I learned a new word today too.
Sculpture in Denmark
Sculpture in Czechoslovakia
I want to speak first about the people we’ve become as American Catholics. Then I’ll turn to how and why we got where we are. Finally I’ll suggest what we need to do about it, not merely as individuals, but more importantly as a Church. We need to recover our identity as a believing community. And I think a good way to begin doing that is with the “catechetical content” of our current political moment.
My focus today isn’t politics. And I won’t waste our time weighing one presidential candidate against the other. I’ve already said elsewhere that each is a national embarrassment, though for different reasons. But politics involves the application of power, and power always has a moral dimension. So we can’t avoid dealing with this election at least briefly.
The 2016 election is one of those rare moments when the repellent nature of both presidential candidates allows the rest of us to see our nation’s pastoral terrain as it really is. And the view is unpleasant. America’s cultural and political elites talk a lot about equality, opportunity and justice. But they behave like a privileged class with an authority based on their connections and skills. And supported by sympathetic media, they’re remaking the country into something very different from anything most of us remember or the Founders imagined.
The WikiLeaks email release last week from the Clinton entourage says a lot about how the merit-class elite views people like those in this room. It’s not friendly.
But what does any of this have to do with our theme? Actually quite a lot. G.K. Chesterton once quipped that America is a nation that thinks it’s a Church. And he was right. In fact, he was more accurate than he could have guessed. Catholics came to this country to build a new life. They did exceptionally well here. They’ve done so well that by now many of us Catholics are largely assimilated to, and digested by, a culture that bleaches out strong religious convictions in the name of liberal tolerance and dulls our longings for the supernatural with a river of practical atheism in the form of consumer goods.
To put it another way, quite a few of us American Catholics have worked our way into a leadership class that the rest of the country both envies and resents. And the price of our entry has been the transfer of our real loyalties and convictions from the old Church of our baptism to the new “Church” of our ambitions and appetites. People like Nancy Pelosi, Anthony Kennedy, Joe Biden and Tim Kaine are not anomalies. They’re part of a very large crowd that cuts across all professions and both major political parties. - Chaput at Notre Dame
During his years as bishop of Rome, Benedict XVI had the talent of being very frank about naming sin and calling people back to fidelity. Yet at the same time he modeled that fidelity with a kind of personal warmth that revealed its beauty and disarmed the people who heard him. He spoke several times about the “silent apostasy” of so many Catholic laypeople today and even many priests; and his words have stayed with me over the years because he said them in a spirit of compassion and love, not rebuke.
Catholics today—and I’m one of them—feel a lot of unease about declining numbers and sacramental statistics. Obviously we need to do everything we can to bring tepid Catholics back to active life in the Church. But we should never be afraid of a smaller, lighter Church if her members are also more faithful, more zealous, more missionary and more committed to holiness. Making sure that happens is the job of those of us who are bishops.
Losing people who are members of the Church in name only is an imaginary loss. It may in fact be more honest for those who leave and healthier for those who stay. We should be focused on commitment, not numbers or institutional throw-weight. We have nothing to be afraid of as long as we act with faith and courage.
We need to speak plainly and honestly. Modern bureaucratic life, even in the Church, is the enemy of candor and truth. We live in an age that thrives on the subversion of language. - Read the entire address here.
If by “inclusive” we mean patiently and sensitively inviting all people to a relationship with Jesus Christ, then yes, we do very much need to be inclusive. But if “inclusive” means including people who do not believe what the Catholic faith teaches and will not reform their lives according to what the Church holds to be true, then inclusion is a form of lying. And it’s not just lying but an act of betrayal and violence against the rights of those who do believe and do seek to live according to God’s Word. Inclusion requires conversion and a change of life; or at least the sincere desire to change.
Saying this isn’t a form of legalism or a lack of charity. It’s simple honesty. And there can be no real charity without honesty. We need to be very careful not to hypnotize ourselves with our words and dreams. The “new evangelization” is fundamentally not so different from the “old evangelization.” It begins with personal witness and action, and with sincere friendships among committed Catholics—not with bureaucratic programs or elegant sounding plans. These latter things can be important. But they’re never the heart of the matter. - Finish reading here.
"I will limit myself to recommending one virtue so dear to the Lord: He said, 'Learn from me who am meek and humble of heart." I risk saying an error, but I am saying it: the Lord loves humility so much that, sometimes, he permits grave sins. Why? So that those who have committed these sins, afterwards, having repented, may remain humble. One is not tempted to believe oneself half–saint or half–angel, when one knows that one has committed grave faults. The Lord so much recommended: be humble." - Pope John Paul the First
"In aridity and emptiness the soul becomes humble. Former pride disappears when a man no longer finds in himself anything that might cause him to look down on others." - Science of the Cross
“There is one lesson from the past, in particular, that we cannot afford to ignore: You cannot make progress on gender equality or broader human development, without safeguarding women’s reproductive health and rights,” Clinton said near the end of a speech marking International Women's Day. “That is a bedrock truth.” - Hilary Clinton, CNN
“Far too many women are denied access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth, and laws don’t count for much if they’re not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice — not just on paper,” Clinton said.
“Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will,” she explained. “And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed. As I have said and as I believe, the advancement of the full participation of women and girls in every aspect of their societies is the great unfinished business of the 21st century and not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.” - Hilary Clinton, The DC
"I signed up on Facebook again to say hi to an old co-worker - I regret it now ... While on Facebook I looked at our friends and some of my relatives - it was interesting - I always think of everyone as being the same as when I last saw them, which in many cases, is decades ago. It was helpful to see everyone has their own lives and I was able to see I'm just not part of it. LOL! Why did I even think I would be? It was freeing in a way. Kind of sad too - but it helps with the guilt - I can let it go. I can let go of the guilt. That's big."
Now that it is becoming obvious Hillary will win, it is time to turn our thoughts toward opposing the still very serious danger she poses. - Mark Shea
“The evil spirit always sows wars. Jealousy, envy, conflicts, gossip…. are things that destroy peace and therefore there cannot be unity. And how should a Christian behave to promote unity, to find this unity? Paul tells us clearly: ‘live in a manner worthy of your call, with all humility, gentleness and magnanimity.’ These three attitudes: humility - we cannot sow peace without humility. Where there is arrogance, there is always war and the desire to defeat the other and believing one is superior. Without humility there is no peace and without peace there is no unity.” - Pope Francis
Allow (Father) to say here that the sacristan at S. Zaccaria sets a new standard for being a total jerk. Italian sacristans can be extremely …. unhelpful. Not are they often among the most liturgically (etc.) ignorant of all carbon-based life forms, but they are also the most likely to share their witless and ill-informed opinions. In any event, the guy at S. Zaccaria is a first class ass. This is not the first time I’ve tried to deal with him. Also, some of the group I am with went by the church as the evening Mass was concluding, the minute the priest finished he started turning out lights and shooing with no regard to the people who were still praying etc. A couple even had to use the lights on their phones to get out without falling. In any event, the sacristan is world-class oaf. - Postcards from the edge.
The guards made José walk ten blocks, barefoot and bleeding, along a rocky path to the cemetery were he would be buried. Along the way, the soldiers screamed blasphemies with satanic hatred, praising the godless government, trying to pressure the boy to deny his faith: “You better learn your lesson!” “We will kill you!” “What a proud and arrogant boy!” they said.
José’s only response was: “Viva Cristo Rey!” and “Viva La Virgen de Guadalupe!”
Already at the cemetery, José asked: “Where is my plot?” as he did not want any of the troops to touch him. One of the soldiers suddenly swung his rifle around, breaking José’s jaw with the butt. Without hesitation, the soldiers furiously stabbed him in the neck, chest and the back with knives. At every stab, José proclaimed the name of Christ the King at the top of his lungs, “Viva Cristo Rey!”
José was dying slowly. But he still mustered enough energy to defy the soldiers, saying: “You have done a lot to me, but God still allows me [to continue]! But when I can no longer speak, if I wiggle my feet, that means, ‘Viva Cristo Rey and the Virgin of Guadalupe!’”
A federal officer approached the dying and bleeding boy on the ground and asked in a sarcastic tone: “What should we tell your father?” José answered: “That we will see each other in Heaven! Viva Cristo Rey! and the Virgin of Guadalupe.”
Overtaken by anger, the officer grabbed his gun and shot José behind the ear. José Sánchez del Río won the crown of martyrdom. - Read more here.
“José Sánchez del Río was born on 28 March 1913 in Sahuayo, in the State of Michoacán, Mexico. At the outbreak of the so-called “Cristero War” in 1926, his brothers joined the rebel forces fighting the violent anti-Christian regime which had been established in the country. José too was enlisted. Catholicism flourished in Sahuayo and for this reason the “Cristeros” were deeply rooted in the area. Priests secretly remained in Sahuayo throughout the persecution and never abandoned the faithful, clandestinely celebrating the Eucharist and administrating the sacraments, at which young José assiduously participated.
“In those years, the first Christian martyrs were often spoken of and many young people wanted to follow in their footsteps. During a violent battle on 25 January 1928, José was captured and brought to his city of birth, where he was imprisoned in the parish church which had already been desecrated and laid waste by federalists. It was suggested that he flee in order to avoid being sentenced to death, but he refused. - Finish reading here.
The Church celebrates St. Elizabeth of the Trinity — canonized Oct. 16 — on her feast day of Nov. 8. Her spiritual mission is to help us pass through the difficulties of our time with a certain greatness of soul, a fitting reminder for Election Day 2016.
On Nov. 9, 1906, at the age of 26, she succumbed to the final stages of Addison’s disease, an adrenal disorder which, at the time, was incurable. Her death came amid great social uncertainty for the Church and her Carmelite community in Dijon, France. Earlier that spring, the French government turned against the Church, by advancing a more aggressive secularism. The local Church was already racked with scandal, the local bishop having been removed from office by the Holy See. The state was taking legal action to confiscate Church property and put the Carmelites in exile. Anxiety over social concerns affected daily life for many — except for, perhaps, St. Elizabeth, her Carmel and those to whom she wrote.
In the midst of their own questions and concerns, Elizabeth helped her friends discover the mysterious and transforming ways God discloses himself even surrounded by distress. As she explained, “Everything is a sacrament that gives us God.” - Read more here.The Praise of Glory - Laudem Gloriae
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,The next day we read:
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before him.
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ,
in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. - Ephesians 1 - 1st Reading Thursday
"O my God, You are in me and I am in You. I have found my heaven on earth, since heaven is You, O Lord, and You are in my soul. I can find You there always; even when I do not feel Your presence, You are there nevertheless, and I like to seek You there. Oh! if only I could never leave You alone!" (cf. Sr Elizabeth of the Trinity, Letters) - Divine Intimacy