Thursday, September 12, 2019

Some Important Vatican Notes on Celibacy

Some quotes on celibacy from “The Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests” (59-60)

"The example is Christ, who in going against what could be considered the dominant culture of His time, freely chose to live celibacy.  In following him the disciples left “everything” to fulfill the mission entrusted to them."

"For this reason the Church, from apostolic times, has wished to conserve the gift of perpetual continence [no sex] of the clergy and choose the candidates for Holy Orders from among the celibate faithful."

"In today’s cultural climate, often conditioned by a vision of man lacking in values and incapable of giving a complete, positive and liberating sense to human sexuality, the question of the value and meaning of priestly celibacy is often presented, or at least the question of its strict rapport with ministerial priesthood."

"Difficulties and objections have always accompanied, throughout history, the decision by the Latin Church to confer ministerial priesthood only on those men who have received from God the gift of chastity in celibacy." 

"The difficulties which some present even today are often founded on pretentious arguments."

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Coming Home to Catholicism

This was a great episode of The Journey Home.  I hope you can watch it all.  Very charitable with TONS of great quotes and takeaways.

Here were a few of my favorite quotes:

“Any answer to the question: “Which Church should I attend?” that doesn’t have as its singular conclusion “Whichever Church Jesus established” results in consumerism.  [if that’s not what I’m asking] I’m therefore going to some place that [just] makes me comfortable or that I THINK is right”

“And actually we don’t know what we ought to think about certain contested issues in the Scriptures; we wrestle with exegetical questions all the time, and you can’t always sort that out with more exegesis.  Wonderful exegetes disagree with each other so frequently.  And so is there a divinely protected organism in the world that is able to discern for us or settle those matters for us?”

Catholicism and Slavery

The Battle of Prayer!

My goddaughter (middle) at prayer at my sister's rehearsal

My favorite picture of all time goes well with my favorite part of the Catechism (by an order of at least 10) on "The Battle of Prayer"

I hope you can read every word:

2725 Prayer is both a gift of grace and a determined response on our part. It always presupposes effort. The great figures of prayer of the Old Covenant before Christ, as well as the Mother of God, the saints, and he himself, all teach us this: prayer is a battle. Against whom? Against ourselves and against the wiles of the tempter who does all he can to turn man away from prayer, away from union with God. We pray as we live, because we live as we pray. If we do not want to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ, neither can we pray habitually in his name. The "spiritual battle" of the Christian's new life is inseparable from the battle of prayer.


2726 In the battle of prayer, we must face in ourselves and around us erroneous notions of prayer. Some people view prayer as a simple psychological activity, others as an effort of concentration to reach a mental void. Still others reduce prayer to ritual words and postures. Many Christians unconsciously regard prayer as an occupation that is incompatible with all the other things they have to do: they "don't have the time." Those who seek God by prayer are quickly discouraged because they do not know that prayer comes also from the Holy Spirit and not from themselves alone.

2727 We must also face the fact that certain attitudes deriving from the mentality of "this present world" can penetrate our lives if we are not vigilant. For example, some would have it that only that is true which can be verified by reason and science; yet prayer is a mystery that overflows both our conscious and unconscious lives. Others overly prize production and profit; thus prayer, being unproductive, is useless. Still others exalt sensuality and comfort as the criteria of the true, the good, and the beautiful; whereas prayer, the "love of beauty" (philokalia), is caught up in the glory of the living and true God. Finally, some see prayer as a flight from the world in reaction against activism; but in fact, Christian prayer is neither an escape from reality nor a divorce from life.

2728 Finally, our battle has to confront what we experience as failure in prayer: discouragement during periods of dryness; sadness that, because we have "great possessions,"15 we have not given all to the Lord; disappointment over not being heard according to our own will; wounded pride, stiffened by the indignity that is ours as sinners; our resistance to the idea that prayer is a free and unmerited gift; and so forth. The conclusion is always the same: what good does it do to pray? To overcome these obstacles, we must battle to gain humility, trust, and perseverance.


Facing difficulties in prayer

2729 The habitual difficulty in prayer is distraction. It can affect words and their meaning in vocal prayer; it can concern, more profoundly, him to whom we are praying, in vocal prayer (liturgical or personal), meditation, and contemplative prayer. To set about hunting down distractions would be to fall into their trap, when all that is necessary is to turn back to our heart: for a distraction reveals to us what we are attached to, and this humble awareness before the Lord should awaken our preferential love for him and lead us resolutely to offer him our heart to be purified. Therein lies the battle, the choice of which master to serve.16

2730 In positive terms, the battle against the possessive and dominating self requires vigilance, sobriety of heart. When Jesus insists on vigilance, he always relates it to himself, to his coming on the last day and every day: today. The bridegroom comes in the middle of the night; the light that must not be extinguished is that of faith: "'Come,' my heart says, 'seek his face!'"17

2731 Another difficulty, especially for those who sincerely want to pray, is dryness. Dryness belongs to contemplative prayer when the heart is separated from God, with no taste for thoughts, memories, and feelings, even spiritual ones. This is the moment of sheer faith clinging faithfully to Jesus in his agony and in his tomb. "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if dies, it bears much fruit."18 If dryness is due to the lack of roots, because the word has fallen on rocky soil, the battle requires conversion.19

Facing temptations in prayer

2732 The most common yet most hidden temptation is our lack of faith. It expresses itself less by declared incredulity than by our actual preferences. When we begin to pray, a thousand labors or cares thought to be urgent vie for priority; once again, it is the moment of truth for the heart: what is its real love? Sometimes we turn to the Lord as a last resort, but do we really believe he is?

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Recognizing the Church

“But one thing eventually became clear: my happy evangelical view of the Church’s “unity” as being nothing more than the worldwide clutter that we had under our general umbrella, was, for good or ill, not what the ancient Church had understood by the word unity. As an evangelical, I could pick which source of things appealed most to me:… And in one sense, variety is doubtless a sign of vigorous life in the Church. But in another sense, of course, it is a disaster.

The Montanists [heresy] were certainly zealous and earnest and had much to commend them: the difficulty, finally, was that they were not the Church. Likewise with the Donatists [heresy]. God bless them for their fidelity and ardor and purity, but they were not the Church...[heresies raised throughout history] did not remain open questions forever. 

There was one Church, and the Church was one. And this was a discernible, visible, embodied unity, not a loose aggregate of vaguely like-minded believers with their various task forces all across the globe.  

The Bishop of Antioch was not analogous to the general secretary of the World Evangelical Fellowship or the head of the National Association of Evangelicals. He could speak with the full authority of the Church behind him; these latter gentlemen can only speak for their own organization.”

Thomas Howard
“Recognizing the Church”

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

26 Things Pastors Can Do to Emphasize the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist According to Church Law Governing the Novus Ordo

26 Things Pastors Can Do to Emphasize the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist
According to Church Law Governing the Novus Ordo

By Fr. Jonathan Meyer and Fr. John Hollowell

“The pastor is to see to it that the Most Holy Eucharist is the center of the parish assembly of the faithful”
- Canon Law paragraph 528 -

This list is in response to the August 5, 2019 Pew Research Study: Just one-third of U.S. Catholics agree with their church that Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ.  Pope Paul VI said, “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers.”  What witness are we as pastors giving to our world about our belief in the true presence of our Lord?  The Church clearly offers us several ways to give witness to this reality. 

If any of the following are to be implemented at your parish, do so with ample catechesis inspiring a deeper understanding to the “why” behind each sacred tradition, thus leading the faithful deeper into the mystery of Christ’s real and abiding presence.  For pastoral reasons, never abruptly make changes, but do make adjustments with teaching and explanation.   

1) Reverently genuflect to Jesus in the tabernacle when you enter the Church building and sanctuary and teach your sacristans, liturgical ministers and lay faithful to do the same.  Do this outside of Mass and as you enter and leave the sanctuary during Mass.  The improper custom of bowing to tabernacle is not the proper reverence (GIRM 247).

2) Use a tabernacle veil and catechize about the use of veils in the Old Testament and the tabernacle being the fulfillment of the Holy of Holies and the Ark of the Covenant.  This veil is mentioned in ID 25.

3) Be sure that you have better security surrounding the tabernacle key than you do for the parish safe (CCL 938 p3,5). “The tabernacle in which the blessed Eucharist is habitually reserved …(is) so locked as to give the greatest security against any danger of profanation.”

4) Use a chalice veil, which the GIRM states as “praiseworthy,” and catechize on how we are invited to go behind the veil and enter into the mystery of God’s love poured out for us (GIRM 118).

5) Have server or deacon incense the Blessed Sacrament at the consecration during Mass; this will require having well trained servers which will give you the opportunity to directly catechizes the youth about our Lord’s true presence (GIRM 150).  It detracts from the Real Presence if incense is used at some point in Mass, but not at the consecration.

6) Have the servers ring bells at the epiclesis and consecration (optional: also have ushers ring Church bell(s) in the bell tower, if you have them) (GIRM 150).

7) Only use sacred vessels that are lined in precious metal.  Just to clarify, glass is not a precious metal, pewter is not a precious metal, wood is not a precious metal, nor is pottery.  If it is not a precious metal, it should not touch our Lord (GIRM 328, 290, 291, 294, 295).

8) Be sure to have a corporal unfolded and folded at each Mass.  Do not get into the habit of either not using a corporal, or leaving the corporal on the altar all the time.  If the point of the corporal is to catch fragments, it should be set out and put away at each Mass and laundered properly.  At the start of each Mass the Corporal should be on the credence table (GIRM 118).

9) Use a pall out of reverence for our Lord, desiring nothing to contaminate our Lord’s Blood (GIRM 118).

10) Use Communion patens; they are mentioned on the list of things to be placed on the credence table in the GIRM and then were recommended again in RS  (GIRM 118 and RS 93).

11) “The norm established for the dioceses of the United States of America is that Holy Communion is to be received standing, unless an individual member of the faithful wishes to receive Communion while kneeling.”   Church law thus allows people to receive kneeling. Never deny a person nor belittle a person who chooses to exercise their right to receive kneeling.  (GIRM 160, 2011 edition).

12) Take the option of purifying every sacred vessel used at Mass, at the altar, during Mass (GIRM 163).  Yes, it adds a few minutes to Mass, but it gives people more time to pray, which is a second benefit.  Don’t take the option of purifying the sacred vessels after Mass.  Help show the people that every drop of Blood and fragment of Christ is priceless and is to be treated with care.  If the laity assist with the purification of the sacred vessels, never allow sayings such as, “I’ll do the dishes;” politely instruct them to use other words.  Be sure to only allow a priest, deacon or an instituted acolyte to purify (GIRM 279).

13) Purify sacred linens according to Church law. All purificators and corporals should be rinsed in water in a sacrarium (or rinsed in a container and then have that water poured directly into the ground if a Church does not have a sacrarium).  Only after the purificators and corporals have been rinsed in a sacrarium should they be laundered.  (“Care and Cleansing of Altar Linens” Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy, 19 March 2001)

14) Never personally refer to the Eucharist as “bread” or “wine”. i.e. don’t have extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion that have assignments with titles like “bread 4” or “wine 7;” nor should you allow the lay faithful to say such things in the sacristy; politely correct them if this has been the custom in the past.

15) Canon Law requires pastors to do processions (CCL 530). Start at least with a Corpus Christi procession each year.  As a reminder, you can do Eucharistic processions throughout the year, not just on Corpus Christi weekend, but it is also worth remembering that the Roman Missal itself specifically does encourage a procession as an extension of Corpus Christi Mass (CCL 944).

16) After good catechesis, begin to celebrate Mass "Ad Orintem", where the priest and people are all facing the same direction. 

17) Occasionally expose the Blessed Sacrament at the end of weekend Masses so everyone in the parish, even those who don’t go to adoration, see the Blessed Sacrament incensed in a monstrance. (Order for Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist, 31-33)

18) Begin Perpetual Adoration or at least extended adoration on a more regular basis.  Promote this as the most powerful and important ministry in your parish community.  Committing to a period of adoration   is of utmost importance.  Recall that, “the use of drapes or doors to shield the monstrance, even for a short period of time, is not the required reposition of the Blessed Sacrament.”    (31 Questions on Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament- USCCB).

19) Have your church unlocked and promote people to make visits throughout the day to pray before the Blessed Sacrament. (CCL 937).

20) At every wedding rehearsal, deliver a quick “ferverino” about genuflecting when coming in to a Catholic Church, and tell them, in a kind but clear way, that we believe that Christ is truly present in the tabernacle, and so, just as there are things that might seem strange or foreign to you if you would go to a wedding ceremony at a synagogue or mosque, at a Catholic Church, when you get to the front of the aisle, the wedding party, as they arrive, will genuflect to Christ truly present in the tabernacle.  Priests should stand off to the side so no one thinks that people are genuflecting toward the priest.  They should also be taught to genuflect when they process out.

21) At every wedding, funeral, Easter and Christmas Mass be sure to verbally remind the faithful about the reception of Communion; this should also be printed in the program for each Mass.

22) Review the policies at your parish on how communion is brought to the sick or shut-in.  Be sure our Lord is being treated with reverence.

23) When praying the Eucharistic Prayer, or other parts of the Mass that are clearly addressing God, do not look at the congregation, but only at the missal, the altar cross, at Christ Himself in the Eucharist or have your eyes elevated.

24) Personally make a prayer of thanksgiving after Mass, do not be afraid to let the people see you do it, and encourage them to do the same.  Inaestimabile Donum 17 states, "The faithful are to be recommended not to omit to make a proper thanksgiving after Communion and if possible by staying behind to pray for a suitable time."

25) Ensure that First Communion is focused on the solemn reception of the Eucharist, and nothing else (not songs, skits, or any other performance or addition to the Mass not prescribed in the rubrics of the Mass).  May we not underestimate their ability to be reverent; let the children enter into the solemn occasion.

26) To promote the universal nature of the Eucharist, the mystery of His presence and to fulfill the teachings of Vatican II care should be taken to foster the role of Latin in the Liturgy, particularly in liturgical song. “Pastors should ensure that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them” (Musicam Sacram 36, 54).

GIRM = General Instruction of the Roman Missal (Rules in the front of the book for Mass)
SC = Sacrocanctum Concilium (Vatican II document on the Mass)
RS = Redemptionis Sacramentum (Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship- 2004)
ID= Inaestimabile Donum (Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship- 1980)
CCL= Code of Canon Law

Monday, August 12, 2019

40 years ago

Thankful to my parents and all who helped raise me in the Catholic Faith.  40 years ago today I was baptized at Little Flower Catholic Church.

Thanks to Pope Francis for encouraging us all to go back and renew our promises at the font where we were baptized.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

DePauw ministry prayers appreciated!

If you could keep us in prayer as we begin another year of being the Catholic presence to the students and faculty of DePauw University, that would be much appreciated.  Thanks!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

This is such sad teaching from Father James Martin, SJ

Raise your hand if you understand the difference between committing a sin and making a PERMANENT AND LIFELONG PUBLIC VOW to live in contradiction to the Church.

NB: Some have been asking about the similarity of same sex unions with those who are divorced and remarried without having their first marriage annulled.  The situations are similar.  Generally speaking, the approach ought to be the same:

1) we learned you are in a civil union not approved by the Church

2) are you willing to work with the Church to put yourself in a situation where you are okay in the eyes of the Church?

(soon to be Saint) Cardinal John Henry Newman taught about people who teach things in contradiction to the Church:
“Such men act, in the solemn concerns of religion, the part of the self-sufficient natural philosopher, who obstinately rejects Newton’s Theory of Gravitation, and endeavors, with talents inadequate to the task, to strike out some theory of motion by himself.”

Monday, August 5, 2019


If you don't like the polarization, summon the courage to call out that which you disagree with from politicians from "your side"

"Thoughts and Prayers Don't Work?"

We do not just offer “thoughts and prayers”

In the wake of two more shootings in our country, we will again see atheists come forward mocking Catholics for offering prayers for the victims and their families. We will be told some version of “we don’t need your prayers, we need action

It is important here to note that Catholicism doesn’t just offer #ThoughtsAndPrayers in the wake of tragedies like #ElPaso and #Dayton

Just to name a few things Catholicism offers:

1) The foundational teaching that each person is created in the image and likeness of God, a notion that has helped create and shape the entire system of law in our country.

2) Catholicism offers a blunt and crystal clear exposition on the sheer evil of terrorism

3) Catholicism offers a robust teaching on the virtue of protecting innocent lives, even through the use of force.

4) Catholicism offers a King who can help give meaning to the otherwise completely disorienting experience of suffering who can handle our protests about the pain in our lives, and this King answers our cries for meaning by telling us, with great love, from the Cross: “I suffered too. I am with you.”

5) Catholicism offers teachings on both the right of a nation to monitor and regulate their borders while also talking about helping the alien in our midst

6) Catholicism offers a world view that says we are to stand in solidarity with one another and care for each other, even laying down our very lives for one another if need be.

“Blessed are the peacemakers”

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Homily: Ozymandias, and no one cares where Caesar Augustus is buried

4 Quotes on Terrorism

4 quotes from the Catholic Church's "Compendium of Social Doctrine" on Terrorism (#ElPaso #Dayton ) found in paragraphs 513-515

1) "Terrorism is to be condemned in the most absolute terms. It shows complete contempt for human life and can NEVER be justified"

2) "The targets of terrorist attacks are generally places of daily life and not military objectives in the context of a declared war. Terrorism acts and strikes under the veil of darkness, with no regard for any of the rules by which men have always sought to set limits to conflicts"

3) "There exists, therefore, a right to defend oneself from terrorism" - St. John Paul II

4) "Needed is a commitment on the political and educational levels, In order to resolve, with courage and determination, the problems that in certain dramatic circumstances can foster terrorism: "the recruitment of terrorists in fact is easier in situations where rights are trampled and injustices are tolerated over a long period of time"