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...
Easter Illumination - "To celebrate the Easter season this year, we think the best way to express our sentiments is to allow the leaders of the Church to share some inspiring insights, in their own words."
Holy Mass is encounter with risen Jesus, Pope says - "Christian worship is not just a commemoration of past events, or even a particular mystical, interior experience, but essentially an encounter with the Risen Lord"
Why Did Christ Choose Peter, John, and James for the Transfiguration? - "This great questions gives us the opportunity to reflect on how Old Testament Judaism is the origin of New Testament Catholicism."
Where was Jesus during the forty days after Easter? - "...it should be added that it was not so much that our Savior wanted to be in other places or had other things 'to do', as though he were too busy to spend time with the Apostles. Rather, it was for the sake of the Apostles’ instruction that he chose not to rest with them continually in bodily form throughout the whole of those forty days."
The 'Fiveness' of Mary - Is It Genuine? - "I would like to believe that this association is part of our Catholic tradition, but I cannot find any reliable written evidence of such a traditional association."
Benedict XVI: God's Revolutionary- "While regularly derided by his critics as “decrepit” and “out-of-touch,” Benedict XVI continues to do what he’s done since his election as pope seven years ago: which is to shake up not just the Catholic Church but also the world it’s called upon to evangelize."
Still soldiering on - "Although insiders say that Benedict is slowing down, he lives at a pace which would kill younger men: a relentless succession of trips in Italy, trips overseas, daily speeches, a multitude of official visitors and the constant pressure of global attention."
Obama taking ‘similar path’ as Hitler and Stalin: Illinois bishop - "The bishop warned that with the Obama administration’s mandate for forcing religious employers to fund contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs, America is on a path leading to the state of past dictatorships when Christians were forced to 'huddle and hide'..."
Prudence and Generosity in Conversation - "Yes, we will be misunderstood when we speak the truth. But that doesn't mean the truth shouldn't be said. It just means that it's going to be a long, messy process. ...if you know something about NFP, then say it. Don't be afraid."
Truth in Advertising: How We Talk About NFP - "No matter how savvy our marketing may be, NFP will remain a radical, counter-cultural choice, at least for the foreseeable future, because it asks…no, it demands that we reject our cultural programming and embrace a different way of thinking."
The Contraception Trap - "I find it ironic when contraception is said to allow anyone to live 'freely.' Secular culture assures women that they can go ahead and engage in the act that creates babies, even if they are not ready to be mothers. They are handed contraception, and told to forget all about the possibility of parenthood."
On Being Open To Life - "This is what being open to life means. It means being open to life, all of it, from the babies to the toddlers to the tweens to the spouses. Being open to them, and striving to love them as God loves them."
Men's Real Vocations Are Not Their Careers - "When my husband and I first converted to Catholicism, one of the things I found most refreshing about the Catholic worldview was its understanding of vocation. The Church's view was simple, counter-cultural, and utterly refreshing: If you're a wife or a husband, that comes first -- for both of you."
Study: Couples With Children Live Longer Than Those Without - [So have more kids!]
Raising "Alleluia" Kids in a "Whatever" World - "I think cynicism, ironic detachment, and hopelessness are prevalent in children today. It's odd that a generation to whom has been given marvels of technological advancements, such widespread bitter unhappiness has resulted."
Traditional Catholicism is Winning - "This aging generation of progressives continues to lobby church leaders to change Catholic teachings on reproductive rights, same-sex marriage and women's ordination. But it is being replaced by younger men and women who are attracted to the church because of the very timelessness of its teachings."
150,000,000 New Catholics - "While there were 5,000 more priests worldwide in 2009 than in 1999, what isn't mention is the fact that 'the number of Catholics worldwide is up by 150,000,000 [Yes, million!] during the same period.'"
American Catholic progressivism: An “exhausted project”? - "...the much-touted end of the celibate male priesthood and glorious future of the U.S. Catholic Church featuring the ordination of women seems to be a Siren song that’s falling on deaf ears."
Myth Busters: Catholics Worship Idols - "...it seems rather odd that it would be claimed of a religion that they worship something that they do not themselves claim to worship "
10 Misunderstandings - "For about four years of my life I taught Catholic high school and have heard just about every question on Faith that exists. I think I heard every moral scenario on any number of topics, theological errors, and even historical misrenderings. Here are the Top Ten Most Misunderstood Things of our Faith."
Framing the Religious-Liberty Issue - "Will the robust networks of free and voluntary associations that Alexis de Tocqueville admired as the sinews and musculature of American democracy continue to flourish? Or will the United States increasingly resemble Western Europe, where the associational instinct (and, with it, civil society) has atrophied under the heavy weight of the European nanny state?"
Catholic bishops issue rallying cry for ‘religious freedom’ - "The nation’s Catholic bishops are calling on the faithful to pray and mobilize in a 'great national campaign' to confront what they see as a series of threats to religious freedom, and they are setting aside the two weeks before July 4 for their 'Fortnight for Freedom' initiative."
Truth From Unexpected Sources - "...it is a sobering thought that opposition to contraceptive surgery — a clearly stated position of the Church — should be regarded as an absurd notion by pro-choice and pro-life lawmakers alike."
US Bishops: Bloggers play ‘critical role’ in defending Church. Fr. Z makes a proposal. - Bishops: "We call upon them to use their skills and talents in defense of our first freedom."
Is SSPX Homecoming Imminent? - "It appears to me that the Society is preparing its faithful for reconciliation under terms that may be less than perfect, but that nonetheless represent a pathway to healing for the Church as a whole." [An interesting line from this piece: "Could it be that the Holy Father is signaling a universal mandate requiring the reception of Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue, something the SSPX and many others in the Church would surely welcome?"]
Has SSPX Bp. Fellay SIGNED the CDF’s “Doctrinal Preamble”? Tornielli says yes! - [Analysis from Father Z.]
Andrew Sullivan’s non-threatening Jesus - "The recent story for Newsweek magazine during Holy Week, penned by political and cultural commentator Andrew Sullivan, concerns the “crisis” that is supposedly gripping Christianity."
The Folly of God-denial - "Our nation is experiencing heart failure. It needs an awakening – a spiritual awakening. Desperately. "
When Devotions Aren't Helpful - [I don't agree with everything this author writes here, but he does have a few good points.]
The Anglican “escape” towards Rome - "The 'female episcopate' is a big obstacle on the road towards the common participation to the Table of Christ. And so the 'escape' of Anglicans towards Rome intensifies."
Are Unicorns Biblical? - [Now there is an interesting question.]