Tuesday, January 30, 2024

The Best Catholic Novels

There are a lot of great Catholic novels out there.  Here are my top recommendations:

"Lord of the Rings" and the "Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien


“Toward the Gleam” by T.M. Doran…a must for any Tolkien Fan!  https://ignatius.com/toward-the-gleam-toglh/


“Atticus” by Ron Hansen…written by a Catholic Deacon, one of the best novels I have ever read https://www.amazon.com/Atticus-Novel-Ron-Hansen/dp/0060927860


A Trilogy by Brian Gail

"Fatherless" https://cedarhouse.co/fatherless/

"Motherless" https://cedarhouse.co/motherless/

"Childless" https://cedarhouse.co/childless/


The following are all written by Michael O’Brien:

"Father Elijah" https://ignatius.com/father-elijah-fep/


"A Father’s Tale" https://ignatius.com/the-fathers-tale-ftp/


A Trilogy by Michael O’Brien

"Strangers and Sojourners" https://ignatius.com/strangers-and-sojourners-sasp/

"Eclipse of the Sun" https://ignatius.com/eclipse-of-the-sun-esunp/

"Plague Journal" https://ignatius.com/plague-journal-pjp/



"A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens https://ignatius.com/a-tale-of-two-cities-7ttcp/


"Kristen Lavransdatter" by Sigrid Undset https://ignatius.com/kristin-lavransdatter-klp/


"The Death of a Pope" by Piers Paul Read https://ignatius.com/the-death-of-a-pope-doph/


These final two were authored by Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson:

"Come Rack, Come Rope" https://tanbooks.com/products/books/come-rack-come-rope-ebook/?h_campaign_id=436318446&bng_id=1363396189114446&h_ad_id=85212676805031


"Lord of the World" https://tanbooks.com/products/books/lord-of-the-world/

Monday, January 29, 2024


Currently in Canon Law, Canon 1370 says this:

"3. Both a person who attempts to confer a sacred order on a woman, and the woman who attempts to receive the sacred order, incur a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See"

What that means is that no priest can absolve any person who attempts to ordain a woman to the diaconate, nor can any priest absolve the woman who is "ordained".  Instead, the priest who hears this in the confessional has to write to Rome in order to get permission to absolve the "ordainer" and/or the woman "ordained".

There has been some talk over the last 50 years about ordaining women as deacons.  My question is this: 

Can something that is currently a crime in the Catholic Church that a priest cannot grant absolution for suddenly be reversed and become Catholic teaching?  

Sunday, January 28, 2024

4th Sunday of Ordinary Time 2023 "If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts!"


“If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts!”

 On the value of a holy hour

The first time I ever saw Eucharistic Adoration when I was a seminarian at St. Meinrad, and I instantly fell in love with it…and I can look back over time and see how the holy hours have made me an infinitely better person…I still have a long way to go but they have me infinitely better.

As Father Patrick Hyde talked about when he came to Dearborn County in November… just as nuclear radiation in a negative way reorients every atom of our being without us feeling the effects at first, being in the Presence of Jesus exposed in a monstrance reorients every fiber of our body and soul and over time changes us more and more for the better.


The average American spends two thirds of their waking hours staring at glass screens whether it is smart phones, tablets, laptops or television sets…and I just want to say that the only glass screen that will bring us any lasting peace is staring at the glass screen of a monstrance with Jesus’ Real Presence right behind it.


Starting on Ash Wednesday, there will be a new perpetual adoration chapel at St. Mary’s in Aurora…and we also be making an appeal to every parishioner next weekend to fill out a card to sign up for at least one hour each week at the adoration chapel.


I was listening to Catholic Radio on the way to Mass this morning here at St. Mary’s and a gentleman was recounting how he was baptized a Catholic at a young age, and fell away from the Catholic Faith…made millions of dollars…but was also addicted to alcohol…and when he hit rock bottom he went to the Catholic Church which was locked.  He said he walked around the corner, and there was what he would later learn is a perpetual adoration chapel.  He said he slept in the room, and when he woke up, he felt such a calm sense of peace, and that time in the adoration chapel put him back on the right course.


Next weekend after all the Masses, we will be asking you to sign up for an hour.  I love the psalm from today for many reasons, and it is “If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts..” so Fr. Meyer and I just ask that you spend this coming week asking Jesus to show you what He wants from you in regard to an hour of adoration. 

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Homily for Epiphany 2023


Homily for the Epiphany, 2023

“And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.”


In this action of the Magi, returning to their country by another way, many Church Fathers and Saints have seen this as a metaphor for what happens when EACH of us encounters Christ…we take a new path after encountering Christ.  And we all encounter Jesus Christ every time we come to Mass!


We live in a culture that is saturated with gossip and slander…there are gossip tv shows, gossip magazines, gossip websites, gossip newspapers and even entire cable channels devoted 24 hours a day to celebrity gossip and slander.


All the social media platforms reward you for gossiping and slandering other people.

I used to gossip all the time…I would gossip and slander other people from sun up to sun down.  But I bought an audio version of the New Testament about 5 years ago, and listening to it over and over again, I was struck particularly by how so many sins committed with our speech, if left unconfessed, the New Testament authors say those sins will keep us out of Heaven.

Saint Paul says in First Corinthians chapter 6 That slanderers will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 


Saint Paul tells the Galatians that “The acts of the flesh are obvious: discord, fits of rage, dissensions…I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

The Book of Proverbs talks over and over again about how those who spread gossip are destined for calamity


Jesus says what goes into the mouth does not defile a person, but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles them.


Even spreading something we KNOW to be true about another person is a sin if it paints that person in a bad light…that sin is the sin of detraction.  Of course we need to tell the proper authorities if we see something happen that is a crime, but detraction is along the lines of “You won’t believe what I saw Lysander do this morning…”


I have two things to be particularly in rooting out the sins of gossip and slander from my life:

1 Monthly confession

2 Now, any time I am tempted to gossip or slander someone, I stop and pray a Hail Mary for that person in my head


The Catechism says “everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect.”


In Ephesians 4 St. Paul says that we should “say only the good things that people need to hear, things that will really help them

I used to come to my parents, and spend the first of couple of minutes “venting” to them about all the “problems” but I also realized about 5 years ago that “venting”

1 Is not “saying only the good things that people need to hear, things that will really help them”

2 Does not do any good for my family and friends, and wastes their time


Let us resolve to totally change our course, like the Magi to take a new road home, because our speech can often get us in trouble, and sins of gossip and slander and detraction, if left unconfessed, will keep us out of Heaven.


Let us instead commit to the new road home of saying only the good things that people need to hear

Thursday, January 4, 2024

A Homily from then-Cardinal Ratzinger 40 years before his death

 This is an excerpt from a homily Cardinal Ratzinger gave about 40 years before he died on December 31st, 2022:

"This year is ending.  This means, as always, that we spend a few minutes in reflection.  We draw up balance-sheets and make an effort to anticipate what the future may bring.  For a moment we become conscious of the strange thing called "time," which otherwise we simply use without thinking about it.  We feel both the melancholy and the consolation of our own transiency.  Much that caused us distress, much that weighed us down and seemed to make progress impossible, has now passed and become quite unimportant.  As we look back, difficult days are transfigured in memory, and the now almost forgotten distress leaves us more peaceful and confident, more composed in the face of present treats, for these too will pass.  The consolation of transiency: Nothing lasts, no matter how important it claims to be.  But this compromise, also has its discouraging and saddening aspect.  nothing lasts, and therefore along with the old year not only difficulties but mush that is beautiful has passed away, and the more we move beyond the midpoint of our lives, the more poignantly we feel this change of what was once future and then present into something past.  We cannot say to any moment: "Stay a while! you are so lovely!"  Anything that is within time comes and then passes away."

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

The final battle will be over marriage and the family


“The final battle will be over Marriage and the Family”


One of the 3 children who were graced with visions at Fatima in 1917 was Lucia dos Santos.  Our Blessed Mother asked the 3 children in 1917 to let everyone know that there would be a great miracle, and when that day and time arrived, the Sun darted all over the sky for several minutes, and was witnessed by over 70,000 people, some were atheist and non-Catholic newspaper reporters and photographers who witnessed the Sun moving all over the sky.  Lucy has since died, and Pope Francis several years ago made her a venerable, putting her on the path to Sainthood.


Lucy said, before she died, “The final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about Marriage and the Family. Don't be afraid because whoever works for the sanctity of Marriage and the Family will always be fought against and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue.”


We have seen marriage and the family in the United States under assault for at least the last 100 years, and more recently marriage and the family have been under attack even from WITHIN some corners of the Catholic Church.

And so I just want to say tonight that those who are in a marriage recognized by the Catholic Church, and who are open to life…THANK YOU! 

As a priest, just know that I am SO inspired by all of you that are living out your marriage as the calendars prepares to turn to 2024…I know it is not easy but marriages and families that are pursuing holiness INSPIRE me and every other priest.

We have some great readings this weekend about marriage…about wives being submissive to their husbands and about husbands loving their wives as Christ loves the Church…I think it is important to recognize that Jesus says in another Gospel passage, “The rulers of the gentiles LORD it over them, but among you it shall not be so.  Whoever among you wishes to be great will become the SERVANT of all…”  True authority comes not from exerting power over another, but from serving everyone.”


Again, thank you to all the families in this parish trying to make it work…may the Holy Family intercede for all of us today and every day!