Thursday, June 28, 2012

With Obamacare Upheld, What Next?

With word today that the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare, many Catholics wonder what is next.

It would certainly have been quicker and more decisive to have the Obamacare bill struck down today (and would have saved the Church lots of legal bills moving forward), but the lawsuits that have been brought forth by colleges, dioceses, hospitals and others now take center stage.

Some might ask "if the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare's constitutionality today, what shot does the Church have in challenging its constitutionality?" A good question, but not to worry, because the Supreme Court today ruled that it is okay for the Federal Government to require people to buy health care, but our Catholic gripe has to do with HOW the Federal Government plans to implement the coverage - a topic not considered by the Supreme Court yet.

The HHS mandate that has Catholics so concerned will be a completely separate case, and I believe strongly that the Supreme Court will eventually rule in favor of the Catholic Church.

It is important to remember that the Church isn't even de facto opposed to universal health care, so in reality the Church really can be neutral on today's ruling. The reason it may feel like a defeat is because we already KNOW a gigantically disturbing aspect of HOW this particular Obama brand of universal health care WILL be implemented, and so in that sense, most Catholics would have liked to see the entire package struck dead.

But again, the protest that the Church has been making all along has not yet been considered by the Supreme Court, and there is certainly cause for much optimism that when it reaches the Supreme Court, the HHS Mandate which is at the heart of the Church's concern will be struck down decisively.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Obamacare Decision Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Thursday, June 28th, we get our Obamacare ruling.  Say some prayers, and think about fasting!  Tomorrow is also the feast day of Saint Irenaeus - perhaps not incidentally a martyr

Here is a great video:

3 Great Quotes from My Flights Home

1.  (Lady over the PA at the airport): "We have no need for any volunteers to remain behind.  The captain has been creative with the weight restrictions."

That is the kind of creativity I NEVER want to be a part of.

2.  (to set the scene we have a frat guy talking to a sorority girl he had met on his flight, and both are now waiting for a taxi): sorority girl - "do you all have a formal?"

Frat guy: "In the Fall we have a casual formal."  I really wanted to butt in and ask "Does your frat have any short long meetings or do you have delicious disgusting food at your frat?"

3.  Frat guy: "Also, every year we have a retreat..."

(now I'm think to myself: "that's nice, probably not the type of retreat I'd opt for, but at least they're doing something positive")

Frat guy continues: "the retreat is really just us getting together for a weekend and getting smashed!"

Sunday, June 10, 2012

On Vacation

I'm in the Grand Canyon for two weeks, and I'm not even bringing my cell phone with me!

I won't have any posts here for two weeks - enjoy the Summer and the outdoors!

For anyone who is looking, here is a neat site to find a place to go take a hike in Indiana - click here to access

"Not all who wander are lost." J.R.R. Tolkien 

Awesome Religious Liberty Homily

Friday, June 8, 2012

Thou Shalt Not See Prometheus

The Bishops have given Ridley Scott's latest film the rating of "O" - readers of this blog know that it means the Bishops of the US are saying Catholics ought not see the film. 

The review can be read here.

It seems the highly anticipated thriller got into trouble not so much for its theology, but for pretending to seriously take on the issue when in fact its treatment of such questions are handled superficially. 

Anyway, I was surprised by the rating, and thought I'd pass it on.  Have a great weekend!

Malachy Parishioner's Book Trailer

St. Malachy parishioner Tony Shriner has a book coming out, and has enlisted John-Andrew O'Rourke's Blackstone Films to put together a trailer for his book.  The trailer is AWESOME!  Watch it here, and then go visit Tony's website

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

3 Years a Priest Today

First of all, a special thanks for their priesthood to Father Peter Marshall and Father Jeremy Gries, the two men I was ordained with three years ago today. 

The Roman Missal contains lots of Masses for lots of occasions, and one such occasion in the back is titled "For the Priest Himself on the Anniversary of His Ordination"

I prayed that Mass today, and found the prayers to be very beautiful.  I include them here, and ask that you pray for all men considering the priesthood, and also that you pray for the priests you know in your life.  The priesthood is awesome!

Entrance Antiphon Cf. Jn 15: 16
It was not you who chose me, says the Lord,
but I who chose you and appointed you to go out and bear fruit,
fruit that will last.

Opening Prayer
Holy Father, who, by no merit of my own, chose me
for communion with the eternal priesthood of your Christ
and for the ministry of your Church,
grant that I may be an ardent yet gentle preacher of the Gospel
and a faithful steward of your mysteries.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Prayer over the Offerings
We offer you the sacrifice of praise, O Lord,
for the deepening of our service of you,
so that what you have conferred on us,
unworthy as we are,
you may graciously bring to fulfillment.
Through Christ our Lord.

Communion Antiphon Cf. 1 Cor 10: 16
The chalice of blessing that we bless
is a communion in the Blood of Christ;
and the bread that we break
is a sharing in the Body of the Lord.

Prayer after Communion
For the glory of your name, O Lord,
I have joyfully celebrated the mystery of faith
to mark the anniversary of my priestly ordination,
so that I may be in truth
what I have handled mystically in this sacrifice.
Through Christ our Lord.

"For Greater Glory" Review

WARNING: some of this review mentions details from the film, if you haven't seen the film, you may not want to read the review

Let me know what you thought of the film if you've seen it.  Here's my take:

I checked out "For Greater Glory" yesterday afternoon, and I thought I'd share my thoughts.

1) GREAT acting all around.  Andy Garcia is a beast in everything he does, the child who portrayed Jose was also phenomenal, and in general there was not one character who's acting made me cringe.  To me nothing breaks you out of the "spell" that any good movie should cast upon you like bad acting.

2) I also loved the movie because it is extremely faithful to the true events of the Cristeros' uprising in Mexico

3) As many have noted, it was also a highly relevant film for our own time given the assault on religious freedom that is just in its early stages in our country.  U.S. Catholics are much closer to being in the same situation as the Mexican Catholics in the film than most U.S. Catholics would like to admit.

4) Negative: I felt the film lacked something, and I'm not sure exactly what it was.  I'll try to summarize a few guesses
        a) There seemed like there wasn't enough time spent on something, and I don't know what exactly that something was.  I am talking purely about feeling here, but I just didn't feel that emotional when the boy was killed.  I hope it isn't merely a function of being cold-hearted and insensitive, but I cry when I watch movies, so certainly for me the precedent is there for me to get emotional during a film, but I didn't when the young man was killed (certainly the torture was tough to watch, and was impeccably acted), nor did I FEEL much when Garcia's character was killed at the end.  A very similar situation is played out in the movie Glory (also historically based from the Civil War) and I cry every time the captain and his men die coming around the corner in the Rebel base.
            Again, I thought the acting was very well done, but maybe the way the story was put together didn't allow me to feel the same type of connection that I've felt even for characters from other films that are completely made up (I cry every time Bruce Willis dies on the asteroid in Armageddon, for example).

       b) perhaps on a similar topic I felt the film would have been well-served to have had a better soundtrack.  There wasn't any constant theme running throughout, and nothing jumped out at me from that aspect.  For me, music goes a long way in terms of getting me invested into a movie's story and into its characters, but I didn't think the music from the film served that purpose.

       c) perhaps with the story it tried to do too much?  Some subplots/secondary characters that they tried to squeeze in were 1) the sadistic-secondary-in-command-torturer, 2) the betrayal of rebel forces from a higher power who should be backing the rebellion 3) The U.S. diplomat subplot 4) The rebel Cristeros who doesn't want to join Garcia's rebellion at first, etc.

        It seemed these subplot story lines were not all necessary and would have made the film simpler and easier to follow if they were axed, and would have allowed more time for Garcia's actual conversion story and/or his connection to the young boy.

5) The idea that the story over-glorified Catholicism or that it whitewashed history is simply unexplainable after watching the film.  The film seemed very real, is very closely based on true events, and didn't over glorify or over-demonize anything in my opinion.  It did a nice job of even making the Mexican President seem personable and offered glimpses to at least make his power lust and need to control everything seem non-demonic.

6) The film is also being criticized by some as having been created as an HHS Mandate commentary.  This movie was written and shot and came together well before the HHS Mandate was on anyone's radar, and so the idea that someone whipped this film up six months ago is crazy.  What such commentators simply fail to acknowledge is that religious freedom is the most oft-attacked freedom in the history of the world, and so there are many examples from the past that will strike a chord with American Catholics (and indeed all Americans who value religious freedom) who are seeing their own religious freedom under assault.

Overall I give the film a B+, I was glad I saw the film, and I'll probably watch it again to see if I missed some things, and to see if my opinion of the film shifts at all.  I think it is worth a theater viewing, and again I think the acting was extremely well done.  Let me know what you think!

Monday, June 4, 2012

CDF Rebukes Pro Masturbation, Pro-Same Sex Marriage "sister"

Worth the read.  Anyone who accuses Rome of rushing to judgment will really be shocked by the patience and restraint shown by the CDF with this "sister" teaching explicit heresy and causing scandal among untold Catholics.  In fact, if there is any complaint, it would be that they were TOO patient.  Very instructive and brief read - click here to see the CDF's letter

Friday, June 1, 2012

Film on Catholic Persecution is Persecuted

"For Greater Glory" is a film about Catholic persecution, and it is eliciting some of that same Catholic persecution itself.  

"For Greater Glory" is a film that debuts this weekend about one of the most beloved and oft-told stories of Catholicism on our North American continent.  It is the story of Catholic persecution in Mexico, and the story of the uprising in the face of the persecution.  This is actually not a review of the movie because I haven't seen it yet (hopefully this weekend). If you want to read a good review of the film, feel free to click here.

This morning when I retrieved the Indy Star (I'm not the pastor so I can't cancel the subscription :) the review was deeply saddening, but shame on me for not expecting it.  The review, I believe from some national syndicate, accused the film of whitewashing history and making it seem like Catholics are good and that the government was all bad.

I am a movie junkie (or rather I should say a fan of good movies) and I read numerous reviews every weekend, and have done so for many years.  I have never read a review in my ENTIRE life that has been done a movie "based on true events" that has bemoaned every "misrepresented" piece of minutiae in the entire film.  Let's look at some films that deserve to be discussed with the same critical eye:

Eilzabeth (and it's sequel) - I've never heard anyone but a seminary professor talk about the utterly ridiculous retelling of the story of Queen Elizabeth I of England (film was nominated for "best picture" by the Academy). In doing some quick research, the Buffalo News review was quoted in the NYT review as noting that the film was "resolutely anti-Catholic" complete with a "scheming pope" and that "every single Catholic in the film is dark, cruel and devious" (so there was SOMEBODY else warning of its anti-Catholicism after all).  How does a film with so many historical inaccuracies and blatant historical face-lifts get nominated for an Oscar?

The Patriot isn't even based on a real person, the battles are fictional combinations of real battles, and virtually nothing in the film, besides the overall theme of there being a war between Britain and the U.S., is true.

Gladiator is EXTREMELY loosely based on fact.  Marcus Aerilius, portrayed as a paragon of virtue, was one of the most vicious persecutors of Christians, and, furthering the irony, the film actually has a deleted scene that decries the persecution of Christians in the arena.

Another "everything historically inaccurate makes Catholics look bad film" that jumps to mind would be the Crusade movie "Kingdom of Heaven" with Orlando Bloom.

I know I spend a lot of time on this blog pointing out anti-Catholic bias, but for goodness sake - it seems to be everywhere.  How do movie reviews across the country nit-pick at "For Greater Glory" while those same writers turn around and routinely offer awards to films that are far more inaccurate, usually most egregiously inaccurate in order to be ANTI-Catholic?

I was happy to come across movie reviewer Brent Bozell's take on "For Greater Glory," and he also had some good comments towards his fellow film critics who are suddenly and "unexpectedly" dismayed by historical inaccuracies.  He notes:

"Just the idea of [the film showing Catholicism in a positive light] brings out the worst in the secularist press. Slant magazine pans it as a film “that gives the screen epic a bad name.” It attacks the “solemn speechifying,” the “overstuffed cast of characters,” the “half-baked material,” and given “this religion is specifically Catholic… [the movie] …makes the material a tough sell.” When Garcia’s character ultimately converts to Christianity, “we’re back to embracing a worldview where the implied mandate to practice Catholicism feels near as onerous as the inability to do so.”

But how historically accurate is this “implied mandate
to practice Catholicism”? Here’s a hint. Slant dismisses “a whole host of bathetic subplots” claiming “its martyrdom fetish reaches its grotesque nadir when a young boy dies rather than make the most token anti-Catholic gesture.”

As for the alleged mushy effusiveness and the martyrdom fetish, there are some historical facts. Over 90,000 died. Dozens have since been canonized by the Church, including 25 by John Paul II alone. The young boy was Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio, who was tortured with his heels slashed before being made to walk to his execution. “He cried and moaned with pain,” stated an eyewitness And then he was shot dead.

The “most token anti-Catholic gesture” which would have saved his life was his refusal to shout “Death to Christ the King,” instead proclaiming “Viva Cristo Rey!”

Jose was 14. He was beatified by Benedict XVI in 2005.

It is still illegal to celebrate Mass outdoors in Mexico.

I'm really pumped to go see the film, and I hope you are as well.  Don't let some arm-chair movie critic who has a sudden inclination for certain films to have every single blade of grass exactly as it really was 100 years ago in Mexico dissuade you from going to see it.  By all accounts it is a moving and VERY historically accurate piece of our Catholic history.

Viva Cristo Rey!