Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Quote of the Week

"It is allowed to no one else to participate in that food which we call Eucharist except the one who believes that the things taught by us are true, who has been cleansed in the washing unto rebirth and the forgiveness of sins and who is living according to the way Christ handed on to us. For we do not take these things as ordinary bread or ordinary drink. Just as our Savior Jesus Christ was made flesh by the word of God and took on flesh and blood for our salvation, so also were we taught that the food, for which thanksgiving has been made through the word of prayer instituted by him, and from which our blood and flesh are nourished after the change, is the flesh of that Jesus who was made flesh. Indeed, the Apostles, in the records left by them which are called gospels, handed on that it was commanded to them in this manner: Jesus, having taken bread and given thanks said, 'Do this in memory of me, this is my body.' Likewise, having taken the cup and given thanks, he said, 'This is my blood', and he gave it to them alone."
- Justin Martyr,  Apology, I.66-67, (A.D.155)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Some thoughts on Corpus Christi

Catholics are often accused of "idolatry" because we fill our churches with statues and depictions of saints and religious figures and use them in our prayer life. But anyone who knows anything about Catholic devotional practices can tell you that we do not worship these images. They merely provide physical reminders of our faith and serve to heighten our awareness that all of creation gives glory to God. Everything of beauty in the physical world (from a breathtaking sunrise to Michelangelo’s Pieta) points us to the reality of God’s divine glory. Catholics use physical beauty as a reminder of this truth.

However, if ever there was a plausible reason to accuse Catholics of idolatry it would be the Eucharist. According to Catholic teaching, the bread and wine at Mass cease to be bread and wine, and become the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. In other words, we believe that the bread becomes the incarnate Son of God, the second person of the Blessed Trinity. We really do bow down and worship that little wafer of “bread” and adore Him as God. We do nothing of the sort to our statues, paintings, mosaics, or stained glass. But to the Eucharist we fall down on our knees and worship.

So if Catholics are wrong about this belief – if the bread does not really become God – then what we do is truly idolatrous. We worship a thing that is not God. Go ahead and accuse us of it, and then we can discuss the merits of your argument.

But if Catholics are right – if the bread and wine truly do transform into Jesus – then other Christians should be flocking to the Catholic Church so that they too can be in His presence. If we are right, then other Christians are missing out on Jesus’ physical presence among us.

So…it is either one, or the other: either Catholics are idol-worshipers or the rest of the Christian churches are denying God’s true presence.

Ave verum corpus, natum
de Maria Virgine,
vere passum, immolatum
in cruce pro homine,
cuius latus perforatum
fluxit aqua et sanguine:
esto nobis praegustatum
in mortis examine.
O Iesu dulcis, O Iesu pie, O Iesu, fili Mariae.
Miserere mei. Amen.

+       +        +

Friday, June 24, 2011

This Week's Headlines

As another week comes to an end, this is your chance to top off your glass with a final helping of news, current events, and just plain interesting stuff that may not have made into the mainstream media. A chance to linger for a few more moments before we close the door on the week. Below are some links to articles, blogs, and miscellaneous happenings that caught my eye over the past few days. Sample what you like - I'll serve up more next Friday...

"You Will Not Change Me into Yourself... You Will Be Changed Into Me"  - "'s the Vatican's English rendering of B16's homily at yesterday's traditional outdoor Mass for Corpus Christi at St John Lateran."
A Lutheran Pastor Shows the Need for the Catholic Church - "So Luther turned to sola Scriptura not because Scripture says so (It doesn't), but because it means he doesn't have to concede he's wrong, when he doesn't feel like he's wrong."

 Heaven, Hell, and Progressive Catholics - "When it comes to Catholics, hell’s disappearance and the ensuing trivialization of the hope of heaven has resulted in some effectively redefining their faith so that it becomes almost exclusively focused on various political agendas with utopian flavors ('end poverty forever'). It’s especially characteristic of those religious orders whose numbers have collapsed over the past 40 years."

The Magisterium and Catholic Social Teaching - "We are bound to obey in those social issues that are strictly defined (abortion, marriage, pornography, contraception, etc.). However, in the great majority of social, political, and economic questions, the Church gives principles that allow the laity to apply them as best they can, according to their understanding of the problem."

The Failure of Our Gay Marriage Argument - "Why have many of us in the anti-SSM camp been unwilling to deploy the argument that homosexual behavior is immoral/unnatural? For one, we have been intimidated by the gay movement’s very formidable propaganda machine."

On the Fearful Fruits of False Freedom - "One of the terribly destructive philosophies is a false notion of freedom. The sinful world, going all the way back to Satan’s deceit in the garden, thinks of freedom as being able to do whatever I please."

Wisconsin to Defund Planned Parenthood - "Wisconsin will join Indiana, Kansas and North Carolina in passing similar legislation. Each cut funding to the health care and abortion provider earlier this year."

Movies, Beauty, Truth, and Swear Words - "If you've seen movies like The Blind Side and X-Men or TV series like "Lost" and "24," you've been exposed to projects that have been worked on by alumni or faculty of the Act One program in Hollywood."

...It was a long week, and I had very little time to gather articles for this Friday's post. I recomend the following sites to find more interesting Catholic links:

New Advent
Pew Sitter
Ignatius Insight
Catholic Online
Creative Minority Report
Crisis Magazine

Friday, June 17, 2011

This Week's Headlines

As another week comes to an end, this is your chance to top off your glass with a final helping of news, current events, and just plain interesting stuff that may not have made into the mainstream media. A chance to linger for a few more moments before we close the door on the week. Below are some links to articles, blogs, and miscellaneous happenings that caught my eye over the past few days. Sample what you like - I'll serve up more next Friday...

The Sublime Logic of the Trinity - "The revelation of God as Trinity reveals Who God is and what God does. The Trinity is the core of all Christian beliefs, as the well-known tri-fold structure of the Apostles' Creed or the Nicene Creed illustrates."

Delving into the Mass: books about its history and meaning - "Fortunately, a number of books have been published recently that intend to refocus our attention on the Mass and its place in the authentically Catholic life."

Tradition (by Thomas Howard) "A non-Catholic Christian may urge...that he and his denomination have an august tradition five hundred years old. But to be Catholic is to find oneself with St. Augustine, who, as a Catholic bishop, had to defend the only Church there was..."

I have seen the future of the English Catholic Church – and it's in Soho - "I’ve just had the great pleasure of a guided tour of the magnificently restored St Patrick’s Church in Soho Square; it really did feel as if I was being given a glimpse of the Catholic Church of the future, as envisaged by Pope Benedict XVI."

Why Tongues of Fire? - "The key here is that the heavenly temple is characterized with tongues of fire."

Are There Three Personalities in God? - "Is there an 'I' of the Father, and an 'I' of the Son, and an 'I' of the Holy Spirit? We know by faith that there are three persons, and this would lead us to think that there are also three 'I's."

Here Come More Anglicans - "As many as 100 U.S. Anglican priests and 2,000 laypeople could be the first members of a U.S. personal ordinariate for former Anglicans who want to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church..."

Why the Internet Will Make the World More Pro-Life - "The internet may have its downsides, but I think there’s little question that the way it facilitates information and communities can only help the pro-life cause in the long run."

Vatican launches stem cell venture with US company - "The Vatican has signed its first ever commercial agreement with an outside company. The contract with U.S.-based bio-pharmaceutical firm NeoStem will advance ethical research into stem cells."

Letting Our kids Struggle and Fail - "Competition can be a healthy thing that also encourages children to excel and give their best effort on the playing field and in school.  Instead of assuming that our kids might be hurt or negatively impacted by failure or struggle, perhaps we should consider that they will learn valuable lessons from these experiences."

Does "It Get Better" for Christians? - "...happiness, for us, is viewed rather differently than it is by the media. It’s not in amassing temporal goods and social acceptance, it’s about living according to God’s law, of which natural law also partakes.

Our Moral Challenge - "Does one American have a moral right to live at the expense of another American? To be more explicit, should Congress, through its taxing authority, give the Bank of America, Citibank, Archer Daniels Midland, farmers, dairymen, college students and poor people the right to live off of the earnings of another American?"

Wearing the Rosary as  Necklace - "If the reason for wearing a rosary is as a statement of faith, as a reminder to pray it, or some similar reason 'to the glory of God,' then there is nothing to object to. It would not be respectful to wear it merely as jewelry."

Is Interest in Catholicism falling online? - [Interesting charts...not great news.]

Friday, June 10, 2011

This Week's Headlines

As another week comes to an end, this is your chance to top off your glass with a final helping of news, current events, and just plain interesting stuff that may not have made into the mainstream media. A chance to linger for a few more moments before we close the door on the week. Below are some links to articles, blogs, and miscellaneous happenings that caught my eye over the past few days. Sample what you like - I'll serve up more next Friday...

45th World Communications Day - Message from Pope Benedict: "The task of witnessing to the Gospel in the digital era calls for everyone to be particularly attentive to the aspects of that message which can challenge some of the ways of thinking typical of the web...I invite young people above all to make good use of their presence in the digital world."

Why the Male Priesthood Always Made Sense to Me - "As an outsider looking in on this religion, I didn’t see how anyone could believe that Christianity is true and simultaneously question the fact that God sees the two genders as having distinctly different roles."

The Failure of Liberal Catholicism - "The conservative claim is more modest than the liberal claim, because conservatives do not offer themselves as spiritual paragons—a conservative Catholic can readily admit to being a bad person in need of redemption.  Liberals, on the other hand, claim to have actually found a better way of being Christian. Given human nature, that is a promise they cannot fulfill."

When Your Only Tool is a Hammer, Everything Looks Like a Nail: Why physical science is not enough and why we need the full range of disciplines and branches of knowledge. - "Indeed the very word “science” has come to mean for many, merely the physical sciences. But, traditionally, theology and philosophy were (and still are, according to many) considered to be sciences."

Obama: 'Kill Babies or I'll Hurt the Poor' - "Big Abortion has instructed the Party of Death to make an example of Indiana to ensure that no other states dare to defund Planned Parenthood."

How About a Washing Machine that Actually Works? - [Interesting piece about the affects of government mandates. Read this and then think about how healthcare might be affected when government starts meddling.]

The Truth About Catholic Social Teaching - "The 2012 election seems likely to be defined by a major national debate on the welfare state, government spending, and social responsibility...So perhaps a review of the basics is in order, to put the forthcoming argument on a more secure footing."

You're not speaking in tongues, you're just mumbling - "The apostles and the other disciples in the early Church were not mumbling random syllables when they 'spoke in tongues,' rather they were speaking true human languages."
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit: What They Are and How to Use Them - "These seven gifts are taken from Isaiah 11:1-3a.  Isaiah's prophesying that the Holy Spirit will come to rest upon Jesus Christ. And this means he has to describe Who the Holy Spirit is."

What New Agers Have Right - "In many ways the New Age movement is a rebellion against modernism. So here are a few things that New Agers have right contra modernism."
A New Bridge Across the Tiber - "Archbishop Donald Wuerl is working with interested parties to establish the ordinariate in the United States, and progress is being made in Canada and Australia for ordinariates to be erected there later this year."

54 Anglican Clergy to Defect to Catholic Church in Pentecost Ordination - "The first of a series of ordinations are set to take place, which will see former Anglican clergy defect from the Church of England and become Roman Catholic priests, on Saturday."

The Blessings of Poverty - "In the immortal words of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, 'It’s no great shame to be poor.  But it’s no great honor, either!'"

Mystical Meaning of St. Gabriel's Annunciation Mary in Hebrew - [Brief but fascinating explanation of how the Angel's greeting links Mary to Eve.]

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What the Future Holds for the Anglican Ordinariate

I have been following with interest the development of the Anglican Ordinariate established by Pope Benedict XVI as a way for Anglo-Catholics to enter into full communion with Rome and yet retain many of their distinctive Anglican traditions. As new members continue to filter into this newly created ordinariate the big question will be: What does the future hold for this “church within the Church”? Is this a permanent structure that will grow and thrive within the Catholic Church, or a temporary bridge that will be assimilated and eventually disappear as it outlives its usefulness?

Here is another possible scenario (found at Crisis Magazine online):

“The ordinariate could develop in a very different and exciting direction. The way to understand this more dynamic possibility is to see the ordinariate as a new bridge across the Tiber for a whole range of Protestant Christians. Already, conservative, liturgically minded Lutherans are asking why there isn’t a Lutheran ordinariate, while some of them point to the formal intercommunion that already exists between Lutherans and Anglicans and argue that the Anglican ordinariate should naturally be open to Lutherans as well.

“And if Lutherans may come across the ordinariate bridge, why not Methodists? After all, Methodism was founded as a schism from Anglicanism. Could not conservative, liturgically minded Methodists also find their way “home to Rome” through the Anglican ordinariate?

“For this to happen, the Anglican ordinariate will have to be flexible, and the members will have to see their mission not simply as one of conservation of a venerable patrimony but one of evangelization and outreach. The signs that this is the spirit of the ordinariate are already very positive. First of all, those who have joined the ordinariate have truly left everything to become Catholics. The Anglican bishops, priests, and people have turned their back on their parsonages, palaces, parish churches, and pension plans. They have set out with a true missionary spirit, and the sort of men and women who are willing to take such a step of faith will bring that same enthusiasm to the task of helping the ordinariate be the structure for ecumenical evangelization that it should be.”

There are already Anglican-convert priests within the Catholic Church who head thriving congregations of fellow converts filled with the evangelical zeal that would be necessary for the ordinariate to move in this exciting direction. If this sort of zeal does ignite within the ordinariate as it has within these pockets of converts, then the ordinariate is set to take off in a big way. This presents a completely new approach for evangelizing Protestants:

“There are many well-educated and thoughtful Christians who are very interested in the historic Faith. Many are disenchanted with mainstream Evangelicalism and are searching for a church rooted in history. They long for a church that is liturgical, that has a deep spirituality. When they leave their Evangelical churches and search for something more, their first stop is usually the Episcopal or Lutheran churches. They soon find that these churches are chest-deep in the whole liberal and radical agenda, so they sadly depart.

“If these Evangelical pilgrims summon the courage to overcome their deeply ingrained anti-Catholic prejudice and go to their local Catholic parish, they find that it is either as liberal and trendy as the Episcopalians, or that there are cultural and devotional obstacles that they find difficult to overcome. Even if they come to agree with Catholic doctrine and are received into the Church, they are still aware of the large cultural gap between the Protestantism they were brought up on and the Catholic Church they have joined.

“What they are looking for is a church that holds to the fullness of Catholic doctrine and practice but has some of the practical strengths of Evangelical congregations. If these sincerely searching Evangelical Christians could find a church that was fully Catholic and yet offered a liturgy and structure that felt traditionally Anglican, they would immediately feel at home.”

While it is interesting to watch the current excitement surrounding the Anglican Ordinariate as it emerges on the scene, the real excitement will come as we see what is in store for the future of this new endeavor. This may be the beginning of a whole new bridge to conversion for many of our separated brethren.

Read the whole article here.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

This Week's Headlines

As another week comes to an end, this is your chance to top off your glass with a final helping of news, current events, and just plain interesting stuff that may not have made into the mainstream media. A chance to linger for a few more moments before we close the door on the week. Below are some links to articles, blogs, and miscellaneous happenings that caught my eye over the past few days. Sample what you like - I'll serve up more next Friday...

The Best catholic Books of All Time - "To find my next read I often turn to Fr. John McCloskey, an Opus Dei priest and book-loving brother. He has put together what he calls the "Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan" a comprehensive list of the best Catholic books of all time"

Fr. Z’s annual rant about Ascension Thursday Sunday - "I think the option to dislocate such an important and ancient feast is an arrogant novelty."

Not Whether to Help the Poor, but How - "Helping the poor requires a different sort of moral analysis — not because I (or the Church’s teaching) am 'dualist,' as some critics suggest, nor because assisting the poor is “less important” than protecting the unborn, but because the two issues possess different characteristics and therefore require different sorts of moral analysis."

Social Security and the Fifth Commandment - "How different things are today. Now, when an elderly person becomes ill, it’s typical for relatives to strip him of all his assets, and then put him on Medicaid. Is this the right thing to do?"
TV Executives Admit in Taped Interviews That Hollywood Pushes a Liberal Agenda - "Some of TV’s top executives from the past four decades may have gotten more than they bargained for when they agreed to be interviewed for a politically charged book that was released Tuesday, because video of their controversial remarks will soon be hitting the Internet."

Downward and Deeper into Sexual Confusion: Parents Choose to Raise “Genderless” Child  - "In suppressing the truth about God and what can be known from nature, our senseless Western minds have become darkened."

Pepsi Ignores Criticism on Use of Aborted Cells in Research - "Pro-life organizations are asking the public to boycott all Pepsi drink products and encourage consumers to contact Pepsi management requesting that they sever all ties with Senomyx. Consumers are also encouraged to contact Campbell Soup and thank them for responding to pro-life concerns."

The Preacher's Ex-wife - "Every promise, every blessing, every teaching, every encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ in Sacred Scripture is for t
he Body of Christ."

The Socially Awkward Person's Guide to the Sign of Peace - "For my fellow people who share the psychological profile of SHBDH (Should Have Been a Desert Hermit), I offer this handy guide to the strange extrovert ritual known as the sign of peace..."