David Ancell's Virtual Home

Harry Potter Problem

  /   Wednesday, September 10, 2003   /   Comments(0)

I’ve seen plenty of things written in Catholic magazines about how evil Harry Potter is. Although I’ve never read the books and don’t plan to, I wish these guys would get over it and find something better to attack. Take a look at this article on Catholic Exchange by Mark Shea for suggestions.

There is clearly room for disagreement regarding Harry Potter. If we spend time trying to build cases on it, we waste time that can be used for other things. On top of that, we make it harder to get people to take us seriously. I found one RadTrad site once that started spewing about how evil it is for women to wear pants. Where in the Cathechism did they find that? One noted apologist even advocates Geocentricism (the earth is the center of the universe instead of the sun). It’s fine to believe it but idiotic to argue it as dogma. Satan is clever enough to hook us on something that is light matter, and we miss the stuff that’s really important.

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Celibacy Post

  /   Sunday, September 07, 2003   /   Comments(0)

As promised, I posted my thoughts on priestly celibacy. However, I decided that Spiritual Pyromania needed it. Read this post to find what I said.

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Liturgy and Culture

  /   Saturday, September 06, 2003   /   Comments(0)

I just found this post on Liturgy and Culture on Fr. Rob Johansen’s blog. His insights on liturgy are some of the best I’ve seen. In fact, the “it’s all about me” type of faith is something that I have noticed all over a certain forum that I keep posting to.

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Celibacy and the Priesthood

  /   Saturday, September 06, 2003   /   Comments(0)

Dennis blogs some good information on priestly celibacy. He has also blogged about this site, a petition drive for priests in favor of keeping the discipline of celibacy. It was started by an associate pastor at my parish who is an awesome priest. If you know any priests who would sign this, by all means please tell them.

I’ll have to reserve blogging on celibacy for later. I wrote a quick post on the Busted Halo forum. They won’t appreciate me reprinting it, so I will have to come up with something else to post here. I’ll try to do it by tomorrow, but I have a full day scheduled now that RCIA is restarting at my parish.

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Is the Do-It-Yourself Mass Over?

  /   Saturday, September 06, 2003   /   Comments(0)

In light of the recent papal encyclical, it is well known that there are disciplinary documents that will be coming out soon. Cardinal Arinze has been quoted as saying “the do-it-yourself Mass has ended. Go in peace.” I’ve heard cheering in other corners that suggested that they felt that the long reign of liturgical abuse has ended.

Forgive my attitude, but I am not so optimistic. In fact, I question whether new documents should be issued. The reason for this is that most, if not all the practices likely to be covered were already forbidden. Documents have been issues in the past, but no one has ever enforced them. I really doubt that many of our American bishops will.

Here’s an example: take a look at this instruction concerning the collaberation of laity in the ministry of the ordained. It mentions as a practice to be “avoided and eliminated where such have emerged in particular churches” the following:

the habitual use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at Mass thus arbitrarily extending the concept of “a great number of the faithful”.

Well, does your parish have a schedule of extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. I do not know of a parish in the city of Memphis that I have been to that does not. In fact, it seems that a need for lay people to distribute Communion at Mass has been artificially created by having all the faithful receive Communion under both kinds.

What happened to this document? From what I heard, a commission was formed to “study” it. The same thing was done with Ex Corde Ecclesiae, and the result was that it was watered down to the point where is was utterly ineffective. So, until I see these directives actually getting enforced, I don’t see myself becoming hopeful when I hear of a new directive coming.

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What About Busted Halo?

  /   Friday, September 05, 2003   /   Comments(0)

Well, I’ve been off Busted Halo, for the most part. I made my first post in about a week today. My suggestion is to go to the forums because we have now been told that we can’t reprint from the forum without permission. I find this silly that I can’t reprint my own writing, but I figure I’d sooner obey than get myself kicked off for something like that. They haven’t shown any interest in kicking me off, but I’ve found that there is very little that I can say that someone won’t argue with.

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God Bless You, You’re Fired

  /   Wednesday, September 03, 2003   /   Comments(0)

I am thankful that this guy got his job back. He said “God Bless You” to some people at a national cemetery, and they fired him. How ridiculous! It kind of reminds me of this post of mine.

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Changing Parishes

  /   Monday, September 01, 2003   /   Comments(0)

My basic philosophy is that one shouldn’t try to control their parish by witholding contributions. We are obligated to support the parish. Often, not supporting the parish will only endanger ministries that do a lot of good and badly need the support. If the pastor isn’t orthodox, I would think there would be an even greater chance that, as funding dries up, it’s the orthodox ministries that will be the first to be cut.

I am thinking of this because of some ideas that I have heard lately. Mark Shea feels it is imperative to leave a parish with unorthodox teaching because he doesn’t want to raise “a brood of numbskulls whose heads are filled with AmChurch twaddle.” If I were in those shoes, I would probably have a greater concern about building disrespect for the priesthood and a general distrust of priests and the Church because of the time I spent contradicting and criticizing the priest or CCD teachers. Either way, I see his point.

Here is another example of a Catholic Light blogger (RC) who left in the middle of Mass for another Church because a priest decided to waste time trying to invalidate a teaching because it is difficult. In Memphis, I went to a parish where several people walked out during the homily because the priest was decrying priestly celibacy and the problems it caused in South America (no, I won’t name the priest or parish).

In a series by Fr. Stravinskas, he suggested witholding contributions in the face of liturgical abuses. He suggested sending an empty envelope through with a note saying that “This envelope would have contained a check for $XX. I’m holding it in escrow until the liturgical abuses stop.” I would presume that, when the abuses do stop, all of the money witheld would then be turned over to the parish.

For my part, I don’t know what I would do. Fortunately, it isn’t an issue right now at my parish. Witholding contributions or changing parishes could become a means for me to run away from a priest who doesn’t just tell me what I want to hear. Besides, what about the others who may not know better. I am single, and I can afford to stay and fight. However, I am also forever in need of good teaching.

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Why Say Rote Prayers?

  /   Monday, September 01, 2003   /   Comments(0)

You may remember yesterday’s Gospel that dealt with the empty devotion of the Pharisees. Jesus said they honored God with their lips, but their hearts were far from him. I heard an excellent homily by a priest whom I greatly respect. Unlike many who would preach on the topic, he took great pains to avoid coming across as saying that we should say the Our Father or something like that. He simply said that we shouldn’t say it as “OurFatherwhoartinHeavenhallobthynathykingcomewilldun.” I agree completely with what he said. I mention this because this post is neither a rebuttal of what he said nor a criticism of his, but rather, it is my tangent.

Even though he didn’t discourage the saying of rote prayers, he got me thinking of why we said them. After all, many Protestants accuse us, sometimes rightly so, of clinging to rituals. I’ve encountered a few who think that the most genuine prayers (if not the only genuine prayers) are those said spontaneously in our own words. So why do we say rote prayers?

For one thing, they are a good discipline. It would actually be easier to say a blessing before meals in my own words and mean it. However, I need the mortification attached to trying to concentrate on words I am familiar with and mean them. In fact, such may be more meritorious for me than the easy prayer that I made up on the spot. This is not to say that spirituality consists of finding the most difficult thing around and doing it. However, one who does only what is easy can hardly be said to be showing great love for God.

Secondly, they are good spiritual preparation for our routine chores in life. In our lives, much of what we have to do is not new or exciting. It’s the same old grind that we encounter much of the day. Being faithful to routine prayers can be an exercise in preparing our hearts to perform our routine and mundane tasks with devotion.

Thirdly, our we to say that we always know what to say to God? The words of saints or of Jesus himself are often far better than what we could come up with. We also run out of things to say. Even when said with only a little devotion, we can begin to make the desires of holy men and women our own.

Finally, let’s consider the liturgy. The guarantors of the teaching should also be the guarantors of the worship of the entire Church. If bad theology is introduced into worship, before you know it we will all be believing it. If individuals are asked to make up their own prayers, then Heaven only knows what people are going to pray for (which is why I oppose the opening up of the prayers of the faithful at Mass to the floor). It’s also very hard to have a well-ordered public worship if everyone is asked to pray spontaneously. Order is necessary for discipline, and discipline is necessary for spiritual combat. The order also ensures unity among the Church in worship, as no Mass is the property of a local congregation. Rather, the entire Church is at each Mass.

Let me conclude by saying that I do not claim to have come up with a complete list of reasons to pray rote prayers. I also am not discouraging spontaneous prayer. In fact, we should not confine our prayer life to rote prayers. Our lives and our spiritual gifts are unique, and so much of our prayer must also be. My point is that we should not be afraid to use the prayers of others.

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