Showing posts from April, 2010

Disobedient Priests

At Mass this morning, the first lesson is taken from Chapter 6 of the Acts of the Apostles; it tells of the apostolic origins of the diaconate and the selection of the first seven deacons. The passage ends with these words: "The word of God continued to spread, and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly; even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith." (Acts 6:7) The priests being referred to here are, of course, the descendants of Aaron -- priests of the Old Covenant who offered sacrifice in the Jerusalem Temple. But one cannot help but think also of priests of the New Covenant who, despite their Baptism and Ordination, are disobedient to the faith, and when I heard those words at Mass this morning, I thought immediately of Father Michael Pfleger. Pfleger, for those of you fortunate enough not to know anything about him, is an egregious fool in the Archdiocese of Chicago who has spent decades playing the bad boy. I imagine that

Another Long Lent

I intended to write this morning about several dimensions of the present maelstrom swirling around Benedict XVI, but I find that the always perceptive George Weigel has already said what needs to be said over at First Things in: Another Long Lent.  Go have a look at this brilliant analysis of our present situation and future possibilities.

Pray for Benedict XVI

The estimable Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, has organized a nationwide campaign of prayer to support Pope Benedict XVI in the days leading up to the 5th anniversary of his election to the Chair of St. Peter, Monday 19 April. Lord, source of eternal life and truth, give to your shepherd, Benedict, a spirit of courage and right judgment, a spirit of knowledge and love. By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care, may he, as successor to the Apostle Peter and Vicar of Christ, build your Church into a sacrament of unity, love, and peace for all the world. Amen. V. Let us pray for Benedict, the pope. R. May the Lord preserve him, give him a long life, make blessed on the earth, and not hand him over to his enemies. V. May your hand be upon your holy servant, O Lord. R. And upon your son, whom you have anointed. One Our Father, one Hail Mary, one Glory Be.

The Pope and the New York Times

Three days before Palm Sunday, ironically enough on the Solemnity of the Annunciation -- March 25th --the New York Times unleashed a barrage of Catholic bashing and baiting that has not yet subsided. The primary point made in the first article is that Pope Benedict XVI is not only not the reformer who can lead the Church out of the crisis caused by failing to deal honestly and responsibly with priests who sexually abuse children but that he is actually by his own personal failings a central part of the problem. The second point of the story was to lay the foundation for the general argument taking shape in all the other stories published since March 25th -- namely, that the Catholic Church is an international criminal conspiracy for protecting child molesters. Well, the Wall Street Journal has been looking carefully at the very first story in this fusillade, and it turns out that the Times didn't publish all the news that's fit to print after all. Have a look at William McGu

Take Up the Sword

My friend and colleague Father Dwight Longenecker has a splendid post on the media firestorm raging around the Catholic Church these days. It's over at his blog, Standing on My Head , which is always worth a visit. His take on the present battle is here: Take Up the Sword

Easter Sunday

At the beginning of the great Vigil of Easter, the Paschal Candle is prepared with words that confess our faith in the Lamb once slain and remind us that even the Risen Christ bears the signs of His Passion: Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega. All time belongs to Him and all the ages. To Him be glory and power through every age forever. Amen. By His holy and glorious wounds, may Christ our Lord guard us and keep us. Amen. And as the Paschal Candle is lit from the new fire, the priest says: May the light of Christ, rising in glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and mind. Christos Anesti! Alithos Anesti! Christ is risen! Truly He is Risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Holy Saturday

Much attention has been given recently in the secular press to the moral failures of bishops and priests in Ireland and Germany, and the outrage in normal people at the grotesque sin of sexual abuse by priests, compounded by the malfeasance of cowardly bishops, is completely appropriate. What is not appropriate, however, is for this outrage to cause a Catholic to question his faith in Jesus Christ or his confidence that Christ’s Church is the universal sacrament of salvation for all mankind. The Lord Jesus chose twelve men from among his thousands of disciples to be his apostles, the men who would be his witnesses and emissaries to the world. For three years they traveled with him, listened to his teaching and preaching, and witnessed his miracles --  the signs of his divine glory. And in the night on which Christ gave us the Holy Eucharist and the sacramental priesthood, what did these chosen Twelve do? When the hour for which the Word became flesh finally arrived, Judas betrayed H

Good Friday

How did it come to this? The conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit was announced by an angel to his virgin mother, the woman full of grace. His growth in the womb brought confessions of faith from his unborn kinsmen John and John’s mother Elizabeth. His birth was greeted with joyful song by the choir of angels and with puzzled wonder by simple shepherds and philosopher kings. His hidden years, living in obedience to his virgin mother and his foster father, were filled with growth as he was filled with wisdom. At length he came forth from Galilee, preaching a Gospel of love, forgiveness, and peace. He healed the sick, made the blind to see and the dumb to speak; he restored palsied limbs and raised the dead to life. How did it come to this? The birth of Jesus, while greeted with joy by some, was also greeted with fear by others. Innocent children in Bethlehem were slaughtered just so he might not live. His parents had to flee with him through the desert to safety in Egypt and live t

Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper

Why is this night unlike any other night? This is the Passover the Lord.  From before the foundation of the world, the Ancient of Days knew this Hour and by types and figures prepared the world to understand its meaning. In the garden our first parents fell, and we were promised a woman whose seed would crush the serpent. The fruit of their disobedience was not freedom, but murder, and the blood of Abel cried out for justice. Abram was called out of Ur of the Chaldees to become Abraham, our father in faith, and Melchisedech, the king of righteousness, offered a sacrifice of bread and wine on Mt. Zion. Through Isaac human sacrifice was ended, even as our loving Father prepared us for the sacrificial death of his only Son. Jacob was given twelve sons whose twelve tribes would fill the land of promise. By the blood of a lamb, the children of Israel were freed from slavery in Egypt, and by the flesh of that lamb they were nourished for their journey. This is the Passover of the Lord.