23 February 2011

Priests are Meant to Make People Uncomfortable


It seems that some have the misguided notion that priests should make everyone around them comfortable and not offend anyone. While the faithful should indeed get a comforting feeling from being around a priest, it is not the job of a priest to make people comfortable. A priest has the responsibility to uphold the Faith and the Church and to care for the souls of those in their care. This cannot be done if the primary concern of a priest is not offending anyone.

Because of this responsibility that we as priests have, we must put the promotion of the Faith first. This does not mean, though, that we should seek out or try to initiate fights about doctrine or the Faith in general. I do not suggest this at all. Rather, it means that we must take a stand for the Faith when called to do so. We should not stand idly by while the secular world descends into relativism and say nothing about it for fear of offending others.

The Church is charged with the mission of saving the souls of the people of this world. We care about all souls. This is and must remain our primary concern. We expect resistance, but it must not deter us. Sometimes love must be a form of tough love as we tell people what they must hear, but do not want to hear. It is better to risk offending someone than to risk their immortal soul.  

07 February 2011

Sound of Music


The Sound of Music film version with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer ranks as one of the greatest films of all time. We watched it again over the weekend. What is interesting is where I found the DVD. It wasn't at the movie rental store, so I went to the local library. It was only at one of the branches and in the juvenile section. Yes, that's right. The kids' movie section, not the adult or general section. Surely adults today want to watch something like just because they want to see it, not just because it is something safe for the children to watch. I first saw it as a child, but watching it as an adult, I can attest that one sees the whole plot differently.

I had forgotten what a powerful, enjoyable, uplifting film it was. It is simultaneously challenging on moral, social, and political issues and easy to watch. We need more productions like this today!

06 February 2011

Islam as a Means of Satanic Influence


The Devil has been working to turn us humans away from God since the very beginning. It was, after all, Satan who tempted Eve with the apple and caused the expulsion from the Garden of Eden and the stain of original sin. When Christ came, Satan even tried to tempt Him. He was unsuccessful, and Christ fulfilled his purpose on this earth. He was crucified for our sins and rose from the dead, giving us all hope and assurance of our own eventual conquering of death. Then the Christian faith, the fulfillment of the Hebrew prophecy began to spread around the globe. That was most unwelcome news for the Devil, as it means more souls turn to God. It did not stop his efforts to wreak havoc on earth and destroy humans.

Visual by www.PDImages.com
 The Christian Faith was and is a serious threat to the Devil's efforts. As anyone who has read the Bible ought to know, the good news is that we will win in the end. That doesn't stop the Devil from trying to destroy the souls of as many people as he can in the meantime.

Now, faced with the rapid growth of the Christian Faith and all its saving grace that it brings to people around the world, what's the Devil to do? A common advertising technique is to make your product look similar to another product that people like. It makes the transition to your product easier, and perhaps even some people would be fooled into buying your product instead of the other product that they originally wanted. This was a logical thing for the Devil to do. All the Devil needed to do was to enter the heart of the false prophet Muhammad and persuade him to deny the Godhead of Christ, deny the resurrection, and create a religion founded on the basis of Judaism and Christianity. Then make that religion built on intolerance and the subjugation, domination, or death of all who are not of that religion. Then seek converts in largely Christian areas, getting them to deny the resurrection and the Godhead of Jesus Christ and submit completely to the Devil while telling them they are worshipping the God of Abraham. This is Islam.

The Islamic religion was a heresy off of Christianity. This heresy, which has had such broad-reaching, profound, violent effects for so long can only be a work engineered by our old enemy the Devil. It has his handwriting all over it. There was the Muslim take-over of the Holy Land, continuing to the Muslim-generated hatred and violence  in the Holy Land today. There are church bombings and attacks on Christians by Muslims in Israel. There were numerous criminal terrorist attacks on airplanes and trains. And, of course, there were the attacks of September 11th on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. It is no wonder that Muslims would attack the bastion of religious freedom and tolerance in the world, as they are fundamentally opposed to such a notion. They wish to dominate and turn all to their ways. This is their religion and their purpose.

And then there is the oppression of people, particularly women, in Muslim nations. This is particularly noticed in places like Afghanistan under Taliban rule, Pakistan, and others. Ataturk had the great sense to put severe limits on Islamic influence and expression when he founded the Turkish Republic. However, today we see a new resurgence of Islamic influence in that country. Right this very moment, Islamic extremists are trying very hard to have a significant if not dominant voice in Egyptian politics. In the United States, Muslims are attempting to instill Sharia law or at least be able to carry out criminal acts such as honor killings under Sharia law, despite the violation of the rights of others. Wherever Muslims take over, freedom of religion and freedom in general decline, while instability and oppression rise.

The Muslims are certainly adept at doing Satan's work. They infiltrate slowly, usually under the guise of being a minority and wanting to be able to fulfill their "religious obligations." Once they have this, they want more. And then more and more and more. This grows as their numbers grow. Next, latent Muslims are encouraged to participate more actively, and like a bacterial colony, it eventually grows out of control. They demand their right to say and do as they please according to their religion, but demand that others who are opposed to them be silenced. Ironically, but not surprisingly, they seek to deny others the very rights that they demanded for themselves. Usually those who kindly supported the Muslims' right to freedom of religion are blind at first to what is going on. Often by the time they find out, it is too late and the take-over has already taken root so much that there is not much that can be done about it.

The goal of spiritual warfare should be a return to
God and a return to the serenity that He brings.

The Devil's handiwork of the Islamic religion ought to be plain for all to see. Satan uses his creation to draw Christians from the true faith, to torment and oppress, and to create and perpetuate chaos in the world. It is a religion of intolerance, hatred, and violence; all common tools of the Devil. Even those who are not "militant extremist Muslims" are part of the problem. They inspire the criminal acts through their devotion and their numbers, even if these so-called moderate or "peaceful" Muslims later denounce the terrorist and other criminal acts of the militant Muslims. We should and must pray intensely for the conversion of Muslims back to the true faith. This is a time of great need for spiritual warfare. We must pray like we have never prayed before that Muslims will turn from the Devil and return to God.

05 February 2011

On the Mass and the Offices in Sanctifying the Whole Week


More comments in reference to the purpose of the holy mass and daily offices related to sanctifying daily life throughout the week, not just on Sundays.


Quite correct. The holy mass is the highest form of prayer, the supreme sacrament, and the pinnacle of our connection with Christ. What has happened is that, as you said, many limit the Eucharist to Sundays only. They go to church on Sundays, but the rest of the week is secular.

If one looks at the missal, there is a mass (sometimes more than one) appointed for EVERY day of the week. Not everyone attends daily mass, and not every priest is required to celebrate daily. Nevertheless, the masses are there. The missal, by the way, makes a great daily devotional. Read through the propers, and I bet your daily life during the week will be less secularized. Attend mass during the week when you can, and you'll benefit even more.

In addition to the mass, we have the Daily Offices, the second highest form of prayer. They are called "daily" for a reason. They sanctify the WHOLE day EVERY day. I recommend the laity getting a breviary and praying the daily offices regularly, even if they don't do all of them.

This all makes a difference. The Eucharist and the offices teach us what it is we need to know in order to fulfill our Christian mission in our DAILY lives, not just for an hour or so on Sunday.

On Reforming North American Christianity


Canon Kevin Goodrich, OP, a Dominican priest in North Dakota, has been writing an excellent series of essays on reviving Christianity in North America. I was invited to comment on the most recent essay, No. 6 (read it here). The following is my commentary.


The first trick is determining what is the deck furniture on the Titanic and what are integral ship fittings. There are a lot of nonsensical ideas and practices with no real grounding in history or theology that have cropped up over the last thirty years, largely due to the secularization and liberalization of the Church and society. The Roman Rite, for example, tried a new liturgy that, while it may have filled the pews, weakened the expression of the theological foundation. Recent surveys show that only around 25% of Catholics actually believe and follow the social and moral teachings of the Church. Ignorance abounds, while the focus is placed on getting a warm fuzzy from going to Church.

What people need is the strength of the Faith. They should be brought to the Faith instead of having the Faith altered to suit them just to get them in the door. This is why we must maintain our traditions. Each aspect of traditional liturgy, moral doctrine, etc. is thoroughly grounded in Scripture and over 2000 years of its evolutionary (not revolutionary) interpretation. It will take each person a different amount of time to receive the full benefit of each aspect of tradition, but that's ok. We're all in a different place in our faith journey. The Sacred Tradition is the glue that holds us all together in our work towards living what is in Sacred Scripture.

I constantly preach on this. The guy in the giant purple cape and funny red hat (that would be me) says "Live your faith." He constantly challenges people to step outside their comfort zone and grow their faith. This often means looking to tradition, which is often uncomfortable for them.

I do get some resistance to this from time to time, but that is to be expected. We cannot let resistance deter us, however, from continuing to push our brethren to do what is right for them and for the community.

You are absolutely right, speaking of the community, about getting outside of the church walls. The church is a great place of solace and to get away from the world. However, we need to look for way, even unconventional ones, to reach others with the message and not hide our light. We were given light to lead others, not to keep it to ourselves.

As for America being post-Christian, I generally agree. We are historically Christian and founded on Christian principles. Many are still Christian in name and heritage, and they might even go to church on Sundays. Yet, the leftist, liberal, and socialist influence over the past thirty years or more has made Christianity something that should, to them, be practiced only in private. This must be fought.

Wear your habits or clerical suits when you are out in public as much as possible...especially when involved in charity or service. Put an icon, a prayer card, a crucifix or the like on your desk at work. You'll be told this is shoving your faith in the face of others, but do not be deterred. It is not true. You are simply expressing your faith. You are not forcing anyone else to participate. You are merely doing that all-important thing of witnessing to Christ.

All of this is so important now as we face an onslaught of Muslims seeking to impose their religious will in America and around the world as they take over and fulfill their Satan-inspired goal of domination, subjugation, or death. This is coupled with the Chinese communists, to whom we have as a nation virtually sold our souls. Christianity has been pushed aside. The Faith of love and peace for all mankind has been shoved out of the way to make room for agendas of intolerance, hatred, and profit at all costs.

Many mainline denominations in the US give in to this as well, perhaps just to keep people in the pews or to get money. I applaud those who try to work to change things in their denomination. While I constantly work for unity, I am still aware that one eventually must make a choice. Will one stay around just because you like the coffee, or your family has been at that parish for generations, or you know lots of people there, or you don't want to be seen as an instigator? OR...will you follow the Faith wherever it takes you and no matter what the cost?

This is not easy. I know. I have fought the Muslim onslaught up close and personal myself, even when I sometimes had to stand alone and people tried to pressure me to stop. Others have done this as well. Our mission work cannot continue effectively while we are being threatened, pushed, and bullied by society, Muslims, Chinese communists, and others. This is an open invitation to all good Christians. Who will join me in standing up for the rights of Christians? Who will join me in saying that Christ and the Christian Faith will not be marginalized? Who will join me in spreading the Gospel to the people of the world?