Consecrated to the Heart of the Redeemer under the patronage of the Theotokos and Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

24 May 2012

Come To Terms

(1) The blog Bad Catholic is for adults only.
(2) Moreover, it's for rational, passionate, imperfect aficionados of cleverness only.
(3) Mix in a bowl the characteristics in line 2, and often you get blogs like BadCath (sounds like a medical procedure gone awry, ain't?)
(4) Notice in point the third that I did not include Catholics among the terms.  If I read the combox, I suspect that not everyone who reads/appreciates BadCath is Cath.  Or, for that matter, rational, passionate, imperfect, or witfond. But, duh--all the "world wide web of deceit" is a marketplace, and all the men and women merely customers and/or merchants, with each his own skill set and ill set.
(5) So, having ingested the statements above, click if you wick.  The linked article is on the "Gay Marriage Debate," and contains numerous links that further illustrate the ideas therein.  My take-away: it is crucially important to define terms; to discern precisely what, in any given statement, a person is talking about; to know that a person may not, in any given statement, be talking about what he thinks he's talking about; precision is not the enemy; knowledge must be at the service of humility and charity.

Word To Your Mother (Church)

A Prescription with Unlimited Refills

The Most Reverend James F. Conley is the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Denver.  In the article BISHOP CONLEY: Free to love-chastely he writes of Eve Tushnet, a guest speaker for a "Theology on Tap" session in his archdiocese.  Tushnet spoke of three habits that have been helping her to live chastely amid same-sex attraction, namely (1) developing authentic friendships; (2) dedication to hospitality and service; and (3) real commitment to an active prayer life.

Call these three practices a prescription that will help to heal any disordered pattern of acting, thinking, and feeling.


23 May 2012

Mass Appeal: Who is offering the True Sacrifice?

Margeaux’s Stand: Catholic Teen Defends Her Right to Attend Mass

"Religious Liberty" is not just a shibboleth for 2012; it is a fundamental concern for our time.  So say our National Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Somewhere our Holy Father has recently spoken on the subject, likely to American bishops on their visit ad limina apostolorum.

21 May 2012

Capturing a Calling

For your edification I present an item from VocationCast that features Father Robert Barron, whose Catholicism series will be shown at Holy Guardian Angels Parish starting the last Thursday in May for ten weeks.  Fr. Barron shares his vocation story.

19 May 2012

Neat. O.

Why I Became Catholic is worth reading.

Came to Know, Came to Believe

St. John's astounding credo is worth memorizing and repeating:

We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.

What else is there to the disciple's life?

(Am I the only one who just spontaneously sang, "Hi-diddle-dee-dee, a disciple's life for me"? Probably.)

Well, the disciple's life is not all a gleeful gallop around the neighborhood, but in order to engage in it, a  growing realization of God's love for us is paramount (even if Pinocchio was distributed by RKO).

Let your informed conscience be your guide to this worthiest of lives.

17 May 2012

A Point from Pio

Daily Catholic Quote from St. Pio of Pietrelcina worth noting.

Bad Relations

Fr. Robert Barron recently wrote on a timely subject: How to Solve the Bully Problem.

He wrote specifically with respect to boys, although perhaps a similar approach might apply to girls--namely, to link girls with solid female mentors, and to do so promptly.  In either case, where to find them?

Relational aggression is nothing new (I can tell you that it was alive and well in the mid 1980s), but recent attention to suicides has spurred responses like the film "Bully."  Certainly we want, as a culture, to teach and model respect among our youth.  While we suspect that relational aggression, as old as Cain and Abel, may never just "go away," the 2000s and 2010s have clamored for its demise with equal and opposite aggression.  No sane person would want to impede aggrieved parents in their quest for justice.  Maybe their son or daughter wasn't spared from hurt people who hurt people, but perhaps through their pleading and legal action (more likely the latter), somebody can be spared.

How does one go about this activity of raising awareness, when the mere restatement of the Golden Rule seems insufficient, even if it's done against the background of a Top-40 hit or with the endorsement of a formerly bullied celebrity?  "I made it, and [if you happen to become famous in theater, music, sports, or whatever] you can, too [if you can refrain from killing yourself or your aggressor, going insane, or having your personality eroded by workplace aggressors in adulthood]!"

When it (bullying) happened to me in 4th through 6th grade, I hesitated to retaliate for fear of "the last state of the man being worse than the first"--getting my butt kicked.  Once--once--I punched a bully in the arm and he just stood there and looked at me as if to say, "Was that the best you could do?".  Believe it or not, the instant payback was not terribly bad, but I toughened it out until I'd had enough…then I transferred to Catholic school (from late grade school through seminary).  That didn't solve all the problems.  Over the years I discovered many unsatisfactory places of refuge from the pain of bullying and other stressors, real and imagined.  Learning to become a man in the Braveheart sense might have staved off a lot of pain; but things worked out as only a provident God can arrange them, to the effect that I can share some of my story in this venue.

With all due respect to the professionals in the anti-bullying enterprise--especially the victims among them--I'm not sure what sort of money-requiring, official programs will "solve" the problem.  Something more systemic, more cycle-breaking, seems appropriate.  As Fr. Barron suggests, let's find us some good role models--men and women, from among the huge pool of reformed aggressors and recovering recipients.  Let's become them.

Schooling in virtue from day one (virtue: from virtus, which has roots in vir [man, more to the point of power/strength]) is crucial.  A virtue is a good habit of choosing (action, word, thought--all choices, are they not?), acquired through repetition.  By "day one" I mean Day One.  When we recognize that everyone involved has choices--parents, children, educators, all formative influences--it changes the mode of action and the mode of response.

Even if aggression happens (and it will), the aggressor doesn't have to become the Enemy.  That doesn't seem to help.  Early detection can invite constructive guidance for both parties with only the necessary amount of embarrassment (not easily measurable in the moment).

Start the conversation on Virtue in home, school--wherever children are formed.  But for the sake of all that is good and true, be informed!  Read good books on the subject.  Works of contemporary Catholic authors such as Donald DeMarco (look here for an article of his) are a great start.  Consult a good examination of conscience for a review of good vs. bad choices.  Most of all, practice virtue: make good choices as consistently as possible, correct bad choices as promptly as possible.

04 May 2012

HGA Poetry Cafe

On Tuesday I was delighted to be present for "The Poetry Cafe" hosted by the seventh grade class of HGA Regional School.  English teacher Marygrace Ewart has been fostering in her students an appreciation for poetry, and this event was the fruit of much labor--hers and the students'.  Each member of the class recited from memory a work of such poets as Shel Silverstein, Robert Frost, Edgar Allan Poe, Christina Rossetti, and others.  One student offered an original work.

The evening concluded with Daphne McMaster, a senior at Reading High, who recited three poems, including the one found in the link above.  This Reverend Blogger was particularly impressed by her choice of Gerard Manley Hopkins, a convert from Anglicanism-turned-Jesuit priest, whom McMaster named her favorite poet.

Nowadays it is precious to find a young person interested in the great poets.  We hope that this exercise, though perhaps obligatory for many of the students, will catalyze a lifelong love of this sublime form of human (and divine) expression.

UPDATE: For the Reading Eagle's coverage of the event, click here.

This Is How They Do It

James Tonkowich, a convert to the Catholic Faith from Presbyterianism, a former minister to boot, has written a four part series.  How Not to Become a Catholic, Part Four is the final installment of this series, but Part One is here, Part Two is here, and Part Three is here.  Be amused and be informed.

02 May 2012

Everything Personal

CHRIS STEFANICK: The priest: In persona Christi
A fine post.  Thank you, Mr. Stefanick, for that real-life illustration.  Every priest can share instances of God's redemptive power at work in him.  For me, the events of an ordinary day often suffice, because I can fall prey to the temptation that "if it doesn't appear or feel heroic, it doesn't matter as much."

I can think of numerous instances in my youth in which priests went the extra mile for people--especially with sacramental assistance, but also with giving a "few minutes of your time" to answer a question.  "Oh, Father, I hate to bother you, 'cause you're so busy."  Well, when we're busy, it's usually with people like you, and not otherwise.