Archive for Obedience

Mercy Is Not Strained Part One

Pope Francis is now three years into his pontificate. He is a popular pope, but there are Catholics who believe his popularity has come at a cost. After many of his extemporaneous remarks as well as some of his more deliberate pronouncements, he has been roundly criticized for avoiding clarity and arguably even undermining Catholic doctrine, as though he views Catholic teachings as simply too much for people to accept and thinks that the nice thing to do is to blur or ignore some teachings and doctrines to make Catholicism more palatable for those he wants to win over. These

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Life is Changed, Not Ended

Several years ago a Junto friend had offered to me, just after the passing of a loved one of mine, the consolatory advice that “life doesn’t end, it just changes.”  I’ve thought about this phrase many times since, including passing it along on a couple of similar occasions to colleagues.  It summarizes our belief in eternal life, be it in heaven or hell, and the fact that our existence isn’t futile or random, but rather an incarnate response to the life gratuitously given by our Creator out of love alone. Yesterday I was able to tune into CSPAN about halfway

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‘Miserando Atque Eligendo’:
What Is the Holy Father Trying to Say?

“Jesus therefore sees the tax collector, and since he sees by having mercy and by choosing, he says to him, ‘follow me.’” – Venerable Bede, commenting on the calling of St. Matthew the Apostle; the underlined text is the origin of Pope Francis’s motto, “Miserando atque eligendo.” It should come as no surprise to this group that I continue to be concerned about our Holy Father Pope Francis and the conflicting and conflicted coverage of his pontificate. For me, this is a practical preoccupation: on a regular basis, I encounter all sorts of people who want to draw nearer to

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Pius XI and Cardinal Pacelli Against the Third Reich

I recently listened to an interesting interview of Mark Riebling, the author of a new book entitled Church of Spies, detailing Pope Pius XII’s clandestine efforts to undermine the Third Reich.  Riebling claims that Pius XII coyly kept the Nazis at bay diplomatically, all the while using an intricate network of spies and operators, priests and laymen, to plot against them.  I haven’t had a chance to complete the book but hope to have a report soon.  In the meantime I offer some brief observations of the dynamics in Germany and Rome leading up to Eugenio Pacelli’s controversial pontificate. Under his predecessor,

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The Son Who Stayed, Redux

This morning, in a motel room outside of Kansas City, I re-read Meddlesome’s post, “What Happened to the Son Who Stayed?” In many ways, that post and the discussion and posts that followed seem to have set the tone for the Junto’s approach to discussing Pope Francis—a tone that, I continue to worry, is at times not spiritually healthy for us. It’s not that I don’t share the Junto’s concerns about the confusion that has been caused around the Church’s teachings on marriage or find the Pope’s treatment of various cardinals baffling. (And I’ve ceased to try to make sense

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Quick Reflection: Papal Mass Good PR

This evening I got home from work in time to catch the last fifteen minutes of the Papal Mass celebrated at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, and I flipped between CNN and Fox News to compare their coverages.  In both cases, there was silence from the commentators, who seemed to understand the reverence due the occasion.  There turned out to be a bit of verbal description but they mostly let the video tell the story. As I watched Communion, with thousands of the faithful walking up to receive the Lord (many on the tongue, no less), I found myself

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Charity Is Hard

“You don’t serve God by saying: the Church is ineffective, I’ll have none of it. Your pain at its lack of effectiveness is a sign of your nearness to God. We overcome this lack of effectiveness simply by suffering on account of it. To expect too much is to have a sentimental view of life and this is a softness that ends in bitterness. Charity is hard and endures. I don’t want to discourage you from reading St. Thomas but don’t read him with the notion that he is going to clear anything up for you. That is done by

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Perón’s Pope?

Since his election and with each new utterance, many of us have been debating what labels apply to Pope Francis.  Perhaps one that we haven’t applied but may be most accurate after some study is the label “Perónist”. Juan Perón, leader of Argentina from the mid-40’s, drove government initiatives that were to be a “3rd option” to the assumed alternative extremes of capitalism or communism.  In the region, capitalism was linked to imperialism, therefore, Peron also drove a strong anti-imperialist agenda.  What we view now as something akin to a corporate socialist framework, Perón tried to find a fine balance

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Apocalyptic and Utopian

To believe it impossible for the Pope to speak infallibly, under the right circumstances, is a great error.  Yet I think an even greater error lies in granting the Pope infallibly in all circumstances.  To preserve the correct understanding of a concept, over- or misapplication must be avoided.  Inferred perpetual papal infallibility is a danger that stalks the most devout. Fr. James Schall is my favorite author of essays.  I am a fan of his style and clear and organized thought.  Fr. Schall is also a member of the Society of Jesus, a Jesuit.  On July 24, 2015, he wrote a piece that I highly

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What’s In A Word?

After doodling around trying to write a post for this week, I eventually decided “I’ve got nothin’.”  It’s not that my mind was blank (any more so than usual), or that there is nothing to choose from, rather there is too much right now.  It is mentally paralyzing.  Lets’ see – there is an insane deal with a deadly terrorist nation, domestic mass murders, religious persecution of little old religious sisters who just want to help poor people, casual dinner conversations about murdering babies for body parts.  With apologies to Dylan and Hendrix, “There’s too much confusion, I can’t get

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