Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Magisterium and the Dilemma of Dissent: New Essay on Catholic Stand

A couple weeks back, I recently posted an essay on Catholic Stand in response to comments made by Melinda Gates, wife of the multi-billionaire Bill Gates. In an interview with the BBC, Mrs. Gates made it clear that she and the Pope “agree to disagree” on the morality of contraception.

She opined, “It’s been a while since [the Catholic Church] revisited this topic [of contraception] — but I’m still optimistic that they might [change the teaching] over time.” This is a reference to Blessed Pope Paul VI’s remarkable encyclical Humanae vitae, in which he reconfirmed the constant teaching of the Catholic Church. You can see a preview of my essay responding to such dissenting or "cafeteria" Catholics below, with the link to the actual essay again provided at the end.
How does Gates gauge whether a certain thing or activity is “right” or not? Does she believe that the Church can make an accurate pronouncement on the morality or sinfulness of a certain action? 
Apparently not, as she outright rejects what the Church teaches on contraception. If she believes she is doing “the right thing for women” by promoting contraceptives, then the Church, by doing the opposite in condemning the use of contraceptives, must be doing the wrong thing. Two contradictory things can’t both be right and true. In this case, either Gates is wrong, or Christ in His Church is wrong. And if it’s the latter, all those who profess to be Catholic have quite the dilemma.
You can read the rest of the essay over at Catholic Stand.
Jesus Among the Doctors- Albrecht Dürer

Friday, August 4, 2017

Being the Light of the World: Stop Hiding Your Faith!

My latest article in the Diocese of Joliet's monthly magazine, Christ Is Our Hope, has appeared in print in their August 2017 issue. The article can also be found on their digital magazine in the link above. Below is an unedited and slightly longer version of the article found in the magazine. After experiencing many Catholics around me who were reticent to share their faith, I was moved to write an article that we are exhorted to do just that. The movie Silence was another trigger for writing this article, and it is mentioned in the essay itself, specifically why we must not follow the example of the two main characters in the film.hh
The Ahırkapı Lighthouse- Michael Zeno Diemer

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Essay on Alternatives to Planned Parenthood: Why Pro-Lifers Are Against PP

I recently had the opportunity to write a guest article for the pretty awesome website Secular Prolife. These people are dedicated to protecting the unborn, and while we hope for their conversion one day, they are secular and typically agnostic. This sit has proved to be a great starting point for talking to people who think that all pro-lifers are only of such an opinion because they are religious. Rarely, if ever, have I used a religious argument to voice my opposition to abortion. Anyone can do so using natural reason, as the wonderful people at Secular Prolife have. Below is a link to my first essay with the site. A short selection can be found below:
Here’s the thing that those who support Cecile Richards and her associates need to know about their pro-life friends. Even if we were to accept the bogus claim that only 3% of the services done at Planned Parenthood are abortions, how could one in good conscience support an organization that purposefully ends the lives of human beings? Even if that number was 1% or .5% of the time, the percentage would be too high. Why? Because the vast majority of people in this world consider the purposeful and willful killing of a member of the human race to be immoral and wrong.
Read the full article here. 




Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Reflections on the Readings for the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene

Yesterday, on July 22nd, the Catholic Church celebrated the feast day of St. Mary Magdalene, on of the feasts of the liturgical year that is celebrated on the same day in both forms of the Latin Rite and in the Byzantine Rite. I was lucky enough to attend Mass in the Extraordinary Form (EF) after receiving the Sacrament of Confession, and I just  briefly wanted to right down my thoughts after reflecting on the Scripture readings for the Mass in the EF, as well as the Scripture selection in the Liturgy of Hours' Office of Readings.

The First Reading in the Divine Office came from St. Paul's Letter to the Colossians 3:1-17. It was subtitled, "Your life is hidden with Christ in God". As I was reading this, waiting for Mass to start, a particular few verses close to the halfway mark caught my attention. It immediately called to mind the current state of affairs regarding the permissibility of certain sins that have become socially acceptable in the Western world, i.e., fornication, and homosexual activity in particular. Beginning from verse 5:
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you once walked, when you lived in them. But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
Feast of Simon the Pharisee- Peter Paul Rubens

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Causes of Unconditional Love

In getting ready to write a new essay tangentially related to contraception, I recalled a dialogue I had with someone regarding an essay I had posted on social media. I thought about just posting my own words since I pretty much dominated the conversation. I regret doing this sometimes, typing so much, but there's always so much on my mind that I want to be able to express it all. I am trying to become more concise in my writing, but as I care for this person, I felt it my Christian duty to get this person introduced to some ideas that they may not have been aware of.  I apologize if anyone tires of the length of my blog posts. Please know that I don't do it because I'm full of myself or like to hear myself "talk". In putting my thoughts here, and in dialoguing with other people, I hope to find answers. I just go about it in a way many millennials would rather not.

In any case, here's the selection of the essay, entitled "The Death of Unconditional Love", I posted on social media: 
"The widespread availability of contraception ushered in an age of sexual intercourse without consequence. Unconditional love was taken out of the equation and replaced with immediate, self-serving gratification. Love became inconsequential to sexual relations. With the possibility of procreation and the need for commitment gone, sex went from being a wonderful gift from God and an active participation in his work of creation to a sterile act, devoid of meaning and transcendence. 
"Likewise, easy, no-fault divorce has played an enormous role in the death of unconditional love. Marriage went from being a permanent, lifelong relationship to a temporary one. Our very high divorce rate signals the fact that as adults, few are capable of unconditional love. By rejecting our wives or husbands, whether we intend to or not, we tear apart our families. What is left is a broken reflection of what once was.
"In essence, without using words and often without even intending to do so, we tell our children 'My personal needs are far more important than your need for a loving home, nurtured by both Mom and Dad.'"
Below is our conversation. Some things have been edited out, but the bulk of it is still here:
The Triumph of Divine Love- Peter Paul Rubens

Monday, July 10, 2017

New Article on "Spiritual Progress" on Catholic Stand

My latest article, replying to a claim made by Evangelical Christian author Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, is now up on Catholic Stand.  Below is a snippet of the article, followed by another link:
From reading some of the work that Ms. Fitzpatrick has produced, her faith squares up pretty evenly with the modern Evangelical movement; a movement that has no room for a visible Church. On her website and in other advertisements, Ms. Fitzpatrick describes her work in this way: “No fluff. No bricks. Just good news of a crucified and risen Savior.” 
Ms. Fitzpatrick probably does not intend it, but these words are insulting and condescending to many Christians. It implies that, for instance, that the Sacrifice of the Mass as celebrated by Catholic and Orthodox Christians is superfluous, that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is just “fluff”, and that asking for the intercession of the saints is part of a man-made building of brick and mortar that has nothing to do with the mystical Body of Christ. As if none of those things I just mentioned don’t preach the Good News of the Christ crucified. How misguided and mistaken a notion she and many other non-denominational Christians have on Christ’s relationship to the Church. Which leads us to the isolated quote I came across … 
Below is the verbatim quote from Mrs. Fitzpatrick as it was presented, with no further context: 
"Real progress in the Christian life is not gauged by our knowledge of Scripture, our church attendance, time in prayer, or even our witnessing (although it isn’t less than these things). Maturity in the Christian life is measured by only one test: how much closer to his character have we become? The result of the Spirit’s work is not more and more activity. No, the results of his work are in in our quality of life, they are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." 
Is this an accurate description of “real progress? There are many issues with this quote, as well as the way the meme is delivered to the masses.
Read the rest here. 
Entry into Jerusalem- Pedro Orrente

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Bishop of San Jose's Statement on Bishop Paprocki's Decree on "Same Sex 'Marriage'"

While the news cycle has started to relax it's focus on the controversial (but really, not controversial at all) decree issued by Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, IL on the pastoral care of those homosexual persons in state sanctioned marriages, it seems that there are those within the Church who are still making comments about it. A few days ago, Bishop Patrick J. McGrath of the Diocese of San Jose released the following statement:
Dear Father/Sister/Brother, 
Recent news reports of policies and practices related to members of the LGBT community in other dioceses can be confusing. 
I take this opportunity to assure you that the pastoral response in the Diocese of San Jose remains just that: compassionate and pastoral. We will not refuse sacraments or Christian Burial to anyone who requests them in good faith. 
Finally, let us remember and be guided by the words of Pope Francis: “The Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”
This is disheartening.

It's extremely sad to see, at almost every turn, bishop against bishop, pastor against pastor, and even Bishops' Conference against Bishops' Conference on several issues.

Frankly, this whole controversy that's erupted around Bishop Paprocki's decree (which is simply a reiteration of Catholic teaching) is ridiculous. As Bishop Paprocki commented in a recent interview, "[T]he decree is a rather straightforward application of existing Church teaching and canon law. The Catholic Church has been very clear for two thousand years that we do not accept same-sex “marriage,” yet many people seem to think that the Church must simply cave in to the popular culture now that same-sex “marriage” has been declared legal in civil law."