Sunday, April 29, 2012

Homosexuality Speaker Dan Savage Takes on Islam

"Anti-Bullying" Speaker Dan Savage, who rudely bullied Christians during an anti-bullying talk by mocking the Bible, now has his sights set on Islam.

Islam's Holy Book the Koran (or Qur'an) contains even stronger passages condemning homosexual than the Bible does. (see the bottom of this post for those passages from the Koran).

Just kidding.

Neither the "anti-bullying" bully, nor any person from the militant wing of the "homosexuality is genetic" camp would EVER dream to utter a single word of condemnation towards Islam or their Holy Book. News reports for years have noted the stonings of those caught in homosexual acts, some of the stonings even being done in public arenas for entire towns to witness.

I would ask Mr. Savage: "In which Christian nation are people being stoned to death for homosexual acts? And yet you huff and puff about the injustice of the Bible and mock it relentlessly. If you really were as tough as you talk, I'd think you'd first take on Islam, but perhaps you fear the retaliation? Your double standard with regard to Islam on the one hand and Christianity on the other shows that you actually could care less about fighting for the rights of those who desire to commit homosexual acts, and are instead simply seeking to make a name for yourself. Hezbollah and Al Qaeda are waiting vigilantly to hear you utter your first word condemning the Qu'ran, and if you ever do, you and I both know it won't be pretty."

 The Qu'ran on homosexual acts: "We also sent Lut: He said to his people: Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you? For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds. And his people gave no answer but this: they said, "Drive them out of your city: these are indeed men who want to be clean and pure!"" (Qur'an 7:80-82) "Of all the creatures in the world, will ye approach males, And leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your mates? Nay, ye are a people transgressing (all limits)! They said: "If thou desist not, O Lut! thou wilt assuredly be cast out!" He said: "I do detest your doings:" "O my Lord! deliver me and my family from such things as they do!" So We delivered him and his family,- all Except an old woman who lingered behind. But the rest We destroyed utterly. We rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): and evil was the shower on those who were admonished (but heeded not)! Verily in this is a Sign: but most of them do not believe. And verily thy Lord is He, the Exalted in Might, Most Merciful." (Qur'an 26:165-175) "Would ye really approach men in your lusts rather than women? Nay, ye are a people (grossly) ignorant! But his people gave no other answer but this: They said, "Drive out the followers of Lut from your city: these are indeed men who want to be clean and pure!" But We saved him and his family, except his wife; her We destined to be of those who lagged behind. And We rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): and evil was the shower on those who were admonished (but heeded not)!" (Qur'an 27:55-58) "And (remember) Lut: behold, he said to his people: "Ye do commit lewdness, such as no people in Creation (ever) committed before you. Do ye indeed approach men, and cut off the highway? - and practise wickedness (even) in your councils?" But his people gave no answer but this: they said: "Bring us the Wrath of Allah if thou tellest the truth." (Qur'an 29:28-29) "If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, Take the evidence of four (Reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way. If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent and amend, Leave them alone; for Allah is Oft-returning, Most Merciful." (Qur'an 4:15-16)

Warp Speed Homily: Children of God???

Some may disagree that 5.5 minutes is warp speed, but that is definitely warp speed for me!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Church Attacked for Being For and Against Conception

The Catholic Church is being told by the Obama Administration that Catholics have to support those who desire to prevent conception and at the same time the Church is being sued in Fort Wayne for not always being in favor of conception (IVF).  A sad irony.

In the meantime, a gay-rights activist is in the news for berating Christians at a conference that was supposed to be a conference on high school journalism.  An anti-bullying speakers bullies people? 

Is there any doubt that we are getting down to the end of things?

You can watch the video below that is making the rounds.  BE ADVISED there is explicit language in the video.

Friday, April 27, 2012

HHS Hires Planned Parenthood Spokesperson

I would say I am "shocked" by this story, but everything is shocking anymore on this front.

Click here to read the story

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Prom Feedback

Having only heard from I've only heard from one person anonymously that didn't like the change at prom this year, I thought I'd share the positive comments I've received as well:

"Father Hollowell, I've been meaning to thank you for what you did for our Prom this year. I have never liked dances these days because of the "grinding" and "twerking" , and people look down upon you if you aren't doing it. It is basically a peer-pressure thing and I absolutely hate it. For once I actually had a good time at a dance knowing I wasn't going to get pressured into something I didn't want to do all thanks to you."


"I am among the many who applaud what you have done here at Ritter’s prom, even though I did not attend. Grinding is something that makes me extremely uncomfortable when watching, and I tried it once at a dance and it was terrifying. I do not agree with my peers who say, “ We need to experience, to make mistakes.” I have made mistakes, yes, but they weren’t necessary to my learning, in the least. My hope is that everyone can learn to have a little faith, and a little trust."


"Hi Father Hollowell!  I just wanted to thank you for the new dancing policy at the Ritter Prom. I know a lot of students are against it, but I've spoken with many who support you. The world could use more priests like you. Thank you for continuing to fight for human self respect and dignity!"


"It was actually more fun."


"Father, I have to be honest, I thought this was going to be lame, but it was actually way better than last year."


"Can you come to Roncalli?"


"It was wayyyyy more enjoyable!"


"Thanks, I just want you to know we don't all like dancing like that.  It's actually kind of hard to dance when someone next to you is basically having sex."


"Thanks, Father, I think it was always one of those peer pressure things, and we just needed someone to tell us to stop."

Monday, April 23, 2012

Retaking Notre Dame

In a war, sometimes you lose ground temporarily, only to eventually retake the ground once reinforcements arrive or a new strategy is put in place.

I've chronicled on this blog the disaster that is currently Notre Dame.  They have essentially shed much of their Catholic identity and of course the invitation to President Obama has been blasted consistently here.  However, one of the many people who contacted me in the wake of the "I Have a Say" video was an influential Notre Dame alum who called me and talked to me at length about how there are a lot of alums, including extremely influential ones, who are equally distressed over the direction of the University.  Some of these alums have been documenting the abuses of Catholic identity in great detail, and they have been publishing their findings at an awesomely-titled website..."Back Off, You Monsters!"

You can access their website by clicking here.

It seems that the real Notre Dame alums are starting to take back some sacred ground.  How awesome would it be if Notre Dame truly embraced its Catholic identity once again?  I would LOVE to be able to watch ND football again and to pull for them and to visit the campus and to take a class there and go to Tenebrae on Good Friday and visit the Basilica for Mass...but it is a forsaken place at the moment.  It is good to see that there is hope, and it sounds like, as one of my favorite songs notes "here come the Irish of Notre Dame".  Please God, let it be so!

Thanks Mom!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Do Priests REALLY Golf All Day?

The Washington Post certainly had a piece worth examining today on the LCWR smackdown.  Click here to read the story. 

I found a couple of things worth noting in the piece.

1) There were three examples of nuns getting "love" from society.  Two of the nuns were fictional, and the third, the Oscar-nominated Sr. Dolores Hart, belongs to a group of cloistered sisters who are absolutely NOT in the LCWR.  You can visit Sr. Dolores' Convent's website by clicking here, and then tell me if you think they are LCWR material. So all three examples in the article are of nuns not in the LCWR - an important distinction that is not made in the article itself.

2) It is true that the nuns had just as much as to do with the establishment of hospitals and schools as the priests and bishops (I love how the article creates the dichotomy - precisely what the LCWR wants), however, I'm fairly confident the nuns that taught and worked in the hospitals in the 50's and 60's would punch the leadership of the LCWR in the face.  Okay, maybe that's a bit strong, but to suggest that there is anything but a nominal connection between the nuns who slugged away in our hospitals and schools and the shenanigans that we see by the LCWR today is a farce.  In fact the nuns who now do a lot of the teaching are those NOT in the LCWR; are schools are being led more and more by the orthodox sisters NOT in the LCWR because it is the orders of orthodox non-LCWR sisters that are bursting at the seams with novices.

3) I find the suggestion that priests live the good life repulsive (I guess that would be suspected given my vocation).  Are there priests who do more golfing than praying, absolutely.  Is that disgusting - yes.  But the majority of priests are out slugging it away in parishes where they are living alone, without the inestimable gift of communal living.  Not even Vatican II imagined the situation we have now in the U.S. where priests are actually living alone, and it is a tough task at times, but most do it.  Priests are out saying 5 Masses on the weekend despite Canon Law saying that 5 Masses should be the exception for a weekend.  Before you scoff and say "how hard can it be to say a Mass" know that I think of myself as a pretty tough guy, and it is VERY draining to be "on" and essentially emceeing Saturday afternoon through Sunday afternoon with the stress of trying to preach well thrown in.  Despite what the kindergartners and first graders often say when I visit them - we don't have the week off between Masses either! :)

I'm not complaining at all, I love being a priest, but when articles like this make it sound like the LCWR is slaving away in our schools and hospitals while ALL priests today are drinking martinis at the country club, my blood gets boiling.  I'm not asking for compliments here, just thank your parish priest or, more importantly, say a prayer for him, and pray for all the sisters out there who see their job as being in opposition to the mission of the Church and Christ's bishops.

Prom 2012: Concerning Modesty

As has been documented on here, a lot happened this weekend in the run up to the prom at Ritter.  We addressed the issue of "grinding" and our young people met that challenge and exceeded our request.

Now, as pictures from the evening are showing up on Facebook, some are critiquing the fact that I was in pictures with young people dressed inappropriately or immodestly.  I want to say, first of all, that I of course agree that we have a lot of work to do in the modesty department. 

Some are lamenting the fact that we didn't also address the immodesty when we were addressing the grinding.  Truth be told, I didn't know how bad the situation was on the immodesty front until I got to prom on Friday night.  I hadn't been to prom in two years, and in that time, a lot has changed in the "fashion" department.  Certainly we are going to address this issue moving forward, but frankly I'm still thankful for the huge strides made this weekend.

At Ritter, we allow our seniors to dress up for Mass, and inevitably there are about 20 girls that get sent to the office and have to call home and arrange alternative clothing.  As our principal says, "If we don't fight that battle, who will?"  It seems, from our end, like we are often fighting this battle with little support elsewhere, but we will keep fighting it. 

The lesson for everyone here (mothers, fathers, fashion-savvy folks, young men, young women, clothing designers, etc.) is that everyone has to do something.  My saintly mother told me a year or so ago that she went dress shopping with my sisters for prom and there were ZERO dresses that were actually made in good taste with modesty in mind.  NONE!  I've seen my mother sewing up several dresses the past few years to make them acceptable for my sisters.

But what about the girls that don't have as vigilant a mother as mine?  What about the girls that don't have a father to watch over these things and not let their daughters out if they are dressed inappropriately?  Certainly our young people aren't getting any help from pop culture either as the types of dresses a lot of our girls were wearing at prom, so I'm told, are the exact same as the dresses that the women on the number 1 "family-friendly" show Dancing with the Stars wear.  I wouldn't know because I've never seen the show. 

It is important to realize that reversing this trend starts with each of us, and in fact, given the climate, there are some battles that are best NOT fought directly by priests.  Sure I can talk to people in general about modesty and its importance (and I have), but to tell certain people, in the moment, "sorry, I can't get a photo with you because your dress is too revealing..." or "you can't come in to Mass dressed that way, it is too inappropriate"...those sorts of statements would cause GREATER scandal.  It takes a village, and I think never more clearly does it take a village than on the issue of modesty.

I can assure you, modesty is of a grave concern to me and to all of us who work at Ritter.  I simply ask what it is that you personally are doing to change the culture with regards to modesty ... or are you waiting for someone else to do it for you?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

How Do We Help Our Young People Get Beyond "Grinding" ?

If you have a child not in high school yet, there will be a part of you that will wish you didn't know what grinding is.

I thought I was well-versed in the ways of the world of young people when I came to Ritter three years ago.  I had just been at another Catholic school prior to seminary only about 5 years earlier.  When I went to chaperone the prom that first year at Ritter, though, I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  It is basically summed up in this picture below.

Some would argue that dance has always been sexual, which I grant, but there is a serious line that is crossed (as most rational people will grant) when dance devolves into the "grinding" illustrated in the 2011 photo.

I missed prom last year at Ritter, and so I kind of forgot about "grinding" but a few parents reminded me about it in the run up to prom this year, and I knew I was supposed to do something.

We met with the young people and told them grinding = being kicked out of prom, and that if all did it, then we'd shut prom down.  I had several students thank me afterwards.  One girl noted "Father, thanks, it is kind of hard to dance when two people are basically having sex right next to you."

This post isn't about what we did at Ritter this week; I want it to be about what all schools (especially Catholic) can do about the issue.

We did a nice job with step 1 at Ritter - stop the bleeding.  At some point there has to be from schools the nuclear option, the "if you do this you're done" talk with a serious intent to follow through.  I was fully prepared to throw some kids out last night, but thankfully none of them tested our resolve (did I mention I'm EXTREMELY proud of our young people?)

Every Catholic school needs to implement the nuclear option as a school wide policy for next year as step 1.

Now...and much more difficult and time consuming and requiring a lot more creative energy and passion is step 2 - teaching our young people HOW to act at formal dances and so forth.

As I was thinking about prom yesterday and praying about it, I'd like to share the "vision" that came to mind.

What if we, in the run up to prom, brought in someone to teach our young people formal business dining etiquette?  When I was in college, the Hanover business school (very well respected nationally) always brought in people to train our business students in the ways of etiquette.  Again, our kids did a great job last night, but I noticed a lot of them getting up and running around to other tables.  I remember my own prom and never being taught how to carry on a conversation with a table of people and I remember it was sort of awkward.  Often times, even those young people who carry a conversation do so to the exclusion of others at the table by relying on inside stories and so forth with only some at the table.  Other issues would be as simple as which fork do you use?  Where does the bread go?  Where can I reach, and when do I have to ask someone to pass something?

The men could have a whole separate talk about opening car doors, holding an umbrella for a lady, polite conversation and not swearing in front of a lady, offering an arm, helping a woman get seated, etc.

While the young men are getting talked to the ladies could be taught about modesty and finding a dress that is appropriate and so forth.

Then, there could be a presentation on how to dance.  This is the biggy - we can't just tell them "don't grind" we also need to start showing them HOW to dance and have a good time.  Do our young people know how to swing dance?  Have they ever even heard jazz?

Then, at the actual prom, we need to shell out the extra dollars and bring in a live band.  A live band can help side step the problem of the horrible lyrics that are being played when a DJ is involved.  Even if the cuss words are blanked out, what is being said in the rest of the song is typically problematic.

Anybody who has been to a reception with a live band knows it can actually be a lot more fun. 

Perhaps this "vision" could still be done by parishes for public school proms.  The parish might even be able to host a formal dinner before hand for all of the young people to attend.

We need to be pro-active with all of this.

"Thou shalt not grind" is a good start, but we need to be doing a lot more to help our young know how much fun is possible.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Beginning of the End for the LCWR

The LCWR, a group that represents the majority of women's religious congregations in the United States (mentioned with contempt on this blog many times) has just been issued a serious pink slip.

As Rocco Palmo reports on his outstanding blog:

"Citing "serious doctrinal problems" found over the course of a four-year study of the lead umbrella-group representing the US' communities of religious women, the Holy See has set into motion a thoroughgoing shake-up of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), naming Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle as its delegate to conduct an overhaul of the group. 

Among other concerns raised in an eight-page summary of the doctrinal inquest released today, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith cited addresses at LCWR conferences that, it said, manifested a "rejection of faith," protests of church teaching on homosexuality and the ordination of women by officers of the group, and a "prevalence of certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith" in some of the conference's events."

Click here for the whole story.

The Apostles in Jail - School Mass Homily

Senior Projects and "Raising Awareness"

At Cardinal Ritter High School we have a really important component to our senior year that is called the "senior project."  When I taught seniors the last few years, I really put a lot of effort and time into helping our seniors learn how to do research well, how to write well, etc.  Last year, I even had "writing school" on Saturday where we had donuts, fruit, juice, etc. and students came in and worked one on one, especially those who had rough drafts that were especially "rough"!

The senior is asked to picked a topic in the Fall, research it for several months, and then in the Spring they ultimately write a research paper and give a 10 minute presentation to a group of faculty on their topic.

I wanted to share an interesting observation that I've noticed over the past three years of senior projects that I think is reflective of where our culture is today.  We ask our students (and in fact it is the main point of the project) to identify SOLUTIONS and actions that can be taken to the issue they have raised, even issues that perhaps are unique to that student, solutions that perhaps no one has ever thought of.  Anyone can do research, not everyone can propose solutions.

96% of the senior projects I've worked with over the years, when they are initially submitted as rough drafts, have the following as their primary solution --- "to fix societal ill ________ , we must "RAISE AWARENESS!""

That's the fix - to simply spread the word and tell people about what is going on.

Isn't that what our young people (and all of us, in fact) have grown accustomed to thinking of as a solution - just SPREAD AWARENESS!!!  Seemingly every week is now slotted with an awareness campaign.

The government actually has a website where you can look up all the things that are "officially sanctioned awareness campaigns" for each week.  The list is insanely long!

Some of my favorites - Hand washing awareness month, safe gift awareness month, drowsy driving prevention month, Get Ready Day (doesn't say what we are supposed to get ready for), Whole-Grains Month (do we only eat whole grains this month?), National Yoga Awareness Month, National Rip Current Awareness Week, National Toxic Encephalopathy and Chemical Injury Awareness Month (where do I get the t-shirt?), National Mediterranean Diet Month, and National Folic Acid Awareness Week.  

The list features at least 7 or 8 days/weeks per month where we are supposed to be made more aware.

I get the idea that knowledge and information are important, but here is my concern - we are becoming more and more a people who can't say something is wrong, can't actually WORK on a problem and try to fix things, we don't see solutions, we don't dialogue, we just pass things around on Twitter and Facebook and try to "raise awareness."  Sure, again, awareness is a good thing, but let's also start thinking about whether or not we can do more than raise awareness.  Let's aim a little higher than that.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Indy Woman Ordained a Priest?

This is a joke from WTHR. This shows what happens when people separate themselves from the Rock. These women won't be excommunicated by the Church because, according to Church teaching, they DE FACTO excommunicate themselves through this action. In fact, Rome clarified just last year that because of the harm that fake ordinations do to the Body of Christ, one can not even simply confess the sin to a priest, the forgiveness of such a sin must be sought directly from Rome.

These people aren't Catholic, it isn't a real ordination, she wasn't ordained a deacon, this isn't new, it has been going on for millenia. Pray for their conversion!

What does the Church teach on ordaining women? Sister Sara Butler, a respected theologian around the world and a member of the International Theological Commission, has written a fantastic and succinct work on the matter titled, “The Catholic Priesthood and Women.” She goes through the various arguments that have been posited since John Paul II said in 1990 in his letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis that “In order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance….I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.” The main argument that the Church makes, and that Butler helps clarify as well, is that Christ chose 12 men. Since that is what Christ did, that is what the Church does.

There are many arguments that people love to put up against this, most notably the idea that Christ COULD NOT have chosen women or he would have been dismissed for doing so. The answer to that, in my mind, is that the Christ of the Gospels was a man who, at every turn, upset the established order. He seems to have been going to the synagogue mostly to heal people on the Sabbath, as Chesterton notes, he was a man who threw the furniture of the temple down the front steps when he cast out the money changers, he left no stone unturned in regards to opportunities to break down cultural or religious barriers – and yet he only chose 12 men to be his Apostles.

From this point Butler chronicles the many different reasons posited through the years as to why Christ MAY have chosen only men, and she lays them out beautifully while also meeting the critiques of those arguments cogently.

How Not to Bring Young People to Christ

Loved this video that I found on "Romish Graffiti's" blog.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Indy Star Article LOOKS Interesting...Seems to Break Mold...Only to Disappoint

Yesterday's Indy Star front page article looked promising - it looked like it was going to provide some actual coverage of the Komen/Planned Parenthood debacle, but alas, it only turned out to be more of the same from the Star.

Komen's numbers for their "Race for the Cure" are abysmal compared to years past. That is to be expected given the fact that Koimen drew attention to their relationship with Planned Parenthood in a way the pro-life blogosphere could never have dreamed possible. Then, the next day, Komen jumped back in bed with Planned Parenthood after PP's massive and frightening counter attack through the media.

So here's my beef with the Star article: I would bet my last dollar that 90% or more of the people who have walked away from Komen are people who are ANGERED over their renewed relationship with Planned Parenthood. Does the Star interview any of those people --- no! The Star article gives the impression, furthering PP's agenda that the media is tripping over itself to regurgitate, that it is PLANNED PARENTHOOD supporters who are the ones taking down Komen. What a load!

The only person interviewed from either angry pro-abortion Planned Parenthood supporter. Such shoddy reporting reminds me (not that I need look far for reminders) that we are fighting an attack being waged on us from all sides.

Subtler reminders of bias were also to be found. The following quote contains two troubling bits of "reporting":

"The national Komen organization earlier this year announced a decision to withhold funds from Planned Parenthood because it was under investigation by a Florida congressman at the urging of anti-abortion groups."

1) Of course we have the now-standard practice of referring to Catholics and those who oppose abortion and those who oppose handing condoms out to fourth graders as the "anti-abortion" crowd.

2) Another passive-aggressive media jab was to be found when the reporter noted that Planned Parenthood was under investigation "AT THE URGING OF ANTI-ABORTION GROUPS." ??? Seriously? When else do you see "at the urging of" about an investigation? Pretty much every investigation has support from people. Trayvon Martin's death is being investigated "AT THE URGING OF_____" fill in one of the famous people backing this cause. You could also have said a few years ago "OSAMA BIN LADEN IS UNDER INVESTIGATION AT THE URGING OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE,"... "coach Bobby Petrino is under investigation by Arkansas University at the urging of the AD"..."Lance Armstrong is under investigation at the urging of the French people"... you can go on and on....but the little "at the urging of" addendum is never added anywhere else...unless it makes poor little Planned Parenthood look like it is being bullied by some special interest group. Furthermore, if a company is doing something wrong, does it matter who is in favor of the investigation happening?  Absolutely malicious reporting on the part of the Star in a very juvenile way.

Finally, the article ends with a free advertisement of the Planned Parenthood Yoga fundraiser that is being done at the same time as "the Race for the Cure" for the people who want to raise money for Planned Parenthood instead of breast cancer. This article, like most from the Star, makes me want to get sick. If you take the Star, I urge you to consider stopping so. I know I will never take it. I can get all my news from sources I trust thanks to Twitter and other online sources...the Star is an aging dinosaur that more and more resembles a newsletter for Planned Parenthood of Indiana, and less and less like a useful compiler of relevant and balanced news.

Monday, April 9, 2012

"The Catholic Priesthood" by Starlight Media

Branden Stanley's Starlight Media (mentioned on the blog here and here) has just come out with an awesome short but powerful video on the Catholic priesthood. Do you know someone thinking about the priesthood? Pass this on, but, MORE importantly, look for young men you think would be good priests and then TELL them you think would make good priests! It is an awesome life!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Further Clarifications on the Next Three Days

I point to these things not to be a Pharisee but because I think many people are wanting to know - "how do I approach these next few days?"

1) Through conversations/research since yesterday's homily, I've learned that today (Holy Thursday) is basically the one solemnity that doesn't start until the evening. The Church says Lent ends "at the beginning of the Mass of the Lord's Supper." The Office of Readings and Morning Prayer for today are taken from the "Thursday of Holy Week" (not from "Holy Thursday") so basically you can't partake of whatever you gave up for Lent until AFTER the Holy Thursday Mass. A friend told me there is a tradition for some in Rome that spend Thursday evening traveling around visiting various altars of repose and so forth while also enjoying food and ice cream (gelatto) and other things to celebrate the end of Lent and the gifts of the priesthood and the Eucharist.

Some would probably say it is pretty weak to take Thursday evening to enjoy your lenten sacrifices for a few hours. I think it kind of makes Good Friday even more pointed because you had a chance to "enjoy things" again for a few hours and then at midnight a fast starts again.

2) The Good Friday fast actually extends through until Saturday around 4 pm. This was something I've really found helpful because it always felt weird to wake up Saturday morning and have a big breakfast or whatever when it wasn't Easter yet either. The Church actually says in the Missal that the Good Friday fast should be extended to Saturday "where possible" and again, I've actually found this to be a great aid to my prayer. 1.5 days of fasting is a lot different than 1.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Warp Speed Catechesis: Catholic Just War Theory and the Hunger Games


The past two years I have hosted a Tenebrae service at Cardinal Ritter. For several reasons, I am not able to do so this year but will instead be attending a Tenebrae service at St. Pius X Church on the north side. Their Tenebrae service begins at 7 pm and I am really looking forward to it.

Good Friday evening is always a time Catholics are looking for liturgy and prayer opportunities, but most services are in the afternoon. Tenebrae provides a nice, solemn, prayerful opportunity to spend more time in communal prayer while remembering that darkest of nights when our Lord was dead.

Consider making your way to St. Pius Friday evening at 7 pm for Tenebrae. Here is the address: 7200 Sarto Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46240
The phone number for St. Pius X is (317) 255-4534 ‎

Lent Ends Tonight

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Starbucks and Subsidiarity

I absolutely love Starbucks coffee. I first started falling in love with coffee about five years ago when I started having it at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then I started drinking it more frequently, and now I have coffee a few days a week.

For several years Starbucks was my only source for coffee. I loved going there and getting a warm mug of coffee and sometimes I would even treat myself to one of their delicious scones (pumpkin being my favorite).

If I wasn't drinking coffee at Starbucks I was brewing Starbucks at the rectory. My favorite blend was the first one I fell in love with - Christmas Blend. Like Pavlov's dog the little red bag of Christmas blend would get me pumped for all the other wonderful things about Christmas.

Then it happened...

As Lifestie summarizes - "Kalen Holmes, Starbucks executive vice president, told U.S. partners in January that the Seattle-based company backed Washington state’s same-sex “marriage” legislation as “core to who we are and what we value as a company.”

At a board meeting on March 21, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz confirmed Holmes’ statement as the position adopted by the board and “not something that was a difficult decision for us.

Most of the people I know boycott Starbucks for supporting something that is seeking to undermine marriage. The priests I gather with on Thursdays at Starbucks now go elsewhere. The point here isn't so much to point out the Starbucks boycott but rather to talk a bit about subsidiarity.

As followers of the blog can attest, I am a big fan of subsidiarity. It is the Catholic social teaching that says things (commerce, government, schools, etc.) should be done at the smallest level possible. We've heard a lot about "buying local" lately, but the Church has been pumping that for centuries...and this Starbucks debacle provides a great illustration of one of the reasons why.

When companies get to be as large as Starbucks, suddenly they aren't just selling coffee anymore, they have so much money that they can publicly start supporting causes and have a GIANT impact on these causes with their coffers of cash. Often the public is under the guise that they are just buying a hamburger or a coffee or shopping at Wal-Mart, but the Church (and a lot of economists recently) are pointing out that people have no idea where their money goes, and most of it leaves the community.

I've since found lots of locally owned coffee shops, and I actually am going to start getting my coffee beans from some monks in Wyoming. I know where my money is going now, and even if the local coffee shop owner does decide to support the redefining of marriage, the best he/she is going to be able to contribute is, say, a few thousand bucks.

When governments OR companies get too big, everyone starts to lose.

Be Catholic - GO LOCAL!!!

Cardinal Ritter on the Founding of the Archdiocese

As our Archdiocese prepares to celebrate the Chrism Mass this afternoon (3 pm @ Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral - all are welcome) I thought it would be great to upload this homily from Cardinal Ritter. The homily was given at a Mass where two things happened simultaneously - the Archdiocese was created, and Cardinal Ritter was made our first Archbishop. Interesting as well that he notes the fog of war that hangs over the nation. It is only a few minutes long, but I thought it was cool to hear his voice and listen to his words.

Warp Speed Catechesis: "What the Heck is Confirmation?"

Cardinal Dolan Influential?

Click here to vote for Cardinal Dolan as one of the more influential people in our country. Is there any doubt that this is the case over the past six months? Cardinal Dolan belongs on the list of 100 most influential people in the U.S. (even if the list is something that people are voting on). Pay TIME's page a visit and let's get Cardinal Dolan on the list!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Kristine Bunch, Imprisoned for 15 Years, Wins Appeal

Sunday evening Masses at the Indiana Women's Prison have been one of the neatest ministries I've been able to be involved with as a young priest. Every few months, I'm asked to give up a Sunday afternoon to go have Mass for the women. I also was able to offer adoration and confessions for an hour in the afternoon this past Fall. The first time I went, I'm not sure what I expected, but I remember being really surprised by how kind the women were. I think I expected tattoos and mean looks and toughness but so many of the women were NOT that way at all.

One of the women who has been coming to Mass faithfully for the three years I've been going out to the prison is a woman named Kristine Bunch. She has been in prison for 15 years accused of setting a fire in her trailer home that killed her three year old son. At the time, Kristine was pregnant with her second child, who, I'm told, visits her faithfully every week.

Just last week it was learned that Kristine's appeal has been granted, and it looks like she'll receive a new trial which will almost assuredly lead to her freedom. Any time an appeal is granted it is because new evidence has come to light that almost certainly will exonerate the imprisoned.

Several years ago 20/20 did a story on Kristine. You can read that story by clicking here.

What great news during Holy Week! I can't imagine the perseverance Kristine has displayed throughout all those years of wrongful imprisonment. Let us also today offer up a prayer for all those wrongfully imprisoned around the world today. May God's Justice reign, and soon!