Taking Back Our Culture: Catholic Education at Work

08/02/2012 Comments (13)

Last week I attended an extraordinarily encouraging conference put on by the Napa Institute. Topping my highlights list was hearing: Archbishop Chaput and others speak on the topic of religious liberty, Fr. Robert Barron address the philosophical roots of the challenges in our culture, and Hugh Hewitt articulate how to face specific challenges with media communication. And, surprisingly, it was Frank Hanna’s discussion of Catholic education that spoke to me in an especially powerful way.

What I took away from the conference overall was a sense of optimism. No, this was no “rah-rah” event. It was one that really provided solid exploration of the challenges we face. But it also outlined...READ MORE

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What went wrong with the religious right?

07/02/2012 Comments (119)

In 1989, I went to work for the most powerful evangelical of his time, Dr. James Dobson. As a young and energetic Christian, I was elated to find myself in the epicenter of a vibrant evangelicalism. Even so, I struggled with the culture from the beginning. Yes, there was a great deal of positive energy. However, as Focus on the Family grew out and away from Dr. Dobson’s initial emphasis on parenting — as expressed in his ground-breaking book, Dare to Discipline — into political activism, I watched a transformation that was personally challenging.

My first encounter with Dr. Dobson was in the living room of a solid group of Protestants who were seeking to deepen their faith and...READ MORE

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I Stand With the Catholic Church

02/13/2012 Comments (61)

In light of the growing friction between the Catholic Church and the Obama Administration, our friends over at St. Peter’s List have created several media designs to help those who are standing in defense of the Church. A few of the pictures deal directly with the current HHS mandate turmoil, but most are strong basic statements of fidelity that ring with a boldness akin to Bl. Pope John Paul II’s “do not be afraid.”

They are encouraging Catholics to take these pictures and share them throughout the social media platforms – make them your profile pictures, share them on your twitter, and post them to your blogs and parish websites.

The gallery can be found at St. Peter’s List...READ MORE

Filed under hhs, obama

Why the Pope's Army Will Not Kneel to the HHS Mandate

02/09/2012 Comments (63)

Among the sounds of pipes, harps and horns the multitude fell down before the golden statue of Nebuchadnezzar. All worshiped the image save three young men.

The story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego — and the captivating image of the “fourth man” within the white-hot furnace —  is one most Christians are told as children. However, as adults in an ever-increasingly secular world, the story adopts a more sober tone.

For us Americans, it seems like there has always been a pernicious chorus in the background of our lives asking us to kneel to this or that false hope. Yet, the HHS contraception mandate was the keynote that explicitly brought the idol before the faithful and said “Kneel...READ MORE

Filed under conscience, ewtn, hhs mandate, lepanto, obama, religious liberty, rosary, sebelius

A Reminder Amongst the Politics - Blessed John Paul II's Perspective on Authentic Relationships

02/06/2012 Comments (6)

Before the world knew Bl. Pope John Paul II, Fr. Karol Wojtyla wrote a work entitled Love and Responsibility. The text presents a unique philosophical introduction to the individual, relationships, the nature of sexuality and holy matrimony. It is the very substance of these topics that our modern world seeks to rewrite. However as we stand against the unjust HHS mandate and other attempts to further redefine sexuality and human relations, we must also remember to nurture our own relationships. In fact, the best defense of a natural relationship may be the observable charity and maturity within our own.

The prophetic young Wojtyla was inspired to write the book after spending time with...READ MORE

Filed under dating, friendship, love and responsibility,, marriage, pope john paul ii, relationships

If it helps me, it must be good and true…

01/21/2012 Comments (23)

A recurring theme I have encountered in my speaking, writing, and research in Catholic spiritual development is the idea that if something “works” or is “helpful” it is therefore true and good. Often enough, an individual – or even a parish – will dabble in non-Christian Eastern religious prayer methods coupled with the common conversation-ending apologetic blurt: “...it helps me, so how can it be bad?”

Whether it be from the non-Christian East, the New Age movement, or other source, the undergirding question appears to be what is the utility of prayer? The question carries a lot of weight, especially if we begin to consider the actual effect of prayer within the reality of the...READ MORE

Filed under contemplation, indulgences, meditation, prayer, rosary, spiritual direction, spirituality, st. teresa of avila, st. thomas aquinas

Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ

01/03/2012 Comments (5)

St. Jerome, once said that, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” Resonating in the truth of St. Jerome’s words, Scott Hahn has undertaken a prolific and acute commentary of Holy Scripture. Taking the Revised Standard Version – Second Catholic Edition by Ignatius Press as their basis, Hahn and his former student Curtis Mitch have compiled multiple commentaries on Scripture.

The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: Book of Genesis is the 14th volume in the acclaimed series and demonstrates all the same lauded attributes of its predecessors. It contains abundant notes drawn from both biblical scholars and the Fathers of the Church, and is a trusted source of historical, geographical,...READ MORE

Filed under bible, genesis, ignatius press, new testament, scott hahn, scripture, scripture commentaries

An Augustine Christmas: 10 Comments on the Incarnation of Christ

12/19/2011 Comments (1)

In the third part of his Summa Theologica, St. Thomas Aquinas catalogues 10 reasons or effects for the Incarnation of God — and supports each one with a quote from St. Augustine. The first five effects deal with drawing mankind into the Goodness of God, and the second five deal with humanity’s withdrawal from evil.

1. Faith: Certitude in the Living God
God takes on human flesh to grant humanity a greater assurance that it is truly “God Himself Who Speaks” to his people. As St. Augustine comments, “In order that man might journey more trustfully toward the truth, the Truth itself, the Son of God, having assumed human nature, established and founded faith.”

2. Hope: A Strengthening...READ MORE

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About Dan Burke

Dan Burke
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Dan Burke is an award winning author, speaker, regular voice on Register Radio, the Executive Director of the National Catholic Register and founder of the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation. Dan has appeared on EWTN's Journey Home program, blogs on the spiritual life over at Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction and his latest book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God is available through EWTN's Religious Catalogue. Dan's journey began in Judaism, matured into a living relationship with Christ as a Protestant, and after fifteen years of exploration has found his home in the Catholic Church.