Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Marian Consecration Day 24 (November 28th)

The Root of the "Bishops and Priests Having Sex with Young Adults" Scandal

"Since the primary motive of the evil is disguise, one of the places evil people are most likely to be found is within the church.  What better way to conceal one's evil from oneself, as well as from others, than to be a deacon or some other highly visible form of Christian within our culture?  In India, I would suppose that the evil would demonstrate a similar tendency to be "good" Hindus or "good" Moslems.  I do not mean that the evil are anything other than a small minority among the religious or that the religious motives of most people are in any way spurious.  I mean only that evil people tend to gravitate toward piety for the disguise and concealment it can offer them"

- Martin Buber in "Good and Evil" -
Footnoted in M. Scott Peck's "People of the Lie"

We've all been hearing so much about "clericalism" as the root of the "Bishops/Priests/Cardinals having sex with young adults" scandal.

That notion has been challenged in many places.  I've argued from the moment I heard the "clericalism" defense that it is a convenient thing to blame because we can't even define clericalism.  We've been preaching to seminarians for 50 years "BE LESS CLERICAL" and all we've seen is the sexual crimes by clerics MULTIPLY.  So maybe we need a new strategy besides telling priests and seminarians to be less "clerical"?

In reading all of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report and any other accounts I can get my hands on, one thing has become clear to me - the clerics who are sexually assaulting people are the ones that BLEND IN.

The criminals are the ones that get the parents/families to TRUST THEM

Whatever clericalism is, its opposite is being able to blend in with families and be "one with the people"...BUT THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT ALMOST EVERY SEXUALLY ASSAULTING CLERIC DID...THEY BLENDED IN

No one was saying "Let's let our son Johnny go on a camping trip with "Father arrogant" and "Father entitled""

If we are going to lay this scandal at the feet of "clericalism" (which we can't even DEFINE) then the evil wins because it continues to remain hidden

Here's an idea - let's study the actual criminal clerics.  What were the patterns?  Some quick things we might learn scientifically:

1) What percentage of them were praying a daily holy hour?
2) What percentage of them prayed a daily rosary?
3) What percentage of them fasted once a week?
4) What percentage of them prayed their breviary faithfully?
5) What percentage of them took their annual 5 day retreat?
6) What percentage of them were striving for going to confession once a month?

You could ask them these questions in about 30 seconds.  I'm sure there are other questions we could ask them as well.

I GUARANTEE you the percentages for all 6 of those questions above is VERY low.  There may be other data as well. 

But I am completely dismayed that we don't seem to be taking any kind of a psychological nor a scientific approach to this crisis in the priesthood, but are instead blaming some term that can't even be defined.

We are fighting an enemy that WANTS to remain hidden, even hidden from those who are guilty - to root it out is going to involve enforcing external policies that help root it out and make it easier to spot, both by the clerics themselves and by those who supervise them.  As Jesus said: "Some demons can only be exorcised through prayer and fasting"

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Preparation for Total Consecration: Day 9 (November 13th)

Sarah Kroger

This may not come as a surprise to you if you've read this blog through the years, but I'm not a big "praise and worship" guy.

One artist that I do really enjoy listening to while driving around Western Indiana is an artist I first encountered at a Focus SEEK Conference a few years ago.

Young adult Catholic artists need our patronage and support.

Run over to iTunes and pick up her music - it will be a great $20.  My "Sarah Kroger Playlist" on my iPhone is definitely my favorite one.

Here are some samples:

She has a new single that just came out:

This is a great song as well:

And this is a great duet with Audrey Assad.  Listen to the whole things.  When it changes about half way through.  Wow!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Sports and Catholicism

Blessed to be a part of this program

It gives EVERY Catholic school coach the tools to use sports to bring people closer to Christ.

It also does this without adding any additional work load to a priest/chaplain/pastor.

Help encourage your parish or diocese to take advantage of this MUCH NEEDED program!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Prayers for Day 2 of Preparing for Total Consecration

If you'd like to read along with the prayers, the text of today's prayers can be found in the description of today's podcast

Monday, November 5, 2018

Joe Donnelly voted AGAINST Kavanaugh

I still can't believe that Senator Joe Donnelly voted AGAINST Judge Brett Kavanaugh after the flimsy nature of the allegations became so apparent. 

Even now, the accusations continue to fall completely apart

I'm thankful that Mike Braun looked at the evidence that was available to us all, and was supportive of Judge Kavanaugh throughout the process.

Day 1: preparation for Marian Consecration

These would be the prayers for November 5th if you are preparing to make or renew your consecration on December 8th.

You can, of course, use these prayers to renew or consecrate yourself on any other Marian feast day as well.

example: if you chose to consecrate yourself on December 12th, you would start with day 1 on November NINTH.

Here's a chart for when day 1 would be, depending on the date of final consecration:

Here's the prayers for day 1 so you can follow along if you'd like:

Sunday, November 4, 2018

"Mass is TOO REPETITIVE and boring!"

“He has no need, as did the high priests, to offer sacrifice day after day, he did that once for all when he offered himself.”  Well, the natural question might be, then, “what in the world are we doing here offering a sacrifice? 

It continues to be offered because the curtain has not dropped on this world.

Assertion 1: we live in this strange in between time.  If the world had ended on Easter Sunday, that would have made sense to me.  Christ resurrects, and that’s the ball game folks.

And yet it didn’t end.  We go on.  We’re still here.

And this world in which we wait has been mapped out, engineered, measured, and digitized and quantified.  Your phone tells you your destination is .9 miles on the left.  We know the chemistry that is behind everything.  The northern lights are solar winds hitting our atmosphere at the right angle.  We have mapped out space and the orbits of the planets.  We know the weather coming our way – we tell ourselves we have subdued the earth.  To a dangerous extent, we believe we are in control

We tell ourselves that we live in a world that has no room for magic nor the unexplainable

But that is a lie. 

The “Fear of the Lord” that we hear about in the first reading is a sort of awe toward God – a belief that God is in control, and if God is in control, then we are not, and if we are not, then the mapping of our world is not definitive.  There ARE, then, things that we can’t explain and there are things that we can’t control

As Catholics, as I preached on All Saints Day, seeking God, seeking that relationship with Jesus is something we are called to do.  And at the same time, one of our most important aspects of our Faith as Catholics is, when really lived, it reminds us about the magical and enchanted nature of the world around us.  We call priests to have them whisper prayers of forgiveness over dying loved ones because we believe it forgives them their sins.  We believe that bread and wine become God.  We believe we have angels watching over us, that we can befriend dead saints from ages past, that we are tempted by demons, that pouring water on someone while saying the right prayer makes a person a son or daughter of God.  We believe that priests can, through prayers, drive out demons.  We have Masses in cemeteries, we have statues that weep, saints that bleed with the wounds of Christ, and believe the Blessed Mother has definitively appeared to people as the sun danced in the sky – to be Catholic is to believe that there is magic in the world.  Awe.  Surprise.  Mystery.

But this…the Mass…is the source and summit of everything we do.  It is a participation in the one sacrifice of Christ.  And so we surround it with incense, music, architecture, vestments, beauty, Scripture, and silence

So, then, what about the protest – “Father, that all sounds nice, but I find Mass really boring.”

Here’s what G.K. Chesterton, the great convert to Catholicism said on the subject, and I think this is really important.  ““Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. [UNCLE JOHN]
…For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

I would say, then, that if we are bored at Mass, then perhaps that is an indictment on us.  I think to whatever extent I may find myself bored at some particular Mass it is on me, and not something I can blame God for.  Something I need to examine my conscience about, not walk away from Catholicism over.  Perhaps it is my fault. Something I need to change.

Perhaps those who say they are bored at Mass are also people who say they get bored with their spouse – the same old thing every day

Perhaps those who say they are bored at Mass are also people prone to saying they are bored with their job.  Another day.  Another pay check.  Nothing interesting happening here today

Perhaps those who say they are bored at Mass are also people who are bored with their same old kids.  Another day.

Perhaps those who say they are bored at Mass are like some of my DePauw students, who literally have some of the best food in the world – I promise you’ve never seen anything quite like the food at DePauw – I would have been 500 pounds if I ate in their dining room in college – every food of every variety is there and it is all absolutely amazing – and some of them complain that it is always the same.

If you really despise Mass or find it repetitive, are you that way with other things too?

Would you appreciate your spouse, your children, your food, your job, would you appreciate them more if they were taken away?

We come here for Mass tonight/today – probably close to the 7,000th of my life and close to the 5,000th of my priesthood – Christ HAS offered himself once perfectly, but the curtain hasn’t dropped on this world just yet. 

Perhaps you struggle in the (quote) “awe of God” department.  Whatever in your life is telling you things are every boring or free of magic and power and infinity, get rid of it.

Jesus tells us that a key to our salvation is becoming like little children.  In participating in this, the one sacrifice of Christ, may we, like children, cry out, over and over, until we depart this world forever – “DO IT AGAIN!”