Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Respect Life Month

Tons of great FREE resources by clicking here: http://usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/respect-life-program/2017/respect-life-digital-resources.cfm


I  hope you consider downloading and sharing some of the resources with your friends and social media followers


Here are a few of my favorite images









Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Amoris Ghostwriter and St. John Paul II

A fact that people all across the ecclesial spectrum seem to agree on is that the man who had the major hand in helping pen "Amoris Laetitia" is Archbishop Tucho Fernandez.


In addition to being able to claim helping draft "Amoris Laetitia", Archbishop Fernandez wrote a book in 1995 titled "Heal Me With Your Mouth: The Art of Kissing"


You can read the English translation here if so moved: https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2017/09/full-text-of-archbishop-tucho.html

.....

Switching gears for a moment, in not a few progressive Catholic circles, St. John Paul II was attacked for his "Theology of the Body" presentations and his book "Love and Responsibility" which he wrote before becoming Pope.  He was attacked for writing about things that priests are, as his detractors claimed, ought not to be talked about by the Church
 

I've read both of St. John Paul II's works, and find them to be pivotal documents in the life of the Church, and also extremely appropriate and properly couched within the Church's important moral teachings.  What I've read from Archbishop Fernandez's work is frankly disturbing and, based on my lowly theological assessment, a completely different TYPE of attempt to talk about Catholicism and sexuality.


But the reason I raise all of this here, though, is to note that I've NOT heard progressive Catholics venting their frustrations about the fact that Archbishop Fernandez takes up Catholicism and sexuality, although that was one of their major critiques of St. John Paul II

Some GREAT Respect Life free resources and beautiful shareable images!

There are some GREAT images that are free to download and share with your friends and followers 





Why do we help the physically suffering but not the spiritually suffering?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Catholic Masculinity and the Massacre in Las Vegas

So in the wake of Vegas, the secular left has identified the problems
1) guns
2) masculinity

A sample:



Here's the great irony in this - according to the secular left, masculinity is both not a real thing, and also, at the same time, while not existing, also the problem.


Something can't both not exist and be the problem



And here's what the Church says
1) Masculinity and Femininity are real

2) Trying to suppress masculinity or pretend it isn't real, and to NOT nurture authentic masculinity will only cause DANGEROUSLY WRONG ideas about masculinity to rise up in place of authentic masculinity


Our culture, in saying there is no such thing as masculinity, is denying reality.  Denying reality is what psychologists call REPRESSION


Our culture takes masculinity and says
1) It isn't real
2) Boys that won't sit still in second grade must be medicated
3) It's cool if men are actually in to purses, manicures, make up, etc...


We are ROBBING our young men of their identity by drugging it and explaining it away...and in the wake of this we are left with soft, over medicated young men who are bored out of their minds, and are encouraged to fall deeper into their boredom by slipping into the matrix of video games, staring at screens, medicating with drugs and alcohol, and indulging in pornography, masturbation, strip clubs and sexual encounters of all sorts outside the context of marriage.


We ROB our young men of their identity, and no longer encourage them to strive for anything.




The CURE to the problematic manifestations of a diseased counterfeit masculinity is NOT doing away with masculinity.  You can no quicker do away with masculinity than you could do away with the Sun.


The CURE is to NURTURE authentic masculinity, which is why I think our culture has very little hope of enduring.  I am, in that regard, quite pessimistic.  But hey, all things are possible with God.


The Church has always taught that it means something to be a man.  To lay down your life in service to the vulnerable, in service to the poor.  To protect and defend and sacrifice for others.




Sadly it is no great shock that in a culture that has tried to eradicate the notion of men who defend, even taking up arms if necessary, there has arisen, in the vacuum, a demonic and warped mockery of masculinity that has men taking up arms to murder the innocent


Here are some resources that can be of great help in righting the ship





Bishop Olmsted's letter on AUTHENTIC Catholic Masculinity:

http://intothebreach.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/INTO-THE-BREACH-ROMAN-CATHOLIC-DIOCESE-OF-PHOENIX.pdf



We will either call men to battle, call men into the breach, call men to use their spirit to combat evil, or counterfeit versions will continue to wreak havoc on our culture

Monday, September 25, 2017

Surprising Insights In Our Month With a Communion Rail

One of my two parishes was just restored, thanks be to God.


I know a lot of the arguments and theological advantages of the communion rail, and that the Church has never said anything about taking them out.  The following are advantages that I was NOT expecting



1) In announcing and catechizing about the new communion rail, I have said, from the beginning, that a person can kneel or stand and received on the tongue or in the hand.  I have never stated a preference in any way for how a person receives.

On their own, over half of our congregation has CHOSEN to receive kneeling



2) The communion rail provides people with about 20-30 seconds to NOT be shuffling up in a line, but to instead stand or kneel facing the altar giving them a few precious moments to contemplate Whom it is that they are about to receive.



3) It has severely cut down on the awkward potentially non-Catholic person receiving Communion.  Let's face it, the majority of Catholics today fail to prepare their visiting family and friends for how to handle Holy Communion (i.e. either stay in the pew or come forward for a blessing)...but standing there at a communion rail for 30 seconds before the priest arrives gives the Catholic friend a chance to say "No, don't hold out your hands, cross your arms on your chest" whereas this doesn't happen when Communion is done in the American style of emptying the pews in an orderly style and shuffle up in a line and then be offered the Eucharist as soon as the person arrives at the front of the line




A Holy Urgency

Friday, September 22, 2017

On Human Dignity

I was listening to NPR this morning to keep tabs on what the left is promoting. There was a huge, lengthy, beautiful piece chronicling the plight of a refugee and his family in Germany.

It wasn't just a news story - it was an interview with a very noble purpose - to highlight the dignity of this man and his family.

The problem is that the left NEVER does this for the unborn....For the white Catholic father of 13 children...for the born and raised american business owner who sees his business as a means of helping his 200 employees grow in an awareness of their own dignity and support their families...the wall street worker who works crazy hours but gives a lot of her earnings away to charity.

---

No one thinks NO person has dignity

So everyone thinks SOME people have dignity. That's not hard. We shouldn't congratulate ourselves for thinking that SOME people have dignity

The challenge is to believe ALL persons have dignity. All races. All immigrants. The unborn. The poor. The rich. Men and women. The imprisoned. Your enemy


When you believe ALL people have dignity, that's to be congratulated.



Thursday, September 21, 2017

How to overturn Humanae Vitae


Humanae Vitae is one of those pivotal documents in the history of the Church.  Everyone thought the Church was going to cave on the issue of artificial contraception.  Basically every other Christian denomination had caved.

And then the Church didn't and said artificial contraception for the purposes of impacting/influencing conception is ALWAYS evil.

It is, by all sober analysis, one of the most prophetic documents in the history of the Church as it lays out the serious things that would happen if contraception became commonly used.






Many still can't believe the document happened.

Many have stated a desire to overturn the document


Here are steps to follow if you want to overturn the document


1) Establish a group of experts to go back and look at all the source materials, letters, behind the scenes correspondence, etc. that lead up to Humanae Vitae's publication.


2) If at all possible, don't let anyone know this study group has been put together.


3) This process of discovery should come out with lots of complicated verbiage, giving the impression that the only people who TRULY understand Humanae Vitae's construction are the privileged few who have been able to look at all the "evidence".


4) Make sure that the discovery process mirrors the historical/critical process that has been used so often to deconstruct the Bible.  In having experts deconstruct the Bible, it was really important that it was done by scholars, so that simple peasants and lay people could not mount any sort of argument.  What worked with deconstructing the Bible were things like "You don't understand Hebrew, but actually Jesus DIDN'T say anything about Hell" or things like "We've learned that divorce IS okay, because that part of the Gospel was written in by a guy named Burt in the late 800's."


5) In announcing the things that you are overturning in Humanae Vitae, don't actually SAY you are changing anything, whether in doctrine or in practice.  Continue to emphasize that Humanae Vitae is going to be left unchanged, that it is an AMAZING document, that we love Paul VI, etc.


6) Only after all that, then come out and say, in language that is really pharisaically theological and technical in nature (impossible to understand for most believers):  "Well, surprise, when we looked at how Humanae Vitae was constructed, we were able to discover that the BEST way to live out this AMAZING document is by now doing things/allowing things to happen differently. WHICH ARE ACTUALLY A BETTER WAY OF DOING/ALLOWING THINGS, AND THIS NEW APPROACH IS 
a) IN LINE WITH THE ORIGINAL INTENT OF THE AUTHOR and
b) A FULFILLMENT OF EVERYTHING THAT'S EVER BEEN WRITTEN BY THE CHURCH ON THESE TOPICS








Monday, September 11, 2017

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Ladies: call us men higher!

There is no doubt that we face a crisis of masculinity.

There are many things we can do to change that.

One I'd like to think about today involves women.

When I ran track in college, the language I used a lot was pretty horrible.

A young evangelical track team member one time basically pulled me aside and THANKFULLY she chewed me out for being a juvenile and immature and that I was better than that. I just stared at the ground, and when she was finished I apologized and never talked with quite the same colorfulness ever again.

My point here: ladies - I don't think many of you know how much influence and power you have. I probably weighed twice as much as that young lady and she could have cared less - she said what needed to be said and it helped me tremendously and we went on being friends afterwards.

I do college ministry, and the vast majority of college-age women are about twice as mature as the men. But I'd just like to affirm our young women - you have AN AMAZING influence on those young men.

It can be easy and tempting to simply sit at a coffeehouse or in Church groups lamenting male immaturity. I want to challenge our young ladies, though, to not just TALK about the problem but also to call these men higher.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Secularism and Racism




There were two major revolutions that took place at almost the exact same time: the French Revolution of 1789 and the American Revolution of 1776

BOTH revolutions had the same themes and goals, we could call them them “freedom” and “liberty”
But there was a major difference, the French Revolution was explicitly a secular one, and by secular we mean a sort of expelling of religion, a “non-religious” movement

The American Revolution, on the other hand, also seeking freedom and liberty, as is clear from even a brief reading of the documents of the founders, was a non-secular revolution.  The American Revolution was one founded on a sort of “mere Christianity”, an experiment on whether or not a country could be founded on Christian principles without having to fly a specific denominational flag.  All are created equal…endowed by their creator

Here’s the point of mentioning the two revolutions – we hear in the first reading a sort of prophecy: My house shall be called a house of prayer for ALL peoples.

ALL PEOPLES!

This is a prophecy of the Church that Christ would found on Peter.  The Church is a house of prayer for all peoples!

Christ promises (and in fact is Himself) freedom and liberty – and this promised freedom appeals to the woman in the Gospel – she senses already, even prior to the Church’s creation, that Christ brings into the lives of all people a freedom and liberty not found outside Him.

---------

We’ve seen a lot in the news this week about racism in our country, and the Church stands up in the strongest possible terms and says this is wrong

At the core of the Church’s teaching on how we are to engage as a population is the idea that EVERY HUMAN BEING IS MADE IN THE IMAGE AND LIKENESS OF GOD and so there is an inherent human dignity to every person

The argument against the Church here is simple: people in the Church, people under the banner of Christ have not always honored the dignity of every human person

But the counterargument to that is “we are well aware of that, but even in the failings something is very fascinating…it is through the Church, through the Judeo-Christian tradition that we are able to most strongly CRITICIZE the failings of people from the past

Yes, women were not equal to men in 1776.  Yes slavery remained after 1776, but those injustices were rooted out precisely by a deeper reflection on the Judeo Christian principles. 

Some will say – “Look, we will acknowledge that Christianity took the ball and advanced it down the field; you all did A FEW decent things to get us here, but now we no longer need to have a society rooted in Judeo Christian principles…we are post-Christian now…we’ve moved on…we secularists will take things from here.”

That’s why the French Revolution is so important for us – because what we see when we look at the French Revolution that we did NOT see in the American Revolution is that in France, not long into the Revolution, a REALLY disturbing insanity set in, the guillotine killing thousands of people a day, a frenzied distrust of one another – the two revolutions could not have been, at the end of the day, more different. 

And in the same way, people of all political persuasion, if they lack Christ, are left to try to rely on violence to drive out the opposition.  Even the language that you hear in the rhetoric is so telling as people on both sides of the secular coin describing the other as “less than human”….the moment someone is “less than human” it becomes okay to do to them whatever you want to them.

Only Christ and His Church have the ability to unite ALL people

Those of our parish who were blessed to be on World Youth Day last summer and those of you who saw the pictures know this – as far as the eye could see there were people of every race and tribe and language nation joined in prayer, joined in candle light vigils, kneeling together in silence, receiving the same Eucharist


God’s house will be a house of prayer for all peoples.  His Church is a house of prayer for all peoples.  Trying to build a house for all peoples on any other foundation will NOT work.  Just ask any secularist that has ever tried

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Life is Worth Living!

At the foot of the Cross, Jesus entrusts Mary to John and John to Mary.

Jesus of course dies, is resurrected on Easter, and then 40 days later ascends into Heaven.

Scholars think that Mary lived another 10-20 years and then was assumed into Heaven by Her Son, which is what we celebrate today on this Feast of the Assumption.

It is this interval of time that I’d like to focus on.

Why didn’t Jesus bring Mary up to Heaven with Him?

She had no sin.  God doesn’t need errand runners, and if he desired to bring His Mother home to Heaven, why not just do it right away?

One thing that I’d like to focus on, then, is that in some mysterious way, to exist, on Planet Earth and to be here drawing breath in this moment is, for you and I and everyone else (as it was for Mary) BETTER than being in Heaven.

That seems to make no sense.  Heaven is perfect bliss, perfect happiness, no more pain or sorrw…

But Jesus left Mary here for 20 more years.

This fact speaks very powerfully to us, and I’d like to look at how.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen had a primetime television show for many years, and the show had a very interesting title: “Life Is Worth Living”.  That is certainly, on one hand, a very strange title.  It isn’t “Wheel of Fortune” or “Jeopardy”…”Life is WORTH LIVING!”

If Archbishop Sheen felt the world needed to hear that, how much more does our world need to hear this?!?!

“Life is Worth Living”

The enemies of Christ and His Church are constantly saying, in so many different ways “LIFE, at least in certain circumstances, is NOT worth living”

1)      If you are elderly and in a nursing home and your kids don’t visit you and you are sick all the time, the world tells you “life is NOT worth living.  Just kill yourself…fast forward to the bliss of Heaven”
2)      If you are a teenager and you are being bullied at school and you aren’t getting straight a’s and you aren’t going to get into the school you want to…just kill yourself…fast forward to the joy of Heaven…life is NOT worth living
3)      That baby that is going to be born with Down Syndrome…better to kill the child and let it skip straight to the joy of Heaven…life, for that particular child, is NOT worth living
4)      That baby that will be born into poverty in Africa or to that mother on drugs in New York…abortion is the merciful option…that kid’s life is NOT worth living

It is clear when we look at Today’s Feast and the fact that the Assumption was TWENTY YEARS after the Ascencsion of Jesus, what becomes crystal clear, although mysteriously so, is that in God’s mind it is in some way BETTER for us to be here on planet Earth right now, amidst the sufferings and crosses of deceased spouses, children starving, people suffering from diseases and poverty…that we be here, right now, on planet Earth, ALIVE!

It is clear that for Jesus it is His Will that right now we be here and NOT in Heaven, just as he left his Mother here for those twenty years.

For God, life is clearly WORTH living.  The question we need to constantly be asking ourselves each day is do WE think life is worth living?




I didn’t include it in my homily, but I thought I’d leave this here…the end of Uncle Walt’s best poem


“The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?  
                                                        Answer.
That you are here—that life exists, and identity;  

That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.”

Monday, August 14, 2017

Hypocrisy of the Modern World

- Nicholas Senz

"The Hypocrisy of Modernity"

Wearing a Cassock

An interesting article appeared recently - a lay person (in fact, I think, a non-Catholic) wore a cassock around town for a day.

He documents the experience HERE and it is well worth your time.  It is super short




Contrary to what some might think, I'm not a huge fan of the cassock in one sense.

I'm pretty introverted and like "flying under the radar" in the sense of not having people notice me.

And so, quite often, it is tempting to wear "regular clothes" because I know no one will stare at me and I can walk around undetected.


But...I also know that wearing a cassock helps people know that there are actually priests around, and I think seeing a priest is a sort of "walking homily" that gets to people and maybe even forces them to think about more eternal things


This article sums up the experience quite well