A Review of Bill Kassel’s My Brother’s Keeper

I have known Bill Kassel for about 10 years. He has been a big help to me in my publishing and writing efforts. The one thing everyone needs to know about Bill is that when he decides to take on a project, it is going to be done right. Besides being an accomplished writer, Bill is a top notch musician and was spotted as such at a very early age. You get the point Bill knows what he is doing.

In his latest quest for a lofty project, Bill didn’t decide to tackle the Iliad or the Odyssey but in a way he tried to tackle the faith based version of a tremendous struggle and journey. Bill’s latest book is entitled; My Brother’s Keeper which is a somewhat fictional account of the early life of the Holy Family.

Bill must have spent endless hours reading through early Christian history, non-Canonical writings and apocryphal statements about the Holy Family which have nearly been lost in the mists of history. In addition, he also sought the advice of noted Catholic, Evangelical and Jewish scholars. What we are left with his a very serious three part work on the life the Holy Family might have lived, since the Gospels only give us a hint of what life must have been like for Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Think about it, you are reading the e-version (soon to be released print version) of a 500+ page intensely researched book. This serious work technically isn’t a historical or fictional account. It lies somewhere in the middle, since it is well researched. My Brother’s Keeper tells the story of the Holy Family that includes not only Christian figures like the Apostles, but key Jewish contemporary 1st century AD scholars like Hillel and Gamaliel whose influence continues today.

As mentioned earlier, Bill doesn’t do anything easy or pay attention to sales and demographic figures. Many of you are probably aware that the book publishing industry is in a state of near disarray. Like the music industry, the book world has never quite wrapped it’s arms around the digital impact on the business.  Whereas once Evangelical bookstores were the envy of Catholic bookstores owners, Evangelicals now almost wish they had the Catholic sacramental sales to help them through a very tough stretch now that there is no Purpose Driven Life or Prayer of Jabez to help with their sales. It isn’t easy to be a book retailer these days, let alone a faith based retailer.

Bill Kassel has decided that he wants this work to stand on its own despite the fact that this clearly doesn’t fit into the category of the nearly non-existent Catholic fiction section or the Early Church section found in most books stores or online, again hardly a big seller topic, but a topic that needs to be addressed. This book is designed to make you think and seriously ponder the daily grind that was life in Nazareth in Roman occupied Israel. Bill points out the daily struggle for the essentials of life and the close family bonds. Needless to say, James is a principal character in My Brother’s Keeper.

Bill brings to life the many thoughts that must have been racing through the minds of those who knew Jesus and his family as word spreads concerning his ministry and miracles. In every family there exists someone who is definitely a little different, someone who says or believes things others dare not say or perhaps never pondered. It is quite another when something that person said actually comes true and miracles are performed. What must have been the word on the street or village and what must those who were close to Jesus and his family thought? Bill Kassel takes you there. Take a step back in time and imagine how you would have thought had you lived in Israel some 2,000 years ago dealing with the harsh reality of daily life in the cruel world of the Roman occupied Middle East. When you heard stories of Jesus of Nazareth would you have been a believer? Bill Kassel is willing to help you find out.

Saint Pope John on the Cure of Ars

I thought a time would come when people would rout me out of Ars with sticks, when the Bishop would suspend me, and I should end my days in prison. I see, however, that I am not worthy of such a grace.

Saint John Vianney, the Cure of Ars

Although chiefly remembered now for Vatican II, Saint Pope John XXIII in many ways was quite traditional in his Catholic piety, and no more so than in his personal devotion to Saint John Vianney, the famous Cure of Ars.

John Vianney was born into a world in 1786 where the Church was soon under attack by the first of the totalitarian regimes, Revolutionary France.  His family remained loyal to the Faith, and helped priests on the run from the State.  Young John saw these brave men as heroes as well as priests, and soon wished to join their ranks.  He was hampered by his ill education and the fact that he simply wasn’t a very good student, no matter how hard he tried.  He was ordained more as an act of Christian charity, and a recognition that he had a good heart and would try his best to be a good priest, than because of any success in his studies.

He was assigned to be the cure of the village of Ars, a town of only 230 people.  The church was almost deserted, with most of the population of the town consisting of fallen away Catholics.  He immediately began doing acts of reparation for the sins of his parishioners, and eventually won them back to the Faith through the example he set, his manifest goodness and his own invincible faith in God.

Each day he spent 11-16 hours in the confessional.  He had the charism of often knowing the sins of his penitents before they spoke and giving them spiritual counsel that went directly to their souls.  People began to flock to confess to him from the regions around Ars, then from the rest of France, and eventually the world.  He could sometimes heal the sick, especially sick children, to whom he always gave kind attention.

The fame he won was completely unwanted by him.  Four times he ran away from his parish, attempting to become a monk.  Each time he came back because his people cried out for him.  Jealous priests in his diocese on one occasion sent a petition around to other priests requesting that the Bishop remove Saint John on the grounds that he was too ignorant to be a pastor.  The petition was sent to Ars by mistake, and Saint John unhesitatingly signed it and sent it on.  One of the priests who started the petition came to him to beg his forgiveness.  He said that there was nothing to forgive.  He knew that he was too ignorant, and that he hoped the Bishop would send a better man to replace him.

By the time he died on August 4, 1859, Saint John had transformed Ars and the region around the village into an area filled with fervent Catholics.   He was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1925 and in 1929 he was made patron saint of parish priests.

On the centenary of his death, Saint Pope John XXIII penned a magnificent tribute to him:

SACERDOTII NOSTRI PRIMORDIA

ENCYCLICAL OF POPE JOHN XXIII ON ST. JOHN VIANNEY

AUGUST 1, 1959

 

To Our Venerable Brethren, the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and other Local Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See.

Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

When We think of the first days of Our priesthood, which were so full of joyous consolations, We are reminded of one event that moved Us to the very depths of Our soul: the sacred ceremonies that were carried out so majestically in the Basilica of St. Peter’s on January 8, 1905, when John Mary Baptist Vianney, a very humble French priest, was enrolled in the lists of the Blessed in Heaven. Our own ordination to the priesthood had taken place a few short months before, and it filled Us with wonder to see the delight of Our predecessor of happy memory, St. Pius X (who had once been the parish priest of the town of Salzano), as he offered this wonderful model of priestly virtues to all those entrusted with the care of souls, for their imitation. Now as We look back over the span of so many years, We never stop giving thanks to Our Redeemer for this wonderful blessing, which marked the beginning of Our priestly ministry and served as an effective heavenly incentive to virtue. Continue reading

April 24, 1916: The Easter Rising Begins

Today marks the hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the Easter Rising.  A militarily hopeless venture, it was easily crushed by the British.  Yet, astonishingly, this doomed quixotic episode began the events that within five years would bring to an end in most of Ireland of almost a thousand years of English rule.

On Easter Monday April 24, 1916, a coalition of fractious Irish republican groups, organized under the Irish Republican Brotherhood, took over key locations in Dublin and proclaimed the provisional government of the Irish Republic.  The Irish Republican Brotherhood received substantial financial support from the Fenian Brotherhood in the United States, Irish Americans playing a key role throughout the 19th and early 20th century in the struggle for Irish independence.  The Irish Republicans had around 1,250 troops in Dublin.  There was minor fighting elsewhere in Ireland, but the Easter Rising was basically a struggle for Dublin.

In retrospect it is difficult to see how the Republicans believed that the Rising had any chance of success.  Great Britain was fully mobilized to fight World War I, and Ireland, like Great Britain, was swarming with trained British troops, many commanded by veterans of the fighting on the Western Front.  By Saturday the provisional government had surrended.  About 500 people were killed in the Rising, half of them civilians.

Initially the majority of Irish civilians had little sympathy for the rising, viewing it as at best a mad adventure, and at worst treason when many Irish Catholics were serving in France.  However, British mass arrests, albeit swiftly releasing most arrested, began to alter public attitudes toward the rising.  This was enhanced as news of British atrocities, real and false,  against civilians during the Rising began to spread.  Finally, British executions of the leaders of the Rising appalled most Irish Catholics.   The men uniformly met their deaths with great courage, and the British added to this folly by including in the executions the badly wounded James Connolly who had to seated in a chair to be executed.  Asked by the priest who gave him the last rites to pray for the men who were executing him, he replied:   “I will say a prayer for all men who do their duty according to their lights.”

Connolly was the last man executed, except for Sir Roger Casement, knighted by the British government in 1911, who was executed in London on August 3, 1916 and who converted to Catholicism on the date of his execution.  Public opinion was outraged, not only in Catholic areas in Ireland, but also in the United States, and the British Prime Minister ordered that no more executions be undertaken.

From this disaster sprouted the movement that would lead to Irish independence.  Michael Collins, who had taken part in the Rising, realized from his experiences during the fighting that attempting to stand up to the British in a conventional War was merely a form of suicide.  He began to devise a form of urban guerrilla war that would allow tiny Ireland to confront the mightiest empire in the world. Continue reading

Confession

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As faithful readers of this blog know, I have never been a fan of Michael Voris, but I must say bravo to his response to an alleged smear attempt by villains, (the New York Archdiocese has denied the allegation of Voris), within the Church:

 It involves the sins of my past life all committed prior to my reversion to the Catholic faith. We have on very good authority from various sources that the New York archdiocese is collecting and preparing to quietly filter out details of my past life with the aim of publicly discrediting me, this apostolate and the work here.

I have never made a secret that my life prior to my reversion was extremely sinful. I have said many times — in public — that I was in a state of mortal sin, and had I died, I would have been damned. I also revealed these sins were of a sexual nature and that they occurred over a prolonged period of time. I did not reveal the specific nature or details of the sins, because when I returned home to the Church, I did not think that a full public confession of details was necessary in order to start proclaiming the great mercy of God.

Perhaps that was a wrong assessment. I don’t seriously know. Perhaps along these years I should have been revealing of greater detail. That, I now think so, but more on that in a moment.

Whatever the matter, I will now reveal that for most of my years in my thirties, confused about my own sexuality, I lived a life of live-in relationships with homosexual men. From the outside, I lived the lifestyle and contributed to scandal in addition to the sexual sins. On the inside, I was deeply conflicted about all of it. In a large portion of my twenties, I also had frequent sexual liaisons with both adult men and adult women.

These are the sins of my past life in this area which are all now publicly admitted and owned by me. That was before my reversion to the Faith.

Since my reversion, I abhor all these sins, especially in the world of the many many other sins I have committed having nothing to do with sexuality. I gave in to deep pains from my youth by seeking solace in lust, and in the process, surrendered my masculinity.

Many of you know the story of my mother’s prayers and sacrifices and pleading to God on my behalf that I give up my sinful life and return home to the Church. As a last resort, she prayed to be given whatever suffering needed so that I would be granted sufficient grace to revert. It was shortly after that prayer that her very early stage stomach cancer was detected, which she died from a few years later.

During the last year of her life, I began to change by beginning to frequent the sacraments more often. When my mom died, I pledged at her coffin that I would change. I said, “Mom, what you went through for me, you will not have gone through in vain.” I returned fully and completely to the Faith and close to two years later, I began this apostolate.   Continue reading

PopeWatch: Retirement

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From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:

Pope Francis, the man who helped the Church win hundreds of thousands of converts over a 20-liturgical-year career, announced Sunday that he will retire after this liturgical season, writing “this Easter is all I have left to give.”

Francis addressed the media after this week’s loss to Islam, a humiliating defeat for the Christians after Muslims handily defeated Catholics in number of children born, saying that he made his decision “a while ago.”

“I’ve known for a while,” Francis said. “A decision like this, you can’t make that decision based on outside circumstances, so finally I’ve decided to accept that I can’t actually do this anymore, and I’m OK with that. It takes a weight off my shoulders and everybody else’s, especially those trying to defend nearly everything I say or write.”

Vatican Preacher to the Papal Household Raniero Cantalamessa, speaking before Wednesday’s General Audience, emphasized that the star pope’s “purpose is to finish out this liturgical season and pray.”

“I think he still loves the Church,” Cantalamessa told reporters. “He still has a passion for it. He’s still a spiritually competitive man.”

Cantalamessa said he was “shocked” when Francis informed him last Saturday night that he was going to announce his retirement the following day.

“He kind of shocked me when he told me,” Cantalamessa said. “I’m just sad more than anything. Somebody who I truly care about, have a lot of respect for. I think it’s always hard when greatness like Francis decides to hang it up.”

Francis’ decision is not totally unexpected, given that he has said many times in recent weeks that he has considered making this liturgical season his last. After one encyclical, a post-synodal document, and numerous impromptu plane interviews, Francis’ career is officially winding down.

“With his relentless work ethic, Pope Francis is one of the greatest popes in the history of our Church,” Vatican commissioner Arnold Silver said in a statement. “Whether honing his homily skills or practicing his thurible swings after midnight in an empty Vatican gym, Francis has an unconditional love for the Church, and we will never forget him.”

At press time, Vatican officials have announced plans to retire the name “Francis” in a ceremony next month. Continue reading

The Bold Fenian Men

Something for the weekend.  Down by the Glenside (The Bold Fenian Men).   Tomorrow marks the hundredth anniversary of the Easter Rising in Dublin which set in motion the chain of events leading to Irish independence.  Shortly before the Rising this song was written by  Peadar Kearney.  He would go on to fight in the Irish War of Independence.  A personal friend of Michael Collins, after Collins was slain in the Irish Civil War, Kearney sickened of politics.  He resumed his trade as a house painter and died in 1942 in relative obscurity and poverty.

Compare and contrast the above two versions of The Bold Fenian Men.  Although I have long been a fan of the Clancy Brothers, I confess that I prefer the acappella version.  The Sons of the Pioneers did a notable version of the song in the John Wayne movie Rio Grande, anachronistically singing a song in the 1870s that would not be written until 1916. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Amoris Laetitia-the Lean Version-Part 10

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Part 10 of our stripped down look at Amoris Laetitia with some commentary by PopeWatch:

271.  Moral education must not involve too much of a child.  (A legitimate concern, although PopeWatch has observed that kids, like most people, tend to live up to, or down to, expectations.)

272.  A rather confused and turgid paragraph on ethical formation in kids.

273.  Excuse making for wretched conduct, a major theme of the Exhortation.

274.  The family is the first school for human values.  (A prime cause of the bloat in the Exhortation is the tendency of the Pope and his ghost writers writing the same thing again and again with minor variations.)

275.  Get your brats off the damn electronics for a while.

276.  We pick our friends, God picks our relatives, and learning to put up with them is an important element in growing up.

277.  More eco-babble. Continue reading

Laura Ingraham: Member in Good Standing of the Trump Cult

 

 

To show how invidious the Trump Cult is, listen to the video above where radio talk show host Laura Ingraham makes lame excuses for the fact that the candidate she backs, Donald Trump, sold out the pro-life movement in regard to abortion as to the Republican party platform.  This comes as no surprise, because Trump is neither pro-life nor a conservative.  But to Laura Ingraham, who has always claimed to be pro-life and a conservative, none of this apparently matters in regard to her support for Trump.  In reaction to this, she absurdly lashes out at the Republican Establishment for being insufficiently pro-life or anti-gay marriage, as the candidate she supports prepares to jettison both issues.  Being a member of a cult means never having to think again and that appears to be what has happened to Laura Ingraham since she joined the Trumpsters.  Sad and pathetic.

Trump To Conservatives: You’re Fired!

 

 

I had assumed that Trump was going to hold off running to the center until after the Republican convention, assuming he got the nomination.   However, Trump has such contempt for conservatives that the sellout is currently well under way.  Having already decided that abortion should remain legal after being savaged for his remark that women obtaining abortions should be punished, Trump is now all in favor of fake women using female rest rooms:

Via Legal Insurrection, something for the “but he fights!” file. Is this one of those answers, as with abortion, where he just doesn’t know what a conservative candidate’s supposed to say? Or is this him pivoting to a more “traditional” campaign for the general, staffed by Paul Manafort’s lobbyist cronies (rigged system!) and chock full of left-ish talking points for swing voters?

Mediaite has a transcript. Note Trump’s rationale: It’s not just that he thinks this issue is much ado about nothing (“there has been so little trouble”), it’s how heavily the risk of economic boycotts seems to weigh on him (“what they are going through with all of the business that’s leaving”). If, like many conservatives, you worry about corporate America smashing legislative backing for state RFRA laws designed to protect religious small-business owners from having to cater gay weddings, you’re getting a taste of what kind of support you can expect from President Trump.

“North Carolina did something that was very strong, and they are paying a big price and there’s a lot of problems,” responded Trump.

“North Carolina, what they are going through with all of the business that’s leaving and the strife– and that’s on both sides. Leave it the way it is. There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate, there has been so little trouble,” he said.

Team Cruz, hearing this, saw their opportunity to needle Trump about political correctness and took it: Continue reading

Happy 90th Birthday to Queen Elizabeth

My sainted mother was a Newfie of pure Irish descent, with fiery red hair and a tempestuous, but lovable, temperament to match.  She had small use for the British monarchy except for the current reigning monarch who she adored.  My own fondness for Queen Elizabeth dates from the following:

 

 

Queen Elizabeth after 9-11, breaking with royal protocol, ordered the playing of The Star Spangled Banner at Buckingham Palace:

 

Happy 90th Old Route 66

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Today is the 90th birthday of the Mother Road, Old Route 66, which ran from Chicago to Los Angeles.  Long since made obsolete by the interstates, with many sections abandoned, Old Route 66 still attracts visitors from around the globe, and I have often sparked interest from foreigners when I have mentioned that I live on Old Route 66.  My bride and I will be taking the afternoon off from the law mines so that we can help fry up hot dogs at our local celebration here in Dwight to mark the occasion.  Go here for the details. Continue reading

An Ultramontanist Anthem for the Current Pontificate

 

Father Z directs our attention to this:

Over a First Things I spotted one worthy of passing along.

I AM THE VERY MODEL OF A MODERN ULTRAMONTANIST
by Clare Coffey

I am the very model of a modern ultramontanist
I’ve been congratulated as an excellent dialogist
I have degrees from all the best colleges of theology
I do not know quite what it means but I reject ontology
I understand the finer points both nuanced and theoretical
and when I go on twitter Ross Douthat calls me heretical
I’ve many sage remarks to make on what I call the Christ event
and just how many tragic deaths forbidden condoms could prevent

I much prefer to shun the works of any scholar scholastic
I find the very concept of forgiveness rather elastic
in short, as such an erudite and excellent dialogist
I am the very model of a modern ultramontanist

I’ve listed all the ways the church might deepen its humility
I send my kids to Jesuit factories of gentility
I’ve quoted bits of Newman and I’ve memorized my Bernardin
and when it comes right down to it I couldn’t name a mortal sin
I keep my Rahner library in an embossed ciborium
I purchase all my pinafores at a fair trade emporium
I sing a new church into life with quite a catchy guitar hook
And whistle all the airs from that infernal Haugen hymnal book Continue reading

PopeWatch: Amoris Laetitia-the Lean Version-Part 9

 

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Part 9 of our stripped down look at Amoris Laetitia with some commentary by PopeWatch:

241.  Separation in marriage can sometimes be warranted, but must always be viewed as a last resort.

242.  Pastoral care must be shown to the separated, abandoned or divorced, especially those unjustly separated, abandoned or divorced.

243.  It is important that those who have entered into new marriages not be “discriminated” against by the Church.  (Probably the most foolish section thus far in the Exhortation.  The Church constantly discriminates in regard to people based upon their conduct and beliefs.  The Church should be far above the secular pieties currently in vogue at any particular time and place during her passage through this Vale of Tears.)

244.  Speed up the annulment process and make it free of charge.  (Wink, the fix is in when it comes to Catholic divorce annulments.)

245.  Bad impact of divorce and separation on kids.  (It teaches them early on that you can’t rely upon anyone in this Vale of Tears.)

246.  For this reason, Christian communities must not abandon divorced parents who have entered a new union, but should include and support them in their efforts to bring up their children. “How can we encourage those parents to do everything possible to raise their children in the Christian life, to give them an example of committed and practical faith, if we keep them at arm’s length from the life of the community, as if they were somehow excommunicated? We must keep from acting in a way that adds even more to the burdens that children in these situations already have to bear!”  (Translation:  “Ignore the clear command of Christ.  Do it for the kids!”  This is a very mendacious argument.  I have never heard of priests “discriminating” against the children of the divorced or those born out of wedlock.  I have seen priests make extra efforts to make sure that such kids get to Church and catechism.  The idea that there are hordes of priests busily visiting the sins of the parents on kids is a typical example of beliefs that the Pope firmly clings to which simply are not true in reality.) Continue reading

Cruz For Life

 

If pro-lifers want a fighter when it comes to abortion, then Ted Cruz is their candidate:

Cruz was participating in a MSNBC town hall event. During a discussion of abortion, he noted that “virtually none of the network news would show the videos on air”(neither ABC, CBS, nor NBC covered the releases of any of the seven videos released after July 2015). To that, host Chuck Todd claimed “some of it was made up.”

“No it wasn’t,” Cruz shot back, going on to explain, “it is a federal crime – a felony with a 10-year prison term – to sell the body parts of unborn children for profit.” The videos, he continued, “show senior Planned Parenthood officials laughing, sipping Chardonnay, and bargaining, and apparently selling the body parts of unborn children. Listen, even if you’re pro-choice, selling the body parts of unborn children as a commercial endeavor is a horrifying thing.”

The videos reveal a number of officials from Planned Parenthood and StemExpress, a tissue procurement company the abortion giant works with, seemingly discussing multiple federal crimes relating to acquiring and profiting off organs from aborted babies. Despite pro-abortion claims the videos were deceptively edited, two separate forensic analyses (one of which was performed by a Democrat-aligned research firm and commissioned by Planned Parenthood themselves) confirmed the audio of their admissions was not manipulated.

Cruz then called the situation “one of the sad indictments of the Obama Administration.” Continue reading

Bear Growls: Of Bears and Bibles

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Our bruin friend over at Saint Corbinian’s Bear gives a useful overview of Catholic Bibles:

Recently, the Bear joined a Facebook Group called something like “Douay-Rheims Bible.” His first contribution was to note that St. Jerome started by correcting the “old Latin” Bible, which took people like 200 years to get over. What he got back was this:

THE BIBLE DOES NOT NEED TO BE “CORRECTED!!!” IT IS PERFECT FROM GOD IN THE ORIGINUL LATIN!!! SELL YOUR MODERNIST HEARESIES SOMEWHERE ELSE. AND HOW DARE TO CALL YORSELF A “SAINT.” YOR’ PROBLY NOT EVEN A REEL BARE!!!

The Bear still doesn’t know what to make of this. Except that he inadvertently turned over a rock. But it illustrates the fact that Catholics do not get Bible. Granted, they have the correct number of books, but we’re not spoiled for choice compared to our separated brethren.

  • Vulgate — Bear forgot most his Latin
  • Douay-Rheims — archaic language, but Challoner’s version is useful, especially with Haydock’s semi-useful commentary. (You want to talk BIG; must be registered as a deadly weapon in Washington state and Maine.) Published back when Catholics were confident. Not a bad choice at all, although some words will leave you scratching your head. Currently available on sale for $95 from Catholic Treasures. You owe it to yourself to own this beautiful, illustrated edition. Of course, more portable versions are available, too, but without Haydock’s notes, from St. Benedict Press and Lepanto Press, which has an economical, illustrated hardcover. Note that just as Protestants have their KJV-Onlyists, Catholics have their Douay-Rheims Onlyists. Both harmless if you pass on the Kool-Aid.
  • Revised Standard Version (either Catholic edition) — people get upset that Isaiah 7:14 is accurately translated in the 1st Ed. 2nd Ed. panders a bit by trying to make Catholics happier, which fails, because everybody (even Protestants) just knows “it’s a liberal translation.” Even so, the RSV is one of the best all-around choices for Catholics, in the Bear’s opinion. 1st Ed. uses “thees and thous” when addressing the Deity, if you like that sort of thing. Not impressed with translation to “repent” in relation to Judas, though, which recently confused our dear old holy Father.
  • Navarre Bible — very nice, extensive, conservative Catholic commentary (even if St. Jose Maria Escrivá is overrepresented in some volumes). RSV translation with current official Latin on every page. While there is a lovely one-volume, oversized “expanded” New Testament, it otherwise comes in a multi-volume set, e.g. “Pentateuch,” “Minor Prophets,” etc. You won’t be taking this to Sunday School with you. Catholics just don’t do one-volume study Bibles. Otherwise best in show.
  • Ignatius Study Bible — another multi-volume publication done by Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch. Nice; the NT volume is hardcover; others are paperback and the Bear has not read them. Probably the Catholic study Bible most like a Protestant study Bible in format and style, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
  • Catholic Scripture Study International — a whole program designed for group study, with an RSV-CE 1st Ed. Bible. Apologetics material on glossy pages scattered throughout. The program drivers are obviously well-meaning, but the Bear was just not impressed. You might be.
  • Jerome or Collegeville commentaries — Bear calls Modernism, but officially state-of-the-art, Catholic-style, i.e. recycling century-old liberal Protestant theories that the Bible is a forgery written in 1829 by Wilbur T. Birkenback, of Augusta, Maine. (Collegeville? Really?)
  • New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE) — the official Bible of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, one of two “officially approved” for private reading by Catholics in the U.S. The Bear doesn’t know about you, but he can’t think of a single body better qualified to publish an annotated translation of the Bible! Translation itself isn’t bad, but you can’t get it without the notes, in which you will learn things like: because St. Matthew had never heard of Hebrew parallelism, he had Jesus enter Jerusalem riding both an ass and a colt like a circus performer. “The ass and the colt are the same animal in the prophecy [we sure about that, smart guy?] mentioned twice in different ways, the common Hebrew literary device of poetic parallelism. That Matthew takes them as two is one of the reasons why some scholars think that he was a Gentile rather than a Jewish Christian who would presumably not make that mistake” [when he was making up his Gospel]. That’s right, St. Matthew, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, completely blew the whole Palm Sunday scene because he was an ignorant Gentile. Recommended for Catholics who aspire to become atheists. Plus the usual recycling of Wellhausen’s Documentary Hypothesis (Darwin’s Origin of Species of Biblical scholarship) and other “assured results of higher criticism,” e.g. all books of the Bible were forged by people other than whose names they bear, and any prophecies had to have been made after the fact. (Sorry, Cyrus.)

Continue reading

PopeWatch: Amoris Laetitia-the Lean Version-Part 8

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Part 8 of our stripped down look at Amoris Laetitia with some commentary by PopeWatch:

211.  More on marriage prep.  (All of this is mostly well and good, but it fails to comprehend that the average parish priest has a lot more on his plate than just counseling couples who wish to be married.)

212.  Pope argues for simple rather than elaborate and expensive marriages.  (The Pope is completely correct on this.)

213.  Couples in marriage prep should be taught the meaning of each part of the marriage liturgy.

214.  The Pope lays stress on the phrase “till death do we part”.

215.  Quotes approvingly the Kenyon bishops who have complained about young people focused on their wedding day and forgetting about the life long commitment.

216.  Couples to be married should meditate upon the Bible readings and they should pray together.  (The last is very important indeed, and just not prior to the marriage.  In all marriages there are always some tears, and praying together at the end of the day is a great means to deal with the inevitable sorrows that confront us in this Vale of Tears.) Continue reading

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