Thursday, October 25, 2018

On My Tenth Anniversary of Ordination

Ten years ago today I was ordained a deacon for the Catholic Church at St. Meinrad by Archbishop Daniel Buechlein.

This morning, I picked up a book called "The End of the Present World" by Father Charles Arminjon.  I bought the book because St. Therese said "Reading this book was one of the greatest graces of my life"

I'd like to share a part of his intro, because I feel like I read it for a reason this morning on my 10th anniversary

"Perhaps we shall be accused of expressing this or that assertion of ours too crudely and starkly, and of broaching the most serious and formidable points of Christian doctrine, without, at the same time, modifying and softening them so as to adapt them to the prejudices or apathy of certain souls, unacquainted with such grave considerations...

Jesus Christ is the great luminary of our intellects, the food and life of our hearts.  He is never better understood, or more loved, than when He manifests Himself in the integrity of His doctrine and the most eminent splendors of His divine personality.  The example of the Apostles, announcing the gospel amidst the twilight of paganism, and boldly preaching Jesus Christ crucified before the Roman Senate and amidst the philosophers of the Areopagus, is enough to tell us that truth is attractive to souls naturally Christian, and that it enlightens and convinces them only insofar it is is presented to them in all its strength and all its clarity."

Said another way - watering down Christianity to make it appealing only makes it less appealing.  Every.  Time.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Homily: Consecrate Yourself to Mary

Why Did Pope Benedict XVI Resign?

Dr. @TaylorRMarshall has been doing really helpful and balanced podcasts on +Vigano.

I also found this to be EXTREMELY helpful in pulling all the stories surrounding Pope Benedict's resignation together

I've listened to this podcast of this 3 times!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Abortion, and Exorcisms

I have always and will always follow politics closely, and I will continue to advocate, in the political sphere, for the causes and issues that are of the utmost importance in our Catholic world view.

Many people tell me that priests should "stay out of political discussions" but the Church has always rejected that notion as ludicrous.  In certain extreme situations, the Church even says priests can SEEK political authority.

I say this to explain that I followed the nomination process of Brett Kavanaugh with interest.  And I remember distinctly the moment I saw the Tweet from about Senator Dianne Feinstein sending on to the FBI an accusation of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh.  It was sent out right after all of his days and days of hearings had wrapped up, and one of the first details to emerge about Feinstein's info was this - she had sat on it for a month+

My heart sank because it became pretty apparent, right then and there, that this was going to get ugly quick.

I don't want to re-litigate everything that took place in the Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh interviews before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but I was able to watch most of it or listen to most of the 7 hours of testimony.

I'm off on Fridays, so I was able to watch most of the coverage 2 Fridays ago when Senator Jeff Flake and Senator Coons collaborated on a plan to request another week of FBI investigations.  A week later I was also able to follow last Friday's coverage of the Senate voting to move Kavanaugh on for a final vote along with the dramatic and thorough floor speech of Senator Susan Collins of Maine, the swing vote, who took the floor to explain why she would be voting to confirm Kavanaugh the next day.

Here's why I share ALL this (in case you are still reading): What I saw in all the coverage of this political moment has me seriously scared for the future of our nation, and the heart of this whole issue of Justice Kavanaugh is the ABSOLUTE SCOURGE that abortion has been on our country.

We are a house divided against itself, just like Jesus described the Kingdom of Satan, and, as Jesus noted, it cannot stand.

in 1979 when Mother Teresa won the Nobel Prize and when she spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast in DC 15 years later in 1994, she said, in both talks, that the greatest destroyer of peace in our world today is abortion, and WOW was she EXACTLY right. 

People on BOTH sides of the Kavanaugh "debacle" (The best word for it) readily admitted that this whole affair was really about abortion.

And I'd like to finally point to the "screams" and enter them into evidence as a part of my fears for our nation.  Throughout the news coverage of the Kavanaugh hearings, there was lots of coverage of protests.  And the screams they were unleashing were Demonic and other-worldly.  There were people screaming at the Kavanaugh hearings round 1.  There were screams at Senators.  There were screams in the senate as votes were taking place.  There were screams from protestors outside the senate.  That screaming, particularly the screams that take on an "otherworldly" sound, are a hallmark of demonic possession. 

Find me video of those who stand for traditional marriage letting out blood-curling screams when the Obergefell decision was announced

Find me video of those who fight hard for the cause of ending abortion letting out blood-curling screams when Obama won the presidency in 2012 or 2008.

Find me video of pro-lifers letting out blood-curling screams when Sotomayor or Elena Kegan were placed on the Supreme Court

Find me video of Catholics letting out blood-curling screams when the Little Sisters of the Poor were taken to court by the Federal government to force them to pay for contraception

That video isn't out there.

I've encountered the demonic as a priest in a very real and undeniable way about five or six times, and what I saw and heard in the weeks-long process that led to Justice Kavanaugh assuming his seat on the Supreme Court had all the same characteristics.

You could see and HEAR the presence of evil in a real way.  The Evil one feeling less need to remain hidden now - more willing to come right out and be heard.  And when the Evil One feels comfortable being seen and heard directly, we ought to know that things are getting REALLY bad.

As long as we kill our children, we will continue to fracture more and more as a society.   I fear we are heading towards the brink of major violence breaking out in our country over all of this, and then Mother Teresa's prophecy would sadly come to full realization: The greatest destroyer of peace will be abortion.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Pro-life Month Image for the Day

October is the month our bishops ask us to pray for a great respect for human life in our country and around the world.

Click HERE to see a ton of great images that can be downloaded and shared with your family, friends, social media, etc.

DON'T BE SILENT on life!  Let us BUILD a culture of LIFE!

Renewing My Marriage Vows to the Church

“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two become one ”

9 years and 4 months ago, I lay face first on the floor of our Cathedral in Indianapolis as the choir and people chanted the litany of the saints.  I then rose up off the floor, went up to the Archbishop of Indianapolis, who asked me if I intended to make promises to him and all of his successors.  The promises were then spelled out.

Diocesan priests, in a very real sense, marry the Church.  We call priests fathers, and so they are supposed to be.

And that is one of many reasons that stories of priestly abuse rip people apart.  It is marital adultery marital betrayal.  It isn’t the local politician or the person who heads up the local social club betraying my trust, when these crimes happen, the pain is 1,000 times worse because it was done by people we called Father.  Dad.

Some very understandably then, in the face of these scandals, have wondered if the priest- to-parish structure itself isn’t fundamentally broken?   The question can be asked and discussed, and I certainly have no problem with that, but I would say that from where I stand and what I’ve seen, the priest being the Father is a good model.

We had the reading several weeks ago from St. Paul that had the words “wives be submissive to your husbands…husbands love your wives as Christ loved the Church”

Some husbands (and some PRIESTS) have completely and wrongly used that to mean that a husband or priest is supposed to dominate his wife or the parish, or worse.  But for the 100th time, how did Christ love the Church…he DIED for her. 

Is there toxic masculinity in our world – without a doubt.  But the answer is authentic masculinity, not a ridding the world of ALL masculinity.  Sacrificial masculinity. “Dying to self” masculinity.  “Laying down one’s life for one’s family or parish” masculinity. 

So what does it mean to be the sacrificial head of a family – in my mind it means that maybe once or twice a year there is something that comes up that is big, there is gridlock, and a decision has to be made.  Consensus, discussion, negotiation have been exhausted.  In those moments that come up once or twice a year, a pastor has to pray and decide.  And I know from talking to so many friends, siblings, parishioners etc. who are in successful marriages (and lots of pastors of parishes) that you get one or two of those a year.

I think having the priest, at crucial and hopefully rare moments, make decisions, carries more credibility because it is the person that also buried my friend, brought me communion, anointed me when I was sick, came to the sports contest, gave up a wife and kids to be at this place, answered the emails, taught the classes, etc. – having a board make decisions for a parish might be the way things go down the road – and I would still happily be a priest, but I also know there are lots of churches in the US that are run by boards of parishioners, and the problems seem to be different than ours but the problems seem to be equally challenging.

And so tonight, since you were not there 9 years and 4 months ago, I want to renew my vows to you the Church, but I want to use the vows that are used at a wedding instead, that you might know that despite what is happening or has happened elsewhere, I am here for you

Have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourself

I Fr John Hollowell reaffirm and renew my commitment to be the pastor of  Annunciation/St. Paul’s
I promise to be faithful to you.  In good times and in bad.  In sickness and in health.  To love you
And honor you All the days of my life.  Amen.

A spiritually sick parish is focused on the priest or something else besides Jesus Christ.  This parish is not focused on the priest.  It is focused on Jesus Christ.  The reason I renew my vows to you tonight is that in case you are shaken in your Faith now or in the future, I want you to know that I, as a man, have laid down my plans, my desires, and my life for you.  And I have never been happier.  “In giving we receive, in dying we are born to eternal life” as St. Francis says.  I could never count up all the blessings that have come to me by being a pastor of this parish.

It may be that Catholic parishes of the future are run by boards of parishioners and that the model of priests choosing to lay down their life in marriage to the Church will no longer be the case, or more rare.

But one of the things that the Church says about marriage between a husband and a wife is that marriages, when we look at them even from the outside – they show us how God loves us – he has wed himself to us.

What the future holds for how the Church is governed and led, no one knows.  In the meantime, I hope that in my marriage to the Church, and thus to you as well – I hope that although I am very much imperfect… that something of what I’ve done in my marrying the Church ALSO provides some insight into how God approaches us and loves us through his Son who laid down everything to save us.

“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two become one ”