Friday, July 24, 2009

Busted Halo and our Catholic Culture

I really enjoyed this article.....and I think we should keep in mind that we should refrain from questioning other people's consciences and motives, while adamently disagreeing with what they are trying to do in public life.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Backing Politicians

A lot of Catholics have been backing President Obama, including a new associate pastor who took up the position at the parish that we left a few months back. Here is his blog.

I responded to his post by saying:

Unfortunately, you are missing a large part of the issue. While Cheney and Bush would not be my first choices to speak at Catholic Universities, and maybe they should not, that in no way makes it acceptable for Obama to speak at Notre Dame.

Also, you are missing the point that the Church has taught consistently and often from many venues that while Capital Punishment and torture and just war theory are wrong, that Catholics are free to disagree, while Abortion and Euthanasia remain the highest priority. Your balancing act simply does not work.

Excerpt from “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion - General Principles” L’espresso, June 2004 by Joseph Ratzinger:

“. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

Many of these people (not him specifically) have mentioned to me that it is great to have a black president and how much that will bring the country together. Where were these people, pray tell, when Alan Keyes ran for President? Of course, a black Catholic, anti-abortion, third degree Knight of Columbus wasn't so heavily supported was he?

Expression of Religion - New York Part 2

Well since I still don't have all the pictures that I want on this computer to start really talking about neat things, I wanted to share my happiness at seeing so many people openly expressing their religion. On the streets of New York we saw nuns, priests, MANY orthodox Jews, Orthodox priests, and Muslim spiritual leaders. It was really cool to see so many expressing their religion openly and getting to meet a lot of open Catholics. I also got a chance to go to St. Patrick's Cathedral for Sunday mass (and receive communion from the celebrant, Archbishop Dolan!), I invaded a Filipino Catholic Chapel right before they locked it up, saw the Church of the Precious Blood (where people were praying in Vietnamese, which was really moving to me because it really expressed the Catholicity of the Catholic sure to check out photos under the link), and went to another small Church where mass was being celebrated and another priest standing in the back got to ask my wife about our baby!

Also, we blew a lot of money in the Gift Shop for St. Patricks! Such awesome stuff and it also fed my addiction to Holy Cards. Hopefully pictures to come soon!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New York, New York

Well, I have been absent from blogging for some time, and that is because my wife and I took a last minute trip to New York City before our baby is due (About 20 more days now!) and for our anniversary that was on the 21st. However, I had some really great spiritual experiences while I was there (including Sunday mass) that I would like to share with you guys over a series of blog posts. Some of them I hope to do tonight, but we'll see how tired I get.

The first experience I really want to share though is that on the train to New York we had the wonderful experience of having a woman and her son in front of us reading the Bible and to the right of us was another traveling family one of whom was reading the Bible and the other was working through her daily prayer book! Wonderful indeed and uplifting to see such spirituality in public. Combine that with my wife and I doing the rosary and we indeed had a spiritual train car and that made me want to blog about one of the positive things I saw in humanity today!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cultural Commentary at the Doctor's Office

A sad state of what our culture has developed into was commentated on today by our nurse. My wife was at an OBGYN appointment (she was having a small procedure done today which was somewhat private and we both felt more comfortable without me there) and went in without me. The nurse said "Isn't your boyfriend coming back with you?"

Of course, we have been married for 4 years and both have wedding rings on constantly, but that doesn't mean anything. It is more acceptable to insult a married woman and assume she is committing fornication and became pregnant than it is to assume that a pregnant woman is married - what does that say about the state and meaning of the sacrament of marriage in our society?

Now, I must just put one little note here and state that I do not believe it is a good idea to make unmarried girls feel bad who are going through with their pregnancies. Quite the contrary, they need the most encouragement and hope and nothing negative at all said to them. Why couldn't the nurse just say "partner"? Or, does that fall into another level of demeaning the sacrament, since it has tonage of the gay "marriage" issue?

"You have the words of everlasting life"

In John 6 when the Jews abandoned Jesus, he turned to his disciples and said "Will you also leave me?" Peter turned to him and responded "Lord, to whom shall we go, You have the Words of Everlasting Life".

This was always taught to me as a Protestant to mean that we had to listen to God's word in the New Testament and that through those we could enter Heaven. That is true, but it also avoids the immediate context of these words. What specific words did Jesus say that were the "words of everlasting life"?

"Unless you eat my body and drink my blood you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven"

"Amen Amen I say to you, Unless you eat my body and drink my blood you cannot enter into Heaven"

I think it's pretty self explanatory.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What is the Church

Mel over at "There's No Place Like Home" had an interesting post where she began exploring the term Church and what exactly the Church is. Catholics obviously have a simple answer to this (although maybe the meaning is much deeper than the simple statement of the marks of the Church) - that the Church is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. I found a great article over on EWTN about these marks of the Church and wanted to share it, especially because Mel strikes on a lot of the same points in a roundabout way (Note how the author there ties in a discussion of the Eucharist with Unity!)

Friday, July 10, 2009

God in our hands.....

As a prologue to this post, I might want to mention (or refresh this blog's memory, if I talked about this before) about my journey from taking Christ's body in my hand to receiving Him on the tongue. When I finished RCIA, the norm (at this specific parish) was to teach candidates and catechumens to receive the Lord in their hands and then to consume the host from there. I never had a problem with this (still don't have a problem with it because I am not a Bishop and must rely on their decisions) but soon I developed a problem that was either a deeper issue in my conscience or God trying to tell me something. Everytime I received the host, I felt like I had crumbs or residue left on my was so bad that I was tempted to lick my hand every time, and I just felt wrong about it. Thus, I started recieving on the tongue, and I must say that it does allow me to approach Christ with a lot more reverence than previously, even if it is just because my mind isn't focused on holding Christ, potentially dropping his Body and Blood, etc.

Well, I've enjoyed reading about the debates about how the Eucharist should be received, and I must say that I come down on the side of taking it on the tongue, and perhaps even kneeling. Altar servers used to hold plates under the chin to make sure none of the precious Body was lost as well. I think this at least reminds us of the importance of the Eucharist and what we are doing.

I bring all of this up because a fellow convert from the Church of Christ recently blogged about another unintended consequence of receiving in the hand. Check out his post.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I just wanted to share a little of the readings from the Didache about the Eucharist from yesterday's Office of Readings from the Liturgy of the Hours. It is very interesting to see how the first century Church viewed the Eucharist. Compare this to the Eucharistic prayers said today by the priests, and also notice the requirement to go to confession before receiving the Body and Blood:

Celebrate the Eucharist as follows: Say over the cup: “we give you thanks, Father, for the holy vine of David, your servant, which you made known to us through Jesus your servant. To you be glory for ever.”
Over the broken bread say: “we give you thanks, Father, for the life and the knowledge which you have revealed to us through Jesus your servant. To you be glory for ever. As this broken bread scattered on the mountains was gathered and became one, so too, may your Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom. For glory and power are yours through Jesus Christ for ever.”
Do not let anyone eat or drink of your eucharist except those who have been baptised in the name of the Lord. For the statement of the Lord applies here also: Do not give to dogs what is holy.
When you finish the meal, offer thanks in this manner: “We thank you, holy Father, for your name which you enshrined in our hearts. We thank you for the knowledge and faith and immortality which you revealed to us through your servant Jesus. To you be glory for ever. Almighty ruler, you created all things for the sake of your name; you gave men food and drink to enjoy so that they might give you thanks. Now you have favoured us through Jesus your servant with spiritual food and drink as well as with eternal life. Above all we thank you because you are mighty. To you be glory for ever.
“Remember, Lord, your Church and deliver her from all evil. Perfect her in your love; and, once she has been sanctified, gather her together from the four winds into the kingdom which you have prepared for her. For power and glory are yours for ever.
“May grace come and this world pass away! Hosanna to the God of David. If anyone is holy, let him come. If anyone is not, let him repent. Maranatha. Amen.”
On the Lord’s day, when you have been gathered together, break bread and celebrate the Eucharist. But first confess your sins so that your offering may be pure. If anyone has a quarrel with his neighbour, that person should not join you until he has been reconciled. Your sacrifice must not be defiled. In this regard, the Lord has said: In every place and time offer me a pure sacrifice. I am a great king, says the Lord, and my name is great among the nations.

Weird Science...

Ok... I am very skeptical about this, but I just saw the weirdest news story I have ever seen and want to share it, especially to see if anyone has a better explanation or can tell me it is just a basic forgery or something. Apparently, (supposedly) they found a Byzantine Church from the 5th Century AD in Connecticut. Is this an April Fools joke? Via Nicene Truth.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fundamentalist Dialogue

I wanted to share the Office of Readings from yesterday's Liturgy of the Hours. I thought it was so telling about our relationship to our brothers and sisters who are Fundamentalists and deny our baptism is valid or that we are truly Christians (Catholics that is). It reminds me so much of how I used to feel when I was Protestant and reminds me that no matter what I think we have to reach out in ecumenical dialogue at all times and love our brothers and sisters in Christ even when they err from Church teaching. To think that this was written 1700 years or so ago and in a time where fundamentalism didn't even exist is somewhat mind boggling. He also brings out some Church teaching that we should note is ancient - that there is only one baptism and that non-Catholics are still our Brothers and Sisters.

From a discourse on the psalms by Saint Augustine, bishop
Whether they like it or not, those who are outside the church are our brothers
We entreat you, brothers, as earnestly as we are able, to have charity, not only for one another, but also for those who are outside the Church. Of these some are still pagans, who have not yet made an act of faith in Christ. Others are separated, insofar as they are joined with us in professing faith in Christ, our head, but are yet divided from the unity of his body. My friends, we must grieve over these as over our brothers; and they will only cease to be so when they no longer say "our Father".
The prophet refers to some men saying: When they say to you: You are not our brothers, you are to tell them: You are our brothers. Consider whom he intended by these words. Were they the pagans? Hardly; for nowhere either in Scripture or in our traditional manner of speaking do we find them called our brothers. Nor could it refer to the Jews, who do not believe in Christ. Read Saint Paul and you will see that when he speaks of “brothers,” without any qualification, he refers always to Christians. For example, he says: Why do you judge your brother or why do you despise your brother? And again: You perform iniquity and common fraud, and this against your brothers.
Those then who tell us: You are not our brothers, are saying that we are pagans. That is why they want to baptise us again, claiming that we do not have what they can give. Hence their error of denying that we are their brothers. Why then did the prophet tell us: Say to them: You are our brothers? It is because we acknowledge in them that which we do not repeat. By not recognising our baptism, they deny that we are their brothers; on the other hand, when we do not repeat their baptism but acknowledge it to be our own, we are saying to them: You are our brothers.
If they say, “Why do you seek us? What do you want of us?” we should reply: You are our brothers. They may say, “Leave us alone. We have nothing to do with you.” But we have everything to do with you, for we are one in our belief in Christ; and so we should be in one body, under one head.
And so, dear brothers, we entreat you on their behalf, in the name of the very source of our love, by whose milk we are nourished, and whose bread is our strength, in the name of Christ our Lord and his gentle love. For it is time now for us to show them great love and abundant compassion by praying to God for them. May he one day give them a clear mind to repent and to realise that they have nothing now but the sickness of their hatred, and the stronger they think they are, the weaker they become. We entreat you then to pray for them, for they are weak, given to the wisdom of the flesh, to fleshly and carnal things, but yet they are our brothers. They celebrate the same sacraments as we, not indeed with us, but still the same. They respond with the same Amen, not with us, but still the same. And so pour out your hearts for them in prayer to God

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Over a Year

Well, I've been blogging for over a year now. It's very interesting to look back and see the flow and shape this blog has taken on over the last 12 months. I've met a lot of wonderful people and am looking forward to meeting a lot more. Thank you everyone for visiting and I hope, since we are once again getting internet at home, that I will be able to post a lot more about my Catholic Journey in the upcoming month!