Thursday, December 31, 2009
Why is the baby Jesus surrounded by minarets and quotes from the Koran? Can this really be a Catholic Church? This display was apparently in the foyer of the church of a Franciscan community in Switzerland.
Here's what happened when Robin inquired about visiting the local Episcopal Church in Berkley, California.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I have an addiction. I admit it. I am a bibliophile. I love books. I love to buy them, feel them, stack them, hoard them, and occasionally read them.
For my holiday reading, I just finished a book about other books. Of course, one danger of reading books about books is that it makes one want to go out and acquire more books.
The book is SOME CATHOLIC WRITERS by Notre Dame's Professor RALPH MCINERNY. McInerny is himself a Catholic Writer being the author of many novels as well as scholarly works. Professor McInerny is perhaps best known for the FATHER DOWLING series of mystery novels.
In SOME CATHOLIC WRITERS, Professor McInerny profiles 35 writers all of which were at least nominally Catholic, fallen away Catholic, or in the case of one non-Catholic, had what McInerny considers a Catholic sensibility.
All the usual suspects are here: FLANNERY O'CONNOR, WALKER PERCY, G.K. CHESTERTON, HILLAIRE BELLOC, ROBERT HUGH BENSON, GEORGES BERNANOS, ETIENNE GILSON, GRAHAM GREENE, JACQUES & RAISSA MARITAIN, THOMAS MERTON, J.F. POWERS, EVELYN WAUGH and others. There are also some surprises. Professor McInerny has included JAMES JOYCE, F. SCOTT FITZGERALD and ANTHONY BURGESS among his Catholic writers. Although Joyce and Burgess, the author of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, were fallen away Catholics who had renounced their faith, McInerny says that their Catholic upbringing informed their writing and haunted their lives. Professor McInerny also thinks that a Catholic sensibility informs the work of F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Also surprising is the inclusion of a non-Catholic, WILLA CATHER. McInerny believes that Cather's novels DEATH COMES FOR THE ARCHBISHOP and SHADOWS ON THE ROCK are two of the best American "Catholic novels." Professor McInerny also debunks the post-modern revisionist view of Cather as a lesbian. In the same vein, Professor McInerny criticizes the view of KATE CHOPIN's controversial novel THE AWAKENING as a proto radical feminist tract. THE AWAKENING ruined CHOPIN'S career as a novelist when it was published in the late 19th century because of its frank descriptions of female sexuality. McInerny says that CHOPIN was an orthodox Catholic and that her novel is really about the effects of the sin of adultery.
SOME CATHOLIC WRITERS packs a tremendous amount of information into only 154 short pages. This is a great read for anyone looking for insight into Catholic literature and Catholic culture.
Today, December 29th, the Church honors Saint Thomas A'Becket, Chaucer's "Holy, Blissful Martyr," who was murdered before the altar in Canterbury cathedral for defying the political authority of King Henry II.
Yes, indeed, the world has totally lost it. The "WORLD" as we Christians know, was always lost in sin and death, but now it is worse than ever. Apparently, a Danish newspaper editorial has proclaimed that Barack Obama is greater than Jesus Christ. When is Obama going to raise the dead?
Sunday, December 27, 2009
The White House Christmas Tree has an ornament honoring Chairman Mao. We can have a "Holiday Tree" honoring a Communist Dictator but cannot have anything on the "Holiday Tree" to honor God incarnate in the man Jesus of Nazareth. Incredible.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
I just finished reading THE PRIEST by Ralph McInerny. Although this novel is 37 years old (being published in 1973) and is set 41 years ago (in 1968), the book was new to me and I enjoyed it immensely.
Ralph McInerny was for many years the professor of Medieval Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. Over the years, he has also written many novels the most famous of which are the Father Dowling mysteries. Early in his career as a novelist, McInerny set out to write "serious" fiction. THE PRIEST is one of his efforts at a "serious" novel. This book was also a best seller when it was first published in the early seventies.
THE PRIEST is set in 1968 in the fictional diocese of Fort Elbow, Ohio. The priest of the title is Father Frank Ascue, an up and coming young priest and scholar who, after being the best and brightest at the local seminary, has just completed his Doctorate of Sacred Theology in Rome. Father Ascue returns to Fort Elbow expecting to be appointed to the seminary faculty. Instead he is assigned by the Bishop to be the second assistant at an inner city parish. THE PRIEST is full of plots and subplots. McInerny writes from multiple points of view and introduces us to many characters all of whom have some connection with Father Ascue.
The novel concerns the crises and turmoil in the church and in American society at large in the late 1960s. As George Orwell famously said of Graham Greene, "there is a tendency for people to go to bed together almost at sight and with no apparent pleasure to either party." Sex is uppermost in everyone's mind, as it seems that it still is in real life. A large subplot involves Father Frank's sister Charlotte, who is organizing protests against Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae, which reaffirmed the Church's traditional stand against birth control. Despite the teachings of the Church, which everyone expects to be changed, Charlotte has started using the pill. Now Charlotte and her husband, Howard, can make love every night without worrying about pregnancy. Sex has been totally divorced from reproduction. Remember the old saying "familarity breeds contempt." Howard becomes bored with Charlotte and begins having an affair with a young client who is not much older than Charlotte and Howard's 19 year old daughter.
Clerical celibacy is very much an issue in this book. A hippie priest, Phil Bullard, seduces and then marries a nun, Sister Eloise. All this after Father Phil has already had an affair with another woman and asked to be laicized. Father Phil is depicted as the crusading liberal who blocks the entrance to the draft board, a la Daniel Berrigan. Phil and Eloise are married by another radical left wing priest who teaches at the seminary and after being suspended from the priesthood, hooks up with the flaming homosexual philosophy professor from the local college. In the meantime, Father Frank's niece, Barbara, has gotten herself pregnant by a seminarian from the local seminary who is struggling with his vocation. Frank and Charlotte decide that the best thing to do is to procure their daughter an abortion. When Father Frank fails to oppose his sister and brother in law's plans to abort their grandchild, Frank has a crisis of faith.
There are other subplots. There is an entire subplot involving the auxilary Bishop of the Diocese who is a political opportunist and will be a radical liberal when it gets him power and will become a total conformist when that advances his career.
In other words, THE PRIEST, although it is about serious issues, is a giant soap opera. I had great fun reading it. This book has been out of print for years, however, a search on the internet looks like copies are readily available.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Here's an article about what may be brewing right here at home.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
I have been away from this blog for quite some time now. But I have been very busy. I can hardly remember what life was like B.C. ("Before Cancer"). I heard a priest last week on Father Benedict Groeschel's program on EWTN say that standing in support of someone who is sick is like St. John standing at the foot of the cross. In some mystical way, those who suffer represent Christ on the cross and suffer with him.
Today at Eucharistic Adoration I read this from Thomas Merton's The Sign of Jonas: "The source of all sorrow is the illusion that of ourselves we are anything but dust. God is all our joy and in Him our dust can become splendor. The great sorrow of mankind is turned to joy by the love of Christ, and the secret of happiness is no longer to see sorrow except in the light of Christ's victory over sorrow. And then all sorrow contributes somehow to our happiness."
Saint Paul says "For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ." 2 Corinthians 1:5. "For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Romans 8:18.
We will always suffer to greater or lesser degree. When we suffer directly we suffer with Christ on the cross. When we stand by those who suffer directly we stand at the foot of the cross with Saint John and Our Lady.
HEAVENLY FATHER, GIVER OF LIFE AND HEALTH: COMFORT AND RELIEVE YOUR SICK SERVANTS, AND GIVE YOUR POWER OF HEALING TO THOSE WHO MINISTER TO THEIR NEEDS, THAT THEY MAY BE STRENGTHENED IN THEIR WEAKNESS AND HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOUR LOVING CARE; THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD. AMEN. (1979 Book of Common Prayer p. 459).
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Today, October 15, the Church celebrates the memorial of Saint Teresa of Avila, one of the greatest mystics of all time. Along with a Carmelite priest, the mystic and poet Saint John of the Cross, she founded the Discalced Carmelites.
From THE LITURGY OF THE HOURS: Saint Teresa was born at Avila in Spain in 1515. She joined the Carmelite Order, made great progress in the way of purification and enjoyed mystical revelations. When she reformed the order, she met with much resistance, but she succeeded with undaunted courage. She also wrote books filled with sublime doctrine, the fruit of her own spiritual life. She died at Avila in 1582.
PRAYER: God, You raised up St. Teresa by Your Spirit so that she could manifest to the Church the way to perfection. Nourish us with the food of Heaven, and fire us with a desire for holiness. Amen.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Yesterday, October 7, the Church celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Under the name of Our Lady of Victories, Pope Pius V instituted the annual feast to celebrate the victory of Don Juan of Austria and Christian forces over the invading Turks at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.
Pope Pius V with the victorious flags of the Battle of Lepanto in the background.
Pope Gregory XII changed the name of the feast to OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY.
Pope John Paul II praying the Holy Rosary
"It could be said that each mystery of the rosary, carefully meditated, sheds light on the mystery of man. "Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you." Psalm 55:23. To pray the rosary is to hand over our burdens to the merciful heart of Christ and his Mother. The rosary does indeed 'mark the rythm of human life' bringing it into harmony with the 'rhythm' of God's own life, in the joyful communion of the Holy Trinity, our life's destiny and deepest longing. Through the rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer."
POPE JOHN PAUL II
PRAYER: God, fill us with Your Grace. We know the Incarnation of Your Son by the message of an Angel. Through the intercession of Mary may we obtain the glory of resurrection through Christ's Passion and Cross. Amen.
The Bad Catholic got busy and missed blogging about the Feast of Saint Francis on Sunday. When I came out of the Church Sunday afternoon after Holy Hour, Father Jacek was blessing the animals in the parking lot. I called SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED on the cell phone and asked her since Father was blessing the animals if I should get in line.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Today the Church celebrates Guardian Angels. Angels are powerful spirits who act as the messengers of God. The Church teaches that our spiritual well being is looked after by a guardian angel who waits to help us when we turn to God in faith.
PRAYER: God, in Your Providence, You saw fit to send Your Angels to watch over us. Grant that we may always be under their protection and one day enjoy their company in heaven. Amen.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Saint Therese of Lisieux
Today the Church honors Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus, also popularly known as "the little flower." She was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II.
Saint Therese portraying Saint Joan of Arc
From THE LITURGY OF THE HOURS: "Saint Theresa was born at Alencon in France in 1873. While still a young girl, she entered the Carmelite monastery at Lisieux. There she lived a life of humility, evangelical simplicity and trust in God. By word and example she taught these virtues to the novices of the community. Offering her life for the salvation of souls and the growth of the Church, she died September 30, 1897.
The "Little Flower" in death.
PRAYER: God our Father, You designed Your Kingdom for Your children who are humble. Help us to imitate the way of Saint Theresa, so that, by her intercession, we may attain the eternal glory which You promised. Amen.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Saint Jerome by El Greco
Today the Church celebrates the memorial of Saint Jerome. From THE LITURGY OF THE HOURS: "Saint Jerome was born at Stridon in Dalmatia around the year 340. He studied the classical authors at Rome, and was baptized there. He embraced a life of asceticism and went to the East where he was ordained a priest. Returning to Rome, he became a secretary to Pope Damasus. At Rome he began to translate the Holy Scriptures into latin and to promote the monastic life. Eventually he settled in Bethlehem where he served the needs of the Church. He wrote many works, especially commentaries on the Holy Scriptures. He died at Bethlehem in 420.
PRAYER: Father, you gave Saint Jerome delight in his study of Holy Scripture. May your people find in Your Word the food of salvation and the fountain of life. We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Today, September 29th, the Church celebrates the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels. These are the three angels who were sent by God to man over the course of the ages and whose names appear in Sacred Scripture. Michael, whose name means "Who is like God," appears in the Book of Revelation as the leader of the armies of Heaven against Satan. Gabriel, whose name means "God has shown Himself mighty," appears in the Book of Daniel and in the Gospel of Luke gives the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist and appears to Our Lady to announce the Incarnation. Raphael means "God has healed." He appears in the Book of Tobit where he helps Tobit bind a demon, helps Tobit find a wife, and heals Tobit from his blindness.
PRAYER: God, with great wisdom You direct the ministry of Angels and men. Grant that those who always minister to You in heaven may defend us during our life on earth. Amen.
My life is a great mess and tangle of half-conscious subterfuges to evade grace and duty. I have done all things badly. I have thrown away great opportunities. My infedelity to Christ, instead of making me sick with despair, drives me to throw myself all the more blindly into the arms of His mercy.
THE SIGN OF JONAS
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Our Lady of Walsingham
Yours Truly, the Anglo-Catholic, assisting Father Charles Bennett at St. Thomas Episcopal Church a number of years ago.
Lately, as my light escapist reading, I have been reading Anglo-Catholicism: A Study in Religious Ambiguity by W.S.F. Pickering which was published in 1989.
As one who as a member of the Episcopal Church delighted in being a self-described "Anglo-Catholic," I find this subject to be incredibly fascinating. For some unexplained reason it is just downright fun to be a member of a Protestant Church and pretend to be Catholic by putting on fancy vestments, doing a lot of bowing and genuflecting, throwing a lot of incense into the air, and generally putting on a big liturgical show.
Now let me tell you, the Anglicans/Episcopalians know how to put on a good show. In some respects, they may be more High Church than the Vatican. The only problem is that it is all form and no substance. They have all the outward forms of the true Catholic faith, but there are very few Orthodox Christians left in its ranks that hold the substance.
I finally decided that all the things which I liked best about the Episcopal Church were all the things that were Catholic and the things I liked the least were the things that were the most Protestant. I had already decided to "swim the Tiber" before the melt down of my Episcopal parish. A large number of the membership left and formed a new "Anglican" Church. However, the new "Anglican" Church is definitely part of the Evangelical, or "Low Church" tradition within Anglicanism, if it is really "Anglican" at all. With all due respect, if I had to put myself within the jurisdiction of a foreign bishop, I would rather choose the Bishop of Rome than the Anglican Archbishop of Uganda.
When I became a real Catholic I no longer had to hide that I prayed the rosary, and prayed to Our Lady and the Saints. (Nothing makes Protestants more nervous than devotion to Our Lady and the Saints.)
Here's a good quote from Pickering that kind of sums it all up:
The problem par excellence for Anglo-Catholics is their claim to be Catholic within an institution which for several centuries has generally been reckoned to stand in the Protestant camp, certainly not in the Roman Catholic camp. Some Protestants in the past, and still some today, have gone so far as to see in the Church of Rome the Antichrist. How can one be an Anglo-Catholic in a church in which only a proportion of the members openly claim they are Catholic and the rest say they are Protestant, or at least non-Catholic? Here is the ambiguity of using the self-designation Anglo-Catholic, or more simply, Catholic.
Keep in mind the fact that Pickering is an Anglican writer. In another place he says this:
In practice the Catholic church, if it is to be found anywhere, is the Roman Catholic Church, for on grounds of geographical universality, there can be no other contender. Roman Catholic theologians assert categorically that there is no Catholicism outside their Church. When Anglo-Catholics claim to be Catholic they are hardly adopting a universalist position but one which is essentially sectarian.
Bottom line: Anglo-Catholics are Protestants who are pretending to be Catholic.
Sacred Heart of Jesus: Have Mercy on Us!
Our Lady of Walsingham: Pray for Us!
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I just finished reading RETURN TO ROME: CONFESSIONS OF AN EVANGELICAL CATHOLIC by Baylor University Professor and former President of the Evangelical Theological Society, Professor Francis J. Beckwith.
Beckwith's book is very good and I would recommend it to everyone who is interested in conservative Evangelical Christians converting to Catholicism. Or, in Beckwith's case, re-verting to Catholicism. Beckwith describes how he was brought up in the Catholic Church but because of the slippery, loosey-goosey theology and catechism which was going on in the late 60's and 70's, he slipped away and joined an evanglical protestant group.
After describing why he left Catholicism in the first place, Beckwith then describes why he came back. The last chapter is devoted to refuting the position of the Evangelical Theological Society which pretty much threw Beckwith out and declared that no Roman Catholic can claim to be an Evangelical Christian. Evangelical meaning one who has a high view of sacred scripture and accepts the Bible as the Word of God. Beckwith forcefully refutes this contention, showing that without the Catholic Church there would be no Bible to begin with.
Beckwith has a couple of good quotes which are worth repeating:
"However, my conservatism, ironically, developed out of my liberalism. I was taught by my parents that one of the roles of government was to protect the "little guy" and to make sure that those not well off should be given a chance to succeed and make a decent living. But in my early twenties I began to notice that self-described liberals had no interest in protecting the littlest guy of all, the unborn, and that they often advanced policies that inhibited economic growth, and thus harmed those who most needed the wealth produced by free markets, the poor and underprivileged. So, for me, true liberalism is conservative, for it strives to protect and nurture, indeed conserve, those people, institutions, and practices that advance the common good and thus provide a framework for human flourishing."
I found this quote from Carl R. Trueman, Professor of Historical Theology and Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary fascinating:
"Every year I tell my Reformation history class that Roman Catholicism is, at least in the West, the default position. Rome has a better claim to historical continuity and institutional unity than any Protestant denomination, let alone the strange hybrid that is evanglicalism; in the light of these facts, therefore, we need good, solid reasons for not being Catholic . . ." Trueman then goes on to state why he has good reasons to continue to protest the Church of Rome and always will. They are just not good reasons. 'Nuff said.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Last February, I went to see my gynecologist. I did not feed bad at all, but I was having abnormalities. All of the usual tests came back normal except for cysts. In April, I started to feel some pain, but still thought the problem was cysts.
The first week in May, Mark, my husband, and I went to Destin for a week and enjoyed all of my favorite things, eating and shopping, and ususally in that order. However, the more I walked, the worse I felt. When I came back, I had a follow up ultrasound that still showed just cysts. The next step was an MRI. The MRI showed a potential malignancy on my right ovary. The results of the blood test for cancer were in the "elevated" range but not definately cancer.
In June, I found a very good gynecological oncologist in Tallahassee and scheduled my surgery for July 17th. The surgery was supposed to be the two and a half hour robotic removal of the ovary. Going into the fourth hour, Mark, my secretary Tammy, and my friend and client, Cookie, realized that my doctor had to do a lot more work than expected. Once the surgery started, the doctor had to ditch the robot and start debulking the cancer which had spread to my bladder and colon. When I woke up, I looked awful. Mark, the former prosecutor, told me he had seen autopsy pictures with more life than I had after my surgery. Luckily, I think that's funny. The day after surgery, I started to bounce back from being on an IV all night.
According to my doctor, the survivability rate from ovarian cancer that has spread is 50%. Currently, I am undergoing chemotherapy treatment to get rid of any stray cancer cells. Part of chemotherapy is figuring out how to deal with the side effects. I need your thoughts and prayers, and feel that they are already working. I was also uplifted by all the visits, flowers, food, phone calls, and cards from all of our friends.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Our conversion to the fullness of the Catholic faith has, so far, helped us in this crisis. It seems to me that the theology of redemptive suffering, so prevalent in Catholicism, is almost entirely absent in evangelical protestantism. We remain confident that we now participate in Christ's redemptive suffering. As Saint Paul said "(I) now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is lacking in the afflictions of Christ in my flesh, for the sake of his body, which is the Church." Colossians 1:24.
I would also like to thank all of our family and friends, and especially the members of our local parish, for all their prayers and support in our time of need. God Bless You All.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
From The Lives of the Saints:
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
(Source: 1979 Book of Common Prayer).
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Almighty God, by whose providence thy servant John the Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of thy Son our Savior by preaching repentance: Make us so to follow his doctrine and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching; and after his example constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for truth's sake; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
O precious and wonderful banquet, that brings us salvation and contains all sweetness! Could anything be of more intrinsic value? Under the old law it was the flesh of calves and goats that was offered, but here Christ himself, the true God, is set before us as our food. What could be more wonderful than this? No other sacrament has greater healing power; through it sins are purged away, virtues are increased, and the soul is enriched with an abundance of every spiritual gift. It is offered in the Church for the living and the dead, so that what was instituted for the salvation of all may be for the benefit of all. Yet, in the end, no one can fully express the sweetness of this sacrament, in which spiritual delight is tasted at its very source, and in which we renew the memory of that surpassing love for us which Christ revealed in his passion.
Saint Thomas Aquinas
PRAYER: LORD JESUS CHRIST, YOU GAVE US THE EUCHARIST AS THE MEMORIAL OF YOUR SUFFERING AND DEATH. MAY OUR WORSHIP OF THIS SACRAMENT OF YOUR BODY AND BLOOD HELP US TO EXPERIENCE THE SALVATION YOU WON FOR US AND THE PEACE OF THE KINGDOM WHERE YOU LIVE WITH THE FATHER AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, ONE GOD, FOREVER AND EVER.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
630 of 731 parents of Loyola High School in Montreal have asked that their children not be taught the course, which, of course, the government refuses. You know, it takes a village to raise a child, as Ms. Clinton said, which means that the government should teach current politically correct values to your children and not let you teach them some ignorant superstition like Christianity. Of course, militant Islam is OK since they are an oppressed third world minority.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Saturday, June 6, 2009
which is run by some ultra fundamentalist evangelicals put a rack full of CHICK TRACTS in their restaurant. Now every time I go there, I get a CHICK TRACT to read to find out why I'm going to hell while I eat my fried chicken and collard greens.
Soon I began collecting CHICK TRACTS. If you want CHICK TRACTS, all you have to do is let BROTHER JACK CHICK know that you want them and they'll send them to you. So I have gotten myself on BROTHER JACK's mailing list. Now BROTHER JACK is against a lot of stuff and tends to lump groups together on his enemies list, these enemies include Homosexuals, Wiccans, Atheists, Roman Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Muslims, and Liberal Protestants of all stripes.
Now usually, when BROTHER JACK's newsletter arrives in the mail with a new tract, I get a good laugh from the ranting and raving. But this month for over half the letter, I wasn't laughing and actually found myself agreeing with BROTHER JACK. It was a frightening experience.