On May 8, vandals committed hate-crime acts against the Holy Cross Church in Monterey, CA damaging the baptismal font brought to Californiaby Bl. Junipeo Serra in 1791 and causing damage to the church and Mission Santa Cruz.
Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby founded by sisters, said, “I am stunned” after being criticized by the Vatican for focusing their work too much on poverty and economic injustice while keeping “silent” on abortion and same-sex marriage. (comment: those fellows in the Vatican don’t have much to do.)
- While attending a funeral at a Methodist Church, I picked up a brochure in the pew “Looking for a Church Home? Please Join Us! Our Hearts ,our Minds and our Doors are Always Open.”
(comment: have you ever seen such a welcome mat in a Catholic church?)
(Lest we forget)
Let us purify ourselves through the martyrs, or rather, through him through whom they too were purified in blood and truth.
St. Gregory Nazianzen (died 390)
My favorite priest, layperson, breathing saint or organization
Bishop Andrew Francis of Multanis calling upon the Church to declare to declare Shahbaz Bhatti a martyr. He was the only Catholic in the Pakistan cabinet and was assassinated for his opposition to the nation’s blasphemy law. In his last conversation, he said, “I know I will die assassinated, but I lay down my life for Christ and for inter-religious dialogue.”
(Now, tell me about your favorite Catholic priest, layperson or organization that is making a difference email@example.com )
(Regarding the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith’s recent censuring of our women religious) Their action is certain to be a pastoral disaster, another instance of the hierarchy acting in an imprudent and counterproductive fashion. All Catholic should support the effort of the bishops to preserve and pass on the fundamentals of the faith, and correcting doctrinal error is part of that process. But wouldn’t the bishops be more effective in that task if they did not confuse disagreement about public policy with doctrinal dissent—and if the experience and judgment of women were given an honored place and a decisive role in the church’s governance?
Editors in the May 18 issue of Commonweal
My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would quit dying.
If the Lord had been born to high rank and amidst luxury, unbelievers would have said the world has been transferred by wealth. If he had chosen as his birthplace the great city of Rome, they would have thought the transformation had been brought about by civil power. Suppose he had been the son of an emperor. They would have said: “How useful it is to be powerful.” Imagine him the son of a senator. It would have been: “Look what can be accomplished by legislation!”
But in fact, what did he do? He chose surroundings that were poor and simple, so ordinary as to be almost unnoticed, so that people would know it was the Godhead alone that had changed the world. This was his reason for choosing his Mother from among the poor of a very poor country, and for becoming poor himself.
Theodotus of Ancyra, (died 446 AD)
(Regarding Catherine Grant’s submission, “Thank You”, and her replies)
- I want to thank you for making this available to me. I have pasted it on my refrigerator door to remind me every morning how blessed I am.
Gertrude Owens (Boston,MA)
Dear Gertrude, It is a wonderful reminder. I, too, keep my copy within eyesight for daily viewing. I would like to suggest another reading that you will enjoy called “Desiderata”, which is available at your bookstore.
- It might help some people, but I’ve got enough problem of my own without having to worry about those millions of poor souls who might be worse off than me.
Jonathan Willsby (Liverpool,UK)
Dear Jonathan, Thanks for you response. We all have problems in our lives, but there is always room for a small prayer for the less fortunate. If it is possible, try to get a copy of “Desiderata” from your bookstore; it will give you a new outlook on life.
- In addition to reminding me how fortunate I am, this encourages me to pray each day for the millions who are in need of my prayers.
Wiley Kincaid (San Diego,CA)
Dear Wiley, Thanks for your prayers, and may you continue to be blessed.
- Having gone through two divorces, I want to add to your list those lucky women who are happily married, and to warn single women that over half of the marriages in America end up in the pond.
Maggie O’Brien (New York,NY)
Dear Maggie, Sorry for your misfortune. Your suggestion to add the happily married to the list is appreciate. Now we must pray for those who are contemplating marriage and hope that they will take a hard look at the vows they will be taking. Marriage is not always easy. It is a job that requires love, trust, honesty and understanding between two individuals.
Seated beside a priest on the subway, there was a very drunk and unkempt man with lipstick smeared on his cheek. He was annoying the other passengers as heread aloud his newspaper. Turning to the priest, he said, “Tell me, Father, what causes arthritis?” The priest said, “Too much alcohol, bad living conditions, and too much freedom with women.”
The man listened intently and nodded. A few minutes later, the priest felt a pang of pity and asked the drunk how long he had had arthritis.
“I never had arthritis,” he said, “but I read that the Pope has it.”
We do indeed need to show joy as Catholics. My motto — “Be happily and uncomplicatedly Catholic.”
Michael J. Sheehan Archbishop of Santa Fe
IT’S ABOUT TIME
Three cheers for Bishop David O’Connell, C.M. of Trenton, NJ. If Proctor and Gamble, whose purpose is to sell soap, discovered that they had lost 40% of the sales of Ivory Soap, they would conduct a massive market search using experts, surveys and study groups to correct this problem. Their management team would go to no end to understand and solve this problem.
The Catholic Church inAmerica, whose purpose is to bring people to Christ, has lost 40% of its adult members and shows damned little concern. The Church is pleased with an overall increase in numbers, which is credited to the influx of Catholics from Central andSouth America, and pays little heed to the massive drop-off of members. Last year, Georgetown University report estimated only 22% of Catholics attend Mass.
The Church’s governing body is comprised of aged bachelors who, with rare exception, believe there is no today and tomorrow. One of the exceptions is Bishop O’Connell who asked Charles Zech and Father William Byron (a man I have long admired) to conduct a study about the empty pews. They interviewed 300 fallen-away Catholics from age 16 to 90. One response was, “I had the right religion with the wrong people running it.”
Here are some of the many concerns of those who have left the Church:
- A lack of community (none of the drop-offs had been contacted by their priestsor fellow parishioners; “The pastor crowns himself a king and look down on all”)
- A dislike of the Church’s handling of the clergy sex abuse scandal and the fact that gays, divorced and remarried Catholics were unwelcome atMass.
- Too much emphasis on abortion and contraception, and not enough attention to the underprivileged, war and health.
- Lousy homilies that are pointless and can’t be remembered by the time a parishioner walks out the church door.
- A lack of respect and equality for women.
- A need of immediate attention for a fresh explanation of the nature of the Eucharist (note: check out “Communion, ho-hum” in Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholics)
In a recent column, E.J. Dionne wrote, “Too many bishops seem in the grip of dark suspicions that our culture is moving at breakneck speed toward a demonic end. Pope John XXIII, by contrast, was more optimistic about the signs of the times. ‘Distrustful souls are only darkness burdening the face of the earth,’ he once said. ‘We prefer instead to reaffirm all our confidence in our Savior who has not abandoned the world which he redeemed.’ The church best answers its critics when it remembers that its mission is to preach hope, not fear.”
Now it’s about time that other Church leaders will wake up and follow Bishop O’Connell’s example in acknowledging and attempting to correct a major concern for Catholic America.
(And let me have your thoughts about this: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Roster of Joyful Catholic Priests
The media loves to publicize bad priests, and we should give recognition to our Joyful Catholic Priests. Send me your recommendation for ones you think merit membership in this splendid group. (email@example.com)