David Ancell's Virtual Home

Lunch Break: Orthodoxy and Avoiding Friendly Fire

  /   Sunday, July 27, 2014   /   Comments(0)

I have posted another Lunch Break edition of my podcast.

Download it here.

This is kind of an offshoot of my blog on young adults discovering the true Catholic faith.  There are many different spiritualities that are, in fact, orthodox.  Some issues even admit to differing opinions.  This doesn’t mean that we have a right to dissent on those that don’t (e.g. abortion, contraception), but we do need to be careful not to be overly critical of people who hold a different legitimate opinion or practice a different legitimate spirituality.  There may be legitimate criticisms of other ideas and movements, but we can’t treat people who hold to them as inferior.

Category: Podcasts


Reflections on Being a Catholic Young Adult

  /   Wednesday, July 23, 2014   /   Comments(2)

My birthday is coming up.  Depending on how “young adult” is defined, I’ll either have one more year left as a young adult, or I haven’t been a young adult for a few years now.  I think I’ll take the former.  A few things have been on my mind as I reflect on the fact that I will soon make my exit from young adulthood.

The most exciting thing for me has been being a part of the movement of young adults who are embracing orthodox Catholicism.  We were able to find out the truth and beauty of the teachings of the Church that had somehow been lost when we were in CCD or PSR or PRE or whatever you called it.  There were many moments of “Why haven’t we heard this before?”  In a number of places, better catechesis is now available, but there is still a lot of evangelization work that needs to be done.

When I first attended religion classes in high school, I expected to be far behind the others.  Little did I know that there really wasn’t much doctrinal content in the course materials in use at the time.  In fact, I came to a disturbing revelation.  I knew more than they did.  When I went to campus ministry in college, it was mediocre at best.  I actually was jealous of evangelical Protestants because they seemed to be much more enthusiastic than most Catholics that I knew.

After graduation from pharmacy school, I joined a catechetical young adult group.  For the first time, I saw people who were concerned about following what the Church teaches.  I discovered a lot of good Catholic books and publishers that filled in what I had long misunderstood.  However, at this time, and in the place where I was, it still seemed that I had to figure a lot out for myself.  I didn’t always know exactly who to trust to tell me what is true. Apparently, my experience was not unique. I believe it was Colleen Carroll Campbell who mentioned in 2002 that college students were growing in their faith despite the official campus ministry. The same could be said of other official ministries.

This was the 2000s, and the young, orthodox, well-formed priests were just beginning to be ordained.  A lot of ministries and resources have since become available to help teach the faith that weren’t available just as I was coming of age.  For example, Ascension Press, if it existed at all back then, hadn’t yet published the Bible Timeline Seminar or the Theology of the Body resources.  Catholic Exchange started as e3mil sometime in that era.  The campus ministry group FOCUS was still in its infancy.  Catholic Answers had been around for some time, but for some reason I wasn’t as interested in them at first.  Thankfully, more ministries are being formed, and more resources are available to help teach the Faith.  Just watch Life on the Rock on EWTN, and you’ll hear about a lot of them.

Back then, my focus was mainly on apologetics, probably because I was put into a situation where I needed to learn to defend my faith.  Unfortunately, I was too focused there.  I was looking for just the right argument.  I really needed to learn more than that.  I can thank Incarnation Church in Collierville, TN for letting me join their RCIA team and forming me as a catechist.  They even let me teach some of the sessions.  In fact, I can’t thank them enough.

I now see signs of things becoming even better even better.  We still see some of the orthodox young adult Catholics in our area who are ten or more years younger than I am, and they are very faithful and joyful.  They seem to have received better formation, too.  However, I know that their experience and formation isn’t universal in the Church.  It needs to be.  We would set the world on fire if it were.  There is still a lot of work to be done in evangelizing my generation and the people who came after us, but we have more people who are in love with Christ and his Church who will bring others with him.

Next blog, I want to share my thoughts on young adult ministry . . .

Category: Catholic, News on My Life


Lunch Break: What Are We Filling Our Minds With?

  /   Sunday, July 20, 2014   /   Comments(0)

I have posted another Lunch Break edition of my podcast.

Download it here.

This is an old topic for me.  I’ve always wondered why people who love God would want to entertain themselves with immoral entertainment.  We would never tolerate such insults to our family and friends, but we will be entertained by things that glorify offending God whom we should love much more.  Do the things we entertain ourselves with, whether books, music, or movies, draw us towards the good, the true, and the beautiful, or are they leading us away from it.  Keeping our mind full of good things is an important step towards keeping our hearts focused on God.

Category: Podcasts


Lunch Break: Preaching Christ in the Little Things

  /   Monday, July 14, 2014   /   Comments(0)

I have posted another Lunch Break edition of my podcast.

Download it here.

Sometimes, it’s the little things we do each day that can make Jesus Christ more known and love or make Christianity be thought of with suspicion or contempt.  Granted, there are times that we will be understood no matter what.  However, if people are going to dismiss us, at least don’t give them a legitimate reason.

Category: Podcasts


The Respect Due People with Same-Sex Attraction vs Gay Rights

  /   Sunday, July 13, 2014   /   Comments(0)

A few weeks ago, President Obama has promised to sign an executive order prohibiting companies who do business with the federal government from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  This order is likely his attempt to implement, as much as possible, the Employee Non-Discrimination Act that failed to pass the House of Representatives last November.  The order hasn’t been made public yet, but it is expected soon. Needless to say, this could create a myriad of issues depending on how broadly  “discrimination” and “doing business with the federal government” are defined.

Believe it or not, the Catechism of the Catholic Church does mention, in paragraph 2358 (scroll down near the bottom), that people with same-sex attraction are to be treated with “respect, compassion, and sensitivity.” We are to avoid “every sign of unjust discrimination” against them.  If I were a business owner, I could not in good conscience arbitrarily refuse to hire someone simply for having this inclination.  However, does this mean that there should be anti-discrimination laws in place?  Let me explain some things here.

If you haven’t noticed, in the paragraph above, I used the term “people with same-sex attraction” rather than describing such people as gay, lesbian, or homosexual.  I referred to them as “having this inclination.”  For some reason that I can’t understand, people with same-sex attraction often bind their identity up with their inclination and say that it is “who they are.”  However, people, regardless of their condition, are far more than their inclinations.

People who have such an inclination probably didn’t actively choose it.  There may be some responsibility for strengthening the inclination in one’s mind once it is noticed, but even then there may be reasons why a person isn’t fully morally responsible for this.  There is debate as to whether the inclination can be eradicated, and my own opinion is that it depends on how deep-rooted it has become.  Some may be able to eradicate the inclination, reduce it, or at least have a somewhat normal relationship with a person of the opposite sex.  Others may not be able to do any of that.  However, regardless of the above, having such an inclination doesn’t destroy a person’s worth and dignity in the eyes of God.  People with same-sex attraction still have a need to make a living and be able to function as they can in society.  This shouldn’t be denied arbitrarily.  However, it does not follow that there aren’t cases of just discrimination against them.

Notice that, up until now, I’ve been talking about having an inclination towards the same gender.  There’s a difference between having the inclination and acting upon it.  The inclination isn’t in and of itself sinful.  However, like I said, despite what the American Psychiatric Association and American Psychological Association now say, it is a disorder, just like anxiety, depression, anorexia.  How do I know (apart from Church teaching, of course)?  The desire to have a sexual union with someone of the same gender has no natural means available to accomplish it.  Two men or two women cannot unite their bodies anatomically in the same way that a man and a woman can.  Our bodies just weren’t made for it.  It’s also completely impossible for it to accomplish the biological end of sexual relations – the generation of offspring.  Having the disordered desire is not in and of itself sinful, but acting on it is seriously sinful.

In fact, a case of discrimination is most likely to occur is if a person is, in fact, openly acting on it. Even then, there are a lot of situations when someone’s conduct can be tolerated.  If I were a restaurant  or store owner, an argument can be made that someone’s homosexual activity is not directly contrary to the mission of that particular business.  This is true even though I would run my business according to my Catholic faith.

However, it’s another story if we are talking about a Catholic school or university, charity organization, or even a for-profit whose purpose is to, for example, publish Catholic books.  Someone known to be deliberately acting directly contrary to the teaching of the Church in such a serious matter, with no known intention of changing the situation, would be acting directly contrary to the mission of such an organization.  Requiring that organization to employ such a person makes a mockery of its mission.  Would PETA be required to employ someone in a key position who ate bacon off the clock?

One major threat that an anti-discrimination law could pose would be to require Catholic employers or even institutions of the Church to recognize homosexual unions and provide spousal benefits to homosexual couples.  It’s one thing to tolerate such activity; it’s quite another to give official recognition or even the giving of benefits.  It’s still another to force the granting of recognition upon people whose long-standing religious beliefs would be violated in doing so.  Let’s not forget that we’ve already had a lawsuit against a Christian baker who did not want to make a wedding cake for a homosexual wedding.  The court ruled against him despite the fact that homosexual marriage isn’t legal in that state.  This is a real threat against religious freedom.

Even someone who is not acting on the inclination may not be suited for certain occupations, possibly depending on the severity of the inclination.  A Vatican document came out several years ago stating that men who practice homosexuality or have deep-seated tendencies cannot be ordained as clergy.  There may be some other situations in which such an inclination would affect how well they could do the job, and employers faced with such situations need to retain their right to make a reasonable judgment unhindered by political correctness.

The bottom line is that people who have an inclination towards people of the same sex are still loved by God, and they need our care and compassion.  Treating them with contempt is simply wrong.  However, allowing them to act upon the desire and pretending it is normal is doing them a great disservice, just like enabling an alcoholic would be.  People with such inclinations, even those acting on them, should be able to obtain what they need to live just like anyone else.  However, making them a protected class, especially in today’s society, is a dangerous move and needs to be stopped.

Category: Catholic, Morality, Response


Lunch Break: Lesser Known Sins, Part 4: Resting on Sunday

  /   Monday, July 07, 2014   /   Comments(0)

I have posted another Lunch Break episode.

Download it here.

One thing that I don’t hear much about is the obligation to rest on Sunday.  Most serious Catholics know that we are bound under pain of mortal sin to attend Sunday Mass.  However, the celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord goes beyond that.  Sometimes we have no choice but to work, but we should do our best to keep the festive nature of the day and put aside any unnecessary business.

I’ve heard everything from “We don’t rest on Sundays anymore” to how we should go on welfare rather than take a job that requires us to work on Sunday.  I’ve even heard someone say that they were told by someone that a nurse in the hospital shouldn’t work on Sunday because there are enough pagans to cover that day.  None of this is correct.  Hopefully, I can clarify some things about how we should observe the commandment to rest on Sunday.

Category: Podcasts


Will Religious Freedom Create Corporate Anarchy?

  /   Tuesday, July 01, 2014   /   Comments(0)

It’s all over the news now. It’s on the Internet, so it must be true. Pfizer, Wal-Mart, and Apple are raising religious objections to paying taxes (warning: link contains vitriol). GM now has religious objections to paying employees, so they are going to stop. Rite Aid has religious objections to laws requiring a prescription in order to dispense medication, so now everyone can go there and get the “good stuff” any time. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that Hobby Lobby can’t be forced to provide insurance coverage for abortifacients contraceptives, they can all get away with this stuff, right? If not, maybe they could at least become Jehovah’s Witnesses and stop covering blood transfusions or something like that.

That’s what you might be led to believe if you listen to all the nonsense that is out there in the media about this, including the dissent from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg wrote that the ruling was of “startling breadth” and would allow corporations to opt out of almost any law to which they raised a religious objection. Well, now, according to her, corporations that don’t want to follow the law now need only make up a religion and decide that following the law will be against their beliefs. Surely they will get away with it even if there is zero evidence of any such beliefs (or any beliefs at all) predating this ruling.

Well, actually, the more “startling breadth” is really in Ginsburg’s dissent. Indeed, I’ve read similar stuff from some columnist who spouted out that he was “in favor of religious freedom” as long as they “obey the law.”  If so, this logic could be applied against any challenge to any law based on religious freedom. They seem to forget that we have a Constitution that dictates that certain laws can’t be made in this country. This is the issue that was at stake. Does the Department of Health and Human Services have the right to issue this mandate? If a law can’t be challenged because it’s an unnecessary infringement on one’s Constitutional rights, then the Constitution isn’t worth squat. Further, if protecting a company’s rights has broad implications, then so does not doing so. Are we going to give the government the power to require companies to pay for cosmetic surgery, tanning sessions, or Botox to remove wrinkles?

A compelling interest must exist in order to limit religious Freedom, and it has to be done in the least restrictive manner necessary. Sadly, the issue of a compelling interest was basically sidestepped even in the majority ruling. You could find compelling reasons to require coverage of vaccinations, blood transfusions, and psychiatry, but contraception is not essential health care despite what the left wants it to be. It is a lifestyle choice. The “need” for it can be eliminated by simple self control.

It also defies logic to say that for-profit businesses do not have rights. Businesses in this country tend to be owned by human beings. If a business doesn’t exist to serve customers and make a living for its owners, all of whom happen to be people, then why does it exist? No business is an impersonal entity, even though some corporations may seem that way. Owners have rights, too.

Are we to say that, the moment you are out in society to make a living, you have to leave your very mission and purpose in life behind? Can someone not start a business to further his/her mission and make a living doing it? This would basically reduces one’s faith to a random, arbitrary thought or personality quirk that has no place in the “real” world. It would be fine to have those beliefs, as long as you don’t actually take them seriously when running a business. I’m always amazed at how people who accuse others of blindly following a religion will blindly assume that religious beliefs are all arbitrary and cannot be substantiated.

The way some of those protest signs read (eg “Keep my boss out of my bedroom.”), you’d be forgiven for thinking that his case was about whether your boss could search your house for condoms and packs of Ortho Tri-Cyclen. It isn’t. It’s about whether your boss can be forced to pay for your contraception (or at least the premiums to cover it). Your boss shouldn’t be able to control what you do outside of work that closely. However, not being required to pay for something does not give that person control over someone’s life. No one is trampling any rights here, as though there were a right to contraception. The mandate to cover contraception was going to do little more than ensure that only people without morals (or at least without any that they take seriously) can run a business. We have seen enough problems in our nation without barring people of real faith from leadership in the business world.

Category: Catholic, Response


Lunch Break: Lesser Known Sins, Part 3: What is Stealing?

  /   Tuesday, July 01, 2014   /   Comments(0)

I have added another Lunch Break episode.

Download it here.

It’s pretty well-known that stealing is a sin, and most people know that taking a candy bar out of a grocery store or a DVD out of an electronics store is stealing.  However, there are other forms of stealing that we might not think about.  Also, did you know that a sin of stealing requires a duty of restitution in order to be forgiven?  As one examination of conscience put it, every stolen penny must be paid back before we can enter Heaven.

Category: Podcasts


           



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