Happy Feast Day

Feast of St. Francis

Today we wish Pope Francis and the Universal Church a very Happy Feast Day. As the first pope to take the name of the great saint from Assisi, may God give him the spirit of this saint as he leads the Church in the way of a true poverty of spirit… For Blessed are the Poor in Spirit!

Language Barrier

In Order to Communicate Better, We Need a Point of Reference

I think many are asking today, "What is Pope Francis up to?" Take a look at this picture and try to figure out what it says. For some this will take a second and for others they may never figure it out. Ask yourself, if this sign hung over the door, would this be a place you would enter?


Like never before, the Church needs to be in dialogue with the world. It is in this particular area that Pope Francis has already offered some great insights. As with every form of communication and dialogue, all of the participants need a common point of reference to understand what is being said. Otherwise, it is impossible to have a productive dialogue. Like Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis realizes the language used in a dialogue is extremely important. There is no doubt that he is making every effort to open the dialogue using language that others can appreciate. In this regard, it appears he realizes there are still many barriers that need to be crossed.

Throughout much of his academic career and pontificate, Pope Benedict sought open dialogue with secularists and atheists, and he is still doing so in retirement. In the many dialogues he had, he was a master at expounding on the depth and riches of the theological language that expresses our Faith. The struggle in many of these dialogues has been the linguistic barriers that form around uncommon points of reference. For
Pope Benedict, much of the dialogue required bringing the non-believer to the point of reference from which he was speaking.

Generally speaking, when someone in the Church speaks to someone who is not, the outsider typically reacts as if the Church were speaking a foreign language because, for them, it is. For many decades, especially through public educational systems, there has been a program of verbal engineering that was intended to promote a specifically secular verbiage. This process openly sought to detach the point of reference of traditional moral and ontological referents from their Divine Referent and attach them to secular alternatives. So in this regard, modern language has changed dramatically, and linguistic barriers have formed.

Think of it this way: Imagine if the UN General Assembly did not have simultaneous translators when the world's leaders gathered to discuss an important issue. For the most part, there would be frustration and problems with regard to the proper understanding of what another world leader was saying. Not only would the dialogue become voluminous and unsustainable, any real or effective communication would be impossible. In fact, a lack of understanding among the participants could be disastrous. In this regard, for there to be effective communication, an accurate translation is needed. However, just translating a word is insufficient as a common point of reference is also needed. Words are powerful but without a common point of reference, they are powerless.

By way of example, a word could be translated accurately, but, if the recipient does not have the same point of reference, the meaning could still be lost. If an Italian used the word "mucca," the recipient would hear the English translator use the word "cow." If both have the same point of reference, there would be no problem. But if the listener had no point of reference or knowledge of a cow, this could result in a breakdown in communication. Or if the recipient, through a process of verbal engineering, had always been shown a bull as the point of reference for the word cow, it would change his or her reaction when the word is used. It is important to remember that it is not the word that makes a cow what it is; rather, it only designates what already is. If there is no common point of reference, further explanation would be required so that all parties understand the reality before them.

The same is true when we attempt to speak of eternal realities, especially from an ecclesial point of reference. In any dialogue with the world we need a common point of reference, which is often lacking today. The problem is that many of the expressions the Church uses have been altered by verbal engineers because they wanted to remove the traditional stigma and judgmental tone. For instance, when the Church speaks of virtue, it is an aspect of reality derived from the nature of Man. But a person steeped in a secular worldview may think of a list of desired qualities that have to be cultivated in a person. In such conversations, the Church speaks of the Natural Law. However, a person steeped in a secular worldview may hear it as the law of nature. In this context, the two are not synonymous and point to two very different realities. This has created a problem today because, especially with regard to morality and Sin, the common point of reference is missing.

In following what Pope Francis has been saying, it appears he is trying to bridge the linguistic gap between Church teaching and worldly interpretations. Make no mistake, I am sure he understands both sides very well and is choosing his references very carefully. I am convinced that he is asking pastors around the world to do the same. Yet he is extending the challenge even further because at this point in the verbal chasm he realizes that we are not going to have success if we continue with the status quo or allow ourselves to be cornered into specific dialogues.

Thus, in saying that we "cannot insist only on abortion, gay marriage, and the use of contraceptive methods," it seems Pope Francis is saying that these issues have lost their point of reference in the dialogue, which has made it "impossible" for us to have an effective dialogue today. In the secular world, if you are Catholic and say you are pro-life, they hear that you are anti-abortion. If you say you are pro-marriage and wish to preserve Marriage as ordained by God, they perceive you as homophobic, anti-gay, or out of touch. If you say you are convinced that Natural Family Planning is the only way for virtuous family planning, they accuse you of being anti-women, unscientific, and sexually repressive. It is not that any of these perceptions are true, but that they are the effect of the verbal engineering that has taken place for many years. In this regard, the process of verbal engineering has cultivated a different point of reference that is now quite widespread.

Therefore, what Pope Francis has been doing is opening the door to a new dialogue and allowing the Church to reclaim what has always been Her position… every Catholic must love the sinner and hate the sin. He has not changed any teaching but is changing the current point of reference. The dialogue must begin on this revamped premise. In loving sinners, we embrace them first and let them know there is hope and healing. It is possible for the wounds of Sin to be healed, but it will not happen if the sinner does not find Christ. Too often the popular caricature is that the Church only wishes to condemn sinners, an image that church members have fed at times. However, as the Pope reminded us, every member of the Church is a sinner first and foremost and in need of Grace. It is only through Grace and the pursuit of virtue that the sinner has hope.

If I truly love someone, I want them to receive Christ's Grace. The Pontiff is correct that many need to come to this healing font now more than ever. The ministers of the Church are the guides to that font.

But to be clear, Pope Francis did not say we should leave the sinner in sin or that sin is not important, even though that is what the secular media seem to have heard. By saying, "Who am I to judge," he is saying that our first recourse in the dialogue is to remind everyone that there is Hope, there is Grace. So let's not talk about the sin first; let's talk about the hope given us in Christ, Whose Grace is the source of healing. I believe this is why the Pontiff said, "The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the Church must be ministers of mercy above all… In pastoral ministry we must accompany people, and we must heal their wounds." It is during the process of accompanying that the ongoing conversion and true healing take place.

If I am correct, the Pope has been trying to get those on the ecclesial side of the dialogue to follow the RCIA model with the goal of walking with the converted sinner in Mystagogy. To adapt a popular expression, we must not just talk the talk… we must walk the walk -- with them!

For the record, the word in the picture above is a phonetic spelling of McDonald's in Cyrillic letters. If you substitute each of the Cyrillic letters with their latin equivalent, it spells Macdonalds.

The Need to Digest

Because a Great Deal Was Said...

In the pope's recent interview, there is a great amount of material that needs to be digested. I also remind myself and everyone who reads the document that it is an informal interview and NOT an ex cathedra statement. In the interview, he speaks of prayer, holiness, and direction. Ironically, the mainstream and secular media have given the impression that every word he pronounced, especially if it is favorable to their agenda, must be infallible. An interview is not a teaching document but a commentary.
Pasted Graphic

That being said, the pope used an excellent image with regard to describe the Church - the Church as a field hospital after battle! He said, "You have to heal the wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds… And you have to start from the ground up." It is a powerful image because there are a great many wounds that have come in the spiritual battle, wounds that are a direct result of Sin. The lives of so many people are in disarray spiritually. The wounds of Sin are deep and need to be healed. These wounds include many sins beyond the few that make headlines. But we must be clear in what he said, heal the wounds… and then talk about the rest of the process.

So why do so many think he gave a blanket permission to allow sinful structures to continue when in fact he did not? Part of healing a wound is to correct what caused the injury. It does not make sense to heal a broken leg if the person continues to engage in actions that will threaten the leg. If the person broke his or her leg jumping off the stairs, then part of the healing process will be to have the person stop jumping. If the person broke his or her leg due to a vitamin deficiency, then the healing would require a therapy that improves his or her vitamin balance. And once the initial healing takes place and the person is able to walk, we must always remember that there will be lingering effects from the injury, that is, an ongoing need to heal.

The same is true with the Church as a field hospital. People do cross the threshold with some very serious wounds. The first response must be to help the person by addressing the pain and alleviating the suffering it has caused. But the second part must be a transformation of the individual and his or her life. That is when Christ must be placed first and foremost. That is when a person will want to get to know Christ. That is when Christ can be accepted as Lord and Savior. The learning process will take time and needs to be handled like the skillful nurse who works on rehabilitation. In this image alone the pope has offered a profound direction for the Church of the new millennium but it is not new or innovative. He has only reiterated what the Church has always been -- a place for spiritual healing and rehabilitation.

Very Clever

Pope Francis the Media Sensation

When I first read the full text of the interview with Pope Francis last week, I immediately picked the lines that would be quoted around the world. My first reaction was to wonder what he was up to. Certainly, he did not need to restate many of the things in the interview, as he has stated them before. I also wondered if his advisers told him it was not a good move to release the document as it will only stir up controversy. To be honest, he did not say anything of grand import in the interview and he did not change anything. But the way he said it garnered a great deal of attention.

Apparently, people from each end of the spectrum laud him and condemn him on the basis of what he said. And I repeat, he did not change any teaching nor did he say anything new, which is the genius of the whole project. What he did was get everyone talking about the fullness of the Church and Church Teaching. He did say that there should be more outreach to the lost and disenfranchised. This is not new as every pastor wonders how best to do so. Now the door is open and the conversation started. In the end, the whole process was very clever on his part.

Back to Basics

More Updates Needed

I realize I have not been making posts of late and I hope to rectify that in the coming days. As with all things, it comes down to time on the schedule.

Faithful to God and the Church

And That is a Good Thing

It is interesting how many today, especially those in the media, find fault with those who are faithful to the Church and Her Tradition. As the conclave continues, there are many articles written about who the media wants for a new pope with no thought given to the Church and Her Tradition. Any candidate who is considered “conservative” or faithful to the Church is often demonized or the subject of an ad hominem attack.

What is most curious, however, is that no one in the secular media ever provides an honest account of the Teaching and legitimate refutation of the Teaching. Instead, they simply call for changes that will result in the Church eventually matching the secular consensus and will finally get the Church to jump on the bandwagon of relativism. Quite possibly, the reason they have to attack an individual or the character of the institution is because if they were to understand the Teaching and the fullness of our Tradition, they might find it to be legitimate and rational. In an era in which there are no objective standards and morality is on the decline, it is good to be faithful to God and the Church.

Please continue to pray for our cardinals as they continue to discern God’s choice for the successor to St. Peter.


The Christian Message

With increasing regularity, anyone who presents the Christian message in the public square is silenced. In this regard, there has been a growing number of public debates over such things as publicly displaying a Nativity Scene, school prayer, or what constitutes Religious Freedom. In our society today, any Christian speech in a public forum is immediate targeted for rejection and, with increasing regularity, the secular doctrines are imposed on religious institutions. What makes this process so disconcerting is the latent anger that drives the rejection.

In the most recent case, a public school teacher has been told, “Your rights to free speech are not as broad as if you were simply a private citizen.” Certainly it is one thing to ask a teacher not to display a Bible quote. But the same teacher was also asked to remove a quote from President Reagan (see below), presumably because the former president spoke of God. And in all this, it remains unclear as to when public school teachers ceased being “private citizens.” Granted, every public school teacher in New York State takes an oath of loyalty in which they swear to uphold the constitutions of the United States and New York State, but, to the best of my knowledge, neither of those constitutions restrict the “rights to free speech” with regard to religion.

The question that should be brought up in this regard is, “What is it about Christianity and Christian doctrine that intimidates so many people to the point of vehemently silencing the voices of Christians?” Anyone would be hard pressed to explain why a doctrine that includes exhortation to moral living, a call to love that includes enemies, and promotes virtue over sin is one that is angrily rejected from the public square.

Reagan quote

Catholics Come Home

The New Evangelization

In response to the call for a New Evangelization by the late Pope John Paul II, a group put together an organization called Catholics Come Home. This group has produced many “evangomercials” to help spread the Good News. Here is one with Lou Holtz that is playing during the college football bowl week.

Coach Holtz from Catholics Come Home on Vimeo.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

May God bless you with Peace this Christmas. May you rejoice on this Holy Night, for Christ our Savior is Born. Enjoy this rendition of O Holy Night performed in Croatian:

Four Years

And Counting...

It seems like it was just yesterday that I was in Rome… It was four years ago today I successfully defended my thesis and earned a doctorate in Moral Theology. I must admit it was a real challenge and took a great push to finish that year. My thanks to the Redemptorist Fathers, Sean Cannon and Stephen Rehrauer at the Academia Alfonsiana in Rome, who not only challenged me academically but helped me grow in so many ways. I also thank God for giving me the wisdom and ability to complete such an awesome task.

Now that four years have past, I am still humbled by the accomplishment and puzzled as to why the bishop asked me.

An Ongoing Question

When is being late too late?

More than once in recent days, I have had a conversation regarding people coming late to Mass and still receiving Holy Communion. As it stands today, the discussion centers on whether there is a point when someone arrives for Mass that is too late to receive Holy Communion. Most priests and regular churchgoers agree there is something wrong with the practice but are hard pressed to substantiate why it is wrong. The reasons given typically center on the scandal or distraction it causes others. There is no talk at all about the objective order, the fonts of morality, or what the act is in itself. Almost no one uses words such as sacrilege to describe the practice, which is where the breakdown occurs. For the most part, there is no talk of grave matter or sin. The only question asked is whether the person should receive Holy Communion after coming in late because others are scandalized by his or her lack of preparation.

In trying to move beyond the subjective arguments, many attempt a legalistic approach by looking to canon law, which is silent on the matter. Others look to liturgical law, which is also silent on the matter. In fact, in searching for an authoritative statement, there is none to be found with regard to this specific issue. The only statement we typically find with regard to the reception of Holy Communion in general is that a Catholic must be “properly disposed," which does not speak directly to the question at hand. The usual clarification of being properly disposed is, “Participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour.” Again, this broad statement does not give any real insight to the question at hand and makes the error of using the word “conscious” with regard to mortal sin (which is a discussion for another time).

In order to understand the act more clearly, it may be helpful to return to the moral manuals and examine the discussion on how much of the Mass one must attend in order to fulfill the Sunday obligation. In the manuals of Moral Theology, the question of fulfilling one’s Sunday obligation was framed in relation to the definitive point of the Mass when a person was considered too late and, if they did not attend another Mass, committed a sin against the Third Commandment. With regard to the manuals, we must recall that the reception of Holy Communion was not the explicit question but rather what it took to avoid committing a sin against the Third Commandment. In the moral life, discernment of actions should always be focused on remaining in a state of grace by understanding what constitutes gave matter and avoiding such acts. Amongst actions that constitute grave matter, we must emphasize Sacrilege, which the Catechism (2102) defines as “profaning or treating unworthily the sacraments and other liturgical actions” and is “a grave sin especially when committed against the Eucharist.”

In the era during which the moral manuals were written, most Catholics did not receive Holy Communion frequently. In this regard, the faithful had a strong sense that “properly disposed” for the reception of Holy Communion meant being in a State of Grace and approaching the Eucharist worthily. It would never have dawned on someone to come late to Mass and receive because many who were on time for Mass did not receive. To come forward for Holy Communion after arriving late was understood to be sacrilegious. With regard to the question on how late one could arrive and still fulfill the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday, one manual states, “It must be a complete Mass, i.e., assistance at it must extend from the beginning of the Mass to the last blessing.” In the subsequent discussion in the manual, anyone who was late or left early committed sin (against fulfilling the obligation) and the ensuing discussion was with regard to whether the sin was venial or mortal with the gravity being determined by how much or what parts of the Massed was missed. All lateness was seen as matter for sin but clarification was made as to when one’s lateness when went from venial to moral, from lesser matter to grave matter. The matter was considered grave if one voluntarily missed that which preceded the Gospel and left early, or if one came in as late as the offertory, or if one missed the consecration. In other words, the gravity of matter was determined by the amount of the Mass missed or the importance of what part of the Mass was missed. Again, we must keep in mind that the discussion centered on fulfilling the Sunday Obligation, which did not mean one had to receive Holy Communion but only had to be present and attentive during the Mass.

In the post Vatican II liturgical reforms, the encouragement for full and active participation was rooted in this same line of thinking. The faithful in attendance should be prayerfully engaged in the whole Mass, from beginning to end. The encouragement also included a more frequent reception of Holy Communion but this did not mean a suspension of the requirements such as being in a state of Grace and approaching Holy Communion worthily. Unfortunately, the pendulum swung to the other extreme and now everyone receives at every Mass with little consideration of being properly disposed. It has reached a point where many seem to believe they have a “right” to receive whenever they want for any reason at all.

It is in this context that there are so many today who have no problem arriving at a church as the distribution of Holy Communion begins and get right on the Communion line. What is wrong with this act is that it is sacrilegious, which is grave matter. This is so because the requirements for full and active participation for the whole Mass are needed in order to be properly disposed. In this regard and in light of the discussion of the gravity of matter from the moral manuals, to be properly disposed demands one be present for the entire Mass, from the opening blessing to the dismissal, and be fully attentive to what is happening at the Mass. Anything less than this would require one to NOT come forward for Holy Communion without being culpable of committing a sacrilege. Thus, one should NOT receive Holy Communion at a Mass to which they voluntarily arrived late and should NEVER receive at any Mass when they arrive at or after the Offertory without being guilty of committing a sin.

Time Flies

Three Years Later

It was on the First Sunday of Advent, 2009 that Bishop Murphy came to Blessed Sacrament and officially installed me as pastor at the 5:00 PM Saturday Mass. Shortly after arriving I quickly found out the reality that comes with being a pastor of a struggling parish. The bottom line, however, is that despite the trials and difficulties of getting a parish on the right track financially (which today overwhelms every pastor), it is always wonderful to see the spiritual growth of the people. It is particularly in the Year of Faith that I am reminded as to the reason for being a pastor -- shepherds must constantly submit themselves to The Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Only in this way can a pastor ensure that Christ’s flock is kept on the path to leads to Eternal Life.

'Tis The Season

Called Advent

I know many people today are convinced we are in the “holiday season” even though there is no such thing. And we are still not in the Christmas Season. Today marks the beginning of Advent. As it notes in the ordo:

“Advent has a two-fold character, for it is a time of preparation for the Solemnities of Christmas, in which the First Coming of the Son of God to humanity is remembered, and likewise a time when by remembrance of this, minds and hearts are led to look forward to Christ’s Second Coming at the end of time.”

Whenever we speak of the Second Coming it means we should have our souls ready for Judgment. Hopefully the next few weeks will be a time of Penance and Preparation for the Second Coming by Catholics and not a time of “carousing and drunkenness” as the secular world has made it. It is not a time of parties and shopping but a time to get on our knees and beg forgiveness!

Come Lord Jesus, Come!

In a Word


I have been searching for a word the past few days that could appropriately express my gut level reaction to the consumerist frenzy that is taking place. If it were merely about the economy, I could live with that. If it were about families coming together in a simple exchange, I could live with that. But the ardent secularists have completely highjacked the Christian ethos and made it a purely consumerist endeavor. There is no longer a consideration of God in anything because God would take all the fun out of our consumerist lust. And the word that keeps returning to me is disgusting. It is especially disgusting to see Catholics betray their own tradition by subscribing to the new order as contrived by the secularists.

In the new order they have established, we have a great number of things to be grateful for but no one to whom we can be grateful. We have a great holiday season but no real holiday to be named. In fact, Christ is to be left out all together. Even in the mind of Catholics, Advent is no longer a recognized season but shopping is. N.B. This change in perspective of Advent and Christmas has occurred in less than a century. What is most disturbing is the number of Catholics who have fallen prey to this trend and have no problem with it at all. In large numbers, Catholics now believe that Christmas is about giving and getting presents and December is about shopping and parties. For most Catholics, the weeks of December are to be spent in malls or at parties and gatherings to celebrate the season (yes, even Catholics now avoid the word Christmas).

Although I have resisted the trend and tried to speak up, I am often labeled a scrooge. If I advocate for a return from the shopping frenzy to Advent and penitential practices, most Catholics tell me I am out of touch and have no idea what it is like today. If I even dare suggest December be a time of prayer and repentance, Catholics respond that Christmas has nothing to do with that and even express perturbation at the thought. Even though we are in Advent, Catholics are already in the “Holiday” mode and are hoping the emotive winter magic occur for them. Case in point - there are already many who have put up trees, lights, winter wonderland decorations on the lawn, and, because they are Catholic, a small Christmas Creche with the Baby Jesus already in it. Heaven forbid you suggest holding off on the decorations and practice self-denial, patience, or waiting in joyful expectation for the Coming of Christ. In this regard, it is the Holiday Season and they will not be deprived one moment of indulgence or winter magic.

Furthermore, in large numbers Catholics have been duped by the transformation of St. Nicholas to Santa Claus by famous artists, Coca Cola, Macy’s and other consumer organizations. In large numbers, Catholics celebrate the secular santa at this time of year because it is all about the jolly fat guy in red whose sole purpose in life is to have businesses get in the “black.” Sadly, even priests preach santa as the reason to be good. Forget about even discussing who the saint really is behind the legend. The real saint has been totally disconnected from history. The modern lie is so entrenched almost no one really knows the actual story of St. Nicholas anymore.

I sometimes wonder if I am the only person left who is distressed by the widespread lying that takes place. We are told to believe in Santa and, once we are old enough and know he is not the one who brings all those gifts, we are coerced by others to perpetuate the lie so as to not spoil it for the children. When I point out to Catholic parents that lying is a sin and they should be truthful with their children, they tell me that it isn’t really a lie, is it? It is just good fun, isn’t it? These same parents will insist they do emphasize the Christmas story, even though the lie is more interesting to children than the truth and the santa figure is going to give them every toy or electronic device imaginable, but Jesus only brings salvation. And then there is the day when the bubble bursts and the lie is found out. What is to stop a child from questioning the veracity of the Jesus story? After all, his or her parents were good liars. And everybody in society went along with the lie. They were all pretty good at it as well. So maybe the whole Jesus thing is a lie also?

Today more than ever Catholics must unite and reclaim the Truth. Christmas is about the first Coming of Jesus and His Own did not recognize Him. Our celebration of Advent is a call to prepare through penance and mortification because Christ will Come Again, not through human birth but as Judge of the living and the dead. The standard for that Judgment has been set by God, not Man. The celebration of Christmas is just a reminder of this extremely important Truth. For those who have forgotten, hear what Linus has to say:


Give Thanks to the Lord…

Today, more than ever, I encourage everyone to resist the temptation to shop or wait in lines for any “sale” that begins at a ridiculous hour. Today should be a day of gathering with Family to Thank God for his great Love. The more we give in to the consumerist attitude, the more the stores will tear families apart.

On this day of Thanksgiving, I wish you and your family a Blessed and Peaceful day!


Forgetting Destroys the Self

There have been a great many depictions in television and other works of a person who suffers from amnesia for one reason or another. While there may be different scenarios of what part of his or her memory was lost, the depiction always remains the same -- the person experiences a tremendous sense of loss without his or her memory. The portrayal always shows a level of frustration and struggle on the part of the person who cannot remember the people and events of his or her life. It is as if they had become a stranger to themselves. As a viewer, I could only imagine how debilitating and disillusioning it would be to feel as if I lost my identity.

Ironically, amnesia is the rule of the day. Too many Americans have forgotten their roots. Too many Catholics have broken from the Tradition of the Church in search of a different way. Too many educators have abandoned tried and true methods in favor of new and different ones. Skeptics and secularists have so demonized the past that no one would want to remember it. As science unfolds and the world seems to change constantly, all things of days bygone must be forgotten so that the new and different can take hold. Especially by the middle of the last century, such was being applied to moral principles and dogmas. It was an age in which the propagation of tolerance meant anything goes and the only intolerance was directed toward anything of the past. This method of forgetting the past should be seen as an induced form of amnesia, which can only result in disillusionment.

Unfortunately, Catholics followed this methodology and decided new must be better. This tendency toward Catholic amnesia could clearly be seen in the middle of last century, especially in the years following the Second Vatican Council. Yet in one of the first speeches he gave as pope, Pope Benedict spoke of a hermeneutic of reform, which really means we cannot forget who we are and cannot interpret the present without reconciling with the past. In anything we do today, we must be true to our history, memories, and ensure they are part of who and what we are today, especially corporately as Church. He pointed out that such is the case when speaking of the council.

Here then is the essence of what is meant by Truth, not that it is new information with each day but that the information of the day reconciles with all time. For the secularists to have their way, they must entice everyone to forget the past and remain focussed solely on the future, which will always be new, different, and an adventure. But to do so is like inducing corporate amnesia -- forget who you are and start with a blank slate and recreate things as we prefer them to be, not what they really are. As Bishop Fulton Sheen noted in his book Old Errors and New Labels (1931), “They are of the school that would deny the very nature of things: free the camel of his hump and call him a camel; shorten the neck of a giraffe and call him a giraffe; and never frame a picture, because a frame is a limitation and therefore a principle and a dogma.”

So is the rejection of the past, our forgetting who we are, the source of the widespread disillusionment so many experience today?


Just When I Thought I Had Seen Everything

For the most part, the local New York media has tended to be very liberal and supportive of progressive candidates for political office. Much to my surprise, two prominent and typically liberal newspapers endorsed Mitt Romney for president today. Both Newsday and The Daily News have endorsed him. In a state where polls indicate he will lose by a landslide, these popular daily papers have gone against the popular trend. For this to happen, there must be a tremendous discontent with the Obama administration by the New York media. If they felt the two candidates were even close, they would side with the popular choice.

Spread the word because they must know something that the majority of New Yorkers do not (but the rest of us have known all along)… another 4 years of the Obama administration would be leave us on the wrong course as a nation.


Hurricane Sandy

A Hurricane of Great Strength

This past week the Northeast was hit very hard by hurricane Sandy. The parish was without power and Internet access for several days. We were very fortunate but there are many in our area and across Long Island who have not been so fortunate. Please pray they are kept safe as the cold has become unbearable.

Voter's Guide

Catholics and Voting

As the elections draw near, Catholics often wonder about voting and what criteria should be considered when choosing a candidate. Of course, the Church does not endorse any candidate but provides guidelines on how to choose one. As part of the process, it may become clear that a particular candidate cannot be voted for because of the policies embraced. Here is a good guide provided by EWTN to assist Catholics in preparing for election day.

Catholic Vote

A Message on Principles

While many seem to believe that the separation of Church and State means that those of faith have to stay out of the political process, that is simply not true. Yes, we are Catholic and have Catholic principles. But those principles belong in the public square. Here is an interesting video produced by CatholicVote.org.

A Pastoral Letter

You Too…

Bishop Murphy has released a new pastoral letter for the faithful in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. It is entitled, “You Too Go Into the Vineyard.” As we approach the Year of Faith, this letter gives us all a chance to reflect on the role we play in evangelization.

Tolerance or Patience

God’s Ways are not Our Ways

Looking at the world today, particularly in the American context, one cannot but notice the moral decline. As the secular dominance in the political and cultural sphere continues to expand we must acknowledge that secular humanist dominance is the reason for the decline. The irony is that much of what is problematic today is given approval in the public sphere due to the repeated calls for tolerance.

In admitting that the secular worldview permeates all levels of education and formation today, we must take into account the secular call for tolerance and the impact it has in moral formation. Forgetting the question as to wether or not the secularists actually practice tolerance themselves, the reasoning behind tolerance is to allow attitudes and behaviors to flourish without interference or guilt. As certain behaviors and attitudes spread, they can then be evaluated. But with tolerance as the primary premise, all acts and attitudes must be taken as initially neutral in the moral realm.

The danger we face as Catholics is that many believers now embrace the tolerance model as the starting point. Once indoctrinated into this worldview, the believer projects tolerance onto God. Many today subconsciously believe that God “tolerates” Sin because human beings can do no better. Even more problematic is that the worldview develops a mistaken understanding that God is indifferent toward moral evil. It is what gives rise to the many who reject the coming judgment and conclude that all will be in heaven. In the tolerant model, sin proliferates and all continue to believe that all things are equal before God.

The error is that God is not tolerant but patient. His patience is ordered toward the Salvation of the soul. The time we are given in this life is meant for conversion and the one converted must constantly seek the grace of Christ so as to live in true freedom. God’s patience is offered as our opportunity to become virtuous and overcome Sin. For many today, there is little acknowledgment of the need for spiritual growth and conversion. As Catholics, we need to recapture the language of patience and preach the coming Judgment. By emphasizing God’s patience, we can implicitly recapture the notion that His patience also has limits and will be exhausted when we reach the end of our earthly journey.


And Forgetting

Each year on the anniversary of 9/11, many pause to remember those who died tragically that day. As part of these memorials, there have been many touching tributes in which the names of the deceased are read. We all know that memories are an important part of the grieving and healing process. But memories of the deceased alone are not enough. Because tragedy is not limited to one religion, these memorials have become increasingly secular and so all we have are our memories. In the secularization process, we are now reaching an outer limit that will bring us to either hope or despair. With Christ in our memories, there is hope. Without Him, there is only despair.

How soon we forget in remembering? How many remember the full churches 11 years ago? There were no planned services… just people coming to God. In the aftermath of such a horrible tragedy, churches across the country were filled to overflowing, and rightfully so. As has been the case in every generation, the most important memorial in the light of human frailty is the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. Yet in accepting the secular grieving process, we have eliminated the memorial of Jesus from the memorials planned.

If the secular continues to dominate the memorial process, is there anything other than despair left in our future?

The Hole in the Donut

The Devil Tends to Fascinate

I enjoy following some of the commentary from Fr. Robert Barron on his youtube channel. In recent weeks, he typically releases a new video about once each week. The number of hits typically levels off around 15,000, which probably represents his regular followers. However, give a video the title, “The Devil” and the number jumps by more than 10,000. Despite our fascination with the Devil, which one professor I had likened to our fascination with the hole in the donut rather than the donut itself, to understand the whole of our Faith, we do need to know more on this topic. Here is his commentary:

September Returns

Summer Coming to an End

After a brief hiatus for the various summer events, it is time to get the blog up to date. Among the things that happened recently, Cardinal Dolan offered the benediction at the Republican National Convention. Unfortunately, the secular stations either cut to commercial or the commentators spoke over him. For the record, he is going to give a benediction for the Democrats as well. Here it is for those who missed it:


Freedom Is Not Just Another Word

The people of the United States have long celebrated their independence on this day. While I am far from home, I still pray for the hard fought freedoms our great country has given to us. As we have reached the final day of the Fortnight for Freedom, may our prayers be effective in opening the eyes of all to see that freedom of conscience is one of the hallmarks our founding fathers made sure would be protected. This particular freedom is most fundamental and should not be taken lightly by any of the citizens of the United States. Although the Fortnight is coming to an end, may all Americans continue to pray for true freedom and also keep this issue at the forefront of political debate in the coming months!

40 Years Ago

The Smoke Rising

It is hard to believe that it has been 40 years since Pope Paul VI offered a homily on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in which he identified many dangers that the people of God were facing. For many people, the homily has been reduced to one line regarding the smoke of Satan entering the temple of God through some crack. However, his words were much deeper and richer than that. In the homily, he has a long section on the place and role of priesthood, both the common and ministerial, and he sees a tremendous loss in the spiritual practices of the whole people of God.

For the most part, the homily is better summarized in the line in which he stated, "We have lost the religious habit and so many other external manifestations of religious life." This loss of daily religious practice has left the people of God in "doubt, uncertainly, problems, restlessness, dissatisfaction, confrontation. People no longer trust the Church; 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 open to the light." What concerned him is that it is this way of life had entered the Church.

The concern for many today should be the line of progression that the late pontiff identified. Indeed, there are many Catholics today that see the Church as a social institution. There are many who see Her teachings as burdensome and stifling. Yet they do not want to leave the pews because they know there is something unique about the Church, they just know not what. So they spend large amounts of time with the television gurus and form a worldview built upon news programs. The furthest thing from their mind is a life lived in communication with God. For this reason, we need steadfast shepherds more than ever -- we need a rebirth of religious life in which those who consecrate themselves to Christ see all things in His Light.


Leaving for a Marian Pilgrimage

Later today I will be leaving for a Marian Pilgrimage. I will certainly try to add updates as time allows but the limitations of access to the Internet may make it difficult.

Site Update

New Link

In an effort to organize the site, I have added a separate page for the Homilies and Audio uploads. From now on they will be on their own feed located here. This section will remain strictly for blog entries and general commentary.

News from Rome

New Bishops for our Diocese

The Vatican has announced that the Diocese of Rockville Centre will receive two new auxiliary bishops, Msgr. Robert Brennan and Msgr. Nelson Perez. They will be ordained on July 25, 2012. Please keep them and the diocese in your prayers.

Site Update

The Question of Sin

For the Season of Lent I published a series on the Question of Sin. Since that time I have been assembling it into a single document and preparing it for upload. I have finally had a chance to finish the process and post it to this site. Please note that the posted version is quite different from what was published in the bulletin, including an addition of the Introduction and Conclusion sections. To read the whole revised version, click here.

Dissent from the Pews

Like Sheep without a Shepherd

It is always interesting, and frustrating, when a Catholic layperson is given a broad audience to speak about matters of Church Teaching while having no clue about the topic upon which he or she is commenting. Bob Keeler is one of those self-styled relativist Catholics who does more harm than good. In yesterday's Newsday, Mr. Keeler wrote an editorial that comes across as if he is an authority in the Catholic Church and has the solution of how to fix the dwindling numbers of Catholics in the pews. Furthermore, he is not only an authority but uses his bully pulpit to demonize those who actually hold a teaching office in the Church as incompetent and inept.

In reading the article, it is quite clear that Mr. Keeler, while a talented writer and faithful relativist, is catechetically illiterate with regard to Catholic Teaching. Throughout the editorial, which we must remember is a personal opinion that is vetted differently for publication than a normal article, he does not address Catholic Theology once. Instead, he offers an emotive argument that he sees as the be all and end all of the exodus of lapsed Catholics. In his article, he notes there are "small settings apart from Mass" where women have a voice. Does he forget the large numbers of religious and lay women who teach in our schools? Does he not think the 40 hours per week that women spend with the majority of young Catholics in classrooms would not wield more influence than the 10 minutes a homilist gets each Sunday?

As his fellow secularists in the liberal media are wont to do, he builds an ad hominem attack rather than one which demonstrates clear understanding of the issue. In this regard, it does not help to characterize the hierarchy of the Church as "not caring about what women think" or to state that the words in canon law are "wrongheaded," as if canon law were written by the whim of a few with the goal of oppressing women. Believe it or not, the ten words he finds "wrongheaded" represent a much deeper theological tradition with regard to the Sacrament of Holy Orders and Liturgy. Canon law is not a book of theology, and thus does not go into the theology that underlies the law, but represents a code built upon theology and Tradition. To erase ten words from canon law would mean that thousands of volumes of theology would also have to be erased. The one who is wrongheaded is the individual who writes an article as if he knows better than the wisdom of the ages or those tasked by Christ Himself with the preservation of the Truth.

And so Mr. Keeler, I thank you for only making the problem worse and inciting anger where none is needed. While you may be able to fill some columns in a newspaper with your latent anger toward the Church, what you have ultimately done is misguide souls with regard to the Truth (based on the comments that are being added to your online article). Despite your attack upon my fellow priests and me who apparently bore you, know that we pray for your conversion to the One True Faith and ask God to have mercy on your soul.

O Beauty Ever Ancient

Source of Renewal

Today the world labors under the dictatorship of relativism, a dictatorship that has left in its wake much confusion and led many astray. At the core of relativistic thought is that, at best, truth is relative to one's perspective, which effectively has come to mean that there really is no Absolute Truth. The burden created by this approach has become great and has made it difficult to preach the Good News revealed by God because many today have been formed in this methodology. Unfortunately, because it is so widespread many Catholics are steeped in it, including priests and religious. In this regard, without a proper appreciation of Truth, it is impossible to understand Catholic Teaching in so many areas, which effectively leaves many Catholics incapable of Evangelizing others.

In recent years there has been much talk of the need for a New Evangelization. The problem this hopes to correct is the lack of faith among Catholics. For the New Evangelization to even have a chance at succeeding and accomplishing the needed renewal in the Church, it will require a great deal from priests and religious first and foremost. At the heart of this success is the "Beauty ever ancient, ever new." These words of St. Augustine reflect his conversion from his worldly pursuits to his rest in the Divine. This particular quote is an apt description of Truth in that it is the same in every generation yet always refreshing.

Those who truly appreciate this Beauty realize contemplating It and taking It in is tremendously refreshing and liberating. Yet they are also quick to realize that It is a Beauty that must be appreciated by the recipient in order for it to be effective. All of the words used to describe It often fall short and so the only thing one can do is invite another to slow down and gaze upon its loveliness. The more who do this, the better the renewal sought in the new evangelization will be. Renewal through an appreciation of the Truth must be the first stage and the embracing of that Truth must be without equivocation. In this regard, every Catholic, priests and religious first, must come to realize that God's "best servant is he who is intent not so much on hearing his petition answered, as rather on willing whatever he hears from" God. God is the Beauty!

In this regard, I can echo St. Augustine's sentiment in saying, "late have I loved you." It is not so much when we fall in Love with the Beauty ever ancient but that we fall in Love with It. As St. Augustine's excitement for this Beauty remains contagious to this day, so must all who have taken in the Beauty let his or her excitement for it be known. For those who appreciate this Beauty, we join the ages in praying, "Lord send out Your Spirit and renew the face of the earth."

The Catholic Vote

The Catholic Faith is NOT Relative

As Catholics we must always remember to vote according to the revealed truths of our Faith. So often in civil elections Catholics think they cannot bring their Catholicism into the voting booth. Nothing could be further from the truth. Catholics must always remember what is at stake each November and take seriously the obligation to be part of the political process and to make sure that our leaders recognize that God's way is not just one among many. It is the Way! The Catholic Vote is important:

Come Holy Spirit

The Feast of Pentecost

As is the case in every generation, the Church needs the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide Her and give Her strength in proclaiming the Good News. The Feast of Pentecost is an excellent time to remember just how crucial the Holy Spirit is in guiding the world in the way of God. With the upcoming elections and the many issues that are creating tension between the Church and the world, now more than ever we should pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the coming months.

Here is an encouragement from Brian Burch who heads the organization CatholicVote.com.

Vicious Circle

In the Realm of Catechetics

Quite frequently I find myself in a conversation in which the era of catechetical failure is discussed. In this regard, it has become very easy to identify and admit that there has been a failure in Catholic Catechesis that has left entire generations of Catholics catechetically illiterate. This is not to say that they learned nothing at all about the Faith but that they were not given the solid foundation upon which the Catholic Faith is built. In fact, it would be more accurate to say that these generations were given teachings they were lead to believe were Catholic when indeed what they received was nothing more than scholarly opinion.

Among the demonstrations of how widespread this illiteracy has become is the recent discussions regarding the HHS Mandate. In this context, I am not referring to the religious freedom aspect, which is important in itself and must be addressed, but to the grave moral evil of contraception. Based on the surveys being release, many Catholics do not know Church Teaching in this regard. Or better yet, they are vaguely aware the Church teaches it is immoral but have rejected it without much thought. In either case, the general Catholic populous does not acknowledge the gravity of the matter and believe that subjective factors determine the sinfulness of contraceptive use rather than its intrinsically evil object.

This error originates in an era in which we can identify the perfect storm. The period in which the failure grew rapidly was one in which errant approaches to Moral Theology were being developed and disseminated. In pervious generations, these theories would have been debated primarily in scholarly circles and eventually corrected before being disseminated to the larger population. Instead, by following a process of ascertaining approval through popularity, these theories were presented in classrooms as authoritative and thus convinced several generations that they were valid and even authoritative.

Alone, this classroom model would most likely not have been sufficient to spread the error so far and wide. Concurrent to these theories were secular schools that promoted a highly subjective and relativistic approaches to morality. The errant Catholic theories were incorporating some aspects of the secular theories, which made it easier for the error to spread. Combine this with theologians who were publicly dissenting from Church Teaching and who were portraying themselves as victims persecuted by the Catholic hierarchy and one can see why it was easy to mainstream the error. Because social engineers were in effect affirming what was being taught even in some Catholic circles, many innocent Catholics came to accept the error as the norm.

Fast forwarding to today, we now have catechetically illiterate Catholics fully convinced that the error is correct and that it is possible to reject Church Teaching and remain a good Catholic. And it is such as these who are teaching in our schools and religious education programs. In this regard, it has become difficult to correct the error because so many are defensive of what they learned. And, of course, many would be partial to a theory that allows one to indulge passions rather than restrain them. The bottom line is that until the circle is broken, the error will propagate itself.

Further complicating the matter is that numbers mean everything today. Nobody wants to see the numbers go down. Yet challenging the error may well result in the numbers going down. The problem in America is that people like to vote with their feet and dollars. If they don't like what is being taught, they join another denomination or just stop coming to church. Or they "send a message" by withholding donations. This methodology is the core of the democratic process.

In all cases, it has become a delicate balance because the Church exists for the salvation of souls but such demands that the Church remain faithful to God and the Truth. Teaching the Truth is difficult and requires a level of patience. Such teaching must be clear and strong without being offensive even though it is reasonable to expect that some will be offended. But it also means that the numbers may have to drop for a period as key individuals begin building the foundation of Catechetical Literacy once again. This process must begin in the schools but the schools need to employ teachers who themselves are faithful to the Truth and the Church. Only then will the vicious circle be broken.

Joseph, The Laborer

Celebrating St. Joseph

One of the ongoing concerns of the modern age has been providing education as a way of making a better society. For this reason, every young person born in America today is told from their youngest age and into their twenties that their lot in life will be school, which will make them better citizens. In fact, those who do not succeed in school, as determined by receiving a college degree, are often said to have fallen short and are looked down upon as being less of a person. Beyond a shadow of doubt, everyone can agree that education is important and has been one of the single most important reasons why Man has been able to achieve so much today.

Now, because both parents are working longer hours (after a life of being educated comes a life of being at a desk), children are beginning school earlier and earlier. In the background of it all have been the social engineers that are trying to build a better society by insisting that a better educated person is a better person. The tools of construction have become smart boards and text books. Every person must be engineered into a better person through this educational model.

Lost in much of the rhetoric today has been the value of labor and the fact that laborers are good persons. Yes, education is important. Yes, people need to be prepared to face the challenges of the world today. But in the evolution of the educational system many have forgotten that one model does not fit all and everyone cannot be an engineer or professor. Everyone needs to grow in knowledge and wisdom but not everyone does so on the same path. In this regard, it is not what someone knows that makes him or her good but that someone is known by God.

As a Church, we have always celebrated the goodness of labor and affirmed that those who learn a trade should be just as esteemed as the nuclear physicist. In celebrating St. Joseph, we also recall that it is God Who "laid down for the human race the law of work." Thus, we must remember that it is not the work we do that makes us human but that as humans we work according to God's design in order to flourish in our humanity.

The Cross and Time

The Enemy?

More than 2000 years ago, Jesus died on the Cross. On that first Good Friday, The Son of God was put to death in his fleshly existence. His Death is victory for you and me. The victory is made clear in the Resurrection, which is a pledge of eternal life for those who believe, those who live faithfully to the end.

The victory of the Cross has always been proclaimed as the victory over Death. But the victory should also be understood as a victory over time itself. The one thing every human being that comes into existence must grapple with is time. While no one knows how much of it he or she will get, the fact is that he or she will have it for one purpose only -- as the gift of God's patience.

During Easter, we look to the Resurrection, not as a historical event but as an event that transcends time. During the Easter season our attention turns to the End -- to the resurrection of the dead. Throughout the centuries, philosophers and theologians offered reflections on time and how to understand it. However, modern science has given the impression that time can be defeated by helping people to prolong this life. The result is that time is seen as an enemy rather than a gift.

As the Church continues to celebrate Easter, every believer should take some time to reflect on time itself. Despite the improved longevity we now enjoy, our time is a precious gift in which we are asked to embrace the Cross. In the time we are given, if it is used well -- for the greater glory of God -- then through the resurrection time becomes eternal.

Christ Risen!

The Truth Be Told!

Throughout Easter Week, the most solemn liturgical week of the year, the Church keeps proclaiming the Joy Christians have in the Resurrection of Christ. Each day of the week following Easter is a Solemnity in the liturgical calendar. Ironically, particularly after seeing increases in Mass attendance during Lent, the Octave of Easter tends to be a week for people to slow down and many do not come to daily Mass.

It is good to remind ourselves that this week is a week to celebrate Christ Risen! There is no better way to celebrate than through the Eucharistic Banquet. After spending the weeks of Lent, at least symbolically, in sackcloth and ashes, we are encouraged to celebrate the Joy our penance brings about. May the Octave of Easter instill the hope in Resurrection for each one of us so that our Joy may be full.

Easter Homily

Jesus Christ is Risen

For those interested, here is a copy of the homily I gave Easter Sunday, 2012. Easter is truly a Joyous Season and it asks us all to profess our faith with a renewed and deeper conviction. Today, more than ever, Catholics need to recover the sense of Easter Faith and recall that true Joy is rooted in the hope of Salvation and the Resurrection of the Body. Today more than ever we need the Church to proclaim the Good News: Christ is Risen!

God Bless and Happy Easter!

Christ is Risen!

He is Truly Risen!

The Church proclaims with great Joy that Jesus Christ is Risen from the Dead! Happy Easter and may God fill you with Hope on this Feast of Eternal Life! As would be expected, Pope Benedict offered a very insightful homily at the Easter Vigil.

Bring It On

We Can Take It!

The infamous Richard Dawkins recently spoke to a group of atheists in Washington D.C. During his speech he called for atheists to come out and openly mock Christians and Catholics for their beliefs. As is the case with other secularists, he did not address the teachings he disagrees with or why they are wrong. Instead, he made general statements and slurs against believers and rejected doctrine generally but did not substantiate any reasons for his rejection. Rather, he preferred to use a quasi-ad hominem attack and encouraged others to do the same.

So in response to his query, I do say that I firmly believe and know that the substance of bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ through the invocation of the Holy Spirit. This knowledge does not come from the puny methodology of the physical sciences but through minds much greater than his. From this, I guess he will now "ridicule" and "mock" me publicly. If that be the case, the only thing I can say is, "Bring It On!"

And So It Is

Hard to be Truly Catholic

We are certainly at a cross road in the Church. It is very difficult to determine where the line is drawn and whether or not it is time to take action. A priest made a decision based on the facts before him to deny Holy Communion to a lesbian who had made her orientation known to him beforehand. As is the general rule, unless there is the possibility of public scandal, anyone who presents himself or herself for Holy Communion should not be denied. The sad reality is that today there are many who receive Holy Communion while in an unworthy state (i.e., not in a state of Grace) while others use the opportunity to "make a statement." Those unworthy should not come forward to receive and certainly should not put the priest in a difficult pastoral circumstance, especially if he is aware of a person's state.

Canon 915 speaks of denying Holy Communion to someone in manifest grave sin. The key here is that the sin is public and there is no equally public sign of contrition or remorse. By the same token, the sin must be "manifest," which means that it is clear and obvious to others. If it is manifest, then something need be done. The hard question is "what?"

While there is not easy way to deal with such a situation, the Church needs to take the opportunity to catechize the faithful about Sin and being in the state of Grace in order to receive Holy Communion. Generally speaking, most people who should refrain from coming forward for Holy Communion still come to receive. In these cases, the sin may not be "manifest" and thus the person should not receive on his or her own initiative. But most today do not understand this to be the case and still present themselves nonetheless.

In this regard, the U.S. bishops have prepared a document meant to teach the faithful about receiving worthily. Like so many other teachings, this particular document should be entered into the growing database of what constitutes catechetical illiteracy. In the end, the responsibility remains on priests, religious, and teachers to work toward correcting the level of illiteracy in helping people attain the Kingdom of heaven. Unfortunately, the catechetical failure has been widespread and will take a long time to correct. It has to start somewhere and maybe this situation can be a starting point for many.

Insulted Again

News Media Attacks the Priesthood

On News 12 Long Island, Sean Bergen did a piece for Valentine’s Day. He presented himself as one having trouble getting a date and needed some flowers to help. When showed a beautiful arrangement, he said something to the effect, “If this does not do it for me I am totally pathetic and should probably consider being celibate and joining the priesthood or becoming a monk.” Apparently publicly bashing Catholicism and the priesthood is still in fashion and still the last acceptable prejudice. For the record, priests are not pathetic guys who had trouble getting dates leading them to settle for something less. The priesthood is a superior path and is filled with healthy men who did not enter the priesthood because they could not get dates but have willingly chosen to give their Love totally to Christ and the Church.

When things like this happen, Catholics should be outraged and should contact the station to let them know such statements are inappropriate and a retraction is in order.

February 14

The Feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius

It is amazing how the secular media and businesses have latched on to St. Valentine and made this particular day so popular. Unfortunately they have stripped the third century saint of his historical connection and substituted the cherubs and hearts. Even more unfortunate is that the great patron saints to the Slavic Peoples are the ones celebrated by the Church today. Sts. Cyril and Methodius are responsible for spreading the Gospel throughout Eastern Europe. It is situations such as these that should make Catholics take notice and resist the attempts by profiteers to usurp our Tradition and Feasts.

Thus, to all of those of Slavic descent, Happy Feast Day!

Job Well Done

Good Homily

A local pastor in the Bronx used the readings this weekend to preach on the diseases in today’s world that destroy Marriages. Here is an audio recording of the homily. This past weekend was World Marriage Day and he was able to show the issues in today’s world that slowly deteriorate Marriages today. Congratulations on a job well done!


We Need to Keep the Ball Rolling…

The recent incursion by the government into religious freedom has mobilized the U. S. Bishops in a way that has not been seen in recent decades. This mobilization is much needed and hopefully will get the attention of the Catholic Faithful. While calling the people to action cannot be an everyday method, it is necessary from time to time to wake up the people. The fact of the matter is that the faithful today are lethargic in regard to the Faith. There are so many reasons for this lethargy. Probably the biggest contributor to this state of affairs is lack of uniform action and teaching. For too long, from one parish to the next or one diocese to the next, people lived under the dominance of relativism, particularly with regard to liturgy and Church teaching. Now more than ever we need the USCCB to unite but that unity must be reflected in Teaching.

The question that remains is whether the bishops will continue to ride the momentum and turn the mobilization into an opportunity for catechesis. The fact of the matter is that most Catholics do not understand the Church’s Teaching on abortion and contraception, much less on a host of many other issues. Coming out of the era of catechetical failure, we now have many Catholics who do not know the depth of the Teaching in these areas. There were leaders in parishes and schools who did not teach the Truths of the Faith and many suffer for it today. Now that the bishops are asking everyone to listen, they can also begin the process of correcting the errors. The process of renewed catechesis must begin at some point and this seems to be an excellent opportunity, hopefully one that will not be wasted.

Creation without the Creator

Can you say Modern Man?

The Office of Readings today includes a section from Gaudium et Spes that offers a strong reminder -- we must always give priority to understanding what something is before trying to discover what it does or what qualities it has. This is especially true with regard to Man because, as the document notes, “Man’s worth is greater because of what he is than because of what he has.” Modern science has been attempting to understand Man through its constant manipulation. With each step, as the Church recalls the epitome of knowledge about Man, science resists as it wants to remove all reference to a Creator and dependence on the Divine for existence. Part of that dependence is the intrinsic value that God has instilled in all things, with the highest value in Man.

Science, in its truest sense, without God becomes a manipulation and deterioration rather than true progress in knowledge. Yet we find this very state of affairs today whenever science, morality, and faith come together. Today, just about every aspect of morality has been undermined by this pervasive approach to reality and the result has been devastating to the personal sense and worth of every person. This was foreseen by the council fathers in the same document that “creation without the Creator fades into nothingness.” If anyone wants to test this prediction, all they need do is look at the growing number of nihilists in the world today.

Fortunately, there is the Church Whose very presence and Teachings is that not only is there a Creator but all things have significance because of Him. If only Modern Man would pause and ponder the beauty of Creation He would encounter the Creator!

New Cardinals

Our Prayers for the New Cardinals

Today, the Holy Father has joyfully announced that there will be
22 new Cardinals created at a consistory to be held in St. Peter’s Basilica on February 18. Among the new Cardinals will be Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York and Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, both of whom were rectors of the Pontifical North American College in Rome.

On the occasion of becoming a Cardinal, we certainly offer our congratulations to the new members of the college but those congratulations would be ineffective if we did not offer our prayers for them as well. So often we are happy for the individual who receives such honors, to the point where we forget the spiritual yoke that is placed around their neck. Thus, we should always keep such honors in right perspective by asking God to help these pastoral leaders remain focused on the Truth, the promulgation of which they are uniquely asked to carry out. Echoing the words of pope Benedict, we should also ask for “
the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, so they may always bear witness with courage and dedication to their love for Christ and his Church."

The Ironic Illogic

The Curious Pattern

Under the Dictatorship of Relativism, many people have come to believe that their own opinion is the final authority, especially when that opinion is verified by a so-called expert. In fact, today more than ever, people seek to inform their opinion with information from the plethora of authorities in a given arena. If there is something happening in the world that involves psychology, they get information from a survey of psychologists. If there is an issue that involves medicine or physical health, they get information from physicians and medical doctors. If there are problems of pollution or other issues in nature, they get information from ecologists, botanists, geologists, and biologists. The list is endless in this regard. And each individual has little problem accepting the information as valid and authoritative, effectively making the information part of their own “opinion” on a given matter. In this modernist approach, expert opinions are sought but, generally speaking, are not taken as the final authority on a particular issue. The gauge today is “does it resonate with MY experience.” And that which does not resonate is rejected.

Yet when it comes to issues of Faith or Truth, the last source of information people usually consult is from theologians or the Magisterium. The Catechism is not seen as something helpful and is often rejected because it is “out of touch with reality.” This is particularly the case in issues of morality, which ultimately has to do with salvation. In these cases, they prefer to survey outside opinions on a given issue, e.g., contraception, and find the one that bests matches their own. Such has left many Catholics under-informed and misinformed with regard to our responsibility to the Truth. Opinion is one thing and facts are another… But Truth transcends all that and all are to remain oriented to the Truth if they are to achieve the salvation of the soul. Thus, when the pope or Magisterium teaches, they are not in the process of expressing an expert opinion. While there are places for theological opinion and debate, authoritative statements within the hermeneutic of reform/continuity reflect the depth and beauty of Truth. Those who hold contrary opinion to the Truth fail to realize that Truth is not under the auspices of opinion. When something is taught authoritatively, even though it may not resonate with a particular individual, all are responsible to accept it.

This is the struggle we have within the Church today and clearly the reason we need to be evangelizing our own. So many modern Catholics are more modernist than Catholic. Those tasked with teaching must hold fast to the Truth, even if it means the “numbers” will take a hit. The first order of business at this point has to be a revival of Catholic education, which first means a revival of religious teaching orders. Here is an interesting homily from a group that is taking the Catholic Faith for what it is -- a way of life:

New Year?

Merry Christmas!

For weeks people were wishing one another a “Merry Christmas” to help combat the secular degradation of the great Feast. The practice is laudable although out of sync with the Church. In this regard, people were wishing a Merry Christmas as early as Thanksgiving weekend and took every opportunity in the weeks leading up to Christmas as they engaged in feeding the consumerist beast. These wishes were extended all throughout Advent, which effectively makes Advent a non-season. By January 1st, many decorations had been taken down and all were making a fuss of the secular feast of New Year’s Eve and Day. Interestingly, more Catholics know the secular rituals for celebrating New Year’s than the Catholic rituals for celebrating Christmas.

On January 1st, the eighth day in the Octave of Christmas, which concludes one of the highest liturgical celebrations of the year, not one person wished me a Merry Christmas. The chorus at the doors of the church were “Happy New Year!” And believe it or not, parishioners were angry and agitated when I responded to their triumphant “Happy New Year” with “Merry Christmas!” When they repeated their wishes, I politely mentioned that the Church celebrated its New Year weeks ago and explained that we were still in the Octave of Christmas. I went on to remind them that these 8 days were to be celebrated with the same honor and dignity as Christmas Day. The puzzled looks were well worth earning the various titles people bestow on someone like me. Sadly, I do not believe any of them got the point and instead will make the issue an
ad hominem attack rather than allow it to be a learning experience.

So many today proudly display signs that call for all to keep “Christ in Christmas” while Catholics are not keeping Christmas in the Christmas Season. It is so sad that even when we attempt friendly and simple correctives to the catechetical failure of the last few generations the response is one of desired ignorance and anger. Today, we have so few opportunities to catechize and evangelize our own and, when we take those opportunities, the response is anger and resistance. If we try to do it in the classroom, no one comes.

So when and how are we to address and correct the mistakes flowing from the era of catechetical failure?

Coming Soon...

If the Contemporary Liturgists had Their Way!

Here is one of those videos that has a sarcasm which captures the trend many think is the solution to empty pews. The scary thing is that this is what many contemporary liturgists would love to see. God willing those days are behind us in the Catholic Church and the Truth of the Liturgy will not fall prey to the contemporary music lovers and liturgists…

For Unto Us...

…A Savior is Born

In the stillness of the night our Savior was born. After these many centuries, it seems we no longer marvel at what happened those many years ago. Think about it, God became Man and was born of a Virgin. The Word that created the universe lay silently sleeping in a manger. God with us… The Prince of Peace in our midst.

Merry Christmas!


Are All Welcome?

A permanent deacon from the diocese of Brooklyn has taken exception to one of the successors of the Apostles in a public forum. As a theologian, I must remind myself constantly that the goal of all communication in the Church is to communicate the Truth and, as a theologian, there is a hierarchical dimension to such communication. A theologian is under the magisterium and the role of the theologian is to assist the communication of the Truth as promulgated by the magisterium. In the world today, the internet has become an important tool for communication and we should utilize it for evangelization. In this regard, however, when we speak of communication and evangelization, we must work for the authentic teachers in the Church, not against them. At the heart of evangelization has always been faithfulness to the Truth. In this regard, the Message preached is not authored by the messenger, who must submit humbly to the Divine Author. Truth is never put to a vote or developed on the basis of a cross section of opinions, as we find in the American secular model that has been adopted by many American theologians and clergy members. The Church is not looking for personal opinion or conjecture in the realm of theology, Truth, and beauty.

In this regard, on October 20 of this year, Bishop Morlino made an excellent point about beauty having to be more than what we enjoy or what pleases us. True Beauty must always conform to the Truth, which it is meant to reveal. Truth is not relative and beauty is not necessarily in the eye of the beholder. This gauge should always be applied to the Divine Liturgy of the Church, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. For many years now, the Latin Rite has been relativized to the point where parishes that border one with another celebrate the Holy Sacrifice radically different from each other. In some cases, the rite celebrated did not conform fully to the Truth and therefore, although the congregation may have enjoyed the performance, it cannot be said that it is was beautiful.

Unfortunately the Church has lived for decades with the rite of father so and so or parish such and such rather than the Rite of the Holy Roman Church. How often we hear that the parish of such and such does a much better Mass than its neighbor or that one prefers father so and sos Mass? Never mind that what is celebrated does not conform to the Truth or to the liturgical norms of the Holy Roman Church. The fact of the matter is that the entire Church is responsible to the Truth, which Beauty always conforms to, and the task of safeguarding of Truth falls to the magisterium.

With regard to the question at hand, we are still dealing with a period following the Second Vatican Council in which theologians, musicians, priests, deacons, and liturgists were steeped in an errant understanding of social justice. Yes, the Church does engage in a social outreach to the poor and lost. Yes, the Church does feed the hungry and house the homeless without judgment. Yes, if someone knocks on the Church’s door looking for bread, he or she will be fed regardless of what that person has done. Every missionary for the Church sent to any part of the world to help the poor has always done so willingly and without judgment. But every missionary also preached repentance and conversion, a dimension that was lost in the social justice of the aforementioned. While the Church gives every Man what is due him in Justice, no Man will be allowed to violate the Justice of God. Unconditional acceptance and tolerance of “all” is not at the heart of social justice. Those who bought into the post-Vatican II errant form of social justice have desired to form a Church that is reduced to the level of broken Man rather than raising broken Man to the level of Christ in His Church. This approach is formed on an inadequate anthropology and an errant ecclesiology.

This mistaken anthropology has been woven into musical and liturgical themes in the St. Louis Jesuit - Marty Haugen - David Haas genre of liturgical music. In this genre of music are sub-themes built on the Promethean American secularism that has made Man His own end and sees all the problems we face today in the hands of Man Himself. In fact, this mistaken humanism was identified in Pope Paul VI’s Christmas message in 1969. This error has lead some to dream dreams and imagine a world formed by John Lennon rather than God. In this secular driven model, if we all would just hold hands, tolerate one another, and accept each other’s faults the world would be a better place. Don’t talk of sin and error as we know that Man is broken. Yet the Church is the institution of Salvation established by Christ with Her members ordered to God as their end. Broken Man is restored only in Christ. The Teaching aspect of the Church has been entrusted by Christ to St. Peter, the other apostles, and their successors, an aspect that keeps the Salvation of the Soul as its primary focus. The ordinary universal magisterium, which is constituted by the bishops in union with the successor to St. Peter, is tasked with maintaining and teaching the Truth. At the heart of restoring Man’s brokenness is repentance of Sin and the Grace of the Sacraments.

Like it or not, Bishop Morlino, although he does not enjoy the charism of infallibility in himself, is an authentic teacher and legitimate authority in the Church. Great care should be taken when disagreeing with something a bishop presents, particularly when he is doing so as an authentic teacher of his flock. It is not the place of a deacon or a priest, within the bishop’s diocese or outside it, to use a public forum to express a personal opinion in opposition to any bishop’s statement. At best, such should be done in a private communication and, if it is agreed that a mistake was made, it is up to the bishop to make the correction public. In reading the bishop’s article, he was not being capricious in judgment or stating something he personally thought -- he was taking an opportunity to teach his flock about a particular Truth, especially with regard to that which is our source and summit. In this regard, there is a real difference between social outreach and worthiness of the Kingdom.

As for those whose ecclesiology is steeped in the 1960s, 70s, or 80s, an era in which public dissent in the Church became a badge of honor and individualist secular theologies were presented as authentic teaching, it is time to allow the authentic teaching of the Church to permeate Her members at all levels. The “Hermeneutic of Discontinuity” and rupture must end if a true reform is to occur in the Church today. This particularly applies to a deacon who has set himself over a bishop by publicly saying, “Sorry, bishop, but you are wrong.” Such a statement is prideful and divisive at best. This deacon continues his defense of “All are Welcome” by using a description of the Church as outlined in “The New Colossus” rather than the one contained in Scripture. Thus, his description and defense go against the words of Christ Himself. In this regard, a careful reading of the parable from Matthew 22:1-14, which was the Gospel reading the Sunday before the bishop wrote his column, indicates that all are invited but not all will come. And of those who come, not all are worthy to remain at the Feast and will be cast out. All are invited but all are not welcome due to Sin and the damage Man suffers in His brokenness.

As the bishop himself noted, “All are welcome at the liturgy who truly seek salvation in and through Jesus Christ, by following God’s Will, as spelled out through His Son’s very Body, the Church. People who have little interest in doing God’s Will don’t fit at the liturgy. And certainly, by their own choosing, the poor souls who suffer in Hell for all eternity are not welcome.” It is best that we all keep in mind the words of St. Paul to Timothy (2 Tim 4:3-4) which describe this generation:

“For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.”

How Easily We Forget

Holiday Season?

Every year the same tension runs through this country about the “reason for the season,” as if there were something to debate. The sad fact is that so many have forgotten that it is not about spending or gifts… we are preparing for the Coming of Christ! Here is a great reminder for us all!!

Come Lord Jesus, Come

The Passing of a Generation

There is a stark contrast at most funerals these days. So often the person who has died is in their 70s, 80s, or 90s and can easily be described as a “good Catholic,” i. e., one who believed in Jesus and the Blessed Mother and who went to church every week if not more often. The description of the deceased often includes his or her daily recitation of the rosary, that he or she was a member of the Rosary Society or Holy Name Society, and that he or she was devoted to his or her spouse for 40, 50, or 60 years of marriage. The deceased is further described as being a person of good character and, although stern, could not harm anyone. He or she is typically seen as someone who brought joy to the family and was the one who held the family together, the latter especially being applied to matriarchs.

Those who pass today at an advanced age are part of a generation that would have every reason to be a nihilist. These are people who lived through world wars and serious economic depressions. These are people who have watched the rapid changes of the world and seen many of its effects, good and bad. This is a generation that had few material possessions and yet were still tremendously generous in what they gave away. This is a generation that knew hunger and yet always makes sure others are fed first. This is a generation that walked to the local stores for their daily bread and was thankful for the one car that was used to get to work. This is a generation that wore their “best” to church and understood why modesty was important. This is a generation that never asked for anything in prayer for the self and yet was always praying for someone. This is a generation whose faith and love of church was never up for negotiation, whether in good or bad times.

Sadly, at their funerals one finds younger generations who come to mourn them. There are usually tell tale signs from these that their lives are steeped in hedonism and moral decadence. They come to the funeral dressed like forty-second street night workers or rap stars. Their bodies are scarred with tattoos and piercings. The bring their “significant other” who may or may not be of the opposite sex. They are not sure how to act or what to say while in a church building. They roll their eyes throughout the service and keep looking at their watches. Based on the dynamics, their family lives are steeped in brokenness through divorce and social upheaval. They all have the latest gadgets and leave individually in the top of the line cars. They are often described as a generation that is emotionally and spiritually bankrupt. They form a generation that willingly pays large sums of money for counselors and yet are never truly satisfied or happy. They see the answer to problems in chemicals and scoff at the possibility that prayer could be the real answer. Their very actions and lives were the biggest concern of the deceased. And ironically, this is a generation that is angry with God Whom they blame for all their troubles.

For sure, the deceased was most likely deeply concerned and prayed daily for those who come to mourn them in death. The deceased most likely spent sleepless nights knowing of the spiritual mess the lives of their children and grandchildren has become. At this point in history, much more needs to be done as this chasm has developed within a short period of time, only one to two generations, and it is widening at an astronomical rate. Those who come to mourn are the children and grandchildren of the deceased and yet based on an objective evaluation of the faith lives of all present, one would think that the mourners did not know the deceased at all.

Yes, the devil has been successful and moving at a very rapid rate. To those who have eyes to see, the Signs are all there… He will Come to Judge the living and the dead.


The Role of the Permanent Deacon

The Diocese of Rockville Centre has put the permanent diaconate formation program on hold for the time being in order to reevaluate it. As the seminary program is in transition, so too the other formation programs. As part of the process they are taking polls of the clergy, a method that is highly limited in its scope and will yield little data in response to the question at hand.

It is interesting after these many years of ordaining deacons in large numbers that there is still a lack of clarity regarding the permanent diaconate. This review is long overdue and hopefully there will provide greater clarity with regard to the theology of the order as it seems that this question remains open. Everyone is clear about saying what a deacon should do but few are saying what a deacon is. The latter needs to be addressed first.

When the whole process is complete, will the hard decisions be made and implemented? Time will tell...


The Dwindling State of Marriage

A recent survey has confirmed what many priests already know -- that young people are not getting married. Instead, many are now deciding to live in illicit situations. This trend only further confirms the disparagement of Marriage that has been taking place for many centuries and the desperate need the Church has to rekindle Her catechesis in this area. For centuries, the devil has been attacking this primordial Sacrament and seeking to destroy the family. Based on the current state of affairs, it seems that the effort are paying off. Fortunately, the USCCB has been responding even if most Catholics have not seen the fruit of their work.

Today more than ever the Church, especially in the United States, must begin putting a great deal of effort and resources into catechesis for the family and marriage. Here is the epicenter of the New Evangelization and it is in this area that the greatest hope will be produced.

Ad Hominem

The Man or the Message

Every now and then it is helpful to imagine an important historical figure in today’s world. For instance, St. Augustine is one of the most important figures in Church history. His writings clarified many of the doctrines of the Church and influence Her teachings even to this day. Yet if the great saint were to come preaching today, the media would have a field day because of his past. They would reject his preaching and teaching through an ad hominem attack and rally the masses to avoid his writings.

As case in point, there are many who are mocking the Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow simply because he is overtly Christian. Forget what he has done on the field or what he has proclaimed with his life. For all his accomplishments, he has been mocked by fellow players and told to keep quiet by the media. At the center of it, they are waiting for him to make a moral mistake or for something to surface so that they can finally discredit him and with him his message. Of course, because we all possess a corrupt nature, the vultures will probably find something to feast on. In the interim, notice how little time the media give to the message he delivers. Notice how little time they give discussing his ability as a quarterback. All are just waiting for him to stumble so they can write the fallen angel article and disparage Christianity once again.

As the Catholic Church knows well, we always need to focus on the message of Christ because the messengers are unworthy. So why does the secular world despise Christ and His followers so much?

Time Flies

The Old Adage Applies

It is hard to believe it was three years ago already… Time truly flies!


Weeds and Wheat

The Seeds Have Been Sown

Admittedly there has been great focus placed on Catholic schools every time we talk about Catholic Education. However, there is a danger of becoming myopic in regard to Catholic Education by believing that it is the sole responsibility of the schools. Indeed, the schools have become an icon of Catholic Education but we must take great care of limiting the discussion to schools alone. Often lost in the conversation is the fact that the parents are the primary educators and formators of their own children. Priests, religious, educators, and catechists must always accept their secondary status in the process. However, the latter are tasked with the preservation of the Truth in the overall education process, which requires an ownership of that Truth in daily life.

In the thirteenth chapter of St. Matthew’s Gospel we find a series of parables and Jesus’ explanation of them. This chapter marks a midpoint for the Gospel of Matthew. In this chapter are two parables regarding the sowing of seed. The first deals with the soil in which seed is sown and the second with an enemy who secretly sows weeds among the wheat. In the first parable, responsibility is placed upon the cultivator of the soil to ensure the soil is properly disposed to receive the seeds of Grace sown by Christ. In the second, the fruit of what is sown by Christ must be preserved amidst the deceptions of the enemy.

For many decades, the devil has been sowing weeds within the Church. Obviously when dealing with parables it is imperative that we keep in mind the Truth the story is communicating. Wheat and weeds are not interchangeable yet Jesus makes it clear that the good seed are the children of God and the weeds the children of the evil one. Those who get the point can easily see that the difference between the two has to do with morality and Truth -- virtue and vice. Anyone can be a child of God through Baptism. But to remain in that state requires a virtuous life that is frequently infused with Grace. What constitutes a virtuous life is not under the domain of Man as in the objective order its content has been established by God. The wheat is all who are in a state of Grace and remain committed to a life of virtue as established by God.

Anyone can be a child of the evil one by renouncing the Grace of God and rupturing the connection to Him through Sin. Only a repentant soul can receive Grace and bear fruit in virtue. The enemy sowing seeds does so by using deceit. In the field of the Church, the seeds of deceit have been sown and many even believe that the weeds are good. Yes, there are those who today point at weeds and call them wheat. As silly as that sounds, there are those who uphold sins that are clearly contrary to God’s Commands as something good. Easy examples today are abortion and contraception, sterilization and in vitro fertilization, divorce and remarriage, homosexuality and fornication, etc. All of these are contrary to the Law of God and yet many Catholics embrace them as normal and good.

Thus, it is not necessary to look beyond the walls of our own Church to see that such is the case and that it has been documented repeatedly over the last few decades. The doctrine of the evil one begins with the loss of a sense of Sin. But notice also how this loss is also connected to the loss of a sense of God and a later apathy toward the Church and Truth. Today, many Catholics simply do not care about what is True virtue and what is Sin. If seeds of deceit are to be sown, then it would require weeds to be convinced that they are wheat, even though they are not.

Today more than ever Catholics need to work on purging themselves of the doctrine of the evil one that has them convinced they do not sin and have no need for reconciliation. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is central to providing wheat with what it needs to be wheat. Yet the evil one has even weekly churchgoers convinced that they do not need the Sacrament of Reconciliation as only about 12% go to confession more than once a year and only 2% monthly. It is not that this situation developed overnight or that it will disappear overnight. The seeds have been sown and have grown over time. But the first step to turning this trend around will have to come through the priests and religious who will have to regain control of the Catholic Education process by themselves becoming wheat. One cannot give what one does not have.

As noted previously, to get the education process on track, the messenger needs to own the message. Priests and religious must own the message of reconciliation and the only way to do so is to be regulars of the Sacrament themselves. Without frequenting the Sacrament themselves they fall prey to the doctrine of the evil one and may eventually become the weeds of deceit. From the priests and religious who own the message, then the educators, the primary ones being the parents, the catechists, and the faithful will also come to own the message. To own the message, priests, religious, educators, and the faithful must all be making a concerted effort to being wheat themselves, first and foremost. Without such a commitment, the spiral downward will continue.

Particularly in the post-scandal era of the Church, we must become more aware than ever of the need for repentance and the lingering effect that Sin can have on a community. It is not that priests sinned or broke the law that need to be highlighted any longer as that has been documented. It is the ensuing call to repentance and a return to Grace that should begin to form the message today. Without repentance and the Grace of Reconciliation the weeds will continue to strangle our Faith and impede the ability of the Church to bring souls to Christ, which is what must be at the heart of all Catholic Education. Those entrusted with the formation of souls to be wheat in the field -- priests, religious, parents, educators, and catechists -- must be wheat themselves. As Jesus tells us, “why worry about the speck when there is a plank of wood…”

And so we hear the Baptist’s cry from the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths.” The message of repentance issued by John the Baptist is as imperative today as it was then! Before any reform of Catholic Education can take place, those tasked as leaders in the formation process must heed the call to removing the plank through the Grace of the Sacrament. And the key to the whole process is to remember that we are never done repenting…

Site Update

Article on Marriage

Earlier this year when the New York State senate was preparing to vote on the legalization of same-sex marriage, I wrote a series of articles for the parish bulletin on the Catholic Understanding of Marriage. I have finally had a few moments to compiled the series into a single document and updated it. It is now available on the Various Writings page of this site.

N.B. The last tab on the page contains a PDF of the entire article.

Called to Evangelize

The New Evangelization

It seems with each passing day that the term “New Evangelization” is used more and more by the hierarchy of the Church. In times past, Evangelization meant the sending of missionaries to distant countries in search of peoples to whom they could share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Over the centuries, these missionaries brought the message of Salvation to the whole world. Although we speak of it in terms of “New”, missionary activity has been at the core of the Catholic faith from the time of the Resurrection until today.

Ironically, the call for a New Evangelization is not directed to missionaries or even to have missionary activity per se. It seems we have reached a point in which we must be evangelizing those closest to us, even those who have already accepted Baptism. The New Evangelization is directed toward our own who are very much in need of hearing the Gospel message anew. Based on the Pope’s recent remarks, the New Evangelization efforts should be directed primarily to families. As we all know, the family is the domestic church and if the Gospel message is to spread today, it will begin with families “becoming what they are.”

Too often today families are told to conform our their values to the spirit of the age. We are often told by the various secular authorities that we need to conform our understanding of “family” to the reality as we find it. Yet families are torn apart, marriage has been trivialized, and love has been reduced to mere physiological urges. Yet in the plan of God from the very beginning, the family was to be a Communion of Persons which was revealed in the Sacrament of Marriage. To evangelize today we need to understand the permanence of Marriage and Its place in the Communion of Persons that is the Family. The constant rupture of that Communion in the world today leaves in its wake a total obfuscation of the Good News and the Truth that is revealed in every age by God. Beyond a shadow of doubt, the message of the New Evangelization must be the stability of Marriage and Family.

Thus, if the New Evangelization is to take hold, it first needs a greater focus on what Marriage and Family are in themselves. We must resist the temptation of trying to conform the understanding of family to a fallen perception of them and help them to become conformed to what God intends for them. Ironically, it has been 30 years since Pope John Paul II offered tremendous insight into this mystery called Family and it is over the same period that the understanding of Marriage and Family has deteriorated precipitously. Thus, it should be clear that the first step of the New Evangelization should be directed toward the Family, which implicitly means that we must work toward a renewed sense of the permanence of Marriage. For this step to be successful, all will have to admit the catechetical failure and implement correctives to assist the family in coming to know what it is and working to conform itself to that reality as ordained by God.

More Meaning?

The Modern Attack on Meaning

Today more than ever we must remain keenly aware of the “Dictatorship of Relativism,” which at its core employs the well-intentioned “meaning” maneuver. For the relativist, meaning is matter of perception and under the dominion of Man. In this model, Man believes that he can create or change meaning by changing elements and perspectives. This process has insinuated itself deep within certain circles in the Church today.

For instance, for decades there were those who experimented with various aspects of the Sacred Mass in an attempt, as someone recently noted, to make it more meaningful. Such a statement completely ignores the Truth of the Mass which was established by Christ Himself in the original Triduum and continues to be revealed to us to this day. The meaning of the Sacred Liturgy is in se. Nothing an individual perceives or does can change, add, or subtract from what Christ did and does in perpetuity in the Mass. Our responsibility is to enter into the mystery as it has been handed to us through the great Tradition of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

Today we suffer liturgically in the Church because there are many priests, deacons, religious, and so-called liturgists who are under the dominion of the Dictator and feel compelled to thwart the meaning that already is the Liturgy. Yes, their intention is to help but a relative perspective can never be better than the great Tradition handed to us from Christ through the apostles and their successors. As these new translations are implemented, the hope is that many will come to know the Truth of Christ’s Act that is the Mass and come to realize that we need not do more -- we just have to let what is speak for itself.

So to all who participate in Holy Mass, be faithful and obedient.

The End of an Era

The Seminary of the Immaculate Conception

The bishops of the three downstate dioceses in New York have announced the formation of a new inter-diocesan seminary that will take effect next year. There is no doubt that the move was necessary and long overdue. The new union will be a great benefit for all those in formation as it will allow the three dioceses to put the best of their resources into future priests.

The sad reality is that these two great institutions that were once filled to overflowing have been reduced to one institution that still will not be filled. Yes, it is a good move. Yes, it is also a sad commentary on the state of priestly vocations.

The Harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for His Harvest! - Matthew 9:37-38


The Church in all Her Beauty

Fr. Robert Barron has put together a video series on the Church. Hopefully every Catholic will see it. Here is the trailer for it:

The Fall

Our Fallen Nature Still Befuddles The Secular

Anyone who follows anything in the news media can see just how puzzled the secular world is regarding the presence of Sin. The most recent revelations coming from Penn State are case in point. They still wonder how such could happen and why the powerful would “cover up” the “sins” committed. The piece of data they will not admit is the propensity to Sin in all of us. These actions are puzzling and even the best watch dogs will still miss the indicators unless they start with certain basic premises. 1) fallen Nature is inclined to Sin and left to itself will fail in virtue; 2) science cannot remedy that inclination; 3) even those tasked with responsibility are tainted with the same Nature; 4) purity of heart is possible but not without Grace; 5) the answer to all their questions is Jesus Christ!

What is more disturbing with the recent revelations is that the media has dropped the investigation for the most part and has left the reporting to the sports reporters since it happened in a sports program. Of course, any investigation will find the same thing in the end -- there was a gross lapse in judgment that was tainted by desires for power and wealth. If all we learn from this are facts and not Truth, Sin will again rear its ugly head somewhere. While we can and must learn from these failures, the only proper solution is that all begin to truly pray and seek holiness of life.

Repentance is and remains the heart of the Gospel message. Until such happens, Sin will continue to plague humanity and confound even the greatest minds. Even though punishments will be meted out for those responsible, such will not prevent these horrific actions in the future -- only repentance will. And True repentance is always coupled with Grace.

The Joy of Seven Billion

Talk about a truly important mark!

Since the middle of last century the flag has been raised on the population growth. While some recognize the beauty of this moment, the Anti-Life groups see the growth as a problem and want to put an end to it. Yet these secular groups with all their science should be proud of their accomplishment because the number is due to a greater life expectancy, lower infant mortality rate, and other medical accomplishments. And as more contribute to the global effort, more good will come of it.

This week the seven billionth person was born. Despite the mainstream media focusing on the doom and gloomists, this is a great moment. At the heart of the fear is a tremendous selfishness and self-centeredness on the part of the “elite” who would prefer to spread the Culture of Death to stem the growth. If someone actually spends a few moments considering the actions of these progressivist population control scientists and social engineers, one would quickly see a form of eugenics behind the thinking. Here we have the educated and modern countries imposing a doctrine on poorer countries to keep them from having children. The only caveat is that these social indoctrinators have imposed the same ideology on their modern contemporaries.

Why are so many afraid of using words like share, help, and charity?

R U Ready 4 It

The Difference Language Can Make

The new Translation of the Roman Missal is long overdue and should be something to which every English speaking Catholic should be looking forward. For years we have used an approved translation that had merit and was completely valid but was filled with many shortcomings, not because of malice but because of language. For those who wonder if there are good reasons for this translation, Anthony Esolen has a response.

The mistake many make today when critiquing the new translation is they want to use words like good and bad or right and wrong. It is not that we had bad and are now getting good. It is not that someone did something wrong and we are now getting it right. While such arguments can be made, it seems they miss the point. The problem that many overlook is that language is revelatory and, generally speaking, we all should be concerned with choosing the right words when communicating with others. The original language, Latin, makes a connection to revelation and this connection was weakened in the current translation. We should keep in mind that the Mass is a form of revelation and it has to remain True to its purpose. Word choice is very much a part of revelation.

Today, many do not appreciate the power of language and word choice. After decades of imprecise speech, many do not realize how much they betray the Truth with the words they use. Language should be about communicating through the revealing of one’s person to another, that is, it should be about establishing a Communion through expressing the Truth. For those who think the new Translation is a matter of picayune haggling over words, there is a depth to language that he or she may not have considered. Probably the best work in this regard is by Josef Pieper called Abuse of Language Abuse of Power.

At this point, the new Translation cannot be implemented soon enough.

Pro Multis

Why Not All?

Not too long ago the Church maintained the Index of Prohibited Books with the intent of helping the faithful to avoid reading anything that contained theological error. Since the index was abolished in 1966, it seems many believe that there is no danger of theological error and so all views are equal. Of course, this is not the case and the task of vetting works for theological error was given to local ordinaries. Unfortunately, we live in an era in which there are many different avenues of spreading error and many local ordinaries have not invested the time and effort to identify these errors.

One of the more common sources of theological error has been the liturgical music that has swept through parishes over the last 40 years or so. Without giving much thought to it, many parishes now sing hymns that are filled with theological error and thus mislead the faithful. One such hymn, All Are Welcome, has recently been identified as suspect by Bishop Morlino. As pastor of a local parish, it is very difficult to deal with these hymns as so many have grown accustomed to them and think they are so “beautiful.” Asking that they not be played only creates tension because surrounding pastors do not see the problem and continue to use them. Today, more than ever, we need more bishops who are willing to make sure that what happens in parishes truly meets the standards of Truth.

Part of the problem with songs like this one is that we have been somewhat mislead by the poor translation of the Roman Missal. While there is much theological debate regarding the translation of the words “Pro Multis” in the canon, the fact of the matter is that the Church realizes the importance of expressing the Truth and has directed episcopal conferences around the world to use the words “For Many.” We know that Jesus extends the possibility of Salvation to all but not all will be saved. That is why Jesus Himself used the words FOR MANY. Unfortunately there are many Catholics today who think all are in the circle, and this is solidified by errant songs like All Are Welcome.

Maybe it is time for dioceses around the world to get serious about correcting theological error in all its forms. Bringing back the Index will not do it as too many would simply ignore it. What is needed today is acknowledgment of the Catechetical failure, which includes the formation given many priests and religious, and begin working on establishing a fundamental catechesis for all believers. Those who reject the catechesis, that is, who reject the Truth, should be informed that their rejection could potentially leave them outside the Many.


Catholic Excitement

Not only is there an identity crisis but a real move to complacency. As the catechetical failure takes its toll, many Catholics are not concerned about the Church or Her Teaching. It is odd that so many want other to listen to them but they do not want to listen to Legitimate Authority established by God.

What makes it very difficult is the number of American Catholics who would prefer a democratic process with regard to Church Teaching. Interestingly, these are the same Catholics who really do not know the Church’s Teaching or where the Teaching originates. Whenever a corrective is offered to help someone understand the Teaching, the usual responses are, “I don’t have time for that,” or, “that’s not important to me.” Yet when Salvation hangs in the balance, getting it right is very important.

Complacency with regard to the Truth has become the norm for many Catholics and what was it that Jesus said about being lukewarm?

A Needed Renewal

The Catholic Identity

So many today speak of the need to recapture the Catholic Identity in our schools and in our Church in general. Has anyone asked when and how that identity was lost? Unfortunately this Catholic amnesia has been growing for decades and the problem has become systemic. The reality is that many Catholics either do not know the Church Teaching on many key moral issues or have rejected the Teaching. To reverse this trend, much will have to be done.

The recent strategic plan for the schools in the diocese has mapped out its goals and the first part is to deal with Catholic identity. By far, this part of the renewal is the most important and needs to have all concerned parties on board with the Truth. If the key individuals are not 24/7 on board with the whole message, the renewal will fall far short of expectations and may even be hindered.

We should call to mind a few of the statistics from the year 2000 with regard to the beliefs held by Catholic School Religion Teachers: only 10% agreed with the Church’s teaching on Artificial Birth Control; 26% fully agreed with the Teaching on Abortion; 33% agreed with an all male priesthood; 54% agreed with the Teaching on the indissolubility of Marriage; 63% believe in the Real Presence.


A Lost Identity

Every caricature of a person with amnesia portrays someone who has effectively lost his or her identity. Often it is the result of a traumatic experience or blow to the head. The most frustrating part for the individual is the loss of identity. The person yearns to remember who he or she really is.

Today it seems this image can be applied to many Catholics. Generally speaking it seems many Catholics have lost their identity and there is a great frustration on the part of many who are trying to remember who they are. The reality is that the Church Herself has not lost Her memory or identity but that many in the Church have. This loss can be directly linked to the catechetical failure and it would behoove Catholics to find out more about our identity.

The hardest part these days is that most Catholics do not attend any classes, even though they are offered, and many only attend an occasional Mass. It is within this framework that the amnesia continues to spread and the identity continues to be lost. Clearly more needs to be done in getting Catholics to know their own identity.

To Judge or Not to Judge?

A Friend in High Places

The expression today still holds true -- it is not what you know it is who you know. This worldly insight has certainly helped many to get what they wanted in this world. If we are wise, we can apply this notion to our Faith lives. As we know from our Creed, Jesus is going to come again to judge the living and the dead. We know that at some point in our existence we will face judgment. Would it not be a good thing to have a Friend in a High Place at that point? Would it not be good to know the Judge Who already knows you better than you know yourself? Yet so many today do not act in such a way as to befriend the Judge.

Sin alienates us from Him while virtue befriends us to Him. The key here is to admit that what constitutes both Sin and Virtue is under Man’s dominion and both have an intimate connection to Grace. When it comes time for judgment the measure of our worthiness will be based on the objective order established by God and all of the circumstantial excuses will not eradicate the sins committed against His Holy Will. So many today seem to act as if there will be a Divine hearing and cross examination on Judgment Day. Others believe that there will be a balance on which their good deeds will be placed on one side and their sins on the other. Their hope is that the balance will tilt enough to the good side to get them through. Remember - it only takes one Mortal Sin freely committed to wipe out all the good actions one does in life.

The only way to be virtuous is to be strengthened by His Grace and the only way to eradicate the stain on one’s soul through sins committed is by His Grace in the Sacrament of Penance. The only way to enter Heaven is through a ourgation of Sin, whether in this life or the next. If you ask me, get it done now!

As Thomas Kempis reminds us:
“What will the eternal fires devour but your sins? The more you spare yourself now and the more you give in to the clamors of the flesh, the more bitterly will you regret it hereafter and the more fuel you will store up for those fires… A man shall be punished most for those sins in which he has offended most.”

Further on he also reminds us:
“Be sorry for your sins now so that on the day of judgment you may be secure in the company of the blessed.”

The best way to befriend the Judge is to completely surrender to His Divine Will in all things and to recognize the Plan He has laid out for entering Heaven. For those who have offended, the only recourse is repentance coupled with Grace. Through ongoing penitential acts, the attachment to Sin can be purged from the soul, a purgation that is necessary for proper purification to enter His Presence. Everyone who wants to be in Heaven one day should recognize the need for the Sacrament of Penance in his or her quest. The only desire one should have every day is to remain in a State of Grace. Those in this State have a friend in the Highest Place and will be able to say that they really and truly know the Judge on Judgment Day.


Diagnosing Laryngitis

Bishop Aquila recently predicted that the state will continue to make attempts at silencing the Church. The bishop has certainly identified a serious issue that he sees growing in the future but did not admit how ineffective the voice of the Church has become in America today. Part of the problem is the fear factor that comes from the numbers game and the subsequent convoluting of the Truth. Proclaiming the Truth will certainly impact the numbers but if it is the Truth the impact will be positive.

At the heart of the preaching today must be the other-worldly dimension of Christian Faith. To approach the people of God with a this-worldly message will only succeed in driving the number down. No one crosses the threshold of a church expecting to hear the same rhetoric that the secularists promote. Yet too many of our own have allowed our message to be watered down with worldly rhetoric and the result has been the serious drop of those in the pews. The problem has been that for too long we have been preaching a counterfeit as if it were authentic. Even the untrained faithful can identify a fake. Today’s shepherds must also identify the counterfeit and note how it has restricted the faithful and themselves. But a return to the Truth will be truly liberating because, as we know, the Truth will set us free!


The Order of Things

One of the great struggles in the world today is being clear on the hierarchical ordering of all things. In the world today, there are many who have completely lost the sense of hierarchical and this loss has resulted in a reduced appreciate of the Truth God has revealed for His Church, to the point of a complete diminishment of It. This loss has contributed to the increase of relativism and poses a serious problem for the Magisterium.

As we know, there is order in Nature with the ordering being hierarchical. The highest being in Creation is Man. This revelation should also be understood in other ways. The Hierarchical also applies to the ordering of Man to God, with God being higher and thus Man being subordinated to God alone. This subordination is important when it comes to the concept of obedience, which Man is impelled to be as the Creature ought to be to the Creator. And the Creator has endowed the Church’s legitimate authority to guide Man in His subordination. God’s shepherds, i.e., the bishops and Church hierarchy, are subordinate to the Shepherd yet are entrusted to Teach those subordinate to them the Way. This has been the case since apostolic times.

Yet in recent centuries this hierarchical structure has been lost and Man now believes He is the master of His own destiny. Such thinking endangers the salvation of the soul because we must always seek to do God’s Holy Will in all things. God is beneficent in giving us the time to submit ourselves to Him and the goal of every life should be that submission. To know that it is done correctly requires a humble submission to the order of all things, which means the lowering of one’s own will before God. All must humbly accept God’s Way, which has been entrusted to the Church and the Truth revealed by God has maintained down through the centuries by the Magisterium. Those who do not submit to the hierarchy of the Church and Her Teaching are effectively rejecting God.


The New Evangelization

One of the recurrent themes over the last decade has been the need for a New Evangelization. Traditionally, the notion of evangelization was to bring the Gospel message to those who have not heard about the Christ. This message was one of repentance and prayer. Ironically, today the call for a new evangelization has been focused on bringing the Gospel message to areas that were traditionally Christian.

In either case of evangelizing, the ones who brought the message had certain qualities that brought credibility to the message. The first was a holiness and prayerfulness of life. Catholic Missionaries were not agents of social improvements or societal development. They were messengers of Salvation who lived the message preached. For such to be effective the message must be owned by the messenger.

Here, then, is the key to the new evangelization -- that all be called to a holiness of life, especially those who are called Catholic. It is not as if this is something new as we were reminded at Vatican II that the universal call for every human being is to holiness. Responding in prayer and virtue is necessary if the Gospel message is to take root today and it will be those who themselves repent and pray that will be most effective in the evangelization process. Thus we must all remember our call to Pray, Pray, Pray!

St. Therese

The Inspiration of Innocence

St. Therese of the Child Jesus sought holiness from a young age. In fact, her desire for holiness was great that she consecrated her life to Christ in the Carmelite Order at the age of 14. Her story is one that inspires to this day. Even in this mixed up age in which innocence is so frequently lost at younger and younger ages, people are still impressed and inspired by her desire for holiness at such a young age.

Today more than ever we should seek to return to a simple approach with regard to family life -- what is needed is a return to core families living the Gospel values. This message has been echoed for decades by the Church and yet so many still think that cultivating future generations in worldly values is beneficial. With Gospel and true family values at the center of our homes, our children would echo the words of St. Therese and the vocation crisis would be quickly reversed:

“Nearly ecstatic with the supreme joy in my soul, I proclaimed: O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and thus I will be all things, as my desire finds its direction.”


Charity and Prayer

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Vincent de Paul. His life and teachings could certainly be lost if we did not pay careful attention. St. Vincent de Paul once noted that, “If a needy person requires medicine or other help during prayer time, do whatever has to be done with peace of mind. Offer the deed as your prayer.”
The importance in this statement is not the priority of charity but of prayer. In this statement, he is not saying that serving the poor is more important than prayer. The key is that one is often in prayer and has to interrupt it to help the poor. The only way to offer the deed as prayer is to be a truly prayerful person. The one who prays a lot will have to be interrupted from time to time. Thus, only from a person who prays often is the interruption capable of being prayer because it is a continuity of what he or she is always doing.


Where to pray?

Everyone wants to pray but most do not know the best way to pray or, more accurately, the best place to pray. In fact, every person of faith knows that prayer is essential to their faith life but so many do not know how to pray. Part of the problem has to do with the first phase of True prayer -- moving from distraction to meditation.

Today many people believe that prayer can be something done anywhere at any time, which in a sense has some merit. They pray in the car... They pray while exercising... They pray in the living room... All the places where much of their life "happens." But so few give time to praying in the best place -- in church! Why do so many believe they can achieve True prayer when they always pray where they are distracted? Here is where the problem begins for those who claim to pray when in fact they are actually mired in the stage of distraction.

When most people ask about prayer, it only takes a few questions to diagnose the problem. The fact of the matter is that they are distracted and have chosen to pray where the distractions are most numerous. Real and True prayer must get beyond the first stage if it is to be authentic. Yet how many never really pray in church and wonder why they are so distracted?

Even when the problem is diagnosed and the person is sent to the church to pray, they rarely get past the distractions because they are not willing to give it the time needed. The reality is that most people are frightened by the silence because it puts them in God's presence and they realize just how far from God they are. Yet the best place to pray is in church and it requires a good amount of time and effort to be True prayer. Just sitting in church marks a beginning but should not be taken as an end. And when the silence begins to feel uncomfortable, that is when the movement from the first stage is just beginning. But that movement is overwhelming because we know that we are unworthy of being in God's presence... So most convince themself that the distracted prayer is enough.

The whole process, as w can see, rests on the place where we pray. It is not enough to recite words if we truly want to be closer to God -- we must really make the leap of faith... Into silence before His awesome presence!!!

Shepherds Today

The Last Bargaining Chip

Many pastors and parishioners today want to create or recreate their parish in a worldly image. For decades the Church has been besieged and infiltrated by the dictatorship or relativism and the effects have been devastating. It is imperative that Catholics take note of the process and admit how it has impacted. It is even more important that priests and pastors keep focus on the Nature of the Church in every moment of every day and remain faithful to Her alone.

The first problem many note is that they come to Mass but are not being fed. When asked, they complain that the homily was not good or they could not understand father. Such statements betray the catechetical failure in that being fed at Mass is with regard to the Grace communicated through the Eucharist. The starvation comes from those who approach unworthily and such seems to be expanding exponentially. Unfortunately, many priests take such comments as part of a popularity contest and try to “attract” more people to “his” Mass or “his” parish through entertaining the people in the pews. But playing with the liturgy and only giving “feel good” homilies betrays the reality of why Christ instituted the Mass in the first place.

The fact of the matter is that Christ established the Church and it is He Who acts at the Mass. It is His sacrifice on the Cross that feeds us. It is His Blood poured out that sanctifies. All priests and Catholics must begin from this position and accept the Truth. We are not in a sales game as the Church is not a product to be consumed or a place to be entertained. It is the vehicle for Salvation. Unfortunately too many priests in recent decades catered to the whims of those before them in an attempt to avoid offense and possibly drive people away. Yet more have left the Church during that period and the numbers continue to drop. Could the problem have stemmed from negotiating with the world rather than pursuing Salvation.

The problem today is that we have Americans sitting in the pews and, in many cases, not true Catholics. They approach the parish as a consumer and believe that they should get what they want. For decades, pastors and priests “negotiated” with aspects of the Mass and chose to entertain relativistic notions rather than uphold what the liturgy is.

Now, those who are dissatisfied with one aspect or another believe that they must take action if their wants are not met. This usually plays out in the numbers game... The two most common final bargaining chips made by parishioners today are: “I guess I have to changes parishes,” or “I am going to have to withdraw my financial support.” These are American bargaining chips, not Catholic. If all parishes and parishioners were truly Catholic, there would be little or no difference from one parish to the other and if such chips are played the result would be the individual endangering his or her own Salvation.

If all things Catholic are up for debate then playing the last bargaining chip would mean that Salvation is not the reason for the Church. Is this the Church people want?

The Right Focus

As Believers We Must Keep Focus

There are those who would say that the tendency for Man toward the secular is a new struggle but, for those who study history, it has been around since the Fall. All human beings are tainted by Original Sin and all tend to desire only what is seen.

The problem today is not that this proclivity is new or stronger but that the cultivators of the Flesh, the contemporary secular engineers, have sought to raise pursuit of physical satiation to the highest level while seeking to eliminate any talk of spiritual desires. This cultivation process has become so widespread and embedded in society that it has misled many souls in its attractive rhetoric. These cultivators succeed so easily because the proclivity exists in Man, Who would seek approval for giving in to it. Like no other period in history, the secularists can inculcate the message of the Flesh to people around the world.

But we should keep in mind that this is not new and we should remind ourselves that this proclivity is strong and takes great spiritual discipline to overcome. As Thomas Kempis reminds us in the Imitation of Christ, “Many hear the world more easily than they hear God; they follow the desires of the flesh more readily than the pleasure of God. The World promises rewards that are temporal and insignificant, and these are pursued with great longing; [Jesus} promises rewards that are eternal and unsurpassable, yet the hearts of mortals respond sluggishly.”

What is needed today is greater spiritual focus by those who are Catholic. The fact of the matter is that even supposed “good” Catholics are surrounded by the secular cultivators and may easily be duped into believing that giving in is OK. By giving in, however, the view of Truth is obscured and the soul is lead on a path of destruction. The hardest part for a Catholic today is to remain focused on what is most important, which is Christ. It requires many hours each day of prayer.

The way of the Cross is the only way to salvation and anyone who lives a different Gospel will still be called to judgment based on the order established and revealed by God. At the pearly gates there are no excuses for losing sight of the Truth and living apart from Christ as it is possible to remain focused but it requires great effort. It is that effort that will be rewarded in Eternity.

To Pray or Not to Pray

Prayer Lifts the Cross

Throughout Man’s existence, life has been difficult and fraught with many trials. The promise of a new generation has been spread far and wide. This promise requires one to renounce any relationship to the Almighty, to stop wasting time in prayers, and to embrace the secular humanist promise that all trials and suffering can be alleviated through technological intervention.

Yet pushing the secular line of thought forward, the trials and sufferings often continue with little resolution through the technological manipulation. This worldly minded approach offers a measurable benefit in this life but often falls short, leaving souls in trial and difficulty with no real hope. The only solution for such is to end the life in which suffering is the only course. This is just one example of the secular failure.

Yet for those who pray from the depth of their being, suffering does have a place and the Cross is lifted by the Grace bestowed. God continues to call on Man to pray, pray, pray. He sends the Blessed Mother to make the request on His behalf. He assured those who are faithful in prayer and sacrifice that their reward will be great in Heaven. With the Cross lifted, True Progress is made in the Spiritual Life. It is not that the suffering will ever go away in this life but that with Grace the suffering becomes redemptive, especially when offered for others. Prayer helps one to see beyond the suffering to the End of Man and that end is the pledge that lifts the Cross.

A life without ardent and daily prayer is a life with only the Cross and no Resurrection, a life with no Hope. With all hope lost, the only thing left is the grave. With hope, the grave is not the final prison but the gateway to eternal Peace. It is with prayerful Union with God in this life that lightens the Cross.

No wonder we hear the words over and over again -- Pray, Pray, Pray!


Technologically Speaking...

The notion of progress has certainly infected the modern mind to the point where so many now expect that all technological advances should serve only to advance the comfort of the individual. It seems that the gauge of progress is no longer that we have advanced toward Salvation but that we can make people comfortable in this life. Those who live for air conditioned spaces in the summer are prime examples. As soon as there is a slight bit of discomfort, the modern Rich Man complains and will go to any extent to eliminate the temporal suffering.

In this regard, look at the number of Catholic Churches in America without air conditioning. The pastors note how attendance drops radically during the summer months. Although some may be vacationing and others scampering to surrounding parishes with air conditioning, many just stay in the comfort of their own homes without giving any thought to the Sin committed by missing Sunday Mass. Rather than going to church in discomfort and offering it up, they succumb to self-indulgence.

Yet, through suffering, Love IS. It is not that every moment needs to be a time of suffering but not all suffering should be shunned. And taking on a penitential practice out of Love for another has eternal import. Yet today so many are convinced that the measure of goodness is commensurate with self-pleasure. There is no doubt that the Rich Man believed the same...

For sure, when self-pleasure and comfort become the daily pursuit of one’s life, the ability to see God is obscured and the capacity for self-gift to others is diminished. The deeper one is mired in the pursuit of pleasure that undergirds the deadly sins, the more one can be assured the soul is being suffocated. And it is that person who will be surprised like the Rich Man in the depths of torment that result upon entering eternal life.

So is Man really better with all His creature comforts?

Paradigm Shift

The Rich Man...

Probably the most difficult Gospel to accept is the one of the Rich Man and the Beggar Lazarus. In it Jesus presents a radical reversal of fortunes for the two icons of humanity in eternal life. The Rich Man had all his needs met in this life and was always assured his own personal comfort. In the way Jesus presents him, one would have to ask what he did so wrong as to deserve condemnation and torment in eternal life.

The Beggar Lazarus is presented as one who suffered throughout his life and barely had his needs met each day. He never knew comfort and never had the resources to alleviate the sufferings of his fellow beggars. And yet, for sure, the Beggar Lazarus would most likely be the first to share what little he had with his fellow beggars in suffering. In no way does Jesus even hint of any selfishness in Lazarus.

And yet in eternity, the Beggar Lazarus is at Peace with Abraham and the Rich Man in torment. The key to this passage that may resolve the question comes from the first request from the Rich Man -- he asks to be delivered from the torment he is suffering. He wants to alleviate his own suffering first and only as an afterthought does he try to help others. The selfishness that results in self-gratification in this life is the root of the deadly sins. It is through such self-centered desires that one is blinded to the Truth and whose soul is put to death... a death that, left unrepentant, continues in eternity.

A significant dimension of Catholic Teaching and Tradition has been the place of suffering and the Cross. The faithful have always been asked by Christ to embrace the Cross and to mortify the selfish passions. Through such mortification, the heart becomes disposed to Grace and becomes capable of magnifying the Lord in all things. Yet all mortification must flow from a deeply spiritual and prayerful soul. As we see in the Cross of Christ, through suffering Love IS. And yet the devil has convinced so many modern individuals today that the Cross is folly and pleasure is all there is.

In the end, shouldn’t this particular Gospel passage make every modern Catholic shudder?

A Shifting Standard

Got Engineers Anyone?

So the City of New York Education System is expanding the process of engineering a more moral city. It seems at every turn, the secularists expand a process that is myopic at best and shortsighted in every way. They are so focused on obtaining data for their experiments that they go to any length to get the results they want. Of course, this is very shortsighted in that they really do not have an idea of what the results will be -- only what they want the results to be. Yes, they can claim that they will make a difference in a particular direction but they are never quite sure that it will work as they propose or that the results are a True Good until the manipulation is complete.

Yes, this is the same group that has been promising a more moral future for decades. The engineers of this so-called moral future are instrumentalists seeking to develop a norm that does not yet exist. The flaw in the logic is from the instrumentalist approach to ethical standards -- the belief that the good must be discovered and then constructed. In their model, the good is dependent upon desired outcomes and if the outcome is achieved, then it is good. The flaw is that the outcome may not be a True Good ordered to THE Good and to keep experimenting with future generations is disastrous at best. To make any attempts at cultivating the Good in future generations requires vision of THE End and Good desired. Any other model will just wander through existence in search of an end and will attach to whatever appears good.

It is time for Catholics everywhere to “Wake Up” and recognize the seismic ground the secular approach to morality stands upon. True morality and direction must be built upon solid Rock, that is, the Church founded on Peter. Anyone who takes a journey must know the destination before planning the trip. Our time on earth is a journey to God but those who consistently do not follow the plan outlined by THE Engineer will not get to the desired destination. Only those who stay focused on the True End will be able to choose the appropriate means necessary for arriving at the Final Destination.

Intolerant Exclusion

The Secular call to Tolerance is a veiled Intolerance

Ever notice that the secularist credo is to tolerate everyone and everything, to give it a chance before condemning it, except when the view contradicts their message? Ever notice the irony that such tolerance is not extended to Catholicism? Notice that the media is generally filled with the secular minded and if someone were to regularly express a particular religious view, he or she would eventually be dismissed. In addition, when the media is rallying support for a cause of their choosing, notice how Catholic Teaching is excluded.

Could you imagine a regular program on a major network station today like the one Archbishop Fulton Sheen once had?

Hearing through Silence

God Speaks

For those who have not heard The Voice, we must keep in mind that it is God Who Speaks and we must listen. The deafness of the modern person has come through the amount of noise made by the secular attacks on Faith, attacks that are very subtle and all too common. To be sure, the secularlists would find it even more absurd that there are those who dedicate their entire existence to listening to the Vioce, which means tuning out the noise. Such tuning out makes it impossible for the secular to obscure God’s Voice!

For centuries the contemplative life was seen as the ultimate response to God’s call. To want to listen to God should be the desire of every human heart. But such listening requires Sacred Silence, which seems to frighten so many believers today. Even when encouraged by priests, the faithful have a very difficult time keeping a Sacred Silence in the church. So many would prefer to chat with their neighbors, which disturbs those around them who are yearning for Silence, than listen for God’s Voice. Not only is there a deafening noise made by the secularists today, the noise is continued by the faithful in God’s presence.

At the heart of Catholicism should be the desire to pull away from the world/secular life and simply listen. There are those whose lives were dedicated to such and they were the inspiration for the rest of the faithful. Yet today there are so few who accept the Call to Silence and prefer the deafening noise of the world.

For those who believe God is not speaking to them, have you stopped the noise in your life long enough to make sure? The hard part is that stopping the noise is very difficult today and may take many hours of silent prayer before God to reach a healthy level of Silence, a level at which God’s Voice becomes clear. Yet such Silence is as important to the soul as water is to the body.

Could the lack of Silence in the Church today be part of the reason for the declining numbers?

Religious Simplicity

Simplicity in the Complex

For many centuries, the correct understanding of our religious existence was ordered to simplicity. This was clearly the case in the Rule of St. Benedict. This rule was basically centered on prayer and work - on listening to God’s Word in prayer. The prayer life was only interrupted for the work that was needed to continue the prayer life. Those who followed and rule of religious life sought to simplify rather than multiply. Anyone who follows Christ knows that much is not needed for the journey.

In order to confuse God’s followers, the evil one has developed a world filled with such complexity that those in the world today believe that more is better. The pursuit of more has obfuscated the Truth of simplicity. Yet anyone who listens to The Voice of the Shepherd knows that less is truly better and at its minimum, one can Live on every Word that comes from the Mouth of God.

So why do so many today prefer more to less when less is clearly better?

Falling On Deaf Ears?

Catholic Laryngitis

The question has to be asked - Is it that The Voice of The Shepherd no longer speaks or is that no one is listening? It seems that if the secular engineers had their way, they would prefer a serious case of Catholic Laryngitis on issues in which they want to set the agenda. But since the Voice still speaks, they work diligently at making sure It is not heard. Of course, those charged with leading the Faithful are rarely silent and yet most of the Faithful do not hear what the shepherds are saying. As true shepherds ordered to The Shepherd, the Sheep in their care should hear The Voice and follow.

There is certainly no shortage of important issues on which Catholicism needs to bring Its Voice to bear. The problem may well be that the Faithful have been annexed from their shepherds and do not hear The Voice that speaks of Salvation. The fact remains, however, that the Voice leads the Sheep to eternal Salvation. In this regard, The Voice cannot be reduced to one among many as that would betray the Shepherd Who Speaks. The Faithful must hear the Voice and follow as if their eternal life depended on it, because it does.

As time goes by and the secular engineers continue to isolate the Sheep from their Shepherds, the issues of morality will continue to take center stage in the discussion. These issues must be understood in their depths because any deviation could lead to eternal destruction. The error proposed by the secular is that the good can be constructed as if God had not already done so. Rather than discovering the Good already created by God, they prefer to “make it up as they go along.” The dangerous part is that these errant engineers have taken control of all communications and have isolated the voice of The Shepherd from the Sheep. In this model, one must wonder if the Sheep would recognize the Voice of the Shepherd when He calls. As time goes by, It will be harder to recognize because the Sheep hear It less and less.

It is not that the Voice is muted or has developed a case of Catholic Laryngitis but that the ears of the listeners have been deafened by the noise generated by the secular engineers. While there may well be good intentions in trying to engineer a better life in this world, the reality is that there is only One Engineer and He constructed the Eternal Life to be lived in the World to Come! Any engineer who does not follow that plan is merely a tool for the evil one who seeks to lead the faithful astray.

“Let those who have ears to hear...”

A Voice Not Heard

St. John Vianney

Each year we recall and honor the patron saint of priests and confessors, St. John Vianney. This particular saint was almost never ordained due to his academic struggles. Fortunately the Holy Spirit helped those in charge to see that although he was a poor student he was a holy and exceptional man. Even though he was assigned to a small and remote parish where the Mass attendance was poor and debauchery was rampant, his voice echoed throughout the village and eventually to the world.

Among the many inspiring aspects of his life is that his preaching was exceptional and lead many along the path to salvation. For all those who believe they are not heard, they should look at the life of this humble man through whom the Holy Spirit brought, and still brings, many to Christ. And he did it without television, radio, internet, or even a sound system in his remote parish church. Too often we fear not being heard, which leads us to forget that we must start with those before us who are listening. But the key to it all is the prayer life of the preacher who must come to realize that his voice does not produce the Word, it only passes It along.

Today, more than ever, we just need to proclaim the Truth and allow the Holy Spirit to amplify the Word. St. John Vianney... Pray for us!

World Youth Day

A Lasting Legacy

One of the traditions established by Pope John Paul II is the gathering of young Catholics from around the world at what is know as World Youth Day. Over the years, the weeklong celebration has drawn millions and culminates with a single Mass celebrated by the Pope. We should remember to offer extra prayers for its success as the event draws near (opening on August 16). Here is an excellent promo for this year’s event.

Formation of Catholics

Baptism and Indoctrination!

One of the expectations that the Church has for someone to be Baptized is that they be properly trained in the way of the Faith as a condition for being initiated. In the case of adult initiation, this takes place before the Initiation itself. The Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA) has been the standard since the earliest days of the Church. In this regard, if the person seeking Baptism is not fully prepared, the initiation into the Church should be delayed indefinitely until such time that the candidate is fully prepared. As is the case even today, there is a fully initiated Catholic who “walks” the journey with the candidate and is tasked with determining the suitability of the person for entrance into the Body of Christ, which includes a solid grasp on the Teachings of the Church.

In fact, every Sacrament has some requirement attached to it that those seeking it be properly formed for the particular Sacrament. As part of the Ordination ritual, the responsible formator is asked if the candidate is judged worthy. For those who wish to Marry, they must make a statement of intention as part of the ritual. At Confirmation, the pastor, who is tasked with overseeing their preparation, presents the candidates to the bishop. At the Initiation of an adult, the “sponsor” presents the properly formed candidate to the priest.

However, as we all are well aware, the initiation of infants has become the common practice in the Catholic Church. The presenters of the “candidate” are the parents in conjunction with the godparents and they are told that in seeking Baptism for the child they must raise the child in the ways of the Faith. In this statement we see the reason for the Canonical requirement that there is a “founded hope” the child will be raised Catholic. This founded hope requires a level of indoctrination (in the positive sense of the term) into the Faith as a way of life.

Yet today, in order to keep the numbers up, we are often asked to ignore objectively disordered situations in the lives of the parents that certainly challenge that there is a founded hope. Not attending Sunday Mass, divorce and remarriage, having a child out-of-wedlock, and same-sex unions are all instances of situations in which the lives of the formators of the newly Baptized are clearly problematic. Today, it is often the case that they are not challenged and questions are not asked lest they be alienated further from the Church, as if the objectively disordered situation of their lives has not already done so.

Should we not be more more concerned with the quality of the formation the child will receive and the extent to which the formator is living the Teachings of the Catholic Church in the objective order?

Other Factors Anyone? III

The Numbers Game V

One of the mistakes made over the most recent decades is actually playing the numbers game itself. With a consideration of all the factors that have left the Church in this state, it is clear that the numbers have changed. What we must admit is that it is NOT the Church that has changed, only the numbers.

Too often we spend countless hours examining the numbers without admitting the factors that contribute to them. Yes, there are now generations of confused Catholics in the United States who prefer the cafeteria style of faith. Yes, there are dwindling numbers in the pews. Yes, something has gone wrong. But we must always recall that Jesus promised that the Church will endure through it all. The Church has NOT changed. The numbers are NOT the Church and we should be careful in believing they are. The Church is and always will be, even if many of the pews are empty.

The first error that we must address in the mind of many Catholics today is the composition of the Church. Christ is the Church! It is He Who established Her and it is He Who sustains Her. Those who enter the Church through Baptism are members of Her -- they are NOT the Church Herself. In Baptism, we are joined to Christ and His Church as members. Here is where the American culture has infected Catholics who claim that “we” are the Church. That ideology works in the democratic environment of the United States. The Church is not a democracy and those who are members do not exhaust Her existence. Rather, we humbly submit ourselves to Christ and His Church.

At this point, should we move away from counting and begin to focus on the remnant before us who wish to be faithful to the Teachings of the Church?

Other Factors Anyone? II

The Numbers Game IV

While Jones poses an important question with regard to the actions taken by the U.S. bishops, the real focus has to be on the catechetical system and what has been or can be done about the failure in this area since the council. Briefly stated, Jones reports that, at all levels of Catholic Education, from 1965 to 2002 there was a 94% drop in sisters teaching, an 89% drop in priests teaching, and an 86% drop in brothers teaching. For the most part, Catholic Education was supported by those were 24/7 on board with the message into the 1970s.

As the priests and religious left, they were replaced by competent lay professionals. These educators were certainly well trained in the area of educating youth but were they prepared as Catholics? At least in the beginning they were but in a survey from the year 2000 (page 79), “lay religion teachers in Catholic elementary schools” predominantly do not agree with the Church’s Teaching on Birth Control (90%), Elective Abortion (74%), Infallibility of the Pope (73%), and the Real Presence of the Eucharist (37%). In addition, nearly half do not believe in the indissolubility of Marriage and 70% do not accept a male priesthood. Yet the Second Vatican Council did not change any of these Teachings and clear statements have been made about these issues since then.

Again, it is important to look at generational statistics, which do indicate that older Catholics are more likely to know the Church Teaching in these areas than younger Catholics. If the bishops are to work toward a new evangelization, it will have to start with education.

Other Factors Anyone?

The Numbers Game III

The best we can say about the numbers Jones reports is that there is a real problem. Throughout the Twentieth Century, the total number of Catholics increased dramatically -- from 17.7 million in 1920 to 65 million in 2002, with 45 million in 1965. The most rapid increase was from the Second World War to the Second Vatican Council. Missing in the report on Mass Attendance is a breakdown by generation. Who are the ones going to Mass in the year 2000? This particular stat is missing but if one can guess, it is the older generations who were catechized much better.

When Mass Attendance is examined by generation, there is a clear difference by age. If the changes in the Mass were the reason, logic would say that the oldest group (the Pre-Vatican II generation) would be the most disillusioned by the change and would fall away. As Dr. Gray notes on the link above, “Pre-Vatican II Generation Catholics grew up in an era where deliberately failing to attend Sunday Mass or other day of obligation, without good reason, was quite clearly communicated as a mortal sin. For the Vatican II and Post-Vatican II generations this has not been emphasized to the same degree.” However, the teaching in this regard was not changed at Vatican II and still remains in effect today.

Should we then be asking if there is another factor? Has there been a catechetical failure in recent decades?

Vatican II?

The Numbers Game II

The statistics reported by Jones are very important and need to be taken seriously. However, it should be made clear that his comparisons are to be taken as a measurable fact and not as cause and effect. Such is always the danger when dealing with statistics. Just reviewing the numbers as he reports them seems to indicate that the Second Vatican Council is the culprit.

In fact, in the section on Mass Attendance (pages 72-76) the commentary provided states, “If the post-conciliar changes had been the overwhelming success they very often are described as being, we would expect to see increases in Mass attendance.” While the numbers do indicate that there has been a serious decline since the 1960s, this decline is from reasons far more complex than the liturgical changes alone. Yes, the changes and, as we will see in the coming months, the poor translation of the Missal Romanum, certainly played a part, but it is not the council or the council documents that caused the drop, or the liturgical changes per se.

Anyone who lived through the era knows that there was much more to the decline than meets the eye. As one priest who was ordained just as the council concluded described what he observed, “It was like having an overwound watch spring let loose. Too many priests thought they had more liberty with regard to the Mass than they actually had. Much of what people did not like about the change was never in the ritual books... only in the minds of those who wanted it to be there.” Yet even with all the liturgical abuses that followed, to claim the new missal as the reason is far too superficial and oversimplified.

The Stark Reality

The Numbers Game

There is a very interesting book published in 2003 by Kenneth C. Jones titled Index of Leading Catholic Indicators: The Church Since Vatican II. Of course, anyone who even speculates about the Catholic numbers in America since Vatican II can guess what they will reveal. In reviewing the actual numbers, one could easily note that there are some very disturbing trends. The good thing about the book is that, for the most part, he does not interpret the numbers but allows the reader to draw conclusions based on the facts presented.

In the Introduction, however, he does make some very pointed comments. The first is, “Given these alarming statistics and surveys, one wonders why the American bishops ignore the profound crisis that threatens the very existence of the Church in America.” And in the following paragraph he notes that “at their annual conferences, the bishops gather to issue weighty statements about nuclear weapons and the economy. Then the return home to ‘consolidate’ parishes and close down schools.” He offers these statements and published the book in the hope that it will “spur action before it is too late.” Of course, the root causes behind these trends are far more complex than can be addressed in a short essay or document.

However, it is now 8 years since it was published and it does not appear that the forthcoming spurring has occurred. But interestingly enough, at this year’s conference the bishops issued a well worded document on physician-assisted suicide. It is a good thing they are finally playing catch-up on this particular issue because Jack Kervorkian assisted his first patient in 1990, some 21 years ago. Ironically, Dr. Death trumped the release of the document by dying 2 weeks before it was published. That is right, the person who could have benefitted most from the document did not live to see it published.

As for the numbers, it will be good to look at some of them and hope that the spurring begins soon!

Messenger III

The Truth will set you Free...

The Fr. Corapi story continues and, in a surprisingly different approach, his order has released details of its findings. These findings are quite shocking and only go to show how important it is for those who preach the Good News to be immersed in Christ for “the devil is prowling like a lion looking for someone to devour.” We can only hope and pray that he accepts the order’s offer of help and repents of any sins he may have committed. Even in light of these revelations we must all refrain from committing the sin of rash judgment. At this point, we must commend him to almighty God and pray for his superiors.

For anyone who has followed him, we pray that they remain faithful to the message despite the unworthiness of the messenger. In reality, no priest is worthy of the great gift given in the priesthood. Pray for your priests and pray that this revelation be an opportunity for him to seek forgiveness and return to the pursuit of virtue.


A Nation Celebrates...

Each year the citizens of the United States celebrates its independence. This particular holiday is uniquely American and reflects a long history. Unfortunately, too many Americans have taken the idea of independence too far. The Declaration signed was an official statement regarding the reasons for severing the political ties to another nation, specifically Great Britain. The independence declared was from an earthly power, not from God.

It is amazing that in the course of the centuries since, so many Americans believe that we should also declare independence from God. Yet the very document in question invokes “a firm reliance on divine Providence” as the path to independence. So why do so many today believe that the same Divine Providence is no longer required to sustain this nation?

Another Job Well Done

It must be said...

The Archbishop of Santa Fe, Most Reverend Michael Sheehan, recently published a pastoral letter on the care of those who cohabitate. It is good that bishops take such measures and hopefully the faithful are listening and will respond with an assent of Faith. It should also be mentioned that it is a sad state of affairs when a bishop is compelled to make such statements as everything contained in the letter should have been part of the catechetical programs over the years.

With regard to such statements, we must keep in mind that this letter does not open “a discussion” nor does it ask for interpretation by the pastors or faithful. Instead, it comes under the heading of teaching from authority. Yes, the Church is a hierarchical structure and that means that directives are occasionally handed down. In this regard, more bishops should take such a position even though it may upset some of those to whom the teaching applies.

What makes this particular letter a good example is that it does not accuse, insult, or malign anyone... it just reiterates the teaching and demands that the teaching be respected by Catholics. Too many today want to interpret and relativize rather than assent. As the bishop points out, “Our popular American culture is often in conflict with the teachings of Jesus and His Church.” Such should make every Catholic living in America ask himself or herself a very important question - Am I a Catholic or an American first and foremost?

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.

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

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?

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.

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

Blessed John Paul II

Can we just celebrate?

This weekend the Church will make the Venerable John Paul II Blessed. This is an important step along the path to sainthood and a truly joyous occasion for the Church. The life of this holy man will soon be recognized as worthy of Eternal Life in Heaven.

So why are there detractors who question the decision? Why is the Church seemingly placed on the defensive once again? In times past this would simply be a joyous occasion in which the whole Church could celebrate. Just a few years ago the whole world watched the great events that marked the end of his earthly life and desired to see this day come quickly. Now that it has arrived there are those who want to taint it.

This could be because today every voice has to be heard and all are given equal weight. The media seem to prefer having “other opinions” as part of every event so as to keep the level of skepticism high. In a world that is spiraling into nihilism due to modern skepticism, it would seem better to celebrate a holy person rather than look for questions.

At the heart of this questioning process is our Fallen Nature. The life of every human being can leave questions that raise doubts. But holiness is not about past mistakes or human shortsightedness, which all have due to our corrupt condition. Holiness is about responding to God’s call over and over throughout one’s life and never losing focus along the way. Even a holy person might fall along the journey. Holiness flows from picking oneself up, refocusing on the goal, and, through it all, seeking God’s Grace to avoid such falls again.

This weekend is an opportunity to stress the holiness of a man who spent his life in service of God and others. This weekend is one of those rare opportunities to rejoice and such should be the only focus for people of True Faith!

Blessed Pasch

Easter Joy!

Christ is Risen! He is truly Risen!! As we begin the Easter Season once again, may all praised the Lamb Who was slain and know the great Love God has for Man. THe Holy Father has offered a wonderful Easter Message! May the Peace and Joy of the Risen Lord be yours today and always.

Confiteor Iterum

I Confess Again...

The contest has some very interesting twists. The first mistake is that the winner of the scholarship will be the video with the most hits. Doing so means that it is a popularity contest and not necessarily the one that gives the correct teaching on Confession. In addition, it is possible to “cheat” by having the number of hits inflate artificially. It would be a real irony if the winner of the I Confess contest did so by cheating.

The second mistake is that anyone can upload a video with any content whatsoever. This is very problematic because some of the videos are not accurate with regard to Church Teaching on the sacrament. Since there is no one correcting the errors, the errors will continue to spread. It is good that many are involved in the process of spreading the word but such assumes that all approaches are equal. For future reference, there should be some controls exercised over the process as to how the entry is submitted and how the winner will be chosen -- a process that allows greater accuracy.


I Confess!

As is the case each year, the Monday of Holy Week has become Reconciliation Monday in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. This particular tradition began several years ago and is now a mainstay of Holy Week preparations. The beauty in this tradition is that every Catholic Parish in the region has priests available for Confessions from 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM on the same day at the same time. Any Catholic can walk into any parish church during that time and go to Confession.

This year, as Bishop Murphy notes, there have been some changes. Now, the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn have joined in the tradition. In addition, a contest was put together to promote the opportunity. This contest is called “I Confess” and was open to anyone who wants to submit a video promoting the day. For amateurs, there are some very interesting videos. Feel free to take a look but keep in mind they are amateurs:

Hopping Along II

To Hop or to Hope II

A clarification is needed with regard to responding to movies and other events that are in some way opposed to an accurate spreading of the Gospel. Feasts such as Easter are important and anything that trivializes it should be addressed by the powers to be. However, such must be done in a teaching manner, not in a condemnatory or derogatory way. The goal of any statement or call for boycott must not become a form of free advertising or controversy that will only draw attention to the movie or event but one that succeeds in correcting the error.

As we have learned from the past, some movies that would never have made a profit did so after comments were released that condemned it. Movies such as Hop are not offensive per se but propagate the wrong message. At the heart of the issue is the power of the media to condition and form attitudes across a large cross section of society. Taking the most important of Christian holidays and overlaying them with an other signification causes confusion. Such moments can be teachable and Christians should be made aware of the process thrust upon them. The reality is that a persistent stream of error filled images and messages do influence even the most aware individuals. As case in point, one need only read the many studies that have been conducted regarding the influence of television.

What makes this situation worse is that there are no messages in the mainstream that correctly present the Christian Tradition and the secularists do all in their power to marginalize any attempt to spread the message accurately. More must be done with the opportunities given to spread the message, including offering coherent reasons for our belief. The only way to counteract the popular images thrust upon society is to make sure the producers know that such images are not acceptable. But to boycott alone is insufficient, especially in this current era of failed catechesis. Alternatives need to be offered, alternatives that properly present the Truth and will aid in forming future generations appropriately.

So when was the last Easter Movie produced that was actually about the Resurrection of Christ?

Hopping Along

To Hop or to Hope?

It is interesting how the latest in secular assaults on the Christian Faith is under way and Catholics have no problem with it. Years ago, Hollywood highjacked St. Nicholas and Christmas with movies like Miracle on 34th Street, which effectively reduced Christmas into a consumer holiday that is all about Santa who does not know anything of the birth of Christ. For decades now, even good Catholic parents have been pressured to maintain the lie, and have given in to that pressure, so as to not spoil it for the children who still “believe.” And once the lie is exposed, children are left to doubt other beliefs, such as the whole Christ Event!

Obviously, this is a simplistic explanation of a much larger process in which a widespread lie that overlays the Christian Tradition is propagated through secular myth and propaganda. Unfortunately, the lie has become a staple in the Catholic Household each year and those who attempt to point out the lie are labeled “Scrooge.” Yes, the lie is entrenched in many Catholic households and more energy is spent maintaining the lie than on Catholic practices and devotions.

A similar process has been surrounding Easter for some time. Although the egg and bunny overlay has been kept in check, recent years have seen it expand through secular propagation, especially through the consumerist channels. Like St. Nicholas, there is a move to strip the Christian roots from the stories and symbols. This process usually occurs through the media. This year there is a new movie that is blatantly attempting to highjack Easter. That movie is Hop and everyone, including Catholics, thinks it is good and “cute.” So grab the kids and run to the movies! Even the USCCB review points out its lack of Christianity and obvious omission of the real meaning of Easter but does not recommend that Catholics avoid the movie and send a message to Hollywood.

As the largest money making movie for the last couple of weeks, that means that Catholics and Christians are lining up and supporting this subversion of the most important feast of the year -- Easter! Although the movie has warranted a secular PG rating and an A II rating from the USCCB, many Catholics will take their children to this movie and thus leave them vulnerable to believe yet another lie -- that Easter is about the bunny who will hook you up with all sorts of sweets.

In addition, many Catholics have already lost the sense of Advent as most believe the “Christmas Season” begins on Thanksgiving. This latest movie was released during Lent and billed as an “Easter Classic.” As a Church, we have already seen a degradation of the Lenten Season by those who are putting up their bunny displays and Happy Easter signs -- and this is happening within Catholic institutions. The timing of the release of this movie will only further confuse these already misguided Catholics. With such mistaken thoughts permeating our own walls, how long before Ash Wednesday will be referred to as the First Day of Easter?

A Gift Rejected

To Fear or not to Fear?

A Catholic school student and candidate for Confirmation listed the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit calling the last one “wonder and awe.” When politely corrected and told it is “fear of the LORD,” he quickly responded that the teacher told him that there are some old timers who say that but they are out of date. He was told the new list was “better and more accurate.” He was told to always say wonder and awe.

It is so good that we have these new and improved teachings that have revised the errors of all those centuries. Such revisionism of Church Teaching and Scripture should be questioned... and the question would be, “Why do you fear the Fear of the LORD?” Or better yet, “Why not just teach what the Scriptures say and the Church teaches?”

Catechism of the Catholic Church (1831) - The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the LORD.

Proverbs 1:7 - The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; wisdom and instruction fools despise.

Sirach 1:12 - The beginning of wisdom is Fear of the LORD...

Isaiah 11:2-3 - The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.


Messages and Messengers!

As was recently reported, Fr. Corapi has been suspended pending an investigation into an accusation made against him about inappropriate conduct. The majority of comments being made either vilify or vindicate him, as if public opinion were the judge and jury. The reality is that opinions mean very little at this point and all should refrain from judgment one way or another in order to let those who have the facts, which should remain private, help all those concerned.

What is missing at this point are discussions about the message he preached, that is, discussions on whether or not his message is consistent with the Gospel and Church Teaching. His programs, homilies, and writings together constitute a message and the veracity of that message should remain the key focus of all public discussions. Thus, we need to ask, did he preach the Truth or not? His conduct and evidence of holiness of life can certainly support that message but the message is not dependent upon it. Such discussions can further the Gospel message, which was the focus of his preaching and teaching.

As Jesus reminds us of the religious leaders of His time, “Do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.” This is not a statement about whether Fr. Corapi has done anything inappropriate at all but one that reminds us that ALL preachers are sinners. All of us have a fallen nature and all need to repent. Even so, we are responsible to the Truth. With regard to the Gospel, the message is not dependent on the messenger as its Truth exists apart from the messenger. If such were the case, the Church would not be here today.

Unfortunately today, especially in America, we are led to believe that message and messenger are mutually intertwined. Too often in discussions, attacks are made on one’s character in order to discredit his or her message. Some attacks are justified and some are not but in all cases the messenger’s character is not the gauge of veracity. In times past, academic pursuits where just that -- a pursuit of Truth. It is only in modern times where winning at all costs has supplanted honest academic pursuits. Thus, it is time we return to the pursuit of Truth in all our discussions, which exists despite our fallen nature.


Living the Truth...

This week Bishop Murphy’s weekly article in the Long Island Catholic makes some very good points that all Catholics should seriously ponder. In it, he uses the expression “dictatorship of opinion” which is certainly a reference to Pope Benedict’s expression “dictatorship of relativism.” Both of these expressions identify the larger problem we face today and the reason the Truth is so misunderstood and rejected, even by the committed faithful.

It is not that the Truth has changed or can be lessened because one rejects it but rather it is the rejection that endangers the eternal soul of the one rejecting It. Shepherds committed to the Truth ought to recognize the rejection and work to correct it. Such correction is also rejected because the rejector has been mired in a relativism that obfuscates the vision of the Truth to which the shepherd is leading. And because even shepherds are sinners, the dictators have cultivated their subjects to confuse the message with the messenger so that if the messenger has made a mistake in his or her life, the message must be flawed as well and has to be treated with skepticism.

While the bishop rightly does not place the complete fault on the media for this state of affairs that has developed under the yoke of these dictators, he does point out that this situation is widespread and occurring within the ranks of the Church. It seems that what is really at issue is the cultivation and formation process that these dictators use each day and the fact that people across this nation are completely immersed in that process. It is not that someone knows it is happening to them... it is because they trust the formator who is steeped in this relativistic worldview.

Unfortunately, there is nothing currently in place to counter this pervasive process and so inevitably the methodology has and will continue to enter Catholic circles. Here is one of those areas where the Catholic Education system should be making countercultural strides but is failing. As long as those entrusted with the formation and education process in Catholic schools are themselves being formed by the minions of the dictators, the end result will be the same. Without a cultivation and formation process that is committed to the Truth and living the Truth, the dictators will control the direction and outcome of the discourse and its methodology.

Could it be that Bishop Murphy subconsciously realizes that the dictators are controlling the direction, which would allow him to conclude that, “The triumph of the dictatorship of opinion in the Catholic Church has not yet occurred?” Is his use of the word “yet” indicative that he believes the triumph is merely being delayed?

What if

What if??

In today’s Gospel Jesus exhorts us to forgive. In fact, he makes it clear that those who do not truly forgive the contrite will be liable to harsh judgment.

What if someone has made a grievous mistake and seeks forgiveness? What if that person sought forgiveness and truly repented? What if he or she was willing to reform after seeking forgiveness? Based on the way society condemns sinners today, the chance for forgiveness and repentance would never be offered.

Catholic Convenience


It seems the remnant Catholics have come to expect schedules of convenience. Years ago, there were plenty of priests available to say Mass and hear Confessions. For the most part, parish schedules reflected that number. Going to Mass in the local Catholic Church was convenient as there were plenty of Masses scheduled each Sunday from which to choose.

Today, the number of priests continue to dwindle yet many expect the Sacramental schedules to remain the same. Has anyone noticed how empty the seminary is? In the Diocese of Rockville Centre, there are 1.5 million Catholics, 134 parishes, and currently only 12 seminarians. In a few short years, even our densely populated areas may have one “homegrown” priest serving two or three parishes. In addition, as the population continues to change, many who were born in this country may have to attend Mass in another language or accept having priests say Mass who are not native English speakers. This is simply the reality we currently face.

Haves and Have Nots

The Haves and Have Nots...

An announcement has been made that a generous donation (as much as 10 million dollars) was made to St. Dominic’s Catholic schools in Oyster Bay. This is a great gift and will be tremendous help to the Catholic Schools in this very affluent parish in which billionaires live.

It just goes to show that, as Jesus tells us in Matthew 13:12, “To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

Didn’t someone recently say that he does not want to see Catholic Schools only in rich neighborhoods?

St. Patrick

St. Patrick!

St. Patrick is certainly a very important figure in the history of Ireland. Aside from the various legends that surround his mystique, it is known that he was a Catholic Bishop in the fifth century. He worked diligently to bring the Catholic Faith to the people of Ireland. He certainly did his part in history and has garnered the respect of those of Irish heritage.

It is distressing to see how the secular media want to transform St. Patrick’s Day into an Irish heritage day only. Step dancing, bag pipes, and other aspects of Irish culture is not why the day exists. It is a Catholic Feast that has everything to do with Catholicism, especially regarding the Catholic heritage the Irish people hold proudly. The Irish immigrants who came to New York worked hard to bring the faith with them. They are so entwined in the history of New York that the Cathedral was named after their favorite saint. The joy of the day should be centered on being Catholic and the rest of the Irish trappings should remain secondary.


Twitter, Facebook, Instant Messaging...

I have been around enough people who are addicted to these forms of communication to realize that there are other ways to share thoughts. For the most part, these services are an up-to-the-minute form of communication that requires constant updates in which people share great amounts of information about themselves. From what I can tell, as an outsider who is not a member of these services, most of the posts fall into the category of TMI -- too much information.

Based on my own self knowledge, maintaining a blog seems more sensible to me in that there are many things Catholic upon which I can comment. This blog will be the forum where I will share my thoughts -- from reflections on Scripture passages to comments on Catholic issues to reactions on things happening in the world today. The one thing I will try to maintain in them all is the Catholic perspective.

That being said, if you are reading this blog and looking for updates on me personally, you will be disappointed.