Monday, December 24, 2012

Frank La Rocca - O Magnum Mysterium

What Did Pope Benedict Want for Christmas When He Was a Kid?

Pope Benedict XVI wrote the following Christmas letter in 1934 at age 7.

"Dear Baby Jesus, quickly come down to earth. You will bring joy to children. Also bring me joy. I would like a Volks-Schott (a Mass prayers book), green clothing for Mass and a heart of Jesus. I will always be good. Greetings from Joseph Ratzinger,"


Friday, November 23, 2012

The Eucharist and the Ring

I am a big Lord of the Rings fan, so I rather enjoyed the following insight made by Leah Libresco: 

 "The final sacrament received is the Eucharist. For some sects of Christianity, the central point of their worship is the homily, when the priest/reverend/etc interprets Scripture. For Catholics and Orthodox (and some Lutherans and Anglicans) the whole point of the Mass is not bible study, but direct contact with the Risen Christ, fully present in the Eucharist. This is probably not the best metaphor, but think of it as the good version of the moment in Lord of the Rings when Frodo cries out "I am naked in the dark, Sam, there is no veil between me and the wheel of fire! I begin to see it even with my waking eyes." Um, except here you have all that intensity, except the Person you're face to face with is infinitely good, and instead of a burning ring, it's the Beatific Vision, and, y'know, there's a reason I'm not in charge of catechesis."

 -Leah Libresco

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Faith and Reason

"Anyone who acts irrationally cannot become a disciple of Jesus. Faith and reason are necessary and complementary in the pursuit of truth. God created man with an innate vocation to the truth and he gave him reason for this purpose. Certainly, it is not irrationality but rather the yearning for truth which the Christian faith promotes. Each man and woman has to seek the truth and to choose it when he or she finds it, even at the risk of embracing sacrifices."

  — Pope Benedict XVI, Homily, Plaza de la Revolución, Havana, March 28, 2012

Andrew Cusack: Where to Sit in Church

Entertaining as usual from Mr. Cusack:

The Lady in Red: Where to Sit in Church

Monday, November 12, 2012

On Paradigms Protestant and Catholic

What Jason Stellman is laying out here is critical to Catholic-Protestant dialogue.

Read the article here: On Paradigms Protestant and Catholic

"Here’s why this matters: If the NT was birthed by an already-existing apostolic tradition, then the question, “Can I make this passage fit my theology?” is the wrong question (especially since, as noted above, its answer is almost always “Yes”). A better question, I came to realize, would be, “Would someone who holds my theological paradigm actually say something like this?” And if the answer is “No,” then the follow-up question must be, “What prior-held theological paradigm would most likely give rise to a statement like this?""

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Read the Catechism in a Year

read the catechism

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Anglican Cathedral in Orlando Becomes Catholic

"At a Mass of Reception at 10:15 a.m. Sunday, September 16, the former Episcopal Cathedral will become the Parish of Incarnation—joining about twenty other former Anglican or Episcopal congregations to be accepted in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, the personal ordinariate established as a home for Anglican converts to Catholicism in the United States and Canada."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Jimmy Akin's Prayer Request

I Don’t Normally Ask for Prayers . . .
by Jimmy Akin

. . . but this time I would like to do so.
Here’s the situation: For some time, I have been developing cataracts in my eyes. I’m very young to get them, but I’m told that the men in my family tend to get them unusually early. (I’m also told that some people are even born with cataracts, though that wasn’t the case with me.)
Just recently, I have lost the central part of my vision to the cataracts. The result is that I may, at the moment, I may be legally blind.
I don’t know whether that’s the case, but I do know that at the moment my vision is so bad that I can’t:
  1. Drive a car.
  2. Walk across a multi-lane street (can’t see approaching cars or lighted “Walk” signs).
  3. Cook food (e.g., meat) that I would need to see in order to determine whether it is underdone, done, or overdone.
  4. Read anything written on paper (e.g., anything in any book or anything on an individual sheet of paper).
  5. Read anything on a normal computer screen (i.e., one that hasn’t been specially adjusted for my condition).
  6. Read anything at all without significant eye strain.
  7. See the letters on the keyboard I’m typing on (fortunately, I touch type, but it makes it hard to enter complex passwords when the characters on the specially-adjusted screen are blanked out).
  8. Use audio or video editing software (making it hard to do my podcast and YouTube videos).
  9. See faces and facial expressions, even when the person is close.
It’s also really hard to read and respond to email, so I’m slower about that, too.

You can imagine how this is forcing me to adapt to loss of vision (e.g., I’m having to use coping techniques like memorizing where I put down an object so that I know where to find it again), how it’s slowing down some of my efforts (e.g., after straining my eyes at a computer screen all day, I don’t have that much vision left to interact on the Internet at night), and generally adding strain to my efforts to lead a normal life.

Basically, I can’t see anything far away or close up. I can only see things in middle distance, and then they look blurry and cloudy, like I am looking at a world filled with fog through a blurry lens.

All this has given me a new understanding of the situation that those find themselves in who have vision far worse than the nearsightedness that I’m used to. I’ve been having to develop many of the coping techniques needed by the blind and partially blind.

I can, surprisingly, call square dances. In fact, I can even “sight call” (i.e., use visual cues to match the dancers up using the color of their clothing as clues to who they are). I just need someone to give me a ride to and from the dance which, happily, my Friday club is providing me.
The good news is that cataracts should be eminently fixable. In fact, they tell me that once I get the needed surgery in both eyes, my vision is likely to be better than it has been since I was a boy. I may not need glasses at all to drive, and I may not need anything but nonprescription, supermarket glasses to read (if that).
But we’ll have to see (no pun intended). Things could go badly with the surgery or the healing of my eyes afterward.

And the stakes are high. It’s my eyes we’re talking about.

That’s why I thought I’d break with my usual practice and let people know about the situation in case they would like to pray.

I would be very greatful.

The surgery on my first eye is scheduled for Tuesday, August 21st. The second eye will be operated upon a few weeks after that.

Whatever mention of me and my intentions that you might feel moved to make in your prayers, you have my sincere gratitude.

Please also pray for all those who have to live with vision loss on either a temporary or a permanent basis.
Thank you!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Paul Ryan and Epistemology

“I reject her (Ayn Rand) philosophy,” Ryan says firmly. “It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview. If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas,” who believed that man needs divine help in the pursuit of knowledge. “Don’t give me Ayn Rand,” he says.

Smart man.

Souce: National Review Online

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Hat Tip: St. Peter's List

Papacy Roundup

Dr. Anders has compiled a list of important articles over at Called to Communion.

"There has been a great deal of discussion at CTC about the rational superiority of the Catholic interpretive paradigm over the Protestant interpretive paradigm. As Michael Liccione, and others, have pointed out, Protestantism has no principled way to differentiate dogma from theological opinion – no coherent way even to identify the contours of Christian doctrine – that does not reduce to question begging or subjectivism. Catholicism, by contrast, posits an objective way to draw such distinctions.

But the logic and coherence of a system does not make it true. It is also important to recognize that there are objective, biblical, and historical grounds for finding the Catholic claims credible. (Whereas the biblical and historical case for Protestantism is weak and contradictory.) Catholics refer to these evidences collectively as The Motives of Credibilty. This evidence is not sufficient to compel the assent of faith. (It wouldn’t be faith, then, it would be knowledge.) But it is sufficient to show that the assent of faith (aided by divine grace) is rational.

We have treated some of this evidence – especially for the divine foundation of the Church and Papacy – before. What follows is a brief roundup of some of those articles."

View the list here: Papacy Roundup

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Sword for Theists

Bad Catholic: A Sword for Theists

"And so we arrive at an oddity. Man is a creature who — considered materially – receives everything — all experience, knowledge, wisdom, understanding, poetry and metaphor – from the natural world. Yet he gazes on a crafted piece of marble and experiences a thing which has utterly no place within the natural world. He experiences infinity."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Italy's Football Coach Takes Pilgrimage to Monastery During EURO 2012 Competition

(Reuters) - Italy's players might have felt exhausted after beating Ireland on Monday but that was nothing compared to the staff, who walked 21 km to a monastery in the middle of the night to celebrate their Euro 2012 quarter-final berth.

The Camaldolese monks, whose origins are in Italy but who run a monastery 21 km from Italy's base outside Krakow, met the squad before the tournament and the team staff promised to make a pilgrimage to the monastery if they got out of Group C.

No one expected coach Cesare Prandelli, his backroom team and federation vice president and former midfielder Demetrio Albertini to take the walk at 3 a.m. local time, shortly after arriving back in Krakow from beating the Irish 2-0 in Poznan.

(Editing by Ken Ferris)

Italy have since defeated England and Germany to advance to the EURO 2012 final against Spain. The Spanish team is no stranger to pilgrimages. Many of the team's players and staff walked the famous El Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) after they won the World Cup in 2010.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Little Catholic Bubble: Sorry, you're not allowed to do that.

Little Catholic Bubble: Sorry, you're not allowed to do that.:

"You are not the arbiter of Christian doctrine. You don't get to decide the tenets of Christianity. You don't have permission to reverse or negate Christian teaching"

Click the link to read more

Saturday, April 21, 2012

“Asking Jesus into Your Heart”

Jimmy Akin answers a question concerning a popular protestant tradition:

Q: I was told by a friend that the only way you were Christian was if you “asked Jesus into your heart.” What is my friend talking about?

A: He is talking about having a conversion experience in which one prays to God or Jesus and asks to be forgiven of one’s sins on the basis of Christ’s death on the cross. The phrase “ask Jesus into your heart” is not found in the Bible, but originates in a later, Protestant evangelism campaign. It is not definitive of what a Christian is either according to the Bible or according to Church history. A person is a Christian if he is baptized and professes the Christian faith.

All Christians should take their faith seriously and devoutly cultivate his relationship with God and with Jesus, but that is not presented to us in either the Bible or the history of the Church as one of the requirements for being Christian. The New Testament regularly refers to people as Christians even though their walk with the Lord may be very shaky. Once they have been baptized, the New Testament does not deny them the title “Christian.” Only by a total repudiation of the Christian faith can one lose this title.

Your friend is confusing a particular evangelistic campaign with the essence of Christianity. Periodically, to get people to take their faith seriously, evangelists have come up with questions to get people to think about their level of faith in and committment to God.

Examples of these questions are “Have you ever received Jesus into your heart?”, “If God asked you why he should let you into heaven, what would you say?”, “Have you made a personal committment to the Lord Jesus?”, “Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?”, and so forth.

Questions like this are well and good–people need to be given a jolt every so often to consider whether they are living in harmony with God (St. Paul, for example, gives his Corinthian readers such a jolt when he tells them: “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”; 2 Corinthians 13:5).

However, sometimes such evangelistic questions get repeated so often that people forget they aren’t in the Bible and that Scripture does not present salvation in those terms (that is the point of coming up with the question in the first place–to phrase the idea of salvation and committment to God in a new way, a mode of expression not used in the Bible, so that people will be jolted into thinking about it).

When this happens, people end up confusing their own particular evangelistic campaign and way of phrasing things with the essence of Christianity. They then go around asking people their evangelistic question as if it the test for whether someone is a Christian, and anyone who does not give their group’s formula answer is then told they are not a Christian and need to question their salvation. It sounds like this is what your friend is doing.

If you were baptized (irrespective of your age at the time) then you were by that very fact given a personal relationship with God and put into the sphere of his grace. If you are not in state of grace now it will be because you have committed a mortal sin, not because you haven’t followed the particular formula of a particular evangelistic campaign.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Must Listen: Seminarian Philip Johnson: "The Eucharist: Food For Redemptive Suffering"

From Philip: "We are all going to die - are you ready? I gave this talk at the September 2011 Charlotte, NC Eucharistic Congress. "The Eucharist: Food For Redemptive Suffering."

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Almost Not Catholic: Taut This!

Almost Not Catholic: Taut This!: —from " Honor Societies ," in xkcd . What is a tautology ? I get tired of tautologies. Taut this, taut that. They are unfalsifiable sin...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

New Series: Genesis to Jesus w/ Scott Hahn

Dr Hahn: "Genesis to Jesus begins next week (Feb 6), our new 13-week EWTN series (Mondays @ 9 pm). Based on my book, "A Father Who Keeps His Promises," the program is hosted by Rob Corzine, VP of the St Paul Center for Biblical Theology, who's been teaching "Genesis to Jesus" for years, which is the 7-week Bible Study that serves as the foundation of the SPC's popular parish JTS program (Journey through Scripture)."

Catholic Dads on Tap: Creedless Christianity

Another entertaining and informative Podcast from Devin and Brent...

Devin's page
Catholic Dads on Tap: Creedless Christianity

 Brent's Page
Catholic Dads On Tap: Creed-less Christianity?

Protestants and Jews declare to White House: We stand with Catholics

Protestants and Jews declare to White House: We stand with Catholics

Pope prays with thousands of religious at St. Peter's Basilica

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fr. Barron: Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas

From the Word on Fire Blog

Today is the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, who is one of the great patron saints of both Father Barron and Word on Fire Catholic Ministries as a whole. On the blog today, read a short reflection from Thomas Aquinas: Spiritual Master and watch Fr. Barron's video on his theological hero. 

"No account of the life and spirituality of Aquinas would be complete without a reflection on the events immediately preceding and surrounding his death. In Naples, on the feat of St. Nicholas, December 6, 1273, Thomas was, according to his custom, celebrating Mass in the presence of his friend, Reginald. Something extraordinary happened during that Mass, for afterward Thomas broke the routine that had been his for the previous twenty years. According to one source, he ‘hung up his instruments of writing,’ refusing to work, to dictate, to write. When hissocius encouraged him to continue, Thomas replied very simply that he could not. Afraid that his master had perhaps become mentally unbalanced, the younger man persisted until Thomas, with a mixture of impatience and resignation, finally replied, ‘Reginald, I cannot, because all that I have written seems like straw to me.’

To many, those are the most eloquent words that Thomas Aquinas ever uttered. After filling tens of thousands of pages with words about God, the great master very abruptly fell silent, convinced that everything he had written amounted to no more than refuse, perhaps persuaded that nothing finally can capture the strangeness and elusiveness of God. Some speculate that Thomas might have suffered a stroke (there is indeed some evidence that he was physically impaired after the December 6 incident) and others that he had what amounted to a psychological breakdown (many of his symptoms are consistent with burn-out, profound depression, or even a midlife crisis). Whatever explanation we offer, the simple fact of his remarkable silence remains.

In January of 1274, Thomas visited his sister but was scarcely able to speak to her. She described him as stupefactus (dazed or out of his senses). According to some sources it was during this visit that Thomas told Reginald that his work seemed like straw ‘compared to what had been revealed to him.’ If this is so, then Thomas’s silence takes on a stranger and more mystical quality.

Summoned to the Council of Lyons in early 1274, the dutiful Aquinas set out for France but fell ill on the way. Anticipating his death, Thomas asked to be taken to the Cistercian monastery of Fassanuova. It was there that he died on March 7, some say after composing a commentary on the Song of Songs.”[1]

For further reading, here is a link to Father Barron's article entitled, America Needs You, Thomas Aquinas

[1] Robert Barron. Thomas Aquinas, Spiritual Master (New York: Crossroads Publishing Company, 1996), 23-24

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Unity focus of Pope's weekly General Audience

Unity focus of Pope's weekly General Audience

2012-01-25 Vatican Radio

Pope Benedict XVI held his weekly General Audience on Wednesday in the Paul VI Hall, reflecting on the desire for unity that Christ expressed in his priestly prayer at the Last Supper, as recounted in the 17th chapter of St. John’s Gospel:Against the backdrop of the Jewish feast of expiation Yom Kippur, Jesus, priest and victim, prays that the Father will glorify him in this, the hour of his sacrifice of reconciliation. He asks the Father to consecrate his disciples, setting them apart and sending them forth to continue his mission in the world. Christ also implores the gift of unity for all those who will believe in him through the preaching of the apostles.

Thus, said Pope Benedict, Chris’t priestly prayer can be seen as instituting the Church, the community of the disciples who, through faith in him, are made one and share in his saving mission:

In meditating upon the Lord’s priestly prayer, let us ask the Father for the grace to grow in our baptismal consecration and to open our own prayers to the needs of our neighbours and the whole world. Let us also pray, as we have just done in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, for the gift of the visible unity of all Christ’s followers, so that the world may believe in the Son and in the Father who sent him.

Following the main catechesis, the Holy Father had greetings for pilgrims in many languages, including English:

I offer a warm welcome to the students of the Bossey Graduate School of Ecumenical Studies in Switzerland, and I offer prayerful good wishes for their work. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Audience I cordially invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!

This Wednesday’s was the last General Audience of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and came ahead of an ecumenical Vespers service at the Papal Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls.

Feast of Saints Timothy and Titus

In honor of their feast day...FROM HERE


Paul VI Audience Hall
Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Timothy and Titus

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Having spoken at length on the great Apostle Paul, today let us look at his two closest collaborators: Timothy and Titus. Three Letters traditionally attributed to Paul are addressed to them, two to Timothy and one to Titus.

Timothy is a Greek name which means "one who honours God". Whereas Luke mentions him six times in the Acts, Paul in his Letters refers to him at least 17 times (and his name occurs once in the Letter to the Hebrews).

One may deduce from this that Paul held him in high esteem, even if Luke did not consider it worth telling us all about him.

Indeed, the Apostle entrusted Timothy with important missions and saw him almost as an alter ego, as is evident from his great praise of him in his Letter to the Philippians. "I have no one like him (isópsychon) who will be genuinely anxious for your welfare" (2: 20).

Timothy was born at Lystra (about 200 kilometres northwest of Tarsus) of a Jewish mother and a Gentile father (cf. Acts 16: 1).

The fact that his mother had contracted a mixed-marriage and did not have her son circumcised suggests that Timothy grew up in a family that was not strictly observant, although it was said that he was acquainted with the Scriptures from childhood (cf. II Tm 3: 15). The name of his mother, Eunice, has been handed down to us, as well as that of his grandmother, Lois (cf. II Tm 1: 5).

When Paul was passing through Lystra at the beginning of his second missionary journey, he chose Timothy to be his companion because "he was well spoken of by the brethren at Lystra and Iconium" (Acts 16: 2), but he had him circumcised "because of the Jews that were in those places" (Acts 16: 3).

Sunday, January 22, 2012

This pretty much sums it all up...

Comment by Joe Heschmeyer over at his blog:

 "...I eventually realized something much more fundamental: either the Holy Spirit guides the Church or He doesn't.

 If He does, then I don't have to worry about false dogmatic definitions. I can just trust the Church and treat her as my Mother. If He doesn't, then the Marian doctrines are the least of my worries. So if we can trust the Church on the Trinity and Christ's Dual Natures, we can trust Her on the Immaculate Conception and Assumption. And if we can't trust her on the Immaculate Conception, we can't trust Her on the more basic Christian doctrines. So I ultimately came to realize that if the Holy Spirit does guide the Church, Catholicism is true. But if He doesn't, it would be much more than Catholicism proven false -- all of Christianity would be untrustworthy. Fortunately, the evidence is rather overwhelming (at least in my opinion) that the Holy Spirit does actively guide and lead the Church."

 Well said, Joe.

The silliest pro-abortion argument ever (is one you hear all the time) |

"...recently, a postmodern deconstructionist tendency to wipe American law clean of “traditional” morality has created not a sparkling tabula rasa, but a libertine morass. You don’t have to be a Jew or Christian to recognize there is such a thing as right and wrong. Lately, it seems like the only evil people will recognize is believing in evil."

The silliest pro-abortion argument ever (is one you hear all the time) |