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What Can I Say?

  /   Saturday, August 31, 2002   /   Comments(0)

Gosh, I was so busy yesterday that I didn’t get around to blogging. I’m not going to do much better tonight. If you want something to feast on, read this piece by Mark Shea.

There’s another piece available if that wasn’t enough, but this one isn’t too nice. It’s about how HMOs may encourage assisted suicide to save money. In pharmacy school, we had a lot of classes that dealt with the idea that the health care system was going to have to find ways to save money. It scares the living daylights out of me to think of what could happen if assisted suicide becomes legal. Insurance companies may refuse to cover palliative care, stating that euthanasia is available at a much lower price. Given the greed in today’s society, I would not rule this out as a possibility.

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Fr. Johansen Comments on “Grip and Grin”

  /   Thursday, August 29, 2002   /   Comments(0)

If you haven’t read Fr. Johansen’s viewpoint on the practice of greeting one another before Mass, it’s long, but well worth reading. I’m going to print a copy when I get a chance. We need more priests like him.

There’s another blog by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. related to the subject. He also mentions the practice of priests saying “Good morning” at the beginning of Mass, which I find irritating. I feel a much greater sense of reverence when the Mass begins with nothing more than a reverent Sign of the Cross and the sacred greeting.

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Let’s Take a Moment to Greet One Another . . . . NOT!!

  /   Thursday, August 29, 2002   /   Comments(0)

Once again, I’m throwing in my two cents on a St. Blog’s discussion. This time, it’s on Fr. Rob Johansen’s blog. His pastor has introduced the practice of turning and greeting one another before Mass starts. Supposedly, he wants to foster a “sense of community.”

However, well-intentioned people may be in implementing the practice, I just can’t find a cuss word bad enough to describe how I feel about it. If we want to make the Church more friendly, having people greet one another for no other reason that they are told to do so won’t work. It’s fine to greet people as they walk into the church. By all means, acknowledge the people you see around you in the pews as you walk in (but please take your long conversation outside the church). These things are more genuine. However, the Mass is not the time or place for meet and greet. We gather together to pray and to worship. In a meet and greet before Mass, we either already know the person, or we will likely quickly forget the name of the person.

The sense of community in the Mass should come from the praying and singing as a body, the silent prayers said in preparation, and most of all from the Eucharist. A community must be built around a cause. We are not together just because we feel like getting together, but because God has called us. We get together at other times to share meals, study Christ’s teaching, and to work for the poor or the protection of the unborn. We get to know each other by standing together for Christ. We share common belief and have a common destiny. In so doing, we build a real community. If we stink at hospitality, it’s likely because we don’t believe all of this. Getting people together to learn the faith and strengthening belief in the Real Presence will work must better than a “meet and greet” before Mass. Besides, if a person won’t participate in the ministry of the Church, what makes one think that he/she will become more cordial by shaking hands with a person before Mass.

I have a greater concern about all of this emphasis on “seeing Christ in one another.” I realize we are supposed to see Christ in one another, but I think it has been carried to an extreme. In our current atmosphere, one could be forgiven for thinking that the only real God is the God “in our hearts” (by our own design) or that the “Spirit” is what we create when we get together. Not everyone will go this far, but some probably have. This may be why a lot of Catholics don’t believe in the Real Presence. Some of you may feel that I’m exaggerating, but remember that the Devil never asks that our first step be a big one.

Some other good reading on this subject:
On Mark Shea’s website
This blog by Emily Stimpson
This other blog by Emily Stimpson

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And Now . . . my Dreher Article Commentary

  /   Wednesday, August 28, 2002   /   Comments(0)

I’m sure you’ve all been eagerly awaiting what this poor sinner has to say about the Rod Dreher article that has been the talk of St. Blog’s. Let me assure you, dear readers, that I do not claim to know exactly how the Church should be run. I will also admit that I have had little contact with anyone involved in the recent scandal. While I agree that this scandal is horrific, my concern is also with the loss of the authentic Catholic moral teaching that led to this.

My reading of the Dreher article suggests that his thesis is that since that the Pope, by failing to use his governing authority when his directives have ignored, has failed to govern the Church and seems to care little for our Church. From what I gather, he seems to have seen a lot of the hurt that the scandal has generated. I will not doubt his sincerity in wanting something done. I do not know him, and I do not intend to judge him.

I have been Catholic for 11 years. I have, in various ways, often wondered just what the heck was going on in the Church. My memory of my college years is one in which the basic message of the Church was “All these laws and doctrine don’t really matter. We’re all just one big happy family. Just do what is ‘most loving.'” Somehow I sensed that this wasn’t right. I had both an anger and a sense of lukewarmness that I never began to address until my last semester of pharmacy school in 1999. I never stopped believing or going to Mass, but I do think my prayer-life suffered greatly. I did stop praying the Rosary for years. I have been striving to overcome my former state of faith, only to have this scandal hit and be reminded of everything that’s going wrong. I can’t help but think that something should have been done about this a long time ago.

Here in America, we live in a fast-paced society. We expect swift, sure solutions. Just look at how popular the “lock them up and throw away the key” mentality is when it comes to criminal justice. It is understandable that some would want the Pope to just come in here and kick some Bishops square in the tail. Whether or not this is prudent, even now, is a judgment that I’m not qualified to make. However, I will offer my humble opinion.

At some point, I think it may be necessary to remove a Bishop (or a few Bishops). I don’t think that removing Bishops will necessarily cause schism, as others have suggested. The Bishops who have been charged with doing nothing to prevent this scandal aren’t likely to attract a following.

However, I do think that removing them from office would give them the easy way out. The problems would then be dumped in someone else’s lap. I think that the Pope is expecting them to do their duties (in accordance with the Final Communique) and holding their feet to the fire. I hope that the Bishops will be given at least one last chance (but not too many more chances) to do this.

The other problem with forcibly removing many Bishops is that it could create more confusion than it would solve. Due to the very lack of authentic teaching that helped lead to this problem, many people would only perceive this as a power struggle. I’m not against doing things that may anger people, but prudence should be used. Remember that we are seeking to convert people’s hearts, not just kick their rear ends. Forcing merely external conversion will not save souls. A conversion of hearts takes much longer and involves serious risks, but remember that this is exactly how God treats us. God didn’t even strike Hitler or Stalin dead immediately despite the evil that they did.

So, what’s my bottom line? The Pope does appear to be moving slowly, and the time has come (and possibly past) for stronger action. However, the Pope may have done so because of his desire for authentic conversion. Only time will tell whether or not his actions were in the best interest of the Church, but I still want to give him the benefit of the doubt.

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I Guess I Really Need to Come Up With My Own Stuff

  /   Tuesday, August 27, 2002   /   Comments(0)

Ok, from the title you might think that I’m about to complain about what others have done. Quite the contrary. It’s just that I’ve spent time these past couple of days reading others’ stuff and passing it along rather than writing my own rants. Here’s what I’ve read today on Catholic Exchange:

I missed this book review by Amy Welborn on The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Catholicism the first time around. I’m glad I found the link. She confirmed what I thought about the book when I perused it in a local bookstore. The book used my favorite pet peeve of a statement that goes something like “Don’t get too caught up in the rules; it’s love that matters. It also said that Vatican II allowed you to dissent from Church teachings among other things. I’ve only had one RCIA meeting this year, and I’ve already told people to avoid this book because it contains false teaching. Now I have a resource to use.

Onward to this Dear Grace column on self-communication. I like how she mentions that communion is not taken, but received. Christ is the initiator of the giving of the gifts of grace, not us. I am often blind to this fact and act as though everything depended on me.

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My Reading for Today

  /   Monday, August 26, 2002   /   Comments(0)

In addition to reading the aforementioned How to Resist Temptation book, I’ve done a little web site reading.

For those who may not be aware of the controversy behind the English-language translation of our Liturgy, there’s a site called What Does the Prayer Really Say? It reveals how our Liturgy has been translated in a way that sacrifices beauty and elevates our minds and spirit in favor of a “friendly” translation. Let’s pray that we get a better translation of the new Roman Missal.

Gregory Popcak posted a great blog on how to pick our battles. This is something that I need help with.

I’m still not ready to send out my comments on the aforementioned Dreher article. However, once again I wish to turn your attention to Gregory Popcak. My comments will likely contain something along similar lines.

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The Talk of St. Blog’s

  /   Sunday, August 25, 2002   /   Comments(0)

Finally, the Rod Dreher article that has been the talk of St. Blog’s Parish is available on line. I haven’t read it yet, but I hope to have a response to it up within the next week. I doubt it will be today because I’ve fallen behind on my Catechism reading.

Another article that appears insightful is this March 7 article by Dave Armstrong. I haven’t read this yet, either. It’s quite a bit longer than the Dreher article.

I have, however, read this insightful response to the Dreher article by Fr. Rob Johansen. Be sure to scroll up the page after reading it for further responses.

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Not a Pretty Chick

  /   Saturday, August 24, 2002   /   Comments(0)

I was baptized almost four months before my sixteenth birthday on March 30, 1991. Just before Pentecost Sunday of that same year, I received a Jack T. Chick tract. I knew right then that this guy didn’t know squat about the true teachings and practice of the Catholic Church. Now, we see that he has been republished with some alterations:

Here’s a judgement day scene.

How about some beer.

The latest argument against Sola Scriptura.

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Whoa!! Nihilly

  /   Saturday, August 24, 2002   /   Comments(0)

I just looked again at Nihil Obstat’s blog. It’s time to have fun. Notice that Dr. Obstat doesn’t provide the opportunity to comment, nor does Dr. Obstat provide an e-mail address. I wonder what would the comments would be if he/she did.

Now, all I have to do is get his/her attention by making a simple spelling misteak or too.

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  /   Friday, August 23, 2002   /   Comments(0)

I got tired of my comments server being down half the time, so I’m switching to Haloscan to see if it is any better. Unfortunately, this means that previously posted comments are erased. Haloscan gives me the power to delete comments, but I won’t delete your comment just because you blast me.

LATER NOTE FROM 10/18/02: I now use Movable Type for my blog, so the comments are now built in. I still recommend Haloscan for blogger users.

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