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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Let the Laity take it's proper place in the Church

Dare one say that that place is at the forefront in the public square, in the workplace, in the supermarket, in hospitals, -- everywhere?

It's nothing new, but we take a while to learn, it seems. But didn't St. Josemaria Escriva teach this already? St. Therese? Didn't many saints teach the same? Isn't our Lady of the laity? St. Joseph her spouse?

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

The God of eternity

"have you never read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the Bush, how God spoke to him and said: I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob? He is God, not of the dead, but of the living." -- Mark 12:18-27

In reading Msgr. Ronald Knox pointing out the deficiencies of the Church of England about a century ago, one comes to the realization that the symptoms and diagnosis he described only went from bad you worse. The passage above from today's Gospel reading seemed apt for some reason. Msgr. Knox detailed at length how one may be tempted to dilute the gospel from am unnecessary fear that heaters will turn away for one reason or another. In doing so, it seems to me that God so described in modern versions of the gospel, for the sake of being relevant, resembles the God preached by Jesus of Nazareth less and less. As if the God of Peter, James, John and Paul, of Stephen, of Justin Martyr, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp, Augustine of Hippo, or Anselm, of Dominic and Francis, Bonaventure and Thomas, Ignatius of Loyola, Theresa of Avila or Francis Xavier, Josemaria Escriva, of Lorenzo Ruis or Maximilian Kolbe, or Therese of Lisieux or Karol Wojtila, were no longer relevant today. No, he is the one God of the living, and he is not a moving goalpost.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Incredibly Keen foresight

"Would a diocesan Bishop have dared in the middle of the nineteenth century, to express in a newspaper article his disbelief in eternal punishment? Would the rector of a much-frequented London church have preached, and afterwards published, a sermon in which he recommended the remarriage of divorced persons?" -- Msgr. R. Knox, "The Belief of Catholics", 1927

Some names might be recalled today or in the last decade, both non-Catholic and, sadly, Catholic.. Not to focus too much on the clerics in the hierarchy, but it's sort of their job to be the teachers. As it is true for parents to their children. But how can one teach if Truth became a game of splitting nuances. While lawyers might say, "is not about the facts, but about what you can prove," or perhaps, what they can sell. And that's presuming good will. But we are not free to change the product line. We are offering Christ, pure, in unadulterated form. Pun not intended.

Corpus Christi, the Mass and Faded Glory

Has the Eucharist lost its shine? Ironic that. If one thinks that the Eucharist today of but an echo of the Cross and Resurrection 2000 years ago, then one should really think again. This anamnesis makes it present, and that is the point. So, no, the Eucharist can never lose it's shine, but as the article in the link points out, perhaps it is we who are weakening our reception of it, our perception having been shaped perhaps by poor formation or lack of practice.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Church, the assembly of God's people

The Catholic, or universal, Church gets her name from the fact that she is scattered through the whole world from the one end of the earth to the other, and also because she teaches universally and without omission all the doctrines which are to be made known to mankind, whether concerned with visible or invisible things, with heavenly or earthly things. Then again because she teaches one way of worship to all men, nobles or commoners, learned or simple; finally because she universally cures and heals every sort of sin which is committed by soul and body. Moreover there is in her every kind of virtue in words and deeds and spiritual gifts of every sort. The Church, that is, the assembly, is designated by this apt term, because it assembles all and brings them together, as the Lord says in Leviticus: Assemble all the congregation at the door of the tent of meeting. Moreover it is worth noting that this word ‘assemble’ is first used in scripture in the place where the Lord appointed Aaron to the high priesthood. And in Deuteronomy God says to Moses: Assemble the people that they may hear my words, that they may learn to fear me. He mentions the Church or assembly again when he speaks of the tables of the law. In them were written all the words which the Lord spoke with you on the mountain, out of the midst of the fire, on the day of the Church or assembly – or to put it more clearly, On the day on which you were called by the Lord and assembled together. The psalmist also says: I will give you thanks, O Lord, in the great Church, in the gathering of the throng I will praise you. Earlier the psalmist had sung: Bless the Lord in the Church, bless God, you who are Israel’s sons. The second Church the Saviour built from the Gentiles, our holy Church of the Christians, of which he said to Peter:  On this rock I will build my Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.

After the particular Church of Judea was repudiated, many Churches of Christ are now multiplied throughout the whole world, of which it is written in the psalms: Sing to the Lord a new song, let his praise be in the Church of the saints. Echoing this the prophet said to the Jews: I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of Hosts and immediately adds, For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations. About the same holy Catholic Church Paul writes to Timothy: That you may know how one ought to live in the household of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.

-- From the Instructions to Catechumens by St Cyril of Jerusalem

(Taken from today's Office of Readings, via Universalis)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Decline of the Faithful Observed a Long Time Ago

"The main causes of this decline, so far as causes need to be adduced for the defection of human wills, are manifest enough. Undoubtedly popular education and the spread of newspaper culture must be credited, in part, with the result: some of us would say that the mass of the people is now growing out of its old superstitions in the light of new knowledge; some of us would see, rather, the effect of reiterated catchwords upon minds trained to read but not trained to think. The industrial development of the country has added its influence, partly by focusing men's thoughts upon their material interests, partly by setting up, in England as elsewhere, a reaction against old faiths and old loyalties, crudely conceived as old- fashioned. Further, the modern facilities for pleasurable enjoyment have killed, in great part, the relish for eternity. I do not know that this influence has been given its proper importance hitherto. Mass production has made luxury cheap; steam travel, motor-cars, and the penny post have brought it to our doors; anesthetics and the other triumphs of medicine have mitigated the penalties which attach to it. And the same causes which have multiplied pleasure have multiplied preoccupation. A rush age cannot be a reflective age." -- Msgr. Ronald Knox, 1927.

1500-Year-Old Underground Byzantine Church Is Found in Turkey

Ancient and beautiful.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Anti-Catholic Catholic journalism: Today's false prophets

Yeah, Truth matters:


So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. [Ez 33:7-8]

Love and Truth

"protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world. any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth; your word is truth." -- Jesus praying for his disciples in John 17

Respect. Justice. Equality. I see these signs on billboards from this and that campaign but they seem to fall short. What's wrong with simply saying "Love" instead? We've tainted what that means and consider it a romantic or sentimental emotion. It's a verb. It's an act of the will. It covers all those campaigns and more -- but for the obfuscation of Truth as a real concept. How doors one define love, or anything, if one fires not believe in truth as an objective reality apart from subjective perception or consideration?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

From a letter to Diognetus: The Christian in the world

Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign. And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labour under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives. They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law. Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer dishonour, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life. They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred. To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world. As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen. The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it, but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures. Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong, but because they are opposed to its enjoyments. Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body’s hatred. It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together, and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together. The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place; and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven. As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution. Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself.