E. J. Dionne & Maureen Dowd Are Playing With A Dangerous Fire

Tuesday, September 28, AD 2010

In a recent column Washington Post columnist, E J Dionne noted that the Tea Party movement is a great scam. Quite an indictment coming from the self described progressive Catholic who still thinks government can never be big enough and the Church should tell the faithful more about the teachings of the agnostic Saul Alinsky than that of 2,000 year old teachings of the Catholic Church. Dionne has made it his business to comment on all matter of politics and religion for quite some time. His partner in left wing chicanery is New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd who never hesitates to go for the jugular.  Though she says he she comes from humble Washington DC roots, you would never know it by how she mocks those who really came from humble surrounding and never forgot it. She probably grew up with many Sarah Palin’s and Christine O’Donnell’s around her. Yet, I doubt she mocked many to their face as she gleefully does now to the backs of Palin and O’Donnell.

Dionne and Dowd seem to have it backwards, they don’t think citizens should voice their views about the fallacies of liberal Big Government, but they do believe everyone knows better than the divine about religion. This is quite common for liberals who often seem to think they are divine. Dionne and Dowd are part of a movement who thinks they should control government and religion, and those who disagree with them are often labeled as unintelligent; the worst sin as far as liberals are concerned. However, who is the unintelligent one? Big Government has never worked. It has only brought huge debt which has to be repaid by future generations. Individuals who go into debt face a series of tough measures. Yet Dionne and Dowd seem oblivious to this and advocate the same disastrous path for the government, the end result being tough measures for everyone.  In other words Big Government is a disaster that doesn’t work.

However, Big Government isn’t the only disaster Dionne and Dowd advocate. They want the Catholic Church to turn her back on its 2,000 year old teachings and embrace the Dictatorship of Relativism, so named by Pope Benedict XVI. Dionne and Dowd are happy to embrace dissident Catholics who espouse this sort of thinking. It seems Dionne and Dowd are more comfortable with the views of Marx, Alinsky and Freud than they are with Christ, St Paul, St Thomas Aquinas, St Joan of Arc and Pope Benedict XVI.

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2 Responses to E. J. Dionne & Maureen Dowd Are Playing With A Dangerous Fire

  • Apologies in advance: Top ten reasons to vote dem:

    10. I vote Democrat because I believe oil companies’ profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 15% isn’t.

    9. I vote Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would.

    8. I vote Democrat because Freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.

    7. I vote Democrat because I’m way too irresponsible to own a gun, and I know that my local police are all I need to protect me from murderers and thieves.

    6. I vote Democrat because I believe that people who can’t tell us if it will rain on Friday can tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don’t start driving a Prius.

    5. I vote Democrat because I’m not concerned about the slaughter of millions of babies through abortion so long as we keep all death row inmates alive.

    4. I vote Democrat because I think illegal aliens have a right to free health care, education, and Social Security benefits.

    3. I vote Democrat because I believe that business should not be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as the democrats see fit.

    2. I vote Democrat because I believe liberal judges need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit some fringe kooks who would never get their agendas past the voters.

    1. I vote Democrat because my head is so firmly planted up my @$$ that it is unlikely that I’ll ever have another point of view.

  • T Shaw did you come up with this? If you did something tells me that this might show up across the internet. Who knows old EJ and Maureen might heartily approve, not realizing your satire (well at 2-10.)

Does the Devil Exist?

Wednesday, August 4, AD 2010

Does the devil exist? — That’s the question posed by Fr. N. Schwizer (Vivicat, August 3, 2010):

In the Gospel, we often hear of Jesus expelling demons. Perhaps this fact seems somewhat strange to us because being possessed by a demon seems to us as something exclusive to those times. However, it also happens today even though it may be less frequent.

But the ultimate question for mankind today is…..does the devil exist as a person or not? As it is, modern man and inclusively the modern Christian man hardly even believes in the devil. The devil has been able to succeed today with his best maneuver: to put his existence in doubt. [more]

Christ expelling the devil

To illustrate the point, Fr. Richard McBrien (National Catholic Reporter) mocks a certain Bishop Thomas Paprocki for announcing a special Conference on the Liturgical and Pastoral Practice of Exorcism, to be held in Baltimore in early November, just before the bishops’ semiannual meeting.

That the conference would focus on “not only the theological and scriptural foundations of the rite of exorcism” but “the necessary, practical insights into the many liturgical, canonical and pastoral issues associated with exorcisms and the church’s battle against the demonic presence in the world” is, to McBrien, a subject of ridicule:

The priest who sent me a copy of this letter wrote across the top, in capital letters, “CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS? IN 2010.”

His question was rhetorical, of course.

Paprocki was recently appointed Bishop of Springfield, IL by Pope Benedict XVI, who has been known to take the existence of the devil — and exorcism — rather seriously himself.

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8 Responses to Does the Devil Exist?

  • I just just had a conversation about this the other day with a friend – she is of the opinion (I used to hold this view) that all “demonic” possession is simply mental illness and I pointed out that some folk exhibited no mental illness before their possession or after their exorcism and that scores of witnesses have testified to the supernatural events that take place during the rite…and that even rabbis at times have had to call upon Catholic priests to help their afflicted members throw off the demon…and frankly to not believe there is a devil is to deny the experience of Christ with Satan in the desert…I”ll take Christ’s word on this issue..

  • Of course the devil exists. He’s probably on the 9th Circuit.

  • Was there supposed to be a link to information about the conference? Because it’s not working when I click on it, it just sends me back to this article here.

    I cannot think of a better endorsement of my new bishop than to discover that Richard McBrien doesn’t like him! 🙂

  • Yes, she does; I used to date her.

  • j. christian, that was awesome!

  • Wow! Thank you for the link! I really appreciate it!

    -Theo

  • Who is Keyser Soze? He is supposed to be Turkish. Some say his father was German. Nobody believed he was real. Nobody ever saw him or knew anybody that ever worked directly for him, but to hear Kobayashi tell it, anybody could have worked for Soze. You never knew. That was his power. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that, poof. He’s gone.

  • Yup, the Devil exists! It is the politicians like Palin and Obama and their type!

What The Week Long LeBron James Ego Charade Can Tell Us About The State Of the World, As Well As The Catholic Church

Friday, July 9, AD 2010

UPDATE  Check Back On Monday To See What Time The Scheduled Appearance On The Al Kresta Show Will Take Place. Al Kresta Is Heard On EWTN Radio ( Over 100 Affiliate Stations) Check Your Local Listings Or Click Here To Listen Live

The LeBron James saga was particularly painful for those of us who live in Ohio and are Cavaliers fans. However a cursory glance at some of the national columnist’s reaction, to the week-long ego charade broadcasted by ESPN, gives me hope that many others have seen through this smoke screen as well. (Check these columns here here and  here.) What we witnessed Thursday night and the excuses made for it, along with sucking up by some of the national powers that be, gives us some insight on a world full of instant gratification and the desire to party on in South Beach, rather than roll up their sleeves in places like Cleveland. Talk about a metaphor for the Catholic Church.

For years now many faithful orthodox minded Catholics have painfully watched friends and loved ones leave the Catholic Church for either the local hoopty do mega church (Mother Angelica’s words,) or for no church at all, claiming they needed to feel better. They didn’t like a Church who couldn’t get with the times, had too many sinners in the pulpit, or talked to much about sin and not enough about heaven. Perhaps the LeBron James fiasco has given us the perfect recipe for what we should do; give it right back to them.

I grew in a small town (or city depending upon your classification) full of hard working class folks (and farmers who came into town from the outlying areas) where flowery words were few and far between and one would be easily called out for his actions. Now we all know the Church has had some difficult times in the last few years. However, this is because we wanted to be liked, instead of doing it God’s way, whether that was politically correct or not.

Today we have a new crop of orthodox-minded young seminarians, priests and women religious who are pious, but not above calling people out concerning their phony excuses for not taking their Faith more serious by not practicing it, or leaving it all together. In my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism, I outline the increase in vocations, especially in dioceses which are more openly orthodox in their approach. The Father McBrien’s and Kung’s of the world are being replaced by younger versions of Father Corapi and Father Pacwa. Though these two priests have different approaches, they are not above calling out the phony reality show world we often seem to celebrate in our culture and religion.

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20 Responses to What The Week Long LeBron James Ego Charade Can Tell Us About The State Of the World, As Well As The Catholic Church

  • LeBron will be lucky to get any contracts to endorse anything outside of Miami. The last athlete to fall this hard was OJ Simpson. No good comes from stabbing people in the back.

  • Strange the comments were about Lebron and not the comparing of the event to so called ‘catholics” in the pew, who have forgotten or have been swayed by the glitter of change and culture. They have forgot or never understood, our Lord did not give us rules that were elective in nature, but tenets that were set for all eternity regardless of occurences or changes in our world and scripture that fully explain what occurs when we forget that fact.

  • I read the letter to the Cavs fans by the owner guaranteeing that the team will win a title before LeBron does. If that happens, he’ll be left feeling like the Prodigal Son, ashamed of himself for letting greed and glitter get the best of him.

  • Lebron who?

    re: getting people back on the road to eternal life. The Pelosi-Obama-Reid regime may be a blessing in disguise. Tens of millions of unintended consequences of their misrule and the devastations of the economy and our way of life may bring people to realize that this glitzy world is a chimera and their true home is Holy Mother Church and in Heaven after repenting, confessing, doing penance, amending their lives and through good works glorifying Almighty God, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior, in the Unity of the Holy Spirit.

  • Goodbye Clevland.
    Turn down the rock and roll
    Turn out the light.
    Goodbye Clevland.
    Goodbye, Good luck and goodnight.

    ~ Robert Earl Keen

  • Sorry, I have not been following the Lebron thing, and don’t follow basketball in general. But I don’t see much of a comparison between Lebron and the state of the Catholic Church.

    Lebron left because apparently he believes the Cleveland team is not good enough to win a championship. He decided that winning one was important to him , so he left for team that he thinks could get him there (an he could get them there). Has Lebron played for several teams for short periods of time? Has he hopped around a lot (I don’t know)?
    I can’t blame him – how many of us would leave their current job for one they felt was better (either better pay or better conditions, or maybe both?)? More importantly, how many of our employers would keep us around if we started sucking at our job? How long would the Cavs have kept Lebron if he suddenly started to suck (and how many fans would be clamouring for him to be cut)? Loyalty is a two way street my friend, and Big Sports, like any other big business treats it one way only.

    In the end, Lebron’s situation is an employee/employer one, not anything having to do with loyalty to one’s faith (employer/ee loyatly died decades ago). Just completely different situations.

  • LeBron who indeed.

    What an appalling waste of time, energy, effort, talent, and other human resources, speculating about the fate of a ball tosser.

    Enjoy it on your own time, have a beer, cheer when your team scores, boo when the other guys do, fine. To get this involved in a sports game and a sports figure is… I can’t use the word I’d like to use, but it begins with f, ends with ing, and is followed by ridiculous.

    Our Church is in crisis, and our government is out of control. Our southern border is menaced by marauders, Europe is being overrun by Islam, and the US is on the verge of another Great Depression.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19205.htm

    “If the world is unwilling to continue to accumulate dollars, the US will not be able to finance its trade deficit or its budget deficit. As both are seriously out of balance, the implication is for yet more decline in the dollar’s exchange value and a sharp rise in prices.”

    Worry about that. Not where some ball player decides to continue putting the ball in the net.

  • A couple of points. Yes, the whole LeBron fiasco is pretty ridiculous, which is what the article was attempting to point out. However, we don’t live in the world of our choosing, we have to deal with the cards we are dealt. Perhaps, this is why St Paul used sports anologies. If he didn’t, he would have been just another egg headed itinerant preacher in the 1st Century Roman Empire. Geeks by their very nature don’t attract crowds, perhaps this is why St Paul among many others through the centuries, including our present Magesterium have brought in sports anologies. Our own beloved Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI used the World Cup in his remarks to highlight the need for teamwork in the realm of Faith.

    This blog is revelant because it addresses many current issues, I believe Tito and myself have thrwon in sports anaolgies simply because sports is a mainstay of our society, and yes we enjoy it.

    The second point: As for why LeBron James. He is a Akron St Vincent-St Mary’s grad, a historic Catholic high school in northeast Ohio. He has donated money to the school and helped to promote. In addition, he received one of his NBA most Valuable Player Awards at his high school, something that I believe has never happened.

    The point I was making about his shameless treachery of self promotion is very pertinent in our world where faith takes a back seat to me first promotion. Sadly, it seems LeBron has taken that road, a road he promised he would never take. As much I detest all of this pop culture nonsense, to ignore it, or pretend it doesn’t exist would simply be sticking our heads in the ground. We are not called to be Essenes but to live in the world, just not be of the world.

  • Dave,

    You certainly make some valid points. But this goes too far:

    “The LeBron James saga was particularly painful for those of us who live in Ohio and are Cavaliers fans.”

    Painful? Really? It caused you pain?

    St. Paul may have used sports analogies (where was this exactly?), but he never endorsed the gladiator games at the Colosseum. I’m not saying you endorsed the modern equivalent, but when I look at the madness that overcomes sports crowds – especially in a time of political, economic and social crisis – I don’t see a bunch of regular people enjoying sports.

    I see the bread and circuses of Rome, with which the people were distracted while civilization collapsed. A pacifier, a placater, a sedative – followed by irrational emotional outbursts and torrents of rage, all directed at some ridiculous non-event instead of at the people who are imposing a new tyranny upon us.

    I agree fully with the need to relate to people and their interests. I’m no ivory tower intellectual, I detest alienating and obtuse language, esoteric jargon, etc. But at a certain point, people do need to be slapped in the face with the truth, and they need to be told bluntly that every second of real and genuine PASSION they waste on a sports figure subtracts from the struggle they could be mounting against the growing threat to our liberties and security as citizens.

  • Joe, a very interesting post. I shall do my best to answer questions. With regard as to do I really feel pain regarding LeBron James leaving the Cavs. Yes, I do. Now pain comes in many stages for example; I have been stung on my left hand by a bee and that was painful but rather scant compared to the pain experienced when I broke that hand some years later. I hope you get my drift. I recently felt a sad pain when a fellow Catholic told told me that his business partner, also a practicing Catholic, took liberties with the business and the money causing great scandal and hardship. I felt pain for the injured and the knowledge that some non believers would get a kick out of the matter. To say that one can only feel pain when something major happens to them or some great tragedy in the Church, nation or world sounds rather cold and Dr Spock like to me.

    As for the whole Roman bread and circuses analogy first floated by the American Left in the early half of the last century and floated again by the likes of Libertarian Alex Jones, it just doesn’t make sense. The Roman population was by and large illiterate and caught up in violence and warfare. Are your really saying that modern sports fans want to see others torn apart in their local stadiums?

    The interesting assertion made is that intelllectuals in Europe are not sports minded and therefore Americans are rather ignorant. As a matter of fact TV ratings for soccer’s World Cup dwarf that of the US Super Bowl American TV ratings. Henry Kissinger has often commented that European intellectuals, espeically in Germany and England often treat World Cup defeats as some sort of national period of mourning and or deep period of introspection abou their place in the world.

    We must remember because of social engineering, sports is one of the few places where honest to goodness competition can take place, which is perhaps why Europe with all of their Social Democratic-Statist governemnts likes sports so much.

    I can’t help but think of the Saturday Nighr Live skit (of all things circa December 2000) when the presidential outcome was still up in the air. The skit consisted of a spook of the future if each of the candidates, GW Bush or Al Gore were elected. The future showed a relentlessly sighing (remember those odious debate sighs) Al Gore bemoaning the poor performance of Americans on his interactive quiz results. He would leture the public for hours on end concerning Western Civics, Economnics and the Environment and still not everyone was up to his standards.

    Joe, do you really think the problems in the Church and the world of politics would be solved if everyone was as smart as you think they should be? Perhaps this why Jesus said the poor will always be among us when Judas and some of Apostles threw a hissy fit at the pentitent woman use of the expensive perfumes on Jesus. Perhaps it was the Jesus’ way of saying; don’t think your way can fix every problem. Even if everyone watched TV news, read a plethora of newspapers and websites; the problems would remain. Perhaps this is why the late WIlliam F Buckley said he would rather be goverened by the first 1,000 names in the Boston Phone book, than by the Harvard Faculty.

    Whether it is Faith or Governance, it isn’t all about knowledge, it is courage and perserverance and lots of prayer that are needed for success. For example, General McClellan graduated 2nd in his class from West Point, while General Grant graduated in the bottom half of his class. However, as Shelby Foote noted; General Grant had 4:00 in the Morning Courage and General McClellan had none during the Civil War.

    The Church is going through a tough time now, but it has been far, far worse. After the Reformation, many Northern European cities had few if any priests to administer the sacraments. Check out the life of St Francis DeSales; when he arrived in Geneva as bishop he was treated to rotten fruit being thrown at him and few if any little old ladies in the pews. When he died, half of Geneva had come back to the Church. I am sure had he convened a strategy session of the best and brightest; they would have said your talents would best be served in a more receptive location. Well, just some of my thoughts on what you wrote.

  • Since we’re engaged in a spiritual battle for souls, it’s only fitting that sports analogies be used. The recent firing of the Catholic professor at the University of Illinois is one example of the intelligentsia putting down the “small people” for wanting to take the path that is hard and narrow but leads to life in Christ rather than the path that is wide and easy but leads to destruction–or in the case of the French soccer players who don’t do hard work, a trip back home in coach class.

  • Dave,

    On your personal pain: different strokes, I suppose. But you didn’t quantify it originally. A “small” amount of pain is fine. The utter grief that some appear to be going through is, in my view, a disproportionate response.

    You say of the bread & circuses argument:

    “it just doesn’t make sense”

    Well, it does make sense, and you don’t seem to be arguing against the “sense” of it as much as you are its mere existence.

    ” The Roman population was by and large illiterate and caught up in violence and warfare.”

    Our population isn’t illiterate by Roman standards, but it is less educated by the standards of the developed world. And there is plenty of apathy to go around, even if people have basic reading skills.

    As for violence, have you paid no notice of our sex and violence saturated entertainment “culture”? It’s everywhere, it’s a constant feed of increasingly horrific stimuli.

    “Are your really saying that modern sports fans want to see others torn apart in their local stadiums?”

    The rioting that takes place on occasion suggests that at least some are. So is the immense popularity of professional wrestling, “ultimate fighting championship”, and other increasingly bloody “sports” contests.

    In any case, the main argument is that people are distracted. I don’t have to prove that they are violent, or potentially violent, in order to show that they are investing time and resources in sports that would better be invested in politics.

    Frankly I think the American founders would be horrified at the cult of sports in this nation. Entertainment, or what the founders in their classical republican worldview called luxury, was considered to be the enemy of moral AND civic virtue. The extent to which the people indulge in games and vices is the extent to which they diminish as the sort of responsible citizens that a free republic needs to exist.

    As for Europe: I couldn’t care less. I’m not hung up on Europe, I don’t idolize Europe. I don’t see the relevance.

    Please don’t compare me to Al Gore. I don’t want to bore people with lectures. But as student of Aristotle’s “middle way”, I recognize that there is another extreme we want to avoid, which is hyping people with meaningless distractions.

    We have to appeal to both the passions and the intellect. In fact I’m much more about appealing to passions right now than I am intellect, because many issues are over-intellectualized. But I want to direct that passion AWAY from sports and entertainment, and TOWARDS politics. Politics can be as passionate and competitive as any game or any concert – and it is precisely because of this truth that these other distractions are dangled before the people.

    So I think you misunderstand my aim, especially when you ask,

    “Joe, do you really think the problems in the Church and the world of politics would be solved if everyone was as smart as you think they should be?”

    It is NOT about intelligence, so no, I absolutely do not think that. What I think is that people, regardless of their intellectual abilities, should care more about politics than they do sports or the media-created popular culture. One does not need intellect to participate in politics, any more than they do religion.

    ” Even if everyone watched TV news, read a plethora of newspapers and websites; the problems would remain.”

    I submit that they would be less severe with a politically active populace, and this was the unanimous opinion of the founders of this republic. This is what self-governance means. This is what liberty requires. Slavery and oppression are the defaults of this fallen world; freedom is rare and must be actively fought for and maintained.

    “Perhaps this is why the late WIlliam F Buckley said he would rather be goverened by the first 1,000 names in the Boston Phone book, than by the Harvard Faculty.”

    I think he said it because the elites at Harvard, moreso now than even in his day, are self-hating, self-destructive, and isolated from the people. I agree with his sentiment entirely – but in order to govern, those 1,000 names would have to put down the beer and the remote.

    It is precisely because I DON’T want an elite to run our lives that I DO want the people to stop focusing on nonsense and become better citizens. Don’t you see that? You can’t just say that sovereignty lies with the people, and expect it to stay that way without their involvement. If the people don’t exercise their power, others – the elites – will do it for them. Nature abhors a vacuum. If the people create one through the abrogation of self-government, then the masters will step right back into their comfortable position.

    It is vital that you and others understand this.

  • Joe, I think you are completely missing the point here. No one that I have heard is saying that people shouldn’t take their civic responsibility seriously. Believe me, I have spent 20 years in Catholic education, not to mention the five years I have been doing writing and speaking (all of which at little pay) to answer a call that I believe God has for all of us to be involved with Church and State. However, that doesn’t mean that all of the problems will be solved if we all get involved.

    It seems you don’t understand what I am saying about sports and entertaintment. First of all professional wrestling is not sports, it is entertainment which is why the World Wrestling Federation had to change their name from that to World Wrestling Entertainment. The reason people like sports is that our culture is so involved in social engineering that it has taken away our God given talents and the right to compete with them.

    The pop culture silliness such as who Paris Hilton is dating has nothing to do with competition. She hasn’t done anything with whatever talents God have her; she has merely been born to enabling parents who let her do whatever she wants. There is a big difference between that and the field of athletic competition.

    The three men most attacked by the intelligentsia for their lack of supposed intellect were President Truman, President Reagan and President GW Bush. Do you really think the nation would have been better served with the likes of Governor Dewey, Vice President Mondale and Vice President Gore?

    I am for civic participation, I have spent my life doing it and teaching the necessity of it. However, I am under no illusion that by simply doing it, we will live in a better world. According to your line of thinking the state of Vermont and the US citiies of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Berkeley, California and the Dutch city of Amsterdam would be the greatest places to live, because they have one of the highest civic participation rates in the world.

  • Dave,

    I wasn’t aware that there was only one point – I tried to address all of your points.

    “However, that doesn’t mean that all of the problems will be solved if we all get involved.”

    Who said it meant that? Certainly not I.

    And it just doesn’t matter. See, I think you’re missing the point with things like that. It doesn’t matter whether or not all problems will be solved, such a guarantee is not and never should be the requisite of political participation – the bottom line is that no problems at all will even be addressed by an inactive citizenry. That’s certainly what the elite wants.

    You say I don’t understand your argument about sports. I submit to you that I do understand it, and disagree with it.

    “There is a big difference between that and the field of athletic competition.”

    Insofar as both serve as a distraction from issues that matter, there is no difference. Other differences may exist, but they are not relevant to me.

    “Do you really think the nation would have been better served with the likes of Governor Dewey, Vice President Mondale and Vice President Gore?”

    Why are you asking me this? I invite you to read my previous post for the answer to this question. Carefully, perhaps, this time.

    “ccording to your line of thinking the state of Vermont and the US citiies of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Berkeley, California and the Dutch city of Amsterdam would be the greatest places to live, because they have one of the highest civic participation rates in the world.”

    I’m not sure what “civic participation rate” is, or measures – you can break that down for me if you like.

  • Joe, this could go on and on. However, I think we can agree that our western culture is too pop culture oriented and more people should attend Mass, know what the Catholic Faith is all about, and become more participatory in our civic responsibilities. However, to say that sports and entertainment holds too much sway on our society is bordering on nanny statism and eggheaded pontification. I am sure you wouldn’t suggest the following. However, it could lead to some actually thinking that if Broadway, Hollywood, Major League Baseball, the World Cup and the National Football League and college football took the rest of the year off, and everyone went to town hall meetings to resolve the various problems plaguing our country and world, the world would be a better place.

    Sadly, some people don’t care about their souls, or the state of the world or country, try as we might and pray as we might, they all won’t change. I have tried to illustrate this in my previous posts, using examples from all over the world. I will throw in a couple more. In the last five years or so, my writings have taken me to see and hear many great things happening in the Church. As you can probbaly figure out from the title of my book, “The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism,” I am an optimist. However, I am a realist as well. Some people just don’t care and some people who claim they care, just want to control others.

    For example, you asked about what I meant by participation rates in reference to my statement that the state of Vermont and the cities of Cambridge, Massachuseets, Berkeley, California and the Dutch city of Amsterdam have high participation rates. What I meant was voting participation and membership in civic clubs, neighborhoood groups, school organizations etc.

    These whacky far left locations would hardly be my cup of tea. Their foil of civic responsibility is really a foil for state control and the opportunity to attack religion, i.e. the Catholic Church at every turn.

    Some people chose to be ingorant and or commit various sins ad nauseam. The late Bishop Sheen spoke of a man he met in Paris (I believe it was the 1920s.) This man, (who was British) played piano in the lobby of the hotel that then Father Sheen was staying. They chit-chatted during one of his breaks and the British piano player agreed to have dinner with Father Sheen. The piano player seemed to boost to the future famous bishop that women couldn’t keep their hands off him, some had even left their husbands. The piano player went on to say that after a few months he gets bored with each woman and then moves on to another. Obviously Bishop Sheen was shocked so he met with the man for the next few days. When the time seemed right, he took him to Sacre Coeur to pray before the Blessed Sacrament. The man stayed all night and thanked Father Sheen for his insights, prayers and time. The piano player said he was a changed man. A few days later they agreed to meet again for dinner. When they did, the piano player came with another woman on his arm. It has happened again the man explained. Father Sheen pulled him aside to see what was really happening and the man explained the sinful life was far more enjoyable, even if it could result in a horrible end for his soul. What I am trying to say is that not everyone does what they should.

    Jesus was faced with two similar situations. The first occurred when the penitent woman poured perfume over him and Judas and some of the other Apostles protested saying it could have been sold and helped many poor people. Jesus answered; “The poor you will always have among you.” It was his way of remdinding the Apostles that though we should help everyone we can, it still doesn’t mean that it will be solved the way we think it should be. One more example involves the parable about the rich man asking to go back from (hell or purgatory) and tell those other rich relatives and friends of his to change their ways lest they end up in the same horrible predicament that he was encountering. Jesus told him that they wouldn’t listen to the prophets, why would they listen to him. Joe, I think we can agree that we should all be more involved in Church & State affairs. However, trying to tell people that sports and entertainment should be severely curtailed when so many of our saints and Holy Fathers were involved with both sounds a bit over the top.

  • Dave,

    You’re simply wrong. I don’t know if it is a logical or a rhetorical issue. Only you do.

    “However, to say that sports and entertainment holds too much sway on our society is bordering on nanny statism and eggheaded pontification.”

    It really is no such thing at all. Stating what I believe to be a mere fact in no way necessitates a nanny-state, and it is hardly an observation limited to the ivory tower.

    I could just as well say that ignoring the sway that these forces hold over society is to engage in bad citizenship and willful ignorance – but I don’t.

    To fail to participate is NOT an intellectual failure – IT IS A MORAL FAILURE. All but the mentally handicapped are culpable for their moral choices, regardless of their intellect.

    So you’re really barking up the wrong tree with this constant accusation of eggheadery. If intellect is the requisite for voting, then we have no business with a democracy or even a republic – we need Plato’s philosopher king. But it isn’t. It is virtue, not intellect, that is the primary requisite for voting. It is a free choice made by individuals, and not innate abilities, that is responsible for this decision.

    Now, if you don’t get my clearly stated point this time, what else can I conclude other than that you’re making excuses for people’s civic sloth?

    ” if Broadway, Hollywood, Major League Baseball, the World Cup and the National Football League and college football took the rest of the year off, and everyone went to town hall meetings to resolve the various problems plaguing our country and world, the world would be a better place.”

    Language is key. I absolutely believe it would be a “better” place – I don’t think it would become a perfect place, a utopia with no problems. It might be a little bit better, it might be a whole lot better – participation isn’t the only thing that makes a society bad or good. But I’d submit that while it is not sufficient for a good society, it is necessary.

    If it WOULDN’T make society a better place, then it is nothing but a baby’s pacifier granted by the elites to their stupid pets, serving no actual good and right purpose. It would have no rational justification, even if it can be said that voting is, or is the result of, a natural right.

    Is there a rational justification for universal suffrage, or is it just a societal ornament? If there is a rational justification for it, then we can only conclude that a widespread failure to use that right is irrational.

    “I am an optimist. However, I am a realist as well. Some people just don’t care and some people who claim they care, just want to control others.”

    But this is all off the main point.

    Here’s my question to you – is it your view that invoking the drama of LeBron James will politically galvanize folks who otherwise wouldn’t pay attention to anything? They’ll make the transition from sports to politics this way?

    If that happens, and it works, I’ll eat my shoes with ketchup. In all seriousness, I’d be interested to know if that works, or if it ever has. If it has, I say, go with what works.

    ” What I meant was voting participation and membership in civic clubs, neighborhoood groups, school organizations etc.”

    Those are all good things in themselves. It is unfortunate that secular leftists would seem, if your claim is accurate, to have a leg up in that department, since the vision of the founders was for this to be a universal phenomenon.

    I also have no problem with Vermont. I like their gun laws more than I dislike Bernie Sanders. And I say, ultimately, that power belongs to those who take it. Within our political system, Christians have the means to become just as involved, and have their values just as represented. It is simply irrational for them to cede the arena to hostile forces.

    “What I am trying to say is that not everyone does what they should.”

    For goodness sakes, you say that as if it is novel. Who the heck argued otherwise?

    But does this fact somehow absolve us of a responsibility to proclaim the truth, to proclaim what ought to be done? Again, I am with Aristotle. There are two extremes – there is pie-in-the-sky idealism on the one hand, that says anything is possible and people are capable of anything. Then there is fatalism – the view that things are what they are and cannot be changed.

    The rational, position is genuine realism – understanding what can be changed, and what cannot be changed. Understanding what can be influenced, and what cannot. Understanding what your power is, and what the limit of that power is.

    Your view, to me, is closer to fatalism than realism. The Church proclaims that civic participation is a moral obligation. It doesn’t matter if “people don’t do what they should” – people shouldn’t have abortions either, but the Church will never cease to proclaim that it is wrong, and that they should choose life.

    So I will continue to proclaim, along with the Church, and in the spirit of the American founders, the importance of civic virtue and I will continue to denounce those influences that weaken and corrupt it.

    “Joe, I think we can agree that we should all be more involved in Church & State affairs. However, trying to tell people that sports and entertainment should be severely curtailed when so many of our saints and Holy Fathers were involved with both sounds a bit over the top.”

    This is your problem – I said no such thing. When did I say “severely curtailed”? This was a false inference, or, poor choice of words. A fallacy or a gaffe.

    I do not propose to infringe upon ANYONE’s right to be a lazy idiot. But I certainly do propose that we use our first amendment rights to remind people of their moral and civic obligations, and to denounce the garbage that obstructs them.

    Do you understand that it is possible to oppose a thing without violating another person’s right to that thing? If so, then we have no quarrel, sir.

  • Over on another blog I found a list of humorous Twitter responses to the LeBron James announcement…. among them was the following:

    “I wanted to announce my Second Coming at 9 p.m. tonite, but it looks like you all had other plans — Jesus Christ.”

  • LeBron James had every right to leave Cleveland. You talk about his “week-long ego charade” but that entire week LeBron said very little to the media. LeBron made no appearances on ESPN or any other network until his special. You’re blaming LeBron for the fact that everyone on TV was talking about him non-stop. Further more you failed to mention the fact that LeBron’s marketing firm agreed to only do the special if the sponsorship dollars would go to The Boys and Girls Club.

    The reason so many people have left the church isn’t because they want some razzle-dazzle experience when they go to church. No, it’s because of the fact that for the last sixty plus years a small portion of priests and clergy members have been raping and sexually exploiting children around the world. Every clergy member who ever abused a child and every church official who covered it up and didn’t report these people to the authorities should be thrown in jail. So before you start criticizing completely innocent and upstanding athletes clean up your church first.

  • Chris Russo, then how do you account for the fact that many fans are quick to forgive and forget the sins of the Kobe Bryants and Tiger Woods of the world rather than ditch them? I don’t see that happening for the priests who betray their flock, so that says a lot about the effect of pop culture’s alluring but false promises of fame and riches on society, especially those who build their homes on shifting sand rather than rocks. Perhaps LeBron may be like the Prodigal Son and find that his ego got the best of him.

    Thankfully there are many other priests to do us Catholics proud, including superstars like Archbishop Raymond Burke, who certainly wouldn’t pull a LeBron act despite the Creative Minority Report humorously imagining such a possibility: http://www.creativeminorityreport.com/search?q=LeBron

  • ESPN’s ombudsman vindicates Dave, blasting the network for its LeBron coverage: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/post/ESPN-ombudsman-blasts-network-for-LeBron-coverag?urn=top-257681

Lent 2010; The Tide Continues To Turn Toward Catholic Orthodoxy

Monday, February 22, AD 2010

As we work our way through Lent 2009, we need to rejoice in the turning tide. Though there has been much negative news about the Catholic Church this past decade, much of the negative news had its roots in actions taken during the 1960s and 1970s. Yet, the seeds of the good news planted during the pontificates of Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI is just now seeing its shoots and blossoms become visible to the naked eye.

What are the shoots and blossoms?  They can be seen in increasing vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and the strong orthodox nature of these new, young priests. A new crop of Catholic bishops is also boldly showing their orthodoxy, which often befuddles and mystifies the mainstream media and the secular culture in which we live. In addition to this, many in the laity have for years now been writing and blogging about the desperate need for Catholic orthodoxy in a world full of hurt and self absorption. Many ask how can the Church possibly grow when the Church’s active laity, especially the young along with those who serve her in ordained and professed ministries, are so different from the culture in which they live? It is that culture in which they live that causes them to see the wisdom in Christ’s words and the Church He started through the first pope, the Apostle Saint Peter.

There were fewer shoots and blossoms in the 1970s when the seriousness of the Catholicism was questioned after the Church seemed to be trying to be relative, whether it was related or not, thousands of priests and nuns left their vocations. However, starting in 1978 with the election of Pope John Paul II, the tide began to turn. All of the Polish pontiff’s hard work began to be seen in the shoots and blossoms of events like World Youth Day 1993, which was held in Denver. Later in his pontificate thanks to events like World Youth Day, vocations to the priesthood and religious life began to increase.

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5 Responses to Lent 2010; The Tide Continues To Turn Toward Catholic Orthodoxy

  • Amen Dave. The Tide is indeed turning as witnessed by the young men and women who attended the Right to Life in DC The way they handled thenmselves was remarable and edifying. The young orthodox priests are proclaiming the true tenets of the Church in their homiles and many so called “cafeteria catholic” are figgeting in the pews. RCIA teacher are getting back to what Catholism is and not just trying to bring anyone into the Church. More and more orthodox Bishops are taking a stance against those that try to justify their approach to public service aand their faith, as well as those in the academia who are trying to justify their relativism in their teaching and examples.

  • I think you rightly point out that the future of the American Church is being moved by the fact that only conservative young men are becoming priests.

    But I think a clarification needs to be made between orthodox and conservative, between heterodox and liberal, and between traditional and progressive. The meanings of these words seem to change from person to person.

  • Mr. Hartman,
    I see you are blind to the actual facts and are writing about a Catholic Church that is crumbling away. The lack of acknowledgment of wrongdoing at the very head of the Church has caused many to leave. Parishes are closing and there are fewer priests to run them. Catholic schools are closing due to declining enrollment. The vision begun by Pope John XXIII sadly were buried by Paul VI and Pope Benedict’s continued push to the right is continuing to push people further away.
    I think the Church I was raised in and have always been proud to be a member of, has turned it’s back on me and the many children who have been abused and shunned by the Roman Catholic Church.

  • Barbara, at first I thought your post was a tasteless April Fool’s joke. However, I see now that you are serious and I am very sorry that you are either this misinformed or this week. If you want the Church to become the same as the liberal Protestant churches who are in a statistical free fall then, shame on you. If you are week and run at the first sign of trouble, than I will continue to pray for you.

    My childhood parish had the distinction of having one of the highest number of molestors in my entir state, let alone diocese. I remember these molestors well, they were all liberals who wanted to change the Church and not defend it, some of the victims were people I knew.

    Even in the midst of this scandal, more and more young people, who are very orthodox in the Catholic faith, are becoming priests and nuns. In addition, the Church continues to see an increase in the number of converts (as evidenced by the last few years and this year in particular.)

    When Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI, he prayed that God would give him the courage not to run when the wolves come. I pray Barbara that you find a backbone and stand up for the Faith when it is under attack by people who solely want to destory the Church by making outrageous accusations against Pope Benedict, without a single shred of evidence to back it up. There are even writers from the liberal America magazine who have said the conduct displayed by the NY Times and others is outrageous. I prayerfully ask you to consider these points.

Following the 2009 Election Results which way is the tide turning toward truth or relativism?

Wednesday, November 4, AD 2009

Under the surface, and largely unbeknownst to the mainstream media, the tide has been turning to Catholicism for some time. The pontificates of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI along with events such as an increase in orthodox minded seminarians, young priests and young women religious, a return to devotions and a reform of the reform of liturgy have shown us that indeed the tide is turning. However, for some time now western culture has been moving in the opposite direction, where any, whim or opinion that holds that orthodox minded religious thought is antiquated and even harmful is held in high regard. How could this jibe with the turning tide within the Church? Who would win? Didn’t Jesus promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church after He gave Peter the keys (and the 265 subsequent popes) to lead it? The answer is the same answer that has always been, the Church eventually always wins and it will this time as well.

Following the Election of 2008 when liberalism was on the ascendancy, many in the mainstream media joyfully proclaimed a new era, where one could read between the lines and see that traditional views of society, family and religion were on their way out and big government was in. However, a funny thing happened on the way to the revolution, many Americans refused to go to the Bastille with pitchfork in hand. Americans view of revolution was almost always in line with George Washington’s view of limited government and not Maximilien Robespierre’s view of war against society, family and religion. Perhaps the Election of 2008 was a pox on both their big spending houses that was wrongly construed as a vote for Big Government.

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7 Responses to Following the 2009 Election Results which way is the tide turning toward truth or relativism?

  • Thank You Dave for constantly reminding us of our faith and our needed prayers and continued efforts to overcome those who pick and choose in the Church whether laity or heirarchy. These young priests and current seminarians are a godsend for the Church and we are fornunate to have one sheparding our parish by hs example, homilies, and teaching.

  • Bravo Dave. History is not a straight line progression to a progressive paradise no matter how many of our friends on the Left believe it to be.

  • I’m still going to thumb my nose at the elites.

  • Thanks again Dave! I wish you the best on your journey. God Bless you and your family…

    Robert from Michigan

  • Indeed the elections, as Catholic League’s Bill Donohue put it, made for a “big night for Catholic values.” The gay marriage proponents must be seething that our Tortoise of Truth passed by their Hare of Relativism in Maine like it did in my state of California last year!

  • I don’t know how much we can say the election results foreshadow a turning of the tide. The two new republican governors both ran campaigns that did not stress their stance on moral issues – they won by not splitting the social conservatives from the moderates. Let’s be honest, the people who vote solely on morals (at least until a race with two moral candidates comes along) are in the minority. I worry that the lesson the Republican party will learn from this election is to shy away from moral issues. Of course, if the Democrats learn the same lesson and stop shoving abortion down everyone’s throats, maybe we’ll actually see more social conservatives in both parties.

  • Thanks again, Dave!

McBrien to Eucharistic Adoration: Step Backward

Tuesday, September 8, AD 2009

Father Richard McBrien, Professor of Theology at Notre Dame, boy that comes as a shock doesn’t it, doesn’t think much of eucharistic adoration.  McBrien of course has been a fierce defender of the secular zeitgeist for decades, and has done his very best to wean generations of Catholics from anything in the Faith that would not pass muster at fashionable parties in academia. 

For myself I love eucharistic adoration.  I never have done it without feeling much closer to God.  Since John Paul II also approved of it in his letter DOMINICAE CENAE, I guess I will just have to bear up under the strain of being thought backward by Professor McBrien.  Father Z gives McBrien his patented fisking here

You know, tenured dissenters like McBrien have a real problem on their hands in the age of the internet.  It is very easy now for ordinary Catholics to have access to church teaching by a few clicks and read what John Paul II wrote:

“Adoration of Christ in this sacrament of love must also find expression in various forms of eucharistic devotion: personal prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, Hours of Adoration, periods of exposition-short, prolonged and annual (Forty Hours)-eucharistic benediction, eucharistic processions, eucharistic congresses.”

Of course Pope Benedict’s views are well known and are set forth here.  When we have such easy access to the words of Peter, it is much harder for Catholics to be bamboozled by flim-flam artists like McBrien seeking to distort the teaching of the Church in service of their personal agendas.  The modern world provides many challenges to the Church, but I think in the long run the internet may become a great advantage to the magisterium of Holy Mother Church.

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47 Responses to McBrien to Eucharistic Adoration: Step Backward

  • From the McBrien article:

    Notwithstanding Pope Benedict XVI’s personal endorsement of eucharistic adoration and the sporadic restoration of the practice in the archdiocese of Boston and elsewhere, it is difficult to speak favorably about the devotion today.

    Now that most Catholics are literate and even well-educated, the Mass is in the language of the people (i.e, the vernacular), and its rituals are relatively easy to understand and follow, there is little or no need for extraneous eucharistic devotions. The Mass itself provides all that a Catholic needs sacramentally and spiritually.

    Eucharistic adoration, perpetual or not, is a doctrinal, theological, and spiritual step backward, not forward.

    “Could you not stay awake with me one hour?”

    Apparently that would be entirely extraneous. I guess I’ll just have to remain an ignorant layman encrusted with medieval devotions.

  • “It is difficult to speak favorably about the devotion today.”

    Well, I suppose all the members of parishes that have grown and thrived after instituting Eucharistic adoration, all the priests and religious whose vocations have been discerned after taking up “the devotion”, and all the laity whose prayers have been answered and who have grown closer to God as a result of this “step backward,” would beg to differ.

  • McBrien and fashionable parties in academia in the same sentence? Amusing.

    But seriously, can you not even take Fr. McBrien’s arguments seriously, at face value, without ridiculing them? All this post says is, “Well, I like it, and the Pope likes it, therefore McBrien is wrong.”

    Interesting, too, that I have seen many of you criticize others on the web for not using proper titles, like “Father” and “Bishop.” I have never seen a right-wing Catholic blog refer to McBrien as “Father McBrien.” Donatism dies hard.

  • “I have never seen a right-wing Catholic blog refer to McBrien as “Father McBrien.” Donatism dies hard.”

    Then you haven’t been looking very hard.

    “But seriously, can you not even take Fr. McBrien’s arguments seriously, at face value, without ridiculing them?”

    Fr. McBrien made a serious argument? His inane commentary is nothing but dissident chic. He is basically saying “Never mind what that quaint little old man in Rome says, adoration of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is for suckers.”

  • McBrien doesn’t make an argument. He makes a sneer. His sneer is set forth in verbiage, but a sneer it remains. His comment about well-educated Catholics was especially risible since recent polls indicate how large a portion of Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence. His sneer is, in essence, that really bright Catholics like him are ashamed of eucharistic devotion and that only simpletons, like John Paul II and Saint Thomas Aquinas I assume, would have any use for it.

    As to Donatism, the Donatists defied the Popes and persisted in their schism. One can observe throughout McBrien’s career a careful determination not to follow Papal teaching when it deviated from his.

  • But seriously, can you not even take Fr. McBrien’s arguments seriously, at face value, without ridiculing them?

    I guess I’m having trouble seeing what exactly is an “argument” to be taken seriously. I don’t see how the point that the mass is in our own language and we’re well educated means that the mass itself provides the only sacramental and spiritual sustenance that any Catholic should possibly need. It’s not an argument, in that the one statement in no way follows from the other, and even as an assertion it seems a bit nonsensical. Why should the fact that the mass is well understood (to an extent) mean that no other devotions have any place in the Catholic life — particularly one with such a long and rich tradition, and so consistently followed and encouraged by the Church and her leaders.

    Do you see any actual argument to even engage with there?

    Interesting, too, that I have seen many of you criticize others on the web for not using proper titles, like “Father” and “Bishop.” I have never seen a right-wing Catholic blog refer to McBrien as “Father McBrien.” Donatism dies hard.

    Actually, I’m not aware of any of us having criticized others for this, and I’m sure that I’ve referred to Fr. Neuhaus simply as Neuhaus when I’m talking about him as a writer, despite the fact I have great respect for the late father. But no, I have no particular objection to calling Fr. McBrien by his honorific, and indeed, if you’ll look at the text of the post the very first words of it are “Father Richard McBrien”.

  • Beat me to it Donald in posting this.

    This is simply incredible.

    He does sneer at us with his comments and it smacks nothing more than treating us as less than smart.

    Sad.

  • Look, I like Eucharistic adoration. I don’t agree with Fr. McBrien all the time. But he is right to point out the disproportionate interest in adoration in our history, as well as the centrality of the Mass. You need to be willing to read for insights and to appreciate the truth of what he says even if you don’t go as far as he does.

    Fr. McBrien is right to “sneer” at certain tendencies in the Church.

    He does sneer at us with his comments and it smacks nothing more than treating us as less than smart.

    Some of you are “less than smart.”

  • Imprimatur,

    No one has said one iota about not attending Mass and replacing it with the Eucharist.

    You sound a lot like the Catholic Anarchist.

  • I can’t believe such offensive and patronizing drivel was written by a Catholic priest.

    Of course it is “difficult” to say anything good about a practice that is ridiculed as the province of illiterate bumpkins. This equivocation of a serious faith with academic learning may be convenient for the smug hypocrites of academia, but I for one am glad that the practice is still alive and well.

    Some people wouldn’t understand spirituality if it smashed them repeatedly in the face. This Catholic, with three university degrees, is more than happy to participate in Eucharistic adoration.

    Long live the Latin Mass, and long live Eucharistic adoration. And good riddance to the spoiled, self-important boomer generation that tried its best to destroy authentic spirituality within the Church.

  • No one has said one iota about not attending Mass and replacing it with the Eucharist.

    Well here you go. That whole “less than smart” thing. Good example.

    It doesn’t surprise me that you think I sound like a Catholic anarchist considering the way you paint everyone you think is a “dissenter” with the same brush. I haven’t met too many anarchists who pray the rosary and the divine office or who, as I said, like Eucharistic adoration.

    My point is that you need to be able to actually hear what a person is saying. A better response to his article would have been, “Here is here he is right, pointing out incorrect emphases, etc.” and “Here is where he is wrong, and here is why Eucharistic adoration is a valuable practice and WHY IT FITS WITH THE “NEW” MASS and does not oppose it.” All we have here is “McBrien is a fool,” followed by Joe’s comment of “long live the old way, the ‘true’ spirituality, and good riddance to the new, the inauthentic.”

    The result is that you all look very imbalanced, purely dismissive, unable to appreciate catholicity (small ‘c,’ referring to unity in diversity), and very very foolish.

  • That said, I think McBrien also displays a lack of catholicity in the sense that I described it above. He goes to far. But the core critique that he presents has some validity.

  • Oh please.

    In whose eyes, exactly, do we look “foolish”? Those already inclined to look upon those who actually do take tradition seriously as foolish. Who are these fence-sitters that would love everything we have to say, if only we would smile politely when a McBrien ridicules us? They don’t exist.

    I would gladly remain a fool for tradition before I would take seriously these hollow and meaningless attacks upon it.

    We heard exactly what he said – that Eucharistic adoration is a “step backward”. What are we supposed to say to that, exactly? Who is this man to declare what Catholics “need”? Who is he to declare what we don’t “need”? That level of arrogance and presumption is highly offensive, not to mention “foolish”.

  • Joe >>>

    In whose eyes, exactly, do we look “foolish”?

    Catholics who attempt to be moderate, you know, to be catholic.

    Those already inclined to look upon those who actually do take tradition seriously as foolish.

    There is not one single “tradition.” Our church is catholic. You are not the only one who takes “tradition” seriously. You take one set of Catholic traditions seriously. McBrien takes another set of traditions seriously. This “we’re the only ones who take tradition seriously” crap is silly. You’re a thoughtful guy. I read your stuff. I expect better from you, unlike some of your co-bloggers.

    We heard exactly what he said – that Eucharistic adoration is a “step backward”. What are we supposed to say to that, exactly?

    Try to understand WHY he is saying that, think about it, and then critique it while trying to appreciate what might be true about it.

    Who is this man to declare what Catholics “need”?

    Who are YOU to do the same? Who are YOU to declare that he is “attacking” tradition, that the traditions that he values are not authentic, that the ones YOU value are the only ones that are authentic?

    That level of arrogance and presumption is highly offensive, not to mention “foolish”.

    You are the one who sounds arrogant when you say: “Some people wouldn’t understand spirituality if it smashed them repeatedly in the face” and “And good riddance to the spoiled, self-important boomer generation that tried its best to destroy authentic spirituality within the Church.”

    If McBrien is being arrogant, then so are you.

  • For some curious reason, Father McBrien calls to mind the first several chapters of Thomas a Kempis’ Imitation of Christ.

    A proposal — let’s say a prayer for Father McBrien next time we find ourselves before the Blessed Sacrament.

  • Imp,

    First of all, what is this set of traditions that McBrien takes seriously? He is clearly a ‘progressive’ who believes that the march of technological progress (which in the final instance is what enables widespread literacy and education) necessitates the transformation of the liturgy and spiritual practices. How is that adherence to a tradition? How is that not a crude historicism that reduces spiritual and liturgical practices to products of their historical-material circumstances as opposed to inspired by God?

    I know exactly “why” his kind argues as they do; they believe in progress at the expense of tradition. They don’t wish to look foolish in the eyes of the secular world, which has never properly or accurately understood spiritual practice to begin with. The holy sacrifice of the Mass must be reduced to a ‘community meal’ and Scripture reading, while practices such as Eucharistic adoration are dismissed are holdovers of a medieval past. They find Catholic spirituality embarrassing in the modern world.

    I don’t tell Catholics what they need – there are certain things I believe are poisonous to the soul, but that argument could never be made about Eucharistic adoration. McBrien doesn’t reject it because it is objectively bad for Catholics, but because it makes him and his friends feel foolish. It is a shameful argument.

  • A stopped clock is right twice a day, and there is one nugget of truth in what Fr. McBrien said: “The Mass itself provides all that a Catholic needs sacramentally and spiritually.”

    It is true that actually RECIEVING the Eucharist is a sacrament, while adoring the Eucharist (wonderful though it is) is not, and that the actual Mass is obligatory for Catholics while Eucharistic adoration is not. A parish must offer Mass regularly but does not have to have perpetual or regular Eucharistic adoration. One could attend Mass faithfully, but never attend adoration, and still be a good Catholic.

    That being said, the fact that Eucharistic adoration doesn’t replace the Mass and that an observant Catholic can get by without it doesn’t mean it’s bad, or backward, or wrong. Devotion to particular saints, the rosary, novenas, etc. also aren’t strictly “necessary” for Catholics but that doesn’t make them bad.

    The fact that Fr. McBrien would say something like this doesn’t surprise me at all because he’s always been a “usual suspect” among the progressive/liberal wing of the Church.

  • The McBrien column recalls the story of a newly minted priest who was walking through a cathedral with his Bishop. The Bishop had decided to send the priest to Rome to study towards a doctorate because the young man was very bright and showed great promise. He was also afraid the young man suffered from intellectual vanity. He pointed out to the priest a Mrs. McGinnis who earned her daily bread by scrubbing floors and who was kneeling, saying a rosary silently as she gazed at the eucharist. Out of earshot of the woman he told the priest, “Do you know that she couldn’t tell you precisely who the Doctors of the Church are to save her soul?” The priest responded that such ignorance was terrible if not surprising. “Yet Father,” the Bishop continued, “since each morning she is here before she commences her daily toil to adore our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, I have no doubt she understands in her heart what each of the Doctors of the Church meant.”

  • Imprimatur if you are the Catholic Anarchist, Michael Iafrate, you will kindly stop posting in this thread since, as you know, I have banned you forever from posting on my threads. If you are not Iafrate, my apologies for raising the issue.

  • And good riddance to the spoiled, self-important boomer generation that tried its best to destroy authentic spirituality within the Church.

    Large segments of the Baby Boomer generation have done a lot of harm. I’ve always thought of that generation as having endured a civil war with itself….let’s hope those determined to bend the country to their infantile will continue to discredit themselves in the eyes of their children – the “sexual revolution” and divorce in particular have been terribly destructive.

  • No, there is nothing to engage here: McBrien doesn’t discuss anything anymore, he simply issues declarations larded with ipse dixits.

    Preconciliar BAD! Pope Benedict BAD! are the two arrows in his quiver, and both the tattered missiles are launched here.

    Where in this tossed-off essay is the slightest hint that he has seriously engaged with the topic? Instead, we have the following:

    1. A selective and deliberately incomplete reading of history;

    2. Well-poisoning (pointing to ridiculous excesses to discredit the entire practice);

    3. Universalizing certain contemporary progressive American Catholic experiences as normative for the entire Church;

    4. Preening self-regard (the “most educated laity” trope);

    5. Pitting pre-conciliar Church experience against certain post-conciliar practices (always to the detriment of the former);

    6. A gratuitous dig at the Pope (quelle suprise);

    and

    7. A gratuitous shot at the sacrament of reconciliation, another McBrien bete noire (“the Mass itself provides all that a Catholic needs sacramentally”–a titanic lie).

    “You’re hopelessly backward” is not an invitation to discussion. He deserves each and every brickbat tossed at him.

  • BTW, Elaine: please note that the “titanic lie” line wasn’t directed at you–I hadn’t even read your comment before posting. Fr. McBrien’s consistent dismissal of the sacrament of reconciliation sets my teeth on edge.

    But I do suggest that the Mass does not provide all that we need, and is not intended to, by design.

  • First of all, what is this set of traditions that McBrien takes seriously?

    He takes Vatican II and that initial set of reforms of the liturgy seriously.

    He is clearly a ‘progressive’ who believes that the march of technological progress (which in the final instance is what enables widespread literacy and education) necessitates the transformation of the liturgy and spiritual practices.

    There is nothing in his writing that suggests a belief in “technological progress” in relation to liturgy.

    How is that adherence to a tradition?

    There is no traditionless thinking of belief.

    How is that not a crude historicism that reduces spiritual and liturgical practices to products of their historical-material circumstances as opposed to inspired by God?

    Again, nothing suggests that a belief in change and/or reform entails a belief in “crude historicism” or a reduction of liturgy to “products.” Vatican II itself talked about continual reform as part of the nature of the church.

    I know exactly “why” his kind argues as they do; they believe in progress at the expense of tradition.

    Again, “tradition” is not one thing. Tradition is a process not specific content. Vatican II reforms, as you know, entailed a going back to the sources. The reforms that came out of VII are precisely all about tradition. With reference to Eucharistic adoration, the Church wanted to place a renewed emphasis on the centrality of the Mass to curb the way in which some devotional practices can distort the meaning of the Eucharist. Whether you agree with it or not, that is still a problem in the Church today. I have worked in parishes and saw it day in and day out. McBrien is right to remind us of the possibility of sacramental distortion.

    YOU on the other hand want to preserve, in cold cement, ONE PARTICULAR tradition which is ITSELF a product of history and not simply “given by God.” Liturgy, in its various forms and in the very process of its reform, is indeed inspired by God but not apart from history and not apart from persons and the community of the Church discerning the action of the Spirit. The tradition you prefer is NOT eternal, but a snapshot of a particular point in time. It’s fine for you to prefer that, but you need to know that your preferences tend to amount to a radical denial of the activity of God in within the Church. And God does not stand still. Hang on to your preferences — the one, true, authentic Tradition — but do not complain when the rest of the Church is moved somewhere else.

  • And it goes without saying that whether you like it or not, the Church did change its liturgy at Vatican II and it changed its very liturgical mindset at VII.

  • Michael/Imprimatur,

    With reference to Eucharistic adoration, the Church wanted to place a renewed emphasis on the centrality of the Mass to curb the way in which some devotional practices can distort the meaning of the Eucharist. Whether you agree with it or not, that is still a problem in the Church today. I have worked in parishes and saw it day in and day out. McBrien is right to remind us of the possibility of sacramental distortion.

    I’m not aware of any sense in which the Church actually expressed a desire to curb Eucharistic adoration as a devotional practice because of a fear that it distorted the meaning of the Eucharist.

    The Church did seek to institute liturgical reforms that would make the mass more easily understandable and to introduce elements of catechesis into the mass — and certain devotional practices which amounted to doing something else during mass (say, saying the rosary during mass rather than following the mass itself) have certainly been discouraged, but it is by no means apparent how Eucharistic adoration is in conflict with a proper understanding of the mass.

    If Fr. McBrien is aware of some way in which this is a problem, he certainly goes to no effort to mention it in his piece, which instead is primarily just a sneer of “we’ve moved beyond these embarrassing practices” combined with vague hints that the urge to participate in adoration is rooted in an overly physical understanding of the nature of transubstantiation.

  • You people are so narrow minded. Don’t you realize that you’re ***c***atholics? There is no single tradition. Me myself, I just yesterday participated in a solemn caterwauling liturgy of the vegan transgendered Ethiopian rite. They’ve been around since way before Trent, you unwashed fools. They don’t do Eucharistic adoration, by the way. They know *better*. Plus they make me look cool when I take them to meet my dissertation chair at the faculty club.

  • Darwin, how did you know my name is Michael? That’s a little creepy…

    I’m not aware of any sense in which the Church actually expressed a desire to curb Eucharistic adoration as a devotional practice because of a fear that it distorted the meaning of the Eucharist.

    What I actually said was that the church was trying to curb the distortions, not the practice of adoration.

    but it is by no means apparent how Eucharistic adoration is in conflict with a proper understanding of the mass.

    You’re right. And I said above that I like Eucharistic adoration and that I don’t think it conflicts with the Mass. What conflicts with the Mass is the distortion that can occur in some ways of understanding Eucharistic adoration.

    If Fr. McBrien is aware of some way in which this is a problem, he certainly goes to no effort to mention it in his piece, which instead is primarily just a sneer of “we’ve moved beyond these embarrassing practices”

    I also said above that I have some problems with McBrien’s article. I think he goes too far. He lacks catholicity. But so do you when you read him (and me, apparently) with no desire to understand him or to be challenged by what IS true in his thinking. You commit the same sin, sneering at McBrien instead of hearing him out.

    …combined with vague hints that the urge to participate in adoration is rooted in an overly physical understanding of the nature of transubstantiation.

    Catholics don’t believe Christ is physically present in the Eucharist, but that he is really, sacramentally present. If McBrien does imply that in his article (I’d have to read it again to see, and I don’t want to), then is is accurately reflecting Catholic teaching on the Eucharist.

  • Darwin, how did you know my name is Michael? That’s a little creepy…

    Because I’d previously put you on moderation for bad behavior both by email address and by IP address. Since you’re using the same computer as before, even though using a different email and handle, WordPress tells me who you are. (And surely you can see how it’s a bit dishonest to blog under several different names, while denying the connection between them, in the same venue.)

    On the topic — I guess the basic breakdown here is that it seems to me that what little of value might be taken of McBrien’s article is stuff which is at best implied or hinted at. I can’t really see that there’s anything of what’s actually there that’s of value. And so, while I can see the value of reading things charitably, I just can’t see that there’s any worth to what he wrote. Maybe if one is deeply familiar with the McBrien oeuvre there’s some background insight that shines through, but just reading this piece in isolation the few things he says that are true are so obviously so that one hardly needs to put up with the other flaws in the piece to recognize such truths.

  • Imprimatur\Catholic Anarchist, I assume you are Iafrate and thus any further comments by you will be deleted from this thread and any other threads in any of my other posts.

  • Imprimatur writes: “Catholics don’t believe Christ is physically present in the Eucharist.”

    Do Catholics not believe that the “body, blood, soul and divinity” of Christ is actually present in the Holy Eucharist?

  • e.
    Actual or Real Presence transcends carnal or physical presence. They are not the same. Impramatur is right on that. He is wrong on most everything else, as is McBrien.

  • Catholic Anarchist,

    Donald is probably sleeping now, but I’m around, so don’t bother going on the campus computer to get around your ban.

  • Thank you Tito!

    “We few, we happy few, we band of bloggers,” as my wife observed after reading the above comment by you!

  • non-Imprimatur,

    Catholics who attempt to be moderate, you know, to be catholic.

    to that the Lord replies:

    Apocalypse 3:16 But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth

  • ps. nice to see some solidarity on this blog!

  • Of course McBrien would think adoration is a step backward – he’s facing the wrong direction.

  • As an Eastern Catholic, we do not do adoration; nor do the Orthodox. I have no problems with people doing so, and think it is a good devotion, but many people forget other devotions because of it (like icons) and also forget the primary purpose of the eucharist (communion). It’s a complicated issue, but the Orthodox world do have questions about the practice and find it strange — all without being liberal. On the other hand, I don’t think McBrien’s reasons are based upon the Orthodox response, since I think he would probably question iconographic devotion, too.

  • The way it has been explained to me AFAIK is the substance of Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity (hence, transubstantiation) is truly present under the accidents of bread and wine. Can’t really explain more beyond that.

  • Its a weak comparison, but imagine that by some processing method they could make tofu look, feel, taste and smell like and in all other respects act like certified angus beef. The substance would be tofu, but it would have the accidents of real beef.

  • HK,

    many people forget other devotions because of it (like icons) and also forget the primary purpose of the eucharist (communion).

    that’s absurd. You’re suggesting that one can over do the WORSHIP OUR BLESSED LORD before HIS REAL PRESENCE as opposed to worshiping Him before a likeness???

    If the Lord came to your parish in his entire Glorified Body and sat in the adoration chapel for you to go and Worship and speak with Him, would you caution against overdoing it???? Excuse me Lord, I must go and pray before a picture of you, I don’t want to “over do” this face to face stuff.

  • What I find hilarious in all of this is that Pope Benedict, in his wisdom (God bless and keep him), is now proposing a “reform of the reform” designed to increase reverence for God and the Mass.

    It is now absolutely undeniable that some of the changes, if not most of the changes, made at “VII” have had a harmful effect – whether we look at what the average Catholic now believes theologically or even worse, morally or politically, or the child molestation scandals, the declining membership, the declining priesthood, etc, etc.

    Tradition can absolutely be added to, but there is a difference between adding to tradition and subtracting from it, distorting it, and throwing it away for some new innovation based upon what is popular in the secular world. Motivation here counts for a great deal – why were the changes made? In what spirit?

    Looking back now, the Papacy has come to realize that the essence of tradition, the reverence and devotion that Catholics once had for Christ through the Mass, has been slipping away – and is taking steps to do something about it. The Catholic ‘Anarchists’ and Father McBriens are on the way out, and not a moment too soon (and hopefully not too late).

  • Matt

    Icons present to us the real presence of Christ as well. The image is always related to and bring to us the presence of the prototype, and it is real. Read St John of Damascus and St Theodore the Studite on Icons. Then read Orthodox commentary about worship — they point out that communion was not reserved or meant to be reserved, but is for the sake of participation, eating — that is what it is for.

    “If the Lord came to your parish in his entire Glorified Body” would you grab a knife? Your second point is therefore inappropriate. The whole point is you have his presence, his glorified presence, in the icon. That’s why St Thomas Aquinas said,

    “Consequently the same reverence should be shown to Christ’s image as to Christ Himself. Since, therefore, Christ is adored with the adoration of ‘latria,’ it follows that His image should be adored with the adoration of ‘latria.'”

    ST III-XXV.3

  • HK,

    what your missing the point here entirely. Christ is present everywhere, even in us, but not in the same sense as he is present in the Eucharist… Body, Soul, and Divinity – in substance. It IS Him. Not a “prototype”, not in the same way as He is present whenever 2 or more are gathered, but really, truly and physically present, as He would be sitting in the Chapel.

    Yes of course, the body is to be consumed and that is the principle purpose of the Eucharistic Miracle, however, it is not a question of quantity. You would not see greater graces from receiving every hour of every day. There are graces from spending time in His presence for every additional second.

    This really is fairly basic, I’m not sure why you’re having so much difficulty.

    Finally, you completely neglected to address the point that you have created a straw man. Nobody does what you suggest, excessive adoration at the expense of worshiping at the Sacrifice and receiving Him in Holy Communion. Nobody.

  • Matt

    You are the one who is missing the point. I would highly recommend Schmemann’s “The Eucharist,” and leave it at that.

  • Matt says: “[Christ] is present in the Eucharist… Body, Soul and Divinity…[He] is really, truly an physically present [in the Eucharist].”

    I thought likewise (i.e., Body, Blood, Soul & Divinity; and, therefore, really & *physically* present); however, didn’t Mike Petrik suggest this is not actually the case?

  • Dale — thanks. Likewise, I hadn’t read the full McBrien article, so I didn’t realize his comment about the Mass being “all that a Catholic needs sacramentally” implied that the sacrament of penance isn’t necessary.

    Now I have heard SOME interpretations of canon law which claim that the obligation to go to confession once a year strictly applies only if you have mortal sins that need confessing. So according to this interpretation (which I would imagine McBrien subscribes to), if one manages to avoid mortal sin, the sacrament of penance is never “necessary.”

    However, in practice, I doubt very much that many Catholics who don’t bother going to confession even once a year successfully avoid serious sin for the duration. Even liberals admit that “once a year only in case of mortal sin” is merely a bare minimum legal requirement, not a recipe for a fruitful spiritual life.