On Divine Mercy Sunday, Shakespeare and a Song


A truth about us as human beings is that we desire justice and not mercy. Yet we have been taught that God desires mercy. He said so himself. And today, Divine Mercy Sunday, we are reminded that Our Lord’s mercy is larger than not only all of our sins, but of all of the sins of the entire world. Past, present, and future. [Read more...]

The Bishops Give Us A History Lesson On Religious Liberty And A Call For Prayer

You would have to have been living under a rock not to know that religious liberty has come under fire here in the United States. Those who believe that the Catholic Church is wrong to get involved in the politics surrounding the HHS Mandate, for instance, have unwittingly bought into the argument that there is a “wall of separation” between Church and State, and that one should be completely separate from the other. [Read more...]

POTUS is Playing Checkers, While the Courts Are Playing Chess

Oops. That’s awkward. And while the board looks the same, chess is a whole ‘nother game than checkers.

You see, after yesterdays presidential tirade regarding the Supreme Court, today a lower court handed the Litigator-in-Chief, via the Justice Department, a homework assignment regarding Judicial Review, and a query as to whether the Executive Branch understands the concept. A three page essay is due on Thursday. Mark Shea has a little fun with this turn of events[Read more...]

G.K. Chesterton on “The Penance of Boredom”

Last year on this day, I shared an off-the-wall poem about Palm Sunday penned by G.K. Chesterton. This time around, I’d like to share the prologue to his collection of four novellas that were published and entitled as, “The Four Faultless Felons.” Tying it all together is a prologue and epilogue on a model of virtue know as Count Raoul de Marillac.

As always, GKC has a way of turning matters on their head, and looking at them upside down in a way that is uniquely Catholic. The Prologue of the Pressman does just that. Reading it, I can’t help but think he was on to something here, with asceticism turned on its head as “the penance of boredom.” Don’t judge a book by its cover… [Read more...]

For Your Lenten Friday Night at the Movies V

This is the year of seeing films I have never seen before. Last week, we saw Richard Burton and Jean Simmons in The Robe. And in the weeks previously, we’ve watched St. Ralph, and The Mighty Macs too. So aside from The Musketeers double feature, every film this year has been a first time view for me.

Tonight is no exception. [Read more...]

How to Approach Christ in the Eucharist (A Few Words for Wednesday)

The Eucharist has been on my mind lately. This evening at our parish, my wife and I finished a six week long reading and discussion of Brant Pitre’s, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist. What a delight and a treasure trove of knowledge that book is. I’ll share more on what I learned soon, as the thoughts that Dr. Pitre shared from the history of the Exodus to the Last Supper needs to be known by all Christians.

But it’s Wednesday, and late, and I’ve been too busy to post lately. As such, I’ll share a quick post on how to approach Christ in the Eucharist, courtesy of my friend Thomas à Kempis. He’s one of the fellows that helped bring me into the Church. Prior to my call to conversion, I had never even heard of the word until I met my wife. When I learned of its meaning, and who it is (or who Catholics thought it was) I was incredulous. Eighteen years later I woke up, thanks to Blaise Pascal and à Kempis. [Read more...]

Because God Is A Crazy Farmer, Thankfully! UPDATED

I’ve been working in the yard around Casa del Weathers. One thing I’ve been doing a lot of lately is weeding. Not that I have some sort of pristine yard that I need to keep up so I can one up the Joneses, or anything. But I like my flower beds to contain flowers, and not weeds. As for my yard, which out back (especially) is pretty much a random assortment of weeds and grasses that are shade tolerant, I pretty much follow the dictum to live and let live.

Except for the dandelions. [Read more...]

A Letter to Saint Joseph

Dear St. Joseph:

It’s your feast day in the Church today, and even if you don’t want to be bothered, because you’re a real worker bee, lots of folks are going to extol your virtues ad nauseum today. None of us are sure what those are though, so you’ve kind of become the “fill in the blank” saint for all that is true, good, and solid, if not quite beautiful. [Read more...]

From Slave to Bishop, Everything You Wanted to Know About St. Patrick, And More

I love reading about the lives of the saints. Especially from the old books like those found on the YIMCatholic Bookshelf. That is where I found the following narrative. It’s funny, because the author says “not much is known about…” and then launches into a 3,500+ word essay on St. Patrick and St. Brigid.

What I share below is just the part about St. Patrick, his story, and how he has been depicted in the art of the Church. [Read more...]

For “Ghetto Catholicism?” Not Hardly.

The thoughts I share with you now were originally published in 1961, and in English in 1963. Yet today, to this humble reader at least, they seem prophetic. Taken from the first chapter of the first volume of the title you see below, Fr. Karl Rahner, SJ, explains why in the Post Christian world of today, opting for the ghettoization of the Church is a non-starter.

Instead, he argues we should embrace the fact that we are a disapora people, because frankly, we have always been called to be so. For as the cross was Our Lord’s “sign of contradiction,” so too is the Church called to be the same, as it was in the beginning, briefly ceased to be in the Middle Ages, and is now again resuming this holy, and necessary, calling. “Take up your cross, and follow me.”

As I’ve mentioned before, we are called to be salt, light, and yeast. We are not called to be the new pharisees of the Catholic Ghetto. Fr. Karl helps me to see why below. My comments are in bold italics.

from Mission and Grace: A Theological Interpretation of the Position of Christians in the Modern World

My thesis is thus: Insofar as our outlook is really based on today, and looking towards tomorrow, the present situation of Christians can be characterized as that of a diaspora, and this signifies in terms of the history of salvation, a “must”, from which we may draw conclusions about our behavior as Christians…

How about a quickie refresher on the definition of diaspora? Go with 2) a & b here.

What, after all, does a person do if he sees the diaspora situation coming and thinks of it as something which simply and absolutely must not be? He makes himself a closed circle, an artificial situation inside which looks as if the inward and outward diaspora isn’t one; he makes a ghetto. This, I think, is the theological starting point for an approach to the ghetto idea.

The old Jewish ghetto was the natural expression of an idea, such that Orthodox Judaism was ultimately bound to produce it within itself; the idea, namely, of being the one and only Chosen People, wholly autonomous, as of right, in every respect, including secular matters, and of all other nations as not only not belonging in practice to this earthly, social community of the elect and saved, but as not in any sense called to it, not an object towards which there is a missionary duty.

But we are called to be missionary people. To be ambassadors for Christ, as a well known, inspired writer exhorts us to be. Fr. Karl makes it clear here,

But a Christian cannot regard his Church as autonomous in secular, cultural, and social matters; his Church is not a theocracy in worldly affairs; nor can he look upon non-Christians as not called; nor can he with inopportune and inordinate means aim to get rid of the “must” with which the history of salvation presents him, namely, that there are now non-Christians in amongst the Christians or real Christians in amongst the non-Christians. His life has to be open to the non-Christians.

Hmmm. There’s that word “theocracy” again. Not a good idea. Fr. Karl explains why,

If he encapsulates himself in a ghetto, whether in order to defend himself, or to leave the world to judgement of wrath as the fate which it deserves, or with the feeling that it has nothing of any value or importance to offer him anyway, he is falling back into the Old Testament. But this is our temptation, this ghetto idea. For a certain type of deeply convinced, rather tense, militant Catholic at a fairly low (petty-bourgeois) cultural level, the idea of entrenching oneself in a ghetto is rather alluring; it is even religiously alluring: it looks like seeking only the Kingdom of God.

Nice trick, that. Jon Stewart, of the very secular Comedy Channel news spoof “the Daily Show,” recently shared some words (language alert!) about how strident tactics wind up backfiring. Roll clip.

Now back to Fr. Karl, with my editing and emphasis.

Here we are, all together, and we can behave as though there were nothing in the world but Christians. The ghetto policy consists in thinking of the Church not only as the autonomous community of salvation (which she is) but as an autonomous society in every field. So a Christian has to consider [a Catholic poet being] greater than Goethe, and have no opinion of any magazine except [Catholic magazines]; any statesman who makes his Easter duties is a great statesman, any other is automatically a bit suspect; Christian-Democratic parties are always right, Socialists always wrong, and what a pity there isn’t a Catholic party.

The insistence, for the sake of the ghetto, on integrating everything into an ecclesiastical framework naturally means that the clergy have to be in control of everything. This results in anti-clerical feeling, which is not always an effect of malice and hatred for God. The interior structure of the ghetto conforms, inevitably, to the style of that period which it is, in make-believe, preserving; its human types are those sociological, intellectual, and cultural types which belong to the period and feel comfortable in the ghetto; in our case, the petty-bourgeois, in contrast to the worker of today, or the man of tomorrows atomic age.

It is no wonder, then, if people outside identify Christianity with the ghetto, and have no desire to get inside it; it is the sheer grace of God if anyone ever manages to recognize the Church as the house of God, all cluttered up as she is with pseudo-Gothic décor, and other kinds of reactionary petty-bourgeois stuff.

You can say that again! How, then, do we get beyond this “ghetto” mindset while not falling into the error of relativism?

We may be preserved from this danger, which has become a reality only too often during the last few centuries, by a clear-sighted and courageous recognition of the fact that the diaspora situation of [the Church] is a “must” in the history of salvation, with which it is right to come to terms in many aspects of our practical conduct.

You know, Christ never promised us a rose garden. Those “two greatest commandments” need to be not just pondered, but applied. All the while keeping these thoughts in mind,

Mankind is at its best when it is most free. This will be clear if we grasp the principle of liberty. We must recall that the basic principle is freedom of choice, which saying many have on their lips but few in their minds. —Dante Alighieri

The Catholic Church must be a clear beacon of hope, and a contrarian “choice” for the world today. I believe she is, otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered to become Catholic.


Update: Music for Mondays selections inspired by this post.

Update II: I couldn’t have said this better myself.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X