Saturday, April 11, 2015

Truth in Charity vs. Zero Tolerance

I am very glad that Patricia Jannuzzi, the New Jersey Catholic school teacher who appeared for a few weeks there to have been thrown under the bus by her bishop for comments made about same-sex “marriage” on her Facebook page, was reinstated to her position. Finally, a victory for the right side!

The Catholic blogosphere, who appropriately flew to her defense with posts and petitions, is cheering!

But I have to wonder about the understanding that was reached.

Initially Bishop Bootkoski said her comments “were disturbing and do not reflect the Church’s teachings of acceptance.” Now the letter just sent to parents states, “It is the School’s position that a Catholic school teacher must always communicate the faith in a way that is positive and never hurtful. Tone and choice of words matter and I trust Mrs. Jannuzzi’s stated promise to strive always to teach in a spirit of truth and charity.”

Well, I suppose that her original post could have been a tad more charitable.

One can immediately see that she should have left out the expletive “bologna”. But I’m not sure what other words she should have chosen or how she could have softened her tone, yet still make the same point.

First Things pointed out that she was in some pretty good company. In 2010, then-Cardinal Bergoglio had this to say about same-sex “marriage” legislation in Argentina, “Let us not be naive: this is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is not just a bill (a mere instrument) but a ‘move’ of the father of lies who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God,”

Look, we all need to strive to deliver the truth in charity.

At the same time, we need to understand that the militant homosexual activists in this country do have some critical mass of popular support. So much so that they no longer has any use for tolerance. No matter what words we choose, no matter the tone, if the content of our speech dares to call a spade a spade in matters concerning marriage, the sixth commandment, natural law or aberrations thereof, they would have us punished for our words. Our truth-telling words. They would have us silenced. It's very plausible to think that in the future, these truth-containing words will be classified as hate-speech. Let's not hasten that date by silencing ourselves.

I wonder, was silence part of the understanding with Mrs. Jannuzzi?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

At least it's not a homosexual "pride" event this time

As a Catholic, I find it embarrassing whenever I find on the Archdiocesan website a listing for an event which is decidedly contrary to the faith. At least this time, it's not some function at a "gay-friendly" parish; but it is pagan!

Catholics: take heed! This article by Sue Brinkman on Johnetta Benkovic's Women of Grace® (of EWTN fame) blog explains why Tai Chi and Catholicism don't mix.
The belief that a life force energy pervades all of nature is known as pantheism and is not compatible with Christianity. The Pontifical Councils for Culture and Interreligious Dialogue called this impersonal energy force a “New Age god” in their document, Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life.

“This is very different from the Christian understanding of God as the maker of heaven and earth and the source of all personal life,” they write. “God is in himself personal, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who created the universe in order to share the communion of His life with creaturely persons.”

[A]dditionally, many non-Christian beliefs are intrinsic to tai chi.

An article published by Catholics United for the Faith entitled “Hold Fast What is Good: On Borrowing Forms of Meditation from Eastern Religions “ points out that “even though Tai Chi is often used as a means of exercise and relaxation, as well as a martial art, it has its origins in the Chinese religion of Taoism.

“Although there is nothing objectively wrong with the physical movements of Tai Chi, there are many philosophical elements contrary to Christianity. The idea that the physical world comes from dualistic principles, which in turn come from an ultimate force, cannot be reconciled with the idea that the universe was created by an all-good, personal God. Furthermore, the attempt to channel and direct spiritual forces and the use of talismans violate the First Commandment (cf. Catechism, no. 2117).”
Bottom line, if an individual Catholic decides that he or she can manage to do the exercises while steering clear of the philosophical and religious aspects of Tai Chi, it is his or her perogative. Nonetheless, such an activity should never be promoted on the Archdiocesan website or even permitted by the archbishop in a Catholic institution within his see, especially when it is known that the instructor is going to go beyond the exercises and promote use of (i.e., belief in) a pantheistic "life force energy".


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

There's something very wrong around here

...when a photo of Holy Mass on St. Patrick's Day is posted on the seminary's Facebook page showing the main celebrant wearing a green chasuble. It was taken down quickly enough after a number of negative comments. But that it was shown off at all! Is this the environment in which our future priests are being formed?

Only a week ago, a local Catholic high school for boys, Calvert Hall, published its periodical, The Cardinal, with a first: a "wedding announcement" of two of its alumni who had "married" after homosexual "marriage" was permitted by Maryland state law. It was reported at Rorate.

These little "slips" on the part of Catholic institutions seem to be happening around here more and more often.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

“It would take too long” is not a valid response

I’ve been reflecting on this lately: It seems to me that the most-evangelizing thing a Catholic parish can do is to show respect for our Lord in the Eucharist. The first way to do this is by drastically cutting down on and, a short while later, cutting out the use of extraordinary ministers to distribute Communion at Holy Mass. Granted, this wouldn’t work at a heterodox parish, where this false sort of active participation is treated as though it’s anyone’s “right”. But at a parish with holy priests and a substantial portion of parishioners who already understand and believe that the Eucharist is really and truly the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord, it would surely have many beneficial effects.

A parish where it’s known that what the priests confects on the altar and what is present in the Tabernacle is our Lord Himself is sure to attract others to His Magnificent Presence. This is much more readily apparent when no lay men or women enter the sanctuary to receive a ciborium.

Practically speaking, it costs nothing and can be implemented virtually overnight. (Okay, with 2-4 weeks of announcements, explanations and catechesis in the bulletin so there are no surprises.) Sure, it would take longer to distribute Holy Communion, but that time is time that is needed anyway either to prepare oneself before receiving or for prayerful thanksgiving afterwards. Silence is too often missing from the Mass and these extra minutes would be most welcome.

If there happens to be another priest in the rectory, there’s every reason that he should interrupt what he’s doing to step in and assist. Wouldn’t that show what reverence this parish has for the Eucharist.

For nearly two thousand years, only hands that were consecrated could touch the Body of Christ. Allowing lay men and women to touch the Holy of Holies with their unconsecrated hands started in an act of defiance against the Church as did allowing reception on the hand. The result has been abominable with a great majority since having lost their belief in the Real Presence, even among those who still attend Mass weekly!

Although “extraordinary” in “Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion” means “outside of (i.e., not) ordained”, it’s also true that they are only allowed to be used in extraordinary circumstances. Yet at any parish, they are scheduled every single weekend. This is an abuse.

Some who became extraordinary ministers years ago have lately learned how these abuses came about and would love to be relieved of this grave responsibility which they now know they are altogether unsuited for, on account of their not being ordained. They may even want to agree among themselves and then approach the pastor to suggest that their services really are no longer needed.

Whether he knows it or not, Father himself only stands to gain a good measure of respectability. I won’t go into all the details explained so well in Fr. James McLucas's 1998 article, but just note that he will again be the feeder of his flock and reclaim the unique privilege of his office.

Everyone's a winner in this.