Friday, July 31, 2015

Hoosiers: contact Senator Joe Donnelly...

and ask him to Defund Planned Parenthood!

I just called his office in DC at (202) 224-4814 and asked him to help ‪#‎DefundPP‬

It was very easy

He's described himself as a pro-life Democrat. We'll see on Monday

Say some prayers for him, our elected officials, and our nation, and our opponents who kill children every day with our tax money

Thursday, July 30, 2015

NEW! High School Religion Class Online

What is this?

I am trying something new this year - teaching our religious education classes online so that our teens can watch them any time they want during the week.

They just fill out a few questions as they work through the video.  Each video is 20-30 minutes.

Your parish is welcome to use these videos as well if you would like.

We will be moving through, this semester, the "Our Moral Life in Christ" from The Didache Series: Parish Edition.

Each video will be one chapter of the workbook.

If you use this video for your young people, you would want to purchase the textbook for this class from Midwest Theological Forum.  MAKE SURE YOU GET THE "PARISH EDITION"

Let me know if you have any questions.  God bless!

Planned Parenthood Lying About Their Site Being Hacked

In an apparent attempt to draw heat off of themselves and instead play victim, Planned Parenthood announced that its site was hacked yesterday.  The news was met with skepticism by many, and now there is computer coding proof that their site was NOT hacked.  

Lies to cover up lies.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Massacre of the Holy Innocents

On U2's "Rattle and Hum" album, Bono stops in the middle of a song and starts talking about the evil of apartheid.  He then says "Am I bugging you...well, I don't mean to bug you."

Of course his question was sarcastic.

Some say "Fr. you talk about Planned Parenthood and abortion too much"

Sorry...I don't mean to bug you

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Bishop-Elect Barron on Pope Francis and CST

Bishop-Elect Barron says what I was trying to say in my evaluation of "Laudato Si", but of course he says it much more precisely.

Some in the Church are labeling Pope Francis a socialist and so forth because of either passages from "Laudato Si" and/or comments he's made, whether from Rome or South America.

I don't think any Pope has to get everything right (nor does the Church) in order for papal infallibility to hold up.  However, everything I've seen from the Holy Father is very much in line with a long line of Catholic Social Teaching.

Catholic Social Teaching has been condensed into a Compendium which is a fascinating read for any Catholic (and, I argue often, a MUST read for anyone who is going to preach or teach today in the name of the Church).  CST (and St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict) make ALL THE SAME points Laudato Si does.

1) Capitalism (and similarly democracy) can become deranged and malformed if not buttressed by strong moral values.  Isn't that precisely what we're seeing in the United States?  Democracy is better than a lot of other systems, but just because you have a democracy doesn't mean everything will turn out well.  The same is said by the Church's CST, St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis about capitalism - it must be governed by solid moral values or it will become diseased.  Is there really any doubt that that statement is true?  Saying that makes none of the above parties Communist, it makes them realists and prophets.

2) The environment deserves protection.  Again, read CST.  It's in there.  A lot.

3) Subsidiarity is a CST principle that is clearly defined in the Catechism and is expanded upon in the Compendium of CST.  The Pope saying that certain decisions should be left to a body larger than individual nations is perfectly inline with CST.  Pope Benedict said it first anyway.  It isn't Pope Francis (nor was it Pope Benedict) claiming a need for a world wide government.  Take off the aluminum foil hats.  Breathe.

I don't agree with everything Pope Francis does or says.  I'm not a papal cheerleader.  I get no bonuses for commenting positively on the pontiff.  It is important for Catholics to know, though, that the Pope's warnings in Laudato Si are NOT new.  It is very telling about a Catholics familiarity with the larger corpus of Catholic Social Teaching when a person says that what is in Laudato Si is new.

Mary's Greatness

Thanks to Tekton Ministries for putting this together!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Archindy Annulment Costs are Now $0

From the desk of Archbishop Tobin:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Ph. 1, 2).
I am happy to announce to you a change in policy regarding fees associated with the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese. Effective July 1, 2015, all fees connected with the processing of petitions for the nullity of marriages have been eliminated. In the case of persons who have already introduced a petition, the balance of their fees are now forgiven. This waiver of fees applies also to the so-called “privilege of the faith” cases that must be sent to Rome for consideration.
Until now, the Tribunal requested a fee of $675 for a formal marriage cases, known popularly as an “annulment”. This fee was only a fraction of the actual expenses of the process; the remainder was assumed by the Archdiocese. What is more, it had always been possible to request a reduction, deferment or, in some cases, a waiver of the fee. According to the long-standing policy of the Archdiocese, a person’s ability to present a petition did not depend on his or her ability to pay a fee.
Still, there has been a stubborn misconception that a person could “buy” a decree of nullity. There have been equally erroneous ideas that paying more than the requested fee or paying it all “up front” would result in quicker process or a better chance for a successful outcome. None of these suspicions are true. In fact, petitions are examined and decided according to the date of their presentation. Furthermore, each case is considered on its own merits and according to the common norms of the Catholic community.
I am confident that this change in policy will eliminate some of these misunderstandings. I also hope that you will renew your efforts to reach out compassionately to the faithful whose marriages have failed. Please ensure that this change is known among the people entrusted to your pastoral care.
Finally, I ask all Catholics to pray for married couples, whom God has called to reflect in their own love the unconditionally faithful and self-sacrificing love that Christ has for the Church. The Archdiocese and its ministers are committed to be both “prophetic” (to teach what Jesus taught) and to be “pastoral” (to minister to those whose marriages, unfortunately, have ended in a civil divorce).
May the Lord, who shared the joy of the couple at Cana of Galilee and comforted the sorrowing and humiliated, bless and sustain your ministry.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

How Pro-Lifers Manipulate Planned Parenthood Footage

Deceptively editing a video to make someone sound like she'll sell you the organs of aborted fetuses is really easy. All...
Posted by Lutheran Satire on Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Voice From the Grave on the Changes People Forced on the Mass

One of my two parishes is Annunciation Catholic Church in Brazil.  For 45 years, beginning in 1962, Fr. Anthony Spicuzza was the pastor of the parish here.  I recently traveled to the Archdiocesan Archives to look through the history of the parish.  It was fascinating and fun!

I found a survey that was sent out in the wake of the 2nd Vatican Council and one of the answers by Fr. Spicuzza caught my attention:

In Father Spicuzza's assessment, then, the thing that was a challenge for the young people of the Church was all the changes that people were adding to the Mass on their own initiative.

It was a very prophetic utterance

Monday, July 20, 2015

Priests Deal With Crap You Probably Don't

I hear quite frequently refrains such as:

"I left the Church because Father so and so looked at me wrong" or "Father didn't react in the way I'd hoped he would" etc.

Look, folks, we deal with both actually mentally ill people, and also some who are somewhere else on the spectrum but are definitely malicious.  So you might want to ask yourself if your Faith is really so shallow as to be affected by the mood of a priest at a particular moment in time.

A couple of examples:

1) I know a priest that someone anonymously went to the trouble of creating an entire website of pictures of this priest's face photoshopped onto pornographic male photos (please don't go looking for the site).  People still regularly report the site to his chancery, and the chancery has to explain the situation to another distressed caller.

That's really messed up

2) I know another priest, and I am cc'd on emails to him from a person who sends rambling horrendous diatribes all the time.  When I see an email from her in my inbox, of course I don't read them, and I know he doesn't either, but just knowing someone out there is that messed up...

3) Recently in my priesthood someone had fake email addresses for multiple people, fake twitter accounts etc. in order to create this narrative of how this person needed help.  I spent some considerable time and energy into helping this "person" until I started noticing the story coming apart.   Then, a few weeks later, I got a call from another Archdiocese letting me know "hey, that person you interacted with has played similar games with several other priests, and has tried to bring lawsuits against them saying these priests got her pregnant etc."

So when a priest doesn't smile at you in the right way, or when he is a little more cautious than you'd like him to be when he first hears about a person in distress, or when said priest doesn't skip down the aisle like Mary Poppins at a particular Mass, before you leave the Catholic Church over it, just take a breath.  He may have just finished, 2 minutes earlier, dealing with a completely malicious person trying to play mind games.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

I Just Really Like This Song

"Wedding Song" by Anais Mitchell and Jeferson Hamer

My Experiences with Contraception

Blessed NFP Awareness Week!

Click HERE to read Humanae Vitae  (It is short, it is in English, and it is prophetic!)

Click HERE to hear what couples have to say about NFP

Short article - "What is NFP?"  click HERE to read


Click HERE to visit the AWESOME Archindy NFP Site - find NFP doctors, NFP classes, research, statistics, etc.

Weigel on +Chaput Bashing

"The recent assault on Archbishop Chaput is a taste of what awaits many others. The useful idiots who insist that, if the bishops of the United States would just retreat from the culture wars, all would be well, are manifesting their ignorance of the requirements of pastoral leadership while unwittingly confessing to a degree of political stupidity that is staggering. Obergefell has let loose demons, and their name is Legion. Those demons should be fought with compassion, critical intelligence, and blunt honesty about the Church’s own failings."

Read more at:

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Smaller Church

from a recent CARA study

“The Church will become small and will have to start pretty much all over again. It will no longer have use of the structures it built in its years of prosperity. The reduction in the number of faithful will lead to it losing an important part of its social privileges.” It will start off with small groups and movements and a minority that will make faith central to experience again. “It will be a more spiritual Church, and will not claim a political mandate flirting with the Right one minute and the Left the next. It will be poor and will become the Church of the destitute. But when all the suffering is past, a great power will emerge from a more spiritual and simple Church” 

- Pope Benedict XVI, 40 years ago

"You call me to the ocean..."

A lot of music today is just noise.

Fr. Pontifex puts something together with his latest album that rises above the banal and strives for beauty.  The video by Spirit Juice matches the artistry of the song itself.

"You call me to the Ocean...but all I see for miles are the winds and waves"

Order the album from I-Tunes by clicking HERE

Order the album from Amazon by clicking HERE

Keep up the great work Father!

GREAT Opportunity for young ladies in Indiana/Ohio/Kentucky Area

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Great Novel Excerpt

I'm reading a novel by a delightful former professor of philosophy from the University of Notre Dame.  Dr. Ralph McInerny, who passed away in 2010, is a person whose work I've admired since the seminary.  Reading philosophy can be extremely tedious, but Dr. McInerny always made it lighter, more accessible, and (dare I say it) fun at times.

When I moved into my current rectory three years ago, there were about 5 items that the previous pastor didn't take with him.  Three of them were books, one of which was a novel by Dr. McInerny.  I'm just getting to it now, but it has been a great read.  It is titled "The Priest".

That it is set around the release of the encyclical Humanae Vitae has only made it all the better.  One exchange between the "liberalish" and a simple mother of 6 kids made me chuckle.

Mother: "So do you think a man and wife ought to sit down with population statistics before they go to bed?"

Father Ascue: "Well, it is a serious problem."

Mother: "In this country?"

Father: "It will be."

Mother: "Have you ever driven around this country?  We're campers, so we've seen a lot of it.  Do you know that most of Pennsylvania is empty countryside, woods, hills?  And that's the east.  People talk as if we were shoulder to shoulder.  Where?  In Manhattan?"

..... the conversation shifts to Humanae Vitae

Mother: "What really kills me is this talk about limiting the size of your family as if that took courage.  You know, virtue.  Nine times out of ten, it's pure selfishness.  The day couples with one or two kids start sending checks to the starving Armenians I'll believe they're thinking of someone beside themselves."

Planned Parenthood - Let your Light SHINE!

Planned Parenthood released a presser in the wake of the reports of their trafficking in baby body parts that said the practice was "a humanitarian undertaking"

If they have thought of it as "a humanitarian undertaking" all these years...why not let your light shine, PP!  They should have been getting the good word out and shouting from the roof tops about their amazing humanitarian work!

Overpopulation is a Myth

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Why I'd Like to See 47 More Star Wars Films

So most nerdy people like myself know that there is another Star Wars film coming down the pipeline, and will be released this December.  The film is in the very capable hands of J.J. Abrams, so I am fairly confident that it won't be anything like Star Wars Episodes 1-3, some of the worst movies of all time.

Anyway, I'm glad they're making more Star Wars films

1) as a fan of the franchise, particularly episodes 4-6 (the originals)

but also

2) because it is a solid reminder that, on this side of Heaven, evil is here to stay.

Episode 6 (The Return of the Jedi) ends with the triumphant defeat of the evil empire and the rebels dancing around a bon fire.

Not because of The Return of the Jedi, but because of stories and narratives in general, a lot of people seem to think that, if WE work hard enough WE can defeat evil for good, here on Earth.

If this government or that king is overthrown, if we win THIS war, evil will go away for ever.

Evil will go away for ever ONLY when Jesus Christ returns and sets everything right

Until then, good and evil will rise and fall, sometimes good getting the upper hand for a time, but probably more often than not, in most places throughout the world and throughout history, evil flourishes too.

Tolkien noticed this tendency to think of history as winable, evil defeatable BY US, which is why he attempted to correct the narrative by noting

"Actually I am a Christian, and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect ‘history’ to be anything but a ‘long defeat’— though it contains (and in legend may contain more clearly and movingly) some samples or glimpses of final victory” 

Here's to another Star Wars film.  I hope they make 47 more!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Pay the Cantors

Here's the scene.  It is a piano recital for 2nd graders.  Look around.  The people there are the family and friends of the young pianists.  You know who isn't there?  Anyone else.

We certainly ought not be surprised by this - it is great to see a recital of a 2nd grade pianist if you know the child, but if you don't, you certainly aren't going to go take a 2nd grade piano recital in on your own.  On an objective level, the music ain't that great.

At every Catholic parish, there are always a group of parishioners who know each other.  The 10% who do 90% of the work around the parish.  It was that way in my home parishes growing up, it was that way where I've been for summer seminarian assignments, and it is that way at the parishes I've been a priest at.

There are typically cantors known by the inner circle of parishioners, and those who know the cantors will cut the cantors a lot of slack.


Because they KNOW the person quite well, and are friends on some level with the person.  They don't mind the music quality because of the relationship.

However, at every Mass, there are always a TON of people who DON'T know the cantor, and thus are much more likely to notice the OBJECTIVE quality of the cantoring.

The top two things that Catholic parishes are docked on are preaching and music.  Are we paying attention to that?

There is an important movement that more and more dioceses are making a move on - a requirement that parishes pay their cantors.  If we want to make the Mass something that speaks to people visiting, to those who are not already in the inner circle of the parish, then we do well to ask our cantors to meet some objective bench marks so that those who don't know them will not walk away having been completely distracted and put off by something so obvious as music quality.

Here's to hoping Catholic parishes figure this out sooner than later.

Catholic Radio Interview on SCOTUS Marriage Ruling

Click HERE if you'd like to listen to my interview with Catholic Radio Indy on the SCOTUS "Marriage" Ruling

Oregon Couple Fined out of Business, SILENCED by the State. Wow


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Laudato Si - why you should read it

Don't get your Church news from Yahoo!

From the Preface of Creation:

[God] you formed man in your own image
and set humanity over the whole world in all its wonder,
to rule in your name over all you have made
and for ever praise you in your mighty works,
through Christ our Lord.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Blessed Giorgio Frassati

Mountain climber.


Rock climber.

Pipe Smoker.

Full of life.

Died young.

In short - a real man

Here's to his canonization if it is God's Will!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

"Laudato Si" quotes you'll never hear from secular atheists

On the US only giving foreign aid if mothers stop having children in poor countries: "Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate. At times, developing countries face forms of international pressure which make economic assistance contingent on certain policies of "reproductive health" blame population growth instead of extreme selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues." LS, 50

"Judaeo-Christian thought demythologized nature. While continuing to admire its grandeur and immensity, it no longer saw nature as divine. In doing so, it emphasizes all the more our human responsibility for nature"  LS, 78

Dear those who think evolution explains the totality of how humans came to be: "Human beings, even if we postulate a process of evolution, also possess a uniqueness which cannot be fully explained by the evolution of other open systems....[humans have] a uniqueness which transcends the spheres of physics and biology"  LS, 81

"We have only one heart, and the same wretchedness which leads us to mistreat an animal will not be long in showing itself in our relationships with other people."  LS, 92

"If architecture reflects the spirit of an age, our megastructures and drab apartment blocks express the spirit of globalized technology, where a constant flood of new products coexists with a tedious monotony."  LS, 113

"When we fail to acknowledge the worth of a poor person, a human embryo, or a person with disabilities, it becomes difficult to hear the cry of nature itself; everything is connected" LS 117

"Our relationship with the environment can never be isolated from our relationship with others and with God. Otherwise, it would be nothing more than romantic individualism dressed up in ecological garb, locking us into a stifling immanence."  LS, 119

"Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo"  LS, 120

On welfare never being permanent: "Helping the poor financially must always be a provisional solution in the face of pressing needs. The broader objective should always be to allow them a dignified life through work."  LS, 128

Huge irony I'd never thought of: "It is troubling that, when some ecological movements defend the integrity of the environment, rightly demanding that certain limits be imposed on scientific research, they sometimes fail to apply those same principles to human life. There is a tendency to justify transgressing all boundaries when experimentation is carried out on living human embryos"  LS, 136

"A wholesome social life can light up a seemingly undesirable environment...the feeling of asphyxiation brought on by densely populated residential areas is countered if close and warm relationships this way any place can turn from being a hell on earth into the setting for a dignified life."  LS, 148

"we need to grow in the conviction that a decrease in the pace of production and consumption can at times give rise to another form of progress and development."  LS, 191

Dear Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Steven Hawking, et. al.: "It cannot be maintained that empirical science provides a complete explanation of life"  LS, 199

“If someone has not learned to stop and admire something beautiful, we should not be surprised if he or she treats everything as an object to be used and abused without scruple.”  LS, 215

“Many people today sense a profound imbalance which drives them to frenetic activity and makes them feel busy, in a constant hurry which in turns leads them to ride rough-shod over everything around them.”  LS, 225

“We have had enough of immorality and the mockery of ethics, goodness, faith and honesty.  It is time to acknowledge that light-hearted superficiality has done us no good.”  LS, 229

“A world of exacerbated consumption is at the same time a world which mistreats life in all its forms.”  LS, 230

The Sacraments are a privileged way in which nature is taken up by God to become a means of mediating supernatural life.”  LS, 235

It is in the Eucharist that all that has been created finds its greatest exaltation.  Grace, which tends to manifest itself tangibly, found unsurpassable expression when God himself became man and gave himself as food for his creatures.”  LS, 236

“The Eucharist is also a source of light and motivation for our concerns for the environment, directing us to be stewards of all creation.”  LS, 236

“The day of rest, centered on the Eucharist, sheds its light on the whole week, and motivates us to greater concern for nature and the poor.”  LS, 237

Awesome Conclusion:  “In the heart of this world, the Lord of life, who loves us so much, is always present.  He does not abandon us, he does not leave us alone, for he has united himself definitively to our earth, and his love constantly impels us to find new ways forward.  Praise be to him!”  LS, 245
(That's called hitting a walk off home run AND dropping the mic at the same time!)