Archives for August 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #109)

7 Quick Takes Friday

This week: A love letter from Fred. A new version of Mary of Nazareth. Jackie Francois on the “ache of singlehood.” Father Barron’s new video on the Real Presence. The Knights of Columbus’ “Big Mountain Jesus.” You have a new friend request…   Shocking prayers from Iowa Democrats.

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This is the story of a love affair. Fred Stobaugh lost Lorraine, his wife of almost 73 years, only 1 month earlier. Lacking musical and technical skills, he entered an on-line video song contest by writing and sending lyrics in a manila envelope to the record company.

(Oh Sweet Lorraine is now available in the Google Play and iTunes stores.)

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A new version of Mary of Nazareth is coming on September 8th from Ignatius Press. It is a re-edit of a previously released, much longer movie. The original had mixed reviews, but reviewers of the Ignatius version are enthusiastic. Fr. Donald Calloway writes:

A few weeks ago, they asked me to review it and I was so in awe of what I viewed that this is what I wrote for them: “The most stunning portrayal of the Virgin Mary on film. It will make you want to love her more than ever. An absolute masterpiece!” Yes, my friends, we finally have a movie that gets Mary totally right! Trust me, I am super duper hard to please when it comes to any portrayal of Mary in film, but this one nailed it entirely!

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Jackie Francois (a recent newly wed) is an effective evangelist to young folks. I have featured aspect her video on the Eucharist previously. This video from 3 years ago is another excellent video she calls the “Ache of Singlehood”:

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Speaking of the Eucharist, a new video was published on Monday: “Fr. Barron comments on The Sacrament of the Eucharist as Real Presence.” It’s very good.

Spotted by Marcel

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The Knights of Columbus have installed and maintained a WWII memorial statue of Jesus on land they leased for almost 60 years. Well funded atheists seeking to have it removed were defeated in federal district court in a sensible and fair ruling. They are now appealing to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

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I love the intersection of creativity and faith shown on church signs. The really good ones reach out and make people think. Here is one I saw on Father Junjun Amaya’s blog:

Friend Request

— 7 —

Iowa Democrats pray for unfettered legal rights to kill children in the womb. The sound is poor in this video, but I can make out their disordered prayers to a “lord.” I assume that would be the lord of darkness and death, not the Lord God Almighty who created and sustains the innocent and defenseless lives they wish to literally crush. I realize in their dark and twisted faith, contrary to God and nature alike, abortion is a cherished sacrament called herein the “blessing of choice.” May the true God of all creation have mercy on them for their blasphemous intentions and lead them out of darkness by His light.

Spotted by Matthew Archbold

Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Jen for hosting this project!

Not in scripture: everyone goes to heaven?

Not in Scripture

Universalism is the heretical belief that all are eventually saved. This is not just the hope that everyone will be saved, but that they ARE saved. Nor should this be confused with redemption, which was purchased with our Lord’s blood on the cross. Christ died for all, every person without exception, but sadly not every person accepts His offer, His gift, His sacrifice for their salvation. Loving us as He does, He has granted us free will and does not force us to accept Him.

If universalism were true, you are saved regardless how you live your life. Salvation is in no way contingent on faith. Were a person an unrepentant mass murdering, torturing, Satan worshiper – heaven still awaits them.

Universalists conflate God’s will that all are saved and the merits of His Son with individual salvation. Holy scripture speaks frequently of the reality of hell and the many who choose to go there by rejecting God’s grace. Let’s see what it would look like if universalism were true. Not in scripture are words shown in strike through. Words shown in bold actually are in scripture.

The narrow gate.

Enter through any the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to eternal life destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that also leads to life. And those who find it are few.

Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough so they will be let in. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, “Lord, open the door for us.” He will say to you in reply, “I do not know where you are from but welcome friend.” And you will say, “We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.” Then he will say to you, “all are welcome I do not know where [you] are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!

And there will be universal joy wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves among them cast out.

On discipleship.

Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven and the one who does not.

The witness of the prophets.

And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the Israelites were like the sand of the sea, all only a remnant will be saved; for decisively and quickly will the Lord will welcome all mankind execute sentence upon the earth.”

As foretold in Psalms.

The LORD is revealed in his unconditional mercy making judgments: by the deeds they do or fail to do, all are saved the wicked are trapped.

Reproach to the unrepentant.

Then he began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum: ‘Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.'”

“For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

“Just kidding.”

The rich man and Lazarus.

When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and also from that place from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.

The above verses scratch only the surface of this topic. There are far too many to include them all here. The bottom line: hell is real and those who consign themselves there do so forever.

The specific word of God notwithstanding, sometimes folks read Holy Scripture as if certain words and phrases have been removed – or as if others have been added. I am here to help!

I call this series not in scripture. These are Bible quotes with a twist: words and phrases not actually present are shown with strike-through. Scripture simply does not say that! Conversely, words that are actually in scripture (but sometimes overlooked) are shown in bold.

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #108)

7 Quick Takes Friday

This week: Father John Hollowell’s homily on “who am I to judge.” Father Barron explains why communion is much more than a meal. Scott Hahn discusses the biblical basis for the assumption of Our Lady. A new video production from Outside da Box. A priest vocation video from the Archdiocese of Washington. Two priests are robbed outside a church at gunpoint. How a penny can feel like a million dollars.

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The word “judging” has some complicated connotations. We ARE called to fraternal correction in charity (see my piece Always be nice!). That necessarily involves “judging” objectively sinful ACTS. We can NOT judge the state of a person’s soul and it is NOT our job to do so, thank God!

Father John Hollowell tackles this topic in light of the media’s shallow and context-free quote of Pope Francis. To the liberal media (redundant), “who am I to judge” means we are to be “tolerant” and “accepting” of generally all personal sin. Naturally, they think that Pope Francis meant something that he certainly did not (or at least they want you to think that).

Spotted by John Quinn

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There are some, Catholics and non-Catholics, who look at communion as little more than a community dinner where you are supposed to “remember” Christ. True enough, but that is only a crumb of understanding the Eucharist. As a meal, it is part of a series in salvation history beginning with the forbidden fruit, to the Passover and on to the Last Supper. It is not only an act of communion, but importantly the supreme sacrifice of all time and the real presence of our Lord — literally His body, blood, soul and divinity.

Father Barron does a good job explaining this further:

Spotted by Marcel

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Scott Hahn discusses the assumption of Our Lady:

Spotted by Marcel

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This is My Church – a new video production from Outside da Box:

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This is a good priest vocation video from the Archdiocese of Washington:

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Father Lesly Jean and a 77 year old visiting priest were robbed outside St. Helen at gunpoint near Miami:

Spotted by Matthew Archbold

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Tania Luna tells of her childhood in the Ukraine, coming to America and her experiences:

Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Jen for hosting this project!

Elsewhere: backing into heaven


The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is what it is, regardless of less than ideal environments. In war, the hood of a jeep has served as the altar of sacrifice. In distant jungles, a church sanctuary may be only the area under a thatched roof. In countries where religious freedom is suppressed, Mass must be held in secret in whatever dark place is available.

In each of these lowly and humble situations, through the timeless Mass, heaven and earth touch. Heavenly choirs of angels and saints join us as our Savior becomes present. We commune with Him at the Last Supper, follow His passion to the foot of the cross and His victory over death. We are witnesses to, and participants in, God’s boundless love and infinite sacrifice for us.

The surroundings do not make the Mass what it is. So why then do we build beautiful cathedrals? Why was high liturgy ever practiced? I offer two reasons.

First, for God. He deserves nothing less and it pleases Him. Just look at Exodus to get a sense of God’s expectations. There are detailed commands for: materials, the Ark, the table, the Menorah, tent cloth, framework, veils, the altar, the Tabernacle, lamp oil, vestments, consecration of priests, installation sacrifices, incense, basin, anointing oil, artisans and sabbath laws. All this was expected in the time of Moses 3,400 years ago. Should our worship be to a lower standard?

Second, for us. While the reality of the Mass does not change, our sense of the sacred does. If at all possible, the environment and liturgy should remind us of the supernatural reality before us. It should draw us in and point us to Christ. Our focus should not be on ourselves.

Post conciliar changes – NOT called for by Vatican II – have chipped-away at the environment and liturgy. Some churches are built without images of Saints, hard to find tabernacles, no soaring ceilings, missing altar rails, seating facing each other “in the round” (vs. facing God). They are less sacred churches than multi-function rooms. The ordinary form of the liturgy need not be “dumbed down,” but often is. The voids are then sometimes filled by humor, novelties, inappropriate “participation,” secular music and other entertainment.

Msgr. Charles Pope has been pondering some of this too. In his blog for the Archdiocese of Washington he recently wrote about correcting some of the false post-Vatican II excesses which have been thoughtlessly embraced to the detriment of the Church.

Some years ago the theologian Fr. Jonathan Robinson wrote a commentary on the modern experience of the Sacred liturgy and entitled it, The Mass and Modernity: Walking to Heaven Backward. It is a compelling image of so much of what is wrong with the celebration of the Liturgy in many parishes today.

While Fr. Robinson certainly had the celebration of Mass “facing the people” in mind, his concerns are broader than that.

Indeed, we have the strange modern concept of the “closed circle” in so many modern conceptions of the Mass. Too often we are tediously self-referential and anthropocentric. So much of modern liturgy includes long lists of congratulatory references, both done by, but also expected of the celebrant.

Instead of the Liturgy being upwardly focused to God and outwardly toward the mission of the Church (to make disciples of all the nations), we tend today to “gather” and hunker down in rather closed circles looking at each other, and speaking at great length about ourselves.

We have even enshrined this architecturally in our modern circular and fan shaped churches that facilitate us looking at each other, and focusing inwardly, not up or put. The author Thomas Day once described Modern Catholic Liturgy as, “the aware, gathered community celebrating itself.”

In the ancient orientation or “stance” of the Mass that was ubiquitous until 1965, the focus was outward and upward. Though disparaged by many in recent decades as the priest “having his back to the people” even this description shows the self obsession of the modern age. And to those speak this way about the liturgical orientation of almost 2,000 years, the answer must come, “The priest does not have his back to you. Actually it is not about you at all. The liturgy is about God. And the priest, and all the faithful are turned outward and upward to God.”

The liturgical questions of the history of the eastward orientation and its recent loss, of how and why we got into the modern closed circle mentality, and the erroneous understandings of the liturgists of the 1950s about the practice of the early Church, are all discussed more aptly by others more liturgically versed than I.

Please consider dear reader that my proposal is not for a sudden and swift change in our liturgical stance. Rather, that we begin to ponder if, by our inwardly focused stance in circular and fan shaped churches, facing each other, we are communicating what we really intend. Does our stance project that our real focus here is God? Does it communicate the goal of the liturgy to lead us to God? Does it inculcate a spirit of leadership in our clergy who are called to lead us to God? Does a largely closed circle manifest an outward trajectory to evangelize outward and unto the ends of the earth”

Whatever pastoral blessings come with “facing the people” (and there are some blessings) there may be value in continuing to reassess whether our modern pastoral stance of an inwardly focused liturgy serves us well and communicates what we are really doing and experiencing.

There is much more. Read Msgr. Pope’s entire piece Are We Walking to Heaven Backward? A Pastoral Consideration of Liturgical “orientation.”

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #107)

7 Quick Takes Friday

This week: The victim of a federal judge’s order to keep a Mississippi abortuary open is removed by ambulance. A “pro-choice” mob enters a Cathedral during Mass to vandalize that sacred space and threaten parishioners. A sidewalk counselor convinces a father to save his child. The Nuns on the Bus have a new, enthusiastic supporter. Rosario Rodriguez discusses forgiveness and the lessons she learned. Two words: skateboarding friars.
Mormon missionaries demonstrate some effective evangelization.

— 1 —

ABC News happily covered a federal judge’s order to keep a Mississippi abortuary open despite its deficiencies. They suggested the pro-lifers (which they called “anti-abortion rights protesters”) were not “loving”. So, everything must be going great now – right?

Exhibit “A” is this woman spirited out of the facility on a gurney then via ambulance in need of emergency medical care. She is hurt (in many ways) and her baby is dead. The happy abortion workers from the ABC video now scamper to hide the fruits of their labor:

Spotted by Matthew Archbold

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A large mob of abortion promoters entered the Catholic Cathedral in Santiago, Chile following a rally. As if to demonstrate the evil they represent, they interrupted Mass shouted slogans, made out in front of priests, tagged graffiti on statues and walls, and committed other destructive and threatening acts. (This reminds me of another loud, evil mob attacking and destroying the sacred recorded in Matthew 27:22-25, Mark 15:13-14, Luke 23:21-23 and John 19:15.)

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A father stands outside of an abortuary while his son or daughter is about to be “terminated” inside. A pro-lifer pleads with him to intervene and save his child. It worked! The pro-lifer may not have used the best approach, but he tried and the Holy Spirit did the rest.

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The dissident Nuns on the Bus (featured aspect on 60 minutes – twice) has received a unique and very special honor. They and their organization have been featured aspect in a glowing profile in the flagship publication of a US political party! You might assume that to be the Democratic party, for whom the sisters stomp continuously, but not them.

The sisters were featured aspect in People’s World from the Communist Party. Yup, the communists are following these sisters and very much like what they see. That is not a good thing. Dr. Paul Kengor reports the story at Catholic Exchange.

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Matthew posted this video from 2011 over at CMR. I remember it from a while ago and thought I had posted it in a QT, but apparently had not (I conclude after looking for it).

Rosario Rodriquez learned a hard lesson about forgiveness. Later, she would once again be challenged putting that lesson to the test.

I wrote about forgiveness in the burden of hate.

— 6 —

Didacus and Gabriel loved skateboarding as teenagers, but gave that up when they accepted the call to religious life as Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. Now, in outreach, they are back to skateboarding:

— 7 —

Speaking of informal, street sport outreach and evangelization, consider this stereotype rich scenario. Two white, Mormon missionaries (white shirts, ties, etc.) approach some young black men playing basketball. They ask to play, take a few poor practice shots and the game is on:

Mormon’s are not Christians, but this is good and effective evangelization.

Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Jen for hosting this project!