Thursday, April 30, 2009

from "Your Sins And Mine"

Another Taylor Caldwell novel quote:

"It seems as though a lot of younger parsons consider the bible a fine collection of poetry and folk literature-a frame of reference, as they say. You talk politics in your pulpit,you give lectures, and not sermons. You discuss the education of children, the place of women in society, civil liberties, the merits of good citizenship and so on. Now, I'm not saying these aren't important things, you understand. We do need good schools and we do need women taking more interest in politics and community affairs, and minorities should have their just rights, and nobody should hate his neighbor because he is black or brown or green or red or has another religion other than his own."

He pointed his pipe at the minister. "Good things, all of them. But I say also you should save them for the parish hall, or the Wednesday night parish meetings. That's the time for lectures. I don't want to hurt your feelings, my boy, but I've noticed that the only time you mention the name of God is when you pray and give the benediction. What do people go to church for, after five or six days of struggling to make a living and worrying about their families and being confused about the world? I can tell you this, they don't go to hear a fine, polished lecture. They go for consolation; they go to be reconciled with God; they go to be assured God loves them and is waiting to receive their love. They want to know that above the sound and fury of this infernal world there is an everlasting peace, a love that never fails, a mercy that is full and understanding. They want their souls refreshed, not their tired minds belabored....

"I've heard you talk about the Sermon on the Mount as if it was just another Declaration of Independence. When you pray, you speak to God politely, and remind Him that we'd like to have a little peace on this earth. You mentioned once that the parables of Jesus are excellent examples of profound human psychology. That was the Sunday you devoted your whole lecture to 'the science of psychiatry' and what it can do for disturbed minds." His voice became even louder and was touched with anger. "You mentioned God in passing, but there was a hell of a lot more Freud in your lecture! Disturbed minds! You're damned right we've got disturbed minds. And why? Because our parsons think it primitive to talk about an ever-present God in the affairs of men. It never occurs to them that a human soul is thirsting for the living God, and hungering to know He is there for the asking." His voice softened and deepend. "They come to you in grief and bewilderment and pain and you quote textbooks at them, and deny them the bread of life."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Is America to be so much like the former Holy Russia?

But now, alas, what sins lie heavy
Many and awful on my soul!
Thou art black with black injustice,
And slavery's yoke has branded thee,
And godless flattery and baneful lying
And sloth that's shameful, life-denying,
And every hateful thing in thee I see.

For all that cries for consolation,
For every law that we have spurned,
For sins that stain our generation
For evil deeds our Fathers learned,
For all our country's bitter passion,
Pay ye with tears the while we live.
O God of Might, of Thy compassion
May'st thou forgive! May'st Thou forgive!

A.S Khomyakov - Russian poet

Bishop D'Arcy Continues to Shepherd

April 21, 2009

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Recently, Father John Jenkins, CSC, in a letter of response to Bishop Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix, who had written him, critical of the decision to invite President Obama to speak and receive an honorary degree of law at Notre Dame, indicated that it was his conviction that the statement “Catholics in Political Life” (USCCB) did not apply in this matter. Father Jenkins kindly sent me a copy of his letter, and also at a later meeting, asked for a response.
In an April 15th letter to Father Jenkins, I responded to his letter.

Now the points made in his letter have been sent by Father Jenkins to the members of the Notre Dame Board of Trustees and have been publicized nationally, as well as locally in the South Bend Tribune. Since the matter is now public, it is my duty as the bishop of this diocese to respond and correct. I take up this responsibility with some sadness, but also with the conviction that if I did not do so, I would be remiss in my pastoral responsibility.

Rather than share my full letter, which I have shared with some in church leadership, I prefer to present some of the key points.

1. The meaning of the sentence in the USCCB document relative to Catholic institutions is clear. It places the responsibility on those institutions, and indeed, on the Catholic community itself.

“The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” — “Catholics in Political Life,” USCCB.

2. When there is a doubt concerning the meaning of a document of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, where does one find the authentic interpretation? A fundamental, canonical and theological principle states that it is found in the local bishop, who is the teacher and lawgiver in his diocese. — Canon 330, 375 §§ 1 & 2; 380; 381 § 1; 391 § 1; 392, & 394 §1.

3. I informed Father Jenkins that if there was any genuine questions or doubt about the meaning of the relevant sentence in the conference’s document, any competent canonist with knowledge of the tradition and love for Christ’s church had the responsibility to inform Father Jenkins of the fundamental principle that the diocesan bishop alone bears the responsibility to provide an authoritative interpretation.

4. I reminded Father Jenkins that he indicated that he consulted presidents of other Catholic universities, and at least indirectly, consulted other bishops, since he asked those presidents to share with him those judgments of their own bishops. However, he chose not to consult his own bishop who, as I made clear, is the teacher and lawgiver in his own diocese. I reminded Father Jenkins that I was not informed of the invitation until after it was accepted by the president. I mentioned again that it is at the heart of the diocesan bishop’s pastoral responsibility to teach as revealed in sacred Scripture and the tradition. (“Lumen Gentium,” 20; and “Christus Dominus,” 2.) I reminded him that it is also central to the university’s relationship to the church. (“Ex corde ecclesiae,” 27 & 28; Gen. Norm., Art. 5, §§ 1-3.)

5. Another key point. In his letter to Bishop Olmsted and in the widespread publicity, which has taken place as the points in the letter have been made public, Father Jenkins declared the invitation to President Obama does not “suggest support” for his actions, because he has expressed and continues to express disagreement with him on issues surrounding protection of life. I wrote that the outpouring of hundreds of thousands who are shocked by the invitation clearly demonstrates, that this invitation has, in fact, scandalized many Catholics and other people of goodwill. In my office alone, there have been over 3,300 messages of shock, dismay and outrage, and they are still coming in. It seems that the action in itself speaks so loudly that people have not been able to hear the words of Father Jenkins, and indeed, the action has suggested approval to many.

In the publicity surrounding the points Father Jenkins has made, he also says he is “following the document of the bishops” by “laying a basis for engagement with the president on this issue.” I indicated that I, like many others, will await to see what the follow up is on this issue between Notre Dame and President Obama.

6. As I have said in a recent interview and which I have said to Father Jenkins, it would be one thing to bring the president here for a discussion on healthcare or immigration, and no person of goodwill could rightly oppose this. We have here, however, the granting of an honorary degree of law to someone whose activities both as president and previously, have been altogether supportive of laws against the dignity of the human person yet to be born.

In my letter, I have also asked Father Jenkins to correct, and if possible, withdraw the erroneous talking points, which appeared in the South Bend Tribune and in other media outlets across the country. The statements which Father Jenkins has made are simply wrong and give a flawed justification for his actions.

I consider it now settled — that the USCCB document, “Catholics in Public Life,” does indeed apply in this matter.
The failure to consult the local bishop who, whatever his unworthiness, is the teacher and lawgiver in the diocese, is a serious mistake. Proper consultation could have prevented an action, which has caused such painful division between Notre Dame and many bishops — and a large number of the faithful.

That division must be addressed through prayer and action, and I pledge to work with Father Jenkins and all at Notre Dame to heal the terrible breach, which has taken place between Notre Dame and the church. It cannot be allowed to continue.
I ask all to pray that this healing will take place in a way that is substantial and true, and not illusory. Notre Dame and Father Jenkins must do their part if this healing is to take place. I will do my part.

Sincerely yours in our Lord,
Most Reverend
John M. D’Arcy

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pope JP II's take on our Earth - for Earth Day

From Centesimus annus (1991)Pope John Paul II:

"Equally worrying is the ecological question...In his desire to have and to enjoy rather than to be and to grow, man consumes the resources of the earth and his own life in an excessive and disordered way. At the root of the senseless destruction of the natural environment lies an anthropological error, which unfortunately is widespread in our day. Man, who discovers his capacity to transform and in a certain sense create the world through his own work, forgets that this is always based on God's prior and original gift of the things that are. Man thinks that he can make arbitrary use of the earth, subjecting it without restraint to his will, as though it did not have its own requisites and a prior God-given purpose, which man can indeed develop but must not betray. Instead of carrying out his role as co-operator with God in the work of creation, man sets himself up in place of God and thus ends up provoking a rebellion on the part of nature, which is more tyrannized than governed by him."

Watching our puppy enjoy our yard and woods like we never have, this is so clear. I am first to say "I have no time for environmental concerns, as millions of babies are dying!" Yet we must respect God's creation as our Holy Fathers encourage. All in moderation and true forethought! Especially as I learn through my Thomist studies that every living thing has a soul (though only humans immortal). Must resist the urge to disrespect puppy's soul after her instinct causes her to chew the furniture! And, must use puppy (as animals were given us by God for our use) to instruct children on compassion and the value of life.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Early Mother's Day Gift for You

Please enjoy Marie Bellet (thank you, Larry, for the technical help!)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

From Pope Paul VI

Here's a quote from one of my heros and I assume Pope Benedict's as well:

Let us therefor preserve our fervor of spirit. Let us preserve the delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing, even when it is in tears that we must sow. May it mean for us - as it did for John the Baptist, for Peter and Paul, for the other apostles, and for the multitude of splendid evangelizers all through the Church's history - an interior enthusiasm that nobody and nothing can quench. May it be the great joy of our consecrated lives. And may the world of our time, which is searching, sometimes with anguish, sometimes with hope, be enabled to receive the Good News not from evangelizers who are dejected, discouraged, impatient or anxious, but from ministers of the Gospel whose lives glow with fervor, who have first received the joy of Christ, and who are willing to risk their lives so that the kingdom may be proclaimed and the Church established in the midst of the world.

I have recently realized - Joy is a choice. Lord may I choose it to my death!

Bumped into a Guy Named James R. White

While following a follower's blogs, I came across an apparently well known anti-Catholic James R. White. Now, I don't mean to use this blog to bring about controversial debate necessarily (okay well maybe just a little) - but I heard him mentioned on Catholic radio coincidentally so checked him out and his blog. Here's an article he posted. Now if this recent article below is an example of what the anti-Catholics, well known ones no less, are all about, I don't understand why so many people reject Catholicism!

Seventy Percent of Roman Catholics Do Not Understand The Eucharist
04/15/2009 - James Swan
Seventy percent of Roman Catholics do not understand the Eucharist? There's that anti-catholic James Swan again, making stuff up about the one true church. Everyone knows, those who are members of the one true church have the benefit of the infallible magisterium. The papacy has God-given authority keeping Catholics unified!
Actually, what most who may think this about me don't realize is I probably read more Roman Catholic books at this point than Protestant books. I certainly listen to more Catholic broadcasts than Protestant. This particular fact was not something I made up. It comes from the April 6, 2009 broadcast of Catholic Answers Live. Catholic apologist Jim Burnham devoted an hour on "How to Defend and Explain the Eucharist." You can listen to Jim's statistics in this short clip. Jim says in part,
"Poll after poll in recent years has confirmed that more and more Catholics are mistaken... they have misguided views about the Eucharist. it used to be everybody understood that the Eucharist was Jesus. it was the true flesh and blood... the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus under the appearance of bread and wine. And now more recent polls suggest that sometimes up to fifty percent depending on how the question is phrased, sometimes as many as seventy percent of Catholics can't identify that core Catholic belief..."
So, if I were to ask seven out of ten Catholics to explain the Eucharist, according to Burnham, I'd probably get a few different answers, or maybe even seven different answers. Here again we find a simple truth, typically ignored by Catholic apologists. Catholic apologists will repeatedly claim a Christian relying on the Bible as his sole infallible authority will produce confusion. They claim one must have another infallible authority, the Papacy. Yet, here is one of their key doctrines, what Burnham calls, "the crown jewel" of the Catholic faith, the Eucharist, and seven out of ten Catholics are confused on it.
In this period of economic crisis, many companies are evaluating their work plan, trying to find ways in which their company is failing and losing money. I submit, If your alleged infallible teaching magisterium is working as Burnham describes, you may want to evaluate the effectiveness of upper management at this point.

He obviously is slobbering to find a way to discount magesterial teaching - which he has great contempt for.

As he discusses the papacy's inability to "keep Catholics unified", I wonder how he can explain how protestants often move from denomination to denomination? Of course the answer is because we are human persons never made perfect until united with Him. Not an earthly "company". We are the body of Christ, all Christians included, and all who are included by the grace of God! The Magesterium is simply Sacred Tradition passed on by our Church Fathers from our Lord. It is as simple as it is profound. He promised not to leave us, and he hasn't. While even our Holy Fathers are human and in err, Christ Present in our Pope and all priests is not!

It is a crisis that so many don't understand the Eucharist, from which I recieve great joy and love - I often long to visit our perpetual adoration Chapel - and my children find great peace there as well (they beg to stay, even when I say it is time to go!) Note: Some may say my kids are obviously "indoctrinated", but I assure you I am much too lazy to do anything so profound - they are often babysat by SpongeBob cartoons and we own the "High School Musical" movie - they know what's out there, and make their own choices.

But, this number also indicates the many Catholics that never attend mass. Even for some that do attend out of a sense of duty, they are making a choice to reject our Lord. As with Pharaoh, God "hardens their hearts" (in translation they choose to reject God).

But for those of us who have seen, who have tasted - we will renew the world. And whiners about the business model of the magesterial hierarchy hopefully will turn into the lovers of the Faith which will bring them Home Through Rome!

Oh and I just realized after visiting "The acts..." How appropriate - Happy Birthday Pope Benedict XVI - our beloved Holy Father! I have just started his "Jesus of Nazareth" - but the theme already seems to come out on the importance of having an intimate friendship with our Lord, no surprise coming from the one in the Chair of Peter!

"Lord, let them be One as We are One"

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI's Good Friday Address

Pope warns of 'a desert of godlessness' in Good Friday address
Daily Mail ReporterLast updated at 2:13 AM on 11th April 2009

Good Friday address: Pope Benedict warned that religious sentiments are increasingly being held up to ridicule in the West

Pope Benedict XVI last night attacked the rise of aggressive secularism in Western societies, warning them that they risked drifting into a 'desert of godlessness'.

He used his Good Friday meditations to compare deliberate attempts to remove religion from public life to the mockery of Jesus Christ by the mob as he was led out to be crucified.
'Religious sentiments' were increasingly ranked among the 'unwelcome leftovers of antiquity' and 'held up to scorn and ridicule', he added.

'We are shocked to see to what levels of brutality human beings can sink,' said the Pope at an evening ceremony at the Coliseum in Rome.

'Jesus is humiliated in new ways even today when things that are most holy and profound in the faith are being trivialised, the sense of the sacred is allowed to erode.

'Values and norms that held societies together and drew people to higher ideals are laughed at and thrown overboard. Jesus continues to be ridiculed.'

The German-born Pope, who turns 82 later this month, prayed Christians would respond by growing in faith.

'May we never question or mock serious things in life like a cynic,' he added. He also condemned the oppression of women, saying there were 'many societies in the world where women fail to receive a fair deal.'

'Christ must be weeping for them,' he said.

We watched the movie "The Miracle Worker" as a family, after attending a Stations of the Cross yesterday between 12 and 3. I recommend this movie to anyone, kids or not - it is a beautiful and artistic depiction of the life of Christ using claymation and animation.

My 7 y.o. asked "Why did Jesus want to kill Himself?" after the scene where Jesus told Judas to "go do what you have to do." I love when kids ask questions!

Jesus was mocked and ridiculed. The world did not know Him. So should it know us? I do not rejoice in suffering, but see it as a great opportunity to live in and with Him if we accept it in His grace. As President Obama says that our land is no longer Christian, we are truly challenged to like never before to be Christian! We were able to be complacent when Ronald Reagan counted Pope John Paul II as one of his closest friends. And we were able to be complacent when George W. Bush told us that he read the bible daily.

The time for complacency has ended.

Jesus did not want to die. HE DID NOT WANT TO DIE. But He died. And look what happened! Maybe it's our time to die in Him.

God's will be done!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Salome, my home girl in Heaven

I heard Salome, wife of Zebedee, Mom of James and John talked about on the radio today. It was she with Mary Magdalene who was first to see Our Lord risen.

I have a special bond with Salome. You see, almost a year ago today, I was trying to decide whether or not to homeschool my kids. Being VP of our Catholic school board and just seeing too much of how supposedly "Catholic" our school was but not really(including having to explain and defend why we as a board take a holy hour of adoration each month, a subject which our Principal Sister was blatantly silent about), I was really soul searching. So, at my holy hour that I attended in the name of the board, I asked God for answers. Then I opened my Navarre Bible, and hit on the passage where Christ calls James and John to be disciples.

Now, the commentary discussed how their father Zebedee and also mother Salome (not refered to directly in the script) dropped everything to follow Him. It was as if they were an aging yuppie couple, enjoying their 2 sons and looking at a comfortable retirement of golf at The Villages in Florida, when Christ said "Leave it all and follow me" - and they did willingly and with total abandon. I did not see that as my answer that day. I knew following Him sometimes means Catholic school, public school, homeschool, WHATEVER. When a friend called and said "What did God say?" I could only tell her the truth - He said I would make the right decision, and I would be at peace. (What the H does that mean, dear Lord???)

A month later, at the final school mass, I was feeling very ornery, until I approached Christ in communion. A wave of peace and forgiveness for the school's deficiencies overwhelmed me like I will never forget. My girls went through the motions of the last day of school, but we left as a family, husband and 3 year old included, and began to plan and celebrate our new life together.

In this past year of teaching and learning from my kids, I can only say that I have stepped into grace, together with my family.

I am reminded of the song my husband and I chose as one of our wedding hymns "Oh Lord, in my eyes you were gazing. Gently smiling, my name you were saying. All I have, I have left on the sand there. Close to you, I will find other seas." Thanks, Salome, for reminding me!

Incidentally, I can't find this description anywhere in my Navarre right now. I've found those passages. I must just be missing it...