Wednesday, July 22, 2015

St. Mary Magdalene.

Today is the feast day of the patroness of our diocese and the titular of our cathedral, St. Mary Magdalene.

There is a story, perhaps apocryphal or perhaps not--I hope it is true, that our first bishop, Lawrence Scanlon selected the name as a response to the Mormons. Historical and still officially the Mormons teach that the Catholic Church is the Church of the Whore of Babylon. "They call us the church of a whore, do they. Well, we will be the church of a whore."

"But Father wait a minute. Mary Magdalene wasn't a whore. That was just an evil patriarchal plot to denigrate a strong woman!" Admittedly, Sacred Scripture is silent on her profession as it is silent on her identity with Mary of Bethany. However, it is present in tradition. I will go with tradition every time over the fads of academe. And I fail to see how it lessens her. Did St. Paul's pre-conversion persecution of the Church lessen him? Did St. Augustine's former wild life lessen him? No. It makes God's grace even more wondrous. It also gives the rest of us sinners hope. If God can make great saints of them, what can he do for us?

"Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give Me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give Me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing My feet since the time I entered. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with ointment. So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”

Friday, June 26, 2015

It is Evident That We Haven't.

At the close of the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787, as Benjamin Franklin left the hall in Philadelphia, he was asked, “What kind of government have you given us, Dr. Franklin?” He replied: “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


I am not a big one for acting on what I see in the news. However, the Emmanuel shooting hit too close to home so I sent them this letter.

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Words cannot express the deep sorrow that I feel after hearing of the horrible and tragic crime visited upon your congregation. My church too experienced a shooting several years ago and while not nearly as awful as what happened at Emmanuel, I know the deep pain that it caused us. I also know the great comfort and grace God showered out upon us. I am confident that the Lord will be present to comfort and heal you too. That is my prayer for you. Know that your brothers and sisters of many denominations and in many places hold you in their prayers and hearts!

Yours in Christ,

I have been very impressed by their response and the response of the whole city of Charleston. No one has to tell them to stay classy!

Friday, February 27, 2015

"But It Isn't Easy!" They Whined.

There are several ways I could fault my seminary formation, which is not to say that there wasn't plenty of good stuff. We did not receive nearly enough instruction on how to celebrate the rites of the Church. (Our 'pastoral' classes were mostly a joke.) However, the most glaring omission was the failure to emphasize that living the priesthood is sharing in the Cross of Christ. Surely, there is much joy and many consolations, but there is also misery. As a priest a man will experience severe (and sometimes undeserved criticism), calumny, be the object of gossip, and be under-appreciated (and this is just from his brother priests and bishop. :) ) And this is as it should be for all of this happened to Our Lord. We needed to be taught to know that it was coming and accept it as such. I see this as being responsible for most of the defections from the priesthood of men I have known.

The same also should be said of married life. When people get married they have all sorts of foolish and wonderful romantic notions. There are lots of warm fuzzies. But eventually reality will set in. There will be arguments. There will be 'a failure to communicate'. One or both parties will 'fall out of love', which is really just a lull in emotions and not a failure in the act of the will which is real love. And then someone will realize that they other party is bald, fat, saggy, and/or wrinkly. "I have a right to be happy!" "I deserve a trophy spouse!" (It is a good thing that I have self-control when I hear such bullsh*t.) Marriage is a share in the life of Christ so it is a share in His Cross as well as His Resurrection. Love which is worthy of the name does not seek greener pastures when the consolations are withdrawn. (This does not mean that a person must endure an abusive situation.)

It also may be said of the Christian life as a whole. Don't expect warm fuzzies at Mass. Don't expect that following the Lord will be smooth and easy. (That road leads to a different place.)

As Christians we need to embrace His Cross and do it daily.