instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Sunday, November 30, 2014

But hey, it's *supposed* to be penitential

Here's an early Christmas present for desperate homilists:

Although in Advent we look forward to the Second Coming, Jesus is not Emmanu-will, He is Emmanuel, "God IS with Us."
And my apologies to anyone who might have to sit through a homily lame enough to feature that.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Quite frankly

I have to say, ... well, actually, I don't have to say. And if I did say, I'd just be showing off how wise, or clever, I am. (Where "wise" means of or relating to something I wish I'd thought of, and "clever" means of or relating to something I too thought of.)

So instead, I'll just point out in an obnoxious manner that I'm not saying it. Pretty clever, if I do say so myself.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Now we begin to work anew

Cardinal O'Malley quotes himself from his presentation last week to the U.S. Bishops’ Working Group on the Life and Dignity of the Human Person:
The secular culture is defining the Church and its teachings for our people. We ask ourselves why we aren’t better able to reach them. Polls may tell us what people think, and how often they come to church but what is sometimes missing is the ‘why.’ Why do our people in the pews feel the way they do and how does that affect our capacity to transmit the gospel?
The thought occurs that the answer might have something to do with the fact that polls tell bishops what people think  Do our bishops not learn what people think by talking to people? Do shepherds read polls to find out what their sheep think? Are their children a matter of academic study for parents?

It's not an either/or proposition. Polls and similar sorts of data can help to quantify circumstances, clarify issues, solidify impressions, fill in or augment the anecdotal picture.

But what is my bishop to me, or me to my bishop, that I should listen to him? To paraphrase a laywoman I know, if my bishop is what he ought to be, he will set fire to all his diocese, and not only there.

Now, that laywoman would say the same about me, and I don't mean this as a "You first, your Eminence" post. But there's something about the way American bishops bishop -- at least in the giant archdioceses I've lived in -- that  makes it easy for their Catholic flocks to regard them as irrelevant.

Coincidentally (if you believe in that sort of thing), the letter containing St. Catherine's famous "set the world on fire" line begins this way:

Dearest son in Christ sweet Jesus: I Catherine, servant and slave of the servants of Jesus Christ, write to thee in His precious Blood: with desire to see thee arise from the lukewarmness of thy heart, lest thou be spewed from the mouth of God, hearing this rebuke, "Cursed are ye, the lukewarm! Would you had at least been ice-cold!" This lukewarmness proceeds from ingratitude, which comes from a faint light that does not let us see the agonizing and utter love of Christ crucified, and the infinite benefits received from Him. For in truth, did we see them, our heart would burn with the flame of love, and we should be famished for time, using it with great zeal for the honour of God and the salvation of souls. To this zeal I summon thee, dearest son, that now we begin to work anew.


Tuesday, November 04, 2014

On voting, 2014 edition

In a post for CatholicVote,org,.Bishop James Conley of the Diocese of Lincoln writes:
It seems to me that not voting, unless there are very grave reasons to abstain, is a sin—and when we fail to vote for reasons no better than apathy or forgetfulness, we ought to confess that.
It seems to me that a bishop should not publicly write, "It seems to me that [X] is a sin." A bishop is a teacher of the Christian faith. If, according to the Christian faith, [X] is a sin, the bishop should write, "[X] is a sin." Giving his personal opinion, while writing as a bishop, about whether [X] is a sin, conflates personal opinion with the Faith received from the Apostles.

Since I am not a bishop, I'll add that it seems to me that not voting in today's general election in the United States isn't a sin unless you do not vote for some vicious reason. The good that I can effect through my act of voting today is so slight and indirect that a similarly slight and indirect reason would justify not voting.

All that said, I do plan on voting today. It's the least important act on behalf of the common good, but it is an act on behalf of the common good (if I don't mess up).