Job Well Done

Toward a Theology of the Diaconate...

Bishop Sample of the diocese of Marquette issued a very well done letter on the Permanent Diaconate. A letter of this type has been long overdue. While many dioceses in the United States have been ordaining them for years, there has been little reflection on the theology of the Permanent Diaconate. All too often when asked about why ordain them, the answer tends to be pragmatic and not theological. However, such responses are not necessarily helpful.

It should be evident from the letter that more needs to be done in Diocese across the United States, especially since 48% of the Permanent Deacons worldwide are in this country. Even with such documents, there is still a long way to go in understanding where they fit in the larger picture.

Our Lady's Tears

A Sad Day

On the thirtieth anniversary of the alleged apparitions in Medjugorje, Catholics across New York are waking up to news reports that the secular world has again sided with Prometheus and defied God in thinking that the divine reality He established in Marriage is under Man’s control. The ruling is certainly disappointing but even more distressing is the number of Catholic politicians that voted in favor. Our Lady’s reaction is predictably one of sorrow as such a ruling has the power to mislead many from the path of salvation.

At this point, one should wonder, what will the reaction of the New York State bishops be? Maybe it is time for them to engage in hand wringing and a posture of disappointment?

Our Lady, Queen of Peace - Help Us!

Just Wondering?

That Will Do It

One must wonder what the soon to be Mr. Corapi is thinking in his current demands and choice to leave the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Apparently he is disappointed at the progress being made in his case, which is understandable. His decision, however, seems to be a retaliation in his mind. So it must be asked, who is he retaliating against? The bishop in Texas? His religious order? His accuser? Based on his decision to leave the priesthood, it does not appear he has successfully retaliated against any of them. Rather, it appears that he has hurt himself and the priesthood in general. To walk away from the vocation he claims to love is a contradiction at best. His decision will certainly hurt him as he is walking away from the greatest treasure bestowed on his soul.

We know that no priest in this life is without weakness and the taint of Original Sin. It is through the same Grace that we must all endure and strive to overcome that weakness By walking away, he has hurt every brother priest and tarnishes the priesthood in general. Yes, the priest today lives under the veil of suspicion. Yes, there are questions about the current procedures for handling of such situations. But his actions do not help resolve either of these questions. Rather, it now begs the question of the intrinsic place of humility and obedience in the priesthood. His decision and self-victimization have betrayed the vows he took, a betrayal that affects every priest.

Messenger II

The Message or the Messenger?

Fr. Corapi has certainly preached the Message of Christ for the Church in the past. However, it appears he has now refocused the spotlight to the messenger rather than the Message, which should be all that matters. When the accusations were first made and he was suspended from active ministry, the question was raised as to whether we would be able to separate the Message from the messenger and, in his case, the Message delivered was steeped in the Truth. Nothing is more damaging to the Truth than to allow character questions to haunt the messenger, which only leaves the Message in doubt in the minds of many. For someone whose public persona was direct and to the point, it seems that he is now trying to make the messenger more important than the Message.

It is hard to imagine having to live with a public accusation. The reality remains that the veracity of an accusation can never be known by the public with certainly, especially when the topic pertains to a private matter that relies on hearsay. In any case, whether the accusation is true or false, the priority should always be the Truth of the Message preached. No one can ever be completely safe from ad hominem attacks but if the Message preached is True, the attack will only be on the messenger and the best witness to the Truth is to accept the suffering in testimony to the Truth. Such was the testimony of Jesus Christ Himself!

Every priest today hopefully realizes that the focus should be the Message and not allow our fallen nature, which is plagued with the sin of pride, to become the story. No matter how well someone lives his life, people can easily attack the messenger in an attempt to discredit the Message. The worst thing the messenger can do, especially if the accusation is false, is to make the story about the messenger.

It will be interesting to see if the soon to be Mr. Corapi stays on Message but, even if he does, to do so outside the priesthood is a mistake.

Salus Animarum

The Salvation of Souls

There are certain principles that should always be properly understood and applied accordingly. For Catholics, the Salvation of Souls has always been the supreme law. But the interpretation of this principle seems to be off course these days as many have come to believe that the narrow gate is now wide. If the Church is about the salvation of souls, shouldn’t it take a strong position against those who mislead souls such as our Catholic politicians who publicly stand in opposition to the Divine Law and encourage others to break that Law? Yes, we are concerned about the salvation of the politicians themselves but we should be even more concerned about the Catholics who follow their lead.

As Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.” Matthew 7:13

Marriage Anyone?

The Vote Looms

The issue of gay marriage is in the spotlight in New York State and there have been some, albeit late, statements from the New York state Catholic bishops, particularly from Archbishop Dolan. Of course, we are living in a time under the dictator so such statements will be marginalized for the most part. When dealing with the secular world and the media, such is to be expected as those who wield power and influence are able to set the rules. Yes, the rules are not just and do not take the Truth into consideration. But, as has been noted here already, the media will always spin the issues to their favor.

The distressing part is that the catechetical failure has left the bishops in an unenviable position. Their eleventh hours statements are not being met with the respect from Catholics they deserve. As authentic teachers and shepherds, in some cases their own do not follow them and will even publicly chastise them. This failure can be seen in the discussion “comments” attached to the online postings of the bishops’ statements. Fortunately on the Catholic sites there are others who attempt to set the record straight but generally speaking there are supposed Catholics who not only disagree with the Church but make comments that outright betray their Catholic identity. The fact that there are so many Catholics divided on critical moral issues only points out how serious the problem is within the walls of the Church.

At the heart of the issues today is the fact that many Catholics do not understand what is meant by Truth and have not been properly catechized to accept the Truth. There has been a silence in many cases in which there is a fear of alienating the “masses” of Catholics. This silence, coupled with the catechetical failure, is the reason why so many supposed Catholics are more secular in their views and believe the Church should embrace those views as well. To further complicate the problem, it seems that the bishops have come to the game a bit late in that such statements and teaching should have started some time ago. It is not as if this issue and upcoming vote are a surprise. It is good that the bishops speak out but unfortunately they are speaking to Catholics who do not have the catechetical foundation to understand what is being said and that they are not just offering a valid opinion amongst a variety of valid opinions.

So why is it so hard to admit the catechetical failure and take a hard line stand with Catholic politicians and other misguided Catholics? Is it time to open a window and let the smoke of satan out?

Ever Notice

The Power of the Media

Ever notice how when the secular media report on something Catholic they always make sure they have included every opinion of the issue? Or better stated, have you noticed how the secular media will always find a dissenting opinion or disgruntled individual to quote in a report that deals with a Catholic matter? An obvious recent example was the Beatification of Pope John Paul II in which they found a group who do not think he should be beatified now because he was pope when the scandal broke.

Yet in secular matters that have moral import, there is never a quote from a Catholic or even from someone who may disagree. As an example, there was a recent report in the local newspaper about a woman who served in the military and has since returned home. Because she really wanted to be a mother and did not want to deal with courtship, so she became a single mom through IVF with donor sperm. The article could not say enough about how wonderful the technology is and how great it is that this woman is now a mom. There was not one quote about the morality of the procedure or having children out of wedlock.

So is the media really fair and balanced?

To Be Precise

Much Ado About Nothing

There are those who seem to fear the new translation of the Roman Missal. The more one reads about it and understands what has been done, the more one should come to realize that there is much greater precision in the Translation.

Especially for those who have not dealt with other languages, the question usually raised is, “Why do we have to go through all this nonsense.” The simple answer is that we need to be more precise in what we say. Yet there are those who don’t think such precision is that important.

Would they feel the same way if their mechanic was not very precise about what is wrong with the brakes on the car?