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The Imitation of Christ December 23, 2009

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I received a very astute comment the other day.   The commenter stated that avoiding New Age certain religious practices is all well and good, but where should he or she go to get some guidance on how to engage in deeply contemplative worship and prayer in a faithful, Catholic manner, and would I please help them? 

Yes, I will.  I already added this to the comments, but I think The Imitiation of Christ, by Thomas a’ Kempis, is exactly what this person is looking for.  If you feel like your parish doesn’t give you much in depth catechesis, or if you’re burned out on the Osteen’s of the world (which you should not be reading, anyway!), I strongly recommend The Imitation of Christ.   Here is a work of immense depth and challenge.  While originally written in the late Middle Ages for religious, especially monastics, it offers a view of life, or of giving up one’s life in service to Christ, which is beyond compare.   The book also provides great guidance on how to conduct contemplative prayer, and how to die to those material things that tend to distract so much.  More importantly, its guidance on how to live in a manner pleasing to Almighty God is amazing – but very difficult. 

This book does not pull any punches – it expects a great deal of the reader.  This is no wishy washy, touchy feely, I’m OK you’re OK theology.  The advice of a’ Kempis is that suffering is good and should be received with gratefulness.  It stresses repeatedly how unimportant are the things of the world.  And, in the conversations between Christ and man, it presents what I think are the most realistic, the most Roman Catholic, description of the relationship between God and man that I have ever read. 

PQHorn, if you are still out there, please check out The Imitation of Christ.  It is available online for free here.  If you are like me, and you prefer the bound, printed page, go here.  PS -I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the version listed on Amazon, I have a different version published by the Confraternity of the Precious Blood that is written in a very complex, rather old form of English.

Marian apparitions in Egypt December 22, 2009

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There have been ongoing Marian apparitions in Egypt for the last few weeks.  Unexplainable lights have been appearing over a Coptic Orthodox Church.  There have been similar events previously, such as in the late 1960s and the 1980s.  Some of the apparitions in the past were truly amazing, with a distinct profile of Mary with her arms outstretched.  In the past, these apparitions have appeared prior to some significant event, such as the Six Day War between Israel and Arab nations in 1967.  I don’t know what to make of this, yet, but interesting.

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis!

Pius XII, JPII named ‘venerable’ December 21, 2009

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Pope Benedict XVI, the Pope of Christian Unity, announced over the weekend that his predecessors Pius XII and John Paul II have been named ‘venerable,’ a further move toward canonization.   Naturally, it today’s world, someone has to be offended, and despite the fact that the Vatican, and Pope Pius XII in particular, did more to save more Jews members of specific groups targeted by facsist opression than any 10 other groups combined during WWII, the professionally aggrieved classes insist that he did not do enough, a few people have politely inquired as to whether he could have possibly, in a perfect world, done more. 

 So, of course, they are doing their usual act, they have made very low key mention, without any publicity, of their concerns.   That’s just what this is – these groups know better, but since JPII, in one of the biggest mistakes of his papacy, apologized for the bad treatment Christians had given Jews (the Jews have at various times given just as bad treatment, if not worse, to Christians) in the past, certain elements are constantly on the lookout for cheap shots with which to score points on the Church.  Which, being so low-key and reasonable, should be accepted by the Church as wonderfully genuine and not in any way politically motivated, or intended to cause a false, negative image of the Church to be perpetuated. 

And thus were all made happy.

New Mass translation December 18, 2009

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If you’re tired of the dumbed down ICEL English translation of the Mass that’s been in use since 1970, and want a far more uplifting, liturgically-correct, and accurate translation of the Mass, make your voice heard!  Sign the petition here.

The new translation is pending and should be introduced in a year or two at most, but there are still some opposed to it.

Bad News December 17, 2009

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Yesterday, I reported what I thought was good news regarding the women’s retreat at SEAS parish in Plano.  I had been told that the Bishop was very aware of the problems many people had with Sr. Rupp hosting the retreat, and that the retreat was ‘under review.’  This seemed like good news, andI felt that I/we had had some success in getting our concerns heard.  I did, however, ask that the parishes involved in this conference stop advertising the retreat and accepting the fees for it, as, it being under review, that seemed a sensible thing to do.

Well, I’ve been told now by the pastor at SEAS that they will not stop advertising or signing people up for the conference, as they ‘have not been told to do so.’  I do not understand why they would need to be told to do so, or who would do the telling.  Given the lack of information, I am rather suspicious.  I am told that the Bishop is ‘reviewing’ Sr. Rupp’s work.  This ‘review’ has ostensibly been going on for weeks, since I first raised concerns around the third week of November.  I think anyone who looks around Sr. Rupp’s website won’t need long to figure out that she draws very heavily on ‘new age’ practices in her seminars, that she is strongly influenced by eastern religions and pop-protestant theology, and that her theology is hardly what one can call Catholic.  In an interview on her website, Sr. Rupp describes the Catholic Church as being ‘envious’ of the New Age movement, and she says that New Age practices are ‘valuable.’  Bear in mind, Sr. Rupp has a degree in ‘transpersonal psychology,’ from a ‘new age institute,’ and uses New Age terminology and practices throughout almost all her published works. 

The Church warned against delving into New Age practices in “Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian reflection on the New Age,” released by the Pontifical Councils for Culture and Interreligious Dialogue in 2003.  New Age focuses on the self , cosmic energy, and the cosmos as an organic whole – if you read through Sr. Rupp’s online catalogue, you’ll find that she does, too. 

It didn’t take much looking to determine that Sr. Rupp was problematic, at best.  Since I have researched her writings more, I am convinced that she is not in communion with the Magisterium of the Church and that her views represent a grave danger to Catholics.  I’m just a lay dude with 6 kids and a job and generally a lot going on in my life.  If I can figure out that Sr. Rupp is a problem in a few hours, why does it take the Bishop weeks?

If I were cynical, I would say that’s because the ‘review’ is a sham and an effort to buy time, to get to a point where they’ll say, ‘oh, we agree with you, she’s probably not a good speaker, but it’s too late to cancel the retreat now.’

I’ll know more tomorrow.  Look for more updates.

Patrick Madrid on New Age December 15, 2009

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You may think I’m nutty, but, perhaps you’ll listen to Patrick Madrid.  He’s on radio, TV, and everything!  Centering prayer is another New Age practice that has crept into Catholicism.  This is not a good thing.  Notice how calmly and rationally the caller responds to Patrick’s answer…….there’s a soul at rest. 

Alot of these New Age practices have crept out of eastern religions like Hinduism, Sufism, etc.  They pose a grave threat to one’s soul.

Sheesh December 15, 2009

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That’s all I’ll say.

The end of western civilization can’t be too far off….. December 15, 2009

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…..when 2nd graders get kicked out of school for this.

I don’t think this needs any additional commentary.

Update on Sr. Rupp retreat December 12, 2009

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I’ve been speaking with a number of people concerned about the upcoming women’s retreat featuring Sr. Joyce Rupp.  I know, contrary to your likely opinions, I’m not a lone nut concerned about this retreat.  There are actually several dozen people that I am aware of that share my concerns, and probably a great many more who I’m not aware of.  In terms of trying to make a difference, if you are so inclined, it may be beneficial to do the following, in addition to or instead of contacting the pastors at the parishes involved. 

In a previous post, I gave the contact information for the pastors of the parishes that are sponsoring this problematic retreat.  However, the retreat is really driven by staff at St. Elizabeth and St. Mark, and has been given the approval of the diocesan chancellor.  These individuals can be contacted at:

Cecilia Ladda, Director of Adult Education at St. Elizabeth Seton: cladda@eseton.org  972-596-5505 x4247. 

Judy Clark Family and Adult Ministry at St. Mark  jpclark@stmarkplano.org 
972-424-5794

Mary Edlund   Chancellor, Dallas Diocese   chancellor@cathdal.org 214-379-2819

I have had some discussions with the various pastors, but will be contacting the ladies above directly on Monday.   I encourage everyone who reads this blog and shares any concerns on this conference to please do the same.  I know it’s a lot to ask, but we are talking about souls being put in jeopardy.  We are all called, as Catholics, to help our sisters in Faith to keep from error. 

Praise God for everyone who helps.

Admin note December 11, 2009

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Since this blog is so new, I wanted to make a quick comment on replies to posts.  At this point, replies must be moderated and will be approved be me, your devoted Dallas Diocese serf(vant).  I encourage and hope for many replies and comments on the various posts, but I want to keep some editorial control, at least for a while.  I will wait and see what kind of replies this blog attracts, if any, before I allow for unmoderated comments.

What this all means is, if you add a reply and don’t see it immediately, it’s because I’m doing something else and haven’t gotten around to approving your post, yet.  Sorry for the inconvenience.