Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Commonality Between Millennials and Catholicism

In my latest essay for Christ Is Our Hope magazine, I was able to look at the similarities between secular millennials and the Catholic Church. You may be surprised, but there is some crossover. You can read the full article here, and see a short preview below:
One would probably be justified in calling the secularism that runs rampant in today’s culture a religion. Despite that, there’s actually hope here, as many secular millennials are the type of people who still want to serve others and find fulfillment. It could be that secularism, surprisingly, gets a few things right. As Venerable Fulton J. Sheen once said, “Truth is like [a] circle. It has 360 degrees, and that fullness would be found… in Christ’s mystical Body. Now we are to think of every religion under the sun having something good. Maybe some religion that started this afternoon… that’s got some good in it. We only have 10 degrees, but it’s got some good.” This non-religion that so many of my peers practice also has some good, as evidenced by their desire to help others. But they’ve only got 10 degrees of the truth. How can we bring those “nones” into the fullness of the truth proclaimed by Christ’s Church?
Christ Among the Doctors- Anton Kern

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Hiatus For a Short While

I apologize for the lack of posts this month, but work has been very hectic. I won't be making as many posts for the next while, but please stay tuned for updates from my essays on other websites.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Discussion on "Progressive" Views Pertaining to the Church's Teaching on the Sexuality and the Marital Embrace

Some weeks ago, Cardinal Robert Sarah wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, critiquing Fr. James Martin, S.J.'s new book on "Building a Bridge" to those Catholics who are attracted to the same sex. In part, Cardinal Sarah wrote that "[Fr. Martin] repeats the common criticism that Catholics have been harshly critical of homosexuality, while neglecting the importance of sexual integrity among all of its followers." The Cardinal goes on to say that homosexual sex acts are "gravely sinful and harmful to the well-being of those who partake in them. People who identify as members of the LGBT community are owed this truth in charity, especially from clergy who speak on behalf of the church about this complex and difficult topic."

I got into a discussion with some people regarding this critique and the way that Fr. Martin has tried to reach out to such persons. Below are two separate discussions on this topic, one which degraded fairly quickly, and the other which was a bit more fruitful. The discussion eventually broadened into the Church's authority and on who's authority the Church's teachings are transmitted to us. My words will be in blue with my interlocutors and those sharing my sentiments in other various colors.
Cardinal Robert Sarah

Saturday, September 2, 2017

What Exactly Is "Active Participation" and "Noble Simplicity" in the Context of Holy Mass?

Kind of piggybacking of of Pope Francis' comments (which really were a non-story, and were not controversial at all), I got into a bit of a discussion on elements of liturgical worship. The usual charges against traditional liturgical worship were bandied about, unfortunately. Charges that the extraordinary Form of the Mass didn't reflect "noble simplicity" or had too many "useless repetitions". Below is the conversation that I and several others had on the subject.

There are some good citations from same great essays that I do not want to be lost, so I'll post links to everything here as well for posterity's sake. My words will be in blue, with the others' in various, different colors. The whole conversation "began" when one person found it inaccurate to say that Latin encourages a camaraderie among the faithful.

Harry: The common Latin language encourages a bond of brotherhood between Catholics of all countries, rich and poor, far and wide. 

The problem is that perhaps memory of the pre-reform period has to pass before we can change attitudes to Latin. People will then come to see it not as a mysterious and alien language that shuts them out of the litugy, but as their liturgical language in which is expressed their universality of rite, their brotherhood with their fellows Catholics and not least, their intimacy with Almighty God, for whose worship this language is set aside in their lives. 

The argument that people won't understand the words of the Sanctus and Gloria in Latin when they say them every single week, and read from a Missal with both languages side by side, is just nonsensical. 

We have failed Vatican II when it comes to Latin. It should play a greater role in the reformed liturgy, where it can do all kinds of good without impeding active and conscious participation, if it is employed proportionally and only to the unchanging parts of the Mass. 

''Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.''

Completion of the liturgical reform of Vatican II as referred to by the Holy Father this week, must involve this. Otherwise we have only a 'partial revelation'.

Tom: The only common bond was that the laity were equally disconnected with the Mass. The Mass prayers were said by the priest and altar boys and the people sat and stared. 

You mentioned Hong Kong, and it reminds me of how the Vatican once held that nothing of Chinese culture could be brought into the celebration of the Mass.

Thankfully, that was lifted and Chinese can and do bring their culture into parts of the Mass without changing the consecration itself. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

On Pope Francis' Address on the Irreversible Reforms of the Second Vatican Council

This recent address by the Pope has been making the rounds all over the web in the last few days. In this address to a group of Italian liturgists, His Holiness said this:
"...we can affirm with certainty and magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.... 
"And today there is still work in this direction [in the liturgical education of pastors and faithful], in particular rediscovering the reasons for the decisions made with the liturgical reform, overcoming unfounded and superficial readings, partial revelations, and practices that disfigure it."
I think this is really a non-story, and people on both sides are going to twist it in their own way. One side will think Pope Francis is attacking them (I don't think he's attacking anyone) and the other side will think that Pope Francis is supporting a false "spirit of Vatican II" that was extremely popular in the 1970's and 80's.
Pope Francis

Friday, August 25, 2017

Has the Church Ever Taught Error Regarding Faith and Morals?

A few days ago, I posted my essay on how dissenting Catholics face a mighty large dilemma in discounting certain teachings of the Church in matters of faith and/or morals. Apparently, the combox to that article was fairly lively. I think the one sentence that ruffled feathers most was my main thesis, and I would imagine it perturbed people because in order to accept such a notion, one must look deep inside oneself, especially if they do indeed actively dissent from any Church teaching that we are to definitively hold. That thesis was this:
"If the Church is wrong about any of its teachings, even just one, this is tantamount to admitting that Jesus is a false god, because He allowed the Church He founded to teach error."
One person in particular balked at such a suggestion. His words will be in red, mine in blue, and various other posters' comments in other colors. My main interlocutor, after quoting my words above, had this to say:

Tom: I don't think anyone believes this, even "traditional" Catholics. I don't even think the last few Popes believed this either. The Church has issued some teachings in the past that everyone admits now were error. It doesn't mean Jesus was a false god.

Is Tom's assertion true? Let's see.
Jesus the Teacher- Jan Luyken

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Orthodox Interpretation of What the Canaanite Woman Did

This past Sunday, the Gospel reading came from Matthew 15, where we hear about "The Canaanite Woman's Faith." Apparently, this particular Gospel selection has been misinterpreted through a poor eisegesis (that is, an exegesis that one gets nothing out of), and even the clergy have not been immune to this. Most notably, it comes Fr. James Martin (who wrote on this same bad interpretation last year) and the Maryknoll Missionaries. What is this ridiculous and completely heterodox interpretation being banded about? From the latter's Twitter feed this past Sunday:

Yea... no. A Canaanite woman did not "school" Jesus, and to even suggest as much is to deny that Jesus was perfect. Are we really so naive as to believe that Jesus needed to learn anything from anyone? Furthermore, if we as Catholic Christians proclaim Jesus to be perfect, then how can we ascribe a prejudice attitude towards our Lord? To be prejudice against someone because they are foreign is an imperfection in us as humans. But since Jesus didn't have only a human nature, but a divine nature as well, He did not possess this imperfection, because our Lord Jesus, like the Father (as both are one in being), is perfect (cf. Matt. 5:48). 

The interpretation given in the above image denies the august majesty of Jesus, as well as His foreknowledge. This interpretation is just as bad as the interpretation of the loaves and fishes which says that Jesus performed no miracle; everyone just shared. So then, what exactly is the right interpretation of this verse? Luckily, we have the Church Fathers and the rest of the saints to turn to. As well as many orthodox priests and pastors alive today.