Case in Point

Quid Pro Quo

The apathy identified by Pope Benedict is played out on the parish level on a daily basis. Many priests are confronted by and asked to accept worldly values as part and parcel of what is normal. These requests come from regular parishioners who are steeped in worldly and/or American cultural values and come to the church looking not for what they can offer to the church but for getting payback from the church for all they have done. It seems that so few today give without expecting in return.

For instance, parishioners who have given generously over the years may have a child who is getting married. While there are certain areas where the liturgy has room for some options, there are also practices and songs that simply do not belong in church. Yet if they are told that it is not permitted because it is contrary to the faith, the response is usually prefaced with remarks like, “you know how much we give to the church father. Is this really that big a deal?” And when they are told it is, they usually make a threat that the giving will stop if they cannot have their way.

Part of this problem arose within the generation of permissive priests and religious who did not set or enforce limits. The Church and Her Teaching was a take it or leave proposition. It was a generation in which only the infallible was presented as non-negotiable and all else was up for discussion. It was a generation who thought pastoral meant nice and the rubrics of the Church were merely offered as guidelines. It was a generation of negotiation with the goal of keeping people in the pews rather than feeding them with the pastoral Truth, which demands an informed obedience. For these priests and the following they have left behind, it has become more important to remain popular in the eyes of many than to remain focused on what is most important for attaining salvation.

The apathy and indifference will continue to grow until the priests and religious leaders of our time embrace the Truth and present it as the pearl of great price. Only then will the catechetical failure be addressed at its roots and the new evangelization will begin.

New Evangelization

The New Evangelization

The Catholic Church is currently preparing for a synod in October of 2012 that will deal with the need for a New Evangelization. There is no doubt that more needs to be done in spreading the Gospel but in order to be successful, the underlying causes need to be addressed and a system put in place to promote it.

It is very easy to identify the “symptoms” of the problem but much harder to admit the causes. Yes, there is a real apathy in the world toward the Christian message and this apathy has grown within the nihilism of the modern world. But apart from the world, the pope also identified another symptom that he called a “phenomenon.” In the world today, there are many “who belong to the Church but who are strongly determined by a vision of life that is opposed to the faith.” This particular symptom is more disturbing because it speaks of those who are in the Church.

It was Pope Paul VI, in his homily on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in 1972, who noted that “Satan’s smoke has made its way into the temple of God through some crack.” He went on to say that there is “doubt, uncertainty, problems, restlessness, dissatisfaction, confrontation. People no longer trust the Chuch; they trust the secular profane prophet that speaks to us from some newspaper or from some social movement, running after him and asking him if he has the formula of real life. And we do not realize that we are already owners and masters of it. Doubt has entered our consciences, and it has come in through windows that ought to be ope to the light.” The late pontiff was not talking about those outside the Church but those within who have bought into the counterfeit.

The content spread by social engineering throughout the twentieth century and has produced the skepticism that is now the vision many believers have about what life should be like. The utilitarianism and hedonism that is prevalent is the root of the problem and countering it is substantial because it is widespread. This paradigmatic shift has been underway for quite some time and its tenets, to the dismay of Pope Leo XIII and Pope Pius X, have been embraced by many Catholic theologians, priests, and religious. To make matters worse, there is the ongoing catechetical failure within the Church that has produced “those who belong to the Church” yet want to live a life different from the Gospel message.

As long as there are Catholic institutions of higher learning that spread the modernist message, there will be Catholics that oppose the Gospel message and will even be convinced that what they have been given is authentic. As long as the teachers in any Catholic institution of learning are steeped in the worldview of the social engineers, there will be Catholics that do not even know the authentic Gospel message.

For the New Evangelization to take hold, there will be a need for many Catholic institutions that are fully staffed with those who are 24/7 on board with the Gospel message. Where these staffs will come from is the heart of the problem.

Take Action

The Significance of Marriage

The debate has come to New York and all Catholics are asked to take action. If you live in New York, you are strongly urged to contact your local senator to let it be known that Marriage is more than a mere social construct that can be changed at whim. This topic is currently being detailed in the pastor’s column and will be posted to this site shortly. In the interim, you can find out more on the New York State Catholic Conference web site. Click here to find out how.

If for some reason the link does not work, go to the NY State Catholic Conference and click on the “Take Action Now!” button and select the link regarding preserving Marriage. Of course, there are many other issues that Catholics should take action on in New York State. These issues are regularly posted on the conference web site.

The Day is Coming

Judgment Day?

There is yet another prediction, to the day and hour, of the rapture and end of the world. Harold Camping, who has made mathematical errors in 1994 in calculating the day of Judgment, has once again taken out his slide rule and figured out the day and the time the rapture will occur.

This is one of those times it is good to be Catholic because we actually read the Bible, including the passages that says Jesus will come like a thief in the night. We do not and cannot know the exact day and time of the pending judgment. Yes, there is some merit in claiming the end is near but we must keep it in context. Any day could be the day. It could be this minute or the next. The key thing is to be prepared at all times.

Fortunately there is a good refutation of his claims by a Catholic Scholar. Dr. Jared Staudt has offered a good summary and explanation in response to this latest promotion of pending judgment. The most unfortunate part of these repeated predictions of doom are the many who will be disillusioned should the day and moment not occur, the likeliness of which is most assured. What is most surprising are the number of people who actually believe this prediction to be true, even though the 100 or so such predictions for the last 40 years have been wrong.

For anyone who is interested, yes we can say that the end is near or that we are living in the end times. Anyone who studies the recent history can see that we have been receiving great encouragement to return to God from the Blessed Mother and Her messages have all centered on the message that we are drifting from God and judgment will be soon. But always keep in mind that this message has not changed since the preaching of the Apostles. The immediacy of Christ’s return should be the central message delivered by every preacher in every age. It is going to happen -- we just do not know the day nor the hour.

If You Missed It

Pray, Pray, Pray...

For those who did not make the prayer service and talk at Blessed Sacrament Church on May 16, you can see some pictures and videos from the evening here.


May is Mary’s Month!

Many seem to think the Rosary is not for them. They say it is out of sync with our times. Yet this powerful prayer has been making a difference for centuries. Imagine the world if every Catholic prayed the Rosary every day.

While we tend to focus on Mary during the month of May, we know that we should pray the Rosary throughout the year. Therefore - Pray, Pray, Pray... the Rosary. Pray it every day. And let everyone know that you pray it. Here is a great video promoting Mary’s Month!

A Timeless Message

The Medjugorje Phenomenon

On Monday May 16, 2011, Ivanka, a visionary from Medjugorje, will be sharing some thoughts at Blessed Sacrament parish in Valley Stream. While there has been no definitive statement on the veracity of the claims, the message related is timeless.

Even if proof of supernatural visions is never confirmed, the messages of Prayer, Fasting, Confession, Conversion, and Holy Mass are still central today and should be taken seriously by every Catholic. Here is an old report that summarizes the early messages. N.B. This video was made before the horrendous civil war that tore the country apart.

The Fatima Message

Are we listening?

94 years ago on May 13, three shepherd children were graced with a vision of the Blessed Mother. These visions would continue for six months and culminate with the miracle of the sun.

These visions were a call to conversion and desperate plea to all to return to the ways of the Faith. Unlike the woman of Lourdes, the Blessed Mother warned the world in these visions that horrendous punishments would come upon the world if her message was not heeded. She asked the children and all to make personal sacrifices and pray the rosary daily. In all, She did not ask for very much. Yet many still ignore the ways of God today.

The irony is that many ask where God was during the twentieth century and how He could allow such atrocities as occurred during the century. These visions preceded the first world war and warned that if people do not convert there would be a worse war. The real question should be why did we not heed the call to prayer so that these events would be mitigated? It is never too late to start...

Today there are many who manipulate the Fatima message for personal gain. It is best that we keep it in perspective. Here is one of the better documentaries on the subject. Make sure to watch all four parts.

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Misplaced Energy

Pray for Peace

The events that have unfolded over the past few days are quite interesting. Americans have shown jubilation over the death of an enemy and now see the world as a safer place. Yet many admit that the action taken will not assure Peace for our nations. While there is come truth to these claims, it seems that a great deal of time and resources have been invested into finding and eliminating one man. And an equal amount of time and resources in the pursuit a safer world. I am sure that all concerned want Peace. But many of those who want it do not pursue it in the only way that can bring it about. While we have to live in this world, we are asked to maintain an other worldly perspective.

Could you imagine how much more Peace would materialize in this world if the amount of time and energy put into making war was invested in prayer? Pray, Pray, Pray...