Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Third Ghost of Christmas: Looking ahead

A couple weeks ago I stopped in to pick up a quick lunch and saw a type-written sign in the Subway store in St Michael, describing their hours during the holidays.


I wasn't sure what to think of this. I was encouraged that the store manager or owner had decided to emphasize Christ in their sign. It smacked of a defiant smirk at those who would rather describe Christmas Day 2008 A.D. as "the fourth day after the Winter Solstice in the Year we elected Barack Obama." And I smiled myself. Then the conspiratorial side of me worried that we are being reduced to subtle if clever ways to accomplish what used to be natural in our society, back when we weren't sued or reprimanded for demonstrating our faith.

What will our society be like 50 years from now? Perhaps we will not only disguise Christ in the font of printed signs, but perhaps resort to code words, or languages not readily recognized (Latin or ancient Greek, for instance). Special clothing or jewelry will work until the very display of it is equated to religion and intolerance for diversity. Or, how about secret hand shakes? It might seem fanciful to imagine this happening, given the majority of Americans who say they believe in God and in Jesus. But, think about the last 50 years, from 1958 to present. How have we changed over the decades to legalize the rejection of faith in the public discourse?

I am an optimist. And in this case I'm optimistic that things won't get that bad. But I do believe the protection of our religious freedom will come at a very high price. We will have to fight, and some of us may have to die, before our victory is gained.

History informs us that this is so.

Christmas Top Five: I Am Thankful For...

1. The gift of my life

2. The Incarnation and Sacrifice of my Savior

3. My wife and children

4. The Church

5. My country

OK, that's really more than five things but I've been blessed abundantly, more than I will ever deserve.

Merry Christmas, fellow bloggers!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Sad End to the Story

Just read this:

Associated Press - December 15, 2008 4:34 PM ET

PHOENIX (AP) - Phoenix's Catholic bishop has excommunicated a priest who started a nondenominational ministry after the priest was charged with misdemeanor sexual misconduct.

The action announced Monday against Monsignor Dale Fushek, once the diocese's second highest-ranking administrator, was a response to his creation of the Praise and Worship Center in Chandler.

In excommunicating Fushek and another Catholic priest who helped open the ministry, the diocese makes no mention of the criminal charges against Fushek. Fushek and the other priest are now prohibited from receiving the church's sacraments.

In his criminal case, Fushek is accused of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, indecent exposure and assault stemming from hearing confessions and counseling boys between 1984 and 1993.

(Past post in subject here)

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Inspiration and Truth of the Bible

This October, the world Synod of Bishops gathered to discuss the "Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church." The synod put forth 15 propositions at its conclusion (go here to read all 15).

It was pretty well known that there was some tension at the synod over differing views on the relationship between Biblical exegesis and Sacred Tradition (read about that here). Below is Proposition 12, and I have to say I find its wording ... interesting.
Proposition 12
Inspiration and truth of the Bible

"The Synod proposes that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith clarify the concepts of inspiration and truth of the Bible, as well as their reciprocal relationship, in order to understand better the teaching of "Dei Verbum" 11. In particular, it is necessary to highlight the originality of the Catholic biblical hermeneutics in this field."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Seeking Your Thoughts

Have you ever, in the urgency and heat of a conversation, been pushed to consolidate and analyze a pattern of thinking you've been victim to for some time and share your findings before you're certain they are fully baked? Well, I had that experience today. A dear friend was alarmed, in the midst of great blessings, to be suddenly afraid of death. As an emotional, navel-gazing kind of guy, I've been down this path more than once, so I worked to put my own cycle into words. And now it seems a part of a larger conversation, involving this post of mine and this post from our friend Deacon Tyler. Forgive the rambling and lofty sentence structures; I've been listening to St. Augustine during my commute these past few days. Would love to hear your thoughts or struggles in this regard.