Monday, October 31, 2011
However, Halloween falls on the last day of October because the Feast of All Saints or "All Hallows" falls on Nov. 1. The feast in honor of all the saints in heaven used to be celebrated on May 13, but Pope Gregory III (d. 741) moved it to Nov. 1, the dedication day of All Saints Chapel in St. Peter’s at Rome. Later, in the 840s, Pope Gregory IV commanded that All Saints be observed everywhere. And so the holy day spread to Ireland. The day before was the feast’s evening vigil, "All Hallows Even" or "Hallowe’en." In those days, Halloween didn’t have any special significance for Christians or for long-dead Celtic pagans.
In 998, St. Odilo, the abbot of the powerful monastery of Cluny in Southern France, added a celebration on Nov. 2. This was a day of prayer for the souls of all the faithful departed. This feast, called All Souls Day, spread from France to the rest of Europe.
So now the Church had feasts for all those in heaven and all those in purgatory? What about those in the other place? It seems Irish Catholic peasants wondered about the unfortunate souls in hell. After all, if the souls in hell are left out when we celebrate those in heaven and purgatory, they might be unhappy enough to cause trouble. So it became customary to bang pots and pans on All Hallows Even to let the damned know they were not forgotten. Thus, in Ireland, at least, all the dead came to be remembered — even if the clergy were not terribly sympathetic to Halloween and never allowed All Damned Day into the Church calendar.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Warning that the Obama administration is "unfriendly" to religion, he predicted that "we'll see more attempts by the state to interfere with the church's ministry."
"And if our social work isn't deeply, confidently and explicitly Catholic in its identity, then we should stop using the word ‘Catholic' to define it," he said. "It's that simple."
Saturday, October 29, 2011
There were two big-ticket Vatican news flashes, Monday's note on reform of the international economy and Thursday's summit of religious leaders in Assisi. In both cases, the same Vatican official was a prime mover: Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
Turkson, still young in church terms at 63, was the chief organizer of the Assisi gathering, just as he was the top signatory on the document blasting "neo-liberal" ideologies and calling for a "true world political authority" to regulate the economy. During Vatican press conferences to present both, Turkson was the star attraction each time.
Can anyone say, papabile?
Cain, a conservative Africa-American president, would be the immediate successor and antithesis of the first Africa-American to occupy the White House. Barack Obama is a thoroughly modern statist whose Democratic Party gains politically -- and handsomely -- from the perpetuation of African-American penury and reliance on Uncle Sam.
For all Mr. Obama's yammering about "hope and change," nothing much has changed for millions of African-Americans -- you know, all those underclass blacks in Detroit, East St. Louis, Newark, Camden, Cleveland, and Philadelphia. Check that. What has changed is that Mr. Obama has sought to make his fellow African-Americans more, not less, dependent on government -- therefore less, not more, free. The president has sought to take the black model of government dependence and make it the standard for the rest of the country.
Mr. Obama is, of course, ideally positioned to make an historic challenge to so-called civil rights leaders and black, mostly urban, politicians who keep African-Americans down. Yet Mr. Obama hasn't been even a scold. Instead, Mr. Obama has acted like any white Chicago Democrat ward-heeler, currying favors by spreading government largesse -- by helping corrupt black leaders and white enablers further entrench their positions through the doling out of taxpayer dollars and more government.
A Cain presidency would be a cosmic irony -- a towering affront, an epic challenge -- to African-American leaders and white progressives who profit from the bondage of African-Americans -- bondage in the form of welfare dependency, and bondage in a subculture that advances resentment, victimhood, and retribution.President Cain would never have to declare a challenge to the nation's race industry, to its black and white leaders and stakeholders. Cain's very public being is already a challenge, hence African-Americans who oppose Cain deride him as an "Uncle Tom" or an "Oreo." (To Cain's credit, he struck back at his critics by saying that he left the "Democrat plantation a long time ago.")
Thomas, 53, told Pasmore that he himself has "performed exorcisms on six people a total of approximately 50 times."
He has seen about 100 people in the past four year who believed they were possessed by the devil, according to a piece in the Los Angeles Times.
Thomas' training and journey is chronicled in the book "The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist," which was the basis for the Mikael Håfström-directed movie "The Rite." Thomas actually spent a week on set, serving as an adviser.
Journalist Matt Baglio wrote the book featuring Thomas and is part of the new docudrama. He said according to priests and exorcists, reports of possessions and demonic activity are on the rise.
"They are very clear that they are getting inundated with people who are coming to them and asking for help," he said in the film. According to the producers behind the new docudrama, their film "cuts through all the Hollywood hype about demonic possession, the devil, and the rite of exorcism and tells the true story about the ancient rite."
H/t Spirit Daily
"Some of the teachings of Jesus Christ are being taken out of context by the protesters. …The first century Christians gave from their heart, not because they were forced by the government."
The Occupy Wall Street protesters were joined recently by the Christian evangelistic group, Go Stand Speak, which came armed with Bibles and street preachers adept at communicating to the large crowd.
While many of the protesters may not like it; this really is a wonderful opportunity for Christians to bring the Word to hundreds of people in one place, as the "occupiers" have made themselves a captive audience.
Pat Necerato, Overseer of Go Stand Speak Ministries, explained, "The ideas and solutions of the Occupy Wall Street movement have consequences. Unless they become Biblical solutions, this movement will come to naught, regardless of how much attention it gets. More entitlements, taking from the rich and giving to the poor, bigger government and other socialist concepts, are not Biblical solutions. God's standards must be the foundation for all solutions if they are to succeed."
While some who heard the message from Go Stand Speak members were less than receptive—a few physically hostile; many reportedly seemed to be open and interested.
Necerato noted that some protesters have incorporated Scripture into their declared stand; however, it is a pick-and-choose-to-make-your-point kind of application.
"Some of the teachings of Jesus Christ are being taken out of context by the protesters," he explained. "For instance, 'Jesus told us to help the poor' and the communal aspect of the first century Christians (Acts chapter 2) are often used by the protesters as support for the communistic/socialist tendencies of the movement. Jesus and the Apostles were speaking about personal dealings among individuals, not governmental mandated or controlled wealth/property redistribution. The first century Christians gave from their heart, not because they were forced by the government."
Friday, October 28, 2011
OTTAWA (CCN)—Canada’s Catholic bishops approved a national pastoral plan on life and family at their annual plenary assembly Oct. 17-21 in Cornwall, Ont.
Bishops have a particular responsibility to stand up for the dignity of human life from its very beginning to natural death, Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith, the new president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), said at the plenary’s close Oct. 21.
“We want to find ever new ways to take the lead on this.”
The bishops have approved a plan developed through the CCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee on Life and Family with the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF).
The plan, now embryonic, has two stages, Archbishop Smith said. It will begin in 2012 with a year of preparation within dioceses as priests and diocesan officials prepare for the launch of the national plan in 2013 that will roll-out gradually as various elements are put in place to educate people about the need to stand up for human life at all stages and to celebrate the family, he said.
Elements would include catechesis, with the cornerstone being the “mystery and beauty of the family, because that’s where life begins, where life is nurtured and where growth in Christian living takes place,” he said.
The plan picks up on the key link between justice and life that the former CCCB President Pierre Morissette noted in his annual address to the plenary Oct. 17 needed to be reconnected, not only in the renewal of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, but in efforts to promote a culture of life.
“The most outrageous injustice today is the attacks against the child in the womb,” said Archbishop Smith. “If there is any example of injustice it is that. That highlights the profound link between working to promote life and the work for justice.”
“The heart of justice is recognizing the inherent dignity of every human person,” he said. “We begin to appreciate that in the family.”
“It’s the inherent recognition of human dignity and seeking to honor and respect it in all instances and seeking to curtail to go against any threats to that inherent dignity that’s the heart of justice,” he said. “The family becomes the heart of formation for justice and in fact the living out of justice.”
Catechesis will explore the different pressures on families and endeavor to help people understand how the family is “called to be a domestic church,” he said.
The plan also addresses marriage preparation and efforts to help couples “understand the majesty of the Church’s teachings on the mystery of family,” and how marriage is a sign of the Lord’s “unconditional and unbreakable love for the Church,” he said. It includes teaching on welcoming children as a gift and honoring them.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
So lotsa folk are flipping out about a little document that came out the other day regarding economic justice. Before making my own remarks, let me preface it with this useful bit of analysis that helps you peel away much of the MSM rubbish that tends to glom onto such documents, as well as the freakoutery that tends to form a secondary layer of hysteria from “faithful conservative Catholics” who are only too ready to believe the MSM when the Church says something that offends their dedication to conservative dogmas, prompting them to denounce some statement by a churchman as “insane gibberish” whenever it comes to really sacred things like money. But first, let’s get our bearings thanks to the invaluable Fr. Phillip Powell, OP:
OMG!!! The Pope says that ALL Catholics must support a One World Government!!!
@#$%!!! The Vatican wants just One Bank for the Whole World!!!!
WHAT!?!? Benedict XVI supports the Occupy Wall St protesters!!!
Deep breath. One more time. Now, OK. . .so, if any of your friends, family, co-religionists have expressed any of the above or some version of one of the above, sit them down, give them a beer, let them catch their breath, and ask them a simple question: have you actually read the recently published document on economics and finance that has upset you so?
Betcha they will say, “Um, no.” Good. Get them a copy and give them about 30 mins. to read all 18 pgs. Once they are finished, roll up a newspaper and swatch them briskly across the nose three times while saying in a firm voice, “Bad, bad Catholic! Bad Catholic! You never believe a word that the media say about the Church! Never!”
Archbishop Smith said the launch of the new missal provides a “great opportunity” for liturgical catechesis on the mystery of the Eucharist, the mystery of Real Presence that goes beyond the changes in the words and gestures that will begin on the first Sunday of Advent.
In the Eucharist we “do encounter the Risen Lord in a real, personal and transformative way,” said Archbishop Smith, calling the events around the missal launch “a very exciting time.”
Archbishop Smith remains committed to the theme of the New Evangelization that organized the Saint-Jerome Bishop Pierre Morissette’s president’s address, which was carried live on Salt and Light. Morissette wrapped up his two-year term at plenary close Oct. 21.
“The New Evangelization is something held in the heart of every bishop,” said Archbishop Smith, who noted that four delegates from the CCCB were nominated to participate in the Synod on the New Evangelization next October. Delegates will be named by the Holy Father, he said. The bishops will be working towards that synod over the next year and “taking direction from it in the future.”
“The Gospel is such a message of hope and transformation,” Archbishop Smith said. The bishops are looking at “the signs of the times, the difficulties and struggles of our people,” and find a deepened “desire and commitment to find new ways to bring our people into dialog with the person of Jesus Christ.”
While the message of the Gospel remains the same, the cultural context differs and the Church has a responsibility to find “ever new ways” of delivering the timeless message, Archbishop Smith said.
Though the New Evangelization addresses the already baptized, it also addresses itself to all people to “each day to be open to an ever new and ever deeper encounter with the person of Jesus, then renewed by love,” reach out to other, he said.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Despite the Catholic Left’s excited hyperventilating that the document released today by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (PCJP) would put the Church “to the left of Nancy Pelosi” on economic issues, more careful reading of “Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority” soon indicates that it reflects rather conventional contemporary economic thinking. Unfortunately, given the uselessness of much present-day economics, that’s not likely to make it especially helpful in thinking through some of our present financial challenges.
Doctrinally speaking, there’s nothing new to be found in this text. As PCJP officials will themselves tell you, it’s not within this curial body’s competence to make doctrinal statements that bind Catholic consciences. Moreover, the notion that an increasingly integrated world economy requires some type of authority able to make decisions about what the Church calls “the universal common good” has long been a staple of Catholic social teaching. Such references to a global world authority have always been accompanied by an emphasis on the idea of subsidiarity, and the present document is no exception to that rule. This principle maintains that any higher level of government should assist lower forms of political authority and civil-society associations “only when” (as this PCJP text states) “individual, social or financial actors are intrinsically deficient in capacity, or cannot manage by themselves to do what is required of them.”
But putting aside doctrinal questions, this text also makes claims of a more strictly economic nature. Given that these generally fall squarely into the area of prudential judgment for Catholics, it’s quite legitimate for Catholics to discuss and debate some of this document’s claims. So here are just a few questions worth asking.
First, the text makes a legitimate point about the effects of a disjunction between the financial sector and the rest of the economy. It fails, however, to note that one major reason for this disjunction has been the dissolution of any tie between money and an external object of value that regulates the quantity of money and credit in circulation in the “real” economy.
Between the late 1870s and 1914, such a linkage existed in the form of the classic gold standard. This gave the world remarkable monetary stability and low inflation without any centralized authority. You needn’t be a Ron Paul disciple to recognize that fiat money’s rise is at least partly responsible for the monetary crises this document correctly laments.
Second, this document displays no recognition of the role played by moral hazard in generating the 2008 crisis or the need to prevent similar situations from arising in the future. Moral hazard describes those situations when people are effectively insulated from the possible negative consequences of their choices. This makes them more likely to take risks they wouldn’t otherwise take — especially with other people’s money. The higher the extent of the guarantee, the greater is the risk of moral hazard. It creates, as the financial journalist Martin Wolf writes, “an overwhelming incentive to privatize gains and socialize losses.”
If PCJP were cognizant of this fact, it might have hesitated before recommending we consider “forms of recapitalization of banks with public funds, making the support conditional on ‘virtuous’ behaviours aimed at developing the ‘real economy.’” Such a recapitalization would simply reinforce the message that Wall Street can always turn to taxpayers to bail them out when their latest impossible-to-understand financial scheme goes south. In terms of orthodox Catholic theology, it’s worth reminding ourselves that the one who creates an occasion of sin bears some indirect responsibility for the choices of the person tempted by this situation to do something very imprudent or simply wrong.
Third, given this text’s subject matter, it reflects one very strange omission. Nowhere does it contain a detailed discussion of the high levels of public debt and deficits in many developed economies, the clear-and-present danger they represent to the global financial system, and their negative impact upon the prospects for economic growth (i.e., what gets people out of poverty).
Given these facts, how could governments provide the aforementioned public funds when they are already so heavily in debt and already tottering under the weight of existing fiscal obligations? By raising taxes? Even Bill Clinton thinks that’s not a great idea in an economic slowdown. Indeed, the basic demands of commutative justice indicate that governments need to meet their current obligations to existing creditors before they can even consider contributing to further bailouts.
Fourth, the document calls for the creation of some type of world central bank. Yet its authors seem unaware that much of the blame for our present economic mess is squarely attributable to central banks. Here one need only note that the Federal Reserve’s easy-money policies from 2000 onwards played an indispensible role in creating America’s housing-market bubble, the development of questionable securities products, and the subsequent 2008 meltdown.
Calls for a global central bank aren’t new. Keynes argued for such an organization 75 years ago. But why, given national central banks’ evident failures, should anyone suppose that a global central bank wouldn’t fall prey to the same errors? The folly of a centralized supranational body like the European Central Bank setting a one-size-fits-all interest-rate for economies as different as Greece and Germany should now be evident to everyone who doesn’t live in the fantasy world inhabited by EU bureaucrats. Indeed, it is simply impossible for any one individual or organization to know what is the optimal interest-rate for every country in the EU, let alone the world.
Plenty of other critiques could — and no doubt will — be made of some of the economic claims advanced in this PCJP document. As if in anticipation of this criticism, the document states, “We should not be afraid to propose new ideas.” That is most certainly true. Unfortunately, many of its authors’ ideas reflect an uncritical assimilation of the views of many of the very same individuals and institutions that helped generate the world’s most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression. For a church with a long tradition of thinking seriously about finance centuries before anyone had ever heard of John Maynard Keynes or Friedrich Hayek, we can surely do better.
Who among us does not love a good toilet paper mummy?
Replace that sinister moan and lumbering gait with a fervent gleam in the eye and a distinct lack of rot, and you become, um, Lazarus:
No, not technically. Washington, D.C., is also broke – way broker than York City School District. In fact, the government of the United States is broker than any entity has ever been in the history of the planet. Officially, Washington has to return 15,000,000,000,000 dollars just to get back to having nothing at all. And that 15,000,000,000,000 dollars is a very lowball figure that conveniently ignores another $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities that the government, unlike private businesses, is able to keep off the books.
So how come the Brokest Jurisdiction in History is able to "give you some money" to hire back those teachers that had to be laid off?
No problem, says the vice president. We're going to "ask" people who have "a lot of money" to "pay just a little bit more" in taxes.
Where are these people? Evidently, not in York, Pennsylvania. But they're out there somewhere. Who has "a lot of money"? According to President Obama, if your combined household income is over $250,000 a year you have "a lot of money." Back in March, my National Review colleague Kevin Williamson pointed out that, in order to balance the budget of the United States, you would have to increase the taxes of people earning more than $250,000 a year by $500,000 a year.
OK, OK, maybe that $250K definition of "bloated plutocrat" is a bit off. After all, the quarter-mil-a-year category includes not only bankers and other mustache-twirling robber barons, but also at least 50 school superintendents in the state of New York and many other mustache-twirling selfless public servants.
So how about people earning a million dollars a year? That's "a lot of money" by anybody's definition. As Kevin Williamson also pointed out, to balance the budget of the United States on the backs of millionaires you would have to increase the taxes of those earning more than $1 million a year by $6 million a year.
Not only is there "no money in the city" of York, Pennsylvania, and no money in Washington, D.C., there's no money anywhere else in America – not for spending on the Obama/Biden scale. Come to that, there's no money anywhere on the planet: Last year, John Kitchen of the U.S. Treasury and Menzie Chinn of the University of Wisconsin published a study called "Financing U.S. Debt: Is There Enough Money In The World – And At What Cost?"Don't worry, it's a book with a happy ending! U.S. government spending is sustainable as long as by 2020 the rest of the planet is willing to sink 19 percent of its GDP into U.S. Treasury debt. And why wouldn't they? After all, if you're a Chinese politburo member or a Saudi prince or a Russian kleptocrat or a Somali pirate, and you switched on CNN International and chanced to catch Joe Biden's Fourth Grade Economics class, why wouldn't you cheerily dump a fifth of your GDP into a business model with such a bright future?
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican called on Monday for the establishment of a “global public authority” and a “central world bank” to rule over financial institutions that have become outdated and often ineffective in dealing fairly with crises.
The document from the Vatican’s Justice and Peace department should please the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrators and similar movements around the world who have protested against the economic downturn.
“Toward Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of a Global Public Authority,” was at times very specific, calling, for example, for taxation measures on financial transactions.
“The economic and financial crisis which the world is going through calls everyone, individuals and peoples, to examine in depth the principles and the cultural and moral values at the basis of social coexistence,” it said.
It condemned what it called “the idolatry of the market” as well as a “neo-liberal thinking” that it said looked exclusively at technical solutions to economic problems.
The truth of the matter is that “the Vatican” — whether that phrase is intended to mean the Pope, the Holy See, the Church’s teaching authority, or the Church’s central structures of governance — called for precisely nothing in this document. The document is a “Note” from a rather small office in the Roman Curia. The document’s specific recommendations do not necessarily reflect the settled views of the senior authorities of the Holy See; indeed, Fr. Federico Lombardi, the press spokesman for the Vatican, was noticeably circumspect in his comments on the document and its weight. As indeed he ought to have been. The document doesn’t speak for the Pope, it doesn’t speak for “the Vatican,” and it doesn’t speak for the Catholic Church.
Which, to their credit, the two senior officials of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace tried to make clear in presenting the document at a Roman press conference. Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the council, said that the document was intended to “make a contribution which might be useful to the deliberations of the [upcoming] G-20 meeting.” Bishop Mario Toso, S.D.B., the secretary of the council, was just as subjunctive as his superior, saying that the document was intended to “suggest possible paths to follow.” Both Cardinal Turkson and Bishop Toso indicated, in line with long-standing Catholic social doctrine, that the Church-as-Church was incompetent to offer “technical solutions” but rather wished to locate public policy debates within the proper moral frameworks.
To suggest, as most of the immediate reporting and commentary did, that the Catholic Church was endorsing one or another set of proposals for re-ordering international finance, and was doing so as a matter of exercising its doctrinal authority, was a very bad category mistake, reflecting either the pitfalls of instant analysis in the 24/7 news cycle, progressivist-Catholic spin, or both.
As for the document itself, no morally alert person objects to bringing discussions of global finance within the ambit of moral reasoning; that is an entirely worthy intention. Catholics (and others) are entirely free to disagree — as many already have, and vociferously — with the specific suggestions of the Justice and Peace document. Father Reese and other advocates of the Catholic Revolution That Never Was will likely try to brand those critics “dissidents,” which is more “rubbish, rubbish, rubbish.” That the specific recommendations of the document reflect what will seem to many an uncritical internationalism of a distinctly Euro-secular provenance is an interesting matter that will doubtless be discussed, vigorously, within the Catholic family for some time to come. So will the tension between more recent Catholic discussions of transnational and international political authority and the core Catholic social-ethical principle of subsidiarity, with its settled opposition to political and economic megastructures and concentrations of power.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
The One was like a living, breathing Apple product when Hopenchange fever took off in 2008. Hip, sleek, brimming with “breakthrough” buzz — in practice, even by his own reckoning, he operated as a screen each of his fans could use for their own purposes. He was the iBama.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Bishop Durocher describes Quebec Catholics as more like pilgrims than residents
By Deborah Gyapong
Canadian Catholic News
OTTAWA (CCN)-- Bishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Alexandria-Cornwall looks to Jesus on the Road to Emmaus as a model guiding him in his new appointment as Archbishop of Gatineau, a major Quebec See opposite Ottawa in the National Capital Region.
Just as Jesus asked the travelers on the road what they were talking about and what concerned them before he opened up the Scripture to them and broke bread with them, Bishop Durocher sees his task as one of discovering the hungers and spiritual needs of the people in his new archdiocese e and hearing their stories.
Fluent in French and English, Bishop Durocher said despite his familiarity with the Franco-Ontarian community, he expects to encounter some cultural differences in Quebec.
A “different style of belonging to the Catholic Church” has developed in Quebec over the last 40 years, he said. The great majority consider themselves Roman Catholic, “but their belongingness is not typically exhibited by weekly attendance at Mass.”
“The belongingness” of Catholics in Quebec “is more like that of a pilgrim than a resident,” he said, noting a pilgrim journeys alone, stopping at various locations with different meanings.
“The pilgrim is always on the road,” he said. “The typical Catholic in Quebec will tend to find spiritual meaning in a book, a concert, a church service here and there, or perhaps going to St. Joseph’s Oratory with a spiritual director they meet with occasionally.”
“As a Church we’re not structured to accompany that kind of journey,” he said, noting the challenge is to find “how we can best help our people to grow in Christ.”
Is God’s Will My Will?
Sanctification is not a question of whether God is willing to sanctify me— is it my will? Am I willing to let God do in me everything that has been made possible through the atonement of the Cross of Christ? Am I willing to let Jesus become sanctification to me, and to let His life be exhibited in my human flesh? (see 1 Corinthians 1:30). Beware of saying, “Oh, I am longing to be sanctified.” No, you are not. Recognize your need, but stop longing and make it a matter of action. Receive Jesus Christ to become sanctification for you by absolute, unquestioning faith, and the great miracle of the atonement of Jesus will become real in you.
All that Jesus made possible becomes mine through the free and loving gift of God on the basis of what Christ accomplished on the cross. And my attitude as a saved and sanctified soul is that of profound, humble holiness (there is no such thing as proud holiness). It is a holiness based on agonizing repentance, a sense of inexpressible shame and degradation, and also on the amazing realization that the love of God demonstrated itself to me while I cared nothing about Him (see Romans 5:8). He completed everything for my salvation and sanctification. No wonder Paul said that nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).
Sanctification makes me one with Jesus Christ, and in Him one with God, and it is accomplished only through the magnificent atonement of Christ. Never confuse the effect with the cause. The effect in me is obedience, service, and prayer, and is the outcome of inexpressible thanks and adoration for the miraculous sanctification that has been brought about in me because of the atonement through the Cross of Christ.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
The first thing that is being said is that preaching Jesus Christ crucified and the transforming power of personal friendship with the Risen Lord is going to win out, every time, over enticing men and women into a religious trade union or cultural club. Surely Benedict XVI, whose pontificate has been characterized by the theme of intimate friendship with the Lord, knows that. One hopes he is saying it, firmly, to the “bishops from all over the world” who are “constantly” complaining to him about evangelical inroads into their flocks.
Take, for example, Latin America. The Catholic Church has been active in Latin America for over half a millennium. If it has poorly catechized that vast expanse of territory, such that the Church cannot retain the loyalty of traditionally Catholic peoples, it should look first to its own incapacities and failures, rather than blaming well-funded American evangelical and Pentecostalist missions for its problems. As scholars like David Martin and Amy Sherman have demonstrated, it is the power of these missions to change self-destructive patterns of behavior through radical conversion to Christ that has given them their purchase in areas where five hundred years of Catholicism have failed to build a culture of responsibility—especially male responsibility. More recognition of that, and less complaining to the Pope, would seem the appropriate Christian response from Catholic bishops in the world’s most densely Christian continent.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Over at the English Catholic, we have grown tired of the hear no evil, see no evil mode and we will be publishing candid observations from people who are seeing things on the ground.
Here is an except from a Church of England priest with no canonical irregularities who was at first delighted at the Apostotlic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus but now highly disenchanted. Can't say I don't share some of his disillusionment on this side of the pond.
He writes, (my emphases):
Shock 3 – well not a shock exactly but the slow and reluctant realization – is, that “patrimony” is going to be what certain persons known and unknown decide it is, on our behalf. As you say, for us there is nothing to discuss. Our very own spiritual and even social inheritance is going to be filleted and served up by people some of whom have little taste for or knowledge of the ingredients they are handling. Two topical examples, in the liturgical category. Any continuing traditional Anglican group worth the name, whether in communion with Rome or not, must have at least the option to use the BCP in some form and be able to augment it in customary ways. That is a minimal requirement. The straightforward and obvious thing would be to say, Carry on using the the BCP or English Missal, we can perhaps tinker with them later; otherwise you have the Roman rites at your disposal, for those cloth-eared enough to want them, and we can add a pre-Reformation English rite in Latin and/or English. (That last needn’t take long, because the texts are available now.) Let a hundred flowers bloom. Well, ha ha! (Alan Bennett – I think – compared a liturgist revising the BCP to an ape taking a wristwatch to pieces.)
Simile modo (translated so cleverly in their new missal as “in a similar way”) it seems clear that the AV will not be permitted, because of inaccuracies. What inaccuracies? Let them give us a list and we shall calculate how much harm those inaccuracies have done to us down the ages. (Would the harm be as great as that done by unrelenting ugliness?) Even an inaccurate text can be sanctified through use, just as an inauthentic icon can be a channel of grace. The very inaccuracy itself can become a sanctified alternative. To decline to authorize (in other words to forbid the use of) our Bible is to set limits to the working of the Holy Ghost. I heard at second hand that Andrew Burnham was asked the obvious question, “Can’t we just continue with our old missals”, to which he replied, “No, because that would legalize the AV through the back door“. This he spake (presumably) not of himself, but being high priest that year. What are these people frightened of? Hunwicke once said on his blog that he feared the ordinariate would turn out to be a “well policed” institution; I expect that rash expression was duly noted.
From the very start the priests actually in the ordinariate have uttered either nothing or cries of joy. (None of them has publicly protested against the treatment of Hunwicke, though that would be partly out of a fear of doing him more damage.) Outsiders have been trying to find out what they think, what they do (about their daily office, for instance), what is the ordinariate really like (one Prayer Book Catholic who joined did actually say curtly, in a tone that firmly discouraged further enquiry, “Different ethos”); but all the public discussion – futile, as you point out – is among outsiders.All the news is good news, as in the relentless Church Times or the old Pravda.
In short, I don’t think I could tolerate a regime that does such things or has such an effect on freethinking people. It is not just that it does them, but that they are part of its character. The modern management of the C of E is characterized by a fear and loathing of independent thought or decision-taking or ownership of property. Dioceses are becoming more centralized, even as the talk is all of local responsibility. The old mediaeval notion of the distribution of powers, remnants of which survive even now in our systems of patronage and parochial organization, is perceived as a great enemy; and of course, in the RC Church it has been entirely got rid of, as it seems to my outsider’s point of view. The corollary of this is that the church becomes dependent and infantilized, waiting, like a Methodist congregation, to be told what to do. What I dislike in the C of E the RC Church in England possesses in spades.
Aidan Nichols was one who really raised my hopes (and the Pope was another!), but perhaps those hopes were always fantastic. (I wonder if Nichols is disappointed.) The English ordinariate has no money, no property, only a tiny number of lay members, and little affection for its own past. It must do as it is told, and its leaders love to have it so; they have been garlanded with foreign titles that can only emphasize discontinuity; I was there when the scrolls from Rome were presented to the “monsignori”, and the ceremony and applause reminded me of the primary school assemblies I attended as a governor, when swimming certificates were handed out, and everybody was happy to see the children’s achievements being “celebrated”, to see them being made to feel good about themselves.
Friday, October 14, 2011
At the time the hockey-loving teenager thought he would become a dentist. But a few months later he heard a homily that convinced him he needed to spend the rest of his life making clear to people the reality of the Scripture verse: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own immortal soul?”
MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION“That’s got to be the most important question in the world,” he said to himself. “I don’t think most people know that. They go on with their lives as if nothing is going to happen.”
It was then he knew he was going to become a priest.
Ordained in 1955, he worked in a downtown parish for three years before the archbishop asked him to teach at the new St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary. It was supposed to help young Catholics cultivate vocations, but Bedard found himself frustrated that most of his students would shed their Catholic faith “like a sweater” once they graduated.
Though the school grew from 35 students to a Catholic high school of almost 800, nothing he or the other priests tried seemed to work to evangelize the otherwise polite and attentive students.
In the mid-1970s, Bedard began meeting people whose lives had been turned around through their encounter with the charismatic movement.
He decided to check it out. At a Catholic church, he found the chairs arranged in concentric circles with the leaders in the centre, singing “peppy songs like Jingle Bells, not terribly profound music.”
‘CATHOLICS DON’T DO THAT’
When the music stopped and everyone began praying at once, he thought, “That’s a curious way of praying. Surely they could get together on this.”
It bothered him when people began to pray with their hands raised in the air. “Catholics don’t do that.”
When people began to pray for intentions, he was struck that some requests seemed “so small, so picayune, too small to bother God” about. One woman prayed about renting her spare room and he wondered why she wouldn’t just put an ad in the paper.
After he left, he thought “these people are crazy, the Canadian society of ding-dongs.”
But he kept meeting solid, credible people whose lives had been profoundly changed for the better so he went back. He signed up for a Life in the Spirit seminar and eventually prayed with others to receive one of the spiritual gifts. Instead of asking for one of them, he asked to be able to pray.
After being prayed for, Bedard felt disappointed because nothing dramatic happened. Instead, he went home and had a deep sleep. But he awoke the next morning with a desire to pray that he had never experienced before.
The Bible started to make sense in a new way. While praying his daily offices in the Breviary, “the words started to jump off the page to me as if somebody was passing a magnifying glass over them.”
He found new power to evangelize, and began to see his 18-year-old students transform “right before my eyes.” They formed prayer groups. People began to experience healing.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
OTTAWA - Anti-gay pamphleteer Bill Whatcott's lawyer faced testy questions Wednesday from Canada's top legal eagles when he argued his client's views were controversial - but not hateful.
Thomas Schuck was greeted with some scepticism from the panel of seven Supreme Court judges as he tried to prove Whatcott was not guilty of promoting hate when he distributed flyers in Saskatchewan questioning the morality of homosexuality and warning of dangers of teaching it to children. "Yes, it's harsh, but so what?" said Schuck, referring to the graphic language and Biblical scripture his client used to brand gay sex as a "perversion" and an "abomination."
Schuck questioned whether Whatcott's lack of "finesse" in expressing his views meant he should be barred from legitimate discussion.
Great videos over there.
Monday, October 10, 2011
OTTAWA — Father Robert Bedard was 46 years old on Oct. 27, 1975, when a troubled student named Robert Poulin kicked open the classroom door and eyes glazed, began firing his shotgun.
“Father Bob” was a witty, charismatic teacher whose religion class was packed with Grade 13 students that Monday. One would die of shotgun wounds and several others were badly injured. Many more still carry the psychological scars.
In the basement at Poulin’s Ottawa South home, police would later find the body of a young girl he had befriended and who, we learned later, had agreed to go to his home because she felt sorry for him.
The killings were senseless acts that traumatized the city and ones that Father Bob was likely still struggling with when he died Thursday as fellow priests prayed and sang hymns, delivering what one described as “truly a beautiful and holy death.”
Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/Father+Robert+Bedard+1929+2011+Passionate+priest+caring/5521348/story.html#ixzz1aO9CAk7N
Thursday, October 06, 2011
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
The Sexteens and the Fake Goddess is a lurid tale of striptease. It's co-author is teacher Jacques Tremblay, who was one of the most important education officials in Ontario.SUBMITTED IMAGES
The teacher in charge of disciplining wayward educators in Ontario has quit his post.
Ontario College of Teachers discipline chair Jacques Tremblay submitted his resignation Wednesday afternoon following a Toronto Star story detailing how he wrote a soft-porn book for teens that featured inappropriate sexual conduct between teachers, students and a senior administrator.
Tremblay has resigned both from the College's Discipline Committee and the elected Council that oversees the College.
“He made this choice out of concern that the public perception of matters raised today in the media could lead to an erosion of the public’s confidence in the College and its work,” said College Council Chair Liz Papadopoulos, who said she accepted the resignation.
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Written by Deborah Gyapong, Canadian Catholic News
OTTAWA - With more than 100 religious leaders in attendance on Oct. 3, the International Affairs Minister opened formal consultation on the creation of Canada’s first Office of Religious Freedoms.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said the office, which was promised by the Tories in the last election, is intended to “promote and protect freedom of religion and belief, consistent with core Canadian values such as freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”
“Most importantly,” Baird said, “it will demonstrate that Canada truly is a free society.”
The Office of Religious Freedom will operate within the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade with an expected annual budget of $5 million. Its mandate will be to promote and monitor religious freedom around the world.
In addition to religious leaders, academics, lawyers and representatives of persecuted religious minorities attended the conference chaired by Foreign Affairs Parliamentary Secretary Bob Dechert. Among attendees was Peter Bhatti, older brother of Shahbaz Bhatti, the former Pakistani Minorities Minister who was assassinated earlier this year.
Sunday, October 02, 2011
After our catechesis this afternoon, Bishop Carl, Deacon Michael and his wife Rebecca, Mary, brothers Ben and Zach and I headed to the annual Life Chain, a North American event that sees people spend an hour of silent witness against abortion.
As I entered church this morning, Ben was striding towards the building in his raincoat, looking very sharp, and tipped his hat to me, like the young gentleman that he is. He and his brother, Zach, who is a member of our church, both wear ties on Sunday---not mandatory in our church, but it sure is nice and old-fashioned, but I hope Ben sets a trend.
He says he is working on it. Ben just started coming to worship with us as he is now attending Augustine College where about half the faculty is ACCC. They come from an evangelical background---in fact I remember a very precocious Zach when he was five years old at my previous Baptist Church (and maybe even Ben in a stroller!). They were home schooled and are both brilliant, well-read and very interesting young men.
It's a happy day here in Ottawa, despite rain and gloom, shorter days, chillier temperatures and falling leaves. We began the Evangelium Course, our catechesis preparing us for entry into the Catholic Church.
So it feels like we are going somewhere, like something is happening and the room was full of shining faces and laughter and joy in our little church family.
Fr. Francis slipped in to our service before the Eucharistic prayers. I brought him a hymn book and bulletin and could hear him joining us in song.
He is associate pastor of a big Catholic parish that was just recently assigned to the Companions order (a wonderful relatively new priestly order that is charismatic, deeply faithful and has priests living in community) because their previous rector admitted to a gambling addiction and the Archdiocese has recently turned an audit of the parish finances over to police. So the congregation, who loved their previous priest, is reeling.
Fr. Francis had been most recently in the Philippines and had also been with the Companions in Texas. Interestingly, when Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast asked him to accompany us (the archbishop didn't ask for volunteers, apparently, he just asked Fr. Francis if he'd be willing to do it) he did not know how steeped in Anglicanism Fr. Francis has been. He even lived at the Angl0-Catholic Trinity College in Toronto for six years or so as the Roman Catholic priest in residence, so he has a great familiarity with our liturgy and hymnody.
He also knew one of our parishioners from when she was an Anglican in a Montreal parish. Bishop Carl and other TAC priests are big Companions of the Cross fans---and interestingly, their present head is a former Anglican!
Fr. Francis is exceptionally warm and friendly and probably spoke to everyone in our small parish, making us all feel like the Catholic Church welcomes us and is excited about our coming in.
The Evangelium Course is a power point presentation with a wonderful use of Christian art. There is an accompanying work book that most of us were trying to read all in one gulp this afternoon. The course is expandable as there are references to the Cathechism of the Catholic Church and the Compendium, as well as other Catholic writers. We have homework that Bishop Carl prepared for us from Thomas Aquinas on proofs of the existence of God. Though we all believe in God etc. etc. it was good to have these reminders just in case, well, we run into a pagan or secularist or fundamentalist relativist and we need to use rational arguments about the first "Be-cause."
One thing that was cool, was how some of the children were also paying attention. Bishop Carl made it lively, added value by his own observations (and jokes) and ensured we were all involved. It was a lot of fun.
Saturday, October 01, 2011
They still don't respect you this morning.
Vote - But Not For McGuinty.
And watch this:
OTTAWA - Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins urged Catholic school trustees not to compromise fidelity to the Catholic faith as they face government pressure to adopt policies contrary to Church teaching.
Speaking to the annual conference of the Canadian Catholic School Trustees’ Association in Ottawa Sept. 23, Collins exhorted everyone involved in Catholic education to become disciples of Christ and to fully participate in the New Evangelization, which he described as proclaiming the Word in places where the Gospel has been forgotten and God has been squeezed out.
“We are marinated in secularism,” he said, urging those present to take a look at the working document for the upcoming Synod on the New Evangelization called by Pope Benedict XVI.
“We need to maintain and strengthen the Catholic identity of our schools,” he said, noting that the faith must not only be taught, it needs to be “caught.”
Faith must be modeled through the example of faithful witnesses, who not only offer a high-quality education, but also communities of Christian love, worship and integrity. Collins expressed hope that all involved in Catholic education would be “fervent Catholics” and “faithful disciples” of Christ and evangelizers willing to proclaim the Gospel.
He called Catholic education a “treasure” but reminded the several hundred trustees from across Canada “nothing this side of paradise” is perfect. While some might be over-enthusiastic, others blow concerns about the schools out of proportion. But he said people do need to pay attention to “hints of problems and difficulties” and answer the “worries” some face.
Collins said he’s had parents tell him they are taking their children out of the Catholic system because they don’t think the schools are Catholic enough. He tells them there are wonderful people in the Catholic schools and great students, and while the system is not perfect “we’re working on it.” But the parents tell him, “That’s fine, bishop, we wish you well, but our kids will be adults before you make a dent in it.”
It took a long time to get into the problems Catholic schools face and it will take a long time to rectify them, he said, describing the process as a “marathon” and not a “sprint.”
Sayyid is quite the scholar and has written an entire paper devoted to "Apostasy in Islam". Sayyid says apostates should be killed. Sayyid is a lunatic. Sayyid is just the sort of lunatic sought out and embraced by prominent members of the Liberal party such as Ontario Human Rights Commissioner Barbara Hall, and Liberal MPP & Cabinet Minister Michael Chan. (see the pic below) Of course this isn't the first time McGuinty's Liberals have been caught cozying up to Hate Preaching Islamists, last time it cost you $150,000.00. And how could we forget the private school license they granted to the Mullah charged with polygamy and sexual abuse of a student.
Here's what Sayyid has to say on the fate of Apostates.
"A former kãfir who became a Muslim and then apostates (murtad milli), he is given a second chance: if he repents, then he is not to be killed; but if he does not repent, then he is to be killed."
But one who is born as a Muslim and then apostates (murtad fitri), he is to be killed even if he repents. It is important to understand that in case a murtad fitri repents, Allãh may accept his repentance and he may be forgiven in the hereafter, but he still has to go through the punishment prescribed for his treason in
this world." pg. 10 in pdf