Monday, April 18, 2016

Going on a Short Break

Things are going to be getting a bit hectic at work for the next week or two, so I'll be taking a short leave from writing until things slow down a bit. I have some new essays in the pipeline though, specifically some on the Eastern Catholic Churches. So stay tuned. Be back soon!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Cardinal Schönborn on the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation; What Does He Mean?

Yet another "papal presser" has taken place aboard the plane coming back from  his visit to the island of Lesbos. From CNA:
"Pope Francis on April 16 gave a 25-minute press conference for reporters during his return flight to Rome from Lesbos... 
"Frank Rocca (Wall Street Journal): Thanks, Holy Father. I see that the questions on immigration that I had thought to ask you have been asked and answered by you very well. If you permit me, I’d like to ask you another question about an event of recent days, which was your apostolic exhortation. As you well know, there has been much discussion about on one of the many, I know that we’ve focused on this a lot…there has been much discussion after the publication. Some sustain that nothing has changed with respect to the discipline that regulates access to the sacraments for the divorced and remarried, that the Law, the pastoral praxis and obviously the doctrine remain the same. Others sustain that much has changed and that there are new openings and possibilities. For a Catholic who wants to know: are there new, concrete possibilities that didn’t exist before the publication of the exhortation or not?

"Pope Francis: I can say yes, many. But it would be an answer that is too small. I recommend that you read the presentation of Cardinal Schonborn, who is a great theologian. He was the secretary for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, and he knows the doctrine of the faith well. In that presentation, your question will find an answer. 
"Jean-Marie Guenois (Le Figaro): I had the same question, but it’s a complementary question because you wrote this famous ‘Amoris Laetitia’ on the problems of the divorced and remarried (footnote 351). Why put something so important in a little note? Did you foresee the opposition or did you mean to say that this point isn’t that important? 
"Pope Francis: One of the recent popes, speaking of the Council, said that there were two councils: the Second Vatican Council in the Basilica of St. Peter, and the other, the council of the media. When I convoked the first synod, the great concern of the majority of the media was communion for the divorced and remarried, and, since I am not a saint, this bothered me, and then made me sad. Because, thinking of those media who said, this, this and that, do you not realize that that is not the important problem? Don’t you realize that instead the family throughout the world is in crisis? Don’t we realize that the falling birth rate in Europe is enough to make one cry? And the family is the basis of society. Do you not realize that the youth don’t want to marry? Don’t you realize that the fall of the birth rate in Europe is to cry about? Don’t you realize that the lack of work or the little work (available) means that a mother has to get two jobs and the children grow up alone? These are the big problems. I don’t remember the footnote, but for sure if it’s something general in a footnote it’s because I spoke about it, I think, in 'Evangelii Gaudium.'"

Here are some thoughts I've had on this, and it might seem a bit random, as it's more a stream of consciousness kind of thing, pieced together from thoughts I've put in some comboxes on other articles...
Pope Francis

Saturday, April 9, 2016

New Article on the Real Presence on Catholic365

About a week or so ago, I posted a conversation I had with a Protestant on the issue of the Real Presence and the authority of the Church. Since then, I've edited the dialogue into an essay that was just recently posted over on Catholic 365. Even if you have read the actual discussion, please check out the essay version where I try to clarify things a little bit more. So far I'm two for two in writing new essays stemming from comments from a previous essay. Let's see if we can make it three for three... although I don't how much clearer I can get on the subject unless we start going onto other tangents. In any case, be sure to take a look and peruse around a bit on the site for some other good articles by other Catholics.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Initial Thoughts on Amoris Laetitia and "Rules"

So the day has finally come where Pope Francis has released his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, entitled Amoris Laetitia. It hasn't even been out 24 hours and already there's controversy from all sides. First, we hear from so-called "conservative" side, where many radical Catholic reactionaries and sedevacantists cry out that His Holiness has deviated from Church teaching and the sky has totally fallen. Then you get the "liberal" side of things that go in the complete opposite direction that say that the Pope has "softened" the Church's teachings on marriage and sex. Yea... that's a real news headline. And then of course, some people go even farther and say that the Pope hasn't done enough as far as a politically leftists agenda goes. So that leaves the Church, as the pillar of Truth squarely in the center of these two opposing ends. it's amazing how both sides can seem so radical, despite reading the same document, and still miss the mark. Thank God for is holy Church, proving that there is no "conservative" or "liberal" side to the Church; only the Truth which lies in the middle.
Pope Francis

Monday, April 4, 2016

Recent Thoughts on Baptism

I've been fascinated with baptism since my son came into the world and now with #2 on the way, preparing for the next baptism is on the agenda soon after the birth. The thing about baptism in Catholic theology though, is that you can have it lead to so many different avenues. Is baptism salvific? Who can partake in baptism? Are we regenerated by baptism? What is original sin? What is original justice? How does baptism add in with our justification? And the questions go on and on.

There's a crazy long debate going on at this article over on Catholic Answers, and I've learned so much from reading not only the original article, but the comments as well. I've learned how strong the Catholic (and Orthodox) case is for the sacramental view of baptism, and comparably, how ridiculous many Fundamentalist Protestants are with their weak arguments and how they have to twist and contort pretty explicit Scripture passages, just so the Scriptures can fit their faulty theology that never existed before 1500 A.D.

St Augustine Baptizes the Cathechumens- Girolamo Genga

Friday, April 1, 2016

On Renewing Our Church

Many parishes have probably seen something like this on a smaller scale, but the Archdiocese of Chicago has a new program going on right now called "Renew My Church." At the link, one can take a survey on their specific parish and answer other questions on what the Archdiocese can do to become better as a whole. It seems the ball started to get rolling this Easter, the time of year everyone knows the C&E's come out of the woodwork, and made the surveys available after all Masses.

While a lot of these questions are legitimate, some seem to be a little strange, almost trying to elicit a specific answer. I may not reside in the Archdiocese of Chicago, but here are some of the thoughts I had regarding their questions on how the Church can maintain "vitality":
Holy Name Cathedral