I kinda dig this guy! And he gives BustedHalo.com a shout out at the end!
Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 4/29
2 hours ago
"Oh shit, it's Ash Wednesday! I forgot. And now I just cursed--I'm off to a great start." - Random person on the street
"It's Ash Wednesday...cool, what are you giving up?" - Woman buying a soda
"Nice Ash!" - my friend, Melissa.
"If someone smudges their ash and makes it look like an upside down cross would that make it Ash-backwards?" - an old friend who requests to stay anonymous
"Ugh...I hate Ash Wednesday. It's a silly superstition." - drunk woman who did in fact, have ashes on her head.
"Excuse me, you've got some kind of black crap on your forehead."
Me: "Nah dude, It's Ash Wednesday!"
Me: (Louder) "It's Ash Wednesday!"
Guy (obviously taken aback: "Oh! Oh!...I didn't know that!"
Me (realizing I sounded harsh): "Thanks for looking out for me anyway, man."
Guy: "No problem. I thought I saw a bunch of people with stuff on their head but then I thought I was just seeing floaters!"
Living Well: Christian Practices for Everyday Life presents twelve essential practices for a Christian way of life: Caring for the Body, Celebrating Life, Discernment, Dying Well, Eating Well, Forgiving, Keeping Sabbath, Managing Household Life, Participating in Community, Praying, Reading the Bible, and Transforming the World..
Written for adults, parents, and families to use in learning about and living Christian practices, each chapter presents the Biblical foundation of the Christian practice and a variety of practical suggestions for living the practice and how to make it an integral part of everyday life
What is it that holds us back from really living? What do we have to die to — or, at the very least, fast from — in order to liberate ourselves from our bad habits? What do we have to give of ourselves to others, to causes, to God, so that we may stretch ourselves into new ways of being? How does prayer center us into growth?
Listening to sermons at Mass, one often thinks, like the professor in the Narnia Chronicles, "What do they teach in school?" Not that the sermons are necessarily all that bad, but they are rarely as good as they would be had the priest been better taught. It's like listening to a fiddler who hits most of the notes but doesn't know how to keep time -- because, one suspects, he learned the fiddle from an accordion player.
I am not going to deliver the usual lament about preaching (often delivered, a friend reminded me, by lapsed or lukewarm Catholics). When I was an Episcopalian, friends worried that I might become a Catholic always brought up the liturgy and the preaching. Even then this struck me as irrelevant, but they saw the two bodies as brands in competition, and so thought that I was about to spend the same amount of money for a bashed-up Saturn as I would for a perfectly maintained Mercedes. Why endure old Father O'Shea when you can sit at the feet of the Rev. Canon Horace Q. Swizzlestick III, D.D.?
But in my experience of almost eight years as a Catholic, I have rarely heard a genuinely bad sermon, and I have heard a few very good ones. Even some of the most ineptly composed and delivered sermons included some striking insight that redeemed the mess. Perhaps I've been blessed -- or maybe my standards are low -- but I haven't found Catholic preaching to be the horror show I was led to expect, even by some Catholics. (I hear horror stories, and I'm sure they're true, but I cannot tell any.)
The $25 Heavenly Homily: This homily breaks the bank (notice that I’ve provided an extra $5 tip over our allotted amount). I’ll eat ramen noodles all week if a preacher can cover these points:
Does it step into the Present? The stories of scripture are over 2000 years old but that doesn’t mean that it was only relevant then. What implications does the story have for us in the 21st Century?
Did I learn something new? A preacher should never reach into the file cabinet for the “canned homily” they gave last year. If I have to hear Fr. Tony’s story about his grandmother one more time during lent, I’m going to rush the pulpit and sack him.
Is it based on the scriptures of the day? The priest who went over the new mass practices issued by the Bishops during his homily took the lazy way out.
Did it mention Jesus Christ at least once? Hello? Isn’t this obvious?
Does it contain an element of challenge? (see the “Snuggles Teddy Bear Homily” below).
Is it vibrant and engaging. If Father talks in a low monotone he shouldn’t wonder why Timmy’s asleep in the 5th row every week.
It’s called a public speaking class—find one.
While the joyful, witty Dolan is a champion hugger, he is no light weight. Brilliant theologians including the late Cardinal Avery Dulles, a Jesuit, considered Dolan an intellectual with a special gift for relating realistically to modern life. Two years ago, the late Dulles told this reporter of his appreciation of Dolan’s ability to put crises and challenges into the context of church and American history.
Friends and associates cite Dolan’s qualities that serve his church well: his down-to-earth friendliness, keen intellect, his analytical powers, his joyful presence, his gifts of mediation and what more than a few call “holiness.”
Sending a fine communicator to media capitol of the world seems a natural, for Benedict whose recent appointments seem to show that he is adept at putting pastorally gifted men in dioceses where their talents can be used.
This was Dolan’s way. Twice most years Dolan called Catholic Wisconsin public officials to a spiritual and intellectual discussion. He explained the theology behind church policy statements on capital punishment, immigration, poverty, abortion, war and embryonic stem cell research. Then, he took questions about the theological underpinnings. No fire and brimstone, just thoughtful give and take, elected officials have said.
Dolan is held in high regard by other U.S. bishops. At his very first meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, just three months after he was installed as St. Louis Archdiocese’s auxiliary bishop, the bishops elected him to head the committee on priestly life. Such a committee chairmanship is unheard of for a new bishop. However, in the midst of the sex abuse crisis American bishops expected that Dolan could be a spokesman for good priests, for the joy of the priesthood and could work on policies to improve discernment, even testing of men seeking to become priests. Even then, Dolan was a popular retreat master for priests.
The St. Louis native has given thought-provoking papers at several prestigious Catholic intellectual societies. No matter how deep the academic topic, he always paces them with a bit of his Irish wit. Now he is board chairman of Catholic Relief Services, which serves people of all faiths overseas. He has been a gifted fund-raiser in Milwaukee. He currently serves on the bishops’ conference budget and finance committee.
Traditionally, Lent was intended as a time for personal conversion leading up to Easter during which Christians practiced the spiritual disciplines of Fasting, Prayer and Almsgiving. The belief is that our consistent participation in these practices—like exercise we do for our physical health—is a form of purification that improves our spiritual well-being by stripping away all that is unnecessary and by becoming more mindful of our ultimate dependence on God in our lives.
But instead of chocolate, alcohol or tobacco, what if people thought of fasting, prayer and almsgiving in a broader context? What if those disciplines involved practices like reducing your dependence on electronic devices for twenty four hours (fast); contemplating the 1.6 billion people in the world who have no access to electricity for a few moments (pray); and spending the extra time you’ve saved on personal interaction with someone important to you (give)? Or what if people reduced their carbon footprint for a day by using less energy (fast); then reflected for two minutes on the magnificent gift our natural environment is (pray); and finally placed $1 in a bowl they’ve set aside to collect money to be given away to a favorite charity—perhaps one that plants trees—at the end of Lent (give).
“Is the minister giving out ashes making a cross or signing his name on there?” you wonder in a panic. “His thumb must be the size of a 5 wood…is he blind?” you ask yourself. Before you know it you’re at the altar offering your own cranium as a canvas for this zealous finger painter.
Sound familiar? As part of Busted Halo’s Fast, Pray, Give Lenten Calendar we want you to show us your ash. Simply take a picture of your ashes and send us the jpeg at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll post the best ones we receive and enter your name in our drawing for the “Ultimate Lent Incentive” grand prize that includes an Easter basket stocked with a brand new, customized iPod Nano as well as Busted Halo M&Ms, Swedish fish, a copy of The Green Bible and an assortment of other books from our Halo store.
The Pope told about 60 delegates from the Conference of American Jewish Organisations that "any denial or minimisation of this terrible crime [was] intolerable", especially from a priest.
"The hatred and contempt for men, women and children that was manifested in the Shoah [Holocaust] was a crime against humanity," he said.
"This should be clear to everyone, especially to those standing in the tradition of the Holy Scriptures..."
Pope Benedict admitted that the 2,000-year-old relationship between Judaism and the Church had passed through some painful phases.
But he repeated the prayer the late Pope John Paul made when he visited Jerusalem in 2000, pleading for forgiveness from Jews for Christians who had persecuted them throughout history.
GOOGLER GOD YOU SURE SOUND LIKE GOD ALMIGHT, UR I HATE ORTHODOX CATHOLICS IS CSHOWING MAN, WHATCHA GONA DO WHEN SSPX IS RECONCILED IN TOTO WITH ROME, UR GONNA HAVE TO FIND ANOTHER NON HETERDOX BISHOP PRIEST AND OR SOCIETY TO KICK ASS . JEEEE WIZ U MAKE ME FEEL LIKE UR THE SAME ENTITIES THAT CRIED IN ANGER UPON HEARING THE NAME JOSEPH RATZINGER, RIGHT AFTER HABEMUS PAPUM. COULD IT BE THAT YOU REALIZD THE WATERED DOWN CUMBYA FEELY FEELY LEFTIST YUM YUM LIBERAL CATHOLICISM IS COMING TO A SCREECHING HALT AND BEFORE PEOPLE LIKE THE HALF BILLION STRONG EASTERN ORTHODOX WILL EVEN LOOK AT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH THEY MUST SEE THAT IT IS RETURNING TO CATHOLICISM, ORTHODOXY AND SHUCKING OFF IT'S PHONE WANNA BE A PROTESTANT CATHOLIC VERSION OF VAT 2. TIMES ARE CHANGING AND IF THE SOCIAL, LEFT, LIB THEOLOGY PC CATHOLICS DON'T LIKE IT, CAN'T STAND IT REJECT IT AND CONTINUE TO BE DISOBEDIENT TO THE POPE, MAGISTERIUM, THEN THE WATERED DOWN LIBERALS OF THE LAST 40 YRS CAN ALWAY JOIN THE "WHAT EVER U WANNA BELIEVE EPISCOPALIANS AKA CHURCH OF ENGLAND AKA ANGLICANS OR BETTER YET U MIGHT BE MORE COMFORTABLE WITH THE UNITARIANS
It is surreal and odd. Here one minute, gone the next, without a chance to say goodbye. Sunday’s experience did not really help in that regard for as fearful as I was, anticipating, when the moment came, without getting too specific, the line from the gospel flashed through my soul, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” I could not connect that experience with the smiling face in the pictures surrounding us and the voice still echoing in my ears and memory. And the fear was gone. But the dissonance remained. And does.
To use the old phrase: It does not compute.
There is a mystery, as I was telling Dorothy, and what I feel driven to do is not “understand” it, really. It is not even to “accept” it. It is something different, and I don’t get what that is - where that space is and what it looks like.
I am opening comments on this post, but with a specific purpose. If you have had similar experiences, or any experiences with loss and grieving that you would like to share, please do. It will be helpful to me and to others.
On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.
Simon's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.
They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.
When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.
The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.
It’s so fitting that the first miracle of Jesus, the changing of water into wine, happened at a wedding, in the early hours of a marriage. Because marriage is about transformation – it is about how the water of our lives, when touched by another, is changed. Life becomes sweeter, richer, fuller. It becomes like wine. It has the ability to intoxicate us.
And, of course, what has become wine can then be further transformed. Wine, at this altar, becomes Christ. And two people, in marriage, become a family. The human story continues – enriched, changed, sanctified.
What this means is so simple, and so beautiful: when joined in the sacrament of matrimony, we become something more than what we were.
Camilla Belle, who is onscreen in "Push," which opens Friday, has been cast as Mary. Jonathan Rhys Meyers will take on the double role of Gabriel and Lucifer, while Peter O'Toole is set as Symeon, who meets Mary and her family in the temple shortly after Jesus' birth.
The filmmakers are seeking Al Pacino and Jessica Lange for the respective roles of Herod and Anna the Prophetess.
Argentinean director Alejandro Agresti ("The Lake House") will direct the film, scheduled to begin shooting in May in Morocco with production partner Dune Films. Benedict Fitzgerald, who co-wrote "Passion," wrote the "Mary" screenplay with Barbara Nicolosi.
Mary Aloe and Rodrigo Berlanga are producing. The executive producers are Mike Dolan, Mauricio Sanchez and James Volk.
Although New Line recently told the story of Jesus' birth in "The Nativity Story," released in December 2006, to modest boxoffice returns, Aloe said of her project: "This is not a Christmas movie. This is a part of Mary's life that has never been shown on the big screen before. It takes us through Mary's youth, young love, her life as a new mother and the triumph through the absolute terror of Herod the Great's reign. It is truly a story of real female empowerment."
A rare Vatican review, technically known as an "apostolic visitation," of women's religious communities in the United States was announced last Friday. The news came as a surprise to most leaders in religious life.
Fallout from Benedict XVI's decision to lift the excommunication of four traditionalist bishops, including one who is a Holocaust denier, continued to spread, reaching an apex on Tuesday when German Chancellor Angela Merkel rebuked the pope. The next day, the Vatican issued a statement demanding that Bishop Richard Williamson recant his views "in absolutely unequivocal and public fashion."
The Legionaries of Christ have acknowledged conduct by their founder, the late Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, which was "surprising, difficult to understand, and inappropriate for a Catholic priest." Reportedly, that conduct included fathering a child out of wedlock.
"Yesterday, the Vatican condemned in the clearest terms a statement made by an illicitly consecrated Bishop by the name of Richard Williamson in which the evil of the Shoah was questioned or at least minimized. As Archbishop of New York, I add my voice to that of the Holy See and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in rejecting Williamson’s words as hurtful, baseless, and outrageous..."
"No matter what we choose to believe, let us remember that there is no religion whose central tenet is hate. ... There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being. This much we know."
"religion is under attack from without and from within. From within it is corroded by extremists who use their faith as a means of excluding the other. ... If you do not believe as I believe, you are a lesser human being. From without, religious faith is assailed by an increasingly aggressive secularism, which derides faith as contrary to reason and defines faith by conflict. Thus do the extreme believers and the aggressive nonbelievers come together in unholy alliance."
Blair explained how a teacher knelt and prayed with him as he worried about his ailing father.
"Now my father was a militant atheist," he said. "Before we prayed, I thought I should confess this. 'I'm afraid my father doesn't believe in God,' I said. 'That doesn't matter,' my teacher replied. 'God believes in him. He loves him without demanding or needing love in return.'"
"That is what inspires," Blair said, "the unconditional nature of God's love. A promise perpetually kept. A covenant never broken."
In an executive order to be announced on Thursday, Obama does not rescind Bush's provision to allow faith-based groups to discriminate in their hiring practices, but does provide a legal process for organizations to go through in order to that ensure hiring is legal and non-discriminatory.
Administration sources say the new legal safeguard is a "key step forward" in addressing the thorny issue of faith-based hiring.
But Dr. Joel Hunter, a senior pastor at Northland Church in Longwood, Florida, who will be part of a 25-member council of religious leaders in the faith-based office, said the issue is a particularly tricky one for religious leaders.
"We're going to have to work that out, because on the one hand, you don't want to use federal funds to discriminate. But on the other hand, we can't have religious organizations taking money on the condition that they will hire people who live a lifestyle contrary to what they teach," he said.
In the disaster, Pope Benedict XVI found himself to be the one most exposed, and practically alone.
Both within and outside of the curia, many are blaming the pope for everything. In effect, it was his decision to offer the Lefebvrist bishops a gesture of benevolence. The lifting of excommunication followed other previous gestures of openness, also decided personally by the pope, the last of which was the motu proprio "Summorum Pontificum," dated July 7, 2007, with the liberalization of the ancient rite of the Mass.
As he had done before, this time as well Benedict XVI did not demand in advance anything from the Lefebvrists in return. So far, all of his acts of openness have been unilateral. The pope's critics have seized upon this in order to accuse him of naivety, or appeasement, or even of wanting to take the Church back to before Vatican Council II.
In reality, Benedict XVI has explained his intention absolutely clearly, in one of the key addresses of his pontificate, the one delivered to the Roman curia on December 22, 2005. In that speech, pope Ratzinger maintained that Vatican II did not mark any rupture with the Church's tradition, but in fact it was in continuity with tradition even where it seemed to mark a clear break with the past, for example when it recognized religious freedom as an inalienable right of every person.
In that speech, Benedict XVI was speaking to the entire Catholic universe. But at the same time, he was also addressing the Lefebvrists, to whom he pointed out the direct route for healing the schism and returning to unity with the Church on the points that they oppose most vigorously: not only religious freedom, but also the liturgy, ecumenism, relations with Judaism and the other religions.
On all of these points, after Vatican Council II the Lefebvrists had gradually separated from the Catholic Church. In 1975, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X – their organizational structure – did not obey an order to disband, and formed a parallel Church, with its own bishops, priests, seminaries. In 1976, its founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, was suspended "a divinis." In 1988, the excommunication of Lefebvre and of four new bishops he had ordained without papal authorization – who were in turn suspended "a divinis" – was the culminating action of a schism that had been underway for years.
The lifting of this excommunication therefore did not by any means heal the schism between Rome and the Lefebvrists, just as the lifting of the excommunications between Rome and patriarchate of Constantinople – agreed on December 7, 1965, by Paul VI and Athenagoras – did not by any means mark a return to unity between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches of the East. In both cases, the dropping of the excommunication was intended to be simply a first step toward reversing the schism, which remains.
The question comes naturally: was all of this really inevitable, once the pope had decided to lift the excommunication of the Lefebvrist bishops? Or was the disaster produced by the errors and omissions of the men who are supposed to implement the pope's decisions? The facts point to the second hypothesis.
The decree revoking the excommunication bears the signature of Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the congregation for bishops. Another cardinal, Darío Castrillón Hoyos, is the president of the pontifical commission "Ecclesia Dei," which, ever since its creation in 1988, has dealt with the followers of Lefebvre. Both of these cardinals have said that they were taken by surprise, after the fact, by the interview with Bishop Williamson, and that they were never aware that he was a Holocaust denier.
But wasn't it the primary responsibility of these two cardinals to carry out an in-depth examination of Williamson's personal profile, and of the three other bishops? The fact that they did not do so seems inexcusable. Such an examination wasn't even difficult. Williamson has never concealed his distaste for Judaism. He has publicly defended the authenticity of the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion." In 1989, in Canada, he risked being taken to court for praising the books written by Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel. After September 11, 2001, he supported conspiracy theories to explain the collapse of the Twin Towers. Just a click on Google would have turned up all of this background material.
Another serious lapse concerned the pontifical council for the promotion of Christian unity. Reversing the schism with the Lefebvrists is logically part of its competencies, which also include relations between the Church and Judaism. But the cardinal who heads the council, Walter Kasper, says that he was kept out of the deliberations: this is all the more surprising in that the issuing of the decree lifting the excommunication took place during the annual week of prayer for Christian unity, and a few days before International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Mike had left Our Sunday Visitor last April to go to work for his long-time friend, Bishop Robert Baker of Birmingham, Alabama. In my encounters with Mike after he left, he seemed enthusiastic about the work in the diocese. He was responsible for several areas of concern, and the challenges appeared to energize him.
Mike was always a hard worker. He was also a prolific and gifted author.
Among his titles for Our Sunday Visitor were
· The Church’s Most Powerful Novenas
· The How-To Book of the Mass, Expanded
· How to Get More out of the Mass
· How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist
· A Pocket Guide to Confession
· A Pocket Guide to the Mass
· Praying in the Presence of Our Lord with Fulton J. Sheen
· Praying the Rosary
The titles reveal his deep concern for the fundamental practices of the faith by Catholics. He sensed a great pastoral need in this area, and he had a gift for deepening the appreciation of ordinary Catholics for the encounters with Christ that occurred in Mass, during the Eucharist, in Confession.
A priest who called the Harry Potter book series satanic and said Hurricane Katrina was divine punishment for immorality has been named Austrian Bishop of Zuri, according to the Vatican and Italy’s state-run news agency ANSA.
The Rev. Gerhard Wagner has been a pastor in Windischgarsten, Austria, for 20 years, ANSA reported Saturday, and his controversial remarks have triggered controversy.
After Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast in 2005, levees broke in New Orleans, Louisiana, flooding most of the city. More than 1,800 people in the region died, including over 1,500 in Louisiana.
Wagner was among some ultra-conservatives who suggested Katrina was punishment for the sins of New Orleans, ANSA said.
Many engaged Catholics of the Diocese of Linz will perceive this as a provocation. The diocese could have a test of endurance.
According to unconfirmed information, no candidate was considered appearing on the proposed list of Linz Diocesan Bishop Ludwig Schwarz. Allegedly, Rome has directly taken the decision. Even the Vienna Archbishop Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn was not directly involved in the decision-making.
Vicar General Severin Lederhilger could feel deep disappointment at this decision. The Vicar-General was considered one of the favorites and was also next to the former Chaplain of the Seminary of Linz, Johann Hintermaier on the Bishop’s three name candidate list.
The future bishop is so far noted mainly for controversial statements and absolute fidelity to Rome. He has said that environmental disasters are close to divine punishment. The diocese was forced to distance itself from Wagner. (Cathcon- nothing comes except God permits it- an understanding of Catholics in all ages but our own.)
Within the Diocese, Wagner stands for a very controversial minority. According to a church insider, the weight of Wagner's future office is less important than the fact of his appointment. Rome wanted to signal to Linz that the era of liberal and moderate courses are gone.
The Vatican demanded Wednesday that a bishop who denied the Holocaust recant his positions before being fully admitted into the Roman Catholic Church.
The Vatican also said in a statement that Pope Benedict XVI didn't know about Bishop Richard Williamson's views when he agreed to lift his excommunication and that of three other ultraconservative bishops Jan. 21.
The statement was issued by the Vatican's Secretariat of State a day after German Chacellor Angela Merkel urged the pope to make a clearer rejection of Holocaust denials, saying there hadn't been adequate clarification from the Vatican.