Archives for July 2015

Elsewhere: making a mess


Pope Francis’ trip to South America has ended. He has returned to Rome and will be less in the spotlight, thank goodness! The Holy Father is, of course, rock-solid in his beliefs and teaching. His homilies are very good. He has challenged us to look outward more than we have been and to focus on the person. Two years ago he urged us to “make a mess” — that is, to shake things up.

In practice, this has been both good and bad. Sadly, the bad has often been unnecessary. For example, the environment encyclical (Laudato Si) gave unnecessary scientific and economic conclusions. While comprising only a small part of the document, the legs are knocked-out from under its crucial teaching on faith and morals. Political liberals (including most of the mass media) have cherry-picked only the handful of sentences they like and ignore the rest. Political conservatives discount the entire document for exactly those same lines. Those statements were completely unnecessary to the main points.

On this recent trip, Pope Francis accepted a crucifix combined with a hammer and sickle (willingly, the earlier reports that he said “this is wrong” were not accurate). This may be reaching out to people where they are, but will almost universally be taken differently. Accepting this (sacrilege in my opinion) was unnecessary and will drown-out his other messages.

There are, of course, the constant stream of comments he makes which are taken out of context. Pope Francis’ actual points are typically good or even excellent, yet are unnecessarily lost because of the casual, off-the-cuff style. At some point, I would hope that he would grow more into the office and adjust to avoid this.

The last and perhaps most important area of troublesome prudential choices are his appointments. They are numerous, from pontifical councils to cardinals, many with non-Catholic ideological viewpoints, histories of suppressing traditional teaching and practice, decimation of seminaries, and yes – even sex abuse entanglements. These people can do great, long-lasting harm.

Finally, the biggest red-flag for all of us (especially for the Holy Father himself) is how much the “world” loves Pope Francis. Why is that? Is it because they have learned the truth of Christ and will amend their ways (even a teeny, tiny bit)? Or, is it because they believe (albeit incorrectly) that their views and ideology are affirmed?

Paul Kengor wrote an wonderful piece for the always excellent Crisis Magazine on this general topic. It was written before the pope’s recent trip and is more narrowly focused than my comments above, but is a bit more optimistic.

Many Catholics, especially conservative ones, obviously aren’t thrilled with the pope’s new encyclical. I find myself once again spending a lot of time explaining to non-Catholics why the current pope is either not a Marxist or is being yet again misunderstood for the 999th time. Frankly, I’ve lost most of my credibility with these folks, who surely see me as a hopelessly blind Catholic.

This constant defense-mode has been unique in the case of this particular pope. Sure, much of the fault is with those looking to remake this pope and this Church in their own image, and I’d even add (in Francis-like thinking) that the Devil himself has made a mess of things. Yet, much of it is absolutely the pope’s own doing, as Francis is the master of the imprecise word and off-the-cuff sloppy statement. He — and they — keep us faithful Catholics busy. All of which brings me to the new encyclical on “climate change.”

The secular left, of course, loves this encyclical. As I write, the farthest reaches of the left, People’s World, house organ of Communist Party USA, has two articles singing atheistic hosannas to the bishop of Rome. This has become common at People’s World. The successor to the Soviet-directed Daily Worker is a vigorous champion of this pope. There truly has never been a pope that communists have embraced like Pope Francis. Believe me, I research this, I know.

“The Roman Catholic Church and the U.S. labor movement are working more closely together than ever,” celebrates a feature article at the current People’s World.

“The Pope calls for serious and immediate action to address climate change and other environmental crises,” crows a second article. “The encyclical addresses issues of water stress, biodiversity, pollution, the declining quality of life, economic inequality, and more.”

Noticeably absent among the “more” were Pope Francis” eloquent statements about protecting other of God’s creation, such as unborn babies, the most innocent victims of secular progressivism’s “throwaway culture.” That’s one aspect of the encyclical that the left is avoiding like toxic waste. Indeed, the People’s World article closes: “while the Pope is progressive on many issues including climate, the Catholic Church continues to be backward on issues of reproductive health, women’s choice, same sex marriage, and other issues.”

The article goes on to offer hope, suggesting Pope Francis will bring his substantial reservoir of good will to bear on the family. Read the article Fear Not, Faithful Catholics for Kengor’s thesis.

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #175)

7 Quick Takes Friday

This week: The latest issue of New Evangelists Monthly awaits your perusal. Fr. Barron puts the Supreme Court decision in historical perspective. Faithful Christians can expect increasing persecution, under the full power of government, as shown in an Oregon case. Marriage is a “sacred bond,” a “sacred union” “between a man and a woman” — or so said Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. EWTN offers a 3 Minute Catechism on “What is a Man?” Wild Bill gives his perspective on manhood. Drones are now used in professional photography, not always to plan.”

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New Evangelists Monthly

Issue #31, July 2015, of New Evangelists Monthly is ready for your enjoyment! Scores of faithful Catholic bloggers have contributed their very best pieces from June. Contributing authors this month include: Virginia Lieto, Stephen Korsman, Kathleen Laplante, David Wong, Jennifer Cerino, Susan Fox, Larry Fox, Melanie Jean Juneau, Thomas and Deborah Richard, Adam Crawford, Cindy Hurla, Jamie Jo, Shannon Vandaveer, Larry Peterson, Nancy Shuman, Frank Rega, Monica McConkey, Theresa, Barbara Hosbach, Jennifer Fitzes, Tony Agnesi, Lisa Ponchak, John Schroeder, Sarah Thèrése, Jenn Tatum, Matthew Plese, Elizabeth Reardon, Fr. Ben Hadrich, Ashley Woleben, Fr. Chori Jonathin Seraiah, Allison Howell, Rich Maffeo, Sr. Maresa Lilley, Rick Becker, Jim Curley, Dn. Scott Dodge, Anita Moore, Fr. John Corrigan, Ruth Curcuru, Larry T, Chibuzor Ogamba, Molly Oshatz, Sr. Margaret Obrovac, George Sipe, Ellen Kolb, Michael Seagriff, MC, Denise Hunnell, Christian LeBlanc, Brantly Millegan, Carolyn Astfalk, Sue Elvis, Melissa Overmyer, Dave Wanat, Brian Gill, Fr. Adrian Danker, Matt McCormick, Leslie Klinger, Christina Sawchuk, Fr. Errol Fernandes, Anthony Layne, Lianna Mueller, David Torkington, Ruth Ann Pilney, Bethanie Ryan, Birgit Jones, Rose O’Donnell, Bartimaeus Timeo, Barbara Szyszkiewicz, Rita Buettner, Pat and Nicole Padley, Aaron Martin, Jennifer Elia, Bonnie Way, Lora Goulet, Lyn Mettler, Robert Collins, Joseph Shaw, Margaret Felice, Jessica and Manny Archuleta, Shannon Ball, Laura Peredo, Laura Pearl, Justin Soutar, Roxane Salonen, Rick Rice, Celeste Ciarallo, Fr. Tucker Cordani, Matthew Coffin, Drusilla, Gregory Watson, Julian Barkin and Reese Cumming.

This monthly “meta-magazine” showcases faithful Catholicism from theology to family life and “everything in between.” Enjoy it now at

Read Now

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Fr. Barron does a good job putting the Supreme Court “gay marriage” ruling in historical perspective:

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A Christian small business declined to bake a “gay marriage” wedding cake so they were fined by Oregon. There were many other bakers happy to have the business, but that did not matter, an example must be made. So they were fined not $100, nor $1,000 dollars, not even $10,000. They must be severely punished, eviscerated, bankrupted, ruined for daring to object to participation in this sin. The fine: $135,000.00. This is their story and one that will soon be a part of the Christian persecution landscape:

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At least Hillary and Obama believe in marriage as a “sacred bond,” a “sacred union” between “a man and a woman.” That is what they said, as a matter of faith.

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EWTN has a video series they call “3 Minute Catechism.” Here is the latest entitled “What is Man”:

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Wild Bill speaks on manhood and gender:

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A wedding (of the real, man-woman kind). Magical moments. A drone captures the joy — almost.

Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was begun by Jennifer Fulwiler and is now usually hosted by Kelly Mantoan. This week however, Bonnie at A Knotted Life guest hosts. Thank you Kelly (and Bonnie) for hosting this project!

New Evangelists Monthly – July 2015, Issue #31

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From the archive (set #8)


Tomorrow is time for New Evangelists Monthly to begin a new edition. Today, I would like to bring to your attention 3 original, brief essays that you may have missed. If you don’t have time to read all three, I especially recommend the first one — Protestantism trainwreck.

Protestantism Trainwreck

As a general rule, Protestants are not protesting anything. Many, like me, were born and raised in a Protestant denomination. Like Catholics, they recall endless fond memories of religious milestones (baptisms, confirmations, marriages), religious education (Sunday school, vacation Bible school, confirmation classes), service (teachers, church council, ushers), fellowship (men/women groups, bake sales, charitable endeavors) and countless religious holidays reverently celebrated with family and friends. Their faith is an important part of their identity and they can not picture becoming Catholic any more than they could picture a gender change operation!

…read it all:   Protestantism trainwreck

Only Catholics Go To Heaven

It is a sad fact that there are Christian communities separated from the Church. In their memberships are large numbers of people who seek God with a sincere heart and truly desire to follow His will. Through no fault of their own, they do not know or accept Christ’s Church. They may be aware of the Catholic Church, but through misinformation, conditioning and circumstance, are closed to it. While they know Christ, if not His Church, they are not cut off from God’s mercy.

…read it all:   Only Catholics go to heaven?

Communion Of Saints

One place all members of the communion of saints join together is at Mass. Heaven and earth are joined in the presence of Our Lord. In the Eucharist, we are joined with Jesus and through Him, with each other. Through the Eucharist we grow in communion of the Holy Spirit and reflect Him to the outside world.

…read it all:   The communion of saints