Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Catholicism on same sex "marriage" in 40 seconds



"Many people believe that the Catholic Church opposes same sex marriage because the Bible and the Church condemn homosexual sex. However, this is not the primary reason that the Church opposes same sex marriage. The Church says that there are several core key principles that a society has to be founded on and protect or else the society will collapse. And one of those is the dignity of marriage, particularly it being between one man and one woman. The Church says that as soon as that stops being protected, a society will begin to collapse. And so no Catholic could ever be indifferent toward, let alone work for or actually promote same sex “marriage”."

Sunday, June 2, 2019

A via media on kids crying in Church

This is a completely fallible take on kids crying in Church.


In the discussion (a new round always exploding into existence on social media when word spreads of another bulletin article or pulpit comment), there are two large camps:

Camp 1 - "There should not ever be a sound at Mass" and

Camp 2 - "The Church is dying in the West, so we should always be grateful for all the noise that every child makes in Church, and Jesus said "Let the children come to me" so it might even be a good thing to keep a crying child in Mass"


As the oldest of 11 children I spent most of my teenage years as part of a family that was always retreating to the cry room, and I even sometimes took a sibling out to the play ground if my parents asked me to because they were taking another kid to the cry room and breaking up a fight between two other siblings.  I spent most of my life watching my parents heroically try to herd us and keep us quiet for an hour, and I spent most of my life watching my Mom make a beeline for the cry room (a lot of Masses she just went straight there before Mass even started!). 

My point in all this - I am DEFINITELY not in camp 1


But there does seem to be a trend over the last decade or so where some people think that every instance of a child crying/making noise in Church is a GOOD thing.  I am DEFINITELY not in camp 2 either.


So I'd suggest a middle road - a recognition that anyone who thinks there can't be any noise at Mass needs to relax, and at the same time a recognition that sometimes children need to be taken outside or taken to the cry room.


Broadly speaking, let's look at the scenarios. 

1) Babies crying - of course a baby is never at fault for any noise they make.  But parents should also know that all of us are genetically hard-wired to be on edge when a child is crying.  And so when an infant is crying, we all notice it and can't truly focus on anything else.  At Mass, I continue praying the prayers but I (and everyone else) are definitely also thinking, instinctively, "I should be doing something to help this child...what is wrong".  We also immediately start to move on when we hear the crying infant being carried out of Church.  Not because we think "FINALLY!  I can pray again and that nuisance is gone" but because my instinctive desire to help the child calms down when I can tell myself "someone is doing something to help the child, I can move on.  He or she is okay."

Jesus: "Let the children come to me"
Everyone: "Jesus, speak up.  We can't hear what you are saying!"


2) Babies making baby noises - When I was in the seminary in Rome, most of our masses were 250 20-30 year old seminarians.  One day, a seminarian's sister stopped by with her young family.  Her baby was making the occasional baby noises (cooing, the occasional exclamation as the child began to notice and enjoy the echo of the Church, etc.) and for all 250 of us it was like being visited at Mass by a choir of angels.  Everyone at Mass LOVED the sounds, and it was one of my favorite Masses in Rome.  We all smiled and could appreciate it because the child wasn't CRYING.


3) Toddlers - This is also a tough one.  Any rational person understands that a three year old isn't going to be perfectly silent for an hour.  But again, I think there's a gray middle ground.  Some tips:

Tip 1: My Mom told me that the best advice she got was from a priest in a homily who suggested "quiet toys".  A plastic truck being banged up against a wooden pew over and over again is eventually going to pull most people away from prayer. 

"Timmy, you are 8.  Do you still need to shoot off your cap gun and play cops and robbers at Church and build a fort?"


Tip 2: I loved that my parents, on the way home from Mass, always broke down "game film" (like good coaches) with the toddlers and kids in our family ("Stephanie, you did a great job today at Mass of not making noise and behaving, we're very proud of you!" or, more often, "Dave, you were making a lot of noise today, what happened that you weren't able to behave?" and, as we got older, "Bill, you are 7, why were you squeezing your brother's hand in a death grip during the Our Father?").


"You are older and should know better.  No coffee and donuts this week and no video games today"

Walk your kids closer to silence and continually talk over your expectations, and, as they get older, reinforce those expectations with donuts or other rewards/punishments!



In summary - if a baby is making the occasional baby noise, awesome.  If a baby is crying, they should be carried out.  Young children should be coached and molded into proper behavior at Mass.


Thanks to all the parents who make the huge and tremendous sacrifice of raising children.  We all know it is really hard, and we admire you greatly.  You are awesome!

Don't be a dualist!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Saint Matthias and Catholic Scandals

Saint Matthias, whose feast day is today, May 14th, was chosen by God to replace Judas as an Apostle.

He is a great reminder during this time of crisis in the Church:

Saints eventually come forward to replace leaders who betray Christ and His Church!



St. Matthias Window - Annunciation Catholic Church
Brazil, IN

The Power of the Laity

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Funeral Homily for Msgr. Larry Moran




When Monsignor Moran was serving as pastor here at St. Patrick’s, he loved to preach.  And he admitted to the parish that he just could not stop talking about Jesus from the pulpit.  The parishioners here proposed something gentle, and he agreed.  He was asked to preach with an egg timer.  When the timer went off, he would wrap up his homily.

And so today, in his honor, and because I could preach about Monsignor for hours, I have brought an egg timer with me.  Father Bedel, apologies if I just reminded the parish about this custom, and they come to you this week wanting to bring back the egg timer here at St. Patrick’s!


To set the scene I do feel it would be good just to mention some tangible things about Monsignor’s priestly service that lasted 67 years and 1 day.  There may be some who don’t know him as well.  A quick story to illustrate this.  I grew up a cradle Catholic in Indianapolis, and as a seminarian for 6 years got to meet so many of the priests in the archdiocese at cookouts or in summer assignments.  But it wasn’t until I had already been a priest for one year that I had ever heard of Msgr. Moran.  In my first year of priesthood, I realized I couldn’t keep making the 3 hour drive for spiritual direction to St. Meinrad, and so I asked Fr. Giannini, our vicar for clergy at the time, if he knew of anyone closer, and he steered me toward Msgr. Moran, whom I had not heard of before.

I consider it one of the great blessings of my life to have had the opportunity to get to know Monsignor over these past 9 years and work alongside him as a brother priest.

So to his family, thank you for sharing him with this Terre Haute Deanery, even though you probably would have preferred to have him closer.  Thank you, as well, for supporting him and allowing him to become part of this family of priests of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis for these 67 years.  The Church sees each diocese’s group of priests as a type of family, and following Mass today, we his brothers will sing the Salve Regina as his casket is loaded into the hearse.  It is a beautiful family tradition that we always do for our brothers.  Again, to his first family, thank you for sharing him with us.

So, his priestly ministry.  In a sentence, he lived the type of priesthood I think all of us dreamed of living when we first started thinking about the priesthood. 

Mother Anne said it best.  She said “His priestly zeal was remarkable.  You couldn’t keep him from doing everything he could to evangelize, to work for vocations, the poor, the ideas he came up with were one after the other.  Some worked, and some didn’t.  He was overflowing with inspiration, but he always was also willing to turn it over to the laity”

On so many things he did, he was 20-30 years ahead of the curve in terms of emphasizing them.

He was a pro-life warrior and ran straight into the fight to protect the unborn.  Lest anyone think his love for life was only for the unborn and mothers, though, he also spent hours and hours keeping vigil and praying that Timothy McVay be spared the death penalty.

He was 20 years ahead on the new evangelization, as he was doing the new evangelization before Pope St. John Paul II had even published that phrase.  He had a TV doing evangelization in Indianapolis and in Terre Haute for 16 years.  He threw everything he could into Catholic Radio here in the Wabash Valley, and hosted a weekly show himself, interviewing over 800 guests from around the world.  The EWTN community knew him well, and many of the on air personalities joined his show over the years, and many recorded tributes to him these past few weeks.

He was 20 years ahead on perpetual adoration and the power it can have on a parish and a local community.  He started the second chapel in our Archdiocese 25 years ago, and since it was founded, our Lord has been adored in the Terre Haute deanery for 216,720 hours as of 11 am this morning.

He was a priest of the confessional, and he preached about the sacrament, but then he backed it up by being a person that people sought out for confession.

He loved Catholic schools.  He would tell anyone that would listen, 20-30 years ago, that “we need to do everything we can to save the family.  We must save the family!”  St. Pat’s school thrived under him and one eye witness said that the kids all just absolutely adored him and would follow Msgr. Around all over campus and he passed out holy cards, by the 1000’s

My point is this – he was a man who lived in the trenches and embodied the 1000 directions you go in as a diocesan priest.

Everything, for him, was about Jesus Christ.  Not himself.  And so we come to the Gospel. “Were not our hearts burning within us as he opened the Scriptures for us?”  Whether on TV, the radio, at Mass, in the confessional, at school, or a million other places, people left his presence with their hearts set on fire for Jesus Christ, and that’s all he ever wanted. 


There is an important aspect to all this priestly zeal that deserves mention.  Although he lived in the breach between good and evil, although he was a general on the spiritual battlefield, although he fought against and preached against and ministered in the face of the diabolical, he also was full of hope.

In his first year as a priest, a mentor priest gave Monsignor Moran a piece of advice: “Don’t get angry”.  And it stuck.  Mother Anne said that she only saw him get angry once in 20 years, and it wasn’t even at a person.  His smile is what so many remember about him, his kindness, his warmth, even in the midst of the battles.  Hope.  He was a man of hope, and “Hope does not disappoint”



Many of us, whether we are religious sisters, lay faithful, or priests – we struggle to live BOTH courageously AND with hope.  We struggle to embody both virtues simultaneously.  We tend to prefer one side or the other as Christians.

Either we lack the courage to run into the cultural breach and fight evil, and so we choose to sit on the sideline, and be quiet, or offer milquetoast generalities about evil that don’t really help anyone in the fight.  If that is you, ask Monsignor to intercede for you that you might act with his courage in the world.

But others might have the zeal of Monsignor, but perhaps lack his hope.  Perhaps you are beaten down by the evil in the world, so although you fight for Christ, you are tempted to lose hope.  If that is you, remember his smile and his joy and ask him to intercede for you.


As the egg timer gets ready to go off on the final homily here at St. Patrick’s that will ever be delivered in the presence of his body, we commend his SPIRT to the Father.  We believe, of course, that Monsignor Moran can now pray for us, and that we can continue to pray for him.

At every funeral Monsignor did, he always mentioned 2 Timothy 4:7, and so it seems appropriate to say this about him now: “You have fought the good fight.  You have finished the race.  You have kept the Faith”  Rest in peace.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Monsignor Larry Moran



Thanks to all who helped put this video together, most especially longtime Catholic radio magician of the Wabash Valley, Mr. Mike Moroz!

Monsignor Moran was a Catholic giant in my area for 67 years of priesthood as a pro-life warrior, confessor, catholic school champion, catholic radio new evangelist pioneer, adoration chapel founder, and most importantly, he did it all with a spirit of prayer and joy.

His funeral is Wednesday, May 8th at 11 am at St. Patrick'c Catholic Church in Terre Haute.  Please pray for me as I have the tremendous and terrifying honor of preaching his funeral.

May he rest in peace!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Are you afraid of the Name of Jesus?

My 10th Anniversary

This summer is my 10th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood. 

I am celebrating a Mass at Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis on Saturday, June 8th, at 5 pm.  After Mass, across the street there will be free Qdoba and drinks to celebrate. 

It isn't that 10 years is any extraordinary accomplishment, but I feel like we should celebrate more often in life, not less.

If you can come, I ask for an RSVP (by May 15th if possible) by clicking on the following link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090d4faba92fa7f85-frjohn



Are you willing to be coached?


God is perfect