Grafted In: Of Priests, Vines, and Moving On

06/21/2016 Comments (2)

Giovanni Segantini (1858-1899), “Frühmesse”

“As a co-worker of the order of bishops he is consecrated to preach the Gospel, to celebrate divine worship, especially the Eucharist from which his ministry draws its strength, and to be a shepherd of the faithful.”
Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#328)

“Mine is a parish like all the rest,” says the anonymous narrator at the beginning of The Diary of a Country Priest. “They’re all alike.” If that were true, then parishes would be like Tarzan’s vines: merely transitory and temporary. Swinging from tree to tree (or assignment to assignment) becomes effortless, then, as long as there’s no stopping, no dwelling – whoosh! – but only reaching out for the next one –...READ MORE

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Was A Famous Catholic Poet Jack the Ripper? UPDATED

Is there a case against Francis Thompson?

06/21/2016 Comments (7)

Francis Thompson, author of "The Hound of Heaven" and other Catholic poems.

NOTE: After this column appeared, I received a very polite note from Richard Patterson, the author of the theory discussed below, to correct me on several points. The major issue he took is that there was a second work, other than the one I cited, that proves to him that Thompson was Jack the Ripper. I have revised the piece to include this extra poem and his comments. Needless to say, it does not substantially change the case against Thompson. 

Francis Thompson’s “The Hound of Heaven” is one of the most beloved poems about faith ever written. There was a time when Catholic schoolchildren learned it by heart.

Thompson was admired by J.R.R. Tolkien, whose early poem “Wood-sunshine” was...READ MORE

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Eight Astonishing Facts about the Sacred Heart You Never Knew and Many More Great Links!

The Best in Catholic Blogging

06/21/2016 Comment

Click on Eight Astonishing Facts about the Sacred Heart You Never Knew by Chloe Mooradian of epicPew link to read.

Make a Heartfelt Connection to the Eucharist – Lilla Marie Lottinger, Catholic Stand

Eight Astonishing Facts about the Sacred Heart You Never Knew – Chloe Mooradian, epicPew

‘Armenians, Whether Catholic or Orthodox, Love the Pope’ – Oliver Maksan, Catholic Lane

A Bright Star in Ireland’s Sad Religious Prognosis – John P. McCarthy, The Catholic World Report

Elizabeth of the Trinity can Teach Mysticism to Our Materialistic Age – Francis Phillips, Catholic Herald

The Rebuilding of St. Elias Ukrainian-Greek Catholic Church in Brampton, Ontario – Gregory DiPippo, New Liturgical Movement

Common Sense Turned on Its Head Once Again; Transgender Issues - Bishop Thomas John Paprocki J.D....READ MORE

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Pope Francis and the Eye of the Tiger

06/21/2016 Comments (7)

Pope Francis pets a tiger during the Jubilee for Circuses in the Pope Paul VI Hall on June 16, 2016. (Photo Credit: © L'Osservatore Romano)

The recent L'Osservatore Romano photo of Pope Francis and a tiger peaceably regarding each other almost needs no caption.

In fact, there was no explanation for it other than it being snapped at a blessing Francis gave to street performers in Rome. As a magician, my ears were immediately burning but this time, not as a part of my stage act.

Francis praised entertainers, calling them "artisans" of celebration, wonder, joy and beauty, and encouraging them to be evangelizers who transmit God's love. Pope Francis reminded the assembled performers, and their friendly tiger, that bringing beauty and joy to a sometimes gloomy and sad world is also an act of mercy. In his own words, Francis...READ MORE

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Are Persecuted Middle East Christians Martyrs Rather Than Victims of Genocide?

06/20/2016 Comments (13)

Pope Francis said on Saturday that he did not like to use the word genocide when referring to persecuted Christians in the Middle East, preferring instead to use the term “martyrdom”.

Some were perplexed by his comment as the Pope was the first to use the word in referrence to the atrocities in the Middle East last year, and believe it may have been an attempt to reclaim the word “martyr” from Islamists.

Speaking at Villa Nazareth, an apostolate in Rome that offers educational opportunities for young persons in need, the Pope made the point that every Christian is called to bear witness, also in difficult situations.

For this reason, he said “I do not like it — and I want to say this...READ MORE

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Pray for the Graves Family, Victims of the Disney Alligator Attack

06/20/2016 Comments (2)

Two-year-old Lane Graves was killed at Disney's Grand Floridian on June 14. (Photo: Orange County Sheriff's Office)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” – Prov. 3:5

This Bible verse came to my mind after seeing what happened to two-year-old Lane Graves at Walt Disney World last week.

On the evening of June 14, an alligator grabbed Graves off the shore of a lagoon at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Lane’s father, Matt Graves, desperately wrestled with the alligator to save his son’s life, but could not retrieve him from the animal’s grasp. Thankfully, authorities found his body fully intact. The autopsy revealed that he died from drowning and traumatic injuries.

The Graves’ are parishioners of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Elkhorn, Nebraska, and...READ MORE

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Taking Another Look at Pascal’s Wager

06/20/2016 Comment

Taking Pascal’s Wager: Faith, Evidence, and the Abundant Life by Michael Rota, a Catholic philosophy professor, is an interesting consideration of whether one should choose to live a Christian life. Written for readers who have no formal training in philosophy or theology in a very accessible format, Professor Rota presents, in this newly released book, Blaise Pascal’s seventeenth century argument, which we now know as “Pascal’s Wager.” Pascal originally intended the wager to be for people who do not have a firm belief in God or are wavering in their faith.

Professor Rota makes this offer again in light of recent studies and evidence, and he begins his book by presenting his readers with...READ MORE

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St. Thomas Aquinas is Right: The Crucifixion Should Disturb You

06/20/2016 Comments (3)

Adriaen Backer (1635/1636-1684), “The Elevation of the Cross”

Last week we discussed the three pivotal moments in salvation history, which are truly built around the life of Christ. They are the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection.

Having discussed the Incarnation from the point of view of St. Thomas, pointing out how completely ridiculous it was for God to choose to become man, we move to the next disturbing teaching within our faith, the Crucifixion. And it is just that: disturbing!

Why should the Crucifixion disturb us? Well, it seems to sanctimoniously destroy our faith, and I guarantee for those days up until He appeared to them once more, this is what the Apostles and other believers felt.

Just like I mentioned with the...READ MORE

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