Monday, December 27, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Saturday, December 04, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Seriously, since I have a visiting priest in the parish, I have taken the opportunity to drive up to the People's Republic of Oregon to visit my old stomping grounds at Mount Angel Abbey and Seminary. I hadn't seen the place since the new administration/classroom building and the bell-tower on the Abbey Church were built. They and the new landscaping are both impressive. Even more impressive is the full enrollment at the seminary and the gentlemen who are visiting the Abbey to investigate monastic life. (The weather is, of course, wet. I feel my vestigial gills return and am developing the Innsmouth look.)
The strangest think about Oregon is not being able to pump your own gas. It is a safety issue they say. I know that I feel safer having a minimum wage pro pump my gas.
The best thing about a visit to Mt. Angel is praying with the monk. (I sometimes wish that I had a monastic vocation, but I don't. I can't picture being father laundry master for the rest of my life.) There was a beautiful Mass today in the Abbey Church as we celebrated Christ the King.
Please remember that Christ is our King and we are His subject. His power and authority are His. They do not come from us. We do not have to consent to it and we don't elect him. Before Him ever power and authority must bow and submit. All power, honor, and glory is His! Amen.
Sunday, November 07, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Monday, August 09, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
"As I talked with brother bishops in preparation for this presentation, there was consistent agreement that one aspect that is most alarming to us about media is when it becomes un-Christian and hurtful to individuals," he said. "We are particularly concerned about blogs that engage in attacks and hurtful judgmental language. We are very troubled by blogs and other elements of media that assume the role of magisterium and judge others in the church."
Very interesting. While we should be loving and charitable when possible, we should value the truth of Revelation more than people's feelings. What is even more interesting is that this comes after decades of silence on the part of the bishops concerning the behavior of the professional Catholic media. Where was the concern over the NCR, US Catholic et al distorting and undermining the Faith, while viciously attacking anyone they considered to be 'pre-conciliar'? Not only was there a lack of concern, but rather positive support of dissenting media. How many dioceses have advertised for jobs in the NCR? I wonder what is operative is something similar to what happens in the secular media; that the professionals see their monopoly crumbling and their ideological agenda crumbling. Yes, the bishops (and the rest of us) should be concerned about the new media and Christian behavior. But, it is all rings a little hollow when the lack of action on the old media is considered.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Why am I talking about this? Because this is how I view certain liturgical actions. Not long ago, one of my deacons asked why we don't distribute Holy Communion under both species at our 6:00 p. m. Mass even when one of the deacons is present. I told him that it was to make clear that Holy Communion under one species is perfectly valid. (Last year during the Swine Flu scare, many of my parishioners opined that they felt they hadn't received all of Jesus if they only received the Host: catechetical failure!) Let's be clear on this, a requirement for the laity to receive under both species is the heresy of Utraquism.
Other liturgical practices, not required but laudable, can also come under Freedom of Navigation. Use of the Confiteor, wearing a cassock, biretta, zucchetto, maniple, using the Roman Canon,using black vestments, and celebrating the Extraordinary Form of the Mass all come to mind. It is important that these optional things that drive the liturgical establishment be done in order to demonstrate that they can be done. (I could argue from other points that they should be done.) A right which is not exercised is a right soon lost.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Anyway, it contains a link to the Water Witches' website. I looked through there western region sub-site to see if there was an local activity (there isn't--yet) and if I knew any of the Poncho Gals in Oregon (I don't, which surprises me considering some of the lay women who took classes at the sem). But I did spy an interesting name on their list--Rod Stephens. For those who don't know, Ram Rod (the origin of his unfortunate nick-name will quickly become apparent) is a laicized and excommunicated priest formerly of the Diocese of Orange. While he was the head of the office of liturgy, he was more well-known for cohabitating with his homosexual partner while still an active priest. (They even sent out joint holiday cards.) While he may be one of the girls, it is interesting that he is considered a Woman(non)Priest. Their is a note on the list that explains, "RCWP has accepted a few male priests to their membership who work closely with their ministries."
What is important to note is that the Poncho Gals don't just dissent from the Church teaching in one area. Their heresy has metastasized, as is usual road of dissent.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Three specific things occur to me about this. First, given that the bishop will likely be retiring soon, wouldn't it be better to allow his successor to guide the whole project? Second, the diocese states that they don't want to 'copy the past'. In one sense, this could be good. After all, it likely wouldn't be a good idea to replica St. Peter's in Santa Anna. However, the meaning seems more like, "We don't want past architectural principles to inform and guide our current effort." This doesn't seem to be very Catholic to me. It speaks more of an ethos of rupture and discontinuity than one of continuity and tradition. Third, the primary concerns in design seem to be environmentalism, ethnic sensitivity, and ecumenism. While none of these are bad per se, I would think that authentic Catholic worship and iconography would be more important.
Before I get to the meat of this post, let me explain why I haven't been posting much. At first there was the end of the school year stuff. Then there was getting ready for and going on my trip to Annapolis. Then catching up from the trip. Add to this getting ill a couple of times. On top of all of this, most of the stuff I was pondering (no Pinky, not taking over the world) were things that I cannot publicly discuss. (Nothing bad, just confidential things.) Anyway, as Sam said to Rosie, I am back.
The other day at coffee following morning Mass, the topic of theatricality during Mass, especially during homilies, came up. To be quite honest (as a long time readers could no doubt guess), everything else being equal I don't like it. Worship isn't about entertainment or expressing ourselves. It isn't about us. It is about God, what He has, is, and will do for us. It is about the Gospel. I guess this is my fundamental objection to using mime, theater, or artsy-fartsy stuff at church especially during Mass. It becomes a performance. Look at me, look at us, and not behold your God. This is the fundamental flaw of modern liturgical praxis, it encourages showmanship: a personal connection with the people. There should be a personal connection but not between the celebrant, homilies, musicians, etc... and the people. But between Christ and the people. This is why more and more I am convinced that ad orietem isn't just a nice idea, but essential. The Lord must be allowed to work in the liturgy without us getting in the way.
And get in the way we do. During our coffee talk, many examples of theatrically were brought up. The funny thing was that while people could remember the cute gimmick, no one could remember what, if any, point was trying to be conveyed. My personal opinion is that most of the time the gimmick becomes and end in itself. A story is told in the homily because the homilist thinks he is supposed to tell a story. I know a priest that tells a joke during every homily, no matter whether or not it has any bearing on the topic. Ultimately, I think stuff like this betrays a desire for personal acclaim. This doesn't mean that this and other tricks can't be used occasionally and very effectively (with the exception of mimes, clowns, and puppets, giant or otherwise, that have absolutely no place in the liturgy: period.) But before they are used, those using them should be absolutely certain that they convey and don't obstruct the message. Think of Bishop Sheen or Father Corapi. Every story conveys the message and even if it is a personal story it isn't about them, it is about the Gospel.
So ultimately, my advice is get over yourself and get into Jesus.
Saturday, July 03, 2010
Friday, July 02, 2010
As for number two, expiration dates on sunblock should actually be taken seriously. Previously I discovered that if sunblock freezes, the active ingredient separates. (This leads to a tiger stripe effect.) But while sailing last week, I found out that the active ingredient can become passive over time.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Saturday, June 05, 2010
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Anyhow, my social secretary, the Crescat, is arranging a blognic. As soon as I have details, I will post them. I will also attempt to celebrate (con-celebrate if I must) Mass at the National Shrine next Sunday.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Friday, May 07, 2010
Monday, May 03, 2010
Saturday, May 01, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
While serving an internship year as a deacon, I ran across an item in the paper about ethnically appropriate Jesus dolls. There was Asian Jesus, White Jesus, Black Jesus, and Hispanic Jesus. I almost choked on my oatmeal. I read the article to the pastor who just shock his head and added, "How about Jewish Jesus?" They didn't have one of those.
One of the greatest temptations of our age, and I suspect of all ages, is to tailor Jesus and the Faith to fit our preconceptions; Cafeteria Jesus as it were. This spills over into the depictions of Our Lord in art. Around the year 2000, the Distorter had a contest for a Jesus for the New Millenium. The winner would best have titled Ambiguous Jesus; ambiguous both in race and sex. The so-called Christian Identity movement picks up on the Nazi non-sense that Jesus was part of an Aryan colony around Galilee that resisted the evil Jews. They liked the blonde haired blue eyed Jesus of many of last century's holy cards. Then there is the Black Jesus behind the altar of St. Sabina in Chicago. The list could go on and on. The fundamental reality of Jesus is that He was truly man and His human nature was genetically Jewish. And this is how he should be depicted in art. Mind you, this leaves a lot of room for variation. However, I doubt He looked Swedish, Sub-Saharan African, or Chinese.
While we are on the topic, let's remember that Jesus was an historic person. 'Modern Dress' (or as I like to call them Leisure Suit) Jesus' are not at all appropriate. Don't get me started with the portrayals of Our Lord in "Godspell" or "Superstar". Jesus is God in human flesh. He is not a figure for entertainment, social critique, or even satire, which is my favorite form of humor. (The "South Park" portrayal makes me especially nervous.) Our Lord should always be treated with the utmost respect and reverence and in a manner as close to the Gospel accounts, informed by good history, as possible.
What did Jesus look like? No one really knows, though, being a believer in the Shroud of Turin, I suspect that He looked like that. Moreover, traditional Byzantine iconography depicts Him in a very similar fashion.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Want to come with me to visit the Holyland? I will be leading a pilgrimage there on February 7-18 of 2011. For a link to the pilgrimage flyer, click here. This promises to be very good. The travel agency and guide have done many pilgrimages for the Western USA Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem and I have had nothing but rave reviews of them.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
While we are one the subject of penance, let me point out that the penance is supposed to be a just one. Often one hears that Father So and So gives easy penances or Father Erik is a mean S. O. B.. But really the penance should be proportionate to the gravity of the sins and appropriate to their nature. Theft is east--make restitution in a way that won't reveal your identity. For swearing, the Divine Praises are good. One that I give out a lot for failure to forgive is praying for the object of your grudge. And yes, mortal sins get a heavier penance. The point is that the priest is (or ought) not trying to be mean or nice, but simply just. Also, please remember that if you honestly don't think you can do the penance, you have the right to ask for another one.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
On Sunday, April 11, while preaching a sermon on the power of fear, I was referring to the fear that paralyzed the apostles, locking them in a room, leaving only John and the women at the foot of the cross. I stated that is why I believe women ought to be able to be ordained, as well as priests ought to be able to get married.
While this is my personal opinion, I do respect and follow the Catholic Church teachings and I am sorry I failed to do this.
If this isn't, "obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same," then what is? This can hardly be characterized as respecting or following the teachings of the faith. An apology is not what is called for here. A recantation of heresy is required.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Thursday, April 08, 2010
(P. S. The Nazis had better artists.)
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Sunday, April 04, 2010
Saturday, April 03, 2010
Thursday, April 01, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
One thing that I hear over and over again is people apologizing for confessing the same type of sin over and over again. First of all, let me assure you that we priest don't grade you on originality. We really don't want you to come up with new and original sins or combination to keep us entertained. Anyways, after 15 years I think it would be difficult to come up with something I haven't heard. Off the top of my head, I think the only things I am missing on my checklist are cannibalism and kidnapping.
Second, it is important to realize that most people do confess the same type of sin over and over again. It is not because they are not, with God's grace, working on conversion. It is because our characters are fairly fixed and rarely change. And the devil attacks us precisely where we are weakest. Is it any wonder that that is where we sin.
So don't give up! Keep working with God's help on strengthening those weak areas and don't worry about boring the priest.