Monday, August 31, 2015

THERE IS SO MUCH MUSIC THROWN AT THE CATHOLIC MASS UNWORTHY OF THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS AND IT AIN'T JUST PRAISE AND WORSHIP MUSIC THAT IS THE CULPRIT

THIS KIND OF MUSIC, THE PLACE WHERE THE CHOIR IS, THE INANE WORD, REPEATING REFRAIN IS THE SYMBOL OF WHAT IS WRONG TODAY AND FOR THE PAST 45 YEARS WITH THE SUNG CATHOLIC MASS! THIS IS HOW YOU SPELL INANE, BANAL AND SUPERFICIAL NOT TO MENTION HYPE! UNFORTUNATELY, THIS DRAWS PEOPLE TO THE CATHOLIC MASS, ESPECIALLY THE YOUNG, BUT WILL IT KEEP THEM ONCE THEY GROW UP? WORST YET, IF THAT IS POSSIBLE AND YES AT THIS CHURCH AND MANY OTHERS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD IT IS WORSE, PLEASE NOTE THE HOARD OF EXTRAORDINARY MINISTERS OF HOLY COMMUNION RETURNING CHALICES AND PLATES OF THE MOST HOLY EUCHARIST TO THE ALTAR. DOES THE MANNER IN WHICH THESE PEOPLE ARE DRESSED AND PRANCING AROUND THE ALTAR AND HANDLING THE MOST EUCHARIST BUILD REVERENCE OR LEAD TO A LOSS OF BELIEF IN THE AWESOMENESS OF GOD? THIS IS HORIZONTAL BANALITY THAT POPE BENEDICT TRIED HEROICALLY TO CORRECT! THE VERTICAL IS WHAT THE CATHOLIC MASS IS ALL ABOUT, BUT YOU WOULDN'T KNOW THIS BY SONG OR LITURGICAL CHOREOGRAPHY IN THIS PARTICULAR MASS IN THIS PARTICULAR PARISH:


Okay, prior to Vatican II in a parish with multiple Sunday Masses, maybe one Mass would be regularly chanted, what would be called a High Mass. Few parishes had the resources for a Solemn High Mass, with deacon and subdeacon. The Low Mass was the Mass that was mostly celebrated on Sunday at all the other Masses apart from the principle Mass.

It was the rare parish that could pull off concert types of Masses from the greats. They may have tried for special feasts once a year.  Most would chant the Mass in simple chant, some in solemn chant and others in polyphony. But chant was the template for the High Mass in the vast majority of parishes with a chanted Mass.

Then the post Vatican II relaxation on music that even allowed by the GIRM the omitting of important parts of the Mass, such as the Scriptural Introit, Offertory and Communion Antiphons in favor of hymns of some kind, chosen not by the Church but by "music ministers and their priests" became the norm. This unfortunate liberalization of what would replace official parts of the Mass, chosen by the Church through the organic development of tradition, opened the door to all kinds of genres of music and making hymns extrinsic to the Mass rather than intrinsic as the Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons are.

Then music became entertainment especially when choirs, ensemble and groups with all their musical gear sang front and center competing with the altar, ambo and celebrant.

Rather than focusing on chanting the Mass itself by priests and laity, the focus was on hymns, usually four hymns, processional, offertory, communion and recessional and of all kinds of varieties sometimes even secular, taped usually always horrible!

And today, replacing folk and hard rock, not to mention polka Masses, we have Praise and Worship to corrupt our young Catholics' understanding of the Mass. Here's a good article on that:



Why Praise and Worship Music is Praise, But Not Worship

  • FATHER CHRISTOPHER SMITH

The first time I ever went to a Life Teen Mass I was sixteen years old.

Smithchris.jpg
Father Christopher Smith with students
The parish that had the Life Teen Mass was not mine, but I went anyway. Everyone had been telling me that there were lots of people my age, who were serious about their faith, and that it would be a Spirit-filled time. Some of my friends were going to be there, too, so what could be better?

But as soon as the Mass started, I felt like I had stepped into a no-man's land suspended between Catholicism and some vague form of Protestantism that I as a convert had never seen before. It wasn't that the music was strange to me. I grew up with contemporary Christian music around the house and listened to it on the radio (when I wasn't listening to classical music or Latin dance music). So I knew the songs. The church was full of high schoolers and Baby Boomers and they all seemed to know and love each other.

But as the Mass unfolded, I kept noticing things that I knew very well were not in the rubrics, those pesky little red directions in the Missal that tell us how to celebrate the Mass properly. The Life Teen coordinators had decided that they would modify the Mass to make it fit whatever they deemed necessary to get the kids involved. And so there was dancing, hand-holding, and music that had nothing to do with the actual texts of the Mass.

But then, it was time for the Eucharistic Prayer. The celebrant invited all the kids to come around the altar. As the church was quite full, this was rather cumbersome and also pointless. But everyone stood up and made their way as through a mosh pit (I am showing my age, now!) to get closer to the altar. I stayed behind in the last pew. And of course, the celebrant thought that I was too shy to come up and so he encouraged me, from the altar, to join the kids. I had had enough, and so I yelled from the back pew, "No, sorry, Father, I'm a Catholic, I don't do that kind of thing," and pulled out a rosary and knelt to pray it as I watched the Eucharistic Prayer degenerate into something eerily similar to the ecstatic cults we had studied about in Ancient Greek History.

Not only did I never go back to a Life Teen Mass, I started the next Sunday to go to the Orthodox Church. There I felt like I was worshipping God and not having earnest adults try and fail to make religion relevant to me by assuming I was too young or stupid to understand real worship. It was fifteen years before I had to participate in anything similar again. By this time, I was a priest and I had been asked to preside over a Holy Hour for young people. The youth minister in this particular parish was very sensitive to the fact that Praise and Worship was not my thing, and she warned me ahead of time.

As I knelt there in front of the Blessed Sacrament, I realized something. The same people were doing the music who were doing it fifteen years before. It was the same music, the same songs that I made fun of when I was the age of the kids who were in the pews behind me. How relevant is that?  But this time the kids who were there just seemed bored. I asked them afterwards what they thought of it, and one young man said, "Well, that was ok, I guess. When are we having another Latin Mass, Father?"

Of all of my friends from high school who were Life Teeners, not one of them is a practicing Catholic anymore. Will the kids today who are raised on a diet of Praise and Worship continue to practice the Faith when they are no longer of that age middle-aged people in the Church want to cater to?  I don't know. But my experience has brought me to reflect on why Praise and Worship Music is not appropriate for the liturgy:

Read the whole article here.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

KUDOS TO THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE FOR SUNDAY MORNING'S PRO-LIFE EDITIORIAL: STANDING UP FOR LIFE

I grew up in Augusta, returned after being away 15 years for another 14 years as pastor of the downtown parish and now have been away again for 11 years as pastor of Macon's downtown parish.

Macon and Augusta are very similar although Macon is more Protestant. The demographics are somewhat similar and there is a strong conservative Christian culture here. But you would not know that by the "foreign" owned McClatchy newspaper and its editorial slant.  The Telegraph has been devolving also since I arrived in Macon more than eleven years ago. Most newspapers are downsizing and reporting more celebrity stuff, less hard, real or important news with fewer print ads to support it.

The Augusta Chronicle is locally owned and reflects the values or virtues of most Augustans. And today is their 230th birthday!  Thus you will find the following pro-life editorial by the Chronicle's editorial staff. If only the Telegraph in Macon could reflect Macon's virtues or values! But alas! 

STANDING UP FOR LIFE

Abhorrent Planned Parenthood videos push pro-lifers to the limit


Ridicule. Shrill and sarcastic discourse. Disruptive protests. Overwhelming the system through mass activism.

Such in-your-face tactics are how the far-left runs roughshod over sensible Americans who don’t need to resort to disorderly conduct to get their points across.

But if anything is capable of making activists out of the mild-mannered, it would be the macabre world of Planned Parenthood’s industrial-scale abortion and fetal-organ brokerage operations.

How long can we expect polite society to remain polite in the face of more than a half-dozen undercover videos showing the group’s employees and executives callously discussing the killing of unborn children and haggling over the price of their body parts?

As one Planned Parenthood executive famously said: “I want a Lamborghini.”

We want an anti-nausea pill.

And that video was tame compared to most of the stomach-turning footage released by the Center for Medical Progress, a pro-life group whose members posed as biotech company representatives to document the “women’s health” provider’s twisted and lucrative fetal-tissue “donation” operation.

Among other things, the graphic videos depict recognizable human organs – not “clumps of cells” – being harvested from aborted fetuses while employees coolly discuss the ghastly process of dismembering the unborn to maximize Planned Parenthood’s donor reimbursement fee.

One video shows a medical assistant announcing “It’s another boy!” as technicians push a tiny heart, stomach and kidneys around a pie-plate shaped dish. Another has a worker cutting through the face of a fetus whose heart was still beating to extract an intact brain.

There’s the former technician for StemExpress, a California tissue-procurement company, who said she witnessed co-workers gruesomely – and, if true, illegally – collecting organs from the aborted fetus of a Planned Parenthood patient who declined to give tissue-donation consent.

And then there’s the revolting latest: StemExpress’ CEO acknowledging on camera the receipt of fully intact fetuses, a concession that raises the spectre that some were alive out of the womb.

“Tell the lab it’s coming,” Cate Dyer, the CEO, laughs about the shipping of “intact cases” in the video. “You know, open the box and go ‘Oh my God.’”

If all this isn’t soul-searing enough to incite a conservative equivalent of “Code Pink” – the aggressive left-wing organization – nothing is.

Planned Parenthood has been confronted with this evidence of cavalier barbarism that would make the Third Reich proud. But the group evasively asserts it hasn’t violated “any legal or medical standards.” Its most vociferous supporters – in a comment that’s perhaps telling of their level of humanity and decency – say the gruesome videos lack a “smoking gun.”

The guidelines to harvest organs for medical research are peculiar. Several states have launched investigations to determine whether Planned Parenthood is telling the truth even in the strictest legal sense.

Meanwhile the GOP Congress is working on its second attempt to defund the $500 million in taxpayer funds the organization receives for – wink, wink
– non-abortion services such as birth control and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

The potential loss of Planned Parenthood’s single-largest funding source hasn’t stopped the group from working overtime, unsuccessfully, to denigrate the videos’ producers and keep the footage from being seen – for obvious reasons.

“I think if you were to show these women the aftermath of an abortion, I don’t think they’d be getting them,” Holly O’Donnell, the former StemExpress whistleblower, said recently during an interview with a conservative podcaster.

We agree with that statement, and we’d go a step further to suggest women do more than simply not get an abortion. They need to be contacting their elected representatives and getting involved in demonstrations, marches and other legal forms of protest – especially the growing number of pro-abortion women who are now adopting a pro-life stance.

To do nothing while state and federal tax dollars subsidize the grisly work of killing the unborn is nothing short of being on the wrong side of history.

The Columbia Basin Herald in Washington state recently opined that the CMP videos are a modern-day equivalent of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The Planned Parenthood videos have the power to turn public sentiment against abortion’s inhumanity in much the same manner that Stowe’s reality-based fictional work showed Americans what the horrific world of slavery was really like.

“No amount of political stonewalling and public denial will make it palatable again to anyone but the practitioner committing the act and its most diehard supporters,” the Herald wrote. “A century hence, we believe Americans will look back on our time as an era that tolerated, even encouraged barbarity. 

And when they look, they will shudder.”

Decoupling the Planned Parenthood murder machine from taxpayer funds should be just the start.
Be loud. Be proud. Be legal. Be polite. But above all, be courageous and principled, and act on those principles.

This is not the time, and this is not the issue, to be neutral.

How long can we expect polite society to remain polite in the face of more than a half-dozen undercover videos showing the group’s employees callously discussing the killing of unborn children and haggling over the price of their body parts?


Saturday, August 29, 2015

CLEAR AND FUZZY THINKING AS WELL AS GOOD LOGIC

The Macon Telegraph's on-line version has the following letter to the editor. My only comment is-- good question! Here's the letter:

New ceremony

The Episcopal Church will begin performing same-sex wedding ceremonies in their churches in November of this year. Will the Episcopal Church also allow wedding ceremonies for polygamists? If not, why not?
-- Don Sweat
Macon

Read more here: http://www.macon.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article32671644.html#storylink=cpy

Then there is a devotional piece by a Macon United Methodist Minister, now retired, the Rev. Creede Hinshaw, a nice guy but not very logical or clear about Christian teaching, but certainly a good apologist for post-Christianity and its fuzzy and illogical thinking:

Walking away from godlessness


Read more here: http://www.macon.com/living/religion/article32665983.html#storylink=cpy

WHEN THE POPE DOES NOT SERVE HIMSELF WELL OR OTHERS AROUND HIM--BUT THERE MIGHT BE A LEARNING CURVE

I'm afraid it has come to this!

From the second Pope Francis emerged on the world stage from the loggia of St. Peter's polarization in the Church accelerated and continues to do so at an alarming pace. At first the polarization centered on traditionalists alarmed at the dismantling of the liturgical legacy of Pope Benedict as well as other aspects of his papacy to include embracing some older trappings of the papacy.

As time went on, it was clear too that the clarity of teachings offered by Pope Benedict was also being dismantled in favor of a somewhat superficial approach to the teaching magisterium of the current pope based upon off-the-cuff remarks and compulsive phone calls to various people in other dioceses  encouraging this, that or the other. At the core of this type of compulsiveness is the weakening of the authority of the local bishop and the priests he has.

Then there was the first synod on marriage--don't need to say any more on that. And we're on our way to the second synod on marriage.

But yesterday, we may have seen a turning point, at least I hope, as to what the current pope himself has created in the sense that people actually believe now that he isn't Catholic. It isn't that he isn't Catholic, he is, but he's created such confusion that many in the world to include the many Catholics think that he is in favor of the following:

1. promiscuity for anyone no matter their sexual preferences
2. Holy Communion for unrepentant adulterers and fornicators
3. marriage for same sex couples
4. bigamy in the Catholic sense (civil marriage after a divorce without an annulment)
5. universalism
6. modernism
7. indifferentism
8. you name it

In other words, the 1970's has returned in a sort of faddish way and with a vengeance. And just like the 1970's not only is the Church affected but the whole of society and one doesn't really understand or know who is causing what and affecting whom. Is the Church affecting the world, and in this case, the pope singlehandedly or is the world affecting the pope and his Church? The same could be asked of the great social turmoil of the 1960's immediately following Vatican II. Did Vatican II cause the worldwide social upheaval or was it simply a victim of it?

But what happened yesterday that might open the eyes of the Holy Father to the confusion that he has single handedly sown in the Church and the world and attitudes toward him and his Church?

The pope was completely a victim of a lower Vatican bureaucrat who sent a kind of form letter to a Lesbian gay activist who had written a children's book promoting acceptance by small children of the homosexual agenda for marriage, non-marriage and unusual families evolving from the homosexual gender ideologies.  The form letter seem to include a blessing for this lesbian's same sex union and her gender ideologies completely at odds with defined Church teachings.

And here is the kicker! Because Pope Francis has painted himself as a populist against traditional Catholic morals, ethics and canon law, the world believed that Pope Francis was endorsing the homosexual agenda and its gender ideologies. Not only did the press believe it, but most rank and file Catholics believe it.

So once again, the Vatican bureaucracy had to clarify that the pope is Catholic. Whose fault is this?

Here is the Boston Globe's Catholic blog CRUX report on this:
 

VATICAN CITY —

The Holy See press office had to set the record straight on Friday after the Italian media interpreted a formulaic blessing (in other words a form letter!) by Pope Francis of a lesbian children’s book publisher and her partner as an endorsement of their lifestyle.

Author Francesca Pardi had written to Francis in June complaining about how her books — some of which deal with children growing up with gay, single, and divorced parents — had been maligned by Catholic groups and politicians.

A half-dozen of her titles, for example, were among the 49 titles that Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro recently banned from public preschools pending a review of their appropriateness because they deal with gender issues.

Thinking that Francis might appreciate the books’ inclusive message, Pardi sent him copies of her 30 titles, explaining that they had nothing to do with “gender theory” or even sex, but merely conveyed a message of tolerance. (This is the problem that Pope Francis has created for himself and the Church--that she thought he'd appreciate her gender ideologies which are not Catholic--this isn't her fault but only the Holy Father's with his populist papacy.)

A few weeks ago, an official in the Vatican’s secretariat of state, Monsignor Peter Wells, sent her a note in Francis’ name thanking her for the gesture, blessing her and her partner, and encouraging her to continue with her “activities in the service to young generations and the diffusion of authentic human and Christian values.” (This is a low-level bureaucrat who responded in the pope's name to a letter the pope never saw because he can't see, read  or respond personally tothe millions of letters sent to the Vatican or to him directly!)

Pardi says she didn’t take the letter by any means to be a papal endorsement of her lifestyle — she and her partner have four children together — but the Italian media interpreted it as such, prompting the Vatican on Friday to step in. (Don't blame the media, the Holy Father himself has set up this scenario by the lack of clarity both in words and symbol of his populist papal style.)

In a statement, the Vatican’s deputy spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, said the letter made clear that Francis was encouraging Pardi to pursue activities consistent with Christian values. (This is clearly damage control and the statement should have said that Pope Francis didn't even see the original letter that was sent or the form letter sent in his name!)

“The blessing of the pope at the end of the letter was directed to the person, not at any possible teachings that are not in line with the doctrine of the Church on gender theory, which hasn’t changed a bit as the Holy Father has repeated even recently,” he said. (more silly damage control which doesn't address the crux of the issue, that people are willing to believe the pope isn't Catholic because the pope has created this monster for himself.)

One of the “banned” titles, “Little Egg,” tells the story of an egg about to hatch that goes out in search of a family, and encountering a variety of different ones — two mothers, two fathers, single parents, bi-racial parents, “traditional” parents — concludes that any one of them would be great.

The review of the “banned books” by Venice’s mayor sparked outrage among gay and human rights groups, with sometimes Venice resident Elton John calling Brugnaro “boorishly bigoted.”

My last comments: I am not opposed to ecology or saving the planet. Just as we try to save our own life or the lives of our loved ones who have serious life threatening diseases and go out of our way to offer them the medical care they need for healing or a cure, we should be doing the same for the planet. Jesus sacrifice on the cross is not just for souls, but for bodies (at the resurrection of the dead at Jesus' Second Coming) but not only the human person in his entiriety will be saved but the world, so there has to be concern for the planet and a theology of ecology. The pope is on the right track with this.

But when human ecology is placed on the back burner in terms of sexuality and abortion and the other pelvic issues and in addition to this, the greatest era of martyrdom has descended upon Christians in the world, especially the Middle East and Africa and the Holy Father seems to be less preoccupied by this and more preoccupied by our air conditioners and lack of solar panels on our roof, then we have a pope with priorities out of wack or at least those spinning the pope are making him out to be such.

But is it completely the spinners' fault or devious plan by the world's media? 






Friday, August 28, 2015

DID YOU READ SOMETHING CONTRARY TO THE VATICAN'S LINE CONCERNING IL PICCOLO UUVO (THE LITTLE EGG)

Vatican denies letter was intended to endorse Italian author's book on same-sex unions

Catholic World News - August 28, 2015
The Vatican press office has issued a statement to counter an Italian writer’s claim that Pope Francis praised her book defending same-sex unions. 
Francesca Pardi, whose book Piccolo Uovo was among the gay-oriented books banned from city schools in Venice, had written to Pope Francis to protest. She received a polite response—not from the Pope but from an official of the Secretariat of State—saying that the Pope “is grateful for the thoughtful gesture and for the feelings which it evoked, hoping for an always more fruitful activity in the service of young generations and the spread of genuine human and Christian values.” 
Pardi quickly made that letter public, and succeeded in prompting a series of media reports that the Pope had endorsed her book. The August 28 statement from the Vatican rejected that interpretation of the letter. “In no way does the letter from the Secretariat of State mean to endorse behavior and teachings not in line with the Gospel," the statement said. The Vatican statement added that the letter to Pardi was intended to remain private, which “unfortunately did not happen.”

SAINT JOSEPH CHURCH'S 10 YEAR OLD FREE-STANDING ALTAR FINALLY GETS A SAINT'S RELIC, A FIRST CLASS RELIC OF SAINT FRANCIS XAVIER, CONFESSOR



When we removed the ugly free standing altar from Saint Joseph, I was able to retrieve a first class relic of Saint Francis Xavier, SJ, Confessor.

However, our new altar, when it was installed in 2006 did not have a place to place the relic. So I've kept it in the sacristy for all these years until I had a brainstorm to ask one of my parishioners, Jim Fontenot to make a marble casing for it that we would then attach to altar.

He did a wonderful job in making the circular marble casing to match the marble of the altar and we placed the first class relic of St. Francis Xavier, SJ, Confessor,  into it and the casing was cemented to the back side of the altar.

Since our church was built by the Jesuits, I think it is wonderful that we have a first class relic now on our altar of a Jesuit saint and confessor. 


POPE FRANCIS AND THE CHURCH THAT IS POOR--WHAT MESSAGE WAS AND IS THE HOLY FATHER REALLY SENDING?


We know that the most scandalous aspect of the Vatican and now for decades is its bank. Mega bucks (euros) were gained for the Church and embezzlers using corrupt practicing, investment philosophies and the like became mega rich. The runner up to the Vatican Bank is the Church in Germany that invests in pornography producers and distributors and earns big bucks especially from the government tax of baptized Christians, a thoroughly corrupt practice.

I can remember even as a child when my Protestant proselytizers would tell me that the Vatican would invest in companies that manufactured birth control pills and devises and promoted abortions and a whole range of other immoral activities. I thought they were just being anti-Catholic with what I thought were falsehoods, but they were more than likely correct, not lying.

Of course any of us who have investments have to realize that the institutions investing our monies are investing them in corporations which do immoral things. That's the way it is. And most of us have cable TV, internet or Satellite TV where providers make mega bucks off of the most vile and crude forms of pornography. None of us blinks an eye. Even getting free-TV over an antenna supports stations owned by companies that provide pornography and do other immoral things.

This brings me to our funeral discussions about mafia dons getting elaborate Catholic funerals and their counterparts, Catholic politicians who are pro-choice, pro-same sex marriage and the like getting the same thing.

One wonders how much rich Catholics who are anything but Catholic morally are giving to bishops and parishes and none of the clergy want to alienate them for fear of losing their contributions. Am I being cynical here?

Saint Patrick's Cathedral has undergone mega millions of dollars for restoration, I mean, mega millions! How much of that money given is dirty money? Should dirty money be accepted and does it lead cardinals, bishops and priests to look the other way in order to keep the bucks coming?

And now, I think, we know why Pope Francis in some of his first words as the newly elected pope in the Sistine Chapel said he longed for a poor Church. It frees us from corrupt monies. He knew and knows the corruption that money has brought not only to the Vatican but to local dioceses and parishes throughout the world.

MURDER TURNED INTO REALITY SHOW FOR CNN AND THE EXPLOITATION OF GRIEF FOR RATINGS!

The murder of two reporters and the wounding of the one being interviewed in Virginia on live morning television was shocking and newsworthy. Reporting the facts is necessary.

But as usual, the 24 hour news stations have turned it into a reality show. CNN seems to be the mot exploitative. I have to wonder if it isn't this kind of reporting that motivates the mentally imbalanced with a tendency toward violence to commit such heinous crimes?

The first full hour yesterday and then throughout the day of the  news on CNN exploited the grieving fiance of the woman reporter who was murdered. It was as if Chris Cuomo wanted to make the man cry, as this is supposedly good television, by the inane, ridiculous personal questions that were asked.

This poor gentleman, clearly in shock and denial about the implications of what had happened and thus unemotional about the death of his girl friend, weakened throughout the day and by the afternoon it was sinking in and he was actually crying on camera, which made the afternoon anchor feel good--it was good television and good show and good for the ratings!

I doubt that these reporters exploiting the tragedy of other reporters realize how exploitative they are and idiotic their questions are of a grieving person! Contempt for the grieving and the privacy those who grieve need and must be given is par for the news these days.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

PERHAPS THE MOST HUMBLE POPE EVER, BOTH IN LIFE AND IN DEATH

In life, His Holiness Pope John Paul I was a humble pope. He embraced the trappings of the papacy simply because these were the trappings of the papacy, placed upon him, not chosen by him.

In death, His Holiness Pope John Paul I is a humble pope. No one really remembers him. His papacy was about a month in 1978. He was known as the smiling pope as Pope Paul VI had become so dour and depressed looking about the state of the Church in the 1970's and the loss of a best friend murdered by an Italian terrorist organization.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

WE HAVE OUR WORK CUT OUT FOR US--MEANING FORMING CATHOLICS IN THE FAITH, THE TRUE FAITH

 The following is true I fear. However, I have to wonder if the percentage of faithful Catholics is much higher with those who actually attend Mass. I don't know. I do know that Catholics are being cooked in the crock pot of secularism, not from evil motives, but from ignorance and not wanting to appear too much different than their peers in the world.

It seems to me that when Catholics give into the culture and its fads or trends as opposed to being faithful to Christ and His Church that this opens the door for them to leave the Church when they realize they can't have it their way. They either join liberal Protestant denominations or they simply become "nones" like Dr. Bill Cummings. What do you think about these findings?:

On Almost Every Major Issue, Catholics Are More Progressive Than The Average American

For years, liberals have decried the conservative theology of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, lamenting U.S. bishops’ efforts to push back against LGBT equality, for example. But a new study illustrates a widening ideological gulf between Catholic leadership and people in the pews. In fact, typical Catholics are not only more left-leaning than the Church, but also more progressive than average Americans on most major issues — sometimes by significant margins.

The report, created through a joint polling effort of the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and the Religion News Service (RNS), was released on Friday in preparation for Pope Francis’ visit to the United States next month. It chronicled America’s ongoing love affair with the popular pontiff, but also pointed out the increasingly liberal politics of the country’s Catholics.
catholics-progressive
CREDIT: Andrew Breiner/ThinkProgress
The disparity between the Catholics and the rest of the United States — not to mention Church leadership — is especially evident on LGBT issues. Whereas 55 percent of Americans favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally, a full 60 percent of Catholics say the same. This directly contradicts the Catholic Church’s official opposition to marriage equality, yet most Catholics (53 percent) do not believe same-sex marriage violates their religious beliefs.

What’s more, when Catholics were asked whether they favor laws that would protect LGBT people from discrimination, 76 percent say yes — as opposed to 70 percent of Americans overall. And while U.S. bishops have supported guaranteeing business owners the right to refuse service to customers who are LGBT by citing religious concerns, around two-thirds (65 percent) of Catholics oppose such policies. Most Americans also disagree with so-called “religious liberty” exemptions, but by a smaller percentage — 57 percent.

Lay Catholics are also more progressive than average Americans on climate change, although their opinion is more in line with Catholic officials such as Pope Francis, who recently published a formal encyclical calling on the faithful to protect the planet. Nearly two-thirds (66 percent) of the general public believes the government should do more to address global warning, compared to some 73 percent of Catholics.

Meanwhile, Catholics mirror most Americans by sharing the pope’s fairly left-leaning approach to economics and immigration. Catholics (72 percent) and Americans writ large (71 percent) agree that the government should do more to help the poor eradicate income inequality, while 63 percent of the general U.S. population and 61 percent of Catholics say America should grant undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship under certain requirements.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of American Catholics (57 percent) also believe that the Church should focus more on economic and social justice issues than reproductive justice. While this may seem odd given the Church’s longstanding, passionate opposition to abortion, lay Catholics are closely aligned with the general populace here: A slim majority of average Americans (53 percent) and Catholics (51 percent) say abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

Granted, several of these issues express themselves differently when Catholics are broken down along racial lines. For example, non-white Catholics express much stronger support for government action on climate change (86 percent) than white Catholics (64 percent). Similarly, non-white Catholics (81 percent) are far more likely than white Catholics (65 percent) to tell pollsters that the government should do more to address economic inequality. Conversely, roughly equal numbers of white Catholics (59 percent) and non-white Catholics (61 percent) support same-sex marriage.

Some of these trends reflect longstanding Catholic teaching, and other surveys have pointed out the progressive bent of Catholicism globally — including in places such as Ireland, where thousands of Catholics recently voted to legalize same-sex marriage. But the PRRI report also helps explain the wild popularity of Pope Francis among American Catholics, who have lauded the pontiff’s deeply progressive positions on climate change, economics, and immigration. And while Francis hasn’t changed the Church’s historical condemnation of homosexual acts and abortion, the first Argentinian pope has called for the church to be less “obsessed” with such issues, framing his papacy around other concerns.

Predictably, the survey found that while 80 percent of American Catholics say Pope Francis understands the needs and views of the American Catholic community, only 60 percent are willing to say the same for U.S. bishops. In addition, the 56 percent of Catholics report that their feelings towards Church have changed since Francis ascended to the papacy.

ARE THERE TIMES THAT THE CHURCH SHOULD DENY A FUNERAL TO A NOTRIOUSLY SINFUL CATHOLIC OR AT LEAST DEMAND THAT THE FUNERAL BE SOBER AND SOMBER?

Last week there was a lavish funeral for a mafia boss in Rome. It was controversial even there. Most of the lavish activities occurred outside the Church and beyond the control of the Church, except those providing the lavish send off of a notorious mafia crime boss where baptized Catholics, thus the Church was doing it like it or not!

Catholic News Agency reports  an outlandish funeral for an alleged Italian mob boss, complete with a horse-drawn carriage, flower petals strewn from a helicopter and a brass band playing theme music from the movie “The Godfather” was slammed by Rome’s politicians Thursday as an intolerable display of impunity.

Hundreds gathered outside the church of San Giovanni Bosco on the outskirts of Rome to pay their respects to Vittorio Casamonica, 65, who’s been identified as the leader of the Casamonica clan, which has previously been accused of racketeering, extortion and drug trafficking.

But don't we as a Church now do this sort of thing as a matter of course in the New Order of the Funeral Mass compared to the Ancient Order?  Aren't our Funeral Masses for the most part a canonization of the faithful or faithless departed person? Aren't accolades heaped upon the deceased to help the living feel better about the crudeness of death? Yes what happened in Rome is an extreme version of it but it happens consistently in almost every parish funeral in the world.

And what about eulogies given at Mass by lay people? Isn't the purpose of this to extol the dead person in a lavish way, albeit more sober than what the Catholics outside of Mass did for the mafia crime boss in Rome?

Isn't it time for the pope and the bishops of the world to reform the New Order of the Mass for Funerals and get back to what the Ancient Order accomplished? Just asking.

COUNTRY CLUB CHRISTIANS:WHY NOT JUST FIND A COUNTRY CLUB OR SOME OTHER KIND OF CLUB TO JOIN, OR NO CLUB AT ALL?

Everyone is in need of salvation even if they don't know they are. Not everyone needs to join a country club to meet the right people or to have a way to socialize or to have activities to do, although many people do need these venues whether it be a country club or some other kind of civic organization.

For most people, I suspect, the social connections they make at work or in the family are sufficient.

As Catholics, we should know that the entire Deposit of Faith is given to us by God to save our souls from everlasting condemnation in hell. It isn't just an individual thing, but individual it is. Becoming a follower of Christ or a disciple is a sign of that saving of one's soul.

The Holy Bible, both Testaments, ultimately point to the need for people to be saved from God's wrath and eternal condemnation. Both Testaments prove there is a True God and what our True God expect of individuals and communities. There is always a moral and ethical dimension both individually and collectively.

Our unworthiness, save for the grace of God, is emphasized over and over again. The ancient Order of the Mass emphasizes it more than the new Order of the Mass. In fact, the ancient Order of the Mass tends to form more humble Catholics who know who they are and what their unworthiness should gain them if not for the grace of God compared to those formed exclusively by the new Order.

The Church is meant to teach individuals what it means to be saved by God. Her moral teachings lead to the perfection in heaven. It begins with the individual and touches the very core of who we are, our sexuality and leads from there to an authentic love for God and neighbor, especially service to the poor, not just those without money or material possessions but those who are poor in faith and morals.

There are fringe benefits apart from the saving of one's soul but these are icing on the cake, not the core of Catholicism such as fellowship and fun activities, things to do in other words.

But when fellowship, fun activities and things to do become the most important, then Christians become Country Club Christians which boils down to consumers of religion.

Saving one's soul is the reason for being a Christian.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

MACON AREA CATHOLIC HAS OP ED IN THE MACON TELEGRAPH TO CHALLENGE FORMER FATHER AND FORMER CATHOLIC BILL CUMMINGS


Dismantling Christianity and Western civilization — and replacing them with what?


Read more here: http://www.macon.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/article32283264.html#storylink=cpy

DOES THE MACON TELEGRAPH'S EDITORIAL POLICY SUBSCRIBE TO ANTI-CATHOLIC IDEOLOGIES AS CHARACTERIZED BY CHICK PUBLICATIONS BUT EXPRESSED IN POLITICALLY CORRECT TERMS BY DR. BILL CUMMINGS, AN ANTI-CATHOLIC EX-CATHOLIC?

Is the Macon Telegraph aiding a new "Fr. Damien" in the former Father Bill Cummings by allowing him to offer anti-Catholic editorials? Fr. Damien is the former Catholic priest often cited by the anti-Catholic evangelical Chick publications:
 Dr. Bill Cummings, a former Catholic priest and former Catholic has a regular column in the Macon Telegraph's Sunday Newspaper. He  expresses views, albeit in a more sophisticated politically correct way, similar to the anti-Catholic views of the evangelical Chick publications.

This is how Wikipedia describes Chick:  

Chick tracts are short evangelical tracts created and published by American publisher Jack T. Chick.
 Although many of Chick's tracts express views that are generally accepted within Christian theology, such as the Incarnation of Christ,[1] several tracts express controversial viewpoints. Most notably, Chick is known for his strong anti-Catholic views, which are expressed in 20 of his tracts (along with several full-length comic books).

Often Chick Publications uses former Catholic priests and laity to spread their anti-Catholic diatribes similar to what the Macon Telegraph does as it allows Dr. Bill Cummings to do time and time again in his editorials. The odd thing is that Dr. Cummings' editorials are suppose to be on business practices, not religion, but his anti-Catholic streak is so deep that something anti-Catholic always seems to appear in his editorials.

What puzzles me about the Macon Telegraph allowing the anti-Catholic Dr. Bill Cummings to continue to write his hateful editorials about the Catholic Church is that the reader of the Telegraph which continue to dwindle are less than 1% or so Catholic. I suspect most readers of the Telegraph could care less about anything Dr. Cummings has to write, religious or not.

The following is the editorial from Dr. Cummings that appeared in this past Sunday's Telegraph, just one more of his many anti-Catholic swipes against the Catholic Church. Below it is a letter to the editor that I wrote which I am not sure will make it into the Telegraph:

Is Christianity dying in America? No, but it is declining, that’s for sure. In 1892, our Supreme Court declared: “This is a Christian nation.” In 2009, Barack Obama, said: “We don’t consider ourselves a Christian nation.” He could say that because 26.2 percent of Americans are atheist, agnostics, secularists, Muslim, Jewish or Hindu; the greatest decline of Christians (34 percent) is among those born after 1980, so the trend looks irreversible.

Example: for every one person who joins the Catholic Church, six leave. There are 3 million less Catholics in America since 2007, and 5 million less mainline Protestants.

All sorts of reasons are given. Pat Buchanan blames the Supreme Court for purging Christ from the public schools, and he condemns our media and movies for continuing the counter-culture of the ‘60s. Father Allan McDonald, the pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Macon, wrote in his blog that he blames his parish decline on 500 funerals in 11 years, the white flight out of Bibb County and the lack of new industry.

Whatever the real reasons, more and more Christians find fishing on Sunday morning or just relaxing with the family more fulfilling than going to church. And that’s a fact. So, why go to church?

Well, both Catholics and Protestants have two fantastic things to brag about. One is “community” and the second is called “outreach.” It’s like going to Rotary every week with your friends and joining a committee to distribute food to the hungry. Churches are like clubs. They bring together people with the same backgrounds and interests and provide them a forum for charitable action. So how do we explain the fact that we still have so much segregation in our churches but not in our clubs? Blacks and whites can’t seem to get it together — for God’s sake.

The mainline Protestant churches (Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran and Episcopal) have two more distinct things to offer. One is Sunday School. These are small vibrant groups who meet an hour before the church service and discuss biblical or current issues of interest without the help or hindrance of the pastor. The second is the emphasis on good preaching. Pastors can’t all be Joel Osteens or Billy Grahams, but if the pastor can’t preach, he or she is gone.

The Catholic Church has one distinctly different offering. It’s called the Eucharist. For Catholics, when Jesus said “This is my body,” he meant it literally. It was not a metaphor like “the lamb of God.” It was a magical miracle, and every priest performs this exact same miracle every Sunday morning. You can see how the 33 percent decline in American priests causes a terrible problem. Without the priest, there is no Eucharist. Without the Eucharist, there is no Catholic Church. Based on these statistics, Ireland could become non-Catholic in 20 years.

But there is one thing about going to the Catholic Church that Protestants don’t have to worry about. If Protestants go to church, it’s because they want to. If Catholics go to church, it’s because they have to. Really. If a Catholic rolls over when the alarm goes off and says, “the hell with it,” that’s exactly what he’s going to get. You see, deliberately missing Mass on Sunday is a mortal sin for a Catholic. That means if he dies before he confesses this sin to a priest, he goes straight to hell. That’s a pretty big incentive.

It was unreasonable incentives like this that created Protestantism in the first place. You remember the Rev. Father Martin Luther, a Catholic priest and monk, who, on Oct. 31, 1517 posted 95 “protests” on the door of his Catholic church in Wittenberg, Germany, and began the Protestant Reformation. Luther protested against church doctrines like indulgences, usury, confession, purgatory, papal arrogance and infallibility,

Maybe we need more Father Martins today, priests and pastors willing to question things like segregation, gay bashers, global warming, birth control, divorced Catholics and discrimination of all kinds. Maybe if our churches produced more questioners like Martin Luther and Pope Francis, instead of men who hide behind the infallible comfort of their black cassocks and robes, more people would go to church and be willing to stand up and say: “Now Sunday is worthwhile.”

Dr. Bill Cummings is the CEO of Cummings Consolidated Corporation and Cummings Management Consultants. His website is www.billcummings.org.

Read more here: http://www.macon.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/article31954338.html#storylink=cpy

My Letter to the editor yet to be published:


Dr. Bill Cummings a former priest and non-practicing Catholic is the poster child for Catholics who choose to leave the Church and become “nones”. Some in  Dr. Cummings' generation, he is almost 84 years old,  are divided between two major camps, those who saw Vatican II in the early 1960’s in continuity with the Church’s 2000 year tradition and those who viewed Vatican II as a rupture in that tradition and produced a completely different church. The first group is correct and Dr. Cummings'  group is dead wrong. Liberalism in Catholicism and Protestantism  accounts for the majority of departures from the Church. It is deadly!

  The confusion and damage inflicted on the Catholic Church by some in Dr. Cummings' generation is incalculable and in part accounts for some of the Church's loss of membership.

  While growth in the population of the Church is a laudable goal, fidelity to the truths of the Church are more laudable even if this means a smaller, but purer Church. Mustard seeds, the smallest of shrubs grow into the largest of bushes. Catholic history is cyclical and there is nothing new  as it concerns today’s death and tomorrow’s resurrection!

  Dr. Cummings is correct in asking people to question things. I recommend questioning Dr. Cummings who not only  denigrates practicing Catholics but all  orthodox Christians. He arrogantly pontificates; but he's no Pontiff!

  Fr. Allan J. McDonald

Pastor

St. Joseph Catholic Church

My final comment: The Telegraph is owned by the McClatchy Corporation rather than by a local owner. Thus its editorial policy, much to its detriment which may explain in part its dwindling readership, is far from the opinions held by the majority of Macon's residents. Macon is a relatively conservative town and very religious and conservatively so. The Telegraph continues to ignore this reality in its editorial policies but to their detriment.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

THE STEWARDSHIP OF OUR CATHOLIC FAITH: MY HOMILY FOR THE 21ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME



Today is commitment Sunday as a part of our annual Stewardship Renewal always held in August. But I’ve decided this year not to focus so much on the stewardship of our “Time, Talent and Treasure” but rather to focus on what these are meant to support in our spiritual and moral lives as Catholics, as Roman Catholics, the stewardship of our Catholic Faith and the splendor of truth that our Catholic Church gives to us, or rather, what God gives to us through His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

I want to make the main point of my homily, the main point that Joshua makes in our Old Testament Reading which is a dramatic challenge to his people of his day. In the Sacred Assembly of Joshua’s time and in the presence of God in that place, Joshua boldly confronts his people who had chosen to follow the false gods and religion of his region and he boldly confronts us today in our similar Catholic context of the Mass. This is what Joshua states to them and to us with my paraphrase of his words:

If it does not please you to serve the Lord, decide today whom you will serve, the true God of your Catholic Faith or the false gods of secularism and its fierce individualism; the false gods of consumerism or the false religions that protest the true Catholic faith and lead souls into schism and heresy. Then Joshua declares and I paraphrase, “As for me and my household, we will serve the true Lord and God and His Holy Religion.

Topic Statement: At the very heart of Catholic Stewardship is the preservation of the true Catholic Faith in each person’s soul and life. It means serving the true Lord and God and His Holy Catholic Church, the true Church. I will not mince my words about that and neither should anyone in this sacred assembly.

1.     The image of the Sacrament of Marriage between one man and one woman and for a life time who subordinate themselves to one another becomes the image of Catholics who are subordinate, meaning holy obedience, to Jesus Christ, the head of the Church and her bridegroom. For this reason the Catholic Church would understand the civil redefinition of marriage to be an attack on the very nature of the Church described metaphorically as a Divine Marriage between Jesus the Bridegroom and His Holy Bride the Church.

A.    Our second reading from Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians is one of 13 choices brides and grooms have for the New Testament reading at their Wedding Mass or Nuptial Liturgy. Usually the bride is the one who makes these selections. In my 35 years as a priest, I think I can count on one hand the number of times this reading about wives being subordinate to their husbands has been chosen. This indicates a complete lack of understanding of this extremely important letter for today and perhaps a lack of understanding of the very nature of the Church as Christ's holy Bride! Yet, this reading is at the very core of Catholic marriage which is meant to be a sign of the marriage of Christ to His bride the Church, all baptized souls. Keep in mind that the word “soul” in Latin and many European languages is a feminine word unfortunately lost in English. The Catholic family that flows from Catholic marriage is meant to be the Church in miniature. Wives and husbands are subordinate to one another as our Catholic Church, meaning all of us, are subordinate to Christ. Our obedience to one another is not based on disrespect or pagan lusts, or domination. It is based upon the Love of God. When subordination is based upon the love of God it is never a domineering or controlling subordination that offend the dignity of the husband or wife.

B.    Saint Paul knows that in his culture, pagan men dominated their wives. He knew that infidelity was rampant in pagan culture which had so influenced even the Jews and some followers of Christ. Infidelity in marriage was a sign of infidelity to almighty God in His marital union with us deserving retribution and divine punishment. Husbands did not love their wives; they used their wives for their own personal needs and selfish pleasures. Saint Paul tells these men so corrupted by their pagan culture, like Catholics can be today, to love your wives as Christ loves the Church. Husbands should love their wives as they love their own body. This isn’t domineering or insulting or detrimental in any way when the subordination is linked to Christ and his loving actions on our behalf to save us from sin and damnation.

2.     The stewardship of our Catholic Faith is consummated at each and every Mass when our Lord gives Himself to His Bride the Church, when He gives us His most holy body, blood, soul and sacrificed for our eternal salvation.

A.    The last four Sundays and concluding this Sunday the Church has given us the “Bread of Life Discourse” from Jesus in the Gospel of Saint John. The Catholic Church’s dogma about the Real Presence Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist in large part derives from Jesus Words in these Gospel passages from Saint John.   In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, our Savior who is the Bridegroom married to His Holy and Spotless Bride which is the Church gives Himself completely to us. In fact, simply attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass even if one cannot receive Holy Communion due to breaking the fast, having committed a mortal sin or some other impediment, Jesus is still giving us is Sacrificed Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity for our salvation!
 Some of the Jews to whom Jesus is speaking, do not like what Jesus is saying. This kind of intimacy is too much for them. They grumble and quarrel among themselves. They simply do not believe that Jesus is God and they are offended by the imagery he uses of eating and drinking His Body and Blood as the means to eternal life.  But does Jesus adjust his teachings to please those who are quarreling and will eventually reject Him. He is not a politician who adjusts his message based upon the fickleness of his hearers. No! He does not change his teachings even if this means that the number of people following Him will be small in number. Jesus isn’t selling used cars; He isn’t selling anything. He is demanding fidelity to Him as He is the true God. If people reject Him and the Splendor of His truth—so be it—it is a sign that they wish to live as though God and true religion do not exist. They bring eternal condemnation on themselves. If we do what they did, we would bring eternal condemnation on ourselves too.

B.    The model of how we celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and our inward and outward dispositions is the liturgy of the Heavenly Jerusalem, described in the Book of the Revelation. It is characterized by seven elements, such as kneeling, deep inclinations, prostrations; incense; sacred songs, not performing worldly or sensual music being free from concentration on oneself; praying and singing together with the Angels; a prolonged time for silence; putting Eucharistic Christ in the visible centre of the church building and our lives. Doing these actions, this practices in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the foundation of the stewardship of our true Catholic faith.

Conclusion: I thank all of you who have returned your stewardship commitment cards to us. For those who haven’t done so, please fill out the card now and place it in the collection basket. Let us understand our time, talent and treasure as a generous effort to do what Joshua says he will do: “As for me and my household, we will serve the true Lord God and His Holy Religion.”