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Chaput – lack of Faith limits Church influence on the world September 27, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic, sickness, Society.
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Why is the voice of the Catholic Church so often drowned out in the cacophony of voices in our media saturated world?   Christians make up a majority of this country, and world-wide constitute 1/3 of all human beings – why is it that we seem to have so little influence on the dominant culture.  Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver thinks he knows the answer, and it’s staring us in the face:

Christians’ lack of faith and cowardice are the primary obstacles to Christian culture at a time when unbelief is the spirit-destroying “state religion” of the modern world, Archbishop Charles Chaput has told a gathering of academics. He urged personal repentance and witness as the path to cultural renewal.The Archbishop of Denver delivered his remarks on Sunday in Baltimore to the annual convention of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, which awarded him the organization’s Cardinal O’Boyle Award.

He told the scholars that their task is to strengthen their zeal in advancing the Gospel, their courage in struggling against sin, and their “candor in naming good and evil.” He advised them to use their God-given skills to strengthen this spirit in each other, their students, and their colleagues.

“If you do only that, but do it well, then God will do the rest,” Archbishop Chaput declared.

Comparing American Catholics to the ancient Israelites who “forgot their faith because they weren’t taught,” he said that if Catholics no longer know their faith or their obligations, “we leaders, parents and teachers have no one to blame but ourselves.”

This speech was given to an association of Catholic scholars, so the references to lack of formation in the Truth revealed by Christ through His Church had to be something of a rebuke.  Certainly, there is much to be desired in the formation of almost all Catholics – I have read that 3/4 of US Catholics think the Eucharist is just a symbol of Christ’s Body and Blood, and not the Real Presence.  That indicates a collapse in formation.  I do not think it an exaggeration to state that the large majority of Catholics today have little or no knowledge of the Faith.

But, in a broader sense, Chaput is stating that the reason why we as Catholics have so little influence on the culture, in spite of our very large numbers, is because we’re not living the Faith and serving as exemplars of the Christian ethos through our very lives.  Our Church leadership certainly bears a large responsibility for this, as leaders, they should be out in front boldly proclaiming the Truth the Church believes, not equivocating or minimizing it in order to  keep from being viewed as extreme by those they are trying to please be pastoral .  But all of us, me included, bear some of this responsibility.  How often do we visibly live the Faith?  How often do we acquiesce to cultural norms instead of living a life informed by our Faith and as a proclamation of all we believe?  This can be little things – priests wearing clerics in public, families saying a prayer before eating in a restaurant, acting with kindness and charity towards all (I’m working on it!), deferring to others…..the list is endless.  But, this effort should also be adult and intelligent – running around telling people they’re damned if they are not Catholic, or spraying people in the mall with Holy Water is probably not the way to go.  It’s a life guided by Christian virtue.  It’s living by the two supreme commandments Jesus gave us. 

Somehow, this has failed to happen over the past century or so.  It’s failing to happen now.  While there are those who strive to live Christian lives, there aren’t enough of us doing it.  I’m not doing it enough.  I think that’s Chaput’s point – we can’t evangelize the culture without really living the Faith.  That, in the end, is the only kind of evangelization that will really make a lasting impact.

Catholic, Orthodox Churches take further steps toward union September 27, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Ecumenism, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Society.
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Amazing…..an actual newpaper article about religious matters that isn’t replete with bias and misinformation.  How can it be that we have to look to Moscow for reasonable coverage of religious matters in the press?  Such would have been unthinkable two decades ago.  Nevertheless, the important point – talks between the Catholic Church and the schismatic Orthodox Church appear to be progressing rather well.  With further work, much prayer, and the action of the Holy Spirit, the two great liturgical Churches could once again be joined in close unity:

Roman Catholic and Orthodox theologians reported promising progress in talks on overcoming their Great Schism of 1054 and bringing the two largest denominations in Christianity back to full communion.Experts meeting in Vienna last week agreed that the two could eventually become “sister churches” that recognize the Roman pope as their titular head but retain many church structures, liturgy and customs that developed over the past millennium.

The delegation heads stressed that unity was still far off, but their upbeat report Friday reflected growing cooperation between Rome and the Orthodox churches traditionally centered in Russia, Greece, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

“There are no clouds of mistrust between our two churches,” Orthodox Metropolitan John Zizioulas of Pergamon said at a news conference. “If we continue like that, God will find a way to overcome all the difficulties that remain.”

Archbishop Kurt Koch, the top Vatican official for Christian unity, said the joint dialogue must continue “intensively” so that “we see each other fully as sister churches.”

The churches split in 1054 over the primacy of the Roman pope, the most senior bishop in early Christianity. The Orthodox in Constantinople, now Istanbul, rejected Roman primacy and developed national churches headed by their own patriarchs.

The Vatican has sought closer ties for years, but the Russian Orthodox Church — whose 165 million followers are the largest branch of the world’s 250 million Orthodox — responded slowly as it emerged from more than seven decades of Communist rule.

Roman Catholicism is Christianity’s largest church, with 1.1 billion of the estimated 2 billion Christians worldwide.

Pope Benedict has close ties to the spiritual leader of the Orthodox, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul, and hopes to meet Russian Patriarch Kirill, who has shown great interest in better ties since taking office in early 2009.

Benedict and Kirill are both conservative theologians who say Europe should return to its Christian roots. The Orthodox are closer to Catholicism in their theology and liturgy than the Protestant churches that broke from Rome in the 16th century.

Unity will require change on both sides, the delegation heads stressed. “I won’t call it a reformation — that is too strong — but an adaptation from both sides,” John said.

The Catholic Church of course requires recognition of the See of Peter as the Head of the Church and there two millenia of Tradition that gives the Pope great power and autonomy.  The Orthodox Churches desire to keep the autonomy of their national synods, and seek the modify the role of Pope to require consultation with bishops before major decisions are taken.  Can reunion occur?  I certainly pray so…..not least for the fact that Unity is a key aspect of Christianity as Christ has revealed in Scripture, but also for the fact that Christian Churches will need that unity as society becomes increasingly intolerant of the Christian religion.  Practically, there would be great benefits to Catholics coming from exposure to Orthodox liturgical practice, something which has remained amazingly unchanged for 1500 or more years. 

Coupled with the recent Ordinariate for Anglicans, the Church has made amazing progress in its ecumenical efforts under Pope Benedict XVI – in fact, better progress in terms of real results than has been made in many decades, possibly centuries.

Did anyone hear of this? September 27, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, foolishness, General Catholic, scandals, sickness.
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I had never heard of this….women worldwide “boycotting” Church on Sunday to express their OUTRAGE! that the Church discriminates against women:

Yesterday was the “Sunday Without Women?” when outraged Catholic women all across the globe were supposed to boycott Mass in order to prove that the Church needs to change its mind on celibacy or ordination of women or any other issue they can be outraged about.

It all started with Jennifer Sleeman, a Catholic convert from Ireland, urging women to send a message to the Vatican that “women are tired of being treated as second-class citizens in the Church.”

Rose Marie Berger, an associate editor with Sojourners magazine in Washington DC, got all “You go girl” about it and said something like “hey, let’s all do that.”

Berger, cribbing some phraseology from Karl Marx, wrote:

Catholic women of the world unite. September 26 is the day to boycott Mass and pray for greater inclusion of women in the Catholic church.

So, let’s all commit a mortal sin!  That’ll show the Church who’s boss!

First – if you read the whole CMR post, you will find that these “womynpriests” are, shockingly, I know, steeped in Marxism.  Second, how is one to take this “womynpriest” effort seriously as a means to grow in love and service to God when they recommend to commit a mortal sin?  Finally, I have a number of women readers, for which I am honored.  Do any of you feel that the Church discriminates against you because you are “excluded from the power dynamic within the Church?” 

Is it just me, or do these women all seem to have far more a lust for what they perceive as the power of the priesthood, and less a concern for the state of their souls and the good of the Church?

We are witnessing a PR onslaught lately regarding “womynpriests.”  Where is this coming from?  There is no genuine groundswell in the Church for female clergy – the same, usual suspects that have been advocating for this kind of nonsense for years are just getting alot more, and more favorable, news coverage lately.  Why is that?  Where is this push coming from, if not from within the Church?

These women seem to not have much veneration for Mary.  How otherwise could one feel that women are treated disrespectfully by the Church?

The great Acts of the Apostasy has more, including this rather novel view of God the Father:

“The images of God and the language we use in liturgy are big issues for me,” says Katie Hainley, 31, a member of St. Vincent de Paul parish, also known as the Downtown Chapel. “Our church tradition holds that God is neither male nor female, but God is usually portrayed from a masculine perspective.”

The difference between Christian Charity and social justice September 27, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery, scandals, Society.
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Steve Kellmeyer has a very insightful post regarding the differences, historcially and practically, between Christian Charity and what is commonly termed social justice.  If you heard me on the radio this past Saturday, I stated that “social justice” has a long history in the Church, and while that is true, I think it important to note that the term “social justice” as it is used today within the Church has been co-opted by those who have a very decided political agenda within the Church.  There are some who feel they are doing all they can “for charity” by lobbying the government to do their charity for them – to tax and direct money from one sector of society to another.  Typically, those sectors that are taxed are the more productive sectors, and this taxation tends to dampen the overall vitality of a nation’s economy – indeed, it can prove positively disastrous, as we see from numerous economic implosions throughout Europe and here in the United States.  Here’s a bit from Steve, who goes from Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate to the present day, but you should read the whole thing:

But if someone takes my things, even if he gives them to the poor, he has stolen from me my ability to image God. He has taken away the material I need to practice the presence of God. In a very real sense, in order to be Christian, I must be able to own property, property that cannot be seized by anyone else. If I can’t own my own things, I can’t give them away. If I can’t give anything away, I can’t image God. God took on His own human body precisely so He could give it away to us. Similarly, I need to really have things in order to truly practice charity. As I practice this physical charity, I become aware of the need for spiritual charity, the need to tell others what God gave to all of us: eternal life via Himself

This is why the Church has taught charity for two millennia, but only began to teach “social justice” since the Industrial Revolution. When farmers were thrown off their land in order to force them onto factory floors, they lost their property. The Church’s insistence on labor’s right to organize is precisely an insistence that every man must have access to his own things, if only so he can learn how to give his own things away of his own free will. For, unless he learn to give, how can a man learn to love?

Indeed, as Pope Benedict points out in his apostolic exhortation, Sacrament of Love (Sacramentum Caritatis), only the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, truly empower us to love. In every sacrament God models for us how we are to give ourselves away to others. Through every sacrament, He empowers us with the divinizing grace which enables us to actually follow His example.

The government cannot do this. Community organizers cannot do this. It is only via the sacraments that we receive all that we need to live as Christ lives.

In 2010, 7300 Muslim doctors in Morocco declared “Christian charity ought to be considered religious terrorism.” Note carefully their concern. Non-Christians are not frightened by Catholic social justice. Indeed, Lenin, an atheist, and Alinsky, his student, encouraged Christians to participate in their social justice programs. Both intended to use these programs to convert Christians to atheism, in much the same way Julian meant to convert Christians to paganism

They knew what many Christians have not yet realized: if we can be tricked into focusing on the limited power of human social justice, we will never discover the infinite power of the sacraments, the divine power of Christian charity, wherein each man personally gives of his own to the stranger at his door. It is this divine love that terrifies the world, and makes the demons tremble. 

Explaining the Church’s view of homosexuality with tact and charity – UPDATED September 27, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic, Society.
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I think this is much better than anything I’ve managed to write on the subject, although I would add that I think there are other conditions that can demand a similar level of sacrifice:

We had a bit of a discussion regarding Church doctrine on homosexuality at our Biblical Basis for the Eucharist class last night.  It’s good to see a number of Catholics understanding and accepting the Church’s doctrine on homosexuality.

UPDATE: Thinking about Voris’ exposition again, I think he is going a bit too far on making the “victim” aspect of a homosexual inclination a bit too great.  There are probably more heterosexuals leading chaste lives……because they never found the right spouse, or feel called to be celibate, or are widowed, etc……..than homosexuals in the world.  They may feel just as much unable to exercise their sexuality as any homosexual might, and may feel that same sense of totality.  So, I don’t know that those with a homosexual orientation should be elevated to too great a level of victim soul status, unless they truly are engaging in enormous spriritual efforts to offer their gift of sexuality up to God as a special sacrifice for the atonement of the sins of the world.  Which, by the way, we are all called to do as our Faith and station in life permit. 

I still think Voris presents the Church’s doctrine in a very clear light, and with a great deal of charity for those with a homosexual orientation.  But, there is a tendency in our society to elevate certain groups of individuals to special status, and perhaps Voris fell into that mode of thinking a bit too much.