The New Orleans Catholic Newspaper has the article at Archdiocese sells 30 vacant, unused properties
Thursday, January 31, 2013
The New Orleans Catholic Newspaper has the article at Archdiocese sells 30 vacant, unused properties
National Catholic Reporter has a short but informative piece on the new Lorenzo Herman, a Jesuit scholastic, who is the president of the National Black Catholic Seminarians Association. Jesuit scholastic has full plate as head of black seminarians' group
Here is a part :
Herman said people ask him about the organization, "Why do they call it 'black' and not 'African-American'?" His answer: "This organization represents black men of African descent who were born and raised here or came from Africa, Latin America, or the Caribbean. So that's been a very rich and exciting experience for me, especially since I went to Africa for the first time last summer. ... So when I go to meetings ... it expands what it means to have a black identity."
The group has 65 members, but its leaders believe there are 150 black seminarians in the United States.
This is a probably a good focus. With immigration patterns it seems that aiding new waves of Immigrants or from immigrant families in a vocation to a Priesthood is very good thing. In fact it seem it is an area that has a lot of potential for the entire Church in the United States.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Get Religion talks about why Episcopalians get so much press. See WWROD: Why do Episcopalians get so much ink?
I agree with those observations. However let me add one. They get attention because they deserve it. Despite their low numbers compared to the total Anglican communion they have a enormous influence in Anglican affairs worldwide. Part of this is due to wealth but a much bigger part is because they are American. For better or worse we American Christians because of accident of birth are sometimes the tail that wags the dog in our faith communities. This I think actually happens in the Catholic Church to a certain extent.
It might not be that fair to places like Africa , but it seems to be the way things work..
Bishop Alexander Sample Soon To Be Archbishop of Portand First Bishop From Generation of Ignorant Catholics
Yesterday Pope Benedict made Bishop Alexander Sample of Marquette, Michigan the new Archbishop of Portland Oregon..
There are some interesting firsts with this appointment which include this the first Bishop in the USA that Pope Benedict actually made a Bishop that he has now made a Archbishop.
He also was one of the men made Bishop that was born in the 1960's. So on that note I found this part of a Catholic World Report interview interesting.
You’ve described yourself as a member of “the first lost generation of poor catechesis,” which “raised up another generation that is equally uncatechized.” What’s wrong with catechesis and what have you done to help solve the problem?
Bishop Sample: My generation was the first in the wake of Vatican II. While I certainly don’t blame the Council, much upheaval occurred in the Church in its aftermath. Culturally, society was experiencing the sexual revolution, the women’s liberation movement, and the anti-war movement, among others. There was an anti-authoritarian spirit.
In this time of great confusion, catechesis suffered. We booted the Baltimore Catechism out the door, but there wasn’t anything to replace it. I was taught the faith in Catholic schools using materials that were weak and insubstantial. I wasn’t being taught my faith. The liturgy suffered from experimentation as well.
When I speak about this publicly, invariably people of my generation come up to me to agree with what I’m saying. This includes many bishops.
My generation raised up the next generation. Since we weren’t taught the faith, we raised children who weren’t either.
We need a renewal in catechesis. I feel passionately about this. In my Diocese of Marquette, I directed the development of a diocesan curriculum for faith formation for grades K-8. It is a solid, substantive, systematic, and sequential curriculum, which builds from one year to the next. It is topical, based on the pillars of the catechism. Every parish is expected to follow this curriculum.
Now I’m turning my attention toward adult faith formation. If we can get catechesis and the liturgy right, we’ll be well on our way to the renewal and growth of the Church for which we hope.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Vatican Newspaper L'Osservatore Romano Strikes Back At UK Guardian on Tales of Getting Rich Off Of Mussolini's Money ( English Translation )
Nice to see that the Vatican Newspaper finally respond. Below is a translation I have gotten from this page.
History should not be mistreated
by Giovanni Maria Vian
The Vatican, finances and fascism, all of it wrapped in secrecy and intrigue - these were the lip-smacking ingredients of a supposed 'scoop' by The Guardian, the authoritative London daily, which published a story that has been taken up by some media outlets but which really deserved little attention.
It is a melange of inexact or unfounded reports put together awkwardly to give the impression that the Vatican built an international real estate empire from "Mussolini's millions", a fortune that was supposed to have been obtained in return for recognition of Mussolini's regime by the Holy See in 1929, and which has since then been hidden under layers of secrecy.
To round up the picture of Vatican duplicity depicted by the above, the article cites unspecified articles supposedly from British war archives attesting to Vatican activities against the Allies by a company controlled by the Vatican.
Even the most summary reading of the article would show its inconsistencies, but unfortunately, its resonance has damaged not only the perceptions of many readers but the most elementary historical truth.
It would have taken the writers (and editors) no effort to check out that the Lateran Pacts which in 1929 closed the so-called "Roman question' between post-unification Italy and the Papacy since 1870, included a financial agreement, according to which the Kingdom of Italy indemnified the Holy See with cash and property titles equivalent to 1.2 billion euro today. A sum which, according to the financial agreement itself, was 'much less' than what the State owed the Holy See [for all the Church properties confiscated in the former papal states which were absorbed by the unification of Italy in 1860-1870] as established by an Italian law passed in 1871, but which the Popes had rejected consistently.
The Lateran Pacts were far from a 'shameful' agreement between the Church and fascism, but a necessary and balanced solution [to the Roman question].
The content of the Lateran Pacts was largely incorporated into the Constitution of the Italian Republic in 1947. The Pacts themselves have been favorably judged by historians of various tendencies and overchanging times, as well as by all Italian governments since 1929, including postwar leaders Alcide De Gaspari [the exemplary Christian Democrat] and Palmiro Togliatti [head of the Italian Communist Party].
Finally, as to the alleged activities of the Holy See against the Allies in World War II, it is timely that in the December 2012 issue of the trimestral Historical Journal from Cambridge University, historian Patricia McGoldrick of London's Middlesex University has published a lengthy and detailed study of the Vatican's financial activities during World War II, about which Luca Possati writes on this page.
Based on a series of documents recently made accessible by the British National Archives, the article confirms what has been emerging in earlier historical research, and demonstrates the exact opposite of what the Guardian article claims with such superficial lightness. And that is, that through wartime investments made mostly in the United States, the Holy See under Pius XII directly supported the Allied cause against Nazism.
Vatican Insider from Italy has an article here Aleteia and Google forge “holy Web alliance”
I have to admit I just discovered them as they watch them cover the National Right to Life March on their twitter account. I was impressed. Their web site is here.
An important agreement was signed with the United States Catholic Bishops and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Christian Reformed Church in North America, Reformed Church in America and United Church of Christ. See Churches to sign historic baptism agreement in Austin .
I was not aware that perhaps some Reformed had not always been using a Trinitarian formula. Of importance is all Churches will use more standard Baptism records which as noted is important as to certain marriage issues.
To say the dispute with the departed Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina and the National Episcopal Church USA is tense is an understatement.
Still these remarks from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori seem harsh :
I tell you that story because it’s indicative of attitudes we’ve seen here and in many other places. Somebody decides he knows the law, and oversteps whatever authority he may have to dictate the fate of others who may in fact be obeying the law, and often a law for which this local tyrant is not the judge. It’s not too far from that kind of attitude to citizens’ militias deciding to patrol their towns or the Mexican border for unwelcome visitors. It’s not terribly far from the state of mind evidenced in school shootings, or in those who want to arm school children, or the terrorism that takes oil workers hostage.
Now as they say the best offense is the best defense. I also there can be fair discussion as we examine both the Church court and civil court litigation about who is being a tyrant in all this mess. It all depends what camp you are in I suppose.
Still describing and linking Bishop Lawrence and other departing Episcopalians to terrorists and indeed to the so fresh image of the recent school shooting seems news worthy.
This is all over the Anglican related religion sites that no doubt many people in the secular press monitor. No matter who ones thinks is the tyrant here I am going to watch if this hits the secular press.
Usually when a male often conservative Catholic or Evangelical uses such language about a politico or another Christian leader its news and not just in the religious press.
I have a feeling because Schori is a female, progressive , and many of the media might agree with her views there might be a temptation not to report this .
Maybe I will be wrong but a quick google news search shows me not much interest yet.
San Francisco Magazine has a pretty decent interview/article on the Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone who was installed as San Fran's newest Archbihop just October. See The Archbishop of No
I suspect the Archbishop might not be thrilled with the title. He is no matter the Archbishop of No when defending certain Christian doctrines but I suspect he also preaches an rather positive affirmative Catholicism too. I also think the article could have been aided by a few more LAY voices in the Archdiocese that support him.
That being said its a pretty fair article I think from the secular local press there. The Archbishop is in a tough spot. Certain factions of Catholic Progressives will never be happy with him because of his stance on sexuality issues. Many Catholic conservatives I suspect will get impatient with him because they don't understand he has to pick his battles and progress will not be overnight.
One part of the article made me think of something I observed this weekend on social media.
in fiercely liberal, proudly gay San Francisco—than from the safety of a more conservative precinct. Cordileone knows that here his views aren’t just out of step—they can trigger deep hate. On his first day of work, as Cordileone headed toward the steps of the archdiocese office, a man rushed at him and shouted obscenities in his face. “I didn’t say anything. I didn’t look at him,” Cordileone says. I ask Wesolek, the archdiocese’s spokesperson, about other threats. They mostly come by email, he replies, and then turns to Cordileone. “We don’t even bother you with it. People will write emails and say ‘We hate you’ or ‘The church is the devil.’ That kind of stuff. It’s normal.” Cordileone notes that in San Francisco, he is more aware of his surroundings. In Oakland, he would frequent Yoshi’s (he’s a jazz fan and a saxophone player). Maybe he’ll head to the new SFJazz Center here, he says with a wry laugh, but “in my cap and sunglasses .
This past weekend the San Francisco had a very successful March For Life that was I watching. Later that evening on the twitter a man proudly proclaimed that he saw the Archbishop in a restaurant and loudly told him to F*&* Off and gave him a piece of his mind.
I do wonder sadly how much of a common occurrence that is for Cordileone.
Monday, January 28, 2013
I guess one can do that after you tell your mom.
One has to be living under a rock not to have heard the so called " National Discussion " on guns the United States is having. This is of course related in many ways to the worldwide discussion on guns and their role in intrastate, interstate, and international commerce.
In fact some folks used their contacts to bring the complex gun control issue into the Right to Life March against abortion this past weekend.
U.S. Catholic correctly in this piece Gun control: Church firmly, quietly opposes firearms for civilians note in various documents the Catholic Church gun policy at both the national and Vatican level.
As to the American Church this issue has been muted as of late. Even during this " National Discussion " the Bishops have been careful here. This is a heated topic among the American faithful. I also suspect that over the last 25 years the opinions of some Priests and perhaps even a few Bishops have like the general public perhaps shifted on this matter .
Regardless Vatican, Catholic Bishops , Network, and various concerned Catholic Social Justice groups meet second year Texas Law Cody " printable gun " Williams. He has just perhaps made the established gun control plan of action as obsolete as the steamboat.
As the founder of of 3DPrinter.net said in his post Gun Control? Here’s what the “printable gun” guy thinks about that "People like to say that 3D printing will change everything. This is part of everything."
I don't think this is on the Churches or other Catholics that advocate for very limited gun rights radar at all.
The saying that if you outlaw guns only criminals will have guns becomes even more true. Heck go ahead and bring on a nationa handgunl gun . The gang down the street will just down load a gun design and in minutes here it comes out of the 3-D printer. In essence the key component to gun control policy that being the manufacturer is well out of the picture..
I guess one could say well we will just outlaw folks from put down loadable gun designs on the Internet . Well as our fascinating law student Texas has correctly noted GOOD LUCK WITH THAT.
To get a sense of what the "new reality" is See Forbes article Gunsmiths 3D-Print High Capacity Ammo Clips To Thwart Proposed Gun Laws . Right now we are just talking plastic but 3 d printers using metals are not only here but we can expect a dramatic price decrease over the coming years.
Chicago boyz is correct to note in their post The 2nd Prohibitionists vs Reality – When Gun Control Politics Meets The Free Market that we are about be mugged by a " reality moment” . Furthermore they correctly notes current gun control strategies with this technology might have quite the opposite effect than their advocates wish.
The U.S. Catholic article notes :
The Vatican's justice and peace council is working to update its 1994 document, "The International Arms Trade," to further emphasize the importance of enacting concrete controls on handguns and light weapons, he said.
If the updated Vatican document does not consider the reality of 3 D printing then for all practical purpose its already a relic.
Further the Vatican should perhaps think about how it wishes to use resources. If 3 D printers can have the average person produce a gun imagine what else it might produce. These things might be more worrisome than the average civilian owning a handgun. At some point we need to what the government should be really concerned about.
The Vatican and the Church in light of this technology should assess if they now should perhaps take a different route in gun control policy. That is restrictions that are very narrowly tailored to a certain problems and perhaps a new emphasis on responsible gun ownership.
That seems to be the possible new reality.
Media's Strange Disinterest On Pope's Remarks on Marriage & Annulments ( Full Text of Remarks to Roman Rota )
I am always interested in what the media finds interesting or noteworthy about Papal remarks and what it does not. Usually hot button sensational stuff "sells" and is quickly on the news wires not long after it leaves the Holy Father's mouth.
Therefore I find it intriguing that news media has appeared to taken very little interest in Pope Benedict's address to the Roman Rota on issues dealing with marriage, annulments, divorce and other related matters.
A strange silence since well these are some of the most pressing matters for Catholics. I mean how much work does it take to get a canon lawyer and a theologian to use in your story to flesh this out in more plain English as it were. Also it's not as if these remarks were a surprise. This was on the calender for sometime
The Italian text is here and a I have copied this English translation here. Note the translator has some comments on that page too.
Dear Members of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota:
It is an occasion of joy to be with you on the occasion of the inauguration of the judicial year. I thank your Dean, Mons. Pio Vito Pinto, for the sentiments he expressed in your name and which I reciprocate with all my heart.
This encounter gives me the opportunity to reaffirm my esteem and consideration for the high service that you are rendering to the Successor of Peter and to the whole Church, as well as to urge you to an even greater commitment in what is certainly a difficult task but one that is valuable for the salvation of souls.
The principle that salus animarum, the salvation of souls, is the supreme law in the Church (cfr CIC, can. 1752) should be kept in mind at all times and must find, in your daily work, its due and rigorous respect.
1. In the context of the Year of Faith, I wish to dwell especially on some aspects of the relationship between faith and matrimony, observing that the present crisis of faith in various parts of the world also bears with it a crisis in conjugal society, with all the weight of suffering and disquiet that this means even for the children.
We can start off from the common linguistic root that the terms fides and foedus have in Latin - the latter term used in the Code of Canon Law designates the natural reality of matrimony as an irrevocable pact between a man and a woman (cfr can. 1055 § 1). Indeed, reciprocal trust is the irrenunciable basis of any pact or alliance.
On the theological plane, the relationship between faith and matrimony assumes an even more profound significance. Indeed, the spousal bond, although it is a natural reality, was elevated by Christ, for those who have been baptized, to the dignity of a sacrament (cfr ibidem).
The indissoluble alliance between a man and a woman in marriage does not require, for purposes of sacramentality, the personal faith of the spouses. What it requires, as the minimum necessary condition, is the intention to do what the Church does.
But although it is important not to confuse the question of intention with that of the faith of the contracting parties, it is nonetheless not possible to separate them totally. As the International Theological Commission noted in a 1977 document, "in case there is no trace of faith as such (in the sense of a disposition to believe), nor any desire for grace or salvation, then the problem is whether the intention to marry is truly sacramental as earlier mentioned, whether that intention is present or not, and if the marriage has been validly contracted or not" (La dottrina cattolica sul sacramento del matrimonio , 2.3: Documenti 1969-2004, vol. 13, Bologna 2006, p. 145).
Blessed John Paul II, addressing this Tribunal ten years ago, nonetheless pointed out that "an attitude by the persons getting married that does not consider the supernatural dimension of marriage can render it invalid only if it undermines the validity on the natural plane upon which the sacramental sign is imposed" ibidem).
This problem, especially in the present context, requires further reflections.
2. Contemporary culture, which is characterized by marked ethical and religious subjectivism and relativism, poses urgent challenges to the individual and to the family.
In the first place, there is the question of the capacity of the human being to bind himself to someone else, and if a bond that lasts for life is truly possible and corresponds to human nature, or whether it is not instead opposed to man's freedom and his self-realization.
It is, in fact, part of a widespread mentality, to think that a person becomes himself by remaining 'autonomous', coming in contact with others only through relationships that can be interrupted at any time (cfr Allocution to the Roman Curia, December 21, 2012).
No one can miss the fact that a person's basic perspective influences his choice of whether to enter into a bond that will last all his life, depending on whether that perspective is anchored to a merely human plan, or is opened up by the light of faith in the Lord.
In fact, only by opening oneself to the truth of God is it possible to understand and to realize - even in the concreteness of one's conjugal and family life - the truth of man as a child of God, regenerated at Baptism.
"Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing." (Jn 15,5). This is what Jesus taught his disciples, reminding them of the human being's substantial incapacity to fulfill by himself what is necessary to achieve true good.
Rejection of the divine proposal, in effect, leads to a profound disequilibrium in all human relationships (Cfr Address tothe International Theological Commission, December 2012), including the marital, and facilitates a mistaken understanding of freedom and self-realization, which, along with seeking to escape from suffering, condemns man to enclose himself within his egoism and egocentrism.
On the contrary, acceptance of faith makes man capable of self-giving, in which alone "does man find himself... Only by opening himself to the other, to others, to children, to the family, only by letting himself be changed through suffering, does he discover the breadth of his humanity" (Address to the Roman Curia, December 21, 2012).
Faith in God, sustained by divine grace, is therefore a very important element in order to live in mutual dedication and conjugal faithfulness (Catechesis, General Audience, June 8, 2011).
This must not be taken to mean that faithfulness, along with other characteristics, is not possible in natural marriage that takes place between those who are not baptized. In fact, such marriages are not devoid of good things that "come from God the Creator" and which are found in the spousal love that unites Christ and the Church" (International Theological Commission, Catholic Doctrine on the sacrament of matrimony , 3-4).
But certainly, being closed to God or rejection of the sacred dimension in the conjugal union and of its value in terms of grace, renders difficult the concrete incarnation of that most elevated model of matrimony conceived by the Church according to God's design, and can even undermine the validity itself of the alliance, whenever - as the consolidated jurisprudence of this Tribunal says - it translates into a rejection of the conjugal obligation of faithfulness or of other elements and properties essential to matrimony.
Tertullian, in his famous Letter to the Wife, speaking of conjugal life marked by faith, writes that Christian spouses are "truly two in one flesh only, and where there is one flesh, there is one spirit. Together they pray, together they prostrate themselves, together they fast; one teaches the other, one honors the other, one sustains the other" (Ad uxorem libri duo, II, IX: PL 1, 1415B-1417A).
St. Clement of Alexandria expressed himself in similar terms: "If in fact, for both spouses, there is only one God, then for both, there is only one Pedagogue - Christ; and one Church, one wisdom, one humility. We est in common, matrimony unites us... And if our life is common to both of us, then also common to both of us is grace, salvation, virtue, morality" (Pædagogus, I, IV, 10.1: PG 8, 259B).
The saints who experienced matrimonial union and family life in the Christian perspective, succeeded in overcoming even the most adverse situations, even gaining the sanctification of their spouses and children through a love that was always strengthened by solid trust in God, by sincere religious piety, and by an intense sacramental life.
Their experiences, distinguished by faith, help us understand why even today, there is value to the sacrifice offered by the abandoned spouse or someone who underwent divorce, if - recognizing the indissolubility of a valid matrimonial bond - the spouse does not allow himself/herself to "be involved in a new union... Because in such cases, the example of faithfulness and Christian consistency assumes a special value of witness to the world and to the Church" (John Paul II, Apost. Exh. Familiaris consortio [22 novembre 1981], 83: AAS 74 , p. 184).
3. Finally, I wish to dwell briefly on the bonum conjugium ['the good of the marriage', more commonly translated as 'the good of the spouses' in all canon law discussions of marriage]. Faith is important in the realization of authentic conjugal good, which consists in wanting, always and under all circumstances. what is good for the other, as a function of a true and indissoluble consortium vitae (life in common).
Indeed, the goal of Christian spouses to live a true communio conugalis contains a dynamism that comes from the faith, in which one's confessio or personal response to the salvific announcement of Christ involves the believer in God's plan of love.
Confessio and caritas are "the two forms by which God involves us, makes us act with him, in him, and for mankind, for his creature... Confessio is not an abstraction, it is caritas, it is love. Only thus is it a reflection of divine truth, which as truth, is inseparable from love" (Meditation, First General Congregation of the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Bishops' Synod, Oct. 9, 2012)
Only through the flame of charity is the presence of the Gospel no longer just words, but lived reality. In other words, if it is true that "faith without charity does not bear fruit, and charity without faith would be a sentiment constantly at the mercy of doubt", one must conclude that "faith and charity each require the other, in such a way that each allows the other to set out along its respective path" (Apost Ltr Porta Fidei, October 11, 2012).
4. If this is valid in the wide context of community life, it must be even more valid in the matrimonial union, in which faith makes the love of the spouses grow and fructify, making room for the presence of the Trinity, and making conjugal life, thus lived, 'happy news' in the eyes of the world.
I recognize the difficulties, from a juridical and practical viewpoint, of enucleating the essential element of the bonum coniugum that has been understood till now prevalently in relation to the hypothesis of incapacity (cfr CIC, can. 1095).
The bonum coniugum assumes relevance even in the case of simulated consent. Certainly, in the cases subject to your judgment, factual inquiry will seek to ascertain the ultimate validity of this cause for nullification, prevalent or coexistent with one other cause related to the three Augustinian benefits of marriage - procreativity, exclusivity and perpetuity.
One must therefore not disregard cases in which, precisely because of the absence of faith, the benefits of marriage to the spouses become compromised or excluded from their consent itself. For example, in a hypothesis of subversion by one of the spouses, because of a mistaken idea of the marriage bond or the principle of parity, or rejection of the [physical] union that characterizes the matrimonial bond, related to the possible coexistent exclusion of faithfulness and the use of copula adempiuta humano modo.
['Copulation carried out in the human way'? I think the sense of the highlighted clause, in a list of examples of how the marriage bond can be subverted, is that additional aggravating circumstances may be unfaithfulness or copulation in unnatural ways.]
With these considerations, I certainly do not intend to suggest any facile automatic equivalence between lack of faith and invalidity of the matrimonial union, but rather to point out how such lack of faith may, though not necessarily, damage even the benefits of matrimony, since the natural order intended by God is inherent to the conjugal pact (cfr Gen 2,24).
Dear Brothers, I invoke the help of God for you and all those in the Church who do their best to safeguard truth and justice with regard to the sacred bond of matrimony and therefore of the Christian family.
I entrust you to the protection of the Most Blessed Mary, Mother of Christ, and of St. Joseph, Guardian of the Family of Nazareth, silent and obedient executor of the divine plan of salvation, as I gladly impart the Apostolic Blessing to you and those dear to you.
In A First Pope Benedict Gives Task Of Writing Of thr 2013 Good Friday Stations of the Cross to Two Lebanese Youth
The two youth are of the Maronite Church and will focus on the problems of the Middle East. Vatican Insider has the article up at Pope assigns Stations of the Cross texts to two young people from Lebanon .
Interesting story out of New York. Canon Lawyer Edward Peters has the link and makes some comments about some misconceptions related to this and the need to clarify Canon Law in this matter. See Dcn. John Cornelius and his wife Sheryl are doing a praiseworthy thing
There are only three them. Nice article from the New York Times at Studying X’s, O’s and the Torah
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Over the weekend trying to post some of the Louisiana theme as to the Right to Life March in Washington D.C. as I find pics and stories from different Dioceses.
Here are pictures of youth from one parish in what was a rather large grroup of youth from the Diocese of Baton Rouge attended. That is the Saint Agnes Youth Group from the City of Baton Rouge
I LIKE THE HATS !!
Going to try over the next couple of days to has as I have been doing post a few entries on Louisiana participation in the National Right To Life March in D.C.
This pic is courtesy of Brooke Marcello, 17, of Dominican High School in New Orleans . Marcello and other New Orleans Youth were quoted in this nice New Orleans Times article Large contingent of anti-abortion marchers urges repeal of Roe vs. Wade ruling
The future is hopeful !!
Friday, January 25, 2013
Zachery Louisiana Young Man Shows God 's Plan Comes Full Circle As To Abortion - March For Life 2013
The March for Life has just finished up in Washington D.C. I hope to find some Louisiana related stories and pics to put up later on.
However I saw this very compelling story today from Gary Berkel called Protecting the Unborn that had as a part of it a Louisiana twist.
....Matthew Law, 17, lives near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. During a bus trip to Washington, D.C. to participate in a second March for Life, he found out for the first time that he was nearly aborted. Sitting next to his adoptive mother who went with him on the trip, Christine Law sensed it was time for her to share how she had reached out to his biological mother, a woman who had lived on the streets and was sexually active. Christine had counseled her and tried to persuade her to carry Matthew to term and to let her adopt him.
But, at six months in her pregnancy, Matthew’s biological mother went to an abortion clinic that, unbeknownst to her, did not perform late-term abortions. A nurse telephoned Christine who Matthew’s biological mother had listed as an emergency contact. It was during that phone conversation that Matthew’s birth mother decided to forgo the abortion.
“When I found out that I was a baby saved from abortion, I was amazed by the power of God,” Matthew states. “My life has come full circle in a way, because now, here I am fighting to save lives the way my mother fought to save mine.” As a result of being born prematurely with resultant medical issues, Matthew’s birth mother also came near death while delivering him. Mathew’s birth mother recounts that her own mother was told that she would be brain damaged and that she should be left at the hospital to die. The anguished mother instead took her struggling premature baby home.
Matthew Law, 17, has founded a Teens4Life chapter in Baton Rouge and was recently presented with a youth award “for his Christian leadership and witnessing of gospel values.” “I want people to know that we are survivors and that our lives mean something—something powerful in the sight of God,” Matthew declares....
Read his whole post.
I decided to google around for Mr Law and found this wonderful article on him from the Baton Rouge Catholic Newspaper from 2011 which has a picture of him here and more on that story ..
NFL & City Of New Orleans Might Not Be Able to Suspend First Amendment For Superbowl - Federal Judge issue TRO
See Court issues partial TRO in Super Bowl 'Clean Zone' lawsuit -Free speech battles Super Bowl in Big Easy
How overbroad this statute is something else and the massive areas of real estate affected ( The whole French Quarter ???? ) is something else.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Going to try to focus on the Louisiana angle of the March for Life in D.C. this week.
LAKE CHARLES area folks folks have arrived. Here they are praying in front of the White House.
They are using the #marchforlife hashtag on twitter with a special one for their group #lcm4l
Article on the Oldest and Still Operating Catholic School in the United States - Ursuline Academy In New Orleans
Pretty nice article on the Ursuline Academy in New Orleans which is not only the oldest Catholic School in the nation but one that has never stopped operating. See Tradition of Catholic education began with Ursuline Academy
Not too long ago I had this post up Why Some People Are From Mars and Some From Venus On Religious Liberty and Hobby Lobby .
In that post I linked a exchange that was occurring in the comments section of Mirrors of Justice as to the HHS Mandate that I though illustrated my point.
My apologies to Mr. Bowman; I mistook a misspelling of my name in another comment as having been in his. As always, the brief pay-off of snarky humor is rarely worth the long run cost.
Thank you to Ms. Rogers. While we may not have a common starting point, it is helpful to define how our starting points differ. Much on this issue depends on whether one views liberty "negatively," as you do, or "positively," as I do, at least on some issues. Those supporting positive liberty view affirmative government action in a complex society as essential to the enjoyment of meaningful liberty--that is, the mere absence of government not enough. This basic disagreement about whether liberty is positive or negative defines many of the differences between the two political parties (although they sometimes switch places on negative/positive liberty, depending on the issue).
The mandate is an example of positive liberty in this sense. Freedom to purchase contraceptives--the absence of government obstacles guaranteed by Griswold and Eisenstadt--is of less value to women who cannot afford to purchase them, or cannot afford to purchase the ones that work best for them. It seeks to give women--especially low income women--greater control over their lives and a more equal footing with men in the workplace than would exist in the mere absence of government obstacles to purchasing contraception.
I was reminded again that this GULF of of non understanding when I was reading some post at Law Profs Josh Blackman's blog. See his post Obama’s Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness (and a preview of my book) and his follow up here at Whose Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness? Those post make the connection between Obama's Second Inaugural speech and the third and final day of oral arguments in front of the Supreme Court on the affordable health care act. In the final day each side in the final minutes made their case for the " liberty " question.
Prof Blackman's best post ( which he links) and I think is the best reading on those oral arguments is here at Two Conceptions of Liberty in ACA . As that piece I think neatly lays out it seems the advocates of positive liberty versus those of negative liberty are different planets. So much so that the Solicitor General of the United States might not have been aware how his view of " Liberty" was not going to sway the conservatives on the court including the big prize Justice Kennedy.
None of that discussion has to deal with the religious liberty concerns , but again as to matters as the HHS Mandate I think they are related as the Mirrors of Justice post shows.
The problem still is in my view the advocates of positive liberty still have a pretty deaf ear to cases of conscientious objection .
On the last day of oral arguments the question was could the Government violate your " Liberty " by making you purchase a insurance policy. The HHS mandate cases involve can the Government violate your liberty in making you provide contraception and indeed some kinds of contraception that people believe are akin to an abortion. In both cases the proponents of positive liberty said other positive liberty interests trumped that.
The problem is what exactly is the check on this positive liberty. That is sorry Federal , State , Local Governement even for your aim of the common good you can't go past x point .If it can make you enter a contract or perhaps even in the future provide services that go against your beliefs ( Think pharmacists that oppose dispensing Plan B for instance ) then what is the check on it.
I suppose the answer would be the political process . While that is all well and good I not sure the ballot box is going to be ample enough in all cases .
I thought the Texas Catholic Aggies blog has a good post up yesterday at What " Judge Not " Really Means. I think they clarify it very well.
When I read this I thought of Pope Benedict's 2012 Lenten message that I had read that also talked about to some degree about Concern and fraternal correction
Being concerned for each other” also entails being concerned for their spiritual well-being. Here I would like to mention an aspect of the Christian life, which I believe has been quite forgotten: fraternal correction in view of eternal salvation. Today, in general, we are very sensitive to the idea of charity and caring about the physical and material well-being of others, but almost completely silent about our spiritual responsibility towards our brothers and sisters. This was not the case in the early Church or in those communities that are truly mature in faith, those which are concerned not only for the physical health of their brothers and sisters, but also for their spiritual health and ultimate destiny. The Scriptures tell us: “Rebuke the wise and he will love you for it. Be open with the wise, he grows wiser still, teach the upright, he will gain yet more” (Prov 9:8ff). Christ himself commands us to admonish a brother who is committing a sin (cf. Mt 18:15). The verb used to express fraternal correction - elenchein – is the same used to indicate the prophetic mission of Christians to speak out against a generation indulging in evil (cf. Eph 5:11). The Church’s tradition has included “admonishing sinners” among the spiritual works of mercy. It is important to recover this dimension of Christian charity. We must not remain silent before evil. I am thinking of all those Christians who, out of human regard or purely personal convenience, adapt to the prevailing mentality, rather than warning their brothers and sisters against ways of thinking and acting that are contrary to the truth and that do not follow the path of goodness. Christian admonishment, for its part, is never motivated by a spirit of accusation or recrimination. It is always moved by love and mercy, and springs from genuine concern for the good of the other. As the Apostle Paul says: “If one of you is caught doing something wrong, those of you who are spiritual should set that person right in a spirit of gentleness; and watch yourselves that you are not put to the test in the same way” (Gal 6:1). In a world pervaded by individualism, it is essential to rediscover the importance of fraternal correction, so that together we may journey towards holiness. Scripture tells us that even “the upright falls seven times” (Prov 24:16); all of us are weak and imperfect (cf. 1 Jn 1:8). It is a great service, then, to help others and allow them to help us, so that we can be open to the whole truth about ourselves, improve our lives and walk more uprightly in the Lord’s ways. There will always be a need for a gaze which loves and admonishes, which knows and understands, which discerns and forgives (cf. Lk 22:61), as God has done and continues to do with each of us.
I has a post on the University of Louisiana Lafayette Catholic Campus Ministry yesterday at University of Louisiana Lafayette & FOCUS Keeps Producing Catholic Vocations .
I saw last night that the Priest that is there posted this last night at Ragin’ Cajun Catholics to be Featured on EWTN .
We’re happy to announce that the Ragin’ Cajun Catholics will be the focus of an upcoming episode of EWTN’s Life on the Rock.
Father Sibley and two students will be on the show to discuss the vibrant Catholic campus ministry here at UL.
The program will be taped on February 14 at 7:00pm EST at the EWTN Studios and will air the following Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 9pm CST. It will then re-air the following Friday at 7pm, Saturday at 12am and Tuesday at 8am (all CST).
If you are interested in heading to the EWTN studios in Irondale, AL on February 14 to be in the studio audience for the show please email the folks at EWTN. It would be great to have some Ragin’ Cajun Catholics present during the filming.
Please spread the word to others. We’re excited to let others around the nation know about all of the ways the Lord is blessing us here at Our Lady of Wisdom!
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Gun laws in the State Vermont are almost unheard of it appears. That record will appear to continue . See Gun control bill shot down in Montpelier .
One of the interesting things about the gun debate is yes those state lines really do mean something. The way states are reacting to gun control debate really reflects that are still strong cultural and political viewpoints attached to a state that people often adapt and pass on.
Those include two women that are have accepted into the postulancy with the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows , A young man that has just taken the Norbertine habit , and another Seminarian for the Diocese of Lafayette .
As I keep saying something is going very right at ULL.
Imagine if we duplicate this!
The Friendly Atheist has a post up U.S. Religious Freedom Commission Once Again Champions the Rights of Atheists
I have to say I suspect the religious liberty for Atheists abroad will be of a low priority for the Government. I base that on the fact that for Christians, non Christians , etc seems to be of a pretty low priority of our Governement. Case in point is the depressing situation in China. At one time religious liberty was a major focus. The whole shift in tone on this issue from just the 1980s is big.
This got me thinking of the religious liberty issue at home and how atheists tend to interact with it. In my experience its usually a matter of political viewpoint. The more Libertarian an atheist is the more they might think some of these crazy American Christians might have a point That partly is because they see other related First Amendment issues such as assembly and Speech that are also implicated often.. The more liberal ( with some exceptions ) an atheists is we see the "common good" seems to trump individual and group religious liberty rights. As usual the battle for allies will be in that middle.
Prof Rick Garnett has them here at On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade
Monday, January 21, 2013
Saturday, January 19, 2013
I was over at the Friendly Atheist site and saw a post that interested me since it dealt with an elected official here in Louisiana. See After an Atheist Gets Elected to Public Office, His First Challenge is Taking the Oath .
My first thought was where in the heck is Atlanta Louisiana. The answer is WINN PARISH.
Anyway an interesting legal matter and how he handled it and his interaction with State officials on the matter is a interesting read.
I am a lot more optimistic about the fate of United States Methoidists than Mr Rankin but something in his piece The United Methodist Church is Imploding struck me.
As a number of our leaders have pointed out, within ten years at least half of our clergy leaders will retire or reach retirement age. Financially, we have all but exhausted our reserves. We have reached our limits. Institutionally, we are dying.
The Vocation shortage in the Catholic Church is often talked about but the Vocation shortage among many mainstream vanguard Protestant Churches is not.
The Methodist situation is again another reminder that the real problem that Catholics have as Vocations is perhaps not really about celibacy but something much much deeper. Something that is perhaps shared among American Christians Catholics and Protestants alike.
Untill that is combatted saying the solution is married Priests might be in the end like treating a brain tumor with asprin
Friday, January 18, 2013
Thursday, January 17, 2013
I have to say for a number of years the Archdiocese I think has done a good job in Eucharistic projects which shows up in the amount of adoration they have.
See New office seeks to connect evangelization, Eucharist
This is a nice story from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis newspaper today. See Seminarian, parish community help 83-year-old woman realize her lifelong dream of joining Catholic Church
See The 30 Most Beautiful College Cathedrals . I tmight be a tad American heavy since 21 of them are in the United States .
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
This cartoon is by2009 LSU Grad M J Shepherd . His post on this cartoon is here .
Needless to say I think his view of the issues surrounding the HHS Contraception mandate is a tad simplistic. The fact is we have a conflict between two laws. That is the HHS contraception mandate on side hand and the The Religious Freedom Restoration Act on the other.
One would also think one could be an conservative or a liberal, or Atheist, or a Christian and have some empathy for those wish to have their day in court without being subject to the threat of huge fines that could put you out of business for that right. However I am tad old fashion.
This cartoon again makes me think of of a piece I read back in 2011. See Professor Vischer on New Conscience Regs
The second question: how did rolling back – or at least holding the line on – conscience protections become a hallmark of a progressive political agenda? This is a much trickier inquiry than parsing regulatory language. One relevant development is progressives’ tendency to conceive of freedom – and the government’s responsibility to safeguard that freedom – in terms of positive liberty, not just negative liberty. Negative liberty requires protection against interference with the pursuit of basic goods; positive liberty requires affirmative assistance in securing basic goods. As progressives have tended to expand the range of goods for which the government’s affirmative assistance is required, the potential for conflict with a provider’s liberty becomes greater. Nowhere is this trend more pronounced than in the debates over reproductive rights. Arguments for conscience protection emerge from a long tradition of negative liberty; arguments for guaranteed access to a particular good or service – backed up in many cases by state power – emerge from a much more recent tradition of positive liberty.
A closely related development is a shifting view of professional licenses. Generally the state’s licensing authority has been viewed as a means by which to ensure a provider’s competence. As access to goods and services becomes an essential dimension of meaningful liberty (in progressives’ eyes), there is a stronger justification for viewing licensed providers as quasi-public officials, and the license becomes a means of ensuring that governmental objectives are met.
Progressives are quick to rally to the defense of a student forced to violate her conscience by participating in the pledge of allegiance. Few progressives have rallied to the defense of pharmacists required by state law to sell the morning-after pill. In my view, this is a progressive blind spot that stands in tension with the overarching progressive commitment to freedom from state coercion in matters comprising a person’s moral identity and integrity. Progressives have shown a steady shift in their willingness to accept incursions on conscience in order to further other socially desirable goals. Progressives may eventually come to regret this shift – state power unbounded by conscience protections is not necessarily captive to progressive causes – but so far there is very little indication of remorse. President Obama’s foray into the debate, though certainly not a disastrous turn of events, shows little indication that the partisan presumptions about conscience will change anytime soon.
I have no idea of the cartoonist political leanings. But perhaps he might like to think about the thoughts I just excerpted.
Posted by James H at 1/15/2013 02:01:00 PM
Monday, January 14, 2013
Mennonites & Hobby Lobby - Are Fed Judges Incorrectly Playing Role Of Moral Theologians In Contraception Mandate Cases ?
Melissa Moschella has a piece at Public Discourse at the start of the year I wanted to explore a tad. See The HHS Mandate and Judicial Theocracy . The question is are some judges in the HHS Contraception Mandate cases applying an element of the three prong test of strict scrutiny wrongly. That is the substantial burden part.
Moschella notes that the Judges in some cases seem to be crossing the line into moral theology and perhaps trying to do something akin to a something like a Catholic cooperation with evil analysis I suppose .
She looks at Judge Heaton in the Hobby Lobby case as a specific example. She shows even how under such an analysis why Heaton is perhaps wrong. However she gets to the major point after that:
But even if the reasoning were sound, it is nonetheless problematic because its subject matter—moral theology—does not belong in a court decision at all. By using this argument to deny that the mandate constitutes a substantial burden on religious practice, these judges are stepping well outside their proper area of competence. They are making a decision not based on legal reasoning, but on philosophical and theological judgment.
It is true that applying the RFRA—which prohibits the federal government from substantially burdening religious practice unless there is a compelling state interest at stake and there is no-less-burdensome way of achieving that interest—requires judges to ascertain the existence of a substantial burden on sincerely held religious beliefs. In doing so, however, judges should not take it upon themselves to weigh the plausibility or centrality of a particular belief within a religion, for judges are not theologians and should not decide cases based on theological claims.
Rather, judges should take the theological content of the plaintiffs’ claim at face value, limiting their investigation to the factual aspects of RFRA’s criteria: the sincerity of the beliefs, and the genuinely religious (rather than merely philosophical) nature of those beliefs. In this way, judges ensure that unscrupulous individuals are not simply trying to avoid a costly or inconvenient regulation by feigning a religious objection, but refrain from entering into theological disputes. If, for instance, the Greens had never set foot in a church prior to filing their lawsuit, or if Christian theologians and religious authorities unanimously approved of abortion, judges might reasonably suspect that the HHS mandate is really burdensome only to the Greens’ pocketbook, not to the practice of their faith.
One somewhat humorous but real example of a decision under RFRA that provides a model of this way of proceeding is the case of US v. Quaintance (Tenth Circuit, 2008) in which drug traffickers claimed to be founding members of the Church of Cognizance, in which marijuana is worshipped as a deity, and possession and consumption of marijuana are essential aspects of religious practice. Despite the patent absurdity of the Church of Cognizance’s theological claims, the court correctly refrained from questioning the content of the plaintiffs’ beliefs. Indeed, the court granted that the law in question constituted a substantial burden to their stated religious beliefs. What the court questioned and ultimately denied, however, was the sincerity of those beliefs, based on abundant factual evidence that indicated the Quaintances were “running a commercial marijuana business with a religious front.”
I am just starting to explore this but this sounds right to me.
Ed Whelan appears to agree at his post interacting with this piece.
Mr Whelan brings into the discussion the important case of Thomas v. Review Board (1981).
That case dealt with a Jehovah’s Witness from Indiana that had some problems working in a factory that produced turrets for military tanks . He had been transferred from the roll foundry that had been involved in the production of raw materials that no doubt also played a part in the war effort. However this Jehovah Witness thought a line had been crossed here and quit. The Courts become involved because there was then a issue of unemplyoment benefits.
Two things strike me about this case that leap out to me. First it was not material at all that other Jehovah Witness working at the plant said there was no religious conflict
The Indiana court also appears to have given significant weight to the fact that another Jehovah's Witness had no scruples about working on tank turrets; for that other Witness, at least, such work was "scripturally" acceptable. Intrafaith differences of that kind are not uncommon among followers of a particular creed, and the judicial process is singularly ill-equipped to resolve such differences in relation to the Religion Clauses. One can, of course, imagine an asserted claim so bizarre, so clearly nonreligious in motivation, as not to be entitled to protection under the Free Exercise Clause; but that is not the case here, and the guarantee of free exercise is not limited to beliefs which are shared by all of the members [p716] of a reljgious sect. Particularly in this sensitive area, it is not within the judicial function and judicial competence to inquire whether the petitioner or his fellow worker more correctly perceived the commands of their common faith. Courts are not arbiters of scriptural interpretation.
The narrow function of a reviewing court in this context is to determine whether there was an appropriate finding that petitioner terminated his work because of an honest conviction that such work was forbidden by his religion. Not surprisingly, the record before the referee and the Review Board was not made with an eye to the microscopic examination often exercised in appellate Judicial review. However, judicial review is confined to the facts as found and conclusions drawn. On this record, it is clear that Thomas terminated his employment for religious reasons .
The court also said something else that I think is relevant as to the Judge Heaton in the Hobby Lobby case and other Judges today.
271 Ind. at ___, 391 N.E.2d at 1131. The court found this position inconsistent with Thomas' stated opposition to participation in the production of armaments. But Thomas' statements reveal no more than that he found work in the roll foundry sufficiently insulated from producing weapons of war. We see, therefore, that Thomas drew a line, and it is not for us to say that the line he drew was an unreasonable one. Courts should not undertake to dissect religious beliefs because the believer admits that he is "struggling" with his position or because his beliefs are not articulated with the clarity and precision that a more sophisticated person might employ.
The tenor of all this at least suggest to me that perhaps Judge Heaton and others might be making a mistake perhaps.
This happened it appears in part again in Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius. See The Elementary RFRA Error .
As United States Prepares For Immigration Reform Debate Pope Benedict Release Annual Message On The Topic
See the full text here at MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI FOR THE WORLD DAY OF MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES (2013) .
There is a short item on that here. Another sign that these cases and issues will take more importance in the years ahead.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
There is a University of St Thomas Law Prof that has a article up at Huff Post Against Apocalypticism . Basically it blames some facets of Evangelical thought on the end of the world on many problems including as we see in the last paragraph GUN VIOLENCE.
I have to say I am not quite buying this. I find myself in a difficult position as to the end times and the book of Revelation. I was raised a Southern Baptist and had a Seventh Day Adventist influence in my family in my youth where it was talked about perhaps too much. I am now a Catholic where I think these issues do not get any thought at all it seems.
Again thought I am not quite buying this. I was alive when the Great Planet Earth was released and I can recall sermons on it that scared the heck out of me in my youth. However that was a different time. You really do think about these things more when the threat of dying in just a few minutes because of a nuclear attack that could come in five minutes was a reality. Further the Cold War was also happening around the time when a ton of other revolutions were going on. Those dealing with race, sex , etc.
Looking at this period now with all our problems it seems downright calm now . I also think that is reflected in Evangelical circles. Though there might be some sense these are "signs of the times: . Still I am not sensing a overwhelming linkage among current issues and the end of the world like in the past. In my Christmas shopping visit to LIFEWAY books ( owned by the Southern Baptist Convention ) it does not seem such literature was a hot seller. It seems in fact Evangelicals are much more talking about issues surrounding Calvinism or things like Rachel Evans book and it's controversy.
In other words as someone that perhaps pay attention to these things it seems we are are sort of at very low point as to evangelicals and this topic.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Piers tweeted :
If Americans are happy to accept all the laws/insurance/regulations to own a car, why not a gun?
I am not sure this was Piers intent but I think the majority of gun owners and especially those in some States where be able to become a gun owner is very burdersoem would rejoice at Pier Morgan's new proposed law. See Why Not Regulate Guns Like Cars? from The Volokh Conspiracy.
Welocme to the the Gun Rights camps Piers !!
Archbishop Chaput To Catholic Campus Ministers Status Quo Unacceptable- Cites FOCUS Ministry As Example of New Thinking
The Catholic Campus Ministry Association had their national convention in Florida this past week . Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia was one of the Keynote speakers and gave quite a speech. The full text is here at Young adults and ‘secrets of the heart’ .
In this speech he also gave out shout out to the exciting FOCUS campus ministry movement .
The whole address is a very good read but let me excerpt one part of it below.
..We only fool ourselves if we think that a mere gathering of young people is a sign of good ministry. Religious groups, like any other group, can be cliquish, self-indulgent, lazy and fruitless, heavy on talk and light on real conversion and mission. Healthy Catholic life demands excellence, self-denial, love for the Church and her teachings, a disciplined focus on the needs of others, and an ongoing hunger for knowing and doing God’s will. Our Newman Centers and campus ministries need to be, in effect, boot camps for this kind of vigorous Christianity.
There’s another problem we need to mention too, with its roots not in the young adults who take part in our campus ministries but in those of us who are leaders in Church life. We can see it most clearly through the lens of a third and final example from Scripture.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus wants to feed an enormous crowd that’s followed him. Philip is skeptical. He answers, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little bit” (6:7). Andrew adds that “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish.” But as soon as he says this, he dismisses it. “What good are these for so many?” (6:9).
Philip and Andrew sound sensible. They probably spoke for most of the Apostles. The boy’s loaves and fish seem wildly out of proportion to the need. And of course, they are.
But Jesus accepts the boy’s small offering and immediately transforms it to meet the need at hand. “Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks and distributed them” (6:11). The Lord honored and multiplied the boy’s gift of food, no matter how meager, because it showed the kind of selflessness that God could use for great deeds.
Of course, Jesus had the power to work miracles. We need to rely on our wits and practical resources. But God can use us exactly as he used those loaves and fish; the same way he used Francis of Assisi, Teresa of Avila, Ignatius Loyola and Edith Stein — in unimaginable and abundant ways. God will multiply every gift we bring unselfishly to his service, no matter how meager our abilities. But we need to let God do his miracle by letting go of ourselves, our vanities, our plans and our assumptions.
Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Too often in the Church we expect young adults to simply fill the empty slots of existing structures and ministries, even when some of the programs are obviously dead shells. Old methods of pastoral outreach predetermine the ways in which we employ new disciples. Then we’re surprised that nothing seems to change.
We’re often too quick to dismiss new initiatives and ideas because “It’s not the way we do things here.” It’s “too liberal” or it’s “too conservative.” In my own experience as a bishop, I’ve been astonished at the number of campus ministers over the years who’ve rejected the obviously fruitful and very effective work of FOCUS – the Fellowship of Catholic University Students – for ideological reasons.
“Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:
‘You shall indeed hear but not understand
you shall indeed look but never see.
Gross is the heart of this people,
they will hardly hear with their ears,
they have closed their eyes, lest they
see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart and be
and I heal them.’”
I’m always a little uneasy in giving remarks like these today, because I wish I could offer some magic blueprint that would revivify campus ministry across the country and turn around our Church and culture in the next five years. I can’t. I’m just not that smart. I wonder if anyone is.
But I do know that we don’t need and can’t afford maintainers of the status quo. I do know that we need visionaries; missionaries; leaders who will burn up every atom of themselves in the furnace of God’s service, so that nothing remains but the light and warmth of Jesus Christ blazing out to touch the lives of others. We Catholics – you, me, all of us — need to be and to make a fire on the earth that consumes human hearts with God’s love. We can’t “teach” that. It doesn’t come from books or programs. We need to embody it, witness it, live it...