Friday, December 20, 2013

Thoughts on Vocations and the Legionaries of Christ

It has been a while since I have updated this blog, I have another blog on our Province website that I use for vocations articles and issues and I was tempted to put this entry over there, but considering the opinions regarding the Legionaries of Christ, I will keep it only here on my personal blog.

There have been several article and interviews regarding the future of the Legion and Regnum Christi in the past few days. Having worked with them and having close relationships with some of them, I hesitate to opine too much regarding their difficult situation. I will gladly entertain their thoughts and corrections.

To be blunt, I think they should dissolve. Why? I can only answer this in reference to my Dominican vocations. I doubt I would be able to go forward as a Dominican if I found out Dominic himself had done the things that Maciel had done. It's as simple as that. It is my opinion, but it is the only thing that makes sense to me.

As a vocation director, I would gladly welcome the application for transfer from any LC priest. I believe they are incredibly faithful and desire authentic holiness in their lives. It appears that the poison that has infested their ranks and protected Maciel has been purged, so what I see of the remaining members is good stock.

I hold no animosity towards those that stay with them. That is their choice. I am just having a hard time figuring out why anyone would stay because of the scandal of their founder and those who protected him and why Holy Mother Church continues to entertain a reform of their constitutions.

From someone who holds so may of them close and as friends, all I can say is that you will live under a cloud of suspicion the rest of your lives if you stay with the current reality. I think it may be a good idea to stay together, but you need to change the name as much as you needed to purge Maciel from your history. The problem is, you cannot purge Maciel. He is the reason there is the Legion and Regnum Christi. You cannot hide from that reality.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Radio Interview

I was recently interviewed on the Radio Maria show "Here I am Lord" with Fr. Dan Hoehn. Listen to the entire hour-long show here.

Sisters in Crisis Revised Edition

I am reading the book reviewed by Fr. Dwight called Sisters in Crisis by Ann Carey and find it a fascinating read. The history of how the sisters ended up where they are today is eye-opening and alarming.  Lest we keep traveling down the same roads, this book is a must read for all interested in how we got here, and where it will all end up at the end of the day. Don't miss this updated book, it's worth your time.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Martha, Mary, George and Trayvon

(This is an expanded and edited version of the preaching given at St. John of the Cross Parish on the 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time)

This past week has brought us many news items that have caused quite a stir in our country. The greatest is the acquittal of George Zimmerman of second degree murder and manslaughter charges in Florida in the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. This is what I call another moment of distraction and confusion in a country that continues to have a very weak sense of self. Who are we as citizens of the United States? And this morning, who are we as believers in God and the Savior Jesus Christ? Ultimately, how does our faith inform our intellect and will as we respond to such a noteworthy event in a confused and divided culture?

Unfortunately for some, it is a moment to call for blood, to rally the troops, to make death threats against the acquitted and his parents, and to call for civil disobedience, as one Chicago priest has done, or to make the justice system out to be a failure, and in doing so, pushing our society closer and closer to riots and anarchy, which have occurred in many places since the verdict was read.

Sadly enough, as of the writing of this article, there have been 32 homicides in Chicago in July alone, most from gun violence. And during the trial of George Zimmerman, there have been dozens and dozens more murders and shootings in the Chicagoland area alone, with most of them getting no news reports or much inch-space at all in the local newspapers. So why does this case rise to the top as the big story throughout the country and not the murder of 16 year-old Joseph Brewer, Jr. of Chicago, who was shot to death on July 14th? Why?

Here is my opinion, you can take it or leave it: Because of these two senseless killings, one could be used to divide our nation by “massaging the facts”. One was seized by the talking heads and do-nothings in our culture to sew discord and even more violence. One showed an opening to falsely shout "racism" where there actually was none. Why do I boldly state such things from the pulpit and the pen? Because other preachers are just as bold in proclaiming provable lies from their pulpits and pens. What I believe to the very core of my being and as has been taken up as a motto by many thinkers great and not-so-great: error has no rights.

This is especially true when the errors being proclaimed threaten the well being of individuals and, of course, the common good! Error has no rights, and with all my supposed well-thought-out opinions, it was this week that I discovered I was wrong on many counts regarding this case. I point you to the article “You are Not Trayvon Martin” written by Will Saletan accessible on Slate.com.

If you read only one article about this sad case, please read this one. In it he states:
The problem at the core of this case wasn’t race or guns. The problem was assumption, misperception, and overreaction. And that cycle hasn’t ended with the verdict. It has escalated. 
And there we make the connection to our Gospel today. I will let you read from the author himself how he sees these three realities in this case, but suffice it to say, I believe he is completely correct in his observations. For all of us, those three words from Saletan’s article are spot-on with Martha and Mary: assumption, misperception, and overreaction.

As is evidenced in this tragic trial, the author makes a strong case that these three words define more of our culture than we care to admit. One way to read this Gospel passage is that Martha assumes that Mary is being lazy and avoiding work. Martha also assumes the work she is doing is the most important thing to be done. This may be culturally true in her mind, but it's Jesus! Don't you want to just spend time with Jesus? But Martha did not have the rest of the story that we have now, so she gets a pass on this one. It can be argued that Martha misperceives what is actually happening between Jesus and Mary, so much so that she does not join them in discussing the "one thing" that is necessary. Her misperception cost her time with the Savior! Finally, Martha certainly overreacts in telling Jesus…yes, telling the Lord of All to command her sister to stop lolly gagging and to get to work! And Jesus answers, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her. “

What is the better part? In sitting with the Lord and learning from Him, we try to see the world through His eyes. And knowing that we are not God and do not have all the answers, we pray for wisdom, we pray for peace, and we pray for truth. As Jesus commands of all of his believers: we pray for those who are our enemies and for those who persecute us. But, no believer is Jesus must ever become the persecutor. We never call for violence, and we take the time to learn the truth as much as possible in every situation.

Only someone who chooses the better part can do this well though. How do you take up the better part? Put down the newspaper and shut of the TV and sit and read the Bible particularly the Gospels! Pray and then pray some more. Pray the Rosary or whatever pious devotion you want to pray. Engage in contemplation, meditation or lectio divina.

 Just. Sit. With. God!

The truth we all must live with is that in both of these situations--Trayvon and George, and Martha and Mary--we weren’t there. We don’t have all the facts. We have some, but not all. And the default position of the Christian is always to suspect the good. But more importantly to exercise mercy. As we know well, it is only the mercy of God that allows our entry into heaven, and it should be our greatest desire to imitate our Lord in this most excellent manner.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Some thoughts on a strange day...

When the revisionist forces have thoroughly extracted offspring from the marriage equation, what rights will children of the future have? The right to life has been off the table since 1973? Now the long-held proper and normative institution from which children come into being, are cared for and nurtured, and prepared to thrive in a hostile world no longer has a referent to their existence.

If marriage is only about the love one person has for another, it is without a doubt in my mind that adults have come full circle and become nothing more than whining petulant children, screaming such things as, "You need to affirm everything about me or I will make your life miserable!" You will hear diversionary tactics tossed about concerning tax laws and inheritance. Those exist historically to benefit those who bring new citizens into being, not those who enjoy the company of good friends. And so, even the meaning of friendship is lost in this cacophony of nothing more than a failure to understand natural human relationships. Sad times indeed. And, as usual, the children suffer the most.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Gnosticism of the Chattering Progressives

A homerun by Katherine Kersten. Minnesota is in fantasy land now and Katherine asks the logical question: what will they force upon us next? Your guess is as good as mine!

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One of the clearest things about Minnesota’s new gay-marriage law is that it requires Minnesotans to “play pretend” — to embrace obvious fictions as reality.

For example, the law states that citizens must view the union of two people of the same sex — who can’t produce a child — as identical to that of a man and woman, whose sexual complementarity is the only thing that can. The law also declares that, henceforth, “when necessary to implement the rights and responsibilities of spouses or parents in a civil marriage between persons of the same sex,” words like “mother” and “father” “must be construed in a neutral manner to refer to a person of either gender” under Minnesota law. But a woman can’t be a father, and a man can’t be a mother. It’s a biological fact Minnesota lawmakers can’t repeal, no matter how much they wish to.

Our lawmakers seem utterly untroubled by their vote to impose a regime of “let’s pretend.” What explains this?

The legislators and their supporters who celebrated the bill’s passage on the State Capitol lawn made clear that what they crave is to be in the vanguard of a brave new world. “By your political courage you join that pantheon of exceptional leaders who did something extraordinary,” Gov. Mark Dayton proclaimed as he signed the law. “You changed the course of history for our state and our nation.” President Obama received similar accolades when he announced his support for gay marriage. Apparently, for some folks, there’s nothing headier than to be on the Right Side of History.

But here’s a dirty little secret. No one has the remotest idea where our state officials’ decision to turn our fundamental social institution upside down will take our society in coming decades. We know the experiment is starting out badly, because it’s based on pretending that demonstrable falsehoods are true. We have no idea what ripple effects it will have, how its redefinition of parenthood will affect children, or whether we’ll next see a push for marriage as the union of three or more loving people: the logical next step.

You would expect our legislators to wrestle with weighty questions like these before deciding to end marriage as we — and all other people on Earth — have always known it. They did not. That’s because they (at least the true believers among them) were motivated by a quasi-religious faith that “marriage equality” will inevitably lead our state to the secular equivalent of the Promised Land.

Gay marriage is a crusade, and the driving force behind it is the secular religion of progressivism. This faith’s adherents put their hope, not in salvation after death, but in a hazy and glorious future here on Earth.

The journalist Christopher Caldwell has put it succinctly: “The argument for gay marriage is always made in the name of history — not the history we have lived, but the history we are yet to live.” Will that future turn out as planned? Progressive dogma leaves no doubt that it must. Those who dare to question this — like gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer or Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy — are branded heretics, and figuratively burned at the stake by the media, Hollywood and fervent wavers of the Rainbow Flag.

Social commentator George Weigel sees the roots of the progressive faith in an “intense revival” of an ancient religious movement called Gnosticism. This movement has taken many forms throughout history. But it is always an elite phenomenon, and always holds that the key to human flourishing is possession of a special knowledge that allows man to transcend the material world, so he can build paradise for himself on his own terms.

Modern man — at least many intellectuals — chafes under the constraints of reality. He longs to be “as a god,” to pretend that there are no givens, that “everything in the human condition is plastic and malleable.” In short, says Weigel, he craves to believe that “everything can … be bent to human willfulness, which is to say, human desire.”

Today, Gnosticism is most “powerfully embodied” in the Sexual Revolution and its ideology of gender, writes Weigel. That ideology holds that maleness and femaleness — two elements of the human condition that have always been understood as the essence of “givenness” — are now to be viewed as mere cultural constructs.

Weigel points to Spain’s Zapatero government, which passed a law in 2007 permitting men to change themselves into women, and vice versa, by a declaration at a government office — absent any surgery — after which a new national identity card, with the new gender, is issued. “It is hard to imagine a more explicit expression of personal willfulness overpowering natural givenness,” he concludes.

The gay marriage crusade is just the latest manifestation of the secular religion of America’s intellectual elites. Who knows what new game of “let’s pretend” our chattering classes will impose on us next?

http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/209736121.html#.Uaz4NEmKjiE.google

Monday, May 20, 2013

Got Peace?


And the enemies of religion continue to use this argument over and over without ever addressing the murderous tyrannies mentioned, which is kind of annoying.