Sunday, July 31, 2011

Standing on My Head: 'Mere' or 'More' Christianity?

Standing on My Head: 'Mere' or 'More' Christianity?

More Christianity is available as part of the summer book sale. Why not purchase some copies for yourself and maybe a parish study group? It also makes an excellent gift for that non-Catholic family member or friend. Offer it to them and say, "This book helps explain Catholicism in a friendly way. Why not read it and see what you think?"

"...summer sale deal: $5.00 rebate on each first book purchase (or you can choose to have a free copy of my little book How to Be an Ordinary Hero) If you buy more than one book you get a $3.00 rebate on each additional book.

PS: The copies available from my website are the first edition--not the recent second edition published by Ignatius Press."

Fr. Barron's Weekly Homily: The Loop of Grace

It all begins with grace, and it all ends with grace. Bernanos' country priest summed up Christianity with the phrase "Toute est grace", everything is grace. God gives graciously, gratuitously, superabundantly--and then we are called to respond with a similar exuberance. The more we give back to God, the more we get, and then we must give that back again, so as to get even more in return. This is the loop of grace which is spoken of from beginning to end of the Bible. And all of our readings for today touch on it specially.

Listen via streaming HERE

Download homily HERE

Saturday, July 30, 2011

"The Church and New Media"

"The Church and New Media"

The Church and New Media, which officially comes out next Wednesday, is now available in Kindle eBook format! Because it's an instant download, you can purchase the eBook now and be reading within seconds.

The best part is that you don't even need an Amazon Kindle to read the eBook. You can download free Kindle software for your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, or other device and read it however you like.

Here are three reasons why you should order the eBook, even if you're planning to get the paperback version, too:

1. The eBook is filled with active links. Whether you read the book on a Kindle, your phone, or your computer, you can click on any link in the book and immediately be taken to its website. Read about an interesting blog and visit it instantly. Discover a YouTube video and watch it within seconds. While the paperback version forces you to remember and manually type in a link, the eBook does the whole thing in one click.

2. The endnotes are accessible and clickable. Curious where that statistic came from? Looking for the source for that quote? Want to go deeper into the different Church documents? One click beams you straight to the endnote in each case and from there, clicking on the endnote takes you to the full, original source online. Click the endnote again and you're right back where you left off. No page turning, no bookmarking, just a few simple clicks to move back and forth between the text and the endnotes.

3. You can read the book instantly. Instead of waiting for the release date and then waiting for the book to ship, you can download the the Kindle eBook within seconds and begin reading now.

One last note:
The Church and New Media will be available in numerous other eBook formats sometime within the coming week. So if you have a Nook or other device that won't read Kindle eBooks, you'll be able to download it soon.

Download the book, and be sure to let me know what you think!When you're finished reading it, please post a review on your blog or website--and on!--and send me your review so I can highlight it on the book's website.

Canterbury Tales by Taylor Marshall: Does Original Sin = Guilty Babies?

Canterbury Tales by Taylor Marshall: Does Original Sin = Guilty Babies?: "Sometimes Catholics are accused of teaching 'original guilt' rather than 'original sin.' Are then human babies 'guilty' of original sin? L..."

Friday, July 29, 2011 - Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions For August - Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions For August

Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions For August

VATICAN CITY, 29 JUL 2011 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for August is: "That World Youth Day in Madrid may encourage young people throughout the world to have their lives rooted and built up in Christ".

His mission intention is: "That Western Christians may be open to the action of the Holy Spirit and rediscover the freshness and enthusiasm of their faith".

Devin Rose Called Up to the Big Leagues

Devin was offered, and accepted, a contract with Catholic Answers after they heard the buzz about his well-received book, If Protestantism is True.

Read more here

Congrats, Devin!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Canterbury Tales by Taylor Marshall: Body of Apostle Philip Found in Turkey!

Canterbury Tales by Taylor Marshall: Body of Apostle Philip Found in Turkey!: "Saint Philip by El Greco A tomb believed to be that of St. Philip the Apostle was unearthed during excavations in the ancient Turkish city ..."


I. Opening Remarks
When I was an Evangelical, I originally held the same view of the priesthood that my opponent does. I viewed it as a man-made institution which robbed the faithful of their place as God's priests. I even quoted the same verses that my opponent does—the ones about us being a "kingdom of priests" or a "royal priesthood," depending on the translation you are using.

But over the course of time, I began to realize that merely quoting those verses did not settle the issue. The Bible has far more to say on the subject.

An embarrassment of riches
Tonight I would like to share with you some of the Biblical insights that convinced me the Protestant understanding of the priesthood is wrong. I must admit that I have an embarrassment of riches on this subject. There are simply too many biblical passages and arguments for me to get to tonight. In fact some of the material I want to share with you will have to wait until later in the evening. But for now I need to say a few words about the subject of tonight's debate.

We are not here to discuss "Father," celibacy, bad priests
We are not here to discuss why Catholics call their priests, "Father," why they have a celibate priesthood, or why there may be bad priests. If I have time, I will be more than happy to say a few words about these issues in one of my rebuttal periods, but for now we need to focus on the real subject of tonight's debate. This is the question of whether there is a sacramental priesthood in the New Testament.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Feast Day of Saint James The Greater, Apostle

From Pope Benedict XVI's General Wednesday Audience

Wednesday, 21 June 2006

James, the Greater

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We are continuing the series of portraits of the Apostles chosen directly by Jesus during his earthly life. We have spoken of St Peter and of his brother, Andrew. Today we meet the figure of James. The biblical lists of the Twelve mention two people with this name: James, son of Zebedee, and James, son of Alphaeus (cf. Mk 3: 17,18; Mt 10: 2-3), who are commonly distinguished with the nicknames "James the Greater" and "James the Lesser".

These titles are certainly not intended to measure their holiness, but simply to state the different importance they receive in the writings of the New Testament and, in particular, in the setting of Jesus' earthly life. Today we will focus our attention on the first of these two figures with the same name.

The name "James" is the translation of Iakobos, the Graecised form of the name of the famous Patriarch, Jacob. The Apostle of this name was the brother of John and in the above-mentioned lists, comes second, immediately after Peter, as occurs in Mark (3: 17); or in the third place, after Peter and Andrew as in the Gospels of Matthew (10: 2) and Luke (6: 14), while in the Acts he comes after Peter and John (1: 13). This James belongs, together with Peter and John, to the group of the three privileged disciples whom Jesus admitted to important moments in his life.

Since it is very hot today, I want to be brief and to mention here only two of these occasions. James was able to take part, together with Peter and John, in Jesus' Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and in the event of Jesus' Transfiguration. Thus, it is a question of situations very different from each other: in one case, James, together with the other two Apostles, experiences the Lord's glory and sees him talking to Moses and Elijah, he sees the divine splendour shining out in Jesus.

On the other occasion, he finds himself face to face with suffering and humiliation, he sees with his own eyes how the Son of God humbles himself, making himself obedient unto death. The latter experience was certainly an opportunity for him to grow in faith, to adjust the unilateral, triumphalist interpretation of the former experience: he had to discern that the Messiah, whom the Jewish people were awaiting as a victor, was in fact not only surrounded by honour and glory, but also by suffering and weakness. Christ's glory was fulfilled precisely on the Cross, in his sharing in our sufferings.

This growth in faith was brought to completion by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, so that James, when the moment of supreme witness came, would not draw back. Early in the first century, in the 40s, King Herod Agrippa, the grandson of Herod the Great, as Luke tells us, "laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the Church. He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword" (Acts 12: 1-2).

The brevity of the news, devoid of any narrative detail, reveals on the one hand how normal it was for Christians to witness to the Lord with their own lives, and on the other, that James had a position of relevance in the Church of Jerusalem, partly because of the role he played during Jesus' earthly existence.

A later tradition, dating back at least to Isidore of Seville, speaks of a visit he made to Spain to evangelize that important region of the Roman Empire. According to another tradition, it was his body instead that had been taken to Spain, to the city of Santiago de Compostela.

As we all know, that place became the object of great veneration and is still the destination of numerous pilgrimages, not only from Europe but from the whole world. This explains the iconographical representation of St James with the pilgrim's staff and the scroll of the Gospel in hand, typical features of the travelling Apostle dedicated to the proclamation of the "Good News" and characteristics of the pilgrimage of Christian life.

Consequently, we can learn much from St James: promptness in accepting the Lord's call even when he asks us to leave the "boat" of our human securities, enthusiasm in following him on the paths that he indicates to us over and above any deceptive presumption of our own, readiness to witness to him with courage, if necessary to the point of making the supreme sacrifice of life.

Thus James the Greater stands before us as an eloquent example of generous adherence to Christ. He, who initially had requested, through his mother, to be seated with his brother next to the Master in his Kingdom, was precisely the first to drink the chalice of the passion and to share martyrdom with the Apostles.

And, in the end, summarizing everything, we can say that the journey, not only exterior but above all interior, from the mount of the Transfiguration to the mount of the Agony, symbolizes the entire pilgrimage of Christian life, among the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God, as the Second Vatican Council says. In following Jesus, like St James, we know that even in difficulties we are on the right path.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Otto von Habsburg - Funeral - Singing of the Kaiserhymne

"Following 13 days of mourning, the heir to the thrones of the great Austro Hungarian Empire, His Imperial and Royal Highness Archduke Otto of Austria, Prince Royal of Hungary, Otto von Hapsburg, was laid to rest in Vienna on 16 July 2011.

In scenes recalling the Empire, his coffin was taken in one of the longest processions seen in the old imperial capital to St Stephen's cathedral where the Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna Christoph Schönborn presided.

This video shows the the singing of the Hayden's Kaiserhymne, the Imperial Hymn. (The tune is well known in the English speaking world from John Newton's great hymn "Glorious things of thee are spoken/Zion, city of our God." The music was subsequently used as the German National Anthem which begins "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles")

His body was first laid in repose in the Church of St. Ulrich in Pöcking, Bavaria, and was then taken by train to Mariazell on 12 July, before being taken by train to Vienna. Five requiem masses were celebrated in Munich, Pöcking, Mariazell, Vienna, and Budapest."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 Quote of the Week: Peter's Successors

Eusebius of Caesareae 

Peter's Successors

"Paul testifies that Crescens was sent to Gaul [2 Tim. 4:10], but Linus, whom he mentions in the Second Epistle to Timothy [2 Tim. 4:21] as his companion at Rome, was Peter’s successor in the episcopate of the church there, as has already been shown. Clement also, who was appointed third bishop of the church at Rome, was, as Paul testifies, his co-laborer and fellow-soldier [Phil. 4:3]" (Church History 3:4:9–10 [A.D. 312]).

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Domine Dominus Noster - Gregorian Chant, Catholic Hymns

This hymn is taken from the Psalm 8, it is verse 2. The background image depicts Pope St. Leo the Great meeting with Attila the Hun. The Latin lyrics and English translation follow:

Domine, Dominus noster, quam admirabile est nomen tuum in universa terra!
Quoniam elevata est magnificentia tua super cælos.

O Lord, our Lord, how admirable is your name in the whole earth!
For your magnificence is elevated above the heavens.
O Lord...

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Eucharist: Two Videos from Fr. Barron

Fr. Barron comments on the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist

Additional comments from Fr. Barron on the Real Presence in the Eucharist

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bear Grylls Comments on His Faith

When asked by a "kid" how to be strong, Bear Grylls, English adventurer and star of Discovery Channel's Man vs. Wild television series responded via his Facebook page:

"...Good friends. My Christian faith. Then be brave when scared and endure when tired."

While Bear Grylls is not a Catholic, he has been known to do the sign of the cross right before jumping out of a helicopter. That has to count for something.

Support him by watching his show!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

How is the Church Holy?

I received an email pointing out the apparent contradiction between the Catholic Church's claim to be holy (as we recite in the Creed) and the obvious sinfulness of its members. What gives? How can the Church be both holy and full of sinners? Dr. Lawrence Feingold explains in The Mystery of Israel and the Church, Vol. 1: Figure and Fulfillment:

"Here in the Church Militant on Earth, the law of God teaches us to overcome the root of discord, which lies in human vice and injustice. Furthermore, this law is not simply engraved on tablets of stone, but etched on the human heart through sanctifying grace and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, as prophesied by Jeremiah and Ezekiel. This comes to us through the seven sacraments of the New Law of Christ.

However, the sacraments do not function in a mechanical way, disregarding human freedom. They require our good dispositions and our cooperation. The sacraments, the Gospel, and the teaching authority of the Church make possible the attainment of sanctity for all who sincerely seek it. However, grace may be resisted by the hardness of the human heart. Thus in the bosom of the Church countless scandals occur. The Church Militant will always be in conflict with "the world," both outside of her and within the lives of her members and in so-called Christian societies.

The Church is truly holy, as we profess in the Creed, and she is the recipient of the peace of the Lord which passes all understanding. Yet the sanctity of the Church does not exclude the presence of sin and sinners in her midst. For members of the Church do not always live in accord with the sanctity of Christ and the grace of the Holy Spirit by which the Church is animated. In the Church, there are living members, who are in a state of sanctifying grace, and dead members, who are in a state of mortal sin, despite their baptism and their outward profession of the Catholic faith. The sanctity of the Church and the beatitude of the peacemakers are manifested only by the living members, and especially by those who not only live in a state of grace, but who excel in holiness. Such holy members have never been lacking in the history of the Church, as can be seen in the beatification and canonization of the saints."

Or, more simply, the Church is the body of Christ with Christ as the head. Christ and His body remain holy despite sin being present in the Church.

Pope Benedict XVI: Find "rest" in Christ

Pope Benedict XVI: Find "rest" in Christ

2011-07-03 Vatican Radio
Just a few days before leaving the Vatican for the Papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict XVI reflected on the “rest” offered my Jesus Christ.

Speaking during his Sunday Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope said just as in the time of the Gospel, many people in the poorest countries are burdened by poverty; and even in the richest countries, people face dissatisfaction and depression. He said Jesus says to all of them, “come unto me”.

“In today’s Gospel, Jesus invites all of us to come to him, whatever burdens we may be carrying, whatever labours we may be engaged in, because in him we will find rest,” he said.

But the Pope says there is a condition, to take on the “yoke of Christ”, which is the law of love.

The Holy Father said the true remedy for the wounds of humanity, be they material or psychological and moral, is a rule of life based on love brotherly love, which has its source in God.

Pope Benedict XVI then offered some words to those who will be vacationing this summer.

“At this time of year when so many of you are taking your annual holiday, I pray that you will truly find refreshment for body and spirit and an opportunity to rest in the Lord,” he said.

The Holy Father leaves for Castel Gandolfo on Wednesday, and will deliver next week’s angelus address from the courtyard of the Papal summer residence.