I was emailed this article from the Edmonton Sun today. In a nutshell, the author happily describes the atmosphere of what I refer to as the Burger King church, so named because they serve up Jesus "Your way, right away."
Sadly, this writer's only reflections on the Masses of his youth involve the hardships of sitting, kneeling, and boredom. This is an increasingly common opinion of those who leave the Church. It is a tragedy when one sits ignorant of the cosmic marriage of Heaven and Earth and the privilege of being mystically present at the sacrifice of the Cross.
Still, I must ask, is suffering really something that is so incompatible with worship? Consider, the description of cappuccinos, cushy seats, and rock bands. Then consider the idea of worship as sacrifice, which of course, it what true worship is:
Who is there among you, that will shut the doors, and will kindle the fire on my altar gratis? I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts: and I will not receive a gift of your hand. For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation: for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts. Malachi 1:10-11
For then He ought to have suffered often from the beginning of the world. But now once, at the end of ages, He hath appeared for the destruction of sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Hebrews 9:26
And, of course, our admonition from The Master:
And calling the multitude together with his disciples, he said to them: If any man will follow me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Mark 8:34
Not even getting into the Apostles rejoicing in their sufferings for Christ, let us try to find something in the above that bears any concord with cushions and fancy coffee.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
What the hell is this?
So let me get this straight. Here's a Catholic radio station, dedicated to spreading the Truth about God. This necessarily excludes the heresy of Protestantism. I'm not saying this to be a bomb-thrower, but let's face it. I don't expect a Protestant minister to give a Eucharistic interpretation of John 6. That means that what he does say is probably going to be utterly false, which is bad. What can be worse than spreading falsehoods about God?
Yet somehow, these folks think they have a legit gripe that they may not get to broadcast on a Catholic station. Is this what ecumenism has come to? Catholics giving heresy equal time with Divine Truth? I wouldn't expect Protestants to allow us on their air waves. Why would they? We would be saying things detrimental to the souls of the listener.
Let's just face the fact that if we're going to be Catholic, the well-being of souls should be our primary concern. That means spreading Truth and suppressing heresy. If we are to be intellectually consistent, that means not letting Protestants broadcast their errors. Instead, how about we "Let them hear Lactantius crying out: 'The Catholic Church is alone in keeping the true worship. This is the fount of truth, this the house of Faith, this the temple of God: if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation. Let none delude himself with obstinate wrangling. For life and salvation are here concerned, which will be lost and entirely destroyed, unless their interests are carefully and assiduously kept in mind.'" Pius XI had it right there. And here:
For here there is question of defending revealed truth. Jesus Christ sent His Apostles into the whole world in order that they might permeate all nations with the Gospel faith, and, lest they should err, He willed beforehand that they should be taught by the Holy Ghost: has then this doctrine of the Apostles completely vanished away, or sometimes been obscured, in the Church, whose ruler and defense is God Himself? If our Redeemer plainly said that His Gospel was to continue not only during the times of the Apostles, but also till future ages, is it possible that the object of faith should in the process of time become so obscure and uncertain, that it would be necessary to-day to tolerate opinions which are even incompatible one with another? If this were true, we should have to confess that the coming of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles, and the perpetual indwelling of the same Spirit in the Church, and the very preaching of Jesus Christ, have several centuries ago, lost all their efficacy and use, to affirm which would be blasphemy.
Pius XI, Mortalium Animos.
He says so in the Washington Post.
So we can forget all that Whore of Babylon, forerunners of the Nazis, etc. what-not.
Let me get this out of the way immediately. Yes, I think Hagee is a heretic by most definitions of Christianity. His view of Christ makes the entire mission of the Redeemer a complete failure and amounts to, by his own admission, a denial of Jesus as the Messiah. That's not even getting into his apparent perspective on Judaism as a salvific religion.
I do agree with Hagee that militant secularism is a problem for us all. The problem is that "looking past our differences" is nothing but a quick fix, full of sound and fury, but ultimately signifying nothing. The differences must be confronted, not swept under the rug as though they were not there. If we really believe that what we say is the Truth, actually telling people that should not be a burdensome deal.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Some folks are probably wondering why I bothered providing the litany of accomplishments for St. Catherine below. Well, it's true that I have a soft spot for Dominicans, of which she was one, but it's a bit more than that.
It is an intimidating thing to hear the accomplishments of an uneducated woman who only lived to be 33 years old, yet still managed to alter the course of history and achieve an unfathomable unity with God in the process. Many history-changers do so at the cost of their sanctity.
Are folks ashamed to see these accomplishments in relation to their own simple lives? Is that why we tend to shuffle the feasts of our ancestors in the Faith into the background, so that we can have our egos preserved when we look in the mirror?
Not living up the standard of Jesus we can rationalize. Hey, He was God after all. Being surpassed by an ignorant 14th century Italian is not the sort of thing modern folk can readily accept.
Which brings us to today's Gospel:
At that time Jesus declared, "I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will." Matthew 11:25-30
What is it to us that His will was to exalt babes rather than the wise and understanding? Is it too much to acknowledge that God gives greater grace to some others than He does to us?
It is an unfortunate consequence that most of our greatest saints are completely ignored these days. How many Catholics would know that today is the memorial of the Seraphic Virgin, St. Catherine of Siena? It's a terrible thing that God has given glory to such as these, while we have chosen to relegate them to obscurity, despite the fact that many of them, including Catherine, are among the most influential people in history.
Consider the life of this woman, who was the 23rd child born to her family. So devoted to Christ, she consecrated her virginity to Him at the age of seven. She would go on to shave her head in an effort to make herself less attractive to potential suitors, as her family was against her choice of vocation. Her life was one of penance and sacrifice for a Church that was in disarray.
That popin' ain't easy has already been stated. In Catherine's time, this was more true than is often the case. The papacy had been exiled to Avignon, France due to the political oppression of the French monarchy. Given the excesses and corruption present there, it was not the best locale for the Vicar of Christ to set up shop. Catherine took to herself the mission of restoring the Pope to his See in Rome. She would see this accomplished by Gregory XI, only to see the Church rent by schism as those who opposed the return to Rome revolted against the newly elected Urban VI. Catherine remained loyal to Pope Urban, the true Pope, until her death.
Her most famous writing is a series of mystical conversations with God the Father known as The Dialogue. It is an extraordinary treatment of His love and mercy, not to mention a testament to the miraculous in that Catherine could write it without any formal education at all. This is the work most responsible for her being acknowledged a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI.
St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us.
Monday, April 28, 2008
How necessary, you might ask?
"And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys to the kingdom of heaven And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven." Matthew 16:18
Sounds pretty frippin' necessary to me.
Anyways, this blog is supposed to be about all things Catholic. I should mention from this outset that all the opinions expressed herein are my own but are meant to bear at least a passing resemblance to the teachings of the Catholic Church as expressed through Her Magisterium.
I will also make the point that I am a rather bad Catholic and that I do not mean to offend with my posts here, though I'm sure my emotions will get carried away from time to time. That being said:
If you are not Catholic, but claim Christianity as your faith, I can assure you that, at some point, I will refer to you as a heretic or a schismatic (or both). These are not meant as slurs, but rather as statements of objective fact. If we are to be intellectually honest, I would expect you to say the same about me.
If you are not Christian, the same sentiment applies to you when I use the words infidel or apostate.
I welcome your comments and interest in this endeavor. May God bless and help us all.
"Therefore, of the one and only Church there is one body and one head, not two heads like a monster; that is, Christ and the Vicar of Christ, Peter and the successor of Peter, since the Lord speaking to Peter Himself said: 'Feed my sheep' [Jn 21:17], meaning, my sheep in general, not these, nor those in particular, whence we understand that He entrusted all to him [Peter]."
Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam.