Category Archives: Ut Unum Sint

They’ll know We Are Christians by Our  Blocks?  “Unity” and the Francis Effect

Somewhere in 2013/14, my Landlord asked me, casually, my opinion of Pope Francis. I wasn’t in a mood to elaborate, so I shrugged. My answer would be the same today.

1) I am troubled by the things lots of others are troubled by, and there are plenty of red flags but also plenty to be happy about. Pope Francis is, ultimately, a typical “good” priest of his generation, especially a Jesuit, someone I’d probably admire as a pastor or bishop, but as Pope?

2) the current papacy challenges certain notions we have of what a Pope should be like, and I think that’s a good thing.  For one,we really shouldn’t assess Popes as if they’re politicians even if they are.

3) It’s been two years. He is only the third Pope to have 24/7 scrutiny in the new media or even cable news. It’s interesting that sedevacantism only really became a “thing” with the rise of television. Suddenly, day to day papal activities that were previously ignored are international headlines. A casual Papal remark, like a movie star’s wisecrack on a press junket, gets dissected in the media.  Would “Pio Nono” have worn a clown nose to amuse suck kids or accepted a photo op with an environmentalist group?  I think probably, but we can’t know because photography as we know it didn’t exist then.  Might Leo XIII have made a throwaway comment about not judging people who are sincerely trying to follow God but struggling with sin?  Would St. Pius Zx have changed Eucharistic discipline?  Oh, wait, he did.

Regardless, 2 years is a short time.  Look at John Paul II in 1980 versus 1990 versus 20000.  People expected  Paul VI to permit contraception for like 5 years then were devastated by Humanae Vitae.  Though comments from numerous cardinals are giving the appearance otherwise, I still expect a repeat of that.

4). What if he doesn’t?  Either we go in with this muddled confusion till the next Conclave elects Cardinal Burke, or else he does something unquestionably wrong and shows all the antiPope prophecies are true, which means something really good would be coming after a short time if trial.  

Nevertheless, what I find troubling most of all about the “Francis Effect” is that it’s affecting people.   From top-down, regardless of where the proverbial buck stops, people are being told to stop talking about certain issues, that the pope has changed this or that, . . . It’s the 80s all over again.  In the midst of all that, I see people who should be 99.999999% in agreement and uniting with common cause instead unfriending and blocking each other over things the Pope has said.  Ultramontanist, the equivalent of “Papist,” is being used as a pejorative by people who once wore it as a badge of honor, who in turn are being accused of heres, not trusting the Holy Spirit, etc.

It’s very sad.  “If they’ll know we are Christians by our love,” what does that tell us?  Are love and peace and mercy flowing like a river through you and me?

Advertisements

On Riots, Racism, and Standardized Testing: All you need is Love, and that means Christ

Our nation is in turmoil.  Everything distopian novelists and “crazy conspiracy theorists” have written about seems to be coming true.  Early in the Obama administration, for example, people said he’d create a national crisis to declare Martial Law and establish a dictatorship.  Well, the tensions are arising, and Obama  established aprogram under everyone’s noses to begin nationalizing local police forces.  Major cities keep erupting in race riots.  The Supreme Court is likely to overturn every state law on marriage and establish yet another fictious constitutional “Right.” Some people are being driven out of business for expressing thir Christian beliefs while other businesses are denying Christians their services.   Hillary Clinton says if (and when) she’s “elected” President, she wants to force all religions to accept abortion.

All of it just shows society’ need for Christ.   

Attempts to “fix” broken schools with more money and more legislative interference for 50-60 years have only made things worse.  All we have is a “race to nowhere” with high stakes standardized tests that demonstrate nothing about real learning, line the pockets of educational conglomerates, and cause students to burn out, or worse, from the stress.  When I was in elementary school, the teachers would say, discussing the differences between the US and Communist countries, taht Communists made students take tests that determined their entire lives.  When I was a young adult, a teacher friend went through a few years where a faculty member had a heart attack or stroke during standardized testing, because it was so stressful.  

We can’t fix something unless we know why it’s broken, and what’s broken is a lack of transcendent values.   
If the reason people riot is lack of advantage, or discrimination by police, what is served by looting or burning small businesses and charities?  One of the reasons the July 1832 revolt that Hugo immortalized failed was that most of “the people” were mad at the students for stealing their stuff.  But, at least they knew whom they were revolting against (a just, Catholic king who was popular for giving he people more rights than the “Republic” or Napoleon) and why (they believed that secular government could and should end poverty). I saw a meme pointing out how people riot over sports games, and implying that race riots at least have a point.  The way I see it, it’s equally meaningless: unbridled anger, expressed in random violence.  If revolution is ever effective or just–and the Church has always been wary of revolution, even in the case of the Cristeros–it needs to be focused on the right enemy.  

I often refer to Catechism 676, the passage that tells us to beware of any movement that claims to try and solve all the world’s problems through  secular means because that is the “spirit of Antichrist.”  This was the reason the Church condemned Freemasonry.  It’s what Pope Benedict XVI expounded on in _Caritas in Veritate_, saying taht charity must be from love and truth, both of which are personfied in Christ, and that since the Church is the arbiter of Christ’s teachings and the Natural Law, economic justice cannot be divorced from the Church.

Prayer, fasting and forgiveness are the only solutions to these crises.  The more we abandon Christ as a society, the worse thigns will get.  If as 1 Samuel warns us, we choose a “King” over God, the warnings Samuel gave to the Israelites will continue to be proven. 

“Where are we, Daddy?” “We’re in a metaphor.”

Twice a week, alternating groups of 2 of my 4 kids go to Occupational Therapy. The office is on a fairly major and busy highway, and it’s a quick turn. I briefly confused my landmarks this morning, and I missed it, so I took a right into the next neighborhood. I thought I could take another couple rights and come out behind the office, but it didn’t work out that way, and somehow I ended up further down the highway than I was before, so I took a left at the next light and turned around in a little trailer park, which itself apparently had a one way road, and I was going the wrong way.

When I was turning back onto the main road, one of my daughters asked, “Where are we, Daddy?”

“We’re in a metaphor,” I replied.

The thought had just occurred to me how that exemplifies the metaphorical “wrong turns” we make in life. C. S. Lewis says that being “progressive” implies a goal, and if we find we’re not progressing towards the goal, sometimes being progressive means turning around and going back, even quite far back, to get there.

We know the way to go, whether in our spiritual, professional or family lives, and we know where we’re heading, yet we sometimes lose sight of the goal and get off track. Then, rather than simply stopping and turning around, we feel trapped where we are, or we think we can find an alternate path to the goal, but there is none, so either way we get ourselves further lost and further off course, when we just need to turn around and go back to where we got off track.

We often hear things like, “We’re all in different boats going to the same place,” but that’s not true. There is ultimately only one true path in life, and it is a narrow way–He is a narrow way. “I am the gate,” He tells us. Anyone who tries to hop the fence or bypass the gatekeeper is a thief, He tells us. “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by Me.”

One at a time

Yes, faith is ultimately an individual gift and an individual choice, but as St. Francis Xavier laments, there are so many who aren’t even given the chance to make the choice. As Ven. Fulton Sheen tells us, there are millions who reject the Church not because of what She is but what they think She is. Worldwide, 1 in 7 people claims to be Catholic. What if every person who claims to be Catholic reached out to *one* non-Catholic a year? What if every weekly mass attending, daily praying Catholic reached out to just one “lapsed Catholic” a year?
Invite someone to mass with you. Invite them to pray the Rosary or the Office with you. Give them books–not just apologetics but spirituality, lives of the saints, etc.
What if, as parishes (and this takes both volunteers and pastoral support) did the sorts of “parish life” activities that Protestants, Mormons and Muslims attract members by having, but Catholics usually dismiss as “proselytism”?

“Go and preach the good news to the world.”

Pray for Peace and Reparation!

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. And by the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins , save us from the fire of hell. Take all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.
O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offences committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Pray the Rosary for Peace! Please!

IMG_1666

Pray for peace; forgive each other, please!

I give you a new commandment:* love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
-John 13:34

“Forgive as you would be forgiven” (Luke 6:37)

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But, if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Mat 6:14)

[21] Then came Peter unto him and said: Lord, how often shall my brother offend against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? [22] Jesus saith to him: I say not to thee, till seven times; but till seventy times seven times. [23] Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened to a king, who would take an account of his servants. [24] And when he had begun to take the account, one was brought to him, that owed him ten thousand talents. [25] And as he had not wherewith to pay it, his lord commanded that he should be sold, and his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made.

[26] But that servant falling down, besought him, saying: Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. [27] And the lord of that servant being moved with pity, let him go and forgave him the debt. [28] But when that servant was gone out, he found one of his fellow servants that owed him an hundred pence: and laying hold of him, throttled him, saying: Pay what thou owest. [29] And his fellow servant falling down, besought him, saying: Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. [30] And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he paid the debt.

[31] Now his fellow servants seeing what was done, were very much grieved, and they came and told their lord all that was done. [32] Then his lord called him; and said to him: Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all the debt, because thou besoughtest me: [33] Shouldst not thou then have had compassion also on thy fellow servant, even as I had compassion on thee? [34] And his lord being angry, delivered him to the torturers until he paid all the debt. [35] So also shall my heavenly Father do to you, if you forgive not every one his brother from your hearts.

(Matthew 18:21-35)

St. Louis IX, pray for us!
St. Katharine Drexel, pray for us!
St. Florian, pray for us!
St. Martin de Porres, pray for us!
St. Peter Claver, pray for us!
St. Andrew Corsini, pray for us!
Our Lady of Peace, pray for us!
Viva Cristo Rey!

Psalm 30

2 I will extol you, LORD, for you have raised me up,
and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.
3 O LORD my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
4 O LORD, you have lifted up my soul from the grave,
restored me to life from those who sink into the pit.
5 Sing psalms to the LORD, you faithful ones;
give thanks to his holy name.
6 His anger lasts a moment; his favor all through life.
At night come tears, but dawn brings joy.
7 I said to myself in my good fortune:
“I shall never be shaken.”
8 O LORD, your favor had set me like a mountain stronghold.
Then you hid your face, and I was put to confusion.
9 To you, O LORD, I cried,
to my God I appealed for mercy:
10 “What profit is my lifeblood, my going to the grave?
Can dust give you thanks, or proclaim your faithfulness?”
11 Hear, O LORD, and have mercy on me;
be my helper, O LORD.
12 You have changed my mourning into dancing,
removed my sackcloth and girded me with joy.
13 So my soul sings psalms to you, and will not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will thank you forever.

Psalm 142

2 With all my voice I cry to the LORD;
with all my voice I entreat the LORD.
3 I pour out my trouble before him;
I tell him all my distress
4 while my spirit faints within me.
But you, O LORD, know my path.
On the way where I shall walk,
they have hidden a snare to entrap me.
5 Look on my right hand and see:
there is no one who pays me heed.
No escape remains open to me;
no one cares for my soul.
6 To you I cry, O LORD.
I have said, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”
7 Listen, then, to my cry,
for I am brought down very low.
Rescue me from those who pursue me,
for they are stronger than I.
8 Bring my soul out of prison,
and I shall give thanks to your name.
Around me the just will assemble,
because of your goodness to me.

St. Francis and the Sultan; the question of conversion

I’ve long been familiar with the account of St. Francis going to Sultan in Egypt, demonstrating his faith, and gaining free passage through the Holy Land (a right which has historically extended to all Franciscans).  Last week, however, I picked up on a detail I’d never noticed before, from at least two sources: the Sultan spiritually accepted Christ.  From a later Evangelical perspective, one could argue the Sultan had been “saved.”  He did not want to openly convert, however, because not only would he have been killed, but so would Francis, and he knew the Saint had greater work ahead.