Sunday, August 31, 2014

Columbus, Indiana Catholic Church, St. Bartholomew, Vandalized

My friend, Fr. Doug Marcotte, associate pastor at St. Bartholomew in Columbus, IN, called me this evening and let me know that St. Bartholomew's Catholic Church was vandalized late Saturday or early Sunday morning.

The vandals spray-painted "Infidels! Qur'an 3:151" which is apparently a passage that, as Fr. Marcotte relayed, does not convey good news for Christians.

It is important, of course, to recognize that this could be the work people trying to build up some sort of outrage toward Islamic peoples, but either way, it is a horrible incident.

Sadly, Fr. Marcotte noted that St. Bartholomew hosted this weekend a priest who had been imprisoned and suffered greatly at the hands of Muslims in Africa.

We must all pray for peace amidst these difficult times.  Satan loves war and violence.

"You Deceived Me, Lord!"

Atheist Blogger Adopts Catholicism

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Beyonce: Feminist or Mysogynist?

I saw on social media that Beyonce Knowles Carter put on a performance recently that lauded performing oral sex and other disturbing S and M topics, complete with herself and back up "dancers" doing what is typically reserved for strip clubs (I didn't watch it, but I've read the transcripts).  Interesting side note, Beyonce's child was in the audience watching this entire performance.  CLASSY!

I saw the following picture from the "performance"

First of all, if you have to tell yourself you are a feminist, that is a pretty good sign that you are not.

Secondly, I think this may be more accurate:

If a "feminist" is a woman who puts on some sort of stripteaze act, how does one do feminist things at the age of, say 70?  Can you only be a feminist in your 20's and 30's?  Is an older woman supposed to be a "feminist" at the nursing home dances?

As the performance was happening, I saw tweet after tweet from young girls praising Beyonce's self-anointing herself a feminist, and I just couldn't help but think that we are getting so close to the point where words in our country have begun to mean the complete opposite of their actual definition.

Authentic feminism is a defense of the feminine, whereas Mrs. Carter (and a lot of her disciples) seem to think that feminism means - "the ability to be as sexually explicit as the foulest man who exists"

The archetype feminist is, of course, our Blessed Mother:

Feminism is not being a glorified prostitute stripper, but is rather having the strength to say:

"Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord"

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Some Prayer Photos from Recent Stops

"Has anyone ever come away from her troubled or ignorant
of the heavenly mysteries?" - St. Amadeus

Daily Mass at Our Lady of the Greenwood

No filter added.  Morning Prayer at Annunciation.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Word to Freshman at Their First Mass

The Homily I Wish I Would Have Heard Growing Up

You can't receive the Eucharist if you've:

1) Missed a weekend or Holy Day Mass
2) Having sex outside of marriage with yourself (masturbation) or someone else
3) desecrated the Eucharist
4) haven't been to confession in a year
5) Use artificial birth control - condoms, pills, patches, IUD's, etc
6) sponsor or help in any way with an abortion or any destruction of an embryo
7) Murder
8) Hate/Anger
9) Lust after someone
10) Pride, Greed, Sloth, Envy

etc. etc.  The list is not exhaustive, and any sin that we have meditated on before hand, understood its gravity, and still chosen to do it can be a deadly sin.

Don't step out of bounds...and by all means...if you do...get back in bounds through confession!  Don't desecrate the Eucharist and receive it as some sort of prize you've earned simply by showing up for Mass!

What Terror Training Videos Tell Us About Terrorists

I was watching the telly on my day off, and something that has always made me chuckle on one level actually got me thinking a little bit about terrorism in general.

The above photo is similar to the type of footage we've all seen for decades.  A couple of observations:

1) The "amateur video" tag has always seemed strange.  Does anyone think otherwise when they watch this footage?  I mean I know why American news outlets put the tag on there, but it has always seemed comical to some extent, as if terror organizations were hoping to win an Oscar for cinematography

2) The fact that these goons are out doing push-ups and sit-ups in the desert seems comical as well.  The footage of these "workouts" seems oddly similar to the footage of workouts from the 1930's.

If Richard Simmons got a hold of this footage, he'd probably have a strong case for a lawsuit for stealing his workouts from the '50's.

I could see the following conversation taking place in the middle of the Syrian desert:

Terror training guru "Al Jazeera Bin Laden" - "Okay boys, give me 10 wobbly pushups, then do four squats with your gun over your head, and then let's go hit the monkey bars"

I bring this all up because I think these videos tell us something about terrorism in general - it is never anything other than evil, and evil is always, in the final analysis, pathetic.

As Tolkien said of all those who join up with evil, their attempts are "only a little copy, a child's model or a slave's flattery, of that vast furnace of great power, which suffered no rival, and laughed at flattery, biding its time, secure in its pride and its immeasurable strength."  The devil surely mocks these guys pretending to work out in the desert

These goons don't ever do anything where they need real strength anyway.  They make road side bombs, they blow up innocent people, they never actually fight or use any strength, but yet they "train" and release these "amateur videos"

There is no need for terrorists to train at all, and it is clear from their "workouts" that they must be going through these exercises simply to tell themselves that they are real men.  Terrorist training videos are the classic example of men trying to convince themselves that they are real men, and there is nothing as sad as watching grown men try to prove to themselves that they are men.

The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church has some really helpful teachings about terrorism:

Compendium paragraph 513 - "The targets of terrorist attacks are generally places of daily life and not military objectives in the context of a declared war. Terrorism acts and strikes under the veil of darkness, with no regard for any of the rules by which men have always sought to set limits to conflicts."  

The Compendium gives us some other useful information on terrorism:

Compendium paragraph 514 - "Terrorism is to be condemned in the most absolute terms. It shows complete contempt for human life and can never be justified"

Compendium paragraph 515 - "It is a profanation and a blasphemy to declare oneself a terrorist in God's name."


"To define as “martyrs” those who die while carrying out terrorist attacks distorts the concept of martyrdom, which is the witness of a person who gives himself up to death rather than deny God and his love. Martyrdom cannot be the act of a person who kills in the name of God."


"No religion may tolerate terrorism and much less preach it."

Sunday, August 17, 2014

How to Make Up For Years of Woeful Catechesis

World Youth Day 2016

At my parishes, we are doing whatever it takes to get every young person to Poland for World Youth Day 2016.

As scary as the stats are on how the young people are losing their Catholic Faith, the statistics on what happens to people who attend World Youth Day are MORE amazing!

A recent study has found that men who attend World Youth Days are FOUR TIMES more likely to become a priest.  That's pretty unbelievable, and it speaks well to the power of World Youth Day.

Why is World Youth Day so important?  In my experience, most teens view Catholicism as a ship that everyone is jumping off of.  Indeed in most public school settings, Catholic teens might not know another Catholic in the entire building.

World Youth Day changes that perspective instantly.  Although the Church is losing numbers in the first world, the Church across the world is GROWING, and to see millions of people going crazy for the Pope, for Jesus, for the Church, etc. provides an instant antidote to the years of woeful catechesis (woeful in the sense that most of the teens don't go, not woeful in the sense that catechists are doing a bad job).

I pray that you and your parish will make a huge push to do whatever it takes to get as many of your young people to Poland in 2016 as possible.  It will change your parish forever!

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Priesthood and Basketball? I'm a Little Confused

Let me say some things up front -

1) Today "The Third Way" was in our Archdiocesan newspaper, which was awesome, and a great honor.  I do not see that as now giving me some authority to critique Catholic short films like this one.  I just happened to watch this last night, and I felt something needed to be said about it

2) I love Fr. Barron's ministry, he is an inspiration and does amazing work; I have noted this countless times on this blog.  This video was just one that I found confusing.

3) I played in the basketball tournament that comes up about half way through the film, and it was one of my favorite weekends of the year when I was in the seminary.  In fact, I blogged about the tournament here

I just thought I should comment that I found the video very confusing.  If it helps someone who is on the fence about the priesthood, that's great, but I think we can't just necessarily endorse everything that is done by solid Catholics.

I agree that athletics does a GREAT job of helping prepare men to
a) prepare for a life of sacrifice and
b) to be more likely to also consider becoming a priest

but you can be the most unathletic human being to walk the face of the earth and still be a saint.

I think the priesthood is a fascinating and curious subject, and thus in Catholic circles especially (but also even among non-Catholics) the seminary and the priesthood lend themselves to being the subject of art.  I just think we also have to make sure that the art we produce on those subjects conveys a discernible message to the viewer, and, although I love playing basketball and I love the priesthood, I'm not exactly sure what the message was for this video.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

How to Throw a Banquet for the Poor...

...Just do it!

“When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors...Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” 
- Jesus Christ (Luke 14:12-14)

Every Tuesday this takes place at Annunciation from noon to 2 as our food pantry men and women also, in addition to groceries and clothing, provide a warm home-cooked meal to all those who come. It is miraculous. You are always welcome to join the effort. Set up will begin taking place Monday evening, and you are always welcome to bring by a casserole or some other food for our "Annunciation Banquet"

Sunday, August 3, 2014

I'm Not Attracted to Caring for the Poor

If we love Jesus, we'll try to work to learn to love what He loves

Grade School Crushes, Velociraptors, and Jesus

This is a video from a great priest friend of mine, Fr. John Parks.  Fr. Parks is a priest for the Diocese of Phoenix, and was one year behind me at St. Meinrad.  Fr. Parks, Fr. Dustin Boehm and myself were usually the last three up at night in the seminary, usually working on papers in the computer lab late into the night, and so we had a lot of great conversations as we tried to continue to stave off finishing our papers.

Anyway, Fr. Parks is a chaplain for the youth conferences put on by Steubenville, and I saw a priest tweet out this homily, and I knew it had to be shared.  Fr. Parks almost decided to do the Hollywood thing as an actor, and I think it is quite apparent why when you listen to him preach.

As a side note to my brother priests - we HAVE to start filming our homilies and sharing them. It isn't narcissism; people crave preaching and we have to do this.  St. Paul endured torture, beatings, robberies and shipwreck in order to reach people so that he could preach.  Wouldn't St. Paul have used YouTube as well, if it meant reaching a few more people?

Thanks for your preaching Fr. Parks, and keep up the awesome work!