8.30.2008

Don't Drive Faster Than Your Guardian Angel Can Fly

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI recently spoke regarding bad driving habits. Hey, he may even have reformed me.
"Today I would like to propose another prayer intention, given the news we receive, especially during this period, of numerous road accidents. We must not get used to this sad reality! Human life is too precious and it is too unworthy of man to meet death or become an invalid due to causes that could mostly be avoided. There is certainly a need for a greater sense of responsibility, above all by drivers, as accidents are often caused by excessive speed and imprudent conduct. Driving on public roads calls for moral and civic sense. Indispensable to fostering this is authorities' constant endeavor to prevent, keep watch and restrict. Moreover, as the Church, we feel directly involved at the ethical level: Christians must above all make a personal examination of conscience on their own conduct as drivers; moreover, communities should educate everyone to consider traffic as a field in which life must be protected and love of neighbor concretely exercised."

8.27.2008

No, Idiot Is Not Too Strong Of A Word

ON THE SEPARATION OF SENSE AND STATE:
A CLARIFICATION FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE CHURCH
IN NORTHERN COLORADO

To Catholics of the Archdiocese of Denver:
Catholic public leaders inconvenienced by the abortion debate tend to take a hard line in talking about the "separation of Church and state." But their idea of separation often seems to work one way. In fact, some officials also seem comfortable in the role of theologian. And that warrants some interest, not as a "political" issue, but as a matter of accuracy and justice.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is a gifted public servant of strong convictions and many professional skills. Regrettably, knowledge of Catholic history and teaching does not seem to be one of them.

Interviewed on Meet the Press August 24, Speaker Pelosi was asked when human life begins. She said the following:
"I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition . . . St. Augustine said at three months. We don't know. The point is, is that it shouldn't have an impact on the woman's right to choose."

Since Speaker Pelosi has, in her words, studied the issue "for a long time," she must know very well one of the premier works on the subject, Jesuit John Connery's Abortion: The Development of the Roman Catholic Perspective (Loyola, 1977). Here's how Connery concludes his study:
"The Christian tradition from the earliest days reveals a firm antiabortion attitude . . . The condemnation of abortion did not depend on and was not limited in any way by theories regarding the time of fetal animation. Even during the many centuries when Church penal and penitential practice was based on the theory of delayed animation, the condemnation of abortion was never affected by it. Whatever one would want to hold about the time of animation, or when the fetus became a human being in the strict sense of the term, abortion from the time of conception was considered wrong, and the time of animation was never looked on as a moral dividing line between permissible and impermissible abortion."

Or to put it in the blunter words of the great Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
"Destruction of the embryo in the mother's womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed on this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder."

Ardent, practicing Catholics will quickly learn from the historical record that from apostolic times, the Christian tradition overwhelmingly held that abortion was grievously evil. In the absence of modern medical knowledge, some of the Early Fathers held that abortion was homicide; others that it was tantamount to homicide; and various scholars theorized about when and how the unborn child might be animated or "ensouled." But none diminished the unique evil of abortion as an attack on life itself, and the early Church closely associated abortion with infanticide. In short, from the beginning, the believing Christian community held that abortion was always, gravely wrong.

Of course, we now know with biological certainty exactly when human life begins. Thus, today's religious alibis for abortion and a so-called "right to choose" are nothing more than that - alibis that break radically with historic Christian and Catholic belief.

Abortion kills an unborn, developing human life. It is always gravely evil, and so are the evasions
employed to justify it. Catholics who make excuses for it - whether they're famous or not - fool only themselves and abuse the fidelity of those Catholics who do sincerely seek to follow the Gospel and live their Catholic faith.

The duty of the Church and other religious communities is moral witness. The duty of the state and its officials is to serve the common good, which is always rooted in moral truth. A proper understanding of the "separation of Church and state" does not imply a separation of faith from political life. But of course, it's always important to know what our faith actually teaches.

+Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop of Denver

+James D. Conley
Auxiliary Bishop of Denver

8.24.2008

Patience Is A Virtue...I Think

"There is no way that you can make everyone happy." This statement has been said to me many times since my new assignment in McAdoo, however I have come to believe that perhaps communal happiness is more probable when patience is part of the process.

Since my arrival, I have tried to maintain a wait and see approach to my decision-making skills. So far, so good. I recently read an article which said that strong leadership in any organization requires many virtues, but one characteristic of effective leaders that you don’t often hear about is patience. Leaders require patience because they deal with people, not machines. People have many quirks and are reluctant to change. It takes patience to effectively work with people and accomplish the organization’s goals and objectives. Although there are appropriate times to be impatient and push an agenda, the astute leader knows that patience is very often his or her secret weapon in getting things done.

In thinking about patience, it is apparent that there are many layers to this virtue, but I have long said that the best way to attain this quality is to make time in one's schedule for meditation. Our hectic and activity-filled days must include time for prayer and silence. This is the way that we come to listen to God and feel less pressured. As a recovering perfectionist, I have found that the more time I devote to prayer and meditation, God rewards me with more patience.

8.20.2008

Pope Pius XII On Vocations

The choice of candidates for the priesthood recommended by Canon Law to pastors of souls must be the particular task of all priests, who have not only to render humble and generous thanks to God for the inestimable gift they have received but in like manner must hold nothing dearer or more pleasing than to find and prepare a successor for themselves among those young men whom they know to be equipped with the necessary qualifications. To succeed more efficaciously in this, every priest must make an effort to be and to show himself an example of the priestly life which for the young men whom he approaches and among whom he looks for signs of the divine call can constitute an ideal for imitation.

This wise and prudent selection must go on always and in all places not only among the young men who are already in the seminary but also among those who are studying elsewhere, and particularly among those who partake in the various activities of the Catholic apostolate. These last, even though they enter the priesthood at a later age, are often equipped with greater and more solid virtues because they have already been tried and have strengthened their souls by contact with the difficulties of life and have already collaborated in a field which is also the realm of priestly activity.
MENTI NOSTRAE (Apostolic Exhortation To The Clergy Of The Entire World On the Development of Holiness in Priestly Life) Pius XII

8.12.2008

Ode To A Priest


While cleaning out my new residence, I found a clipping with the following article written by Mrs. M Hotz from an unknown vocation publication dated April 28, 1968.

He alone, of all God's creatures, must walk alone. Never to know the joy of sharing the days accomplishments or frustrations with a loved one. To counsel and guide the young ones, but never to hold within his own loving hands, the small trusting hands of his own creation. Within his heart must burn the fire of Love. Love for his people, but from whom he must stay apart. Understanding, pity and guidance for their daily joys and troubles, and still no one to care for his. Love for the beauty of a summer night, winter's snow, or a pounding surf along a golden shore, but no one to express it to.

Yes, he walks alone, this Priest of ours. Cassock blowing in the wind, soul reaching for God. For as alone as he may seem, deep within him is the knowledge that he is not really alone. God is there with him always. Understanding his momentary feeling of loneliness. Walking with him on a summer night or along a golden shore. Guiding him as he guides his people. Filling him with the pure joy and contentment of communion with God and the knowledge that he is never really alone, this Priest of ours.


8.08.2008

They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love

For as long as I can remember that song has been played an important part of my life. Of course there will be those critics that say the song is to "sing-songy", but I like the message it tries to convey.

"We are one in the Spirit, We are one in the Lord," it seems almost incredulous that we need to be reminded of that fact, but yet we do. For the past three weeks I have watched my new congregation sit facing the altar as I presided over the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I watch as people that have lived in the same community for their entire lives are now invited to become a different type of community and I am poised to lead it.

As a living community we should be one in the Spirit. Even though, we might not like the way things are we are supposed to count on God , particularly His Spirit, to get us through -- and He will. So often in our lives things change and we accept them because we we are not really in charge. While free will gives us the opportunity to make a bad or good choice, if we are truly a follower of Christ then, we should allow Him to be in charge of our lives. But it is hard. I know that too well after 13 moves in 16 years.

As a living community we should be one in the Lord. Somewhere in my Catholic education I was taught that "Church" is not a building, "Church" is the people of God. When one's faith revolves around a building, instead of the Eucharistic Lord housed in it, our understanding of the God who created us is put into question. As a priest, who is committed to the Catholic Church for life, I feel sad that many of our houses of worship are closing.

It means that something is not right. Could it be that since the 1960's families are no longer as large as they once were? Could it be that parents are no longer attending Mass themselves or allowing teenagers to "find their own spirituality"? Could it be that the Church, while trying to invite more people into the fold by up-dating its liturgy, has alienated those who were complacent with the way things were before?

I pray each day that the merger and consolidation of our parishes in our diocese will bring forth great fruit. I do so because I am one member of a living community in the Spirit and our Lord.