Well, sorry, Anglo-Catholics but this makes me happy



I saw Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson at the plenary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and he was surprised to hear I had enjoyed attending the Fire and Fusion 2014 conference with its charismatic praise and worship. He told me he thought I was the dowager of Anglo-Catholicism with a gin and tonic in hand.  Heh heh heh.

I love seeing these soldiers singing and rejoicing with dance at this great contemporary worship song.  These are the young men who are putting their lives on the line for us against the head choppers.  Pray for them, and rejoice their song is not one of hate but of rejoicing in the Lord our God.

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Cardinal Pell, set my hair on fire!

From a great story from CNS:

“The sooner the wounded, the lukewarm, and the outsiders realize that substantial doctrinal and pastoral changes are impossible, the more the hostile disappointment (which must follow the reassertion of doctrine) will be anticipated and dissipated,” writes the cardinal, who will participate in the synod.

“A courteous, informed and rigorous discussion, indeed debate, is needed, especially for the coming months to defend the Christian and Catholic tradition of monogamous, indissoluble marriage,” Cardinal Pell writes.

But focusing on the question of Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried, he suggests, is a “counterproductive and futile search for short-term consolations.”

“Healthy communities do not spend most of their energies on peripheral issues and, unfortunately, the number of divorced and remarried Catholics who feel they should be allowed to receive holy Communion is very small indeed,” the cardinal writes.

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Cardinal Dolan responds to criticism regarding St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Cardinal Dolan writes:

While a handful have been less than charitable in their reactions, I must admit that many of you have rather thoughtful reasons for criticizing the committee’s decision: you observe that the former policy was fair; you worry that this is but another example of a capitulation to an “aggressive Gay agenda,” which still will not appease their demands; and you wonder if this could make people think the Church no longer has a clear teaching on the nature of human sexuality.

Thank you for letting me know of such concerns. I share some of them.

However, the most important question I had to ask myself was this: does the new policy violate Catholic faith or morals? If it does, then the Committee has compromised the integrity of the Parade, and I must object and refuse to participate or support it.

From my review, it does not. Catholic teaching is clear: “being Gay” is not a sin, nor contrary to God’s revealed morals. Homosexual actions are—as are any sexual relations outside of the lifelong, faithful, loving, lifegiving bond of a man and woman in marriage—a moral teaching grounded in the Bible, reflected in nature, and faithfully taught by the Church.

So, while actions are immoral, identity is not! In fact, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, people with same-sex attraction are God’s children, deserving dignity and respect, never to be treated with discrimination or injustice.

To the point: the committee’s decision allows a group to publicize its identity, not promote actions contrary to the values of the Church that are such an essential part of Irish culture. I have been assured that the new group marching is not promoting an agenda contrary to Church teaching, but simply identifying themselves as “Gay people of Irish ancestry.”

If the Parade Committee allowed a group to publicize its advocacy of any actions contrary to Church teaching, I’d object. As Cardinal John O’Connor remarked, we do not change the Creed—and I’d add, the Ten Commandments—to satisfy political correctness.

Interesting.  I would be cautious though about speaking about “being gay”  as if this is something as fixed and God-given as one’s sex or race.  That, it seems to me, is a change in Catholic teaching, albeit a subtle one.

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Fr. John Hodgins on Salt and Light TV’s Witness program

A great interview by Salt and Light TV CEO Fr. Tom Rosica

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A most interesting response to Elizabeth Scalia

Over at the National Catholic Register, Steve Gredanus has a thoughtful response to Elizabeth Scalia’s apologetic for Cardinal Dolan.

He writes:

It can’t be said that there is no danger today of confusion regarding the Church’s teaching — or whether the Church’s teaching might be changing. Even in the Church, priests and religious openly campaign for changes to the Church’s teaching. Pope Francis’ famous phrase “Who am I to judge?” is misrepresented as opening the door to such change.


Third, in siding with the woman taken in adultery, Jesus went against the crowd to defend a victim in great and immediate distress. Jesus sided with a powerless, embattled person against a violent, angry mob.

Likewise, Jesus’ habit of sharing table fellowship with individuals deemed sinners was precisely a matter of welcoming the marginalized, the outcast, the powerless who had been rejected and excluded by the powerful.


When Elizabeth says “I’m not sure a bishop has a choice but to run out to meet prodigals, regardless of motivating factors,” I can’t help thinking, as advocates of the change have pointed out, that this policy shift was not something sought by parade organizers or advocated by church leaders, but something imposed on them after long resistance. Without even necessarily faulting anyone for the policy change, it can’t really be framed as a pro-active move by Catholics.

What I have been pondering since I posted Scalia’s commentary yesterday is this:  who are today’s Pharisees?

The default assumption has seemed to be to assume the Pharisees are the hardline Catholics who insist on doctrinal and moral purity and for more moderate Catholics to point a finger of admonishment at them for expressing disappointment or dismay when it seems to them their shepherds have caved to popular opinion or political correctness.

Yet I look around me and see the so-called Pharisees in the Catholic Church has a rather small, marginalized group.  While they now have access to blogs to express their concerns, some with more charity than others, in the wider scheme of things most prelates can easily ignore their complaints.  They have no power to speak of.

Were not the Pharisees of old part of the establishment, the politically-correct faction in the Judaism of the day?  They were not a beleaguered minority holding fast to the law, but had enough clout to get the crowd whipped up on their side to have Jesus crucified.

I don’t know. It’s an interesting week.  I like the example that Elizabeth Scalia has given us in terms of making a best effort to give our prelates the benefit of a doubt and to put the best possible interpretation on their actions, especially if they initially cause dismay or disappointment.



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Elizabeth Scalia in defense of Cardinal Dolan

The Anchoress has an interesting take on Cardinal Dolan’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade quandary.

She writes:

I’m not sure a bishop has a choice but to run out to meet prodigals, regardless of motivating factors. The father wants everyone to come home and be with him. Once they’re at the doorstep, they may be encouraged to come in; once they’re inside, they can be talked with, nurtured, fed, encouraged, formed, and made whole. This cannot happen as long as they are off in the faraway places.

The key here, aside from the father running out to the prodigal son, is that he ran out while the son was still a long way off.

Later in the story, the older son — obedient and responsible — feels shortchanged and resentful, because the father has been so welcoming of the wastrel while barely noticing the elder son’s daily toil. And what does the father do? He goes out to his elder son, to reassure him that his faithfulness is seen and known. He tells him, “everything I have is yours” even while urging him to make his returning brother welcome.

Because only in this way can his family eventually become whole, and holy.

So yeah, the bishop has some work to do; he cannot ebulliently run out to meet the disobedient ones (who may someday convert and conform their lives to become the best Catholics ever, but are still a long way off) without also warmly seeking out the obedient ones, and soothing their resentment — letting them know that they are seen, heard, beloved, sharing and fully welcome.

They are absolutely not getting that message from him, right now.


Food for thought.  Much to pray about. Much to atone for.

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Today’s Oswald Chambers from My Utmost For His Highest

Do It Yourself (2)

Determinedly Discipline Other Things. This is another difficult aspect of the strenuous nature of sainthood. Paul said, according to the Moffatt translation of this verse, “. . . I take every project prisoner to make it obey Christ . . . .” So much Christian work today has never been disciplined, but has simply come into being by impulse! In our Lord’s life every project was disciplined to the will of His Father. There was never the slightest tendency to follow the impulse of His own will as distinct from His Father’s will— “the Son can do nothing of Himself . . . ” (John 5:19). Then compare this with what we do— we take “every thought” or project that comes to us by impulse and jump into action immediately, instead of imprisoning and disciplining ourselves to obey Christ.

Practical work for Christians is greatly overemphasized today, and the saints who are “bringing every thought [and project] into captivity” are criticized and told that they are not determined, and that they lack zeal for God or zeal for the souls of others. But true determination and zeal are found in obeying God, not in the inclination to serve Him that arises from our own undisciplined human nature. It is inconceivable, but true nevertheless, that saints are not “bringing every thought [and project] into captivity,” but are simply doing work for God that has been instigated by their own human nature, and has not been made spiritual through determined discipline.

We have a tendency to forget that a person is not only committed to Jesus Christ for salvation, but is also committed, responsible, and accountable to Jesus Christ’s view of God, the world, and of sin and the devil. This means that each person must recognize the responsibility to “be transformed by the renewing of [his] mind. . . .” (Romans 12:2).

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John Allen Jr. on the upcoming Extraordinary Synod

A good round up.  


At the 1999 synod, bishops seeking change tried to revisit that verdict. Famously, Danneels urged Catholicism to steal a page from the Orthodox, for whom sacraments are seen as “medicine for the soul” rather than a privilege earned by following the rules. Yet in the end, Ratzinger and other defenders of tradition held the line.



In October 2013, Archbishop Gerhard Müller, the Vatican’s doctrinal czar, published a lengthy essay in the Vatican newspaper arguing that Church teaching on the permanency of marriage is not open to question, basically repeating Ratzinger’s position from 19 years before. Francis later made Müller a cardinal.

“But I say, my brother, the world isn’t like this, and you should be a little flexible when you hear other voices,” Rodriguez said. “That means not just listening and then saying no.”



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This is a must-read column from Cardinal George

(My bolds).  Pray for a worthy successor for Cardinal George in Chicago.


The inevitable result is a crisis of belief for many Catholics. Throughout history, when Catholics and other believers in revealed religion have been forced to choose between being taught by God or instructed by politicians, professors, editors of major newspapers and entertainers, many have opted to go along with the powers that be. This reduces a great tension in their lives, although it also brings with it the worship of a false god. It takes no moral courage to conform to government and social pressure. It takes a deep faith to “swim against the tide,” as Pope Francis recently encouraged young people to do at last summer’s World Youth Day.

Swimming against the tide means limiting one’s access to positions of prestige and power in society. It means that those who choose to live by the Catholic faith will not be welcomed as political candidates to national office, will not sit on editorial boards of major newspapers, will not be at home on most university faculties, will not have successful careers as actors and entertainers. Nor will their children, who will also be suspect. Since all public institutions, no matter who owns or operates them, will be agents of the government and conform their activities to the demands of the official religion, the practice of medicine and law will become more difficult for faithful Catholics. It already means in some States that those who run businesses must conform their activities to the official religion or be fined, as Christians and Jews are fined for their religion in countries governed by Sharia law.

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Oldie but goodie on Europe and Islam

By Robert Matteo from a talk i n 2008 (my bolds):

This is the heart of the problem: Europe is experiencing a moral and psychological drama that has been called “Stockholm Syndrome”: the phenomenon of psychological submission against his assailant, which creates an unexplained dependence relationship between the victim and his executioner. Today you should talk Syndrome Copenhagen, London, Madrid, but even in Rome or Milan, to explain the psychological attitude toward the opponent from whom you intimidated, sometimes terrified, but at the same time attracted, sometimes fascinated.Not otherwise explain the emergence and spread of myths such as those developed by Louis Massignon (1883-1962), Edward Said (1935-2003) in Italy and Franco Cardini, who would like to remove from memory a millennium of conflict between Europe and Islam, in the name of experiences taken in ideal models such as the East felix , the Arab-Andalusian society, before the Reconquista, or that of Sicily at the time of Frederick II; not to mention the dreams of philosophy such as the progressive utopia of universal peace or esoteric myth transcendent unity of religions (some of these myths, see .: Bat Ye’or, Eurabia , Lindau, Torino 2007, pp. 287- 305; Alexandre Del Valle, The Communist totalitarianism assault of democracies , Solinum, Cupertino (Lecce), 2007, pp. 428-433).

In this perspective, what dissolves not only the idea of ​​an enemy of the West, but the very concepts of the West and Europe, regarded as a literary creation, in the same way in which the theorists of “gender” consider a ‘cultural invention the natural distinction between the man and the woman.

The attitude of Europeans towards Islam remembers what it was in the twentieth century, the attitude of the West against communism. Soviet Russia was threatening the world, but anticommunism was considered a sin worse than communism. 


Praying hard for a Christian revival of Europe and North America.   Because that’s the only thing that will save us from this kind of Stockholm Syndrome.


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