came down with it's marriage decision.

A few quick comments:

1) I can't help but chuckle at the comments I've received from some that say "where's your comments about gay marriage - are you sulking and hiding?"

This is so fascinating because these same people say that I talk about same sex marriage and am obsessed with the topic, but they run here and wonder where my comments are when something like this happens?  So would you like me to talk about the topic or not?


2) 150 years ago the Supreme Court said an African American could not be a citizen of the United States.  50 years ago the Supreme Court said a woman has a right to an abortion.  The Supreme Court gets things wrong, and just like Roe. v. Wade, Catholics will continue to work to overturn this terrible piece of jurisprudence.


3) The result certainly doesn't surprise me.  Can anyone produce any substantial evidence of the Catholic Church making a serious effort to explain its teaching to the American people on this topic?  Of course not.


4)  Tolkien is very poignant on this topic: "Actually I am a Christian, and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect ‘history’ to be anything but a ‘long defeat’— though it contains some samples or glimpses of final victory."



Sunday, June 14, 2015

They were pressuring her to do things she didn't want to do...and I said nothing




I had been baptized.  I had been confirmed.  But even if God is pouring gifts out on us, if we don't know about the gifts, or we're too afraid to open them, then they can't do us any good.

Come Holy Spirit!!!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

One thing all those leaving the Church have in common...

6 Years a Priest

My chalice, refurbished by my parents 6 years ago 



From the "Blessing of a Chalice and Paten by a Bishop":

"O Lord our God, be pleased to bless + this chalice (these chalices), made by your devout people for your holy service. Bestow that same blessing which you bestowed on the hallowed chalice of your servant, Melchisedech. And what we cannot make worthy of your altars by our craft and metals, do you nonetheless make worthy by your blessing; through Christ our Lord."

All: Amen.

Having put on the mitre, he dips the thumb of his right hand into the holy chrism and anoints each chalice on the inside from rim to rim In the form of a cross, while saying the following formula

"Lord God, may it please you to consecrate and to hallow this chalice by this anointing and our blessing, + in Christ Jesus our Lord, who lives and reigns with you forever and ever."

All: Amen.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

VIDEO from RFRA panel discussion

Here are my snippets:







Here is the full length video discussion:


ACLU RFRA full version from John Hollowell on Vimeo.




Some thoughts:

1)  Oddly, the person who I would describe as most attacking toward the Catholic position was the other person representing "Christianity".  I don't recall the fellow's name nor denomination, but he was the one who voiced the generic things like "God is compassion" "we have same sex marriage at our Church" "The Bible says to welcome everyone" etc.  



2)  There were 5 panelists.  I was the only for the original RFRA.  If you want to paint the picture that RFRA was a bad idea, then I would set the panel up the way it was set up.  A few legal people, a few government people, a christian against RFRA and then have a celibate Catholic priest be the only one for RFRA, that way even if he makes good points, well, he's one of those priest types.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Sisters of Providence and the ACLU Panel on RFRA

Today I sat on a panel for RFRA that was put on by the ACLU.  It was respectful and tolerant and pleasant enough.  I figured it wouldn't be "home turf" for a Catholic priest but the panelists were kind.

I would say the only thing that was truly upsetting to me about the whole experience was that on top of our stack of papers that every person found sitting on their chairs (panelists and attendees alike) was a statement on RFRA from the "Sisters of Providence Leadership"

The statement from the Sisters DIRECTLY contradicts the statement of the Bishops of Indiana by noting "we strongly support such a revision"   The Bishops of Indiana released a second statement noting that they were opposed to the revision.

So,
Bishops - for RFRA.  Sisters of Providence are against it
Bishops - against the RFRA "fix".  Sisters of Providence are FOR the "fix"


Literally..."MY GOD!"...how does this happen?


I literally go in front of a firing squad on this VERY important topic (that a lot of Catholics believe will lead to our eventual persecution) and I'm confronted with a statement from the Sisters of Providence that directly contradicts the Church?


I will publicly promise this - I will not be stepping foot on their campus for ANY reason until their statement is retracted.  No sign from the Sisters of Providence will ever hang in the narthex of any Church I'm at, and I will never, in any way, do anything that could even be potentially viewed as supporting the Sisters of Providence unless their statement is corrected.


The Bishops of Indiana on the Original RFRA:





The Bishops of Indiana on the RFRA "Fix"






The Sisters of Providence on RFRA:



Sunday, May 24, 2015

Hip Hop Mass?



Vatican II document on the Mass: "The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services. But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations," (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 116)

Someone might say - ah...other sacred music is allowed!
Answer: poyphony is harmonized chant

So the Church says you can chant or harmonize chant.



On the organ: " In the Latin Church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church's ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man's mind to God and to higher things.  But other instruments also may be admitted for use in divine worship, with the knowledge and consent of the competent territorial authority, as laid down in Art. 22, 52, 37, and 40. This may be done, however, only on condition that the instruments are suitable, or can be made suitable, for sacred use, accord with the dignity of the temple." (SC, 120)


Guitars?  Harmonicas?:  " In permitting and using musical instruments, the culture and traditions of individual peoples must be taken into account. However, those instruments which are, by common opinion and use, suitable for secular music only, are to be altogether prohibited from every liturgical celebration and from popular devotions." (Musicam Sacram, 63)

Some would say that an instrument can be made to sound holy.  But the Church teaches above that instruments can be OBJECTIVELY UNSUITABLE to Mass.  Some people desiring or preferring an instrument be played at Mass does not in fact mean that it IS suitable for Mass.


Our music tells others what we think is going on at Mass.  Hollywood gets that - they don't play folk music when someone is giving their life for others, nor do they play blues music when the movie reaches its climax.  We need MUCH more of this if we want people to understand what we believe as Catholics when they attend our Masses:


Friday, May 22, 2015

"So you are poor and need help...you should call our priest"

I sometimes wonder if we're really listening, as a Church, to everything Pope Francis is saying, or just to the things that we like to hear.

We hear all the time, and rightly so, that the laity are called to exercise a type of priesthood in the world.  We are reminded by Pope Benedict and John Paul II that "it is not the ministers who are the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, but the saints."  Priests are told, more loudly in some circles than others, "don't forget that we laity and you are on equal footing in the Church."  And I say that we SHOULD be reminded of that, and it is true.


However, one area that this "we're all equal and we're all priests" mentality has not sunk in, at least in the parishes I've been in, is with helping the poor.


To my great frustration, I can't tell you how many times some poor person has asked a parishioner for help and that parishioner has said "well, here's our priest's number" or "you should call our parish office" etc.


Folks, that's not Catholicism.


Help the poor people yourselves.  Engage in the Gospel of encounter that Pope Francis is calling us to.

The Holy Father's challenge to go to the margins, to engage the poor, to care for those in need is NOT JUST FOR PRIESTS


I'm ALL for the laity taking on more of what, in times past, may have been tasks and duties that were unnecessarily reserved to priests...but the laity have to live out that responsibility when it is convenient AND when it is inconvenient.


We have to stop outsourcing the care for the poor to someone else because we are busy.

The type of person who says "someone else can take care of this poor person" is the type of person Christ condemned in the parable of the good Samaritan.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The King's Singers and Negro Spirituals

A few months ago I was able to attend a performance by the King’s Singers.  I’m not very cultured, but I have been told by people in the know that the King’s Singers are one of the preeminent vocal groups in the world.

The performance featured pieces from throughout the history of the US, and so several songs were “negro spirituals”.  As I took in the performance, I had a revelation that I feel is VERY important to us Catholics.

The King’s Singers were British, had fancy polished shoes, sports coats, hair gel, etc. – they looked like they were airlifted in from the campus of Yale or Harvard.

And they absolutely nailed every note of every song and the harmonies were amazing and it was worth every penny to hear them. 

However…them singing negro spirituals just didn’t work.

You know why – because negro spirituals didn’t come from the dorm rooms of ivy league schools, nor did they come from cocktail parties...they came from cotton fields and oppression and heat and abuse and suffering.

The “King’s Singers” sang negro spirituals better than the originals but it didn’t work one bit. 

"Working in cotton fields is tough work...we would know!"

And the relevance for us – MUSIC IS DEEPLY CONNECTED TO ITS PLACE OF ORIGIN. 

1) You learn something about the place of origin when you hear the music and
 2) You learn something about the music when you know its place of origin

The Catholic Mass has a type of music that grew out of it and leads back to it. 
CHANT
1) When you hear chant, you learn something more about the Mass from which it came, and
2) When you know the Mass you learn something about the music that it spawned

Folk music came from a certain time and place

Hip hop came from a certain time and place

Death metal comes from a certain environment

Praise and worship music comes from a certain environment

And yet, for some reason, some people try to go against what the Church teaches, and they decide that they are going to bring music into the Mass that was
1)  Not something that came from the Mass
2) Does not lead people back to the Mass
3) In fact leads people to some much different place of origin than the Mass

I love folk music, I enjoy clean hip hop, even the occasional “metal” song catches my ear.
BUT…

A folk Mass doesn’t point people to Transubstantiation because folk music wasn’t born from transubstantiation.  Hip hop doesn’t enhance one’s appreciation for Transubstantiation because hip hop music wasn’t born from an environment of Transubstantiation.

Dylan's genre of music didn't come out from the Mass so it shouldn't be brought IN to the Mass

Having folk songs at Mass is no different and no less absurd than a bunch of proper British chaps singing negro spirituals. 


Let’s stop overcomplicating the issue (and let’s stop sabotaging our own efforts to bring people to Christ) and just do music at Mass the way the Church asks, and in the style of music that was born OUT OF the Mass.