Saturday, May 19, 2018

Royal Wedding: One-Half American

Well, folks, the Royal Wedding-watchers were treated to British tradition, yes, as seen in my favorite musical portion and in the hats (especially the Duchess of Cornwall's) But three was a decidedly American flavor to the event, as seen in the marvelous rendition of Stand by Me, and by a sermon now trending on Twitter by American Episcopalian Bishop Curry, which, sadly,  lost its thunder in the peroration:

French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was arguably one of the great minds, great spirits of the 20th century. Jesuit, Roman Catholic priest, scientist, a scholar, a true mystic. Some of his writings from his scientific background as well as his theological one, some of his writings said, as others have said, that the discovery and harnessing of fire was one of the great technological discoveries of human history. Fire, to a great extent, made human civilization possible. Fire made it possible to cook food and to provide sanitary ways of eating, which reduced the spread of disease in its time. Fire made it possible to heat warm environments and thereby marking human migration a possibility even into colder climates. Fire made it possible — there was no Bronze Age without fire, no Iron Age without fire, no Industrial Revolution without fire. … Anybody get here in a car today? An automobile? Nod your heads if you did; I know there were some carriages. Those of us who came in cars, the controlled, harnessed fire made that possible. 

I know that the Bible says, and I believe it that Jesus walked on water, but I have to tell you I didn’t walk across the Atlantic Ocean to get here. Controlled fire in that plane got me here. Fire makes it possible for us to text, and tweet, and email, and Instagram, and Facebook, and socially be dysfunctional with each other. Fire makes that possible, and de Chardin said fire was one of the great discoveries in all of human history. He went on to say if humanity ever harnesses the energy of fire again, if humanity ever captured the energies of love, it will be the second time in the history that will have discovered fire. 
Why, oh why did the eminent Rev. Curry  mention De Chardin in the same sermon which offered these truths:
We were made by a power of love. Our lives were meant and are meant to be lived in that love. That’s why we are here. Ultimately the source of love is God himself. The source of all of our lives.
There’s an old medieval poem that says: “Where true love is found, God himself is there.” The New Testament says it this way. “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; And those who love are born of God and know God. Those who not love does not know God. Why? For God is love.”  
What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem? Just take a closer look at Teilhard. Those of the “New Age” movement have latched on to many of his ideas, and he has even been dubbed “Father of the New Age Movement.” 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Lord, I was dancing, dancing, dancing so free And dancing, dancing, dancing so free And dancing, Lord, keep your hand off me And dancing with Mr. D.,

Andy Cohen Gala Selfie

In my thirty years as a Catholic educator, I have observed innumerable communal concerns displacing the reenactment of the saving passion, death, resurrection, and ascension of Our Lord.  Paul VI referred to an excessive concern with communal aspirations as the result of positivism, wherein God has become society, the ultimate reality. I would add that this particular crack through which Satan entered God’s Temple is an accurate explanation of the disregard for organic development in the liturgical reform of Vatican II. Thus as the Church began her aggiornamento, she presided over a disintegration of her most relevant instrument for presenting the truth of Jesus Christ to the modern world, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, now at the mercy of liturgical commissions wishing to make the liturgy more “pastoral.” Let us also remember Paul VI’s teaching that Satan is always seen as active where the spirit of the Gospel is watered down, as in the reformers’efforts to accommodate Gospel revelation to the forces of modernity.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

"Social Justice" and the Reign of God

A new morality has emerged today on social media sites devoted to religious topics. To see it, just look for key words such as justice, peace and the conservation of creation. It is true that these buzzwords do call for essential moral values which we need, but it inevitably degenerates into the realm of contemporary political jaw-jabbing aimed at those following on social media, and becomes too little a personal duty of one’s daily life. No one asks in sincerity, nor appears willing to be open to a discussion of questions such as, what does justice mean? Who defines it? What is truly necessary for peace?

In the last few decades, this political brand of moralism has appealed to people full of idealism. But it is a moralism with a false direction, as it is shorn of rationality in pursuit of the dream of a political utopia, often at the expense of the dignity of the individual person. Political moralism as it is practiced today does not open the way to conversion (metanoia), it prevents it. Why? It reduces the heart of Jesus' message, i.e., the "kingdom of God," (the reign of God over one’s heart) to the values of the kingdom."  It equates these values with the key words political moralism, and proclaims these as a synthesis of all the world’s major religions. God is neglected in this way, as it is He who is the subject and cause of His Kingdom! In His place are substituted values that lend themselves to all kinds of abuse. OREMUS.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Young People and the Church in the Modern World

In late March a week-long meeting held at the Vatican that involved young people from all over the world reached its end. The meeting was held as a precursor to the upcoming synod on “Young People, the Faith, and the Discernment of Vocation.” The intent was to inspire young people to give their honest criticisms and suggestions for moving the Church forward and becoming a better community.
In the document, released March 24, here are the youths’ views
“Today’s young people are longing for an authentic Church. We want to say, especially to the hierarchy of the Church, that they should be a transparent, welcoming, honest, inviting, communicative, accessible, joyful and interactive community” says the document.
“Young people look for a sense of self by seeking communities that are supportive, uplifting, authentic and accessible,” the document starts off. It continues saying: “The Church oftentimes appears as too severe and is often associated with excessive moralism . . . We need a Church that is welcoming and merciful, which appreciates its roots and patrimony and which loves everyone, even those who are not following the perceived standards.”
So— these  300 people with limited experience of the world who are to represent a global community desire authenticity from the Church, and yet ask that she become less severe and less focused on “excessive moralism?” In other words, they want the Church to become more adaptive and up-to-date (inauthentic?).
Authenticity presupposes staying true to the Teaching of the Church. As I have argued in these pages, modernists label this as being, in the words of the delegates, too severe.
The Catholic faith derives meaning of life from God. Reality and Truth exist apart from our senses and our individual existence because God exists outside of us and apart from us regardless of our existence. To be authentic requires a rejection of the influences and pressures of the material world and follow God, Christ Jesus, and His Church.
Modernism is a problematic philosophy to define. It’s has a long history, is complex, perplexing, and so tortuous that it’s tough to believe anyone in his or her right mind would desire such. Yet, the belief remains dangerous heretical, and to be defined as concisely as possible, as it has infested the world and produced such desires as the ones listed in “Young People, the Faith, and the Discernment of Vocation.” I have attempted no less.