Friday, November 30, 2007

Doritos


I love Doritos. Especially Nacho Cheese Doritos. They are so crisp when you open a bag, so flavorful, so vibrant. I freely admit that many a bag has not lived to see the morning- opened and then gone. Words fail me when I try to describe Doritos, the cheese, the spice, the corn! At times like this I think that the seminary should have trained me in poetry.

There is a dark side to my Dorito love affair. The aftermath. That heap in my gullet composed of masticated corn and artificial cheese. If I may be so bold, it is the cancer of food. You start with one but then they quickly multiply and you are left with a useless mass of false food in your stomach.

These weeks before Christmas, which we call Advent, can be much the same way. We are hungry, the semester has worn on and we are ready for something real, something satisfying, something that is greater than the world we live in. The world around us suggests Kay Jewelers, Norelco razors, and DLP flat screens. But we've tried these before in various forms- childhood toys, latest video games, and many others- and if we are honest, we've been left wanting.

These coming days of Advent, while we shop, bake, eat, study, and test, remember there is only one answer to the question we all carry inside: Jesus Christ. Reawaken your need for the Hope of the Nations, reawaken your need for Jesus Christ.

***This was my bulletin article for St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center***

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Running to stand still

Sorry there haven't been substantial posts in a while. I had a nice vacation to St. Louis over Thanksgiving and then I had to hit the ground running this week, including this weekend. My pastor is gone for his monthly National Guard duty so I will be flying solo. That means:

  1. Friday Wedding
  2. Saturday Funeral (Deacon will take the wake Friday evening)
  3. Saturday Confessions
  4. Saturday Vigil Mass #1
  5. Saturday Vigil Mass #2
  6. Sunday Mass #1
  7. Sunday Family Education Program
  8. Sunday Mass #2
  9. Sunday Baptisms, numbering 3
  10. Sunday Confessions at Newman Center
  11. Sunday Mass at Newman Center
  12. Collapsing in exhaustion.
It is a good thing I don't do this for the money...
It is a good thing I remember that some people have it more difficult...


...by that I mean I'm not a whiner.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Complications

In discussions regarding the growing shortage of priests, many people assume that on a world-wide scale there would be a seem-less transition to married clergy. What they don't often realize is that there would be many complications, especially regarding what the Church would have to provide.

This news story, brought to my attention by Stella Borealis, highlights those complications. A woman is petitioning for her ex-husband/pastor's church to be considered an asset. Yikes! "I'm sorry Bishop, but St. Mary's was awarded to the ex-Fr. O'Hoolihan." Probably not going to happen in the reported case, but...

You can read the full article here.

Actually, this issue of complications is my least favorite argument against the abrogation of mandatory priestly celibacy. My favorite is the "band-aide on a gunshot wound" argument.

Hope in sight for U.N.

I saw this from Stella Borealis, but it seems there was debate in the U.N. general assembly regarding abortion. It came in the context of a non-binding resolution calling for an end to the death penalty.
Their first amendment calling for a new operative paragraph to be included in the draft text read, “Urges Member States to take all necessary measures to protect the lives of unborn children...another paragraph; “Reaffirms that every human being has the inherent right to life and stresses that abortion should only be admissible in necessary cases and only when the life of the mother or child is at serious risk.”
Unfortunately, it seems this was a derailment effort by Muslim states as the Koran prescribes the death penalty at points. But at least there was some discussion. Small steps. Read it all here from Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

US Bishops Fall Meeting Day 2

At the forefront today were the elections of the President and Vice-President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. It went to Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, IL, though this was expected- typically the President is the previous Vice-President, which was Cardinal George. What does the USCCB Bishop do, what authority does he gain? Very little. He is essentially a spokesman for the Bishops. He will set agendas and keep issues or concerns rolling, but he has no authority over the almost 200 other dioceses in the U.S.

Of interest:
  • An interview with Archbishop Chaput. I went to seminary under his guidance in Denver, he is quite candid and refreshing. He deeply believes in Jesus Christ and is deeply worried about others. Take his quote on the Second Vatican Council and the Cultural Revolution of the '60's and '70's:
    "[Vatican II] gave us tools to analyze [cultural/sexual revolution], and not to be reactionary. If we had been reactionary, we would have lost as much ground, if not more, than we did. It gave us tools to be reflective. The gradual changes in the church that led to the reflections of Pope John Paul II on the theology of the body and on human sexuality couldn’t have happened without the sexual revolution. As we look back on it, there’s huge tragedy that resulted, but at the same time there’s very positive growth. We have a much more positive understanding of human sexuality. I think there’s a greater patience with human frailty in the area of sexual sin and failure. There’s probably a deeper humanity in the church, in our official reflection anyway. There’s always been a deep humanity in the church in the sacrament of penance."
  • Also interesting is the new website promoting the Catholic vision of Marriage. This seems quite handy and well thought out. Whether it will appeal to those who need it most...we'll see when I meet with an engaged couple tonight!

Monday, November 12, 2007

US Bishops Fall Meeting Day 1

John Allen of the NCR has some interesting tidbits that I'll share as I find them:

  • Pope to Visit U.S. April 15th-20th. This looks like some great opportunities to see him and pray with him for the Church in the U.S. According to Archbishop Sambi: "We should issue an invitation to return for those who have left the church. The church is still the church of Jesus Christ, of the gospel, and of the mission entrusted by Jesus Christ to his apostles."
  • Bishops on Iraq: Through USCCB President, Bishop Skylstad, the U.S. Bishops also commented on the situation Iraq. Nothing too interesting or surprising other than the call for a " 'unique and inescapable obligation' to offer major support for reconstruction in Iraq." Which is a nice way to say it.
  • Lastly, a report on sexual abuse. This was received with some mixed comments: first relief that what statistics are available show no marked increase of perpetrators among Catholic clergy than the general population. Secondly, a caution that these statistics shouldn't be cause for elation: "But that’s a bit like my doctor telling me that my cancer is no worse than my hospital roommate’s cancer … Our situation should be much better." Enlivened by the grace of Jesus Christ, we should be better, but sin is still sin and the ordained are still human. Trust me.
Continue to pray for our Bishops that they may guide us to be better disciples of Christ in the midst of the world.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lazy Sunday...

No, not the Saturday Night Live skit.

Should post a homily, but am having a nice visit by my childhood pastor this evening. So instead, I found this reflection Is it Really a Holy Communion?

This is a reflection on whether our participation in the Communion of the Faithful is intentional and aware of the holiness offered in Our Lord's Sacramental Presence. I could ask myself that question every Mass I pray.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

No one asked me...

...but I was wasting some time reading Whispers in the Loggia about two dioceses in the U.S. are building new cathedrals: Houston and Oakland.

Oakland's project is just beginning and is dedicated to Christ the Light. You can find a virtual tour here.

Exterior sketch:















Interior sketch:















Estimated cost: 131 million
Estimated capacity: 1500

The Archdiocese of Houston/Galveston has completed their new co-Cathedral for Houston. It will be dedicated to the Sacred Heart and consecrated on April 2nd, 2008.

Exterior photo:











Interior Sketches:

























Estimated cost: 40 million initial
Rocco lists 61 million
Estimated seating: 1800 + 200 movable chairs

Full website for Cathedral of Christ the Light.
Full website for Sacred Heart co-Cathedral homepage.

Do you have a preference?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Do you feel disenfranchised?

This coming week, the 12th-15th is the US Bishop's biannual meeting. Certainly expected is a statement on political life within the Catholic Vision. So what do we do?

Democrat party ideals fail to meet our vision of life.

Republican party ideals fail to meet our vision of life.

What do we do? In their draft, the Bishop's say: "Catholics may feel politically disenfranchised, sensing that no party and too few candidates fully share the church's comprehensive commitment to the dignity of the human person." So what do we do?

The same thing we always do: try to transform the culture by the grace of Jesus Christ. From another blog (St. Marys at Texas A&M) we find this quote from the proposed document: "As Catholics, we should be guided more by our moral convictions than by our attachment to a political party or interest group. When necessary, our participation should help transform the party to which we belong; we should not let the party transform us in such a way that we neglect or deny fundamental moral truths."

Sound interesting? But is that a Catholic notion?

Romans 12:2 "Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect."

For further reading, check out John Allen's article.

Feast of St. John Lateran

No, not lantern, Lateran. The Lateran family gave money and land for the Basilica, though the history is a bit more in depth: an article from EWTN and an article from Catholic Encyclopedia.

I couldn't find any web photos, but will add some of my own from my WYD trip in 2005.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Late Night Viewing

I'm not sure if you ever watch the Colbert Report on Comedy Central. It is a satirical news show but he weaves in some Catholic aspects from time to time that are quite humorous and surprisingly well thought out. I don't frequent it, 10:30 pm is a lil' late, but I do hear about it.

So, check out this take on the Colbert Report from First Things.

For a treasury of all things Catholic on the Colbert Report, check out Catholic Colbert.

Though I wouldn't use Stephen Colbert as a source for catechesis.