Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Quote of the Week

“The full guarantee of religious liberty cannot be limited to the free exercise of worship but has to give due consideration to the public dimension of religion and, hence, to the possibility of believers playing their part in building the social order."
- Pope Benedict XVI

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Catechism for the Year of Faith

Part of a continuing series.

A selected quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church in honor of the Year of Faith (October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013)

75 "Christ the Lord, in whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up, commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel, which had been promised beforehand by the prophets, and which he fulfilled in his own person and promulgated with his own lips. In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all men. This Gospel was to be the source of all saving truth and moral discipline."

76 In keeping with the Lord's command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways:

- orally "by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received - whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit";

- in writing "by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing".

77 "In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority." Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time."

78 This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, "the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes." "The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer."

79 The Father's self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church: "God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. And the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church - and through her in the world - leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness."

Friday, October 26, 2012

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...

Pope's Surprise Announcement: Names Six New Cardinals for the Church, Calls a Consistory - "The Cardinals have the task of helping the Successor of Peter in the performance of his ministry of confirming the brethren in the faith, and that of being the principle and foundation of unity and communion of the Church." [Video included]

Pope announces six new cardinals, including an American - "The lone American is Archbishop Harvey of the titular see of Memphis, who was named Prefect of the Papal Household by Blessed John Paul II in 1998. Pope Benedict XVI said he plans to appoint the Milwaukee native, 63, Archpriest of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls."

Tekakwitha becomes the first Native American to be canonized - "'This is a great weekend for America in the Vatican, and it's really a great weekend for Native Americans. Sainthood is the guarantee that this person is close to God,' Vatican senior communications adviser Greg Burke said."

10 Reasons Why Obama’s Next 4 Years Would Be Worse Than the Past 4 Years

First They Came for the Catholics… - "I’ve been stunned to see how trivial the religious freedom issue has proved in the campaign, and how few Catholics realize the lethal stakes for which we’re playing. Have there been TV ads about this that I’ve missed? Why wasn’t this subject raised in the debates?"

Former Obama 2008 Voter: I Refuse to Be That Stupid Twice - [Let's repeat this millions of times over.]

It is vital that we as Catholics Stand against Obama:

Obama's performance in third debate described as 'rude and unpresidential' - According to U.S. historian Tim Stanley, Mitt Romney won the third presidential debate. Stanley says that while Romney looked like a proper head of state, Obama's antics made him 'look like a lawyer,' at the third and final debate in Boca Raton, Florida, last night." [Short video included]

Some Thoughts on the Final Debate - Bottom Line: "Romney made no mistakes and appeared presidential.  Mission accomplished."

Romney’s Brilliant Maneuver - "Everyone – including me – thought Romney would tear into Obama once again and engage in another slugfest, spending as much time as possible discussing the failures surrounding Benghazi. Instead, Romney completely walked away from Benghazi."

Romney During Debate: “I Will Get Rid of Obamacare” - ['nough said]

Terror attacks in Libya more sophisticated than previously thought - "New information about the nature of the 9-11 attacks in Benghazi is coming to light as intelligence officials are speaking to the media about what they know. The attacks in Benghazi were well-organized plots supported by al Qaeda."

Leaked emails show Obama administration knew truth about Libya attacks - "Obama is pleading the fifth when asked about when he learned of three emails sent by the State Department to him on September 11, 2012, informing him that the US Consulate in Benghazi was under attack and that a terrorist group was claiming responsibility for the attack."

Joe Biden to Father of Former Navy SEAL Killed in Benghazi: ‘Did Your Son Always Have Balls the Size of Cue Balls?’ - [Yeah...classy, right? Read the whole article. It's a whole parade of stupidity from the Obama administration. These people need to be VOTED OUT!]

If Four Americans Killed is “Not Optimal” What’s 55 Million? - [It begs the question...]

Obama secretly meets with your enemies - "For those that do not know, Obama has been meeting secretly with an entire host of Islamic radicals in the White House. According to a year-long investigation by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), scores of known radicals have paid visits to Obama in the past four years." [The man supports the killing of infants born alive; it's no surprise that he would turn a sympathetic ear to other forms of evil.]

Planned Parenthood Has Spent $12 Million to Re-Elect Obama - "Never before has the abortion provider spent so much money in an election, reports say."

War on Women Fails: Romney Catches Obama With Women Voters - "Romney is now even with women when pitted against Obama, with both candidates getting the support of 47 percent of women voters. That is a drastic turnabout from the last poll, which had Obama ahead with women 16 percent."

New Obama video compares voting to losing virginity - [Watch the video and see for yourself. It really is worse than you think. Has Obama taken politics and the office of the President this low? Oh, yes, he has.]

Let’s Talk About the REAL War on Women -  "...once we realize the deception that has been foisted upon us, the lies that have been used for our own destruction can be stripped of their power, and the feminine genius can then be unleashed for the building up of a true civilization of life and love."

Obama’s “Equality” and “Liberty” for Women - "Unfortunately, President Obama and his entire administration view contraception and abortion as the panacea for maximizing women’s health and wellbeing."

Just 10 People Turn Out for Sandra Fluke Rally in Nevada - [Free contraception just isn't the hot topic liberals thought.]

Liberals Plan Anti-Mormon Lit Drops at Evangelical Churches - [I don't know about you, but that just sounds like desperation.]

The Actions Of Each Campaign Tells You Obama Is Losing Steam - "[Note the] emphasis the president is putting on Romney’s 'binders of women'. The silliness of the topic aside, the fact President Obama is making this his current campaign thrust suggests he feels the need to reach out to independent female voters—and a Democratic campaign that’s secure would normally have that vote sewn up by this point."

Archbishop Chaput: Be Catholic before you are Democrat or Republican - "'It’s very important for Catholics to make distinctions when voting that they never support intrinsic evils like abortion, which is evil in all circumstances. That’s a lot different from different economic policies" that people can reasonably disagree on, the archbishop explained." [Hmmm... I wonder how each Party squares with this rule of thumb?]

Archbishop Chaput: Democrats Have ‘Gotten Worse’ on Abortion Because Catholics Haven’t Abandoned Them - [Well that certainly helps answer my question above...]

The wrong side of history - "Communism imposed a total way of life based upon the belief that God does not exist. Secularism is communism’s better-scrubbed bedfellow. A small irony of history cropped up at the United Nations a few weeks ago when Russia joined the majority of other nations to defeat the United States and the western European nations that wanted to declare that killing the unborn should be a universal human right. Who is on the wrong side of history now?"

Ten Pro-Life Responses to Pro-Abortion Politicians - "If you’ve ever written to a pro-abortion politician about the right to life, you’ve probably received a form letter that utilizes one of several worn-out arguments. Let’s review how we answer them..."

Desiccated Christianity - "Often instead of a passion for the Faith a substitute passion comes into play—a passionate political agenda which attempts to bring the kingdom of God to earth through political means. Dissent if you like from any proposition of the Nicene Creed, but not from any piece of legislation cutting welfare budgets. That, to their minds, is the real heresy!"

Bono, Babel, and the Myth of Economist as Savior - "Bono, lead singer of U2 and co-founder of charity-group ONE, recently offered some positive words about the role of markets in reducing global poverty and spurring economic development..."

Mourdock and Rape: Should Angelina Jolie’s Daughter Have Been Aborted? - "Far from being labeled an extremist, Mourdock is to be commended for upholding the humanity of children conceived in rape."

Obama Video Trashes Ryan and Mourdock: “Extremists on Abortion” - "The video seeks to paint pro-life candidate for Vice President Paul Ryan as somehow identifying with Mourdock’s comments because the two share a position against aborting babies in cases of rape or incest. The video labels the two 'abortion extremists.'"

Will The Supreme Court "Roe" Gay Marriage? - "Predicting court decisions is like predicting which direction a tornado will choose. Nobody knows. All we know is that previous ones have ruined a lot of people's lives."

Scientists in Oregon Create Embryos With Three Genetic Parents - "In the wake of yet another study that found that IVF is linked to a greater risk of birth defects, is it really ethical to take the manipulation of human life in the lab even further?"

Media: It’s Only Murder if She Wanted the Baby - "When a woman decides she wants it, it is no longer a fetus but a baby. It’s the most obvious and blatant double-mindedness that exists in our society."

President George W. Bush Awarded by Canadian Pro-Life Group for Abortion Fight - [Sure he had his flaws...but I miss him.]

Why This Third Party Voter is Voting for Romney, And You Should Too - "Obama’s defeat in this election may be the most important single event in the future of this country for generations to come."

Open Thread: How Can We Make the Catholic Vote Matter Where You Live? - "Here are a few ideas and areas, connections and thoughts that I think will help us appreciate the urgent responsibility we have to become the Catholic vote, and to see what a positive impact the Catholic vote can have across the country this election."

Is the online world part of the "real" world? - "But just because something is online or digital doesn't mean it's not real. As people of faith, we of all people should know that just because something can't be physically touched doesn't mean it's not real."

The Peril of the Lone Wolf - "It's interesting to note that in the Church's vision for every state of life, you're never a lone wolf; every individual has a person or group of people to whom he is intimately connected, at least one person who's opinion he's obliged to listen to, who is similarity obliged to give him honest feedback when he's veering off course."

Body, Soul and Spirit: Love and the Integral Unity of Human Nature - "Man cannot live without love. He remains a being incomprehensible to himself. His life is senseless if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it." [Includes video - address by Pope Benedict]

Should Children Be Baptized Without Their Parents Knowledge? - "Should Catholics take matters into their own hands and baptize the precious child they love so much, knowing that through this baptism the child will be saved from original sin and be marked for God’s kingdom? Or should they refrain, pray, and trust that God will take care of this child?"

Discovery Institute Fellow Is Dedicated to Christian Unity - "Richards holds a master of Divinity degree, a master of theology degree and a Ph.D. in philosophy and theology from Princeton Theological Seminary.  A convert to the faith, Richards and his family entered the Church three years ago at the Easter Vigil."

How One Parish Draws People to God - Through Beauty - "In order for a people to hear the truth, they first have to be listening. This is where sacred art comes in."

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Male-only Priesthood, Part 6

We have shown in previous posts (Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) that a solid theological argument can be made in favor of a male-only priesthood. Only a man can truly act in persona Christi; only a man can be conformed to the masculine spiritual identity of the High Priest, Jesus of Nazareth. But some Christians attempt to propose competing theological arguments in favor of women priests. These arguments are less rigorous than what we have seen in favor of male-only ordination. They tend to rely on the "common priesthood" of all believers and the fact that men and women are equally afforded the grace of salvation. They usually ignore the distinct roles of men and women in the community, the correlation between marriage and Christ's relationship with His Church, and the historic role of a male sacrificial priesthood especially in the Old Testament. Christianity  has a long history of male-only priests and this fact of history ought to weigh heavily on our understanding of Holy Orders in the Christian context.

Beginning with Jesus' call of the Twelve (Mark 3:13-19), we see men selected from among the disciples to receive special training and positions of leadership within the community. To these men he gave the authority to preach and the power to cast out demons. The Twelve accompanied Jesus wherever He went and He imparted knowledge to them that He withheld from the crowds. These men were obviously being prepared for a special purpose in the Church. Most importantly, they were with Him at the Last Supper where He instructed them to "do this in remembrance,"  and it is these Twelve men who received the Spirit for forgiveness of sins, and the charge to baptize.

These Twelve men beheld the risen Christ, received the Holy Spirit from Him, and were sent out into the world to establish the Church. It was these men who, through the laying on of hands, ordained the first deacons (Acts 6), and in like manner chose the man who would replace Judas, the betrayer (Acts 1:18-26). These Twelve male Apostles recognized Paul (another man) as chosen by God to be an Apostle like them; and together they went out into the world and establish local churches, ordaining men as elders (bishops) to lead the congregations. Paul instructed his congregations to choose upstanding men as their elders and deacons (1Timothy 3:1-13), but he warned against women even speaking in the church (1 Corinthians 14:34).

Now all of this may seem derogatory toward women. It may seem that Christianity is patriarchal, anti-woman, and chauvinistic. This is not the case.Women and womanhood are highly regarded in the Catholic Church. Many great women have been declared Saints and Doctors of the Church: St. Catherine of Siena, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, St. Hidegard of Bingen, and the list goes on. All of these holy women embody the best of what it means to be Christian, and they stand as examples to both sexes of how to live out the faith. Jesus included women among His close circle of friends, most notably Mary Magdalene, who was the first to see the risen Lord. And of course there is Mary, his own mother, who is honored above all Saints, enthroned above the angels as Queen of Heaven. How can the Church that honors Mary be called anti-woman?

But the role of women is different than the role of men. This is true of marriage, child rearing, and life in general, and it is true of our spiritual roles as well. It is not anti-woman to say that men and women are called to different vocations. The history of the Church bears this out - a history going back to Jesus Himself. If Jesus intended women to be a part of the priesthood He could have called six men and six women to be a part of the Twelve. Why not Mary Magdalene? Why not His own mother? The Blessed Virgin bore Christ's flesh and blood in her womb...she was the sinless tabernacle of the Lord...who would be a more fitting priest to hold His flesh and blood at the altar? Yet, she was not called to the priesthood. Nor was any woman in the ancient Church. There is no example of women being ordained into the priesthood until recent Protestant denominations introduced the practice.

The strongest argument that can be made in favor of such female ordination are references to deaconesses (female deacons) in ancient Christian writings. On this rests the claim that the early Church ordained women. How solid is this claim? Is this enough to demolish our argument in favor of male-only ordination? We will examine this claim next...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Quote of the Week

“The refusal to take sides on great moral issues is itself a decision. It is a silent acquiescence to evil. The Tragedy of our time is that those who still believe in honesty lack fire and conviction, while those who believe in dishonesty are full of passionate conviction.”
- Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Catechism for the Year of Faith

Part of a continuing series.

A selected quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church in honor of the Year of Faith (October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013)

51 "It pleased God, in his goodness and wisdom, to reveal himself and to make known the mystery of his will. His will was that men should have access to the Father, through Christ, the Word made flesh, in the Holy Spirit, and thus become sharers in the divine nature."

52 God, who "dwells in unapproachable light", wants to communicate his own divine life to the men he freely created, in order to adopt them as his sons in his only-begotten Son. By revealing himself God wishes to make them capable of responding to him, and of knowing him and of loving him far beyond their own natural capacity.

53 The divine plan of Revelation is realized simultaneously "by deeds and words which are intrinsically bound up with each other" and shed light on each another. It involves a specific divine pedagogy: God communicates himself to man gradually. He prepares him to welcome by stages the supernatural Revelation that is to culminate in the person and mission of the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ.St. Irenaeus of Lyons repeatedly speaks of this divine pedagogy using the image of God and man becoming accustomed to one another:

The Word of God dwelt in man and became the Son of man in order to accustom man to perceive God and to accustom God to dwell in man, according to the Father's pleasure.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Musings

A few random thoughts and ponderings to stat the week...

Not much to say tonight... Waiting to watch the third and final Presidential debate. Remember to vote! And vote with your conscience.

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Speaking of "conscience" - that reminds me of a picture I saw earlier today:

Obama's disregard for the conscience rights of Christians at home is matched only by his inability to stand up to religious thugs abroad. This election is important! Your vote can help defend religious freedom!

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Continuing with the same theme, you may want to check out this article: Obama Wages War on Catholicism.

By the end of 2009, the real agenda of the Obama administration had become so transparent that even its friends at The New York Times felt obliged to come clean. That November the Times ran a news story showing how Obama had betrayed his promise. Reporter Robert Pear wrote that the president “was not comfortable with abortion restrictions inserted into the House version of major healthcare legislation, and he prodded Congress to revise them.” The pro-life community, largely faith-based, felt disabused by these shenanigans. But they had no idea how bad matters would soon become.
On Jan. 20, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius rolled out what would come to be known as the HHS mandate: Catholic institutions would be required to pay for contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs in their healthcare plans for employees.
The inclusion of abortion-inducing drugs was striking. The administration could have settled for contraception, but instead it sought to stick the camel’s nose in the tent. Its real long-term interest was plain: eventually, as broached by FOCA, Catholic hospitals would be required to perform abortions.
On Jan. 31, Press Secretary Jay Carney stunned even Obama supporters when he said, “I don’t believe there are any constitutional rights issues here.” No one was buying it, especially not the bishops.
After Catholics pushed back, a new version was introduced three weeks later. But it was a distinction without a difference: It mandated that the insurance carrier of Catholic non-profits must pay for these services.
This was just a shell game. In reality, many Catholic non-profits are self-insured (for example, the Archdiocese of Washington is self-insured). Then there is the issue of Catholic entities that are not self-insured: Why should they have to pay their insurance company for services they deem immoral? Another issue that won’t go away is the right of Catholic business owners not to pay for services that violate their conscience.
It is important to acknowledge that Catholics are not asking for special rights — they are simply asking the Obama administration to respect the status quo. The administration won’t budge, saying the best it will do is exempt Catholic churches.
The entire article details the diabolical policies of this President. He must be stopped. Please spread the word and vote for real CHANGE this November.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

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...

[Oops... One day late. I was busy last night and did not get a chance to post.]

Stand Up For 'Religious Freedom' this weekend! - "This weekend, thousands of faithful will gather across the nation to protest what is widely believed to be an unconstitutional mandate issued by the Health and Human Services Department. This mandate requires that all Catholic and other religious institutions must pay for anti-life services that violate the freedom of religion and conscience of the faithful."

Obama vs. Romney, Round 2 - [A round-up of commentary and analysis from the National Catholic Register.]

Presidential debate played like a prizefight - "Both routinely went well over-time in their remarks, and often spent the beginnings of new questions trying to get the last word in on the previous."

What Will Hillary Get Out Of This? - [I found this piece particularly insightful. And I have not seen this conclusion drawn anywhere else. But it makes A LOT of sense.] For more context see this: Hillary Clinton commits political 'seppuku'

Oops! Obama Accuses Planned Parenthood of Breaking the Law - "...President Obama stumbled into accusing one of his campaign’s largest benefactors—Planned Parenthood—of serially violating a federal women’s health law designed to protect breast cancer patients by claiming that the abortion giant provides mammograms even though it has no license to do so." See also: Obama Defends Funding Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz

Romney Will Cut Planned Parenthood Funds His First Week in Office - "Why on earth should American taxpayers be paying one-quarter of International Planned Parenthood’s budget?"

Ann Romney Would be First Pro-Life First Lady Since Roe - "Although Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush were pro-life and crafted extensive pro-life records, their wives did not share their pro-life positions."

Economy, Not Abortion, Worries Women Most in This Election - "...according to poll after poll, abortion will not be the deciding factor for the majority of voters, including the majority of women voters. (Among virtual non-issues: the availability of free contraception. Go figure.)" 

Obama Wages War on Catholicism - "...the Obama administration’s willingness to violate conscience rights in pursuit of Obamacare was evident from the beginning."

More Than A Debate - On Ryan vs. Biden: "The most revealing moment was when both were required not to debate, but to articulate their positions, as Catholics, on abortion."

Politics, Social Justice and the Non-Negotiables - "For many on the Catholic left, the confusion of 'non-negotiables' in Church teaching with matters of prudential judgment has become all too common."

Chris Matthews Compares Paul Ryan’s Pro-Life Views to Sharia Law - [Uuuum...Can anyone say, "Media Bias"?]

Phony Attack on Paul Ryan's Catholicity - "...Catholics who exercise the virtue of prudence have no problem voting for a man whose position on abortion would save the lives of over 1 million babies a year. This is especially true when compared to a man who would not save one baby out of the 1.2 million killed every year."

Catholic Bishop: Pro-Abortion Biden Shouldn’t Receive Communion - "It’s clear to me that the Code of Canon Law, Canon 915, says that a Catholic politician who publicly espouses positions that are contrary, not just to any teachings of the Church, but to serious moral teachings, should not receive Holy Communion until they recant those positions publicly." [Could not agree more!]

A Plea to Catholics in Ohio: Help Us Win - "And if you do not live in Ohio, chances are you have friends and family who do! Get in touch with them and make sure they know their responsibility to exercise their right to vote!"

Evangelical Landslide for Romney? - "Full throttle evangelical support for Romney was not widely anticipated. Evangelicals do not see the former Mormon bishop as one of their own, as they did Bush."

To Abolish Abortion, You Must Vote Pro-Life First - [Remember this when you cast your ballot!]

Catholics and Voting Pro-Life: Social Justice Begins in the Womb - "Of course, the term 'social justice' makes some conservatives cringe because it has been co-opted by those who crave moral legitimacy for their political ends even as they seek to marginalize the Church. But these leftist distortions are meant only to mislead."

Obama, Romney trade light-hearted barbs at charity dinner - "Held at the Waldorf-Astoria, with Timothy Cardinal Dolan seated between them, Obama and Romney dined on epicurean cuisine before launching a volley of gags at the podium." [Includes video. Very funny.] See also: Romney Shares Pro-Life Views, Hits HHS Mandate at Al Smith Dinner

Do Our Possessions Possess Us? Learning the Logic of Giving on the Path to Evangelical Freedom - "Pope Benedict reminds us, no matter what our income, of the dangers of having our possessions possess us." [Includes video.]

Blessed John Paul II Added To U.S. Liturgical Calendar; Feast Day Set For October 22 - "The Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship has approved insertion of the optional memorial of Blessed John Paul II in the proper calendar of the dioceses of the United States."

What’s in a Name?: NFP vs. Fertility Awareness - "The Obama administration did not recognize the seriousness of its infringement upon religious liberty with the HHS mandate because it did not believe that Catholics cared about the Church’s teaching on contraception. It is incumbent upon all Catholics to prove that assumption wrong."

Catholic Myth Busting: One Step Is Often Enough - "If we are able to dispel one misunderstanding for a particular person, we’re well on the way toward dispelling all of that person’s misgivings concerning the Faith. This is true largely because of the hidden motives which tend to produce and govern such misunderstandings."

Submerged in the Ocean: Challenges Often Arise After Catholic Conversion - "The Church’s very oceanic vastness means that even inside one can be tempted to look at only one small corner of it and label it 'Catholicism.' Some converts become obsessed with Church architecture or a particular spin on Catholic social teaching or a Marian devotion or a particular aspect of the liturgy."

Atheism is on the rise. Catholics must do a better job at evangelizing - "It seems fitting, then, that Pope Benedict has called for a year of faith. Catholics must be vigorous in spreading their faith – the one true faith – to others around the globe."

What is a Demon? - "It may seem surprising that some angels would choose to hate God. But we need to understand that those who rebelled saw God no longer as a good—as the Good—but as the oppressor of their freedom."

“Domestic monastery” or “annoying introvert”? – it’s a fine line - [I had to laugh. My wife sent this article to me. It totally describes us.]

A New Monastery in the Midwest - [I'm a sucker for great architecture, and it's heartening to see such a beautiful new construction in the modern age.]

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Male-only Priesthood, Part 5

Jesus as "High Priest" is the primary model for Christian priesthood. Our High Priest, Jesus, sets the standard for what it means to be a priest in the Church. We have already noted in this series of reflections that Jesus' own masculinity points to a male-only priesthood for Christians. Jesus is the Groom and the Church is His Bride. He lays down His life on behalf of the Church as the husband sacrifices on behalf of his wife. The male role is traditionally that of offering sacrifice. This is evidenced by the priesthood of the Old Covenant. Only men were called to offer sacrifice in the Temple. Only men were called to preach in the synagogue. Jesus is called "High Priest" as a direct reference to the male-only High Priesthood of Jewish tradition.

We have also noted that, in their capacity as priest, men who receive Holy Orders in the Catholic Church stand in persona Christi, that is "in the person of Christ." The Sacrament Holy Orders brings about a real change in the man's very being, so that not he, but Christ Himself ministers to the people. The person of Christ - that is, the man Jesus of Nazareth - is present in and through the priest. This permanent change in "being" is possible only for a man because Jesus is Himself a man. In human nature, the spiritual and physical are inseparably linked. Christ's spirituality is a male spirituality because He possesses a male human nature. Only a man can be configured to that spiritual reality.

However, the argument has been made, and continues to be made, that Christianity does away with any  differentiation between the sexes: Yes, the priesthood of the Old Testament is the model for Christian priesthood, and it was male-only. Yes, Jesus represents the model of priesthood for Christians and Jesus is a man. Yes, the Church is the Bride and Christ is the Groom, and this symbol points to the sacrificial role for men. But Jesus turns all of this on its the argument goes. In Christ there is neither male nor female, and all are called to be priests and to ministry in the Church.

While this argument has a certain appeal - that men and women are equal in God's eyes and are therefore equally called to the ministerial priesthood - the argument fails in the face of reality. While it is true Christianity does teach that men and women are equal in dignity, equally loved by God, and equally offered God's grace and the gift of salvation, this does not mean that men and women are called to the same vocations. We have before us all of the arguments we have mentioned above, which point to a male-only priesthood, but we also have the witness of Christian history. Quite simply, history tells us that the Christian priesthood has always been male-only. Christians have always understood the priesthood in the terms we have outlined above, and thus only men have been called to ordination. Any other conclusion would be a break with Tradition.

Equality of the sexes does not mean sameness of roles for the sexes. And history shows that the role of priest has always been reserved for men. We need only ask ourselves: Who did Jesus call as ministers in the Church? Who were appointed by the Apostles in ministerial roles? Who then succeeded those originally called? Who received the laying on of hands and the gifts of the Spirit for ministerial priesthood in the early Church and in the centuries that followed? We will explore this in the next reflection in this series.

[See also: Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4]

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Quote of the Week

"...true freedom is not advanced in the permissive society, which confuses freedom with license to do anything whatever and which in the name of freedom proclaims a kind of general amorality. It is a caricature of freedom to claim that people are free to organize their lives with no reference to moral values, and to say that society does not have to ensure the protection and advancement of ethical values. Such an attitude is destructive of freedom and peace."
- Blessed John Paul II

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Catechism for the Year of Faith

Part of a continuing series.

A selected quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church in honor of the Year of Faith (October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013)

40 Since our knowledge of God is limited, our language about him is equally so. We can name God only by taking creatures as our starting point, and in accordance with our limited human ways of knowing and thinking.

41 All creatures bear a certain resemblance to God, most especially man, created in the image and likeness of God. The manifold perfections of creatures - their truth, their goodness, their beauty all reflect the infinite perfection of God. Consequently we can name God by taking his creatures" perfections as our starting point, "for from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator".

42 God transcends all creatures. We must therefore continually purify our language of everything in it that is limited, image-bound or imperfect, if we are not to confuse our image of God--"the inexpressible, the incomprehensible, the invisible, the ungraspable"--with our human representations. Our human words always fall short of the mystery of God.

43 Admittedly, in speaking about God like this, our language is using human modes of expression; nevertheless it really does attain to God himself, though unable to express him in his infinite simplicity. Likewise, we must recall that "between Creator and creature no similitude can be expressed without implying an even greater dissimilitude"; and that "concerning God, we cannot grasp what he is, but only what he is not, and how other beings stand in relation to him."

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Musings

A few random thoughts and ponderings to start the week...

First, a quick reminder: the Year of Faith began last week. While it is fresh on our minds, visit the website and consider ways to celebrate this holy year along with the universal Church.

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I follow politics closely, thus I have eagerly watched the debates that have been held so far in the election season. The Ryan/Biden Vice Presidential debate was particularly interesting, as it was the first national debate between two Catholic candidates. To watch the entire exchange click here.

Of course, you are free  to draw your own conclusions, but here is how I felt about Biden's obvious failure: He was rude, inappropriate, and disrespectful. He is a traitor to his Catholic faith on more than one issue. He's a disgrace to Catholics everywhere. I am ashamed that he is a member of the same Church to which I belong. He supports the murder of innocent babies, the destruction of the family and the distortion of Christian moral teaching. He is a corrupt, lying, manipulative, fake. He has sold out to the culture of death, and is trying to drag the entire country with him. Frankly, I believe he should be excommunicated. He has made himself an enemy of the Church and an enemy of Christ. I pray for his soul.

(Was that too harsh?)

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On another note: A lot of people have pointed out Biden’s horrible behavior that night at the debate. And it’s true…he was obnoxious, rude, and disrespectful. But that’s only half of the story. The other half is this: Paul Ryan was respectful, articulate, polished and considerate – all the while putting up with smirking Joe Biden interrupting and laughing at serious issues. If you want our country's political discourse to be elevated, who would you vote for?

Frankly, I cannot see how any faithful Catholic can vote for the Obama/Biden ticket with a clear conscience. 

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If you are a Facebook user you may be interested in the graphic below. It can be used on your Facebook profile page as your cover photo to show support for religious freedom. Spread the word. There is only ONE choice for faithful Catholics this year.

Friday, October 12, 2012

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...

First and foremost, this week begins the Year of Faith (which began October 11). Please visit the official website of the Year of Faith and think of ways to celebrate with the universal Church.

Pope's Homily: 50th Anniversary of Vatican II Calls for a Return to the Texts Within a Hermeneutic of Continuity

Pope: Vatican II Calls Us to Rediscover Beauty of the Faith - "The Second Vatican Council is a strong call for us to rediscover the beauty of our faith every day, to know nourish a deeper understanding of it, a more intense relationship with the Lord, to truly live our Christian vocation."

The Synod and the New Evangelization: Why It’s Important for U.S. Catholics - "The principal purpose for the Synod of Bishops, which commenced Oct. 7, is to study how the New Evangelization affects the mission of the Church."

First ever Catholic vs. Catholic debate - "Perhaps the most telling question of the night was when both candidates were given the opportunity to discuss their faith and its influence on their public service." [Includes video.] See also: Biden-Ryan debate highlights nation's Catholic political divide

Polls: Paul Ryan Beat Joe Biden in Vice-Presidential Debate - "Instant polls conducted in the hours following the vice-presidential debate last night show voters believe Paul Ryan bested Joe Biden during their appearance at Centre College."
Catholic Countdown to Election 2012, Day 25. Substance and Smirks - "There are Catholics like Joe Biden who claim to follow what is too often called the "spirit" of Vatican II, while rejecting the very foundations that important Council proclaimed. Then, there are others, like Paul Ryan, who grasp the implications of what it means to infuse the values informed by their Catholic faith into their political participation on fundamental moral issues such as the Right to life."

Paul Ryan: I’m Strongly Pro-Life; Biden: I’m a Pro-Abortion Catholic - "During a debate marked by Vice President Joe Biden’s snark and interrupting, Ryan calmly and cooly laid out why he takes a pro-life position and how his Catholic faith has helped guide him to a place where he opposes abortion." See also: No Comparison Between Pro-Life Catholic Ryan and Pro-Abortion Biden

 Joe Biden And The Abortion Question - "You cannot possibly really believe that life, innocent human life begins at conception and support abortion on demand. It is not possible."

 Joe Biden’s Remarkable Incoherence on Abortion - "The ill-tempered aggression of Joe Biden — whether he was laughing and grinning in the first half or growling and shouting in the second — made the Vice Presidential debate last night a painful thing to watch."

The U.S. Bishops to Biden: “This is not a fact.” - "...Joe Biden lied. And he knows it. No, he wasn’t mistaken. No, he didn’t simply interpret something in the best possible light. He lied."

And this leads me to the picture of the week...

Joe Biden: Catholic Can be Pro-Abortion, Misstates Effect of Roe v. Wade - [And this was BEFORE the debate.]

Why did Biden lie about THIS? - " area where we expect honesty is when it comes to the safety and security of all Americans, especially those serving abroad. So why did Biden lie when he was asked about the attacks in Benghazi last night?" [MUST SEE video included.]

Fearful self-made man fights back against Obama with ad - "What must be understood is that America was a nation founded by businessmen who wanted economic freedom among others. Most of the founding fathers were businessmen of one sort or another. Weary of what they saw as excessive taxation and regulation, they combined with other frustrated colonists to cast off British rule."

Just in case you still are unsure whether cutting taxes is the right way to spur job growth, here's another Catholic politician who sees it the same way Paul Ryan this video.

The Left’s Bogus Complaints about Romney’s “Lies” - [A follow-up from last week's Presidential Debate.]

Jo Ann Nardelli of Pennsylvania: Catholic Democrat Leaves the Party Because 'Biden Sold Out' - [More catholic Democrats need to do this. the Democratic Party is no place for a faithful Catholic.]

5 Ways the Marriage Fight Will be Won, or Lost - [Important issue to keep in mind as the election approaches.]

The Vocation of Love - "Both the divine image (human nature) and the communion of persons (male and female) come from the communitarian love of the Blessed Trinity:  God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The vocation of love, then, is a declaration of God's own love. As such, the vocation of love has been placed in the very being of the human creature."

President Obama and the “Intelligence Brief” Scandal - "According to a study by the Government Accountability Institute, Obama failed to attend a single Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) in the week leading up to the recent anniversary of 9/11 and the chaos that erupted in the Arab world. The mere fact that we were approaching 9/11 was a crucial enough reason to attend not one but all the briefings. President Obama attended none."

Bus Driver Tells Kid With Romney Sign: You Should Have Been Aborted - "The bus driver was fired after the report on a local radio show."

Solidarity, Yes. Socialism, No. - "It’s now time to talk about another Catholic principle, solidarity. Whereas the principle of subsidiarity is generally ignored, the principle of solidarity is generally misunderstood."

‘We’re Starting to Get Our Act Together’ - "Ralph Martin discusses the next steps of the New Evangelization."

The Shocking Ethics Behind the Contraceptive Choice Project - "...women have now been given a glimpse of a system which has zero interest in their wellbeing, and sees them only as breeding machines to be kept under control."

Obama: HHS Mandate is “Why We Passed” Obamacare, It’s Staying - "Obama said on Friday that his administration has no plans to get rid of the controversial HHS mandate and that the mandate was one of the reasons for approving Obamacare in the first place."

Can the Government Veto a Sermon? - "No court has ever heard a case regarding whether the Internal Revenue Service can do so. Yet every day – and especially in these weeks prior to an election – preachers act as if their sermons have to be vetted and approved by the IRS."

Evil will retreat if enough of us stand up and say, ‘ENOUGH!’ - "...even though we know that Christ wins in the end, that does not mean we can sit in our rocking chairs and wait for the end of time. We live in the now, we must act in the now."

Hope Stems Eternal From the Cell of Man - "Hooray!  The Nobel Prize for Medicine has been awarded to two scientists for their work in the manipulation of living cells."

Christopher Columbus, the Crusades, and the End of the World - "Carol Delaney believes Columbus has been unfairly characterized by his critics and attempts to set the record straight in Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem."

Blessed John Henry Newman, a Great Teacher of the Faith - "The 19th-century scholar’s profound insights remain highly relevant for 21st-century Catholics."

Is St. Peter the Rock on which Jesus built his Church? - "You may think you've heard all the arguments about whether Peter is the rock, but I'm going to show you the one that convinced me, and you probably haven't heard it anywhere else..." [Very informative video included.]

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Catechism for the Year of Faith

First of a series.

A selected quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church in honor of the Year of Faith (October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013)

1 God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.

2 So that this call should resound throughout the world, Christ sent forth the apostles he had chosen, commissioning them to proclaim the gospel: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." Strengthened by this mission, the apostles "went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it."

3 Those who with God's help have welcomed Christ's call and freely responded to it are urged on by love of Christ to proclaim the Good News everywhere in the world. This treasure, received from the apostles, has been faithfully guarded by their successors. All Christ's faithful are called to hand it on from generation to generation, by professing the faith, by living it in fraternal sharing, and by celebrating it in liturgy and prayer.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Quote of the Week

"Well, toward morning the conversation turned on the Eucharist, which I, being the Catholic, was obviously supposed to defend. Mrs. Broadwater said when she was a child and received the host, she thought of it as the Holy Ghost, He being the most portable person of the Trinity; now she thought of it as a symbol and implied that it was a pretty good one. I then said, in a very shaky voice, "Well, if it's a symbol, to hell with it." That was all the defense I was capable of but I realize now that this is all I will ever be able to say about it, outside of a story, except that it is the center of existence for me; all the rest of life is expendable."
- Flannery O'Connor

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Male-only Priesthood (Recap)

Several weeks ago I began a series of posts on the topic of the male-only priesthood. I hope to continue with that theme, but as it has been some time since my last post in that series, I thought I would  recap what I had previously written and link to those posts here. With that in mind, below you will find a brief description of each of the four previous posts in this series...

Part 1 - a brief explanation of why I chose this topic, especially with regard to the term "Father" as applied to Catholic priests.

Part 2 - not only does the priest represent "fatherhood" for the Church (with the Church being our "mother"), but he also stands "in the person of Christ." This dual reality of fatherhood and Christ as models of the priesthood point a male priesthood - since only men can be fathers, and Christ the High Priest is obviously a man.

Part 3 - the Sacrament of Holy Orders brings about a real change in the person receiving the Sacrament. Just as the Eucharist requires the right "stuff" (bread and wine) for a Sacrament to take place, so too does Holy Orders require the right "stuff"(a man) to bring about the the change that brings about priesthood. The priesthood brings about a real change in the being of a man to conform him to Christ's priesthood.

Part 4 - some would argue that male-ness and female-ness do not matter for Christian priesthood, that the office is spiritual and as such does not point to a gender-specific reality. But the Church insists that as humans our physical bodies and our souls are inseparable. There is such a thing as male versus female spirituality. Marriage points to this difference in the sexes, and marriage is specifically used in Scripture to describe the relationship between Christ and His Church. A priest, standing in the person of Christ is standing in the male role as modeled by the marriage analogy.

So, with this summary we can continue next week with further reflection.