This attitude is the antithesis of the priesthood, or of any other kind of vocation: we are called to serve in various ways, according to our abilities and our nature. Demanding the right to serve is like demanding that all paratroopers have the right to carry anvils. Doesn't sound like you understand what we're trying to achieve!
In other words, you are completely clueless how great our Church is. Why stay?
Two things strike me about this woman's lament: one is her poor grasp on theology. She refers to the Eucharist as "bread," or sometimes "transformed bread." (She even refers to the "yeast" in the Host, which suggests that she not only misses the symbolic significance of unleavened bread, she also missed Home Ec 101 in junior high.) She appears, in short, to think that the Eucharist is mostly about inclusiveness, and that a lack of female priests demonstrates a failure of inclusiveness. Does she believe that the consecrated Host is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, offered up for any man, woman, or child who dares to receive Him? She doesn't say.
And her lack of understanding makes my second observation all the more striking: she stays anyway. Even though she doesn't like what she's experienced -- even though she apparently doesn't have the first clue about what she's experienced -- she stays. She furtively tries out other churches, with female priests; but she keeps coming back, and she keeps identifying herself as Catholic.
What does this tell us?
There is a reason why people stay. There is a reason why even former Catholics keep on identifying themselves as "lapsed Catholics" or "recovering Catholics," and it's not about brainwashing our emotional scars. People stay because God, in the most holy sacrament of the altar, is there. Unmistakably there. God is appealing. God is attractive, in the least superficial way possible. Once you receive God you will never stop wanting Him, even if that want is transformed by sin or ignorance into something bitter or resentful.
Yes, there's more. Yes, you should read the whole thing.
There's a There there in the Catholic Church. A Magnet that draws one in. A Substance that fills.
Cultural trends discouraging marriage are among the biggest challenges to the Church in the U.S., says Cardinal Seán O'Malley, who also sees signs of renewal and hope among young people.
"Concerns about marriage – people not getting married, falloff in Mass attendance, (and the) challenge of catechizing the young Catholics" are some of the more troubling trends facing Catholicism in the U.S., the Archbishop of Boston said to CNA Nov. 11, during the general assembly of the national bishops' conference in Baltimore.
Cardinal O'Malley is a member of the group of eight cardinals whom Pope Francis has asked to help reform the Roman Curia, as well as chairman of the U.S. bishops' committee on pro-life activities.
The cardinal noted that "the whole notion of family is so undercut by the cohabitation mentality," and that these social trends are having a tremendous impact on the working-class communities "who were once the backbone of the Church."
"Half of the children born to that demographic are born out of wedlock," a statistic that Cardinal O'Malley said would have been "inconceivable" a few decades ago.
This shift away from the bearing of children within wedlock is the “biggest threat to marriage.”
Yet the sacrament of marriage is facing other challenges as well, he added.
"Part of the problems are economic" he commented, explaining that "our educational system is so expensive, people graduate from college or graduate school facing huge debts."
"If you have a $150,000 debt when you graduate law school, are you going to marry a girl that has a $130,000 debt and start off your marriage with over a quarter-million dollars' debt?”
“So people are postponing marriage – are postponing a decision to go into the seminary or religious life – because they're saddled under this tremendous debts which former generations didn't have."
In addition, Cardinal O'Malley stated that the Church needs "better marriage preparation" and outreach to help young people recover an understanding of marriage.
The Church needs to "catechize our young people and instill in them a sense of vocation, and also to help them understand what courtship is about."
In combination with the misunderstanding of marriage, lack of attendance at Mass, and the shortcomings in the catechization of young people, the Church also faces many challenges posed by the “secularization of the culture,” he explained.
Despite all this, Cardinal O'Malley said, there remain cultural "signs of hope."
Those signs of hope are chronicled at the link but you can understand how people engaged in the behaviors referenced might take umbrage particularly if the message explaining why the behaviors are problematic isn't being delivered.
Pope Francis on Wednesday called on priests to be servants of the Sacrament of Forgiveness.
Speaking to the the faithful during the weekly General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Pope said the Church accompanies us on our journey of conversion for the whole of our lives, calling us to experience reconciliation in its communal and ecclesial dimension.
He said that we receive forgiveness through priests who are the servants of this sacrament, and that they must recognise - he said - that they too are are in need of forgiveness and healing and thus they must excercise their ministry in humilty and mercy.
Below, please find Pope Francis' remarks to English speaking pilgrims, read out in English by an assistant:
Dear Brothers and Sisters: Today I would like to speak again on the forgiveness of sins by reflecting on the power of the keys, which is a biblical symbol of the mission Jesus entrusted to the Apostles. First and foremost, we recall that the source of the forgiveness of sins is the Holy Spirit, whom the Risen Jesus bestowed upon the Apostles. Hence, he made the Church the guardian of the keys, of this power.
The Church, however, is not the master of forgiveness, but its servant. The Church accompanies us on our journey of conversion for the whole of our lives and calls us to experience reconciliation in its communal and ecclesial dimension. We receive forgiveness through the priest. Through his ministry, God has given us a brother to bring us forgiveness in the name of the Church. Priests, who are the servants of this sacrament, must recognize that they also are in need of forgiveness and healing, and so they must exercise their ministry in humility and mercy. Let us then remember always that God never tires of forgiving us. Let us truly value this sacrament and rejoice in the gift of pardon and healing that comes to us through the ministry of priests.
We all need to know that our wrongs, intentional and otherwise, are forgiven. I'm of the opinion, strongly held, that communicating God's love, His forgiveness and mercy, are indeed the keys guarded by the Church.
Think on it loved ones, friends and others.
Think on the fact that your wrongs can be blotted out.
Think on the healing that would bring and the impact that healing will have on your life.
Hundreds of thousands of Italian Catholics have flocked back to church since the election of the pope, according to a study published on Mondaythat credits the "Francis effect" for the boost in congregations.
Researcher Massimo Introvigne, a sociologist and head of Italy's Centre for the Study of New Religions (Cesnur), found that 51% of 250 priests he interviewed reported a significant rise in church attendance since the election of the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio in March.
"If we project those results nationally, and if only half the parishes and communities in Italy have been touched by the Francis effect, then we're talking about hundreds of thousands of people who are returning," he said.
There was evidence that the 76-year-old Argentinian pope had made an even more dramatic impact in Britain. In a smaller survey, of 22 British cathedrals, 65% of the respondents had said they had noticed a rise in numbers, Introvigne added.
He said he first discovered evidence of a surge in attendance at mass in a survey he carried out soon after Francis became pope. He decided to conduct a more extensive poll to see if observance had since returned to its previous level.
"It might have been attributable to the novelty of having a new pope and the emotions stirred by the resignation of pope Benedict. But after six months I got more or less the same result," he said.
According to two of Italy's most senior clerics, Francis is making his biggest impact on long-lapsed Catholics. Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, the archbishop of Florence, said: "So many are returning to the sacraments, in some cases after decades."
His account was borne out by the auxiliary bishop of L'Aquila, Giovanni D'Ercole, who said in an interview with the daily La Stampa that "Francis makes headway above all among those who had distanced themselves from Christian life."
If you love beer, thank a monk. Monks have been producing beer for 1,500 years, and in that time, they have revolutionized and perfected the beer-making process.
The history of monks and beer begins early in the sixth century when Benedict of Nursia wrote a template for monastic life called The Rule (later known as The Rule of St. Benedict). One of Benedict’s directives was that monks should earn their own keep and donate to the poor by the work of their own hands. In the centuries following, monasteries have produced goods to sell, including cheese, honey, and, of course, beer.
Beer production served other purposes too. The Rule outlines the monastery’s obligation to show hospitality to travelers and pilgrims. Beer was safer to drink in medieval times than water contaminated by sewage, and therefore was served to visitors. Beer was also helpful to monks in getting through periods of fasting in Lent and Advent. Beer’s nutrients earned it the nickname “liquid bread.”
In the Middle Ages, monks introduced regulation and sanitary practices in their breweries. They also extended the life of beer by adding hops, which acts as a preservative.
Today monks produce some of the most critically acclaimed beers on the market. The most famous monastic breweries are the eight Trappist breweries in northern Europe. One of these, St. Sixtus of Westveltern, Belgium, makes what is considered the best beer in the world. In 2012 they exported their beer, Westvleteren 12, for the first time to the United States. Six-packs reportedly sold for as much as $85.
There's more at the link including a fantastic video. Check it out.
Sarah Palin apologized for her recent comments about Pope Francis and what she viewed as his "liberal statements."
"It was not my intention to be critical of Pope Francis," Palin wrote Thursday on Facebook, in reference to an interview earlier this week on CNN. "I was reminding viewers that we need to do our own homework on news subjects, and I hadn't done mine yet on the Pope's recent comments as reported by the media."
Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, said Tuesday on CNN that Pope Francis has made "some statements that to me sound kind of liberal, has taken me aback, has kind of surprised me." She didn't specify her concerns, but she added that "unless I really dig deep into what his messaging is and do my own homework, I'm not going to just trust what I hear in the media."
Pope Francis surprised many people when he said the Catholic Church has been "obsessed" with issues such as gay marriage and abortion and sometimes "locked itself up in small things." His comments were made in an interview published in September by several Jesuit magazines.
In her Facebook post, Palin said she's been assured by Catholic friends and family that Pope Francis "is as sincere and faithful a shepherd of his church."
"I apologize for not being clearer in my response, thus opening the door to critical media that does what it does best in ginning up controversy," she said.
I like Sarah Palin so was most pleased to read about this.
Heard this moments ago as I trekked to a lunch date with my beautiful bride, escaping from the stuff at the office that can seem so calamitous in the moment but that in the end, really, is so inconsequential.
When first hearing it, I thought it was Audrey Assad who has become a favorite of mine but it isn't. What it is however is beautiful... see if you agree:
You call me out upon the waters The great unknown where feet may fail And there I find You in the mystery In oceans deep My faith will stand
(Chorus) And I will call upon Your name And keep my eyes above the waves When oceans rise My soul will rest in Your embrace For I am Yours and You are mine
Your grace abounds in deepest waters Your sovereign hand Will be my guide Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me You've never failed and You won't start now
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders Let me walk upon the waters Wherever You would call me Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander And my faith will be made stronger In the presence of my Savior
In a study conducted by The Global Language Monitor, Pope Francis was the most discussed proper
name on the internet, eclipsing secular leaders, global celebrities, and proper names of places, organizations, and movements. Additionally, the Holy Father’s Twitter handle “@Pontifex” was the #4 ranked word.
Despite the fact that secular society often tries to enforce the myth of the irrelevance of faith and religious leaders and the indifference of the common person towards religion, the elevation of Pope Francis and his papacy has been a noticeably impactful event in the daily lives of the people of the modern world.
The group out of Austin, Texas determines the top terms, words, phrases, and names by analyzing “the Internet, blogosphere, the top 275,000 print and electronic global media, as well as new social media sources as they emerge”. The study is limited to the English language, which according to this study, is spoken by 1.83 billion individuals.
How cool is that?
And stories like this one are feeding all the more discussions.
May a plethora of peeps be drawn to God's Church because of it all.
My wife's uncle, her mother's brother-in-law, passed away last week and we trekked to Sophia (pronounced Sophie), West Virginia for the viewing on Saturday. He'll be buried later this week in Alabama. While there we visited the graves of my mother-in-law's parents in Beckley. Her mother died young while in child birth. Her father many years later. It was a moving couple of days for her particularly but for the rest of us as well.
The death of loved ones is an occasion for deeper thought about lots of things. About how short life is, about how meaningless in the end are those things keeping families apart, about life after death, about heaven and hell.
We all want to believe that we will be with our loved ones again one day after they've passed. We want to believe that God, in his mercy and love, will bring that familial reconciliation to fruition. But, if we're human, we'll also confess to doubts. Doubts perhaps about the after life altogether. Doubts about where we'll end
up. Doubts about where our loved ones will end up.
All of which brought my wife and I tonight to talking about the after life, and hell in particular, as we walked the dog about the neighborhood.
As somewhat recent converts (ok, I'm actually a revert) to Catholicism, we're still learning about what the faith teaches about these things.
I had the opportunity to talk briefly about purgatory over the weekend with the in-laws and though I think I handled things fairly well, I quickly found myself somewhat over my head as to the topic.
What I hope with every fiber of my being is that I will make the cut. And of course, I hope the the same for my loved ones.
The doctrine of purgatory, of a place where the saved go to be purified before entering God's sacred and holy presence, I find to be a hopeful doctrine. For me... for my loved ones.
Yet, I can't help but wonder how heavenly heaven might be should I make that cut and my loved ones do not. It's a wondering that makes me yearn to learn more about all of this and... of course... to share what I've learned particularly with family and friends.
So tonight, I figured that Fr. Robert Barron would have something related to say, and so set out to find what that something might be. I found what follows and, frankly, find it to be most helpful and more importantly, most hopeful.
There is a new and significant piece of evidence in the social science debate about gay parenting and the unique contributions that mothers and fathers make to their children’s flourishing. A study just published in the journal Review of the Economics of the Household—analyzing data from a very large, population-based sample—reveals that the children of gay and lesbian couples are only about 65 percent as likely to have graduated from high school as the children of married, opposite-sex couples.
And gender matters, too: girls are more apt to struggle than boys, with daughters of gay parents displaying dramatically low graduation rates.
Unlike US-based studies, this one evaluates a 20 percent sample of the Canadian census, where same-sex couples have had access to all taxation and government benefits since 1997 and to marriage since 2005.
While in the US Census same-sex households have to be guessed at based on the gender and number of self-reported heads-of-household, young adults in the Canadian census were asked, “Are you the child of a male or female same-sex married or common law couple?” While study author and economist Douglas Allen noted that very many children in Canada who live with a gay or lesbian parent are actually living with a single mother—a finding consonant with that detected in the 2012 New Family Structures Study—he was able to isolate and analyze hundreds of children living with a gay or lesbian couple (either married or in a “common law” relationship akin to cohabitation).
So the study is able to compare—side by side—the young-adult children of same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples, as well as children growing up in single-parent homes and other types of households.
The study’s publication continues the emergence of new, population-based research in this domain, much of which has undermined scholarly and popular claims about equivalence between same-sex and opposite-sex households echoed by activists and reflected in recent legal proceedings about same-sex marriage.
Might the American Psychological Association and American Sociological Association have been too confident and quick to declare “no differences” in such a new arena of study, one marked by the consistent reliance upon small or nonrandom “convenience” samples? Perhaps. Maybe a married mom and dad do matter, after all.
Bottom line... the Church believes that children are better off with a mom and dad who are married. Now there's scientific evidence to support that belief.