Sunday, November 19, 2017

Catholics Today Need to Suck It Up

Sorry, but not sorry, for the somewhat harsh title. I can safely say that the priest who gave the homily I heard at church today would not apologize for it. I have to say, the homily I heard today was absolutely amazing, and it was quite clearly from the heart of this noble priest. My family and I attended Divine Liturgy at the nearby Ruthenian (Byzantine) Catholic parish today, and the pastor began his homily by reminding the congregation about Philip's Fast which had just begun on November 14th, the feast of St. Philip the Apostle in the Byzantine calendar. Essentially, as he mentioned, it's the equivalent of Advent in the Latin Rite. Just as Advent is a time of penitence and preparation for Roman Catholics, so too is Philip's fast in the Byzantine Rite, except it is longer and there is much more fasting entailed, such as abstinence from meat and dairy on all Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the fast.
Presentation of Mary- Titian

Friday, November 10, 2017

Juxtaposing the Same Event in Two Different Pictures

If you're reading this on the blog's main page, this little "experiment" will be clearer with the whole "after the jump" thing. If you've followed a link to the full post. Don't skim past the line you're reading!

OK, so what you're about to see below is a depiction of a common scene in Christian art; our Lord Jesus expiring on the cross with two people below Him. Typically, those people represented under the cross are our Blessed Mother and St. John the Apostle. As you can tell, both figures here are men and wearing clothing outside the period. Who do you think these two men are? What are they holding? Why are they being depicted here? After the jump, I will present another image which is depicting the same event (not the Crucifixion), yet with a completely different attitude and meaning. You'll soon see why these two images I speak of need to be juxtaposed together...

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Regarding "Thoughts and Prayers"

With the horrific shooting at a Baptist church in Texas over the weekend, many people are angry. And rightfully so. Many are demanding for action as well. They should be. But what is really disturbing, and this has been a trend in recent times, is that people all over are declaring that they are "fed up" with others sending out their thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families. Actor Wil Wheaton, who was replying to a tweet from Paul Ryan reminding people that prayers were needed, said this:

"The murdered victims were in a church. If prayers did anything, they'd still be alive, you worthless sack of s***."

Wheaton later made an apology (that wasn't really an apology, but a justification), but many people on social media showed their displeasure in his choice of words. But on the other side, many people across social media agreed with Wheaton, and took it even further. One person in my own newsfeed opined that "God is sick of your prayers." This is what the irreligious nature of a secular culture has brought us: a thinly veiled tolerance for people who believe in God, but whenever someone talks about their faith, even in times of tragedy, that faith in God is mocked.

I will agree with these secularists on one point though: thoughts are pointless. Let me explain why.
Titian- Christ on Mount Olive

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 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.