Marian Pentecost





Long live the creative procreators

The future of the Catholic faith belongs to those who create it with their fidelity, their self-sacrifice, their commitment to bringing new life into the world and raising their children in truth, and their determination to walk Christ’s “narrow way” with joy.
 -Archbishop Chaput, in response to this drop-the-mic insight


                                          ...but almost too much truth in it.



50 years of marching for human rights, and the prophetic words of MLK at Riverside Church still inspire the pro-life movement:

Because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned, especially for His suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them. This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation’s self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation, for those it calls “enemy,” for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

Alveda King declared in 2007 that the abortion industry has accomplished more than the Klan could ever have dreamed, because one quarter of the black population is missing.


Life in Exile

The first step believers must take is help one another to accept the reality that Exile is coming to the Western Church. Pretty much everything we have seen about how to plant, manage, fund, grow and lead churches is going to have to change. People’s expectations of career for themselves and their children will have to change. People’s commitment levels to church will have to change. 
Helping one another be open to the reality of Exile and its implications is the first step. I know of people who are developing friendships with believers who presently have more experience of these things, and I know of many who are spending hours reading about how the church has survived in previous ages that had similarities. 
Secondly the Church must accept that the Exile could well last centuries... and the full suffering of Exile is far from complete. The Egyptians and Babylonians had many ways to increase the suffering of God’s people: more bricks with less straw, a newly built golden statue, and the lion’s den. Our Exile will not be identical to the past Exiles – but it is clear in the Bible that Exile is often multi generational. The cycle plays out from parents to children to grandchildren to great-grandchildren and beyond. 
Given that, we must prepare for the future by investing in and helping the future leaders. They need to be prepared to suffer and serve in ways that we have not yet seen in our nations. At least not in living memory. How will we find the generation of servants to care for the church through perhaps centuries of Exile? 
I am grateful to have found this dire warning from Rev.Peter Sanlon in an interview by Rod Dreher.
It's precisely what I am trying to do in my classroom and in my domestic church: preparing a generation that can survive Exile.

At the end of the interview Sanlon says that we should seek "the spiritual solutions that are local, small, quiet and more shaped by the suffering of Christ’s cross..."

It has ever been so.


Amoris revisited

Cardinal Wuerl has released his reflections on the Pope's exhortation and has laid out a pastoral plan for his archdiocese. In it there are some points I had not noticed before that deserve to be highlighted:

 Naturally, if someone flaunts an objective sin as if it were part of the Christian ideal, or wants to impose something other than what the Church teaches, he or she can in no way presume to teach or preach to others; this is a case of something which separates from the community (cf. Matthew 18:17). Such a person needs to listen once more to the Gospel message and its call to conversion. Yet even for that person there can be some way of taking part in the life of community, whether in social service, prayer meetings or another way that his or her own initiative, together with the discernment of the parish priest, may suggest” (AL, 297).

Here we see Pope Francis qualifying his previous remark, that divorced and remarried people, cohabiting people, and same-sex attracted people should be accompanied somehow into the life of the parish. He is not wholesale clobbering objectivity, simply asking for a more merciful approach.

Nota bene especially the assumption on the part of the Holy Father that anyone who dissents from the Church's teaching would be willing to a.) practice discernment and b.) practice discernment together with the parish priest!

Having been raised in a parish run by dissenters, I find his naivete on this matter astonishing. Those who dissent from the teaching of the Church want nothing other than to impose their viewpoint and lecture orthodox Catholics about the merit of their flaunting doctrine.

What if the parish priest wants to impose something other than what the Church teaches? I was raised in a parish where self-intinction was normative and justified by the pastor. Pope Francis assumes that the ones dissenting would be in the minority, but what if the dissenters are running the parish, the diocesan chancery, and the USCCB? What if the ones making lio are the ones desiring proper ritual? Should they be in discernment with their parish priest over his need to listen once more to the Gospel message and its call to conversion?

Yet, the underlying moral principle which should inform both that personal discernment and the priest’s ministry is that a person whose situation in life is objectively contrary to moral teaching can still love and grow in the faith, he or she can still take steps in the right direction and benefit from God’s mercy and grace while receiving the assistance of the Church (AL, 305).
Pope Francis believes that the person struggling to remain true to their faith is in the pew and not in the sacristy. I have seen a parish hold itself together in spite of the sins of its pastor. They had to muster themselves and many have pulled away. But if the pastor's situation in life is objectively contrary to the moral teaching, what then?

Cardinal Wuerl says that, "Our parishes, as the place where people most experience the life of the Church, must be places of welcome, where everyone is invited, particularly anyone who might be disillusioned or disaffected by contemporary society or even by our faith community."

But if the faith community caused the disillusionment, why would the person accept the invite? There is a cognitive disconnect at play in the Cardinal's words. How can we be a place of welcome to people who do not welcome our invitation...?

Pg.28-29 gets to a point I have been making for some time now. We have to stop greeting earnest couples seeking marriage prep with canon law and paperwork. We have to stop asking about parish registration when someone seeks baptism or a funeral, especially when canon law defines a parishioner as any baptized person within the territorial boundary. We have to abandon our uniquely American focus on registered parishioners. But that requires changes in diocesan policy.

What if the chancery staff are the cause of one's disillusionment? What then?

Pg.36 begins a list of what are described as irregular situations or special circumstances: Immigrant families, families in the military, families with members with special needs, who are interfaith, divorced, or who have same-sex attraction. I don't understand why these families are not simply just families- why box them in a label? Isn't that in itself being judgmental? Or does it instead reveal an unspoken norm for defining what family means. Norms are norms for a reason, and while we should be pastorally considerate of the exceptions, we should hesitate to make exceptions the rule in policy.

Finally the document says, "There is always the temptation simply to announce doctrinal points as if this were the same as engaging in pastoral ministry with persons who are discerning how they can appropriate the teaching." Again, the assumption seems to be that the person in discernment  is a.) in discernment rather than outright dissent and b.) wants to appropriate the teaching.

What would the apostolic missionaries of times past say to that claim? Patrick denounced Druid worship, Boniface chopped down the pagan tree, and Methodius wrote a Slavic language for the purpose of announcing doctrinal points. Engagement did not make the Huron response less bloody for Brebeuf. At some point, you risk all for doctrine. We seem unwilling to confront the tide of secularism with bold measures. Milquetoast hasn't worked for decades now, so why does Cardinal Wuerl insist upon it?

Pope Francis also seems stuck in the past, still railing against sour-faced conservatism, unaware that doctrinal liberalism is in its ascendancy, and that is much more souring.

I am not the only one with concerns:



Speaking of the ascendancy of dissent:



from Amy Welborn

Horrifyingly real

The Prince of Lies hates us and hates our humanity: “for God created man for incorruption, and made him in the image of his own eternity, but through the devil’s envy death entered the world.” (Wis 2:23-24) So God warned the Israelites against, among others, the bizarre and demonic ritual of child sacrifice to the demon Molech [Moloch]: “You shall not give any of your children to devote them by fire to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.” (Lev 18:21)

 Through the Prophet Jeremiah the Lord continued to condemn the abomination: “And they have built the high place of Topheth [Moloch], which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind.” (Jeremiah 7:31) The 12th-century rabbi Rashi comments: “Tophet is Moloch, which was made of brass; and they heated him from his lower parts; and his hands being stretched out, and made hot, they put the child between his hands, and it was burnt; when it vehemently cried out; but the priests beat a drum, that the father might not hear the voice of his son, and his heart might not be moved.”

The sacrifices took place in the Valley of Hinnom outside of Jerusalem, known as Gehenna, the metaphor Jesus would use for the pains of Hell. The beating drum distracting parents from the cries of their children is an eerie but important detail. The Devil needed a distraction as the evil was being done. He has become much more sophisticated today with diversionary tactics and we remain remarkably susceptible to them.

 -from the Catholic Thing post by Jerry Pokorsky


Tally Ho!

The new Vatican News website has become the central hub for information coming out of the Holy See, and the consolidation process has been long coming and so badly needed. The digital continent must be boldly evangelized!


Links for later










Domestic church

In the speech of Cardinal Amato at yesterday's beatification, I heard him say one thing that perked up my ears. He described the upbringing of Blessed Solanus in a devout family, and then when he got to the part about entering the Capuchins, he said that Bernard Casey moved "from one community of faith to another" and that made my heart sing! To describe the domestic church as equivalent to a religious community...that's my life's work.


register by Nov 30

I really want to go to this symposium, April 4-6, but I'm not sure I can afford it.


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