Friday, November 19, 2004

Sex Abuse Scandal 

I watched a bit of History International's Ancient Almanac last night about "The Rise of Christianity: The First 1000 years." I took some heart at the program, espcially as it dealt with how horrible Pope John XV was (I believe the program said women were afraid to go to St. Peter's to pray for fear the Pope would take them by force to his chambers) and how so much of the church had fallen into disrepair and ransack. Why take heart? Because Sylvester II followed on his heels full of faith and light, energy and ethics.

I don't write about the Catholic sex abuse scandal because I sense it is being handled and I don't have anything to add. But that scandal is a used as a club to beat Catholic morality senseless. It is reassuring to know the Church has been here before, has been in worse shape both morally and physically before, and has (with the grace of God) found leaders of skill and class and holiness to lead the way.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

"The secularism that was stimulated by the war for independence, the erosion of the system in which a town was both a religious and a political corporation, the growth of an unchurched and ill-educated population, and the Federalist Party's weakness in national politics: such developments helped fuel the broad conservative reaction that has been loosely termed "The Second Great Awakening."

The above is from a biography of Emily Dickinson, "My Wars Are Laid Away in Books." I found it interesting. It seems to map well the course we're on today. With the ACLU fighting to get plaques of the ten commandments off walls in courthouses, fighting to get crosses out of county seals, fighting to get prayer and God out of public places, secularism is on the march. An unchurched and ill-educated population? There seems ample evidence of that today.

The Federalists were, I believe, the conservatives of their day. Perhaps the ground is well prepared for the planting of God-seed and a future harvest of souls coming around to church. One can pray. One can try to live an example.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Hard Teachings 

No RCIA class this week.

Catholic Church: Controversies Shape Bishop's Fall Meeting.
The nation's Roman Catholic bishops are holding their fall meeting this week during troubled times for the U.S. church.

Two dioceses have declared bankruptcy in the face of millions of dollars in clergy sex abuse claims, and a third plans to file at the end of this month. More dioceses are expected to follow.

The presidential election exposed deep divisions among bishops over how they should respond to Catholic politicians -- and to all Catholics -- who are at odds with church teaching on abortion and other issues.

The Catholic Church has hard teachings on divorce, contraception, homosexuality... teachings that fly directly in the face of the rush of our culture. Teachings so hard, indeed, that people may fall away from the Catholic Church and go to some other church, some other church more willing to respond to the people.

Read John 6:53 to see how Jesus handled his own hard teachings:

Jhn 6:53 So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;
Jhn 6:54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
Jhn 6:55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
Jhn 6:56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.
Jhn 6:57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.
Jhn 6:58 This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever."
Jhn 6:59 This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Caper'na-um.
Jhn 6:60 Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?"
Jhn 6:61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, "Do you take offense at this?
Jhn 6:62 Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before?
Jhn 6:63 It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
Jhn 6:64 But there are some of you that do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him.
Jhn 6:65 And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."
Jhn 6:66 After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.

Jesus went on to ask his apostles... "Do you wish to go away also?" and Peter says, "Where would we go? You have the words of eternal life." So isn't this how we still are today? And if hard teachings make some fall away, where will they go?

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Four more people underwent the Rite of Acceptance over the weekend, so our RCIA class is getting larger. This time, I was able to watch the ceremony from the pews and appreciate it without taking part. There were four grown ups and four teens undergoing the rite. Each person's sponsor made the sign of the cross over the candidate's forehead, shoulders, ears, eyes, lips, hands, feet, heart, claiming them all for Christ... and then we had normal dismissal.

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