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Showing posts from November, 2014

‘New Media’ Evangelization: A book review from the NCRegister of 'Transforming Parish Communications: Growing the Church Through New Media'. Looks like an interesting read!

NCRegister | ‘New Media’ Evangelization

Book Review: 'How the West really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization' by Mary Eberstadt (Templeton Press; West Conshohocken, PA) 2013

If you were asked to answer the question “What happened to religious practice among industrialized nations over the past 100 years?” how would you respond? Most people from academics and religious leaders like Pope Benedict XVI to the leaders of the New Atheist Movement would probably point to the influence of secularist societies as being responsible for bringing about the demise of faith. This proposition is so widely held among people that it is considered to be conventional wisdom: a premise that is self-evident. Mary Eberstadt, in her recent book ‘ How the West Really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization ’(Templeton Press;  West Conshohocken, PA)  2013, turns such ‘wisdom’ on its head. She points instead to the breakdown of family life and values as being the responsible culprit that emptied out churches. Her argument is compelling both in the evidence she provides and from in its internal logic; a logic understood as one who is actually familiar with the issue from the per

How to Thank God as He Has Instructed – A Meditation on Thanksgiving: A little something for the American friends of the blog!!

Happy Thanksgiving to our American brothers and sisters! How to Thank God as He Has Instructed – A Meditation on Thanksgiving Day « Archdiocese of Washington

Pastors opposed to same-sex marriage vow not to participate in any civil ceremonies | Crux

Sad as this story is, I'm glad that pastors are taking up the issue of their participation on the part of the civil state in wedding ceremonies. I've argued here and elsewhere that the only sure way of establishing the line between the Christian and state definition of what constitutes a marriage is to opt-out of our civic roles as agents of the state. In effect, it separates 'matrimony' from 'marriage' allowing the church to effect the former and the state to register the latter. This is the way it works in much of the world and it is the way things should work here in North America as well. Pastors opposed to same-sex marriage vow not to participate in any civil ceremonies | Crux

Report: Top Vatican prosecutor failed to report abuser | Crux

"But McGuire was not reported to civil authorities, which troubles victim's rights advocates. Catholic bishops in the United States adopted a zero-tolerance approach to clergy sexual abuse, which requires notifying civil authorities, in 2002." This report makes clear all the proper steps the Pope's choice as the cleric tasked with the responsibility of prosecuting priests made in this case which resulted in his expulsion a predator from the clergy's ranks. He should receive all the plaudits that his good work accomplished. BUT... If that same priest failed in his responsibility to civil society by not reporting this predator to the Police and thus potentially putting other children at risk, would he be your first choice to demonstrate your commitment to the world to ensure their protection? Seems like an odd choice IMHO. People know and accept that there are predators in every walk of life; rich, poor, ditch-digger or academic alike. Perverts walk among us. Tha

Book Review: Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life

“ ‘Every evil screams out only one message: ‘I am good!’ ”   This line from Alexander Schememann and quoted by Elizabeth Scalia in her recent work, ‘Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life (Ave Maria Press, 2013) is the ideal frame through which to understand her principal argument. The book is premised upon a fundamental truth, namely that we all create idols in our life. Idols obscure and blot our capacity to recognize God’s love for us and blinds us to our duty to share that love with others. This illusory capacity of evil to camouflage itself as a virtue is conceivably its greatest power since it focuses our attention on ourselves, on our personal desires and wants. It orients us to satisfying ourselves rather than being committed to dedicating ourselves to serve God and each other. Starting with the seduction wrought by our ego, our intellect, and our prosperity, technology, passions as well as our desire to be in control of our lives, Scalia convincingly guides

Tayloring Christianity by Matthew Rose - A look at the impact of one of the most important theologians of this age

"Why was it once virtually impossible not to believe in God, while today many of us find this not only easy, but inescapable?” The question is Charles Taylor’s, and his nine-hundred-page answer has arguably been the academic event of the decade. Seven years after its publication, A Secular Age has done more than reignite the debate over secularization and its religious roots. It offers to change the very terms in which Christians profess belief. One of the world’s leading philosophers, Taylor is known for the expansive breadth of his interests in a discipline whose research programs have shriveled in scope. He has written commandingly on German romanticism, ethics, hermeneutics, and the philosophies of mind and action, and has done so in a relaxed style that draws smoothly on literature and history. Taylor has done little to disguise his religiosity, something that also sets him apart from the philosophical establishment. He describes himself as a “believer” and “person of faith”

Men of blood and iron: 700 years ago a Christian counterpart to ISIS emerged in Europe

When I encounter folks who claim that all Muslims are dedicated to eradicating Christians I always try to make two simple points. First, that it is only a minority sect within the Islamic community that desires this (Islamist extremists). Second, that we Christians have been there as well at times in our history as this article makes clear. These are two important facts since the first gives us perspective and hope that we will come to a state of peaceful co-existence with our Muslim brothers and sisters once the 'silent majority' in their midst comes to the ascendancy. It also means that the Christian community can help this to happen if we share with the theological processes that we used during our periods of dealing with violent extremists with moderate Muslims. I'm grateful for this article because it offers the evidence to prove my point. It's an article that gives me hope. Does it do the same for you? MercatorNet: Men of blood and iron

Book Review: "Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life" (Paulist Press; 2013)

Cardinal Walter Kasper, a participant in the 2014 Extraordinary Synod on Family Life, calls for a reprioritization of theological virtues in his book, "Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life" (Paulist Press; 2013). Often represented as promoting a theology of mercy that negates the juridical components of Church teaching, opening its doors to those that do not live in accordance with the Church’s teachings, a careful reading of this work does not support such a parody. Kasper even warns in the introductory comments against an opposition between justice and mercy. He asserts that mercy deforms into ‘pseudo-mercy,’ which allows error to reign and sin to lose meaning, when isolated from justice. However, he is not entirely successful in achieving the stated aim of establishing God’s mercy as the answer to that ages-old question: Why do bad things happen to good people? Still, one can be forgiven for incompletely answering a question that philosopher

More Federal Agencies Are Using Undercover Operations - I don't think this is such a good idea. What do you think?

Hummm... first it was revealed that our telephone and electronic communications were being eavesdropped upon by Federal authorities on both sides of our common border. ( Thank you Edward Snowden .)   Then came the realization of the de facto militarization of civil police forces such as we witnessed in Missouri in the aftermath of a police shooting ( Our sympathies to Ferguson ). Now comes an acknowledgement that government intelligence operatives are lurking as part of legitimate social demonstrations in an effort to spy on civilian citizens in their native country...  All in the name of 'keeping us safe'.  But I've got to wonder.... Did we not say a long time ago that our army and intelligence services could not exercise these same sorts of activities within our own borders since the use of military equipment and armaments or the spying on a civilian population out of recognition that such activities had proven dangerous to the health of a secular democracy in the pas

Pope Francis building three showers for homeless people in heart of historic St. Peter’s Square | National Post

This strikes me as a very practical, scriptural, and Jesuit initiative, worthy of the first Jesuit Pontiff. Practical in that it directly addresses a present need among 'the poorest among us' through the use of Church properties. From the earliest 'hospitals' of the Dark Ages which were attached to cloisters and churches along the roads of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa so as to feed, billet, and care for the poor traveller who could not afford to stay at an Inn - to this shower initiative, the Church has tended to the cares of anyone who needed help on a journey. Scriptural in that it a concrete expression of exactly what Christ called on his disciples and follower to do: tend to the alien, the widow and orphan by putting yourself at their service. Jesuit because it's so practical and evangelical at the same time. It will remind curial prelates and clerics that the great 'unwashed' are the people they are commissioned to serve by Christ himself -

Words to live by!

Catholic Quote of the Day — from Pope St. John Paul II : The Integrated Catholic Life™

“True holiness does not mean a flight from the world; rather, it lies in the effort to incarnate the Gospel in everyday life, in the family, at school and at work, and in social and political involvement.” (Pope St. John Paul II) Catholic Quote of the Day — from Pope St. John Paul II : The Integrated Catholic Life™

Death With Aesthetics | Wesley J. Smith | First Things

" We don’t speak plainly in public discourse anymore. Rather, we equivocate and deploy euphemisms to sanitize our debates. Take the passing of Brittany Maynard by her own hand, which the media has repeatedly characterized as an act of “dignity.” To be sure, Maynard died with human dignity—but not because she committed suicide. Human dignity is intrinsic. Indeed, to accept the premise of suicide as death with dignity says—or at least strongly implies—that patients who expire naturally die with indignity." Click on link to read the entire article: Death With Aesthetics | Wesley J. Smith | First Things