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Why Would Anyone Home School?

This is a syndicated post from On This Rock. [Read the original article...] (35)

Archbishop Tobin Issues Statement on Day of Fasting and Prayer for Saturday, October 7th

Archdiocese to pray and fast for peace on Sept.
Last Sunday, Pope Francis called the Catholic Church throughout the world to mark Saturday, Sept. 7, as a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria, the Middle East and throughout the world. He also invited members of other religions, and all people of good will to participate in this initiative in whatever way they can.
Through his heartfelt words during the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, the Holy Father united himself clearly with the anguish of suffering people across the globe but, especially, with the victims of the bloody civil war in Syria.
He did not mince words in condemning the obscenity of that slaughter, particularly, the apparent use of chemical weapons that resulted in the massacre of hundreds, including many innocent children. However, he will not allow that tragedy to justify the additional violence that would result from the intervention of other nations, including the United States.
Rather, Pope Francis uses the terrible images of war and the specter of an ever-widening circle of violence to remind each of us of our responsibilities, first, as human beings and then, as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Pope Francis repeated the teaching of Pope John XXIII who, 50 years ago, wrote that it is the responsibility of every individual to work for peace by establishing new relationships in this world “under the mastery of guidance of justice and love” (“Pacem in Terris,” #30-32). Peacemaking, then, is not simply the task of those in government or delegates at the United Nations. Rather, all of us have the responsibility for ending conflict. As a song asks of God: let there be peace on Earth … and let it begin with me.
As disciples of Jesus, our peacemaking includes constant prayer for the sake of this world. Noting the particularly grave situation of the Middle East, Pope Francis has called for special prayer and fasting on Sept. 7, the day before the Church celebrates the birth of Mary. I wonder whether an incident from the ministry of Jesus may have motivated this request?
The Gospels recall the Apostles’ failure to expel a demon that was tormenting a young boy. After Jesus frees the child, the Apostles ask him to explain why they could not do it. Jesus replies, “This kind can only come out through prayer” (Mk 9:29). Some versions add “and fasting.” In the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Jesus attributes the failure of the disciples to expel the demon to their lack of faith (cf. Mt17:14-20;  Lk 9:37-43).
I believe that Pope Francis is calling us to a greater faith, a faith that “works.” Even to the most generous of souls, the pursuit of world peace can appear elusive, frustrating and futile. It is, if it all depends on us.
Our faith tells us that peace is finally God’s gift and God’s desire. We do not have to bribe or cajole God into bestowing it. We are asking God to help us to forgive our violence, especially the unquestioning confidence that bloodshed will end bloodshed. There are demons that will only be cast out by prayer and fasting.
How does the archdiocese intend to respond to this request of Pope Francis? Although the Holy Father has given us less than a week to prepare, I believe that we will be able to get the message out through Internet and e-mail.
So I am asking all parishes to schedule a special period of prayer on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 7, in solidarity with the prayer vigil that will be celebrated at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. Deaneries may designate a parish or eucharistic chapel where the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed next Saturday afternoon and special prayer conducted.
Finally, at the vigil Mass this Saturday afternoon or evening, parishes will be permitted to substitute the Mass for the Perseveration of Peace and Justice in place of the Mass for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time.
The Holy Father also encourages that we fast on Saturday. According to our tradition, on fast days a person is permitted to eat one full meal. Two smaller meals may also be taken, but not to equal a full meal. People unable to accept such a discipline because of age or health, might choose to fast from TV, radio or the Internet on Sept. 7.
As we heed the request of Pope Francis to invoke God’s great gift of peace on Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world, let us ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love.  
Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

Statistics Concerning Male Altar Servers

There’s been a lot of discussion on whether it is better to have male altar servers or to allow both girls and boys to serve at the altar.Most of the discussion ends up being people offering their opinions”I think it helps girls discern religious life”…

Gonna keep on climbing ’till I reach the highest ground!

This is a syndicated post from On This Rock. [Read the original article...] (47)

Iowa Democrats Pray for Abortion Rights

Besides the obvious spiritual issues with the “prayers” this priestess offers, it also reminded me of prayers I heard from high school freshmen when I was teaching.  Nothing about God’s Will, just a list of things that God needs to do if He (strik…

Here’s How You Change the World

This is a syndicated post from On This Rock. [Read the original article...] (49)

The Singing Anti-Fracking Nuns

Yowsers!  I found it very interesting that when the producers of the story wanted to convey that these women were sisters, they played Gregorian chant and showed sisters wearing their habits (all very old sisters from days gone by). Maybe the…

Join Us or Burn?

Forgot to zoom in this morning. Enjoy the wide view!

Bottum-ing Out

So a Catholic thinker who once helmed the wonderful periodical “First Things” has come out in favor of same-sex marriage. 

No big surprise, then, that the New York Times would trumpet this story to the nations as they did this morning.

I’m sure much more blistering and thorough destructions of  Bottum’s meandering and fluffy essay are being penned at this moment by much more capable hands than my own.  I did want to share some reactions after reading the piece this morning.

1) The most stunning component to the entire essay is Bottum’s belief that St. Thomas Aquinas’s teaching justifies support for legalizing same-sex marriage.  This statement betrays hubris on a scale rarely seen in these parts outside of the executive branch of our government. 

Bottum doesn’t say something like “I am starting to wonder if perhaps St. Thomas’ teachings could be used to justify this” nor does he say something like “I plan to kick this idea around with lots of other people who are scholars of St. Thomas’ teaching”,…nope…he just writes that he has suddenly realized that St. Thomas’s Summa DOES support legalizing same sex marriage.

Bottum has thought it…so let it be done.

2) Most of the underlying current of the essay centers around a gay friend of Bottum’s, and how their friendship cooled over the past few years because of the Church’s stance. 

I would love to ask Bottum “SO THAT’S YOUR REASON?  You’ve changed your heart because the Gospel caused some friction in a relationship? Dude, have you EVER read the Gospels?  Have you heard what Jesus said his word would bring?  If you haven’t, He said division.  Have you heard what Jesus said he would do to relationships between mothers and daughters, sons and fathers, etc.?  He said he would pit them against each other.  But you’ve changed your heart because of FRICTION?”

I’m sorry, but the people who have been martyred for their Faith weep for the fact that your knees have buckled under such a comparatively light load as the load that crushed their bodies on this Earth.

While still at First Things and defending things Catholic, Bottum wrote the following poem:


If I have seen geese low on the east horizon,
seen the cold reeds strain in the dawn to follow,
watched the first gray ice of the season take
roots for the winter,
that scene is no great moment in days that fathers
greet a half-born child with a knife and daughters
name the pain-free murder of mothers most
prodigal mercy.
And they that speak strong words in the failing season—
sparking new fires, stoking the dampened embers—
scorn the faint hearts nursing a private flame,
skirting the darkness.
But still the cold reeds sway in the wind and whisper,
“Leave the great voice blazing to stave the winter.
Autumn’s own soft music has need of songs
gentle and dying.”
Joseph Bottum - congrats this morning on doing just about everything you lament in the poem above.

Re-envisioning Youth Ministry

I want to lay out what is getting ready to happen with “youth ministry” in my parish.  I think it might be a program that other parishes would be interested in, and I think it could be a big help in drawing more young people back to Church.Youth m…

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