Granted, I've been in such a situation before. I was at my grandmother's bedside when she passed away. This was a stranger, though. It was so different. When my grandmother died, all I could do was writhe around in my own emotional knots and think about how sad I was that she was going/gone. I tried really hard to pray, but it was difficult and chaotic and I couldn't hold it together. In retrospect, I was probably praying more for myself than her. Sounds bad, doesn't it? It is, but it's also probably more common than we care to think. In those sorts of situations, our emotions step in, and our brains shut down.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Our colleague Turgonian has begun another blog. This is a good thing, as any outlet that provides the world with more of such brilliance is welcome.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
I get chided every once in a while for not posting good news. Given that I actually have some today, I'm proud to provide some illustrations of the positive things going on in the fight against child murder.
One of four Triangle abortion clinics will no longer do procedures after Saturday, but it's unclear whether it will close or simply stop offering abortions.
Abortions in North Carolina have been declining, as they have across the nation. In 2008, the latest year for available data, about 27,000 North Carolina women had abortions, according to the N.C. Center for State Health Statistics. That was down 4.6 percent from the previous year.
Nationwide, abortions are at their lowest level since the 1970s.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Wow. It's the end of an era. Can we have a parade or something?
After more than 10 years as the point man for the Church's efforts to promote Christian unity, Cardinal Walter Kasper today announced his resignation as president of the pontifical council dedicated to that cause.
I can't say I'm sad to see him go. It's difficult to see his work as anything but damaging to the Church and any real ecumenical effort. This is the same guy who spent years telling Anglicans NOT to convert.
For three years he worked as an assistant to Leo Scheffczyk and Hans Kung.
"Dialogue is life," he said. "Dialogue is an integral part of the life of the Church."
"The unity of the Church cannot be planned or fabricated."
No, this isn't a post about Queen Elizabeth. As with most of our Anglican-based posts, it's about Rowan's continued problems, though the ideas of "Rowan" and "bloodbath" don't really go together. More like "Rowan" and "catastrophic collapse."
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are to make a dramatic intervention in the long-running row over women bishops this week by demanding that opponents of female clergy are not driven out of the Church.
Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu are so concerned thousands of traditionalist churchgoers will quit when women become bishops that they are to risk the wrath of liberals by calling for major reforms in Church legislation.
Traditionalists, who do not accept that women can be priests or bishops, have been calling for the creation of a ‘his and hers’ Church, in which they cannot be forced to serve under a woman bishop.
Liberals say, however, this would unacceptably diminish the status of women bishops because there would be parts of the Church over which they would have no sway.
So far the Synod has only agreed to give traditionalists minimal protection in the form of a code of conduct.
However, a leading supporter of female clergy said: ‘There is a good chance the Synod will reject the Archbishops.’
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
There isn't a whole lot that I can say that these clips don't. I still can't fathom how such material wound up on Showtime, but I am grateful for them.
Being aware, as we are, of the current and coming persecutions throughout the world, it's probably inevitable that we ask ourselves the question: Could I do it? Could I be a martyr?
A new film based on the legend of Pope Joan – an Englishwoman who purportedly disguised herself as a man and rose to become the only female pontiff in history – has sparked debate in the Roman Catholic Church.
The medieval epic stars a German actress, Johanna Wokalek, as the female Pope, the American actor John Goodman as Pope Sergius and David Wenham, an Australian last seen in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, as her lover, a knight named Gerold.
A tale with all the historical accuracy of The Da Vinci Code and John Goodman as Pope Sergius. What could possibly be wrong with this? Just another blast at the Church. I'd love to see the reaction if a movie/book/whatever was released that alleged that Mohammed was actually female.
For those who are curious or just haven't heard this before, Patrick Madrid gives the reality behind the lie.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
You might think that makes me a bad father. Actually, it's the other way around. I hate it because it reminds me of what a bad father I am. This is my 9th one, and it's not getting any better. It didn't start out this way. My first felt weird and uncomfortable. Every one since then has been outright miserable.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
I've probably mentioned it before, but I have a great deal of pity for sedevacantists. I think most of them are good people who, quite frankly, were so traumatized by the events of the last few decades that they couldn't hold it together and abandoned the Church.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Today, the kids were sick, and my wife had to stay home with them while I directed the choir at church. She then went to a local Roman Catholic church for Mass. She isn't particularly rabid, theologically, but, get this: she went to the Polish mass, in a language she couldn't understand, simply to avoid the ubiquitous liturgical silliness these days.
In May the court ruled that because "the right to family formation is a constitutional right," no religious body can deny that right. In Egypt all marriages must be endorsed by a religious body. The court said that the Coptic Church must alter its teachings to allow for the civil rights of divorced people.
Pope Shenouda said that the Coptic Church will disregard the ruling, insisting that the court has no authority to dictate religious beliefs and practices.
I can't help but think that we'll be seeing the same with abortion and euthanasia shortly thereafter. Hence, our future path to Logan's Run-dom.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Have you noticed how allergic people are to the term "beautiful"? Women aren't beautiful anymore. They are "hot." Music isn't beautiful. Frankly, I don't know what the hell it is.
Monday, June 7, 2010
The Church is set to issue a statement announcing the new policy next month after legal advice made clear that there is no obstacle to a divorcee, or a priest married to a divorcee, being consecrated.
It means that a number of clergy who have been rejected in the past by the Crown Nominations Commission, the body responsible for appointing bishops, will now be put forward for consideration.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
I just coined that word, I think. I use it to refer to the idea that the only thing that matters in worship is the Eucharist, and that any other liturgy becomes measured by this. Thus, Vespers and Matins vanish, because "I can't go to communion." The sanctification of time which is so characteristic of Christianity throughout the ages is lost, because we want to get ourselves that sacrament.
Schmemann, an Orthodox theologian, writes: "The receiving of communion is becomingc [for the faithful] the 'one thing needful,' the self-sufficient goal and content of all their churchly life." This is a bad thing, and can lead us even to reducing the sacrament to some sort of magic pill that we need weekly, rather than the participation in the once-forever redemptive act of Christ, which we also participate in through the hourly prayers of the Church.
My suggestion? Ban the Saturday vigil mass, except for feast days.
Friday, June 4, 2010
We make mistakes here all the time. When that happens, we try to own up to them. This could be just such a case.
At a May 6 Catholic Community Conference on Capitol Hill, the speaker said: “They ask me all the time, ‘What is your favorite this? What is your favorite that? What is your favorite that?’ And one time, ‘What is your favorite word?’ And I said, ‘My favorite word? That is really easy. My favorite word is the Word, is the Word. And that is everything. It says it all for us. And you know the biblical reference, you know the Gospel reference of the Word.”
“And that Word," Pelosi said, "is, we have to give voice to what that means in terms of public policy that would be in keeping with the values of the Word. The Word. Isn’t it a beautiful word when you think of it? It just covers everything. The Word.
“Fill it in with anything you want. But, of course, we know it means: ‘The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us.’ And that’s the great mystery of our faith. He will come again. He will come again. So, we have to make sure we’re prepared to answer in this life, or otherwise, as to how we have measured up.”
May God have mercy on her, and the rest of us for tolerating a nation that permits such horrors.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
I've punched a lot of keys on this blog yammering about the problem of substituting dialogue for evangelization. Given that it's probably been incoherent babble for the most part, I was very happy to see that Boniface over at Unam Sanctam has a great post on this topic. With some of our recent items here, it seemed like the perfect time to mention it.
St. Paul might begin his sermon on the Areopagus with a dialogue about the comparative merits of Greek religion, but this only serves as a springboard to lead him into the essential message - the preaching of the Gospel, where he warns them that God will no longer overlook their ignorance, that He demands all nations repent of their sins because God has fixed a Day of Judgment, and that this Judge will be none other than Jesus Christ. What St. Paul certainly does not do is tell the Greeks how great their paganism is and then encourage them to continue to worship their false gods and petition then for worldly favors like "peace on earth."
The real place of dialogue, as St. Thomas Aquinas tells us in the introduction to the Summa (I.Q.1,art.8), is to establish common ground with somebody so as to delineate the parameters of the debate. But that this dialogue should lead to a disputation, with the express purpose of coming to a conclusion, is never questioned by St. Thomas.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
He's also written an op-ed for the New York Times. I'm sure the Dalai Lama is a very nice man. I just can't make any sense out of the stuff that he says. Meanwhile, folks world-wide drop trou every time he makes a statement on anything.
When I was a boy in Tibet, I felt that my own Buddhist religion must be the best — and that other faiths were somehow inferior.
Granted, every religion has a sense of exclusivity as part of its core identity.
An early eye-opener for me was my meeting with the Trappist monk Thomas Merton in India shortly before his untimely death in 1968. Merton told me he could be perfectly faithful to Christianity, yet learn in depth from other religions like Buddhism. The same is true for me as an ardent Buddhist learning from the world’s other great religions.
A main point in my discussion with Merton was how central compassion was to the message of both Christianity and Buddhism. In my readings of the New Testament, I find myself inspired by Jesus’ acts of compassion. His miracle of the loaves and fishes, his healing and his teaching are all motivated by the desire to relieve suffering.
The focus on compassion that Merton and I observed in our two religions strikes me as a strong unifying thread among all the major faiths.
Take Judaism, for instance... I remember vividly the rabbi in the Netherlands who told me about the Holocaust with such intensity that we were both in tears...
In my many encounters with Hindu scholars in India, I’ve come to see the centrality of selfless compassion in Hinduism too...
Compassion is equally important in Islam — and recognizing that has become crucial in the years since Sept. 11, especially in answering those who paint Islam as a militant faith...
Finding common ground among faiths can help us bridge needless divides at a time when unified action is more crucial than ever. As a species, we must embrace the oneness of humanity as we face global issues like pandemics, economic crises and ecological disaster. At that scale, our response must be as one.
Harmony among the major faiths has become an essential ingredient of peaceful coexistence in our world.
Men must look for the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ; and that We promised to do as far as lay in Our power. In the Kingdom of Christ, that is, it seemed to Us that peace could not be more effectually restored nor fixed upon a firmer basis than through the restoration of the Empire of Our Lord... When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
A Massachusetts church is scheduled to launch a new monthly worship service — for dogs. Calvary Episcopal Church will offer later this month its first "Perfect Paws Pet Ministry" aimed at giving area pooches and their owners improved odds at getting canines into heaven. The Danvers church plans to hold the service on the third Sunday of every month, complete with communion for the humans and special blessings for pets. Dogs will get special treats.
Church officials said well-mannered, leashed dogs are invited.