A “Dangerous” Post on the Recent Terrorist Attacks

12/06/2015 Comments (89)

Gebhard Fugel (1863-1939), “By the Waters of Babylon”

Consider this a dangerous post, and a post that will be easily misunderstood. For here I am about to make a point that explores a biblical theme and apply it to today. But in so doing, I am “holding other things equal”—a technique which examines a certain aspect of a problem and focuses on that one thing, while not denying that other factors and issues are also at work.

As such this form of argumentation (ceteris paribus – other things being equal) requires a kind of sophistication on the part of a listener (or reader) that in the wider culture is not much in evidence today. Most often today people hear a point and absolutize what the speaker is saying, or presume the speaker means the...READ MORE

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Two Mass Shootings, Two Media Narratives

12/04/2015 Comments (9)

It's a remarkable case study to compare the tragic shootings in Colorado Springs a week ago and this week's San Bernardino attack. We don't yet know the full motives of the shooters in either case. And yet, with the Robert Dear incident, there was, and remains, an assumption in the popular, professional and social media that he was a pro-life Christian who acted violently against Planned Parenthood because of his views. By default, that seems to make him a representative of all Christians, perhaps even all pro-life people. And there's been an ongoing debate about how so-called "right wing rhetoric" led Dear to commit the atrocity. By implication, all who speak against abortion are...READ MORE

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Will St. Faustina Become the Newest Doctor of the Church?

12/04/2015 Comments (11)
courtesy the Marians of the Immaculate Conception

– courtesy the Marians of the Immaculate Conception

In 2,000 years of Christianity, only 36 saints have been honored as a “Doctor of the Church.” Among them are St. Augustine, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis de Sales, and St. Therese of Lisieux.

Right now the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception are leading a drive to petition the Holy See to increase that number by one more, adding St. Faustina Kowalska, the Apostle of Divine Mercy, as number 37.

The Marians are working earnestly on this drive, urging everyone to support naming St. Faustina a Doctor by signing the petition on their website and praying for its success. The results will be sent to the Holy See.

This Year of Mercy...READ MORE

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Cardinal Sarah: Only the Church Can Open the Door to the Sacraments

12/04/2015 Comments (6)
Bohumil Petrik/CNA

– Bohumil Petrik/CNA

To allow someone to receive the Eucharist when he lives in “manifest contradiction” with Jesus’ words “signifies opening a door which does not lead to Christ,” Cardinal Robert Sarah has said.

In a new, wide-ranging interview (see below for full text) for Kath.net, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments said the door for such people is “always open, in as much as God continues to call to conversion”.

But opening a door to the sacraments for those who are not properly disposed to receive them means “actually to close the true door of life,” he said. 

The Guinean cardinal, interviewed by Armin Schwibach, professor of philosophy at the...READ MORE

Filed under cardinal robert sarah, divorced-remarried, eucharist, europe, sacraments, synod on the family

The Anointing of the Sick

12/03/2015 Comments (6)

Lieutenant Commander Joseph T. O'Callahan, USNR(ChC) prepares to anoint an injured crewman aboard USS Franklin (CV-13), after the ship was set afire by a Japanese air attack, 19 March 1945. The crewman is reportedly Robert C. Blanchard, who survived his injuries. (Credit: Naval Historical Center)

We Sheas tend toward the hefty end of the spectrum.  Some of that is genetics.  Some of it is how the family tends to relate to food and (fails) to govern its appetites.  Sin has a generational aspect to it.  And sin is, among other things, enslaving (as anybody struggling with addiction will tell you).  That’s why, after nearly fifty years of grappling with my renegade appetites and watching my weight balloon into dangerous obesity, I finally (after my priest suggested it), asked for the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick a few years ago.

The result was uncanny.  Quite simply, my appetite for sweets simply died and my appetite for other foods became, for the first time in my life,...READ MORE

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Remembering the English Martyrs' 'Extraordinary Devotion' to the Mass

12/03/2015 Comments (4)

The Venerable English College in Rome this week celebrated its 44 alumni who were martyred for the faith between 1581 and 1679 — the ultimate act of love for Christ that, as the VEC's rector explained, derived from their “extraordinary devotion” to Jesus in the Eucharist.

The annual celebration, which includes a memorial Mass and veneration of the relics of the martyrs, recalls the profound witness of those who came to study for the priesthood in Rome knowing that near-certain death awaited them on their return to England.

One English priest, currently staying temporarily at the VEC for a few months, told me his visit had helped him to truly appreciate the magnitude of their sacrifice...READ MORE

Filed under eucharist, holy communion, martyrdom, martyrs, persecution, venerable english college

A Stronger Way of Life?: Responding to President Obama on ISIS

12/02/2015 Comments (11)

President Obama put his finger on a key to the struggle with militant Islam: the difference between two ways of life. In a press conference during his visit to Malaysia he once again clearly expressed the predominant views of our secular culture.

First, in Obama’s view it is precisely our values of openness that make our culture strong:

So I want to be as clear as I can on this:  Prejudice and discrimination helps ISIL and undermines our national security.  And so, even as we destroy ISIL on the battlefield -- and we will destroy them -- we will take back land that they are currently in. . . .  Even as we are in the process of doing that, we want to make sure that we don't lose our own...READ MORE

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3rd Corporal Work of Mercy: Clothe the Naked

12/02/2015 Comment

The next corporal work of mercy, “clothe the naked,” seems rather straightforward. One would think that it simply means to give clothes to someone who doesn’t have any. While that certainly is an aspect of this work of mercy, it does not paint the whole picture. Jesus challenges us to be much more active when he said to the sheep on his right, “[I was] naked, and you covered me” (Matthew 25:36).

Jesus (and the Church) ask us to “clothe” the naked and not simply drop-off our excess wardrobe at a St. Vincent de Paul thrift store (which is good to do). God wants us to be active in our works of mercy and to touch the lives of individual people.

One of the most famous modern-day examples who...READ MORE

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