Monday, June 22, 2020

Homily: "Do not judge" is NOT the same as "be silent"

Admonishing the sinner is a WORK OF MERCY Deal with the beam in your eye. Then... be merciful. Admonish the sinner.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Homily for the Sacred Heart of Jesus

"Although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones." - Matthew 11:25

103 years after our Lord requested that France be consecrated to His Sacred Heart, it happened.

We are 103 after our Blessed Mother requested that Russia be consecrated to Her Immaculate Heart.  We pray that will happen as our Blessed Mother requested.

"Although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones." - Matthew 11:25

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Greatest Honor of My Priesthood: Eulogizing Officer David Moore

Officer David Moore was a committed and dedicated officer.  The son of two police officers, he knew and was friendly with everyone on his beat.  On Sunday, January 23, 2011, Officer Moore stopped a vehicle that had been stolen.

"As the driver and Officer Moore, whose weapon was holstered, were outside their vehicles, he was shot four times by the subject who fled the scene. Officer Moore, who was wearing a bullet-resistant vest, was shot in the chest, the left thigh, and twice in his face. He was taken to Wishard Memorial Hospital where he remained in a coma until being taken off life support."

I wrote a blog post shortly after about my knowledge of David Moore, just from a distance.  The next day his Dad called me and bestowed on me the greatest honor of my priesthood to date: the opportunity to read what I had written at Banker's Life Field House in front of thousands of police men and women from around the country.

Part of what I said that morning was used to make the tribute video below:

The entire text of the eulogy can be found here:

Officer David S. Moore from Ron Shelnutt Productions on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

A Two-Question Examination of Consciene

All of the Places in the Bible Directly Referencing Jesus' "Real Presence"

5 different New Testament authors.  22 different places.

Christ could foresee all time.  If he saw that for 1500 years people would be "confused" thinking He meant His LITERAL Flesh and Blood, surely He would have indicated, just one time, that he was speaking metaphorically by slipping in "like" or some other metaphorical indicator.

In NONE of these verses does He do that.

Matthew 26:26 “This is my body”

Matthew 26:27 “This is my blood of the new covenant”

Mark 14:22 “Take, this is my body”

Mark 14:24 “This is my blood of the covenant”

Luke 22:19 “This is my body which is given up for you”

Luke 22:20 “This chalice which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood”

John 6:27 “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life which the Son of Man will give to you”

John 6:35 “I am the bread of life”

John 6:41 “I am the bread which came down from Heaven”

John 6:48 “I am the bread of life”

John 6:51a “I am the living bread which came down from Heaven”

John 6:51b “If anyone eats this bread he will live forever”

John 6:51c “The bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh”

John 6:53 “Truly, truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood you have no life in you”

John 6:54 “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him on the last day”

John 6:55 “My flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed”

John 6:56 “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him”

John 6:57 “He who eats me will live because of me”

1 Corinthians 11:24 “This is my body which is for you”

1 Corinthians 11:25 “This chalice is the new covenant in my blood”

1 Corinthians 11:27 “Whoever therefore eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning body and blood of the Lord”

1 Corinthians 11: 29 “Anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself”

Friday, June 12, 2020

Marriage and "privilege"

A word that has been en vogue for a few years is "privilege"

One is supposed to now confess if one has "privilege", and apologize for it, and there is also the related bickering about "intersectionality" and who is MOST victimized and MOST without privilege.

What struck me as I'm working through the Catechism was paragraph 2206 which states "The family is a privileged community"

Our culture has tried everything to address injustice EXCEPT the true source of most of our problems - the degradation of the family.  Until we fix that issue, we don't have a prayer!

Be Perfect!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

An open letter to brother priests: what I've learned from talking to clergy abuse victims

Dear brother priests,

I am in a position I never imagined just a few months ago.  I prayed, in early 2019, that if there was some suffering I could experience on behalf of victim survivors of Catholic clergy assault, I would accept that willingly.  A month later I had my first seizure from a brain tumor.

When I finally learned that it was a brain tumor, I shared the diagnosis in a blog post, and ask if victims could share with me their name so that I could pray for them.  Over the next month, I had the distinct privilege of speaking with hundreds of victims either by letter, on the phone, or over email.  As gut-wrenching as their stories were, I was also hopeful in knowing in some small way the cross that I would be carrying through surgery, radiation and chemo was helping at least some of these victim survivors.

I wanted to share, then, the insights I’ve gained through those hundreds of conversations in the hope that something I’ve taken away from them might also help you (as it has helped me) see the danger signs coming from further away, and thus having a much better shot of steering clear of the dangers.

First, there are some preliminary facts that I think we can all agree on:

1) We live in a HYPER-sexualized culture, even if it hasn’t swallowed you up personally.

2) There is the carnage of broken families, broken marriages etc. that leave lots of people starving for connection, affection, etc.  And the hypersexualized world is telling them that the connection and affection has to be sexual.

3) There are going to be people at every assignment you have that will be attracted to you.

4) There are going to be people at every assignment you have that YOU will be attracted to.

So, then, the lessons learned through the conversations:

1) They are attracted to you at least in part precisely because of the gifts and talents that have come to you through your Bride, the Church.  You spent 6-8 years in the seminary gaining confidence, learning to preach, developing counseling skills and learning more about yourself.  Those are some of the same things that will attract people to you. 

2) There is an added layer of depravity when we USE what we learned in seminary about psychology as a weapon AGAINST others.  Finding out that they don’t have a father, or that they have some other need, and then EXPLOITING that information gained through counseling and spiritual direction against them.

3) There is a bottom level of the depravity, which is, unfortunately, common to too many stories.  The priest ultimately says some form of “Think of this as God loving you/embracing you”.  This is a complete and demonic reversal of “In Persona Christi”.

Finally, then, I humbly offer these suggestions as ways to swerve from trouble while it is still far away:

1) STRONG BOUNDARIES!  The power dynamic makes it impossible to have deep, authentic friendship with parishioners.  Anyone who has a deep friendship with a parishioner or anyone else under their spiritual care is deluding themselves.  That’s not to say that you can’t be FRIENDLY with parishioners/people underneath your pastoral care; that is EXPECTED.  But the idea that you would consider being a friend with a person under your care is unhealthy.

2) ALWAYS BE EXAMINING YOUR MOTIVES.  Ask yourself over and over again, multiple times a day, and during every conversation “why, exactly, am I saying this?”  That isn’t to invite paranoia into your life, but to just encourage a spirit of discernment with each conversation that you have.  In particular, we should pay attention to anything where we start to say “This person needs some special attention.”  Not that we don’t have people who need special attention at some point in their life and in our ministry, but we should be REALLY careful any time we find ourselves in that position, and should be cautious of our motives.  The ability for a person to deceive him or herself of their true motives is almost limitless, and the Devil LOVES to work in the midst of that deception.

3) Spiritual Direction monthly.  I can’t encourage spiritual direction and daily silent prayer enough.  Archbishop Buechlein, who ordain me a deacon and a priest, said to us the day before he ordained us priests, “Gentlemen, when a priest meets with me and says he’s thinking about leaving, I always ask him two questions, “when did you stop praying?” and “when did you stop getting spiritual direction?””.

4) Live with other priests if possible.  Vatican II says priests should be living in community.  It makes it a lot harder to get in trouble when you are living with other people.  They can also hopefully help in other areas of your spiritual growth as well (not just “not committing crimes”).

Monday, June 8, 2020

"I need to first "find myself""????

On seeking forgiveness from "super trads"

About 8 years ago, without thinking about it much, at the Easter Vigil practice with my servers I said, “Let’s do a video on the steps of the Church, then we’ll get started with practice”.  The Harlem Shake was a video that everyone was making and posting versions of them doing the dance.  I thought it would be a good way to show the transition from Lent to Easter in the Catholic Church.

I have since realized that it was sacrilegious, and I took the video down (it is the only video I’ve ever made that I took down)

A year or two ago, a parishioner said “Father, I saw a video of you posted on Facebook from some trad group…you are…um…famous!”

I went and look it up after Mass and sure enough the video of me and the servers doing the Harlem Shake had been reuploaded by someone and was being spread around.

I went in to the Facebook group and posted an UNQUALIFIED apology.  I shared that I had
1. Taken the video down
2. Gone to confession for the sin of sacrilege
3. Since blessed the items used in the video (vestments, servers cassocks and surplices, aspergilium, etc) according to the Latin book of blessings which someone had recently purchased for me.

I made zero excuses for the video and submitted an apology without any footnotes.

Now here’s where it gets interesting.  The comment was deleted by the Facebook group’s administrator who then reached out to me behind the scenes and said, essentially, that he read my post, but that it wasn’t welcome and that I was not welcome in the group.

Every few months, on a random homily that I post on Facebook, some “super trad” will randomly post the video and say something like “he’s a fraud priest”

So why this post now?  A few weeks ago, on the post pinned to the top of my public Facebook page about my brain tumor and where to get updates, someone posted the video and said, in essence, “You think this priest is trad?  Watch this.” 

I have tried to ask forgiveness for about 5 years for the video.  Some have accepted it.  But some “super trads” will not grant me forgiveness.

Jesus says “If your brother seeks forgiveness, grant it to him.”  I am seeking forgiveness.  The balls is now in the court of the super trads.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Reimagining What a Catholic Parish Can Be

Fr. John Riccardo and his team came up with this article, and I find it to be a succinct and direct summary of what many priests have hinted at, or talked about, or worked on....but this is the best version I've ever seen.

It also takes in the reality of a post-Covid 19 world.

Can't reccomend it enough.  Read it here: