The entire interview is just excellent but I especially enjoyed this particular section:
What’s the best thing Pope Francis has done for the Catholic blogosphere?
I think he’s forcing a confrontation with the rest of Catholic social teaching. By that, I mean all of the incredible riches the church has to offer beyond the questions of abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage, human cloning and embryonic stem cell research—which in my neck of the blogosphere, started out as the five non-negotiables of orthodox Catholicism, but have mysteriously morphed into the only five things that matter to a lot of American Catholics. It has spawned a curious soteriology in some sectors that often boils down to a theory that can be fairly accurately summarized as "opposition to abortion taketh away the sins of the world." Francis has forced a reassessment of that reductionist view of Catholic social teaching and I think it’s all for the good.
Why does the Catholic blogosphere need this challenge?
Because we need to become more fully Catholic, but in the sense of personal conversion, not in the sense of purging the church of lukewarm believers. By that I mean helping people to become more fully Catholic, as Pope Francis has been trying to do. This challenge, to me, is what the Catholic blogosphere has most needed for a long time. I’m sure Francis is challenging some people on the left end of the blogosphere as well, but I don't hang out there all that much.
Francis isn’t interested in purging the church for the same reason St. Paul isn't interested in it. When St. Paul speaks to the Corinthians, he doesn’t tell this passel of screwed-up Christians who are sleeping with their stepmothers, getting drunk at Mass, taking each other to court, denying the Resurrection, and dissing him as a fake apostle that “you’re not real Catholics.” Instead, he insists that even the dopiest of the Corinthians arereal Christians.
In short, instead of kicking people out, Paul cries “become what you are!” One of the mythic expectations inexplicably attending gentle and sweet Pope Benedict was the notion of a "Coming Benedictine Purge” where many Catholics on the right dreamed he was going to start kicking people out of the church. But that was never going to happen. And now, under this Pope, that has been confirmed beyond all doubt. What Francis wants is for all of us to accept each other with the all-embracing love of God—which is certainly a challenge for me, because the people he wants me to love and forgive are not people I would normally be eager to embrace.
For me, he’s challenged me to think and live in new ways, to ask myself new kinds of questions about how I spend my money and what I’m doing about the poor, weak and vulnerable around me. To be sure, that includes the very old and very young our culture of death wants to kill. But it increasingly includes others to whom I have been blinded in the past by the reduction of the five non-negotiables to the Only Five Things That Matter. How am I responding to Iraq? How am I responding to what’s happening at the border? What about families being destroyed by gross income inequality? Those are questions that would not have occurred to me 10 years ago because I considered everything other than the five non-negotiables to be matters of prudential judgment—and I took prudential judgment to mean "feel free to ignore the church if it threatens your political ideology in some way." But I’ve learned in the past 10 years that prudential judgment doesn’t mean I can just blow off anything from the church that isn’t prefaced by “Simon Peter says.” We’re called to bedocile to the church so that unless we can give a really good reason why the church’s guidance is absolutely immoral, we should try to do what the church asks even on things which aren’t absolutely essential. We should try to obey the church and the mind of Christ as much as we possibly can. That’s the point of the story of the rich young man in the gospel. Marriage is another example. If a married person asks “what’s the least I can do for my spouse and still call it a valid marriage,” that marriage is already in trouble. Real love never asks “what’s the least I can get away with doing?” It always asks “what’s the most I can do?” That’s what Francis is asking us to consider. What’s the most I can do to love you, Lord Jesus? It’s not about doing the minimum daily requirement to live as selfishly as I can and still squeak into heaven.
What is your impression of Pope Francis?
I love the man. It’s almost inarticulate, but I have nothing but love for the guy. I think he’s the absolute real deal and I feel tremendous hope for the church. As I said before, I’ve loved every pope we’ve had, but I particularly have a soft spot for this man just as a human being apart from whatever he does as pope. I think the world of him. There are some people you just recognize as genuine people and I always respond really strongly to them. There’s no artifice about him and I really like that.
The modern habit of saying"This is my opinion, but I may be wrong" is entirely irrational. If I say that it may be wrong, I say that is not my opinion. The modern habit of saying "Every man has a different philosophy; this is my philosophy and it suits me" - the habit of saying this is mere weak-mindedness. A cosmic philosophy is not constructed to fit a man; a cosmic philosophy is constructed to fit a cosmos. A man can no more possess a private religion than he can possess a private sun and moon.
-G. K. Chesterton
The pressure to keep opinions private and to keep your religion close to the vest is nothing new.
Fans who stream into the Navy Yard district before Nats games are now greeted with increasingly varied entertainment choices, from Yards Park for fresh air and views of the Anacostia River to the Fairgrounds for frat-rock music and adult refreshments to a variety of neighborhood restaurants and taverns, with more to come.
“For me, it was kind of a no-brainer,” said Rev. Andrew Royals, 34, a Montgomery County native who became the pastor at the South Capitol Street church about two years ago. “On game days we had thousands of people walking right in front of our church. I was like, ‘Well, I’m sure some of these people would like to go to church.’…And we thought there’s no reason people can’t do both.”
And thus, Nats Mass was launched in May, a noon service that runs about 40 or 45 minutes, getting attendees out the door in plenty of time for a 1:35 first pitch.
Royals is expecting between 75 and 100 people for Sunday’s service, the seventh of nine scheduled Nats masses this season. By next season, he hopes to reach the church’s capacity, which is about 150. The church has long held an 8 a.m. Sunday mass for regular parishioners, and it recently added a Sunday evening mass for the younger demographic, but Royals expects that Nats Mass will eventually be the parish’s biggest event of the week.
“We’re shattering attendance records each Sunday,” he said. “That’s what gives me hope. I’m pretty sure at some point I’m going to start mass one Sunday, and I’m going to look out and see a church filled with Nats fans.”
It's the New Evangelization in the flesh, pretty cool. And hey, the Nats have won 5 of 6 since the launch, not bad. It's win-win all around I'd say.
Hats off to Father Royals for the idea and to CMR for the find.
He plays a sport dominated by exactness and a long tradition of honor and truth and rule adherence — and pro golfer Cameron Tringale found himself facing a possibility he couldn’t shake.
The Mission Viejo, California, native just bagged $53,000 in prize money for coming in 33rd place at the 2014 PGA Championship. Not a bad way to spend a few days.
But along with the cash, Tringale also had a guilty conscience.
His was a momentary, miniscule miscue — if it happened at all. He’s not even sure.
But all the same Tringale, 26, felt he may have missed a stroke when attempting to tap in the ball on the 11th hole last Sunday, noted Yahoo Sport of UK and Ireland. Thing is the possible missed stroke never made it on his scorecard — and Trinangle signed the scorecard.
So he told officials what was on his mind — knowing full well the consequences.
“Realizing that there could be the slightest doubt that the swing over the ball should have been recorded as a stroke, I spoke with the PGA of America and shared with them my conclusion that the stroke should have been recorded,” he noted to Yahoo Sport.
More from Yahoo Sport:
Nobody saw it. The man himself isn’t even sure whether he did it or not. He’s not even sure if it should have counted as a stroke or not, since it’s a grey area as to whether or not he had actually addressed the ball to make his stroke (and if you’ve not addressed the ball to try and hit it, there is no penalty).
But signing an incorrect scorecard means a disqualification — and bye bye to his prize money.
Bye bye to prize money, hello to moral clarity and the sacrifice that goes at times with putting it on display.
Hats off to Cameron Tringale, may more rise up like him.
I had the pleasure of meeting Dan Paris, very briefly, at my parish nearly 3 years ago. I pledged my financial and prayerful support then and have continued that support, praying daily for the young man as he carries out the Lord's work at FOCUS.
“So,” I started, a bit nervously. This was our first real conversation about the faith. “Are there any particular books of the Bible you’d like to learn more about?”
He hesitated for a brief moment, then – with a pensive look – replied, “Actually, I was hoping you could just tell me all about Christianity. How did it begin? What does it mean today?”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I never got questions like these. We spent the next hour going over all of salvation history, from Adam & Eve to Acts of the Apostles, and finished with a powerful discussion on the Mass. It was awesome, in the true sense of the word.
I had met Ling, an international student from Beijing, at a Newman Center event a few weeks prior. New to the States and having befriended several Christians, Ling had many questions about this strange person named Jesus, of whom he had heard only rumors.
Why do I tell this story? Because there was something different about Ling. He was receptive. He asked sincere, humble, curious questions. He wanted to know more. Though I couldn’t quite put my finger on it at first, after meeting with him for several months, it hit me. He had been spared something that the rest of us, those of us who grew up in Post-Christian society, had received in our youth; he hadn’t been inoculated to Christianity.
You know how inoculation works. A weakened version of a disease is injected into your blood. Your immune system, sensing an intruder, goes all crazy and produces antibodies, which then opens up a can on the bad guys, crushing and utterly destroying them.
From then on, any time the real version of the disease tries to enter your body, your immune system is like, “Nah bro, I got this,” and kills it. Thus, inoculations are great at training your body to recognize and fight diseases it has seen before. Obviously, I’m no microbiologist, but you get the point.
Of course, getting a vaccine to prevent diseases like Chickenpox and Hepatitis B is all well and fine. But what happens when we become inoculated to a worldview? To a belief system? What happens when, coming of age in a culture littered with the shattered remnants of a once robust and holistic Christian culture, we find ourselves immune to, and thus unable to receive, the true, authentic, saving message of Jesus Christ?
What happens when Christianity becomes nothing more than a disease I have seen before?
An Inoculation to Truth
Venerable Fulton Sheen was a boss. He was also right about a lot of stuff, including this:
“There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”
Sheen understood the tragedy of our inoculation. So many of those who hate or leave the Church do so because they have been tricked into believing a false gospel.
Here are, in my opinion, three of the most insidious “fake versions” of Christianity – lies which, masquerading as truth, eventually lead people to reject Christianity altogether. We must stop them.