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Showing posts from May 20, 2012
It's not that I didn't enjoy Steve Ray's book Upon This Rock ...because I did. It's just that mine was a long journey. I read that one toward the beginning. It seemed like he had an argument to settle with the fundies. He wanted me, in his text, to see the obvious truth of his conclusion. I wasn't ready to draw any conclusions then. But the book is great, because he does let the Fathers speak for themselves. Just reading the quotations would cause any reasonable person to wonder if has truly understood the Catholic position ecclesiologically and historically. What I'm saying is that the evidence for this unique claim to authority is much stronger than I was prepared to admit at the time. It was all quite shocking, really. I could not think of a more sad commentary on the state of the Catholic Church in the US than this: I was surprised to find warriors for truth and holiness among them. More than this, I didn't think anyone cared enough about the truth--Ch

Maybe I Should Do Public Policy

So there I was, praying the Rosary, as is my custom--wait, I digress; you see, it was 1 AM, and even though it was technically the next day, God is not an impatient curmudgeon with a pocket watch. I must have been tired. Had to be. I get to the end of the fourth Sorrowful Mystery--yes, Sorrowful--and I get to the 'O My Jesus'. It's supposed to be, "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy." A noble prayer, and we Catholics know it well. Instead, I say, "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy fundraising." Yes, this really happened. I stop and say to no one in particular, "What did I just say? Fundraising? What?" [What are you, a megachurch pastor?--ed.] I know, right? So, obviously this becomes the funniest thing this side of my brother and sister-in-law's Weddi
This is a great response to Leithart, on my exact point about idolatry, from an Orthodox guy. That said, the Church is Orthodoxy? (from the comments) How? No principium unitatis, no definition of what an ecumenical council is, no definitive doctrines about anything, (ethnic Church doctrinal free-for-all) and no way to find them. Oh, yeah, WHERE'S THE BISHOP OF ROME? I digress. Certain enthusiastic Lutherans (let the reader understand) will just have to man up and realize Leithart was wrong on the point. What is the Eucharist? If it is bread, then we of the Catholic Church (and a large number of others) are Idolaters, not cutesy, evangelical, Calvin, your-heart-is-an-idol-factory idolaters, and you should be glad we're excluding you from our covenant-shattering damnable practices, not mad because we won't let you in. On the other hand, you wouldn't have this problem if you weren't bizarrely committed to the idea that you were a snow-covered dung heap who commi
The Chili's was better than I remembered. Actually, I said that last time. Perhaps a revision of my opinion is in order. It was the highlight of the night. My nephew "graduated" preschool tonight, complete with gowns and diplomas, the whole bit. I was caught between wanting to support him and thinking, "This is really stupid, and is the reason why we're so soft today." I thought some Gwen Stefani was in order before bed. Big mistake. "Early Winter." The words stick like sharp knives. I didn't think I'd make it to the end. But I enjoyed the pain so much, I listened to it again. Before I heard that, it was "Don't Speak". It seemed apropos at first, and then I realized it was the exact opposite. I would very much like someone to speak, to explain to me why any of this suffering is good or appropriate. I have a pretty high tolerance for things that truly suck, and I have great faith. I know I do. But I'm out. You couldn'

Too Catholic to be "catholic"

Being Catholic starts and ends with a person who says, "You know, I could be wrong." Chesterton said something like that. A huge part of that is to surrender one of the hallmarks of the Reformation: The primacy of individual interpretive authority. To have been a Protestant who comes home adds a special edge to everything I do as a Catholic. Every act of charity (few as they probably are) comes with an unspoken apology: "I was wrong; I'm sorry." To be Catholic is not to say that the Reformers said or did nothing true. It is definitely not to say that the Catholic Church in all times and places is free from sin. Ha! In fact, I gratefully acknowledge that Protestants of various stripes are doing and believing large parts of the apostolic faith better and truer than her putative sons and daughters, oftentimes. But it is to say that no instance of sin in the 16th century fundamentally changes what the Church is, and had been: The visible hierarchical supernatural 
Talkin' To Mary, Part 47 (?) I've been praying the Rosary a lot, as the title suggests. It started out as a spiritual work of mercy for my family, and I guess it still is that. But I attended Mass yesterday, and some things started to fall into place. When you pray the Rosary, you're participating in the Eucharistic liturgy. As I like to say, "This is that." I'm not just praying by myself and for myself; I'm joining myself to that sacrifice. If you think about it, it makes sense. Christ is everything; the love He offered on the Cross he still offers today in every Mass. This is what many people don't understand about the Rosary (and about Mary): everything we say about Mary and to Mary is inextricably connected to her Son. No, really. Everything. Everytime you talk to her, it's like she says, "Isn't my Son great?" Like any mother would do. But in this case, she's the mother of the Word incarnate. That's bound to get inter
I need to be the Apostle of The Blindingly Obvious for a bit here. The conviction of theists of all flavors is that God (or gods, if you like) has spoken. Among theists, then, disagreements center around either the source or the content of divine revelation. Most of the disputes in the "culture wars" arise because non-theist people have a fundamental assumption that religion as we find it is merely human; the natural world is all that truly matters or exists. So, the answer to the question, "Why don't these Christians just live like normal people and embrace X, Y, and Z?" is, "We can't. God has spoken in Jesus Christ." Not that most seculars live consistently by what we find in nature anyway, but the point is, if you're arguing with a Christian, if you hold on to the assumption that religion is a nice story with an ethical gloss, you'll think he's nuts. But you should question your own premise on that one. I agree with the atheists on t