Showing posts from January, 2016

Truth and Tolerance

I am re-reading one of the most formative theological works I ever studied, Ratzinger's Truth and Tolerance. Fundamentally, the work considers whether truth is knowable, and, if we know the truth, whether we must then hide it in the name of tolerance? 
In the book, Ratzinger outlines the timeless teaching of the Magisterium in language that resonates with our embattled culture. A work of extreme sensitivity, understanding, and spiritual maturity, this book was essential in helping me understand the value and contribution of other faiths and cultures in the context of belief in Jesus Christ as the only means of salvation for the world.
Just picking up the book and reading the preface reminded me of how important this work is and how much I need to re-read it now. A quote from the preface might help you to see for yourself: The question of the peacefulness of cultures, of peace in matters of religion, has also moved up to become a political theme of the first rank. Yet it is noneth…

Adam, where are you?

A friend posted this very moving teaching from the Holy Father on Holocaust Memorial Day last year. The text is also available on the Vatican Website here. The text is deeply moving and shows a powerful exposition of the teaching of the corporate responsibility of Adam and how Scripture helps us to understand this important reality— well worth reflecting on.


<< “Adam, where are you?” (cf. Gen 3:9). Where are you, o man? What have you come to? In this place, this memorial of the Shoah, we hear God’s question echo once more: “Adam, where are you?” This question is charged with all the sorrow of a Father who has lost his child. The Father knew the risk of freedom; he knew that his children could be lost… yet perhaps not even the Father could imagine so great a fall, so profound an abyss! Here, before the boundless tragedy of the Holocaust, That cry – “Where are you?” – echoes like a faint voice in an unfathomable abyss…

Adam, who are you? I no longer recognise you. Who …

Playing Catch-up

People are still talking about the foot washing debacle I blogged about last week.

CC Father has an excellent post on the subject here.

In it, he outlines his reservations as follows:

The first is that this seems to be a part of a pattern of post-hoc legitimisation of illegal behaviour. It is not as egregious as the legitimisation of altar girls. That was done by chicanery - at least this is a more official procedure. But the pattern endures - and the message it risks sending is simple. If you disagree with the Church's law, carry on - the Church will catch up with you eventually. That is clearly both wrong and dangerous.

The second is that it risks confirming a modern anthropological error: that male and female are trivial, not essential, differences. It risks appearing to bow at the altar of a modern understanding of what it means to be a woman (or a man); an understanding that sees contraception, promiscuity, and abortion as stepping stones along the road to true equality. The C…

Washing Women's Feet

There is a general feeling of dismay over Pope Francis decree on the Mandatum and I just don't understand why he has done it. He is getting a ton of flack over it and it feels like he has handed those who would choose to beat him a stick here.

I can't help but recall the conversations that were circulating at the point of that first Mandatum. Pope Francis appeared to be deliberately breaking the rules- the rules he has just changed, but much of the chatter was about whether he knew what the rules were and whether anyone had the courage to point out to him what he was actually doing?

Of course, the Madatums (Mandatis?) he has "performed" so far as Pope have been deeply moving. The discomfort clear on the faces of some of those above is self-evident. At this ceremony the Pope asked the inmates, some of whom were reduced to tears, to pray for him, saying that he too needed to be cleansed of “my filth”. He said the ceremony was an expression of Christ’s openness to serv…

CM takes on the Lavender Mafia

Have you seen this Vortex yet?

It forms part of series running at Church Militant at the moment about the crisis in our priesthood. It is hugely brave, as it takes a stand against one of the great modernist issues; that of the misguided, newly lauded rectitude of homosexuality which is now to be seen as "normal" and "equal".
Sadly, there's little doubt in my mind that Voris' assertion regarding clergy suffering with SSA is correct. And it is just as bad here in the UK as it is in the USA. One only has to recall the Vatican's directive regarding admitting men with homosexual tendancies to Holy Orders, given in 2005 (see here). This document teaches the Church's position clearly: From the time of the Second Vatican Council until today, various Documents of the Magisterium, and especially the Catechism of the Catholic Church, have confirmed the teaching of the Church on homosexuality. The Catechism distinguishes between homosexual acts and homosexual t…

Faithfulness conquers all: Why is this such a hard lesson for some to learn?

Are you a Bishop scratching your head about how on earth you can increase vocations in your diocese? Does your task sometimes seem impossible? Do you feel your job is simply to manage the decline?

You need new, improved ORTHODOXY!!!!!!!!

Yes, that's right: globally conducted tests scientifically prove that actually believing in what you stand for has a dramatic and rapid effect on your diocese increasing both attendance and vocations!

Case in point: Madison, Wisconsin under the inspiring leadership of Bishop Robert Morlino. Last spring, the Diocese of Madison announced a vocations initiative intended to raise funds to support the tremendous surge in vocations in that Diocese. There are now 33 seminarians, up from just six in 2003 when Bishop Morlino arrived. The diocese needs $30 million to educate current and future seminarians—and they distributed pledge cards—asking parishioners to dig deep—and they more than met the challenge.
However, unsurprisingly, Catholic World Report no…

Happy New Year

"Did you have a good Christmas, Mark?"

This is the question I have heard a hundred times since the 25th December and it is a question I find very difficult to answer, mostly because the answer is one that no one wants to hear. This is not because I am a modern day Scrooge, but perhaps best articulated by my oldest son, who, when I asked him if he was looking forward to Christmas on the 24th, said "thing is Dad, you just keep looking over your shoulder and wondering where Ruth is."

Ever will it be thus. And though Christmas day was as happy as one might expect, there is always an empty place where my little girl should have been.

There is also a shadow cast by all the Christmases of the past and the hopes and dreams they represented growing up. Faced with all that potent nostalgia, I cannot help but compare where I am now with the promise I held in my heart as a child: the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight. Christmas, then, becomes a melancho…

The Journey of the Magi

The Journey of the Magi by T.S. Eliot 'A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.'
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly. Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white …