Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Media and Islam

It is no secret that the media serves as the mouthpiece for liberalism and progressivism. Paradoxically, however, the media is often in favor of Islam which is as anti-liberal and anti-progressive as they come. Progressives and liberals are for equality among the sexes (at extremes not even wanting to acknowledge a difference), they believe homosexuality is simply genetic, and they typically belittle those who believe that faith is required to see the whole picture of reality.

On the contrary, Muslims are MOST clear on the differences between women and men, take a very strong stance against homosexuality, and believe in a blind faith that always trumps anything we learn from this world.

The question then - why does the media seem to be pro-Islam? British journalist Melanie Phillips was interviewed by the Catholic World Report, and she offered several interesting reasons.

1) Progressives FEAR Islam
2) They are both in the business of overturning Western values
3) Progressives have always been drawn to nihilism, violence and tyranny

Regardless of the reasons, it is certainly interesting to ponder why Western liberals and progressives are such intimate bedfellows with radical Islam.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Saints Peter and Paul

Today in the Church we celebrate a big day - the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, two pillars of Catholicism. Some find their pairing odd and some see the two as representing two different missions of the Church. Saint Peter is often thought of as the "administrator", the establishment, etc. because of his being appointed to head the Church. On the contrary, Saint Paul is often portrayed as the prophet, the guy working off the reservation, constantly battling cautious administrators. In support of these caricatures, some point to the passage in the Acts of the Apostles where St. Paul rebukes St. Peter and gets St. Peter to change his mind on an administrative decision.

However, these two saints illustrate the futility (and the heresy) of thinking that a person should be boxed in as either administrator (earthly) or a prophet (spiritual). In Galatians, we see a VERY important passage linking these two great men. Saint Paul notes, "After fourteen years, I went up to Jerusalem...and I laid out for their scrutiny the gospel as I present it to the Gentiles - all this in private conference with the leaders, to make sure the course I was pursuing, or had pursued, was not useless...and recognizing, too, the favor bestowed on me, those who were the acknowledged pillars, James, Cephas [Peter], and John, gave Barnabas and me the handclasp of fellowship."

This is such an awesome passage, and one that Martin Luther would have been mindful to read. Luther quotes almost exclusively from St. Paul to justify his crusade against the Church - playing off of the caricature of St. Paul as simply a guy who went around preaching the authentic Gospel free from the constraints of the "visible Church". In the passage above we see St. Paul SUBMITTING himself and his teaching to the leadership of St. Peter and checking in to make sure his message was in line with the teaching of the Universal Church! WOW!

Authentic prophets, like St. Paul, never work OUTSIDE the Church, and we do well to remember this passage when we start to think of the Church as stuffy, stifling, and burdensome. Prophecy and administration, the holy and the human, the visible and the spiritual, can and should be BOTH present in each of us.

In both of these men we see where authentic discipleship leads. May we follow them both to the Kingdom!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Homily on True Freedom

What does freedom mean? Does it mean doing whatever I want to do, whenever I want to do it?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Evangelical Worship Service

Touching on a homily I gave a few weeks ago about Evangelical Protestantism and St. John of the Cross's teaching on our need to "manufacture the warm tinglies" I ran across this video that shows the mentality of Evangelical worship today - a pep rally with no game following it in my words. Question for Catholics - to what extent is the way some parishes celebrate Mass heading in this direction?

"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

Pro Life Homily at St. Mike's

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Marty Haugen and Sacred Music

Everywhere I've gone, it seems I keep running into one of my least favorite Church songs - "All are Welcome." I obviously don't have a problem with welcoming people, but it is such an odd song to sing at Mass. Is anyone really standing in the narthex wondering if they are welcome? Of course not! So then why do we sing it all the time no matter what Church I go to?

This raises the broader issue - what is Sacred Music today? A hymn is a song of praise TO GOD, but everything I hear at Catholic Masses today seems to be a tribute to us, the people assembled. Today, even songs addressed to God still manage to convey more of a description of what God should be doing instead of offering him praise. Examples of terrible liturgical music include but are certainly not limited to:
"Let US build a City of God" (We can't build the City of God, Catholic Doctrine 101),
"Sing a New Church" (What is wrong with the one Christ founded on Peter?),
"We Remember" (the next line should be ...nothing before 1970),

In recent years, I've realized that there is a real and important battle over Sacred Music. We have such a long and glorious history of Catholic Hymns, yet virtually everything in the Gather song book and the Glory and Praise song books (the hymnals used by the majority of parishes in our country) feature songs written during the 1970's and 1980's. Most of those were written by Marty Haugen, who is a member of the United Church of Christ!!! How can this be??

I am all for new music, but can we still admit that A FEW THINGS from before 1970 are still admissible in Church? We have to encourage our young Catholic artists, song writers, and musicians to love the Church and Her Tradition while at the same time encouraging them to find new ways to sing praise to God. What we must leave behind is the self-centered narcissism and psychobabble found in so much of our current liturgical music.

Finally, I point you to a new trend. Ignatius Press has put out a beautiful new hymnal (the Adoremus Hymnal) which features great hymns, both new and old, and a parish in our neighboring Lafayette Diocese has put together a similar hymnal called St. Michael Hymnal. The St. Michael Hymnal has taken off in recent years and is being used around the country. As parishes are forced to acquire new hymnals as the liturgical texts are being updated, pray that parishes make the wise decision about which hymnals to purchase moving forward!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fr. Robert Barron on Being a Priest Today

Fr. Robert Barron is a great priest and has a balanced and holy perspective on everything. Enjoy!

Apple's Steve Jobs Fights Pornography

This might help me make the switch to Apple (click here to read the article). Great to hear that Steve Jobs is working to help drive pornography out of our national consciousness. I also love his line, "when you have kids, maybe you won't like porn as much either."

New Study on Depression Among Children from Sperm Donors

If MSN posts it and it has a pro-life slant, then you can be sure that it must be REALLY big! Read the article by clicking here.

RIP Fr. Paul Marx, OSB

Fr. Paul Marx, a Benedictine priest and founder of the Population Research Institute and Human Life International passed away on March 20th. (Read the presser from PRI by clicking here).

PRI continues to work to combat the myth that the world is over-populated. Fr. Paul also worked tirelessly to combat contraception and abortion in our world. Some of my favorite quotes from Fr. Paul:

"Contracepting/sterilized parents leave a horrible example to their children, if they have any."

"Contraception always leads to abortion - with no exception."

"It is a delusion to think we can create a loving, unselfish, peaceful society from the nihilism and the nothingness of contraception and the violence of abortion."

Monday, June 14, 2010

We Lost a Saint!

Several years ago, I had the privilege of doing my yearly retreat as a seminarian with the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration in Mishawaka, IN. They are the sisters who own and run St. Francis' Hospitals in Indiana, and actually run a network of hospitals in the Midwest.

They are extremely holy sisters, and have been perpetually adoring Christ's True Presence in the Eucharist since their founding (they began as 4 sisters who all taught while each offering 6 hours of adoration a day!).

While there, one of the sisters introduced me to Sr. Estelle who resided in the infirmary. Her room was FILLED with pictures and news clippings of priests and seminarians. She talked to me about how it was her calling to pray for priests and seminarians constantly. Sr. Estelle explained that she offered her own illness and suffering up for us each day. The sisters have begun publishing a newsletter, and there is a fantastic and brief article (click here) on Sr. Estelle, who left this world to be with her bridegroom April 7th of this year. The article is with your read and is found on page 4 of the newsletter.

Sr. Estelle, thanks for all the prayers, and keep them coming!

Eternal rest grant unto her, o Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

My Ordination Montage


Hello blog followers, sorry to take a week off so quickly after getting started again, but it is time for my Canon Law mandated 5 day retreat (not that I'm complaining at all!). I'll be back posting this coming weekend. I hope to get this weekends homily online before I leave, but it may have to be delayed a week. Please pray for me while I'm on retreat!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

More on Immigration

One of our sharpest Catholic minds today, George Weigel, has just recently published a very short but very cogent list of points for Catholics to consider in the debate on immigration. Click here to read the release.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I Was a Stranger and You Welcomed Me

As the debate continues to rage over immigration in our country, and as it figures to only crescendo as Arizona nears its July 31st date for implementing its new law which makes illegal immigration a state crime, I thought it would be interesting to look at what the Bishops of Indiana have said on the issue.

Several years ago, the Bishops of Indiana, working together as a committee, issued a document entitled "I Was a Stranger and You Welcomed Me" which addresses the issue of immigration head on. It is very brief, and actually offers real proposals, unlike some of the Church documents we might be familiar with (this is not the fault of the other documents but because most Church documents are addressed to a much larger audience; "I Was a Stranger" is just addressed to the situation in Indiana).

The Bishops should be applauded for their bravery in taking the lead on this issue when many others are quiet. There are two controversial requests the Bishops make in their document
1) A plan which would allow illegal immigrants to earn legalization
2) A temporary worker program

The Bishops skirt further controversy by raising the following issues as issues which the Indiana General Assembly would do well to debate on (not telling them, directly, which way to land). Those issues are the following:
1) Driver's permits for illegal immigrants
2) Access to health care and education for the children of illegal immigrants
3) Emergency health care and equal treatment by protective services

Regardless of where you stand on the issue, I think you would do well to spend 5 minutes looking over the document. May God bless all people and may we truly become more the ONE Body of Christ this day.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Atheist Delusions

Just finished a FANTASTIC book by David Bentley Hart entitled "Atheist Delusions." The book is Hart's beautiful response to the likes of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and others who are making it big right now writing on the "merits" of Atheism.

Hart's best quality is that he doesn't treat the "New Atheists" as worthy intellectual combatants, he treats their theses as they deserve to be treated - as the ramblings of intellectual children. Hart pulls all of this off, however, without sounding arrogant - no small feet.

Here is a great passage from the introduction: "I...suffer from a melancholy sense that, among Christianity's most fervent detractors, there has been a considerable decline in standards in recent years. In its early centuries, the church earned the enmity of genuinely imaginative and civilized critics, such as Celsus and Porphyry, who held the amiable belief that they should make some effort to acquaint themselves with the object of their critique."

The book itself blasts to smithereens, point by point, the major objections to Christianity and the Church that are put forward by the "New Atheists." He spends several early chapters going into the ACTUAL facts and records to easily debunk the shockingly and childishly simplistic summaries that pass for objections to Christianity such as 1) The Church is an enemy of Science and 2) The middle ages were a disastrous time and they were caused by the Church and 3) The "wars of religion" were all about religion and were caused by the Church and 4) the Inquisition was the Church's fault as well.

The historical chapters are to the point and do not drift into excruciating detail as so many historical apologetic works do. The book is not just historical, though. It is a great read and it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED reading! Thank the good Lord that people like Mr. Hart are on the front lines fighting for good!

Pope Benedict's Prayer Intentions for June

Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for June is: "That every national and trans-national institution may strive to guarantee respect for human life from conception to natural death".

His mission intention is: "That the Churches in Asia, which constitute a 'little flock' among non-Christian populations, may know how to communicate the Gospel and give joyful witness to their adherence to Christ".