Friday, September 26, 2014

Why I Sometimes Think About Leaving Diocesan Priesthood and Becoming an Order Priest Even Though I Never Will

I may some day run off with some woman and go get married…we all have to always be open to the fact that we are prone to falling into all sin…but that being said, I really don't think my greatest temptation is quitting the priesthood for a woman.  

I once heard someone say that if the Devil can't get you through things that are sinful, he'll try to use things that are good.

And so I think, for me, the greatest temptation is to leave the path God has called me to for something that I perceive to be "good" and "holy"

Let me make some comments up front:

1) I'm not writing this for sympathy
2) I'm not in any sort of existential crisis
3) I'm not actually going to leave the diocesan priesthood
4) I'm writing this in case it might help other priests or seminarians struggling with this (I know several that are)
5) I'm also writing this because I think what I sometimes feel as a diocesan priest is also nearly exactly the same sort of thing that a lot of married couples feel after being married for a few years, and so maybe this will help them as well
6) I don't think I'm better than anyone else
7) This also has nothing to do with my current assignment (I really do love both of my parishes and the university ministry!)

That being established, let me remind folks that as a diocesan pastor I am charged with caring for and working for the salvation of EVERY soul that lives in my parish boundary.  For me, that currently is 2.1 counties in Indiana, and roughly 40,000 souls.  

Out of that 40,000ish, perhaps 900 come to one of my 5 weekend Masses.

This percentage is about right for most pastors of most Catholic Churches in the USA.  

And so I spend a lot of time asking and praying about "what is the way to reach the unchurched?"

(note: people will always reject the Truth, so I know not all will likely return to the Spring of Life, but the numbers are clear - we have a lot of work to do!)

So we have a lot of work to do.  We have to go out and invite folks.  We have to EVANGELIZE and knock on doors and engage folks kindly and let them know we want them with us.  We have to celebrate the Mass the way the Church asks so that it will draw them in and not, as is often the case, actually repel those who do happen to come one time to check us out, etc. etc.

So my struggle, and the doubt that is certainly of the Devil, takes the form of something like this - 

"I will likely be spending the rest of my priesthood at least spending the first 5-10 years at a new assignment having to convince people that:
1) Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist
2) mortal sin is a reality
3) I can't receive Jesus if I'm in a state of mortal sin
4) I have to go to Mass on Sundays and holy days
5) confession has to be part of my spiritual life
6) because Jesus IS truly present in the Eucharist, flip flops and Colts jerseys and gum and cell phones and boat shorts probably aren't appropriate attire and behavior for being in the presence of the King of Kings, given the fact that we dress up infinitely better for many other occasions in our lives
7) That you can't, as a Catholic who takes their Faith seriously, vote FOR someone who votes in favor of abortion and/or same-sex "marriage" etc.
8) That pop music has no place in the Mass and actually has the function of reverse-evangelizing
9) That the priest ISN'T the center of attention at the Mass, nor is he an MC, but instead is to serve as an icon (read: get out of the way of Christ)

And so I think about all of this, and how long it takes to get today's parish to understand the basics, and I begin to think:

"It would be a HECK of a lot easier, and a better use of my time, to go to a parish that already GETS the above listed concepts so that we, as a parish, could worry more about what REALLY matters - the call to go make disciples of all people who AREN'T at Church."

Look, I know that religious orders that only staff parishes that do the Traditional Latin Mass and the orders that only staff parishes that do the TLM and the Novus Ordo Mass the right way, I know those priests have challenges.  I know in those parishes people struggle with pride, some people want to go to confession every half hour, some people think Vatican II was demonic, some people think Pope Francis is the enemy, etc.  Every place has its challenges.

But when I look around today, not at my own parishes but just at future potential parishes in general…man alive…am I really going to have to always fight over the basic stuff that a properly catechized kindergartener understands and believes?  Am I really going to have to take down video screens, tell people for the first time that they're supposed to be at every Mass, tell people they are supposed to NOT receive Communion if they're in a state of mortal sin, that they SHOULD get an annulment and not, despite what the last priest told them "just go ahead and take Communion anyway", and tell people that they're NOT at a barbecue?

If I were an order priest of, say, the FSSP or St. John Cantius or something like that, I would be able to show up at a parish where I wouldn't' have to spend 10 years convincing people that
1) Chant does a better job of drawing people into the Mass than pop music
2) A Communion rail doesn't "cut people out" it is highly catechetical
3) Mass on Sunday is non-negotiable (barring illness)
4) Mortal sin is real and it is in the Bible
5) Confession isn't psychologically damaging, it is actually a Sacrament
6) Adoration isn't "from the Dark Ages" it is actually edifying 
7) The Church has never said Mass should be said facing the people
8) Mass with the priest facing the people has real philosophical, spiritual, and catechetical implications that DO matter even if most people don't care

That's why it is tempting to leave and join an order…because then I think in my mind I could get right to trying to go reach out to the 98% of my people in my future parish boundaries who AREN'T Catholic.

But, at the end of the day, I realize that this is very similar to a spouse that wakes up early one morning, and lays in bed staring at their beloved, and the sinking feeling hits them - "This person isn't what I had in mind when I married this person."

And I'm sure that my current and future congregations feel the same way about me at times - "who do we write to in order to get rid of this guy?"

And so, at the end of those days where I'm especially struck by thoughts about what COULD be, I remember that I made a vow, and that vows don't happen on accident, and since I promised, before God, to be a diocesan priest for the rest of my life, that's what I need to be.  

Maybe I will get some future parish assignment where I have to spend 12 years convincing people of the basics, and I maybe that parish will do very little to reach anyone outside the walls of that parish, and maybe those 12 years would have been more productive for the kingdom if I was the pastor of a parish that already understood the basics…but a vocation isn't first and foremost about production…we only measure the performance of machines by production…a vocation is a person's particular path to holiness that God has called that person to…even when it seems like the grass is greener on the other side…

Let me end by saying I'm fine, I love being a priest, and I'm not asking for sympathy.  If anyone has issues, it is me.  I do not think I'm better or holier than anyone else.  My current assignment is great.  
The Devil doesn't use our ACTUAL and CURRENT situation to discourage us, it is always some hypothetical future reality, because the Devil can only suggest thoughts to us about what MIGHT be.

If you are struggling with a fear about your vocation as a priest, a seminarian, a married person, etc…kick the Devil out of your head…press on…recommit your vows to your spouse…or your vows to your bishop…say a quick prayer…and then press on laboring in the field that God has given you to care for and quit worrying and thinking about hypothetical futures.

May we all be able to say, at the end of our lives,

"I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.  From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me" (2 Timothy 4:7)

"We have to make Mass more relevant!!!"

"What people actually want to experience in the Mass is something they DIDN'T create" - Pope Benedict XVI

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Has Anything Happened SINCE Vatican II?

As discussed ad nauseam, the problem has not been The Second Vatican Council, but rather the way things that were never taught at the Council have been implemented by some priests and bishops.

So it is my belief that if we simply began to be faithful to the actual documents of the Council, a lot of our issues in the Church today would begin to evaporate.

That being said, it is also pertinent to ask a question: "has anything happened SINCE Vatican II?"

If the claim of "progressives" is that "Vatican II was an attempt to modernize things" then even by their own statement it would seem that the Church would need to KEEP MODERNIZING today.

An example of what I mean by this would be the homily.

Vatican II noted that the homily should, all things being equal, more often be a reflection on the Scriptures, as opposed to a "sermon" where a priest would focus more on doctrine.  Common in the Church throughout most of the Church's history have been the "preaching manuals" that would even have sermons that a priest could simply read from.

Of course the "sermon" frightens progressive Catholics because it is seen as "stifling the Spirit" - a progressive Catholic might ask how the Spirit could possibly flow through the reading of a sermon.

Here I must note that I've heard a lot of "homilies" where it would have been INFINITELY better had the priest read a sermon from some great saint like St. John Crysostom as opposed to the "flowing of the Spirit" that was dumped on the assembly.

However, I fully respect the 2nd Vatican Council's call for more homilies.

That being said, since it has now been fifty years, is it possible that things have happened SINCE Vatican II that would require an "updating" of the getting with the times?

It seems odd to request that the Church "get with the times" by going back to 1965.

And so, back to the homily...Pope Benedict remarked on several occasions that a "sermon" or a catechetical teaching during the homily time is, at times, most appropriate and most needed.  This was, of course, met with howls and shrieks by some progressive Catholics.

But Pope Benedict is simply trying to "get with the times"... he recognized the utter wasteland that is the knowledge of the Faith possessed by the average Catholic today, and he was saying we have to "get with the times" and respond to what is going on today by making sure to mix in sermons on Church doctrine.

The same could be asked about the placement of the tabernacle.  Vatican II called for it to be placed, ideally, in a side chapel.  Can we now recognize the disaster that this has caused and thus "get with the times" and say "okay, responding to data and lived experience SINCE 1965, we are going to move back toward placing the tabernacle in the center of Church."

I just find it odd that progressive Catholics don't ever want to talk as if anything has happened since 1965 that would warrant a reevaluation of anything, unless, of course, we're talking about a loosening of any and all Church teachings that restrict complete and free sexual self-expression.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Are College and Catholicism Incompatible?

"The Last Supper Didn't Have Vestments and a Chalice..."

...And the first Christmas didn't have trees, lights, presents, nor ham

...And the first 4th of July didn't have fireworks, BBQ, nor parades

...And the first Easter didn't have eggs, candy, Mass, trumpets in the choir loft, nor bonnets and dresses

Things can be gradually more appreciated and gradually more solemnly celebrated.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Such an inspiring video! Worth a few minutes of your time!

Designing a Church for the Poor

Oh, how I would like a poor Church, and for the poor.
—Pope Francis to journalists, March 16, 2013

We all know that the poor need food and clothing, decent education and good jobs. But what about their spiritual and cultural needs? Can a church building serve the poor spiritually through the material? It is an expensive proposition but I would suggest yes. Which leads us to the question of how to design a church for the Poor.

First, let us consider what a church for the poor is not: it is not a church for ascetic monks, who take a vow of poverty, spend their days in prayer and prefer the simple beauty of the cloister to the richness and chaos of the world. On the contrary, a church for the poor should be seen as a place for full-blooded laypeople who need to be drawn into the building through material and tactile means. It is a respite from the world that offers a glimpse of the heavenly Jerusalem to those living in Nineveh.

A church for the poor does not have paintings of abstract or ugly figures but is full of beautiful images of holy men and women who overcame their sinfulness to draw close to God. Even more important, a church for the poor shows them their mother who comforts and their God who forgives. A church for the poor is full of signs, symbols and sacraments: outward signs of inward grace. It cannot be a place where the sacrament of salvation is hidden away, for it should be raised up like Christ on the cross offering his body’s death for our body’s healing.

A house for the poor should not be a modernist structure inspired by the machine, for the poor are surrounded and even enslaved by the machine and the technological. It is rather a building inspired by the human body, the new Adam, and the richness of His creation. For those whose lives may touch on angst and suffering they do not need a contorted building exhibiting disharmony and atonality. Instead they need an architecture of healing, which through proportions, materials and spiritual light bring joy to the heart. A church which is welcoming to those in the state of poverty should not be a theatre church where the visitor is forced to be on stage. Their dignity is respected by allowing them to sit where they want, even if that means in the back or hidden away in a side chapel. The lighting cannot be so bright that one’s deficiencies are revealed to others, but there is a place for prayerful shadow.

A church for the poor is not hidden away in the suburbs or on a highway where it may never be seen and is difficult to get to. It should be placed where the poor are – near the poor villages or the destitute city neighborhoods and in prominent places like downtowns or city parks where the poor sometimes travel. A church for the poor does not close its school just because it is under-enrolled or in financial difficulty. Caritas understands that service to those in need is not optional, nor is it meant to be cheap and easy. In the same way, dioceses should seek creative ways for inner city parishes to remain open even when finances would argue otherwise. One thinks of St. Mary of the Angels and its school located in a tough Chicago neighborhood reopened by Cardinal George and Franciscan friar Bob Lombardo after being closed for fifteen years.

A church for the poor should not look impoverished. It is one of the few public buildings that those without status or money should be welcome to enter. The poor may not often visit the art museum, the symphony hall, or the stately hotel. However, a worthy church can give the poor the same experience of art, fine music, and nobility that the rich and middle class are happy to pay for. And in this way the Church acknowledges that high culture should be even for the those who have nothing. Bishop Suger probably had it right when he rebuilt Saint Denis and invested in beautiful vessels, altars and statues to draw the gaze of the common folk towards the mysteries of the faith.

A church for the poor is not only for the poor, it is for all, both rich and poor, proud and humble. Are there iconographical elements which might draw the needy and inspire others to give? Perhaps images of poverty in the lives of holy saints such as Francis, Dominic, Mother Theresa and many others. Along with these, a church for the poor should have murals, stained glass and side altars portraying the centrality of poverty in the life of Christ. The king is born in a stable, and his family must emigrate to a foreign land to survive. His compassion for the poor, the mother, the widow, the leper and his raising of the dead. His life as a mendicant reliant on the generosity of others for food and lodging (from both priests and tax collectors), his many parables which, like the widow’s mite or the Prodigal Son, speak powerfully to all those in hunger and poverty. But can the poor or the uneducated understand these images or appreciate beauty? When the poor see beauty they see God. Why? Because “Beauty” is God’s middle name.

Why should we design a church for the poor? Because no other building can point the poor to Christ, in the way that a church which embraces them can.

Duncan G. Stroik is a practicing architect, author, and Professor of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame. His built work includes the Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel in Santa Paula, California and the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Prof. Stroik is also the author of The Church Building as a Sacred Place: Beauty, Transcendence, and the Eternal, and edits the journal Sacred Architecture.
Reprinted from Aleteia.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Order the Third Way DVD's and Study Guides!

I'm very happy to announce that "The Third Way" is now available via DVD, and there are also study guides and teacher's edition study guides available as well.

Click HERE to go to the order page

Thanks for all the support that people have given to Blackstone Films for this endeavor!  We fought the good fight, and we have finished the race!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ray Rice and Being a "Real Man"

First of all, let me state up front that the video of NFL all-pro Ray Rice hitting his then-girlfriend in the face, which was just released yesterday, is disgusting, gross, and should be punished to the full extent of the law.

What has me puzzled about this incident is the fact that the White House and other social commentators are saying things like "a real man doesn't do this!"


But here's the point - we can't talk about "what it means to be a real man" in cases like this, but then turn around and spend most of our days TALKING AS IF THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS MANHOOD ANYMORE!!!

Which is it liberals?  Are there now 59 genders, or is there actually such a thing as manhood?

The surest way to cut down on the horrendous and heinous crime of domestic abuse is to talk to boys about what it means to be a real man, but now the only time we can is when it helps us when writing articles and making social commentary in the midst of a media frenzy.

Either "real manhood" is real, or it's a social construct. So I ask the White House and leftist commentators - "which is it?"

Here's a talk I gave on Catholic masculinity if you're interested. Click here to watch

Friday, September 5, 2014

Laura Zetzl - Heading Off to a White Martyrdom

In my three years at Cardinal Ritter High School, I was able to work with a lot of amazing young people!  I walked away from Ritter most days being completely inspired by the perseverance, holiness, determination, and saintliness of the young people that I worked with.  

One such inspiration was a young woman named Laura Zetzl.  Tomorrow morning, Laura will get rid of her cell phone, delete her Facebook and Twitter accounts, and fly to New York and enter the Sisters of Life, cutting most ties with the outside world.  Laura will be spending most of the next 8 years in prayer and formation, discerning whether Christ is calling her to Himself to be his bride forever.  

The Church talks about "white martyrdom" as being a "death" that is suffered by those who leave everything behind and enter religious life.  Laura's being will endure, but she is preparing tonight to spend the next 8 years discerning "dying" and rising as Christ's bride.

I asked Laura the following questions, and received her permission to share her answers here.  Thank you for your witness and inspiration Laura!  Know of our prayers, and keep us in yours!

1) what did you imagine yourself doing with your life when you were in high school?
In high school, my dream was to become a neonatologist and work with newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit. I wanted to be an awesome wife and mother of as many children that God wanted to give me (but hopefully at least ten!) I also knew that I wanted to serve God and the Church in some way, but I mostly just thought of myself as doing that by living as a faithful Catholic and spending time volunteering and serving others where I could.

2) how did you view religious sisters when you were in high school?
I didn’t know any habited Sisters until I went to college, so in high school I had a very limited view of religious sisters. I knew several of the Sisters of St. Francis of Oldenburg, and I saw them as holy women who loved God and wanted to serve Him and others. However, they were all roughly my grandparents’ age, so I generally didn’t think of religious life as something that young people lived anymore.

3) when was the very first time you had the first inkling that maybe God was calling you to this?
I think the seeds of my vocation to religious life were planted in a conversation I had with you, Father, after my high school boyfriend told me he was considering a vocation to the priesthood. I was a little upset about this, which is embarrassing to admit now, but at the time I thought that someday we would be married, and this was messing up my plan! Anyways, you talked me through it, and at the end of the conversation you said that one day I would look back on this and laugh- either we would be married and have a few kids, or we would be married to different people, or maybe he would be a priest and I would be a nun. On that day, I brushed it off as something that was not a possibility for me, but that little thought that maybe I was being called to be a nun or a sister kept coming back to me over the next few years, and eventually my boyfriend and I broke up, so I knew it was time to do something about it.

4) what did you do in order to pursue this inkling? Did you do research online? Talk to a close friend? Talk to a religious sister?
I talked to several priests about this before I told anyone else. I think really I was just hoping that one of them would tell me that I wasn’t being called to religious life so that I could go back to working on my own plans for my life, but that didn’t happen. Each of them told me that God was probably calling me to be a religious sister, and that I should continue to pray about it and look into different communities. So I did that, and eventually learned to start to surrender my own will to the Lord’s. When I finally got to a place where I could say, “Ok Jesus, if this is what you want from me, I will give you nothing less”, I was filled with a joy and a peace that I had never known before. I knew that this was really what God was asking of me, and after that I just kind of dived in. I started telling my close friends and family about it, and really began to prayerfully look at communities and ask the Holy Spirit where He was calling me to be.

5) how did you find the sisters of life since there are so many religious communities out there?
There are a LOT of religious communities out there! I started out by looking online- I found this website called, and took a quiz on the website that was intended to match you up with a community whose charism and lifestyle fits your personality, interests, and values. It was a good place to start, but it gave me 50+ results, and none of them really pulled at my heart. So then I went to talk to one of the Dominican priests at our Newman Center at IU. I told him a little about my life and why I was feeling called to religious life, and he told me that he had the perfect community for me. He pulled up the Sisters of Life website on his laptop, and it was like love at first sight. I went home from that meeting and read everything on the entire website, and I just kept thinking, “this is my heart!” over and over again. So I really didn’t have to look at any other communities after that- I knew the Lord was calling me there.

6) what are you most excited about?
Can I say everything? I am so excited to live in community with the Sisters. Every experience I have had of true Christian community with my friends has felt like a little taste of heaven, and I know that it will be difficult at times, but it will be so rewarding to live with the kind of love and joy and peace, centered in Him, that our Lord intended us to have from the beginning. I am also really excited to live in poverty, to rid myself of the distractions of the world (no phone or facebook!), and to die to my own will and live for Christ instead. It sounds crazy to so many, but it is extraordinarily freeing to give up all of the unnecessary things that fill our lives and instead live outside of yourself for the Lord and for the person in front of you. That is a life of joy!

7) what are you most nervous about?
I am mostly nervous about the unknown that comes along with this type of life change. Even though I have visited the Sisters several times, I don’t know what it’s like to actually live religious life, to be so far away from friends and family, and to be so disconnected from the world. But I think in some ways that’s also the best part- trusting in Jesus and allowing Him to lead you wherever He will is truly an adventure!

8) what have been the reactions of your family? Friends? Any negative reactions out there?
Most of my family and friends were pretty shocked when I told them I was being called to religious life, but I totally understood that reaction because I was a little shocked, too! After the initial “What? Why? How did you know?”, they were generally very supportive and excited for me. Of course there some sadness to all of this, because we all know that this means I will not be around for much of the rest of their lives. I will get to visit yearly, but I’m moving across the country and won’t just be a text, email, or phone call away. But we know that there will be grace enough to sustain us through it all, and so for the most part, they have been really happy for me.

I have been met with some negative reactions; the most common negative that I hear is something along the lines of “What a waste- you could do so much more with your life. You could have discovered the cure for cancer!” I understand that response on some level, but mostly it just tells me that they don’t understand religious life or the power of prayer, and so it becomes an opportunity for me to talk to them a little bit about that, and to pray that God will touch their hearts and give them understanding.

9) how long until you are fully professed?
It is almost eight years until profession of final vows. Formation for the Sisters of Life includes nine months of postulancy, two years of novitiate, and at least five years in temporary vows before final profession.

10) what if you decide it isn't for you?
If I discern that the Lord is not calling me to move forward in formation with the Sisters, I can leave at any time during postulancy or novitiate. After I make temporary vows, I can leave at the end of the vow period if I feel called to do so. The first temporary vow I would take is a three-year commitment, and then that would get renewed twice for one year each before I would profess final vows. After final profession, I would need a special dispensation from the Archbishop of New York in order to leave. But that is part of the reason it is such a long process until final vows- you definitely know what you’re getting into by then!

11) if you become fully professed what would do all day?
First and foremost, my life would be a life of prayer and contemplation. The Sisters spend about four hours each day in prayer (not all at once), and they know that all of the work they do is dependent on and flows from the graces they receive in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. In between Mass, prayer times, and meal times, they work in their apostolate, which varies based on which convent they are living in at the time.

There are two Visitation convents, which serve women who are pregnant and need help. Basically any woman in crisis can come to these convents, and the Sisters just shower her with all of the love and material and spiritual support that she needs to choose life for her child. They walk with her as long as she wants them to from there. There is one Holy Respite convent where pregnant women can live with the Sisters, bringing along their other children as well. The Sisters provide them with a safe place to live, meals, and a loving community. The mothers can live there throughout their pregnancy and then about six to eight months after the birth of their children, and the Sisters support them through this transition period and help them find work, childcare, and housing before they leave. There is also a retreat center convent, where the Sisters give retreats for young women, men, and married couples. One of the most important parts of this apostolate is the Hope and Healing mission, in which the Sisters give retreats for and walk with women who are suffering from abortions in their past.  They help them to experience the unsurpassable love and mercy of God, and to rebuild their lives on that foundation.

The Sisters also have daily recreation, which means they exercise and play! And they have one day each week that is completely dedicated to prayer. They don’t answer the phone or do any work on Fridays, and instead spend the day in silence, with extended hours of Adoration and time to take a walk, read a book, etc. It is a most beautiful day of rest and allows the Sisters to recharge, to receive from the Lord the grace that they need to grow in holiness and to love and serve each person they meet.

12) any advice for young women out there?
First of all, I would say do not fear! It takes a lot of courage to answer a call to religious life, which can seem very scary and like so much of a sacrifice at first. But obviously God’s plans for you are so much greater than anything you can imagine, and He knows what will fulfill the deepest desires of your heart because He made it. Once you learn to trust Him and surrender to His will, He will fill you with joy and peace unlike anything you have known before. And His grace is more than enough to see you through the trials and help you to make the sacrifices for love of Him that maybe you never thought you could.

On a practical note, I would advise you to start going to daily Mass and spending more time in Adoration of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Allow Jesus to speak to you heart to heart, and He will make His will known to you. Talking to a priest about this and finding a spiritual director will also help tremendously. And then dive in and talk to some Sisters! Go on visits to a few communities, and see where your heart feels at home.

Through it all, let the Lord love you and form you into the Saint He created you to be!

Monday, September 1, 2014

On Conservative Priests and Pope Francis

Pretty much every Catholic knows that younger priests, for reasons discussed ad nauseam, tend to skew more "conservative".

Pretty much every Catholic knows that Pope Francis, by his own honest admission, skews more "liberal".

These are broad generalizations, and I raise them only to help make a point:

I know a lot of younger clergy who have been really challenged by Pope Francis, but who have ALLOWED Francis to lead them,
who have worked hard at doing more for the poor
who have taken a hard look at their priesthood and been open to the possibility of growth
who have been open to the possibility that they need to grow
who do believe that the Holy Spirit was, in fact, behind Pope Francis' election

I raise this just to say that I did not witness this "openness" from older more "liberal" clergy with regard to Pope Benedict.