During WWII, the Nazis murdered approximately 17,000,000 people in what we today call the Holocaust. Since, 1973, Roe vs. Wade has led to the killing of 54,000,000 unborn children.
Some would say that abortion on demand is “human progress”, but is this really how we want to measure progress?
Neither theological knowledge nor social action alone is enough to keep us in love with Christ unless both are proceeded by a personal encounter with Him. Theological insights are gained not only from between two covers of a book, but from two bent knees before an altar. The Holy Hour becomes like an oxygen tank to revive the breath of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the foul and fetid atmosphere of the world — Archbishop Fulton J Sheen
Is It Time to Forgive?
Being Catholic, one of the things that I have grown to really appreciate, is the liturgical order of our worship, and especially the calendar of readings. While many of our Protestant brethren today may have decided to venture off into scriptures that could tangentially relate to the 9/11 attacks, as Catholics, we today are the witness to God’s providence for his people, and that as a loving father, will always hand us fish instead of a viper.
Wrath and anger are hateful things,
yet the sinner hugs them tight.
The vengeful will suffer the LORD’s vengeance,
for he remembers their sins in detail.
Forgive your neighbor’s injustice;
then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven.
Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
"Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
So the question must be asked: As a nation, is it time to forgive? We have mourned, and fought back, become complacent, and even forgotten, but as a nation we have not forgiven. Many would call me a foolish man, to believe that forgiving those who participate in radical Islamic terrorism will stop, were we to extend an olive branch, and offer forgiveness. While the branch may be rejected, I believe that the alternative, sinfully hugging anger, is much worse.
So today, while I pray for the repose of the souls of all who lost there life on 9/11, and for the consolation of every family effected by this tragedy, I also pray for the terrorist who’s considering strapping a bomb to his chest tomorrow, and the Imam who believes that America is the Great Satan, and in union with the Holy Father, who prayed at Ground Zero on his visit to the United States, I pray:
O God of love, compassion, and healing,
look on us, people of many different faiths and traditions,
who gather today at this site,
the scene of incredible violence and pain.
We ask you in your goodness
to give eternal light and peace to all who died here –
the heroic first-responders: our fire fighters, police officers,
emergency service workers, and Port Authority personnel,
along with all the innocent men and women
who were victims of this tragedy
simply because their work or service
brought them here on September 11, 2001.
We ask you, in your compassion
to bring healing to those
who, because of their presence here that day,
suffer from injuries and illness.
Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families
and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy.
Give them strength to continue their lives
with courage and hope.
We are mindful as well
of those who suffered death, injury, and loss
on the same day at the Pentagon and in
Our hearts are one with theirs
as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering.
God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world:
peace in the hearts of all men and women
and peace among the nations of the earth.
Turn to your way of love
those whose hearts and minds
are consumed with hatred.
God of understanding,
overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy,
we seek your light and guidance
as we confront such terrible events.
Grant that those whose lives were spared
may live so that the lives lost here
may not have been lost in vain.
Comfort and console us,
strengthen us in hope,
and give us the wisdom and courage
to work tirelessly for a world
where true peace and love reign
among nations and in the hearts of all.
— Pope Benedict XVI prayer at Ground Zero. April 20, 2008.
Fraternal Correction in the Digital Age
This weekend’s Gospel reading, places a heavy emphasis on the topic of Fraternal Correction and the responsibilities of a Christian, in guiding his brother to heaven. Sitting in mass this morning, listening to the readings, and the homily that followed, I couldn’t help but think that instead of living the example of Fraternal Correction that Jesus presents us in the Gospel, often we instead see the following faux-commandment lived out:
Jesus said to his disciples:
"If your brother sins against you, go and tell all of your Facebook friends, so that he may become embarrassed and in his shame, retreat deeper into his sinful behavior.”
While the above may be a pale attempt at sarcastic humor, it sadly depicts what has become an all too common method of dealing with controversy in the modern age. We find ourselves in the position in which tolerance has become the cardinal virtue of modern American culture, and judgment it’s gravest mortal sin, and quite possibly it’s only mortal sin.
If the tides are to turn, it’s going to take men and women of courage to stand up, and proclaim the truth, without fear of the consequences for being one of the few who still shine light into the darkness of sin. At the same time though, a measure of prudence must guide one’s steps, so as not to make the mistake of pushing someone further away from the Lord.
As our Lord tells us, confront your brother who has sinned alone first, and remembering the advice of St. Paul in the second reading from today, “love does no evil to the neighbor”. It should always proceed from a spirit of humility, reminding someone the danger of there sin, without rendering a judgement that comes from a “holier than thou” attitude. Prudence should dictate the opportunity in which you approach your brother and should he disregard your attempts, fall upon to support of other Christian brothers and sisters to plead with him, and finally present your brother to church.
Jesus said to his disciples:
"If your brother sins against you,
go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.
If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
If he does not listen,
take one or two others along with you,
so that ‘every fact may be established
on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’
If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church.
If he refuses to listen even to the church,
then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.”
CatholiCon, the SQPN New Media Conference, and Building the Super Catholic New Media Conference
This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the first CatholiCon expo, which focused on using new media to build rich interactions for the purpose of spreading the gospel and the mission of Holy Church.
The event was Emceed by Matthew Warner, of Flock Note and Fallible Blogma fame, and headlined by Father Z, and included mass in both the Extraordinary form and Novus Ordo, along with Vespers Friday evening, and Morning and Midday prayer on Saturday.
Breakout sessions by Father Chris, Father Ryan, Jeff Blackwell, and Roberto Veri brought balance between technology, and the sacredness of the mission in which we are called to, but if there is anything that can be said about CatholiCon, it is that at a conference in which communication was the topic of the weekend, no form of communication was given greater significance than mass and praying the office. Father Chris, Father Ryan, Father Z, and Father Vidrine set the tone for the entire event with the attention to detail in which they gave to the liturgy.
SQPN New Media Celebration
Back in 2009, I was fortunate enough to attend the SQPN New Media Conference in San Antonio, and had a wonderful experience there as well. Looking over the lineup for this year’s conference, I wish I would have some vacation time leftover at work to be able to attend. The schedule looks much beefier than it did 2 years ago, and I’m pleased to see that Mass and Eucharistic Adoration have been incorporated into the event, (as I recall, there wasn’t any celebration of the sacraments two years, ago).
The Future of Catholic New Media Conferences
These two events seem poised to lead the church in leveraging all of these new technologies, and both have provided a solid starting point. Being the geek that I am though, I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least share some thoughts on what I’d like to see taken from the best of both events, along with a few ideas that are dear to me.
- Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction to open the event.
- Perpetual Adoration throughout the event, with every participant offering at least one hour before our Holy Lord, in reparation for all of the times when the church has failed in it’s mission to communicate Christ to the world, and for Holy Men and Women to be raised up to be missionaries of the digital continent.
- A heavy emphasis on praying the Divine Office, along with mass in both the Extraordinary Form and Novus Ordo.
- More participation from the hierarchy of the church. This is open invitation to Archbishop Dolan, Archbishop Chaput, and all of the Bishops of the church. Seeing you in actual attendance, and working hand in hand with lay people to learn more about these technologies would invigorate the lay faithful to press on in there endeavors.
- A Theological Track focused on developing and teaching a Theology of Communication which Father Z referenced numerous times throughout the course of CatholicCon.
- A hackathon lead by software developers who would coordinate developing an open REST API of data for all catholic developers to use as an authoritative source of church documents, mass times, dioceses, parishes, hierarchical members, saints, quotes, prayers, and more. In a perfect world, it would be the starting point of an API that would be given over to the Vatican to host, oversee, and maintain.
- A longer think tank session similar to CatholiCon, with daily on site voting, along with participant submitted questions.
- A website / podcast / television workshop, in which participants could sit in with developers and media producers to make suggestions and provide feedback and support on what next steps are needed to bring the quality up a notch.
For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and even grandchildren) and turns it back; sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides. And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman. For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no woman can rival. Among those shadowy brides he is always adored, always the perfect lover; no demand is made on his unselfishness, no mortification ever imposed on his vanity. In the end, they become merely the medium through which he increasingly adores himself…After all, almost the main work of life is to come out of our selves, out of the little dark prison we are all born in. Masturbation is to be avoided as all things are to be avoided which retard this process. The danger is that of coming to love the prison.
When I began searching Scripture and reading Catholic teaching on the subject of contraception, which is very thorough, it was as if scales fell from my eyes.
Omnia Christus est nobis!
If you have wounds to heal, He is a physician;
If fever scorches you, He is a fountain.
Would you punish evil doing, He is justice.
If you need help, He is strength;
If you fear death, He is life;
If you hunger, He is food.
Omnia Christus est nobis. Christ is Everything to us!