Tag Archives: Catholicism

No More, No Less

Peter at The Ark and the Dove was disgusted by a recent Newsweek article anticipating President Obama’s meeting with the pope. I read it, and though I did not respond with the same revulsion, I was distressed.

I am very proud to be from Maryland (I brought my flag up from Alabama specifically to decorate my dorm room for the summer), but things like that article make me ashamed. Not only is Kathleen Kennedy Townsend a vocally pro-choice Catholic Democrat, but she was the lieutenant governor of Maryland. Back before I really started learning and caring about my faith, I’m pretty sure I campaigned for her outside the primary polls to earn community service hours. Oops.

Townsend’s political and religious conflicts aside, this article is an excellent reminder that the Catholic Church in the United States does not control the world. Catholicism sustained itself just fine long before there was a single Protestant colony, let alone this country. (And Maryland was the Catholic colony!) It may be true that 54% of American Catholics voted for Obama, but Obama is not in charge of the Church, and neither are the people that voted for him. Similarly, American Catholics’ thinking that something is right does not make it so.

Townsend writes that, in Humanae Vitae (which, incidentally, I just printed the other day), “authority—not truth, not love—prevailed.” Does she think you can’t be authoritative, truthful, and loving at the same time? I think I know a guy who did that. His name was Jesus, and to any Catholic worth her salt, Jesus left the pope in charge. If Townsend really believes that Obama wants nothing more than “polite disagreement”—that is, that he doesn’t want the pope to change his views—then why bother making this statement? However, if she doesn’t think Obama wants a change from the Vatican, then this article simply proves that, no matter what changes Americans want, Rome will do what is right.

A Strong Message

When I was in undergrad at Maryland, I had an experience with the Eucharist that changed the way I understand the True Presence. Tonight, in Mississippi, I had another.

I’m spending the Thanksgiving holiday with my grandfather and his wife on the Gulf coast. My dad’s family isn’t religious at all, so I used MassTimes to find a Catholic Church nearby and went to the vigil Mass this evening. I passed the church at first; Google Maps told me it would be on the left, but it was clearly on the right. I had enough sense (and experience with getting to lost) to know to turn around, though, so I made it to Mass just before the opening hymn.

I slipped into the back, opened up my hymnal, and joined in the singing. We were sitting in chairs instead of pews because the church was flooded to the roof by Hurricane Katrina, but if I hadn’t read that on the website, I would never have known. I’m not sure what triggered it, but all of a sudden I started to feel dizzy and my vision blurred. I get vertigo ocassionally, but never as bad as that unless I wake up sick. I barely made it through the opening prayers, which included the introduction for the double baptism this church’s Father Bob celebrated. (What is it with priests named Bob? I know 3 in the South alone.) I finally had to sit down and try to breathe.

Sometime during the first reading, I knew I had to get out of that room. I picked up my things and spent the rest of the Liturgy of the Word breathing as much fresh, rainy air as I could stand. Finally, I felt calm enough to go back in. I felt like I was having a panic attack, or that something was smothering me. It might have been triggered by a moldy smell in the church, but I’m fairly sure they cleaned that all up when they rebuilt, and I’m not allergic to mold.

Later, during the preparation hymn, I had to sit down again. I debated whether I should risk going up to receive communion. Then I realized that if anything would make me feel better, it’d be Jesus. So I joined the line, and received under both species as usual. I’ll never be able to explain it, but as soon as the Eucharist was in me, I felt better. So much better. It was a small miracle, but so significant that I will never doubt the power of the Eucharist again. Sometimes God makes the sun move backwards, and sometimes he just makes you feel better. Either way, he’s always there.

Happy new liturgical year, friends.

Catholic Superheroes

In a burst of activity and productivity, I am catching up on the e-newsletters that piled up in my inbox. I get the National Catholic Register‘s weekly update of free articles (which change daily). The title “Even Superheroes Need Superheroes” caught my eye. Angelo Stagnaro’s article details Catholic comic book characters, including Hellboy, Daredevil, and Nightcrawler (from X-Men).

From the popularity (and awesomeness) of comic book movie adaptations, I find myself intrigued by comic superheroes. I thought the first two X-Men movies were great (the third, not so much). I liked Daredevil, I loved Spider-man and Spider-man 2 (never saw 3), and I know Greg liked Hellboy and some others Stagnaro mentions. I’ve also noticed the presence of Catholicism and Catholic imagery in the media these last few years. The Punisher’s sense of justice is carried out in less than desirable ways, but I can see sprinklings of a basis in Catholic social teaching.

Is that good enough, though? Can we be satisfied with vestiges of Catholicism in the media, or do we need something more overt? Could we ever have a tv show or movie where the characters do “normal” things, but just happen to be Catholic? I’m not sure, but those conversations are certainly more likely when pop culture gives us avenues for discussion like ubiquitous rosaries.

Advertising the Church

I’m intrigued by CatholicsComeHome.org. It’s beautifully designed, and it has a lot of information. They even recommend the RSV, which gets a big thumbs-up from me.

I visited the “I’m Catholic” section, but I also watched the “Epic” video. It, too, is high-quality and compelling. I’m just wary of advertisements for the Catholic Church. The Light Is On for You is a great program, but promoting an underused sacrament is different than selling the whole Church. Who doesn’t scoff at LDS ads? I don’t want my church to solicit that kind of response, even though I believe in evangelization and apologetics.

This reminds me of my Morning Prayer intercessions, in which I pray for people who’ve fallen away from the Church. What am I doing to help them come back, besides praying? Not a whole lot. Jesus doesn’t want excuses; he wants to save us.

At Least I’m Mostly Catholic

I’m going to say that I didn’t score 100% because I’m not perfect. Oh, well. Lent is a-coming.

Eucharistic theology
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as CatholicYou are a Catholic. You believe that the bread and wine are transformed by the priest and become the Body and Blood of Christ. Though the accidents, or appearance, of bread and wine remain, the substance has been changed. The Eucharist remains the Body and Blood of Christ after the celebration, and is reserved in the Tabernacle; Eucharistic devotions are proper. As the whole Christ is present under either species, you partake fully of the Eucharist even if you receive only one.

Catholic

94%
Orthodox

69%
Luther

56%

Calvin

25%

Zwingli

6%

Unitarian

0%

Via dreamlit @ LJ

Finding God

I was delighted today to read a BustedHalo article about opening the canonization cause for “spiritual seeker” Fr. Isaac Hecker. Spiritual seeking has recently become very popular. As the “spiritual, but not religious” camp started to grow, more people sought the truth. Sometimes, they even find it.

As humans, we have a necessary and inherent desire for the truth. I have come to believe that the Roman Catholic Church has the truth. I wouldn’t call my lapse a time of spiritual seeking, but for many people, the road to God is long and winding. Perhaps my friend Br. Peter Martyr, O.P., (formerly Patrick Y.) explained it best in Bible study my sophomore year. God’s plan is the straight path to heaven. We might wander off, double back, or almost miss it completely, but as long as we make it to the end, we’ll be saved.

Fr. Hecker had a long journey to Catholicism and founding the Paulists. He was raised a devout Methodist, but even after falling away as a teenager, he continued to experience the presence of God. He spent his life trying to reconcile that call with the realities of the everyday while pursuing intense study and contemplation. (Sounds like many of the saints.) Eventually, he found his mission in becoming a priest and championing an American Catholic identity. The Church in America could use some work. I’m trying to help. Perhaps the intercession of Fr. Hecker will bring the advent of a world where the New Evangelization is no longer necessary. The American Catholic Church will hold on despite the trials, seeking refuge in her faithful followers.

Catholic Carnival 154

This one’s hosted at the Catholic Carnival’s home, Living Catholicism.

Denise of Catholic Matriarch in My Domestic Church issues a catechetical challenge based on comments from Amy Welborn. She rightly argues that good catechesis needs support in the home. I can vouch for that. When my mom doesn’t go to Mass, my siblings won’t go. When I came home from First Timer’s Retreat with the CSC glowing and full of the Holy Spirit, Maura was more encouraged to stop by. Adults need religious education, too, especially the current generation with young children. They’re the ones who were the worst catechized of them all.

Fr. V. of Adam’s Ale (yes, friends, priests are allowed to drink) laments the awkward practice of eulogies at funeral Masses. I’ve only been to one Catholic funeral, for my great-grandmother. I was slowly making my way back to the Church at the time, so I had no idea eulogies aren’t allowed. My grandmother wrote a poetic letter, which I was conscripted to read. I knew it was awkward to be calling Grandma Bernice an “angel,” but I didn’t know the theological implications of it at the time. I do remember that the priest gave a proper homily, though, and that I was called forward at the very end, read my paper, and sat back down. It was the least abusive sort of liturgical abuse, I suppose. Reading Fr. V’s post makes me want to set down instructions for my own death, as morbid as it is. I just don’t want my parents and friends fighting. My friends know I love Latin; my mom would probably be lost, as much as I love her.

SWP of CatholicLand! reflects on the Holy Name of Jesus, which we venerate this month (and always!) I used to be guilty of breaking the Second Commandment all the time, but I’ve gotten better. Once I said, “Oh, my,” to avoid it, and my mom called me an old lady. I took up the emphasis on the name of Jesus in the Hail Mary, which he mentions, some time ago. Jesus wasn’t originally mentioned by name there. It was an important enough point to be added in, so we might as well emphasize it and add to the Christocentric qualities to boot.

Ian of Musings from a Catholic Bookstore provides us with criteria for good, orthodox Catholic books and publishers. (The full list can be found at Aquinas and More, his bookstore.) I appreciate his including imprints that have some questionable material but are otherwise great. It’s important to not throw out the baby with the bathwater. I feel the same way about Protestant translations of some of my favorite Bible verses: those Bibles are missing books, but the USCCB won’t even allow some of its own NAB translations in the Lectionary.

Tausign of Perfect Joy writes about his impressions of St. Blog’s as a new member. His most important point (besides the ubiquity of Catholic mom bloggers!) is that God should be the foundation of our lives. God doesn’t get piled onto the plate; he is the plate. Mine has an Augustinian glaze, so I guess that means it’s a little chipped and decorated all over with Scripture.

I just realized I missed Carnival 153. Oops. I do like keeping up with the Carnival, though. It’s a great way to see what other people are thinking and writing about in St. Blog’s.

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