Be of Good Cheer!

Wednesday, April 30, AD 2014

21 Responses to Be of Good Cheer!

  • Very timely, thank you for posting!

  • The Church will survive but will it thrive?

    Maybe. Speculations and what if coming;

    A.) A significant amount of fall away’s return to Church, and end up receiving the graces to attend adult formation and become Catholics in good standing.

    B.) Good traditional Catholics gain the virtue of patience while Pope F. moves about the cabin.

    C.) Bishops who live in 5,000 sq. ft. residences see themselves in different light. Humility and service to the less fortunate return, and the Sheppard seeks the lost sheep.

    Wishful thinking? Yes.
    I hope and pray that Pope Francis will lead to Defend the faith, not ruin it.

  • I have often pondered this question. Will I live long enough to see the Church fully transmogrified into syncretistic modernized mess it seems hellbent on becoming or will the Church be rescued by the Lord.

    As I said, I have often wondered what it must have felt like. I don’t wonder that anymore, I know now. The only thing I wonder now is when God will choose to act and rescue us, His Church, from us, His Church.

    One wonders how God might choose to act. Of late I’ve been curious to study how much Catholics mirror the nation of Israel’s history. Once Solomon went too far astray, and God reacted by dividing the nation (in the repeat case, the Protestant Reformation). Now the Protestants are being scattered and shifted (like the northern kingdom) with some fading away, some growing stronger. So where are we in the southern kingdom? Is this like the Assyrian siege where Jerusalem is saved at the last moment? Or will it be the Babylonian exile?

    On this, I make no predictions.

  • Can’t say I share your optimism, Don. But, what a wonderful picture of such a TRUE saint! And, I was 14 when he left us physically. I have never seen that particular picture before. An amazing character he is, Francesco Forgione.

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  • If I had a dime for every time I’ve explained “who am I to judge” I’d be a rich man. But maybe that’s the point.

  • “Now it is quite possible, perhaps probable, that Pope Francis will exceed the normal allotment of Papal pratfalls by a goodly margin, but if he does the Church will survive and, as is usually the case, correct his errors in subsequent papacies.” –

    It is not just the Pope’s “pratfalls” which are of concern, but too the many Bishops, the USCCB, and others whose polemics are sources of much of our wayward thinking. But I join you in Hope and appreciate that you applied historical reason to our belief in what lies ahead. I’ll leave you with this palate cleanser:
    “Indeed, the true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries, nor innovators: they are traditionalists.” Pope St. Pius X

  • Two things come to mind: First, the Church survived Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia – did I get that right?) and he committed great evil. So the Church will survive lavender flower power, social justice, liberal progressive Pope Francis. At least we can say he is not a philanderer, a fornicator or a thief of the Church treasury. But he loves the public acclaim that comes from all the left wing media on how pious and concerned for the poor and open minded and tolerant and inclusive and nice he is.

    Second, the Church has been in trouble before in history. Revelation 3:14-22 tells us:

    14 “And to the angel of the church in La-odice′a write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.

    15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

  • Nate, I hope it is not the Maccabees.

  • A few things.

    I am not actually gloomy. I know that the Church will triumph, I just don’t know when or how bad it will get before She does.

    My post is not about the Pope per se, rather about the state and direction of the Church.

    In the Garden, Christ feared what came next to the point of sweating blood even though He knew the rest of the story, but we wouldn’t call him gloomy would we?

  • “,but too the many Bishops, the USCCB, and others whose polemics are sources of much of our wayward thinking.”

    And thus it has ever been: “The floor of hell is covered with the skulls of bishops.” Saint Athanasius 325 AD.

  • More than a year after the beginning of the disastrous “Francesco” papacy, I’m still waiting for an apology from our allegedly “humble pope” for his numerous, totally uncharitable and completely uncalled for slights against conservative Catholics.
    This, followed by Sunday’s politically calculated, dual canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. And now today, the pope’s personal teaching on the Gift of Understanding – as if the Holy Spirit was actually directing his bumbling last twelve months, for the greater good.
    Holy Father, many conservative Catholics have long ago learned to rightly utilize the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We see and comprehend what you are doing, and in response can only pray and respectfully protest, since the Church of faith and reason, which used to be infallibly guided by the Holy Paraclete, appears to have been successfully hijacked by the likes of you and yours – and there’s no telling where that might eventually lead.

  • “And thus it has ever been: “The floor of hell is covered with the skulls of bishops.” Saint Athanasius 325 AD
    Exactly right Don. The tendencies toward a “syncretistic modernized mess” never went away when John Paul II was elected Pope. It just went largely underground. Yes, the number of public statements by bishops, priests, and theologians supporting syncretism declined, but the private conversations certainly continued. Yes, laity who were not particularly active in the church outside of Mass would be less likely to meet these opinions, but those in lay ministries and in Catholic colleges were still subjected to these influences. I’ve seen it myself during those years.

    The real question is, once syncretism is no longer underground, is the mission of the Church compromised? Are more people led astray? I’m not sure that the number of people who are led astray by open syncretism is significantly higher than the number led astray by underground syncretism. I think that you would need two back-to-back syncretistic papacies with the longevity of John Paul II’s to really damage the church. My experience is that people really don’t change their views on this matter once they form them, and so the only threat of real change is multigenerational change.

    And in any case, Pope Francis has never given full support to syncretism anyway. Far from it. It doesn’t bother me that I have to “explain” comments like “who am I to judge” because it gives me an opening to support the other statements that he makes that modern libertines can’t love.

    No, the real threats to the church still come from outside, Internet pornography being perhaps the greatest in our country. Yes, our defense of the church is weakened by syncretism, and so we have to fight that battle also so that we don’t lose our effectiveness against the outside threats. The two arenas are not entirely separate. I just think we need a sense of proportion, and perhaps “The floor of hell is covered with the skulls of bishops” is a good place to start, as is a quote of a Jesuit cousin of my wife’s: “The church was born in scandal. On the night of its founding one of the first twelve bishops betrayed the Founder to his death. You can’t get any more scandalous than that”. And thus it has ever been.

  • I think one of the problems that everyone (including people with SJ after their names) is that there is a difference between syncretism and inculturation, and that difference is particularly difficult to maintain in a culture that has been Christian but which is abandoning Christianity. When a missionary walks into a country he can see what is congruent with Christianity and what is not; he is an outsider who can be more objective in making such assessments (assuming, of course, that he is not a victim of syncretism himself). But this for us is difficult: we live in our culture and so we are biased to see our Christian heritage at work within it. The sands are shifting, and the culture is changing, and the most perceptive amongst us see the hell where this will lead, but we assume that the culture is still healthy enough that evangelization will work with inculturation. ‘The culture is still mostly Christian, so we still have a solid base from which we can evangelize’ is still our working assumption.

    Perhaps this is where Pope Francis is missing the mark. The other night the television was on in my house, and there was some show in which the parents found out that their daughter was planning on surrendering her virginity on the night of high school prom. The plot followed all of the libertine tropes: the oh-so-logical daughter defending her ‘rights’ the family conference, the conflicted but sympathetic mom (who you could just imagine being supportive at the abortion clinic), and of course the uptight dad who goes overboard in his defense of virtue. I couldn’t help it, I kept spouting off about “brainwashing” and said “in another 20 years will we have a show with a family conference about dad getting a mistress?” which got my wife laughing at the grim humor of it (of course I was wrong, our social engineers will first make a show about mom getting her same sex mistress). Here we have the advancement of pagan ideals in our society, and blind inculturation of the Christian message in such an environment will lead to syncretism. We cannot be blind.

    My example also shows what I meant in my first post on this tread: here again our television writers and producers and performers are the drivers of syncretism. They want the church to be open to accepting their views, in their minds we are the ones who need to change. The push for syncretism is still mainly from the outside.

  • I would like to know if anyone really has personal stories about people so enthralled with PF that they are coming back to the Church? Other than what I read hear and what the media promote, PF really isn’t much of a conversation starter. There is this kind of general media driven impression that he is more open and liberal, but not much else. The only few mentions I have heard are few and from people who have no intention of becoming Catholic or returning. Even among my daily mass going friends there’s little mention of PF. May be it is just that my diocese is an even bigger dud that I realized.
    And to the subject of this post, I certainly worry about the many relatives and people I know ensnared by our culture gone astray, Tom D had some particular good insight, but Christ did prevail so will the Church. Sadly, that does not mean everyone will be on board.

  • “Every pope, unless they had a very brief reign like John Paul I, has made bone headed statements and engaged in foolish actions, every one.”
    My favorite is in the Acts of the Apostles, when Peter attempted to refute their critics at Pentecost: “Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning”. As if later at night is different? This proves that even the visible and direct influence of the Holy Spirit is not a guard against the mangled sound bite. Perhaps the line was remembered in Acts as just such a warning to us.

  • Beyond the media hype concerning PF and the anxiety expressed by some traditionalist Catholics, most Catholics are waiting, taking in all that they see and hear of Pope Francis. What I hear could be summarized as: a general good impression but he has been pope only a year, let’s see where this really goes and what will really be his legacy (pro or con). No pope gets a 100% pro rating, not even Saint Pope John Paul whom I along with many consider not only a saint but “Great”

    As for the Church and her future. It is indeed helpful to look to the history of the People of God in the Old Testament [something St Paul encouraged in his Letters] to see in those stories words of warning and encouragement concerning the Church and our own conversion/call to holiness. One striking truth stands out from those pages for me: those who separated themselves from both the Sacrifice (in the Temple)[now read: Eucharist] and the God-given leadership (king) [now read Petrine ministry] in Jerusalem [the Church]-eventually ceased to exist. They literally just disappeared in history.

    However, there is one drawback to this. The Old Covenant has been surpassed by the New Covenant in the Blood of Christ. The guarantees given to Peter and the Church are actually based on the very nature of the New Covenant which in fact is unbreakable. Individuals can be and are separated from it, portions of the Church may disappear but the New Covenant in the Blood of Christ remains as true today as it was in the original Triduum. It is not us who have changed, We are not all that different at all from the People of God in the Old Covenant, it is Christ and the New Covenant that have changed everything. Therefore Paul speaks of boasting of Christ, and the Wisdom of the Cross. That is our boast.

    If you want to take a look at the interpretive key for Church history until the every end, take up the Book of Revelations. The state of the Church in that age was not all that different than our own [see the Letters to the Seven Churches] Note well their strengths and their weaknesses and sins, the promises and the threats. Each ends with with an exhortation to listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. While some might not want to hear this, the Second Vatican Council as an authoritative Ecumenical Council was indeed the Spirit speaking to the churches. The problems was in the hearing and receiving of what the Spirit has been saying. The Spirit does not contradict what God has revealed nor what the Spirit has said before in other Councils-therefore the hermeneutic of continuity (tradition) is a necessary way of hearing and receiving the Council. The Council called the whole Church-at every level to ongoing conversion, ever deeper faith, hope and love, to fuller and deeper communion-to holiness.

    Revelations tells us what will always plague the Church:
    1) those seeking to and encouraging others to compromise the truth with ‘the world’ [with false teaching-heresy]: separate truth from love
    2)those whose charity has grown cold and go into schism: separating love from truth
    3) persecution from political powers
    4) persecution from false prophets and religion

    Solution, according to Revelations?

    Remain faithful, endure the trials and persecutions, keep truth and charity together in the communion of the Church of Jesus Christ founded on the Rock of Peter

  • “I would like to know if anyone really has personal stories about people so enthralled with PF that they are coming back to the Church?”

    Yes, my father’s Church attendance has been better since the Pope was appointed. And he loves the Popes simplicity with materialism. And he acknowledges and is receptive to his messages of love, because he seems to understand this Popes style better.

    I wander Pat, if you ever pondered the fact that Christ didn’t give the Keys to John the Apostle, whom He entrusted the care of his precious Mother, and who was loyal to the end, never faltering. He gave them to the man that denied Him whilst He was being tortured and put to death. By golly Pat, you miss the obvious!

    And so Our Lord has the last laugh- that His so-called ardent defenders like the supreme Pat, who unlike you Don, I don’t really rate, are bemoaning His appointed leader, because Pope Francis is dragging down the very ones who like the pharisees, always thought they were are a cut above the rest. I hope Pope Francis keeps rubbing your snooty nose in the mud. And I will keep smiling with utter satisfaction. And rejoicing that people like my Father, love this Pope and are embracing his words and becoming more closer to the Church, and consequently God.

  • Thanks Ez, I don’t think I’ve seen such a perfect embodiment of Luke 18:11 as that comment. Now have a nice life.

  • The problem with some scholars is that they sometimes leave no prisoners behind in their quest for perfection. Jesus spoke in metaphors because he wanted to reach everyone at every level. Without the use of metaphors, how could he have discussed complex topics with ancient Jews. This pope is trying to bring the Mary Magdalenes of our time back into the fold of our church. Most of us are lost sheeps. We need the soothing words of mercy to stop trembling and realize that the church is not a wolf. That the church is where we can come in and heal our wounds and start the process of repair. Acting like you are way too intelligent for this Pope is superficial and borders one of the greatest sins, pride. You need to take yourself a couple of notches down to a place where most of us duel and struggle with life’s stones that are being thrown at us from every angle.

John Cardinal McCloskey

Sunday, February 17, AD 2013


With the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI last week, attention is turning to the conclave in March.  I thought this would be a good time to recall the first American eligible to participate in a conclave:  John Cardinal McCloskey, the first American cardinal.

Born on March 10, 1810 to Irish immigrants in Brooklyn, New York when he was seventeen he had a life altering accident.  Driving a team of oxen pulling a wagon full of heavy logs, the wagon overturned and buried John beneath the logs for several hours.  For the next few days he drifted in and out of consciousness and was blind.  He recovered his sight, but his health was permanently damaged by the accident.  Out of his travail he decided to become a priest.  He was ordained a priest of the diocese of New York in 1834.  He wanted to minister to the victims of a cholera epidemic, but his bishop, recognizing rare ability in the young priest, ordered him to Rome where he studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University and the University of the Sapienza.  Upon his return to America he was appointed pastor of Saint Joseph’s in Greenwich Village where he served from 1837-1844.  Homeless children were a special concern of his while he served as pastor.  He also served as the first president of Saint John’s College at Fordham from 1841-42.  In 1843 at the age of 33 he was appointed coadjutor Bishop of New York.  During this time period he was instrumental in the conversion of Isaac Hecker who eventually became a priest and founded the Paulist Fathers.

He was appointed first bishop of the newly created diocese of Albany in 1847.  During his tenure he founded three academies for boys and one for girls, four orphanages, fifteen parochial schools and a seminary.  He was instrumental in bringing many religious orders into the diocese.  With the death of Archbishop John “Dagger John” Hughes, he was, over his protests of unworthiness and unfitness, appointed the second Archbishop of New York.    The type of man he was may be measured by his delivering  the opening sermon of the Second Plenary Council of Baltimore, in spite of being informed just moments before that Saint Patrick’s had been gutted by fire.  He rebuilt Saint Patrick’s and in 1870 participated in the First Vatican Council.  Pio Nono must have taken note of him, because in 1875 he made him the first American cardinal.  The new cardinal attributed his red hat to no merit of his: “Not to my poor merits but to those of the young and already vigorous and most flourishing Catholic Church of America has this honor been given by the Supreme Pontiff. Nor am I unaware that, when the Holy Father determined to confer me this honor he had regard to the dignity of the See of New York, to the merits and devotion of the venerable clergy and numerous laity, and that he had in mind even the eminent rank of this great city and the glorious American nation.”

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So many books! So little time!

Monday, December 13, AD 2010

So many books! So little time! And, unfortunately, not enough to afford them all. Erasmus’ motto, “When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes” worked during college, but is hard to get away with once you’re married with children and have a spouse to answer to. =)

We’ve heard much lately of Pope Benedict’s interview with Peter Seewald: Light of the World: The Pope, The Church and The Signs Of The Times, regarding which Ignatius Press’ Carl Olson has been doing a magnificent job rounding up reviews and discussion across the web; and George Weigel’s “sequel” to his reknowned autobiography of John Paul II: The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II — The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy, and Patrick W. Carey’s biography Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ: A Model Theologian.

Here are a few more on the horizon that might be of interest to our readers (and which are definitely on my “to read” list from 2010).

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3 Responses to So many books! So little time!