Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Tag Archives: Culture

“Lift High the Cross”

One of my favorite feasts of the liturgical year is the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. It draws me back to Good Friday but in the light of Easter Sunday. that which was meant for death and despair has become our joy and hope. In a world that exalts a life free of care and suffering, this feast reminds us that the cross can bring sweetness when a situation is so sour.

The following is a meditation was written last year by Brother John M. Samaha, S.M. at St. Jude Maronite Church in Murray, Utah on the occasion of the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross ~ September 14. Enjoy!«Continue Reading»

Encourage & Teach: What a Signature Can Tell You

Signature_of_Pope_Pius_XIISignature_of_Pope_Pius_XIIpapal penRemember practicing in school your signature to make it uniquely yours? Some choose bubble letters. Some carefully paced those little hearts over the lower-case “i,” while others added that little extra flair or stroke at the end of their name. Signatures tell people something about us — except maybe those of doctors because I can never read their signatures. The same is true for ecclesiastical signatures.

Did you know that hierarchical signatures of the Church have been regulated by precedent and custom for centuries? Take the papal name. (Read more)

Encourage & Teach: The Slavery of Abortion and the Myth of Affordability

Last week was the March for Life. The day after, I read a blog quote that said:

Ichainst’s impossible to be at the March and not hear the comparison between abortion and slavery. But abortion is not slavery. Both are/were deeply polarizing issues, and both inspired massive movements to outlaw them. But slavery was a deliberate attempt to monetize a class of people slaveholders considered equivalent to animals. It was a systemic, calculated, and brutal.

I would submit that this is a sophmoric, if not irresponsible, statement – especially due to the youthful readers that it influences (James 3:1). Regrettably, “The court decisions on slavery vs. abortion demonstrate an equivalent denial of personhood for two different categories of human beings, slaves and unborn children.” (Read more…)

Rational Thinking for the Boy Scouts

BSAMy teenage years were some of the best years in my life thus far. What made those awkward years bearable was my involvement in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The camaraderie I found was a safe-harbor and, as I reflect on those years, invaluable.

They taught me more than how to camp and cook. The BSA taught me life-long vocational skills including those related to project management, leadership, teaching, team building and public speaking. My fellow scouts and I learned to work together towards a common goal. Not just to practice skill sets but accomplish particular projects that were not only fun but tested our metal and perseverance.

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The Next Pontiff on Cult and Culture

Ratzinger, pontifical High MassThe word culture comes from the Latin cultus where we also receive the word cult. A culture is defined by what it worships – what is at the center of its heart.  Blessed John Paul II in Crossing the Threshold of Hope stated that we live in a culture of death – or the worship of death.  It is for this reason that liturgy is neither an expression of religious piety not an ancient ritual reserved for the initiated. It is both and far, far more. Liturgy is how we will renew and revive the culture:

It is fitting that liturgical celebration tends to express itself in the culture of the people where the Church finds herself, though without being submissive to it. Moreover, the liturgy itself generates cultures and shapes them. (CCC1207)

Thus the liturgy has primacy of place as a catechesis for the Church and culture. It is here where God Himself teaches us and forms us. In fact,  Servant of God Paul VI during his “Address for the Closing of the Second Period, December 4, 1963, AAS [1964], 34″ (Papal Message) said the following:

In this event we observe that the correct order has been respected of the values and duties: thus we have recognized that the post of honor is reserved to God; that as first duty we are called to raise prayers to God; that the sacred Liturgy is the primary source of this divine exchange in which the life of God is communicated to us; it is the first school of our soul, it is the first gift that must be made by us to the Christian people. [emphasis mine]

Not only is it the formative principal of our lives and culture but the “source from which all of the Church’s power flows” (Sacrosanctum Concilium,10).

It is for this reason many have noted that the confusion in the liturgy since the Second Vatican Council has seriously contributed to the confusion in the culture. Louie Verrecchio in his February 15, 2013 article, “Spiritual warfare and the Pope’s resignation,” provides some great insight into the renewal of the Church, through the liturgy, after the Council. Pope Benedict XVI said during his 2005 Christmas address to the Curia, that

the “hermeneutic of reform”, of renewal in the continuity of the one subject-Church which the Lord has given to us. She is a subject which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God.

He continued saying,

The hermeneutic of discontinuity risks ending in a split between the pre-conciliar Church and the post-conciliar Church. It asserts that the texts of the Council as such do not yet express the true spirit of the Council. It claims that they are the result of compromises in which, to reach unanimity, it was found necessary to keep and reconfirm many old things that are now pointless.

Of course, this is clearly seen in the pre/post-Council liturgy. When the Holy Father wanted to heal the dicontinuity he issued Summorum Pontificum. Now, while I have a great appreciation for the Extraordinary Form (EF) and the rich symbolism and tradition it provides for us, I appreciate just as much the Novus Ordo (properly celebrated) for its patristic nobility the Council Fathers desired to communicate. That being said, I would prefer that they would learn from each other in order for us to experience more of the continuity from past to present and give us a liturgy that is faithful to our Tradition which in turn, will effectively communicate to this generation.

Mr. Verrecchio boldly concludes his article stating,

Mark my words: We will know what the immediate future holds for the Church based upon just one observation; namely, the liturgical mindset of Pope Benedict’s successor.

If the man who is chosen has a distaste for the Traditional Mass, then rest assured, regardless of any apparent orthodox bonafides the new pope may have, the modernists will succeed in making Catholic life difficult.

If, however, they elect a man who loves the Tridentine Rite, celebrates it often, and continues to do so as pope, know for a fact that while tribulation is most certainly coming, we are moving in the right direction.

If this is the case, then the following cardinals have celebrated the Traditional Latin Mass (Provided by Rorate Caeli). They include:

  1. Philippe Cardinal Barbarin
  2. Raymond Cardinal Burke
  3. Carlo Cardinal Caffarra
  4. Antonio Cardinal Cañizares Llovera
  5. Velasio Cardinal De Paolis
  6. George Cardinal Pell
  7. Albert Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith
  8. Jean-Pierre Cardinal Ricard
  9. Franc Cardinal Rodé
  10. Juan Cardinal Sandoval Íñiguez
  11. John Cardinal Tong Hon
  12. André Cardinal Vingt-Trois

Could it be that one of these men are our future pontiff? We will see. Until then, I thought I would provide some more food for thought. Would love to hear yours!

Thoughts on the Next Pope


Fr. Longenecker on Spirituality & Religion

Yes, the  Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus  video has gone viral. Fr. Longeneker on his Standing on My Head blog wrote a beautiful response to the video. Simple, short and to the point. Decided we should should share his January 17, 2012 post. Should you want more, his original post entitled, Spiritual But Not Religious? is quite fantastic as well:  Enjoy!

Spirituality and Religion 2

What is the relationship between spirituality and religion?

  • Spirituality is subjective. The Catholic Religion is objective.
  • Spirituality is the genius. Religion is the discipline.
  • Spirituality is the heart. Religion is the mind and body.
  • Spirituality is the vine. Religion is the trellis.
  • Spirituality is the music. Religion is the notes on the page and the practice.
  • Spirituality is the drama. Religion is the script.
  • Spirituality is the cuisine. Religion is the cookbook.
  • Spirituality is making love. Religion is the marriage.
  • Spirituality is the paycheck. Religion is the work.
  • Spirituality is the free fall. Religion is the parachute.
  • Spirituality is the quest. Religion is the map.
  • Spirituality is the climb. Religion is the ladder.
  • Spirituality is the grace. Religion is the law.
  • Spirituality is the inspiration. Religion is the perspiration.
  • Spirituality is the question. Religion is the answer.