Monday, December 5, 2011

Abstinence is Awesome, just hard to stick with

At some point the Catholic church will come up with something else....well actually maybe they won't.... Here's the fact, abstinence education doesn't work to reduce sex in young people. Solution? Tough one. Here's the other fact, our culturally is insanely sexualized, overtly so, and our young people are growing up in that environment. It's not easy pill to swallow, nor is there an easy solution. Sexualization is rampant and fighting back doesn't seem to be working........... ideas?

Friday, November 25, 2011

If you’re attending Mass this weekend, here’s what you need to know:

- The new Mass will first be celebrated at the Saturday vigil, to be followed by Masses on Sunday and thereafter.
- Priests are unlikely to interrupt the Mass with instructions, but instead will encourage congregants before the service begins to follow along to printed materials containing the new text.
- Some familiar Mass songs will change to accommodate the new translations.
- If you’re interested in the reasoning behind any specific word choice, you can read the commentary from the bishops’ conference at their Web site. Click on the ‘commentary’ links below the Mass part.
You can see some of the new language below.

(Source: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops/The Washington Post)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pope wraps up Africa Trip

Actually he didn't go to 'Africa', that's like saying, 'North America', he was in Benin. The Pope met with about 80k faithful and more importantly delivered "The Commitment to Africa".

What this will do to actually effect change in the continent is up in the air.... we can be cynical and say pretty much nothing.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Changes Coming to Liturgy

In an age when Facebook changes every 6 months much to the chagrin of over 40-somethings, a new Roman Missal hits pews Nov. 27. The issue for many parishioners and priests is the plain fact most are over 40, probably 60. Change for an aging generation of churchgoers and leaders doesn't come easy at all.

English-speaking countries will begin to use a new translation of the Roman Missal, the ritual text of prayers and instructions for celebrating Mass. International committees of specialists worked under a Vatican directive to hew close to the Latin. After years of revisions negotiated by bishops' conferences and the Holy See, dioceses are preparing anxious clergy and parishioners for the rollout, one of the biggest changes in Catholic worship in generations.

Now, the power of liturgy in worship certainly can't be diminished, but if you rely so heavily on liturgy to encounter the Lord perhaps you need to rethink your spirituality.

I would hazard a guess the majority of clergy are going to be upset with 'new'. Calling it awkward and hard to understand is pretty standard for something NEW. But there are good arguments that there's a disconnect between what the new MIssal accomplishes and where the church is physically. If we're in a very clear religious dichotomy with culture, then big changes are not only annoying, but a challenge to faith as well.

Other factors push obvious Catholic theology, in the Nicene Creed, the phrase "one in Being with the Father," will change to "consubstantial with the Father." As for Holy Communion the priest will ask God for blessings "by sending down your spirit upon them like the dewfall."


What's a dewfall? So much for connecting with anybody under 40.

The new missal grew out of changes in liturgy that started with the Second Vatican Council, the 1960s meetings on modernizing the church that permitted Mass in local languages instead of Latin. Bishops in English-speaking countries created the International Commission on English in the Liturgy to undertake the translation. The panel produced a missal by 1973, but that version was considered temporary until better texts could be completed. In some cases, the commission sought to use language that would be gender neutral.

The work took a new direction in 2001, when the Vatican office in charge of worship issued the directive Liturgiam Authenticam, or Authentic Liturgy, which required translations closer to the Latin. The Vatican also appointed another committee to oversee the English translation, drawing complaints from some clergy and liturgists that the Vatican was controlling what should be a more consultative process.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ireland Closes Vatican Embassy

Stemming from huge disconnect between state and church, Irish Vatican relations hit a new low with the closure of the Irish embassy. The blow comes on the heals of years of inability of the Vatican to properly deal with sexual abuse scandals that rocked the church. Of course, having a largely limp wristed church with little relevancy in everyday Irish lives certainly doesn't help. In a country where religion is merely a passing thought that your parents had to go to, the death of the Catholic church seems imminent ( at least in its current form).

Some kind of revival is in order, but there's a load of housecleaning to do first. One can fully expect, however, that this closure will be the first of many, and one that will be in all likelihood permeant.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Health Plan Changes Contraceptives

Catholic media has picked up the brewing issue of the Department of Health and Human Services plan to include contraceptives and sterilization among the mandated preventive services for women under the new health reform law. The question remains: what will it include? Obviously the Catholic Church is opposed to all artificial forms of birth control and supports natural family planning as the only method of birth regulation that does not interfere with the unitive and procreative aspects of marriage. Does the new plan concern you? Full article here:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Conservatives Punch the Other Cheek?

On illegal immigration our Baptists friends are all in a tiffy after the President Al Mohler started to discuss the issue of homosexuality. Keeping to his conservative position, he did mention that Christians on the right-end of the theological--no wait--political spectrum haven't done a great job dealing with the issue. Essentially he said that Christians were more interested in severe condemnation/damnation.

Well the vitriolic replies came almost immediately from so called Christians attacking how Mohler is not catering to the gay agenda. Apparently violence is preferred over love for conservative Christians. So sad.

Another contentious issue is the same Conservatives fuelling tough and sometimes hate filled laws towards illegal immigrants.

Christians can do better, Catholics are not immune to these issues either, we have our spectrums of positions that include fools too. Some growing needs to be done though especially on issues so contentious and filled with opportunity to do better.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Eye for an Eye?

As Twitter buzzed last night after the sensational story of the death of Osama Bin Laden, equally disturbing were the claims of victory.

The world is a safer place, make no mistake. But to revel in safety as a result of death, and to justify it using Scripture. Well that's just too far.

I do'nt think God delights in death. Although this death may seem just, we need to be eerily careful to not fall into the trap of proof texting our way through an argument that says God not only happy to oblige our bloodlust, but his very nature permits our antiquated methods of problem solving.

We can do better. A mass murdered has been brought to justice, but there's little need to jump with joy over calculated death.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Organized Religion to Disappear?

Many nordic countries have little to no religious presence, they are in the simplest form a humanist country.

America may not be too far off, but close countries like Canada could be faced with the extinction of organized religions. Interestingly when we consider the mainline denominations in North America we have seen a decline. it's the evangelicals that think they're not going the same way many mainlines have gone.

So what's the solution? Well it's not going to be business as usual that's for sure. Bigger won't be better, and more influence wont come from better integration of church and state.

Faith won't disappear, but how that's expressed will, IMO, look far more organic than the cathedral model we're all used to here.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Great Hypocrisy on Evangelicals

Any thoughts from right wing fear mongers, or evangelicals, out there?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Keeping a Holy Lent

The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.

Observing Lent

The custom is to mark the season of Lent by giving up some things and/or taking on others. Both can serve to mark the season as a holy time of preparation. Some examples of things people give up for Lent include sweets, meat for all or some meals, and alcohol. In most cases, giving up something for Lent can be made more meaningful by using the money or time for another purpose. For example, meal times on fast days could be spent in prayer. If you give up meat during Lent, the extra money that would go to meat dishes can be given to a group that works to end hunger. Some things added during Lent are daily Bible reading, fasting on Fridays, times of prayer or taking a course of study related in some way to spirituality.

Note that the season of Lent is forty days plus the six Sundays. This is because Sundays are celebrations of Jesus’ resurrection and are always an appropriate day to lessen the restrictions of Lent. If you have, for example, given up chocolate for Lent, you could indulge in a weekly candy bar on Sunday. Lent is also an especially appropriate time for the sacrament of confession. While confession to a priest is not required to receive God’s forgiveness, it can be a meaningful rite of reconciliation with God.

Special Days and Services

Shrove Tuesday

This is actually the day before Lent begins. The day is named for the “shriving” or confessing that was traditional on this day before beginning Lent. This day is also known as Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday,” because it was a time for eating the things from which one would abstain during Lent. Pancake suppers are traditional as they were a way of using up some of the ingredients not needed during Lent.

Ash Wednesday

The first day of Lent is marked with a special liturgy. The theme for the day, though not for all of Lent, is that we stand as sinners condemned to die, except for God’s grace. This is symbolized by the imposition of ashes on the forehead, with the words, “You are dust and to dust you shall return.” In the Old Testament, ashes were a sign of penitence (feeling regretful for offenses) and mourning. Ash Wednesday is one of two days of special observance (the other being Good Friday) for which fasting is recommended. While this usually refers going without food for the entire day, this practice is not practical for all persons, including, but not limited to, diabetics. Use your own discretion in determining how you can best observe this day.

Palm Sunday

This Sunday before Easter is the last Sunday in Lent. The day commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem with a blessing of palms and a procession in which the whole congregation carries palms. The day is also marked by reading the story of Jesus’ passion (the word used to describe Jesus’ death comes from “suffering,” which is one old meaning of passion). Some of the Palm Sunday palms are kept and used to make the Ash Wednesday ashes for the next year.

Maundy Thursday

This is the Thursday in Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter). The day is a time for remembering The Last Supper. The name comes from the Latin word “Maundatum” for “commandment” as Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment; that you love one another.” At the conclusion of this service, altars are stripped of any ornamentation and crosses are removed or veiled to mark the solemnness of the occasion.

Good Friday

The Friday in Holy Week is a time for remembering Jesus’ death. Traditionally there is a Good Friday service at noon as Jesus hung on the cross from noon until 3 p.m. There may also be an evening service. This is the second day of special observance for which fasting is recommended. One should use discretion in decided how best to observe this day. There is no celebration of Communion from Maundy Thursday until the Easter Vigil on late Saturday or early Sunday. However, it is customary in many churches to give out the elements of communion blessed during the Maundy Thursday service.

The Easter Vigil

This service is appropriate from after sunset on Holy Saturday until sunrise Easter morning. This was the traditional time of baptism in the early centuries of Christianity. This service begins in darkness and a new fire is lit, from which the Christ candle is lighted. It signifies the light of Christ coming into the world anew at the resurrection. This service ends the season of Lent and begins the joy of the Easter season.

Stations of the Cross

These are depictions of 14 incidents in the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ death from Pilate’s house to being placed in the tomb. They are used for the service called the Way of the Cross, which visits each station in turn with a brief reading, response, collect (prayer) and on some occasions, a meditation. This is particularly appropriate for Good Friday and all Fridays in Lent.

Refreshment Sunday

The fourth Sunday of Lent has long been observed as a day for completely relaxing the disciplines of Lent. It is also known as Mothering Sunday as this was the first Mother’s Day and a traditional time for remembering your mother.

Let us, therefore, join in the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word.