31 December, 2009

Excellent post on the issue of privacy vs security in airports

Just click on the title to this post and read this article on "Friar Rick's Weblog"

Is it right to call the church 'evil' ?

TCTheTiger, a frequent poster on the Holy Post Blog of the National Post objected recently to someone referring to the Catholic Church as 'evil'. Here is my response to him. I would appreciate comment.


Fr. Tim

TCTheTiger:  You write: "It's exactly like saying since Hitler said 1+1=2, it must be wrong."  Forgive me but I have no idea what that is supposed to mean.

If O/C claimed that all clergy are evil, then I think it's more than fair to say that was offering such a statement as a rhetorical flourish or said in the heat of argument. He has certainly not said such a thing in his many exchanges with me. 

Aside for this, to a degree he is correct. 

You must remember that the Catholic Church exists as a spiritual and an earthly form. The former being our inspiration and goal, and the latter is as sinful and evil as any other earthly enterprise. It is only by admitting the reality of these two entities that we Catholics can hold true to the promises of Christ that you have referred to in the past. Or, as my old seminary prof once quipped, "the church cannot screw-up so perfectly as to thwart the plan of God." There is no downside spiritually or earthly in admitting that the Catholic Church is evil inasmuch as it has harbored predatory priests in its ranks. Once we have admitted to our fault, we can take the steps necessary to ensure that the earthly manifestation of Christ's Church more closely resembles the Bride of Christ it is intended to be.

Fr. Tim

Bonne et heurese année (Happy New Year)

Le Jour de l'an has traditionally been a time of great  importance within French-Canadian families as it was the occasion when children would ask for their father's blessing. Alas this is another tradition that has been lost to common knowledge with the decline of the Catholic Church in Quebec and now throughout much of Canada. An opportunity to strengthen family ties is lost to the omni-present hangover that afflicts so many in the wake of "ringing in" the New Year.

The faith assumptions of many bishops and priests who are "of a certain age", (at least within Canada, pre-1965) are no longer understood or even held as relevant by the majority of the generation that is now coming into power in the political, social and economic spheres of western societies. I fear that now is the time when the sad truth of Richard Neuhaus' maxim ("that which is permitted will soon be found to be obligatory") will be realized. This mean that the Church will soon face many challenges to its right to practice as 'equality' legislation will be interpreted by civil authorities with an ever greater prejudice against the freedom of religion, at least as it is expressed within the public square.

These are the bitter fruits that are the catechetical failures of the Canadian Church of the past 40+ years, in the wake of Vatican II.

Although, I do believe that those who would blame that momentous Council for the current state of affairs are in error. If those responsible for ensuring the cathechetical preparation of the faithful since the 1960's and 70's had actually done as the documents of the Council called them to do (practicing both Aggiornamento and Ressourcement) then we would not be in the mess that we are in today: facing an un-evangelized generation hostile to the rights of faith.

What is the answer? "Better late than never" would sum up the best response to the current situation. We need Catholic leaders to better use the various media's at their disposal to argue for the rights and consequences of religious freedom, using language understandable to the general population of today.
These leaders need to step forward from both the clergy and laity alike to carry the values of faith into the everyday parlance of daily life. Even as a priest who has an ear to listen for such voices, I can find few, if any leaders in Canada (Archbishop Pendergast and Bishop Henry being stellar examples of Catholic Episcopal exceptions)  stepping up to engage the media in teaching and explaining the propositions of our Catholic faith.

In my life, I have had the opportunity to live under two Pope John Paul's and I hold both as person models for ministry. Cardinal Albino Luciani, who became John Paul I had an amazing gift of explaining the tenets of the faith in an manner that was both engaging and effective to many Catholics in the wake of the papacy of Paul VI. His response to the birth of Louise Brown, the world's first 'test tube baby' (when asked if he sent roses to the mother as some sort of papal approval of IVF, he replied that theologians would help to make clear the response of the Church,  he was simply sharing in the joy of God bringing to life a daughter into the Brown's family) won more souls for Christ than any pamphlet published by a Bishop's Conference. Like his successor, he understood the power of symbol and action in approaching today's culture, something he was able to accomplish in his all too short pontificate. We need priests and bishops who can function in our culture who can effectively do the same in the difficult days that now faces us.

What we need, is for our 'spiritual Father's' to truly bring to us Christ's blessing as this new year begins.

2010 would then be off to a great start, the first of many to come!

Happy New Year to one and all!

Fr. Tim

Prayer for Priests

I post here a copy of the Prayer for Priests that has been issued within the Archdiocese of Vancouver. I have added a stanza which I highlight in italics. I commit to offering this prayer ever day before I celebrate mass as I ask you as reader to do the same. We priests are very much in need of every spiritual weapon at our disposal in these evil times.

“God our Father, look with mercy and love upon those your Son has chosen to be ministers of your Word and Sacraments, and ardent but gentle shepherds of your flock.

As spiritual fathers of those entrusted to their care, keep them faithful in obedient service to you. Enkindle in our priests the fire of your love, so that they will seek nothing but your greater glory and the salvation of souls.

We pray that Mary, Queen of the Holy Rosary, will wrap her mantle around our priests, draw them closer to your heart day by day and inspire many young men to answer your call.

May God’s mercy and justice be made manifest in their commitment to protect those under their care, to punish any who would betray their flock, and to minister with a shepherd's compassion those wounded in their care.

We ask this through Christ Our Lord.  Amen.

St. John Vianney, pray for us.”

The best and worst news stories of 2009

Phil Lawlor of Catholic Culture website shares his opinion re: the top five worst and most positive news stories of 2009 (from an American perspective). It is hard to argue with his choices, given that there might have been other stories that may have greater local interest to some.

What "Evangelical" really means

Nathan Martin writes on the First Things blog about an interview with Os Guinness on the true meaning of 'evangelicalism'. His wisdom helps to purify the term from the American understanding which confuses the spiritual with the political (The "Christian Right"). It is in the historical sense of the word that we find its true power.

If you are looking for another work which explores the same ground, make Richard John Neuhaus' last work American Babylon: Notes of A Christian Exile (Basic Books, 2009) the first book your read in 2010!

26 December, 2009

... and then there was one

Two more Irish Bishops named in the Murphy Report have resigned, leaving only one other who still remains as Ordinary of his diocese... and he says that he will not resign.

It is truly heartening as a priest to finally see Bishops taking responsibility for their actions and not leaving it to the priests to carry the load of this scandal. I sincerely hope that this attitude becomes "des rigeur" among the the episcopate, not that I hold them in any disrespect or wish them any ill, but it is a necessary step in winning back the confidence of the faithful.

I offer my promise and prayers and heartfelt appreciation to these Bishops who are taking the step of resigning. Putting the interests of the Church and the faith ahead of their own demonstrates a true Christian witness that is sorely needed in these troubled times.

25 December, 2009

An absolute Christmas must see!! "White Christmas" done by Santa & his Reindeer


Please give yourself a holiday treat and visit this site for one of the most pleasant rendition of that Christmas classic, "White Christmas" performed by Santa and his Reindeer. It is the quintessential holiday internet animation.

My thanks to Fr.Michael Smith of Temiscaming, Quebec for the link.

23 December, 2009

A Merry Christmas Card for my friends & family

Merry Christmas to everyone. As these last few hours of peace and calm pass before the chaos, confusion and crises of the Family Christmas Eve Masses befalls all clergy, my thoughts are not of the trials ahead but of gratitude and prayerful thanksgiving for the souls I have encountered since I began this virtual journey three months ago.

Enjoy a moment and remember the joy that filled our hearts as children, as we tried to stay awake to hear those reindeer hooves on the roof, only to wake before the sun and discover that Santa had indeed been there! Jesus is indeed the reason for the season, but Santa was fun too.

Click on the title to this post, and Merry Christmas!

Fr. Tim Moyle
Where the Rubber Hits the Road

Does Science provide evidence for the truths of faith?

From my earliest days, I have always been fascinated about the relationship between science and religion. I was taught that both disciplines taught the “truth” about creation so I always assumed that they would provide complimentary information and should not be viewed as contradictory bodies of knowledge. It is only natural then that I would look at the discoveries and developments of each in relationship to the other.

It was with great anticipation then that I picked up David Bodanis’ book E=MC2:A Biography of the World's Greatest Equation. I was not disappointed.

Energy as a concept was developed by Michael Farady when he posited that there existed invisible forces that accompanied magnetism and electricity. This began a line of research that demonstrated that this energy interacted with other elements and thus could be seen as an independent entity of its own.

Antoine Lavoisier discovered that matter was a closed system, which is to say that matter can never be destroyed or created, but simply would be changed into different elements, that if weighed would be found to equal the mass of the initial substance. His example that it Paris were completely and utterly destroyed and burned with a glass dome over top of the city to capture all of the gases that would be produced, it would still contain the same mass as before its destruction was prescient given that he was writing at the time of the French Revolution – a revolution that took his very life. Yet his groundbreaking experiments at breaking water into its constituent parts and then recombining them using static electricity clearly demonstrated that energy (heat or electricity) was the instrument by which matter could be converted back and forth. Further, in his day it was determined that this energy traveled at approximately 670,000,000 miles per hour, which is the speed of light.

Emilie de Chatelais, a woman scientist (a virtual oxymoron in her time) determined that force (motion) could also be quantified, but not using the equations of Sir Isaac Newton (who posited that force was determined by simply multiplying an objects velocity by its mass), but rather it could be determined by multiplying its velocity by the square of the mass.

It was then Albert Einstein, while reflecting upon the relationship of these three concepts, discovered the principle of relativity, a breakthrough that led to viewing light as simply another form of energy that resulted from the splitting of matter into its composite parts. Eventually this led him to his famous equation, E=MC2

So what does all of this tell us about the tenets of our faith?

First off, given that all of creation is part of a closed system (meaning everything that exists cannot be destroyed but only changed) began me thinking as to whether or not the same can be said about our existence. I do not mean this in terms of simply our corporeal  bodies, but that essence of life and personality that gives us life and existence. How could it be that that if everything else in creation continued that this alone was something that would end in death? This “energy” of life should not have an essential quality ascribed to it which would set it uniquely apart from the rest of creation. Put into religious terminology, the soul (that which gives us life) must continue and not be destroyed. To hold that it does would run counter to the reality of every thing else that exists if Einstein’s famous equation holds true.

Even the liturgy and prayers of the Church seems to hold to this same scientific truth. Take for example the funeral liturgy when we state in prayer that in death “life is changed, not ended.” The belief that the soul continues after death is a core belief of all Christian faiths.

One might argue that since this essence or soul has no mass therefore how could it be subject to the law of relativity. However, here we turn to Farady and his demonstration that force exists that does not seem to have any mass – yet it is none the less real and actual. In fact given that E=MC2 demonstrates that matter and energy can be viewed as two halves of the same item (matter can be converted into energy and vice versa) thus the fact that something does not have mass simply means that it exists as pure energy. Is this not the essence of our Christian belief as expressed in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? I would suggest that the answer would be a resounding “yes!”.

Einstein went on to speculate what existence would seem like if it was composed of pure energy. First off, since energy moves at the speed of light, it would exist outside of time. His thought experiment in which one imagines moving at the speed of light mathematically necessitates that time would no longer exist. Imagine he asks, that one is traveling at the speed of light while holding a mirror in front of you. Would you not seem invisible with the mirror moving at a rate which would not permit the light of your reflection from reaching the mirror. Any image that you would see would be a static one that was reflected back to oneself from the point just before attaining light speed. Thus time would seem relative to the speed in which one were traveling. Again he uses a thought experiment to prove his point.

Imagine that a woman is travelling in a boat on a calm water. As she looked upon the wave that was coming from the front of the boat, it would appear to be one single and unmoving wave. Yet viewed from the shore and thus not moving at the same speed as the woman in the boat, the wave would seem to have active qualities of motion and energy. Thus if one were to travel at the speed of light, time itself would become meaningless. One would exist in an eternal moment.

Is this not an adequate description of eternal life as understood by faith? I believe that the similarities are too great to dismiss.

Keep checking this blog for more thoughts on this topic over the next week or two

22 December, 2009

Great debate from National Post: Church stand of Marriage & homosexuality

by Outlaw_CA
Dec 22 2009
11:48 PM
The Catholic Church teaches that the Pope is infallible at closely defined times. The Pope is only infallible when he, in union with the body of bishops, solemnly teaches that a doctrine as true. This comes from the words of Jesus to Peter (the first Pope) and the Apostles (the first bishops), "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven" (Matthew 18:18) and "He who hears you hears me" (Luke 10:16). At all other times the Pope can be just as sinful as you and me and be in need of forgiveness.
I have never really believed that any human being could be infallible and that explains all the contradictions in the Bible, as well why some things in the Bible are in fact dead wrong. Should we accept that then many questions arise, the first comes to my mind is that just because body of bishops and the Pope are in agreement is important but not necessarily good enough reason to accept that they infallible and not in fact evil as we know from History how agreement of body of public with Hitler in Germany turned out to be. For instance I and many sincerely believe that Roman Catholic Church’s position and teaching on homosexuality is not only simply wrong but pure evil? Would you concede that there is a possibility, if not likelihood, that Raman Catholic Church is wrong as even many Roman Catholics believe?
Seems to me that the Catholic Church wants to have it both ways, have the cake and eat it too. For example Cardinal Sean writes “We must strive to eradicate prejudices against people with a homosexual orientation. At the same time the Church must minister to all people by challenging them to obey God’s commands, the roadmap for a meaningful human life that allows us to draw near to God and to one another.” He continues
“In the Gospel when the self-righteous Pharisees bring the adulteress to be stoned, Jesus says let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Then to make sure they got the point Jesus wrote their sins on the ground. The stones fell from their hands and they fled. Jesus said: “neither do I condemn you, but He added, “Go and sin no more.” Leaving the question of whether homosexuality is a sin hanging in the air and perhaps equating adultery with homosexuality.
To Cardinal Sean’s comments, one Deacon Bryan Marabanian, Pastor, Holy Trinity Independent Catholic Church, thoughtfully responds by saying “To say that two people, who are made in the “image and likeness of God,” are not fully capable of loving each other in an acceptable way because of gender make-up seems, in my opinion, to be heretical. As an ordained minister of an Independent Catholic denomination I am surprised that an institution within the Apostolic Succession condones such divisive, mean-spirited views regarding this group of God’s people. I don’t believe it’s wise for any institution to place limits on God’s will.
I find the Roman Church’s teaching regarding marriage, and your own words on the topic, to be quite confusing. You stated that you have been encouraging Roman Catholics to “defend the institution of marriage”. Perhaps you can clarify how not allowing a loving couple to have their love blessed by the Church’s minister is defending the institution of marriage.
The dissent in the Catholic Church is growing and the Church is worried but their recipe is suppression and punishment of the dissenters and not an open dialogue. Instead they continue with their losing battle on ban on homosexual marriage, having already lost the battle on homosexual relationships. They might be more convincing if they were to clean their own house –sexual abuse of children by priests and sexual assaults on nuns but it is lot easier to preach than to follow –the words are cheap, but when the preaching’s sound hollow no one pays much attention and they become irrelevant.

by CrisA

Dec 23 2009
2:31 AM
I was going to stay out of this one, but I cannot.  First, I am glad to know that you are well educated enough in Catholicism to enumerate the sacraments.  They are however, not just empty rituals.  They are exterior signs of something real that is taking place inside the soul of the person who receives them.  You do not need to accept this, and that is fine.
Even if the vast majority of Catholics were to desert the church, the sacraments would still remain what they are.  This is one thing I love about the Church.  Its strength lies not in numbers, but in clarity and steadfastness of doctrine—again in faith and morals.
You have to admit that you have a big chip on your shoulder Outlaw, if you cannot see that the church is not the creator of truth as regards human sexuality.  It cannot change the evident!
Unfortunately, what was once obvious to everyone no longer is so, but the Church must defend truth –again, not create it.
And what is the truth about human sexuality?  What is the truth about mankind? Is there a truth about human nature, or can we alter it at will?  These are questions I have pondered and discussed with friends who agree to disagree with me.  And you know what, I am fine with that.  We just agree to disagree.
But let me try to explain to you Outlaw, the best I can, why I believe homosexual unions are not real marriages.  First, nothing is stopping homosexuals from co-habiting.  They do so already.  Is co-habiting equal to marriage? No.
Why marry at all?  Is it merely for financial stability? Why not just live together (co-habit)?  While love is a big factor in establishing a lasting bond, an even bigger one is the possibility of establishing a family.  Children require stability.
Can homosexual partners have a stable family? Sure they can, but to have common biological children, they would need to go against nature.  How?  By producing babies in Petri-dishes.  Is this fair for these children?  I don’t personally believe so.  Everyone is entitled to be born as a result of the loving union between parents in a natural way (at least we would hope the union is a loving one).
Unlike heterosexual unions, where the body parts meant for fertile biological bonding actually fit (like a jigsaw puzzle) –sorry for graphics, the body parts of homosexuals meant for this sort of union do not actually fit.  Ergo, I would question whether mother nature intended these unions in the first place.
Does this mean that 2 people cannot co-habit?  No, it does not.  Does this mean the church will condemn them?  No.
But what you must understand is, the church has absolutely no power to go against scripture or against nature in this matter.  Check out :
Gen 19:1-14
Lev 18:22
1 Cor 6:9-10
1 Tim 1:10
You see Outlaw_CA, the Church is a lot less powerful than you think!  It cannot just make up its own laws against what it has been handed down to teach, both by God through scripture, and by God via the observation of nature.
At the same time, we do not ever condemn homosexuals.  There is a clear distinction between the actions of a person and the person him or herself.
I cannot understand why you cannot see that the fault lies not with the Church, but with what is written in our own biology.

by Fr. Tim

Dec 23 2009
3:12 AM
O/C:  Happy to oblige by offering my thoughts.
1. Yes, I would agree with the definition of papal authority as you put it forward.
2 You also have a very Catholic understanding of the bible. We believe that it contains "religious truth" which is distinct from historical or literal truth. After all, we should know as it was a Catholic council that established the canon that is the bible.  Martin Luther made a few changes when he dropped some books, but the church has not changed its contents. One simply needs to read the way the early church fathers used scripture to understand that it is to be interpreted in different ways than literally.
3. I personally do not have a problem with the church's teachings on homosexuality. No one has to belong to the RC Church. It is legal (and in some churches sacral) for gays to "marry" in Canada, so anyone has the right to exercise their freedom of religion and join a church that is more sympatico with their beliefs. The church does not need to change its beliefs to accommodate all believers.
I always think of this central issue by reflecting upon the texts about the "new Jerusalem" in the Book of Revelations. Its wall, which delineates the point of division between those who chose to accept the invitation of Christ from those who did not, is described as being a very short wall; one that could easily be stepped over.
I look at it this way. In my opinion, the one attribute that humans uniquely is endowed with is "free will". For me, it is this that is created in "the image and likeness of God". Thus at our very essence, we have the right to choose to believe and act as we wish. It is simply a matter of accepting the consequences of our decisions. Thus our "final judgment" will not be some sort of "divine courtroom", but it will simply be God treating us in the manner that we chose in life. If we demonstrate that we wanted to be with God in heaven (by loving God & neighbor), then he will respect our wish. If we lived our life as a declaration that we do not want to be with God, then he will respect that decision as well.
It is simply a matter of deciding what side of the fence we want to stand on.
Where I do have a problem is with the redefinition of "marriage". It has universally been accepted in virtually every culture to mean the union of one man and one women. It is essentially a judeo-christian concept that has been codified in law. If the State wishes to offer the same rights and benefits to same-sex unions, it is well within their purview to do so. But please do not call it a marriage. Civil Union, Domestic Partnership, anything else appropriate would be fine. Just leave us the concept of marriage for what it has always meant.
People have the right to live their life however they want. John Paul II said many times the role of the church was to "propose" and never "impose" its teachings or will. The church has not often lived up to the standard he has set... but damn it, they should!
I stand as a Catholic priest in the mold of JPII. I have read and studied his teachings and writings. I have tried to form my religious life as a priest according to these sources as well. This means that I adhere to the truths that have been handed down to us, such as the definition of what constitutes a "marriage". Let the state get out of the "marriage business" anyway. It is a religiously based institution (at least as we have practiced it in western society), leave it to the churches and register all unions with the state as domestic partnerships.
Enough of a sermon for one night.
Thank you for the chance to discuss these topics with you. It helps me to clarify my beliefs by having to examine why it is that I believe them. You are a kind soul to have the patience to work through this important issues with me (and others).
Fr. Tim

by Fr. Tim

Dec 23 2009
3:23 AM
CrisA: Wow! That post was awesome.
Your theology is perfect and your presentation concise, lucid, and without a single nasty word in it!
Please post often! You should be a model for how most of these threads should and could work. Instead of being petri dishes for invective, they are a place where ideas can be articulated, debated and entered into the greater issues of our country.
"Holy Post" indeed!
You go girl!
Fr. Tim

Read more: http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/holy-post/archive/2009/12/17/father-raymond-j-de-souza-the-vatican-s-green-gambit.aspx?CommentPosted=true#commentmessage#ixzz0aTmi6sO7

Archbishop Martin (Dublin) seems to get it!

Archbishop Martin has intimated that each of the Bishops named in the Dublin report on clergy sexual abuse should resign as Ordinary of their respective Dioceses. Not only is it refreshing that a Bishop is calling his brother bishops to take responsibility for these abuses, and for the neglectful way that they dealt with the victims of abusing priests. He seems to understand that the laity need this step to believe that the Church is serious about taking responsibility for its misdeeds... and that the Bishops need to demonstrate this by assuming this responsibility personally.

Click on the title on this post to be taken to the story on the Catholic Culture which will offer links to more source documents on this story.

Here's hoping that his example will spread among the Bishop's world wide!!

Applying business practices to faith ... and it works?

This link will take you to an article published in the Globe and Mail which argues that Evangelical Christians in the USA are using standard business practices, and this accounts for their success (especially their megachurches).

It's worthy on consideration. After all, did Christ not tell us to use the wisdom of the day to promote his Kingdom?

19 December, 2009

Vatican announcement

Today the Vatican published a list of people who are either to be declared "saints" or on that "heavenly path". Most of the subsequent comment that has followed this announcement has focused upon the declaration of Pope John Paul II and Pius XII as venerable (lived lives of virtue) but for Canadians there is great joy with the inclusion of Brother Andre Bessette of St. Joseph's Oratory (Montreal) among those to be declared as saints.

Brother Andre is well known among Canadian Catholic as he is thought of as being the agent of many miracles of healing at the small oratory that he founded in Montreal.

Given the humility that Andre demonstrated in life, it seems only appropriate that the declaration of his eligibility for canonization would be a hidden gem among the news declaring the giants of John Paul and Pius XII as venerable.

18 December, 2009

There are happy priests!!!

Fr. Michael Smith (a 'happy soldier' in his own right) sent me an uplifting article today that was published by the Zenit news service about a priest from St. Louis in which he expresses his joy in ministry of over 55 years.

Sometimes I might put out the image of being dour or unhappy by the negative issues that I often deal with in these pages. Rest assured folks that I too can state unequivocally that my 20+ years as a priests has been a very positive and happy experience for me. I cannot imagine that I would ever want to do anything else!!

If God calls one to such a priestly vocation, happiness is a sure fruit of this ministry. I pray that more men will heed this divine invitation and experience the joy of the priesthood that I see in my life, and in the life of most priests that I have come to know.

I've been challenged to make a statement about how the church responds to the various sex abuse scandals

One of the things that I do each day in my spare time between services and appointments is participate in various comment threads of major Canadian news websites such as the National Post.

Today I was challenged to make a definitive statement about how the various sex abuse scandals (pedophilia and sexual abuse of religious sisters) should be handled by a poster who goes by the handle of Outlaw_ca. He put the challenge as follows:

In case valid cases how many priests and bishops were fired and were they referred to authorities for prosecution. I think your and church mind set is protection of the Church, I am more concerned about the fair treatment of victims. Why has this been hidden from you for all these years. Now that you know what do you plan to do? Would you ask the Vatican to provide the answers and keep us posted on your blog?

Here is the response I offered to him in those same National Post threads.

O/C: You are absolutely correct. If priests or bishops are positively identified as been responsible for these abuses, they should be removed from the clerical state (defrocked) immediately. And, yes I will immediately post this same comment on my blog.

This is what is driving me nuts about these scandals. You would think that by now the powers of the church would understand that as horrible as these sex abuse incidents are, the cover-up is worse. I don't mean that in terms of the impact on specific individuals or to in any way minimize the evil of sexual abuse, but by trying to protect themselves (for lets be honest with each other - despite the protests that they are trying to "protect" the church, at this point they are really protecting their own interests) they are doing far more damage to the faith than they seem to acknowledge.

There are however a few hopeful signs. The fact that the Archbishop of Dublin is now prompting those bishops named in the recent inquiry as having been guilty of covering up the abuse there should step down. Alas only one bishop (from Limerick) has taken his advice. I do not understand why it is that these men do not see that to not step down eviscerates their own statements that they want to be part of the solution. I guess the book of proverbs is still true when it says "pride goeth before the fall".

Fr. Tim

I appreciate that O/C asks me to put this issue before the Vatican, but in truth I do not know how I would do that. However I can say from experience that bishops (including my own) do follow this blog, so perhaps this forum might serve to at least start the ball rolling.

The church has to come to understand that the manner in which they have handled these affairs up to now has been insufficient in the eyes of most people, be they Catholic or not and if the church wants to rebuild trust with its members it needs to do more.

Bishops CAN have an effective voice IF they are willing to SPEAK UP in the Public Square

US News and World Report publishes an article today commenting on the renewed and strengthened voice that the American Bishops have had on the Health Care debate in the United States, particularly with respect to abortion.

It seems that the American Bishops, buoyed by the strong and public witness of what I refer to as the John Paul II Bishops, have been able to influence legislators and public opinion. They have done this through effective lobbying and public statements CLEARLY and FORCEFULLY reminding politicians of the moral imperative of protecting life.

A major part of their strategy has been to make full use of the instruments of media that this modern age provides.

Another example of this new willingness to use the levers of the media can be seen in the Sacramento Diocese where they are launching a television advertising campaign to reach out to lapse Catholics, inviting them back to Church this Christmas.

It is my prayer that the Bishops of Canada and elsewhere might be strengthened by the effectiveness of these American Episcopal interventions into the fields of politics and media and follow their example. In Canada, we are still facing the possibility of our Parliament passing a private members bill (C-384) which would duplicate the pro-euthanasia policies of the Netherlands here in our country. Perhaps of the Canadian Bishops would begin to follow the example of their brothers to the south, we will be able to ensure that the horrific Dutch experience will not be repeated here.

Please pray for all Bishops as they struggle in these difficult times to find effective ways to preach, teach and pastor to Catholics (and others) throughout the world.

17 December, 2009

Bioethics source book for Catholics

The Catholic Exchange offers a review on what they say is an excellent source book for understanding Catholic bioethics. The review can be found here. Sounds like it would be a super Christmas gift for a priest (hint, hint... if any of my family are reading this).

What will they think of next?

One of the blogs i check every day is the Catholic Dialogue site. While I don't agree with everything they post (some posts are a little off-balanced, especially when it comes to Fr. Michael Prieur and St. Joseph's Health Care Center) it usually offers something that is thought provoking and interesting.

Today there were two posts the caught my eye.

First there is a report on something that claims to be a device that will allow the distribution of communion in a new hygienic fashion. It has got to be one of the stupidest items I have ever seen. It reminds me of the days immediately following the Second Vatican Council when changes came at Catholic fast and furious. After one mass when we had witnessed some strange new development (I can't remember what it was - there were so many) I remember my father saying that eventually we will see people dispensing hosts from the type of device that bus drivers used to wear on their belts to make change. I am glad that Dad has already died because he would not want to see this new innovation.

The second post is in the same vein. It reports about a holy water dispenser that works the same way as automated soap dispensers.

Maybe I'm just getting too old, but I find it hard to believe that such "innovations" will find their way into our Catholic churches. At least I hope not.

Judge for yourself by visiting the blog here.

16 December, 2009

British government intrusion into Jewish faith

I have been receiving some emails lately suggesting that I am too concerned about the intrusion of the state into the affairs of the Church. This has caused me to look at whether or not there is any truth into their concerns. Then I stumbled across this tidbit on the the First Things blog. It presents the fact that a British court has now decided that Jewish law is "racist" and gives to the courts the right to determine who is a "Jew".

I think that I was (sadly) right all along.

Looking for something good to read... or a last minute Christmas gift for a serious minded Christian?

If you are looking for a good Christmas gift to share with a fellow Christian, George Weigel has compiled a list of excellent books for your consideration. Click on the title of this post to view his list on the EPPC website.

Quebec used to be the most Catholic of Canadian Provinces... now it's the least!

Barbara Kay of the National Post writes on the new "religion" that has taken root in Quebec with the blessings of the provincial government.

Quebec is the harbinger of what is to come in the rest of Canada unless we learn the lessons of the Church's mistakes in that province. Please pray that our Bishops will be willing to learn from their experience.

Vatican official explains the difference between just and unjust discrimination

Rev. Philip J. Bené, J.C.D., Legal Attaché for the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations offers a defense for the right of Christians to "discriminate" in its hiring practices and in its religious practices. Click on the title to this post to be taken to the article posted on lifesitenews.com

Human Rights Commission menaces Christian organization (again)

Once again the Canadian Human Rights Commission has set its perverted gaze upon a Christian organization, this time threatening "Christian Horizons" with the loss of its charitable status since it does not limit its ministry to just Christians.

Christian Horizons, an organization that provides residential care services to severely handicapped persons, has been brought before the H.R.C. by an employee who was dismissed for living in a lesbian relationship despite signing a Christian code of conduct statement as part of her employment that forbid employees from living in such a non-biblical relationship.

The ruling of the HRC tribunal was that since Christian Horizons did not limit itself to providing care to only Christians, it could not demand that its employees live in accordance with biblical principles. What's truly bizarre is that is the same HRC that previously stated that the organization could not place such a condition upon its employees UNLESS they signed such a code of conduct as a condition of their employment, something that the complainant had done.

The case has now come before the courts.

This is hardly a unique example. In Britain, the Catholic Bishops are raising concerns about new equality legislation that can be used to force the Church not only to hire individuals that live contrary to church teaching, but even to the point of demanding that the church ordains women and gays. It seems that the exemption that is granted the church is based upon a priest working more than 50% of his work "leading religious services" or providing such services that only an ordained priest could offer.

I can assure you that as a priest, I would not meet these criteria, and I doubt if the situation is any different in England. Too much of my time gets eaten up doing paperwork (often for the government!) or taking care of temporal rather than spiritual affairs.

These intrusions into the workings of religious organizations is an egregious abuse of that secular mantra: separation of church and state, for this principle not only precludes the Church from imposing its will on the state, so too should it keep the state from meddling in Church affairs.

15 December, 2009

Just-War Tradition explained

George Weigel, the man that John Paul II acclaimed to be the greatest lay theologian of the 20th century, has written a great concise post on the National Review which is also posted here on the Ethics and Public Policy Center website on the proper understanding and origin of the Just War Tradition.

It is MUST READ for anyone interested in the proper understanding of this essential element of Catholic theology, particularly when our western democracies are engaged in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Thank you George! Clearly the late Pontiff knew what he was talking about when he spoke so glowingly of you.

Balance is a hard thing to find in avoiding the Super Catholic Syndrome

Teresa Tomen writes on Catholic Exchange about something that is all too evident within the Catholic Blogosphere: a lack of balance that grows from the desire to be a "Super Catholic".

Those of us who are doing are best to try and follow the teachings of the Church know enough not to take our cues from the secular society, especially when it comes to this time of year in terms of what the world says is important. We try not to get sucked into the culture of consumerism and commercialism, of what has become society’s idea of the reason for the season; the emphasis on the material instead of the spiritual. Many of us have been there done that in our former lives and had our own “V 8″ moments so to speak.

All of that said, some of us are now striving so hard to be good Catholics that we don’t allow for balance. We are replacing that former drive for materialism with the push for perfectionism.

She hits the nail right on the head! Her advice would be well taken by those who are blistering away at those that do not hold their particular version of the "truth".

Balance is a hard thing to maintain in any faith life. Prayer is the balance pole that hopefully will keep us from falling off balance on one side or another. Let's (we Catholics that is) pray for the grace to remain balanced ourselves in our virtual ministries as we pray for each other as well.

The Soviet Socialist Republic... of Massachusetts?

An eight year old elementary student in Tauton Massachusetts was suspended from school and sent to a psychiatrist for drawing a picture of Jesus on the cross as his submission for an assignment to draw something that reminds him of Christmas. Thankfully the psychiatrist said it was safe for the child to return to school as he was not "a threat" to himself or others!

I appreciate that a teacher may have over-reacted, but surely someone in the school system would have seen how inane sending the child for a mental health evaluation simply for expressing belief in Jesus before the student was actually subjected to a mental evaluation!

So, no longer is it sufficient to take Christ out of Christmas, but now it's a sign of mental illness to express a belief that Christ, by his birth, death and resurrection is "the reason for the season"?

Sending people to mental health professional and institutions for expressing their faith was something that we associated with the USSR, not the USA.

God help us!

14 December, 2009

SoCon Blog posts insightful piece on the role of media in affecting culture

Paccheo, at SoCon.ca posts an insightful article reflecting upon the role of the media in forming societal values. As I have previous written in the initial posts on this blog, Marshall McLuhan's contention that the "medium is the message" most likely reaches in fulfillment with the advent of mass media and the internet.

I may not agree with the manner in which he sums up his argument in the last paragraph of the article (sounds to me like he is calling for a return to the days of 'Christendom") but Paccheo does present much for people of faith to consider.

Population control and answer to climate change?

The U.N. Climate summit in Copenhagen has been debating and discussing how nations should address the issue of climate change (formerly known as 'global warming'. One of the more disturbing suggestions to deal with the issue is for a global policy which would facilitate a reduction in the number of humans on the planet. Diane Francis of the National Post joins her voice to this suggestion when she called for the world wide implementation of China's 'one child' policy.

This is just another example where science appears to spit up inane suggestions to deal with a supposed crisis. Not only would this be a GROSS infringement of human rights, but the suggestion is racist and reeks of the type of science that can best be exemplified by the Nazi fascist regime of the 1930's and 40's.

I use the terms racist and fascist very deliberately for when one explores the models and examples these scientist propose, it is inevitable that the sacrifice of life is usually to be found in the third world.

As explained by John Vidal, the paper's environment editor, this allows rich consumers to offset their jet-set lifestyle by paying for contraception in poorer countries.
According to Vidal, the trust's calculations show that the 10 metric tons of carbon emitted by a return flight from London to Sydney could be offset by preventing the birth of one child in a country such as Kenya.

'Kenya'? Why not a British or Australian citizen? After all they would seem to be the countries that would benefit in this example. Given that the 'carbon footprint' (the new yardstick by which life is being measured) of someone in the developed world is far in excess of those in Africa, one is left to wonder how many Kenyans could take flights across the planet if say a Canadian or European were to forgo their life? The very fact that the authors of this report would choose an African to be denied life and not one of their own chills the blood of anyone who believes in the sanctity of life.

If one examines the situation from a demographic perspective, one can also see that most of the citizens of the developed world (Europe, North America) have already put this policy into practice as the birthrate their is already falling below replacement level, with the growth in their population coming primarily from immigration. So perhaps the motive for this suggestion is rooted, at least partially in an attempt to be able to maintain a privileged life for the developed minority.

One might think this to be an exaggeration, but seen in the light of the Swiss referendum banning minarets, and the rising tide of xenophobia throughout Europe as country after country struggle to deal with the issue of blending immigrants from Africa and Turkey (immigrants who don't seem inclined to adopt the values and practices of their host countries) it is not too far a stretch to question the motives of those calling for such draconian measures.

Science usually promotes itself as a value free exercise; proposing theories that are supported only by 'evidence'. This claim is certainly suspect when the theory calls for the implementation of policies that are tainted with such evil intent.

Just how big is the universe?

Every now and then there is a science article that provides an insight into the nature of things that serves to reinforce Christian belief. The Globe and Mail has published such an article entitled "Where does the universe end?".

I draw your attention to following quote:

The Universe doesn't end, as counter-intuitive as this seems. Once again, language confuses concepts. We speak of a ‘Big Bang' but don't mean a ‘bang' like an explosion, which has a centre and a shock wave that moves spherically out into air from the explosion.

Instead, the ‘Big Bang' happened everywhere in the Universe at once, with no centre. Shortly after the ‘Big Bang', density and pressure of the Entire Universe were the same everywhere. So, pressure difference could not possibly create an explosion. The ‘Big Bang' wasn't a bang at all.

Humm... so the universe appeared everywhere all at once. Sounds like the Genesis account to me.

13 December, 2009

Remember the Club of Rome?

Back in the 1970's there was an influential groups of academics and power brokers who were advocating for the immediate need for stringent population control, based upon their projections that the earth would be unable to sustain the human population. They are called the Club of Rome. Their message is being heard again in the halls of the Copenhagen Conference.

This alarmist message is being put forward to justify the limitation of the human right to reproduce. Check out this story at ZENIT for more details.

Scriptural lesson on religious dialogue

Michael Brandon, on his blog "Freedom Through Truth" shares a wisdom he heard from his parish priest, Fr. John Pirt of the Diocese of London on this Third Sunday of Advent. Fr. John was a seminarian one year in advance of me at St. Peter's Seminary. I always thought he was a fine fellow. I appears that he is wise as well.

The lesson that he drew from the Gospel of the day is an inspiration for those who are dealing with the great questions that exist between the various faiths of today.

Thanks to him, and to Michael for sharing this wisdom with us.

Fr. Tim

Our priest Father John Pirt, preached a good homily about the Gospel today. He spoke of the 3 different types of people that came to John, the soldiers, the tax collectors, and the main stream of Jews. Each group, John met them where they were at. The soldiers, who were not Jews, but Roman occupiers, were able by their power to take from the people, and John told them to not to extort, nor falsely accuse and to be satisfied with their wages. To the tax collectors, who were Jews, but despised by the other Jews because of their jobs, he told to collect only what was proscribed, and not to cheat the people. To the main stream of people, his advice was to share what they had with each other.

It is a good reminder to us that when we encounter someone who's faith is different than ours, it is our duty, like John, to meet them where they are at. John did not tell the Roman soldiers to immediately go and get circumsized, as was the Jewish custom. He accepted them where they were, and invited them to take the first step towards faith.

Parental rights disappearing in Germany

If there is one thing that has always been a foundational principle of law in our western democracy, it has been the right of parents to make decisions regarding their children. Alas, this bedrock right is now under attack.

Lifesitenews is promoting a story about eight German parents who are going to jail because the held their children home from state sponsored sex education classes. It seems that in Germany, the state has decided that it possesses the right to make these decisions instead of parents.

This should raise alarms throughout the western world, especially among Christians. Time and time again we are told that we do not have the right to "impose" our views on others - and for the most part, Christians have respected this societal convention. With this decision in Germany, it is clear that the forces of secularism do not believe that they need offer the same right to Christians.

This is just another example of a "canary in the coal mine"; a harbinger of what awaits us in North America if we do not start to militantly defend our principles and rights in the face of the secular project. We can no longer take for granted that these foundational principles will sustain our rights - for the forces of secularism are now undermining these same said principles.

12 December, 2009

The question of religious freedom throughout the world

The topic of "religious freedom" has come to the fore via the Swiss referendum banning the construction of minarets. In the National Post's religion blog (Holy Post) there has been an extensive discussion on this story. Essentially the debate boils down to should Christians adopt a position of militant reciprocity ("you can have your rights here when we can have our rights there") or should our approach be one that calls to the greater angels within Islam so as to call them to the theological/cultural developments to permit the acknowledgment of religious plurality.

It is in this light that I recommend an article published by the American Spectator which examines the States that infringe upon the right to religious freedom. This article gives some "real world" perspective with which to assess the challenges that theists face in asserting their right of belief.

The Great Consolidator

The American Spectator has published an article focusing on the steps that Pope Benedict XVI has taken to bring back into full communion various groups that have split from the Roman Communion. A great deal of ink has been spilled over his overtures to Anglicans, but they point out as well the fact that Pope Benedict has also prepared the way for reunion with traditionalists and with the Orthodox Church.

These steps are simply the actualization of what he said that he was going to do in his first homily as pontiff. We can only hope that his efforts will come to fruition in his lifetime.

11 December, 2009

The Catholicism Project

Word on Fire Ministries is completing the final details of a television series called "The Catholicism Project. Read about it here.

CCCB (Canadian Bishops Conference) publishes sex abuse policy document

I am often saying that the Canadian Bishops (all Bishops for that matter) need to be judged not on how they dealt with sex abuse cases in the past, but by how they are living up to their policy today.

So here is a link that will take you to the official policy of the Canadian Bishops. Use it to measure and determine whether or not the Church is currently practicing what it preaches!

American Babylon: Richard Neuhaus' final book reviewed

G. Tracy Mehan has written an excellent review of American Babylon:Notes of a Christian Exile. It is published here. Any one who appreciated Neuhaus' insightful writings in First Things, especially his "The Public Square" ruminations at the end of each issue will no doubt enjoy reading this book.

10 December, 2009

British legislation menaces Church right to choose their own clergy

British Bishops have warned the Parliament that legislation that is currently before it might be used to force the Catholic Church to ordain women and married men. What protection that exists is framed as a position where the majority of work time is sacramental, ie)priest = agent of sacraments. But as a clergyman I know that the majority of my time is spent taking care of more pedantic affairs such as caring for church property, paperwork etc., or at best religious work that a lay person can also accomplish, visiting the sick, cathechetical instruction or sacramental preparation.

Given the growing adversarial relationship that exists between the forces of faith and the forces of secularism, is it wise to vest in one side or the other the right to so profoundly and directly impose their will upon the other?

Experiences in Quebec clearly demonstrate the folly of the Church accepting the promise of good faith or favorable interpretation of the language of the legislation. For issue after issue, the Quebec Bishops quietly acquiesced to one intrusion after another, only to find the "firm commitment" of politicians melt like spring ice when the climate of the times changes. Now faith is effectively shuttered within the walls of its churches as it has been excluded from every other instrument of the public square and articulate voices of faith, such as the offerings of Cardinal Ouellette in Quebec City.

The British Bishops have every reason to be worried if history is indeed a good teacher.

Different standards for Catholic vs Protestant clergy offenders

Today's National Post published an article about another Newfoundland Priest who has been charged with child pornography charges. The one difference this time is that the alleged offender is a priest of the Anglican Church of Canada and not Roman Catholic.

Actually, there is another notable difference. In the 24+ hours that this story has been posted on the NP website, not one single comment of condemnation has appeared in the response to these sordid revelations. When it is a Roman Catholic clergyman, within mere minutes the vitriolic avalanche of comments begin to accumulate in the comment threads, usually hitting 100+ responses/comments within the first 24-36 hours. This most certainly is the case whenever the Lahey scandal incites a new report within the pages of the National Post.

Now that the clergyman is a married man with children... and protestant... the story passes without a single comment.

But is this one case not insufficient to justify a charge of general prejudice against the Catholic faith? Yes. However... add to this case the fact that the day before a Lutheran pastor in British Columbia was sentenced to jail for the production of child porn, an event that did not even warrant coverage in the Post - let alone hundreds of condemnatory comments.

So, given that the only major difference in these cases is the denomination of the offender, does this suffice to raise the level of concern about the reality of an anti-Catholic bias within both the MSM, and those who participate in the virtual discussions that follow the posting of the stories on their websites?

It at least gives cause for concern.

Fr. Tim Moyle
Mattawa, Ont

09 December, 2009

"The Final Call" starts a multi part investigation into the manner which the Church has treated victims of "the long lent" of sex abuse cases

Ashahed M. Muhammad -Asst. Editor- of The Final Call, ( a black Muslim website/paper) begins a series of investigatory pieces examining the manner in which the church has treated the victims of clergy sex offenders. This first installment raises the issue of race, but this is an argument that is well refuted. However, the subject soon moves to the manner in which victims are being dealt with, and the legal/financial strategies of some Dioceses, a far more damning situation for the church and its Bishops.

Whereas the State has the obligation to enforce the criminal law of the land - using the legal system to assign guilt and determine levels of compensation, whenever the Church uses the same protections offered to any legal entity in its defense, or if it adapts the tactics and standards of lawyers and insurance executives (and yes, even criminals), it is pilloried once again.

Yet, the question that I believe should guide the hearts of church men is to determine what is in the best interests of the "Good" (as understood in the Thomistic formulations that marked my formation and education). If the church exists to be the visible presence of Christ in the world, then it must always bind itself "with hoops of steel" to its primary mission of ministering Christ to the world.

So what is the "Good" as understood in these cases? Aside from the niceties of a Thomistic debate, and to steal a line from our evangelical brothers and sisters, the yardstick by which the Church is here and now being judged is "What would Jesus do?" As the earthly tabernacle of God's Holy Spirit here on earth, these four simple words provide the standard for judgment against which we are being measured. If we claim to speak for the Messiah, then must we not expect to be judged by how well our actions match our words.

Why do I believe this to be so? It is because the people who have moved into the offices of power and influence within virtually every western country, are the first of the "un-churched" to make such decisions without any significant religious or philosophical training, aside from those they received from purely secular sources. People are no longer willing to engage in studying the nuance of a situation... unless it effects them in some direct way. Understanding Christian values now happens in the stark black and white absolutes of "good" and "evil".

Bishop Jim Wingle (St. Catherines) addresses Catholic obligations to Life issues

Bishop Jim Wingle (St. Catherines Diocese) has granted an excellent interview in the pages of his Diocesan Newspaper on the obligations of Catholics to work for the promotion of Catholic values, especially those that fall under the heading of "Life issues" (abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research).

That a bishop would call for Catholics to work for these causes is hardly new, however Bishop Wingle points out that the battle needs to be waged on the level of our self-definition as Catholic. Put simply, we need to sell the argument that we are not "anti-choice" but "pro-life". In other words, we have let the opponents of Catholic values define us as "negative".

Thank you Bishop Wingle (which for the sake of full disclosure I add that he was originally a priest of our Pembroke Diocese before he was taken away for greater things)! Your witness, voice and counsel in these issues are welcome by all who work for the cause of faith and life!!!!

How to define the "Catholic Identity" of higher schools of learning

"Inside Higher Ed" presents an interview with Rev. John C. Haughey, a senior fellow at Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University, and the author of the book Where is Knowing Going? in which he explores what it means to be "Catholic" as a college or university. His insights are worthy of consideration, as are the comments that follow the posting.

We have entered a time in which we as a Church will no longer be afforded the "benefit" of our good intentions (as slim as these blessings are today) and we will have to clearly identify our "brand" if we intend to effectively compete in the marketplace of today's value systems. Pure, unfettered self-autonomy is the zenith to which the majority aspire. The prescripts and teachings of Catholic morality will literally need to to be "sold" to citizens in today's consumer culture. Thankfully we've faced this same challenge before.

In fact, this desire to be our own god is as old as creation. In Genesis, where Adam and Eve confront the tree of knowledge is a perfect foretelling of the current situation. Seduced by the desire to know himself as "god", man fell into sin. The question that these preternatural parents faced then was the same as it is today: Can I accept that there is a being that created me? For a purpose, and as part of a plan? Can I accept that there are things that I must or must not do because of his/her/its will for me? Or do I claim sovereignty over every aspect of my being and accept to live by whatever creed or benefit I so choose, accepting whatever are the consequences of my action?

This is the essential question that must be addressed by theists today: "Are we God?"

It is not a question that we can address successfully if we are not certain as to our "brand". I appreciate that catholic conventionally is understood as meaning universal, but there logically must be a point where a belief is antithetical to faith, thus placing it beyond the "universal", outside of Catholicity. It has never been possible (aside from the divine attributes) for something to fully exist and not exist at the same time and in the same space. If one can choose not to be "catholic", then they must be permitted as a corollary of free will to carry the consequences of their decisions. If we choose to live this life in such a manner as to demonstrate that we do not wish to either know or love God, then he could not force us to be with him in the next life. Hell will be to KNOW of the fullness of God's promise, and to be denied it, for all eternity.

Given the gravity of the decision, we need to learn how to use the language, technologies and language of this generation if we want to sustain our Catholic Church in these times.

This article is an excellent exploration of these questions; questions that need to be addressed by the church, its bishops, priests and laity if we intend to evangelize our societies and bring the Good News of Jesus Christ into the future.
First, let us be clear on what it means to be "Catholic" in every venue of life; academic, occupational, trades, vocations of every kind. Then we will be ready to confront the challenge before us of arguing for the faith.

My dear friend and mentor - Fr. Richard Neuhaus (RIP 2009)

Here is the bulk of a CBC piece on Fr. Richard Neuhaus that is well worth watching. He was without a doubt one of the single most influential voices in the Catholic Church of the past 50 years.

08 December, 2009

Holy Father hale and healthy!

A well connected friend of mine who is currently in Rome, assures me that there is no foundation to the speculation as to the Holy Father's health. This is good news for all people of good faith.

Let's not forget to remember him in prayer each and every day that God keep him in good health until the end.


Please comment on the pro-life argument presented below

Caitrin, one of the friends of this blog, posted an excellent comment in the Communion to Pro-Life story. I post it below, together with my response. I invite comment upon my analysis of the situation.

Thanks for your help in exploring these arguments and suggestions.

Fr. Tim

caitrin said...

Justin Trudeau seems to think that he can support abortions rights and call himself Catholic.

Fr. Tim, people hate pro-lifers. The church hierarchy is not too fond of pro-lifers or "conservative' catholics ( a descriptor I dislike because truly there is only orthodoxy or heterodoxy) either. So it is not surprising that politicians, who want people to like them, abjure church teaching. The liberal party has long ago become hostile to pro-life members.

To proclaim your pro-life beliefs is to instantly discredit yourself as a politician in this country.

My husband and I have attended the Life Chain for many years and have brought along our children from very young ages. Many years we have not even one priest in attendance. What are we to make of that? I was happy to see our Bishop attend in May but frankly, I think the pro-life community feels very abandoned by the church.

Fr. Tim Moyle said...

Caitrin: I fear that the answer to you question and comment is not entirely easy to understand, but I believe that there are two or three motivations that together explain the lack of reaction and support from clergy.

1. As priest, we are the instruments of God's mercy and forgiveness. We are the people to whom people confess such sins as abortion. We know that, with very few exceptions these people are not "bad" people - that they should not be defined as evil because of what they did. When we hear the anguished voice of a parent who brings to God their guilt over obtaining an abortion for their young daughter; when we watch them being torn apart by their love of their child, menaced by fears of a lost future coming into conflict with their faith, we feel immense compassion. We would be poor examples of the priesthood if we were not moved by these moments of brokenness.


As Bishop Fulton Sheen was known to often state: we as clergy of the Church are called to practice a ministry guided by the principle "mercy in truth". If we neglect either side of this important method, then sin prevails. Being priest demands of us fidelity to the teachings of the church and we must minister within all of the facets of her message. The prayerful skill that is needed is the be faithful with God's mercy and judgment.

2. Further to this, there are clergy who are sensitive to the vox populi, which in Canada seems to speak of support for the status quo. They do not want to be seen as "extreme" or "out of the mainstream" as they fear that this will result in the loss of many of the faithful who practice their faith. Think of this as the"water in the wine" school of thought: better to have lots of people hear some teaching than for fewer to hear all of it - a spiritual law of diminishing returns.

Again the error here is that if we continue to accommodate these secular drives (framed as they are as being manifestations of the "right to self-autonomy"), then soon we will find ourselves in a corner where no one will come to church because we stand for nothing.

3. Finally, I can also see the same political wisdom that Ted Kennedy followed throughout his career in the Senate (never bad to learn from one's opponent) of make compromises that bring you incrementally closer to your ultimate goal - kind of a "reverse" inculturation against the forces of secularism.

All of this being said, I understand as well that no matter what our tactics might be in bringing about a more just and moral society, we must be vocal and clear as to our ultimate goals - in this we have no choice - if we wish to be faithful to the voice of the the Successor to Peter and stand for LIFE!

Might I suggest the following: write to your Bishop and ask him to consider mandating participation of the local clergy at next years "Life Chain" (something that his "Council of Priests" could discuss). If he will state publicly that he himself will attend, as will the majority of the area clergy, this would serve to lift the profile of the Life arguments of the Church - for it would garner some notice in the local and Catholic press. This simple act of education and respectful request placed before your Ordinary can be presented as the laity bringing to the attention of their church a challenge to their faith, an approach that will most likely be warmly and positively received.

The pro-life community has indeed been left to fend on its own, with only token support from priests and bishops. But you have succeeded in keeping these important issues on the public agenda. Imagine what you could accomplish if you could unite your efforts with the witness of the clergy of the church. In dioceses where this has happened, it has served to stiffen the resolve of the Church and benefited the cause of life.

Google the news stories from various dioceses in North America. Put together a presentation package for the Bishop that he can bring to his Council of Priests. Help to bring the clergy into the fold by tuning your message to be heard amongst the clammer of daily ministry. You won't get them all... but you will get enough. That's all that Christ, our High Priest has promised, but that's all that we will need.

Fr. Tim

07 December, 2009

John Denver & the Muppets - nice song to quiet the soul

This is what I've been trying to say....

 R.J. Rushdoony is not an unblemished voice in the concert of Christian social values: the conclusions that he held as orthodox and proper views would today result in his universal condemnation... and rightly so. But in at least this snippet of text he captures the essence of something very important. If you can free yourself from his misapplied labels of "conservative"  or "radical humanists" (think of them as little more than algebraic expressions, "A" or "B") we can see an insightful piece of societal analysis in the ongoing cultural and religious exchanges between Islamic and Christian faiths and the importance of defending creedal values.

"Every social order has an implicit creed, and this creed defines and informs it. When a social order begins to crumble, it is because the basic faith, its creed has been undermined. But the political defense of that order is usually made the first line of defense; it becomes the conservative position. But because the defense is politically rather than creedally informed, it is a superficial defense and crumbles steadily under a highly doctrinaire and creedal opposition. Thus, Cicero's defense of the Roman republic was a spirited and heroic effort, but it was also the epitome of impotence. The republic was already dead; Cicero himself did not believe in the religion on which the republic had been based. When Cicero could not accept the religious foundations which made an aristocracy sovereign, how could he expect to rebellious masses to accept it? Cicero's position was essentially personal, and the various defenders of the republic were more linked by purely personal tastes and interests than a creedal position. . . . . The conservatives attempt to retain the political forms of the Christian West with no belief in Biblical Christianity. Apart from vague affirmations of liberty, they cannot defend their position philosophically. The conservatives therefore become fact-finders: they try to oppose the humanists by documenting their cruelty, corruption, and abuse of office. If the facts carry any conviction to the people, they lead them only to exchange one set of radical humanists for reforming radical humanists. It is never their faith in the system which is shaken, but only in a form or representative of that system. The success of the subversive rests on their attack on the creed of the establishment, and its replacement by a new creed. When the foundations are provided, the general form of the building is determined. When the creed is accepted, the social order is determined. There can therefore be no reconstruction of the Christian civilization of the west except on Christian creedal foundations." —The Foundations of Social Order, R. J. Rushdoony, page 225-6

Midnight Mass time change at Vatican: Is the Pope ill?

While it easy for any priest to understand the appeal of an earlier Christmas eve celebration than the traditional midnight hour, it is surely at least a reminder that we must continue to pray daily in support of our Holy Father.

As priests, we owe it to him, the faithful and ourselves to pray that the successor of Peter be safe and in good health. Not many of us could carry his workload and stress in our 60's, let alone as he is on the northern side of his 80's. With the aid of our guardian angels and the intercession of Mary, Mother of all priests he continues apace with his efforts to guide the barque of Christ through these complicated times.

As ethnic, cultural and religious stresses are rising around the world (see National Post articles on Swiss Minaret issue), the strong voice of reasoned faith such as animates the soul of Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVIth is surely needed.

Still... midnight mass at 10 pm?

Link to article in Referenced Article Box

If this is true... than thank you Your Excellency for stepping forward and taking responsibility

Irish Prelate off to see the Holy Father... to offer resignation??

Drawing strength and inspiration from the witness of our fore brothers in the priesthood of Jesus Christ

(Taken from New Jesuit Review)

There is a phrase in the Epistle to the Hebrews that I have always associated with the missionaries of Huronia because it is used in the readings proper to the Jesuit celebration of the Martyrs Feast. 

In telling how people lived in faith, the author of Hebrews speaks of some wandering over the face of the earth while yearning for their heavenly homeland:  Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection.  Others suffered mocking and flogging and even chains and
imprisonment.  They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented—of whom the world was not worthy.  They wandered in deserts and mountains and in caves and holes in the ground (Hebrews 11:35b-38).

Our evangelist is giving a description of how, throughout salvation history, people signalled that they lived by faith, seeking a homeland better than they knew.  Our biblical author shows us that he reads salvation history in a new way—in the lives of the faith community's forebears—hoping thereby to persuade his contemporaries that they, too, can live heroically.  Similarly, the example of the Martyrs, though in a different time and culture, should model our witnessing to Christ in our daily lives.
For they in the past and we in the present are being enlightened by the Holy Spirit into discovering unexpected truths.  The prism through which all of reality and every human experience are being filtered lies in Christ's passion, death and resurrection.  For Jesus is described in Hebrews 12 as “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the sake of the joy that was set before Him Jesus endured the Cross, disregarding its shame” (Hebrews 12:2). The same reality can be looked at from a variety of angles.  This is what the New Testament did also with regard to the death of Jesus.  The sign of opprobrium, of rejection, of disgrace and shame—the cross as instrument of crucifixion—became the sign of glory and the model for all of Christian discipleship.  

The power of the Paschal Mystery to shed light on and interpret faith experiences is one of the many parallels we may find in the life and death of the Martyrs and the Epistle to the Hebrews. Today, I would like to focus our reflection on the Martyrs upon the first missionary to die in Huronia, Anthony Daniel on July 4, 1648. Born in Dieppe on May 27, 1601, Antoine Daniel had already begun legal studies when he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus at Rouen on October 1, 1621. He was a teacher of junior classes at the Collège in Rouen (1623–27), studied theology at the Collège in Clermont (1627–30), taught humanities (1630–1631), and was minister at the Collège in Eu (1631–32).  In 1626 Father Charles Lalemant wrote from Quebec to his brother Jerome: “A little Huron is going to see you; he longs to see France. He is very fond of us and manifests a strong desire to be instructed; nevertheless, his father and the Captain of the nation wishes to see him next year, assuring us that, if he is satisfied, he will give him to us for some years. It is of importance that he should be thoroughly satisfied, for if this child is once instructed, it will open the way to many tribes where he will be very useful.” The young Huron lad in question, Amantacha, was baptized at Rouen during the time that Father Daniel was a teacher at the college and the presence of the young Huron at Rouen may have played some part in his missionary vocation.

In 1632, Father Daniel arrived at Cape Breton (Nova Scotia), where the habitation was under the command of his brother Charles, a French captain. The following year 1633, he was at Quebec and was assigned, with Jean de Brébeuf to the Huron Mission though their departure did not take place until 1634.

No missionary experienced the hardships and perils offered at that period by the trip into Huronia as much as Father Daniel did; in 1634 and again in 1638 he was abandoned on the way by his guides.  He soon found himself not only alone but ill, and he attributed to special divine protection the fact that he was able to reach his destination at all. The return trip he made in 1636 was equally arduous, and on arrival at Trois-Rivières he was literally exhausted. Daniel made rapid progress in learning the language, and he had soon taught the children to sing the Our Father and Creed in Huron. His kindness, his gentleness, and his gifts as a teacher caused him to be assigned to a new apostolate that the missionaries, in their lack of experience of the actual circumstances, thought both feasible and full of promise for the propagation of the faith: the founding at Quebec of a seminary to which young Hurons would come to be trained in Christian knowledge and virtues. That college in founded in Quebec is sometimes seen as the foundation of a series of colleges and theological institutes that leads to Toronto’s Regis College.

So great were the hopes aroused by this foundation that Huronia sacrificed for it one of its best missionaries, and the Jesuits at Quebec deprived themselves of the services of five very useful servants. Two years’ experience was to show that the children of Huronia were not suited to, and not suitable for, this European type of education. 

The splendid dream came to naught, and brought about Father Daniel’s return to active missionary life. He devoted himself to it indefatigably and effectively for ten years. On July 4, 1648 the Iroquois overran the Saint-Joseph II mission (Teanaostaiaë, near Hillsdale, Simcoe County, Ontario) just as Father Daniel was finishing his Mass. He encouraged the neophytes and spoke so movingly of the truths of the faith that the pagans in large numbers asked him to baptize them. After wreaking havoc in the village, the Iroquois attacked the chapel: “Flee,” said the missionary to his congregation, “and keep the faith to your dying breath.” 

As for himself, his life belonged to the souls in his charge. He left the chapel and strode towards the enemy, who were astonished by such courage. When the first moment of stupefaction had passed, his body was riddled with arrows. A bullet struck him in the chest, passing through his body, and he fell uttering the name of Jesus. After desecrating his body, the Iroquois threw it into the fire that was consuming the chapel. 

As the first martyr of Huronia, Father Daniel, even after his death, inspired in his brother missionaries a wealth of tenderness and encouragement. Father Ragueneau, his superior, spoke of him in a letter to the Father General of the Jesuit Order as "a truly remarkable man, humble, obedient, united with God, of never failing patience and indomitable courage in adversity" (Thwaites, tr. Relations, XXXIII, 253-269).

In this Year of the Priest 2009-2010, various models of selfless service are set before us: the holy Cure d’Ars and St. Padre Pio of Pietralcina, whose feast was earlier this week: great confessors and reformers of the priesthood in their day. But the model of priestly heroism surely extends to the martyrdom of Anthony Daniel who, like Jesus the Good Shepherd, laid down his life for his flock.
“The first decades of the seventeenth century were a real springtime for the Church in France. 

Mysticism, missionary zeal, charitable works—all came together in an outburst of holiness” (M.J. Lacroix in Companions of Jesus: Spiritual Profiles of the Jesuit Saints and Beati; Rome: General’s Curia, 1974, p. 73). It included St. John Francis Regis, to whose tomb St. Jean Marie Vianney made a pilgrimage as he discerned his call to the priesthood; it also included, I believe, Anthony Daniel and our other martyr saints of Huronia and New York recalled today.  The gospel reading, drawn from Matthew's gospel, encapsulates the spiritual motivation for all that the Christians of Huronia did—how they lived and with what dispositions they wished to die.  The second half of the gospel begins with Jesus telling His disciples about the divine logic that permitted His suffering and death as the way of His total self-donation to others and the Father.  God's response to such selfless love lies in the resurrection, the beginning of a new way of being present to people in their need, the Kingdom of God and life eternal.

The foolishness of the divine logic is that others are called to enter on the same way to eternal life by living in this world as Jesus did.  “If anyone wants to be my follower, let him or her deny self, take up the cross and follow me.  For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25).  This was the outlook the Martyrs absorbed as they prayed daily, and as they steeped themselves in gospel spirituality during their annual retreat, when they contemplated their Lord and Saviour in the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola, their spiritual guide and mentor.  It was also the experience of St. Paul in the first reading which speaks of the missionary disciple as carrying in his body the “dying of Jesus” so that the risen “life may be made visible in our mortal flesh”.  

Now well into the Third Millennium of Christ's coming in our midst, we want to share the Good News with our age.  In the Jesuit Relation are contained words of advice on how to be an effective evangelist drawing people to Christ.  Written by an experienced missioner for a newly- arrived recruit, it intended to draw the Native People to Christ.  It can serve as a model for us in drawing those who do not yet know Christ to follow Him. Not so much knowledge is necessary as friendship and sound virtue.  The fourelements of an apostolic person in New France are charm, humility, patience and generous friendship.  Too anxious a zeal scorches more than it warms and ruins everything.  Great kindness and adaptability are necessary to attract gradually these Indians.  They do not understand our theology too well, but they understand our humility and our friendliness, and allow themselves to be won. We pray today that, as we strive to emulate the Jesuit Martyr-saints of North America in evangelizing others with the Gospel of Life, we may take these words to heart along with the genuine self-sacrificing love of those who lived the faith in Huronia before us.  Then we will know how to give ourselves in love as Anthony Daniel did and gladly share the Good News in our day as the Canadian Martyrs did in theirs.

New Jesuit Review

The first issue of the New Jesuit Review has hit the internet and there is much to commend about it. Take a minute or two and check it out.

Tiger Woods story

The National Post runs a story today about the eighth woman to step forward to having had an affair with Tiger Woods; this latest, a porn star. The story goes on to state that Woods is considering an appearance to confess at the altar of that cultural high priestess Oprah, where he will bare his soul to that semi-divine paragon of all that is "nice", correct, and proper, to he shall receive from her, through the sacred aura of the stage lights and television camera lens and amongst the sobbing gallery of her supplicants, absolution and penance for this "transgressions". After all, as some commentators have said in the wake of this sordid matter, what he has done "is no worse" than what perhaps 50% of the American public are themselves guilty of the same.

Among the comments that quickly followed the posting of this story on the NP website was this delightful offering:

"Is Oprah his next stop?" LOL, I guess that would make her #9.

I appreciate that this has nothing to do with the religious theme of the blog, and putting aside all the possible puns about where the "rubber hit the road" in this sad tale, I enjoyed the comment so much that I just posted it anyway.

Communion ban for politicians with vote pro-abortion

Argument for denying politician communion for voting contrary to Catholic fundamental values and teaching by Rev. James Molgano. Brilliant... Concise... and I believe, universally applicable.

Thank you Fr. Molgano!

The argument is categorically fallacious and hence a non sequitur.

The particular conclusion of this inductive argument is derived from false premises. To say, then, that the Catholic Church has “withheld” its basic connection to worship God from anyone is grossly erroneous.

First, basic tenets of worship are not purely subjective, but are inextricably connected with “spirit and truth” (John 4: 24-25; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1179). Then, and only then, can true worship be offered unto the father in a “full, active and participating” manner.

Second, to say that a politician or anyone who espouses the Christian faith can at the same time support, protect, defend or advance the cause of a man/woman’s “right” to abort human life is always intrinsically evil. Eternal law is absolute, as are the moral norms that derive from it. In these days, when nihilism and positivism have coalesced in a surreptitious cunning of deceitfulness, the “man is the measure of all things” attitude continues to hold sway across this great country that was founded on the very principles that today are being relegated to nothing more than mere nostalgia.

Third, voting the wishes of one’s constituents is not a moral imperative. To not be pusillanimous upon the battlefield where war is being waged for the very soul of our country and her citizenry is!
Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., among others, has chosen to intentionally disregard and then castigate the principle teachings of the church that are universal — hence, the term “Catholic.” Therefore, he alone is culpable for the consequences.

05 December, 2009

"Holy Post" Blog column

Theo Caldwell: What would Saint Nicholas do?
Posted: December 05, 2009, 10:10 PM by Ron Nurwisah
Beginning on his Feast Day of Dec. 6 and continuing through the Christmas season, folks are put in mind of St. Nicholas, who comes in guises ranging from a red-suited elf to a retail pitchman. In reality, Nicholas was a fourth century Bishop of Myra, born in what is now southern Turkey, who personified the divine nature of generosity.
As the patron saint of, among others, archers, bakers, bankers, mariners, merchants and pawnbrokers, he has myriad responsibilities, to be certain. But of course, Nicholas is best known as the Patron Saint of Children.
At first, this may appear an impossibly eclectic group of things for one saint to represent. In particular, the idea that the same figure can oversee both businessmen and babies might seem a stretch. But there is something to Nicholas’s combined portfolio of commerce and kindness. Simply put, the more you give, the more you get.

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