Monday, September 30, 2013

How to Read the Bible – A Three Step Plan

Dr. Taylor Marshall has a good post today:

How do you read the Bible? Today is the feast day of Saint Jerome, who once quipped, “Ignorance of  Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

It’s a running joke that if you want to find a Bible verse, you ought to ask a Protestant and not a Catholic. Protestants read the Bible. Catholics not so much.

This raises the question:...

Visit his site here.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Lincoln Quote

Yes, he did. I checked it out. Lincoln's 1860 Presidential Campaign - Library of Congress

Pope Francis - Strong Words on Abortion

Ah! What a day makes! If you think by the recent media hype about Pope Francis’ interview in America magazine has indicated a reduction in the Church’s concern for the unborn, you are mistaken.

Below is an excerpt from National Catholic Register. See the entire article here.

 A widespread utilitarian mentality, the "culture of waste", which now enslaves the hearts
and minds of many, has a very high cost: it requires the elimination of human beings, especially if they are physically or socially weaker. Our response to this mentality is a categorical and unhesitant "yes" to life. "The first right of the human person is his life. He has other goods and some are more precious, but this one is fundamental -  the condition of all the others." (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Procured Abortion, November 18, 1974 , 11). Things have a price and are sold, but people have a dignity, worth more than things and they don’t have a price. Many times we find ourselves in situations where we see that which costs less is life. Because of this, attention to human life in its totality has become a real priority of the Magisterium of the Church in recent years, particularly to the most defenseless, that is, the disabled, the sick, the unborn child, the child, the elderly who are life’s most defenseless.

Each one of us is invited to recognize in the fragile human being the face of the Lord, who, in his human flesh, experienced the indifference and loneliness to which we often condemn the poorest, either in the developing nations, or in the developed societies. Each child who is unborn, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the face of the Lord, who, even before he was born, and then as soon as he was born, experienced the rejection of the world. And also each old person - I spoke of the child, let us also speak of the elderly, another point! – each old person, even if infirm or at the end of his days, bears the face of Christ. They cannot be discarded, as the "culture of waste" proposes! They cannot be discarded!

Pope Francis Controversary

Last Friday I was approached by two people individually asking if I had heard what the Pope said in an interview with America magazine, that we, the Church, speak out about abortion too much. I had not. So of course I had to check in to it.

My immediate reaction was one of shock. This was the first negative I had heard about Pope Francis. This guy, excuse the colloquial term, has been great for the Church thus far. Then I tried to rationalize his statement. Well, Italian is not the Pope’s native language, perhaps he used the wrong term. Then, knowing America magazine’s leaning to the left, I thought perhaps they misquoted him. So I found the complete text of the interview online and read it a couple of times. It can be found here:

First, I must say I liked the interview. It provided a lot of insights about who Pope Francis is. I especially noted the honesty of the man in saying “I am a sinner,” as we all are. It is a rather long interview but well worth your time.

Back to the controversy. The exact quote is this:

“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”

The emphasis is mine. This is rather disheartening to anyone involved with or cares about the babies. I understand this is a matter of perspective. Our liberal brothers and sisters are interested in the environment and social justice, but forget the babies. I/we on the other hand don’t think enough is done for the babies. It is addressed in homilies rarely, if at all. This spark of controversy overshadows the words just before it; “The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear…” Pope Francis is in no way changing the Church’s teachings. He is confirming them.

I agree with Cardinal Dolan’s response in an interview on NBC’s Today show, see link below. Rightly or wrongly, we, that is, Catholics, are seen by non-Catholics, liberals, and the pro-abortion people as always being in a negative mode. This does not attract people. The Pope is looking for a “fresh” direction. He is being Jesus. He is calling us to reach back to the basics. In that way we can change hearts and minds. No, we do not stop our efforts to protect the unborn, but we also must help turn others to God, we must evangelize. We can only win this battle when we change hearts and minds one at a time.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Great Quotes of Men and Manhood

I've been following the blog "The Art of Manliness" for some time. I thought I would share a recent post listing 80 great quotes on men and manliness. His only flaw is that his blog usually ignores a man's spiritual aspect which should be paramount over his physical, emotional or mental aspects.

Here is a sampling:

“To have done no man a wrong…to walk and live, unseduced, within arm’s length of what is not your own, with nothing between your desire and its gratification but the invisible law of rectitude—this is to be a man.” –Orison Swett Marden

“You have to be a man before you can be a gentleman.” –John Wayne (McLintock!)

“We do not admire the man of timid peace. We admire the man who embodies victorious effort; the man who never wrongs his neighbor, who is prompt to help a friend, but who has those virile qualities necessary to win in the stern strife of actual life.” –Theodore Roosevelt

“For the man who makes everything that leads to happiness, or near to it, to depend upon himself, and not upon other men … has adopted the very best plan for living happily. This is the man of moderation; this is the man of manly character and of wisdom.” –Plato

See all the quotes here.

Go here for the Art of Manliness blog.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Pope Francis Takes On an Atheist Publisher

The more I get to know about Pope Francis, the more I love him. Recently, he took on the atheist founder of an Italian newspaper. Though he did so lovingly.  As reported in the National Catholic Register, it starts:

Pope Francis has pulled off yet another surprise, by taking the unprecedented step of writing a long letter to the founder of an Italian daily newspaper, explaining the faith to nonbelievers.
The 2,500-word missive, written in response to July 7 and Aug. 7 editorials by Eugenio Scalfari, the atheist founder of the socialist-leaning La Repubblica newspaper, principally addresses themes covering the faith, the Church and today’s increasingly secularist culture.
Scalfari was prompted to write his articles partly to show his admiration for the Holy Father, but also in response to Pope Francis’ first encyclical, Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith), that was published in July. After lauding the Pope’s qualities and his love for the poor, Scalfari posed three questions at the end of his Aug. 7 editorial, none of which Scalfari expected to be answered. 
The first was whether God’s mercy extends to nonbelievers; the second, whether it is sinful to doubt the existence of absolute truth; and the third, whether belief in God is merely a product of human thought. 
In his letter of reply, published in today’s edition of the newspaper, Francis begins by saying, “It is nothing other than positive, not only for us individually, but also for the society in which we live, to pause to dialogue about a reality that is as important as faith, which refers to preaching and the figure of Jesus.” 
He points to two circumstances that make such dialogue “proper and precious.” The first, he says, stems from a paradox: that the Christian faith, once seen as a symbol of light, has been branded as the “darkness of superstition” and “opposed to the light of reason” in today’s modern culture, formed by the Enlightenment. 
Noting the lack of communication between the Church and modern culture, Pope Francis said “the time has come” and that the Second Vatican Council “inaugurated” such an exchange for “an open dialogue without preconceptions that reopens the doors to a serious and fruitful meeting.” 
Read the rest here.

I also highly recommend subscribing to the National Catholic Register, it is faithful to Church teachings.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pope Francis & Dove

I received this via email.

I know, I know. We no longer believe in signs and wonders. But I do! Do you? Is this not an acclamation from heaven? Dove = Holy Spirit. Do you not believe the Church is led by the Holy Spirit?

What a beautiful picture...
Pope Francis was waving at the people at saint peter's square Wednesday, 29th May 2013, general audience when, incredibly, a dove perched on his hand!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Where have the Sisters Gone?

I’m not talking about the disappearance of the habits, nor am I talking about the tremendous loss of vocations – I’m talking about the defiance of the leadership of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) of the mandate of reform imposed by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Imagine that. These sisters are so far off that the Vatican had to step in. But guess what? These same sisters have refused any iota of reform.
All of us love the sisters who devote their lives to Christ’s mission and service. Our minds and memories are filled with many lovely memories. But today, their leadership is so liberal (and that is an insufficient label) that they have gone beyond the pall so long and so far as to defy the Vatican.
I believe most of these ladies are Franciscan. Do they not have in their Rule to love and be faithful to the Pope and Magisterium as Francis was? What happened to their vows of humility, discipline, obedience? And what about the LCWRs membership? If I was a member, I would withdraw so fast my head would spin. Their inaction is a confirmation of their agreement with their leadership.
They are so consumed in their agenda that they are willing to separate themselves from canonical status and form a separate organization according to an article in the National Catholic Register dated 9/8/2013 .
I believe this is a major factor in the continuing loss of vocations. Imagine a young woman loving Christ, filled with love to serve, religious, prayerful. She explores how she may serve more faithfully (note faithfully) and she runs across these defiant, liberal, self-consumed women. Ah, no thanks, she will say, and walk away. You cannot love yourself, dear ladies, and God. You cannot serve the Church by defying it.
Am I going too strong against these ladies? I think not. I have read the mandate. It is available on the internet. These are serious things. Yet these sisters are ignoring it. Here is a sampling: “’corporate dissent,’ ‘serious theological, even doctrinal errors,’ ‘various theological interpretations that risk distorting faith in Jesus and his loving Father’ and commentaries that ‘undermine the revealed doctrines of the Holy Trinity, the divinity of Christ and the inspiration of sacred Scripture.’” As reported in the article cited above, and in reading the mandate myself. The mandate can be seen here:
In June of 2012 I wrote an open letter entitled: “An Open Letter to My Brothers of the Franciscan First Order and to My Sisters in the Third Order Regular” which can be read here: in which I expressed my disappointments after I learned that the leadership of the First Order sent a press release in support of the LCWR. I told them how very scandalized I felt.
So a year later these sisters are still standing firm with their arms crossed before them in defiance of the Vatican, not making even the smallest concession like taking down their “Systems Thinking Handbook” from their website which the mandate directed be withdrawn pending revision.

I will continue to pray for these women as I do all religious. Because the direction they are taking is putting their very souls in danger. My faith calls me to correct my brothers and sisters when I see they error. The Vatican has attempted the same. It is now time for them to turn, metanoia.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Religious Freedom - The Situation is Clear

The gravity of the situation is clear from the fact that religious freedom itself is in danger of becoming a second-class right...A telling sign is the preference of governmental spokespersons to substitute the expression "freedom of worship" for "freedom of religion." That is a radical departure from the traditional understanding of religious liberty as a broad array of rights to live out our beliefs as our conscience leads us, alone or with others, in public as well as in private. 
– Mary Ann Glendon, Harvard Law Professor, Washington Post

O God Our Creator,
from your provident hand we have received
our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
You have called us as your people and given us
the right and the duty to worship you, the only true God,
and your Son, Jesus Christ.
Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.

We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.

Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be “one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
© 2012 USCCB

The greatest thing we can offer our culture

“The greatest thing we can offer our culture, our nation, and our world is friendship with Christ. Nothing so threatens the culture of death and the dictatorship of relativism as an encounter with the love of God in Jesus Christ.”
Fidelis V01 N01, June 2013

Relativism – n. any theory holding that truth or moral or aesthetic value, etc., is not universal or absolute but may differ between individuals or cultures.

Threats against Religious Freedom

“Threats against religious freedom in our country are not imaginary or overstated. They’re happening right now. They’re immediate, serious, and real.”
–Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia

So Now We Know Change

Michelangelo's Delphic Sibyl

Michelangelo's Delphic Sibyl (1508-12) is the most beautiful and youthful of the five sibyls depicted on the Sistine ceiling. The sibyls were female seers from antiquity who were thought to have predicted the coming of Christ, and this sibyl appears startled as she turns her head away from her prophetic scroll and gazes into the future.

The Delphic Sibyl was the voice of Apollo, the greek god of music, poetry, prophecy, and medicine, and it has been suggested that the four colors in her garments represent Earth, Water, Fire, and Air -- the basic elements of life.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Book Review: Bonaventure: Mystical Writings

I just finished this book and wanted to recommend it to anyone interested in St. Bonaventure and in mystical writings. It is not a very hard read, but some terms may throw you. You should read it in a quiet thoughtful setting. Please see the short review below. Some of us have been to Mount Verna where St. Francis received the stigmata. In St. Bonaventure’s love for Francis he explored St. Francis’ rapture in contemplation. I believe St. Bonaventure also experienced that rapture which is a gift from God. He must have experienced it in order to write about it.

Bonaventure: Mystical Writings.  By Fr. Zachary Hayes, O.F.M. Crossroad. 152 pages.  (Available from Kindle edition.)

In this short and readable book, Fr. Zachary Hayes attempts to make accessible the profound trinitarian and christological theology of the Seraphic Doctor, St. Bonaventure. For centuries the great St. Bonaventure has been overshadowed by his contemporary and friend St. Thomas Aquinas. Fr. Hayes’s work helps bring St. Bonaventure out of the shadows. To do so Fr. Hayes utilizes the general structure of one of St. Bonaventure’s best known works, The Journey of the Soul into God. Fr. Hayes incorporates into his book many illuminating texts which give us a sense of the profundity of Bonaventurian thought.
(New Oxford Review)

Excerpt from the book, page 140:

At the end of the Soliloquy, Bonaventure brings his reflections together in the form of prayer.

I pray, my God, that I may know you; that I may love you; and that I may rejoice in you forever. And if I am not able to experience this to the fullest in this life, may at least my knowledge and love of you increase in this life that my joy may be full in the next life; that the joy which I here hold in hope may there be brought to fulfillment. O Lord, our Father, you counseled, or rather through your Son you commanded that we ask for this fullness of joy; and you promised to hear our prayer. I ask of you, O Lord, for that which, through your Wonder-Counselor, you encouraged us to ask for and promised to grant: that our joy may be full. Meanwhile, let my mind meditate on this joy; let my tongue speak of it; let my heart desire it; let my words extol it; let my soul hunger for it; let my flesh thirst for it; and let my whole substance yearn for it, until I enter into the joy of my God who is Three and One, blessed forever. Amen. (Soliloquy 4.27)

Happy reading.

Definition of Insanity