Sunday, July 20, 2014

Contraception, Francis, and the Holy Spirit

A few comments:

1) There is a general fear that if we trust the Holy Spirit, then we're all going to turn into a bunch of relativistic Stevie Nickses running around in a drug-induced trance with tambourines and praising the gods of a bygone era.  Pope Benedict acknowledged that it is understandable to be cautious when we first hear the Holy Spirit, not because it is right to fear the Holy Spirit, but because so much craziness has been done TO the Church and so many wounds have been inflicted upon the Church by those claiming to be operating under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

That being said, we should never fear the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit will NEVER lead us anywhere BUT to Christ and to His Church.  "The Spirit will lead you to ALL truth." (John 16:13).  We can't stifle the spirit because some loonies have tried to hijack the Spirit.  Instead, we must reclaim the Spirit, and show what a life lived in the Spirit looks like authentically!

2) Am I saying in this homily that catechesis (passing on the particular truths of the Faith) is not important?  BY NO MEANS!  Of course knowing our Faith is important, and we have to DOUBLE or TRIPLE our efforts in this area.  Some become lukewarm BECAUSE they know nothing about our Faith.  However, the thing we have to LEAD with is an authentic encounter with Jesus Christ, and the Joy and Peace that he offers.  The Holy Father is rightly saying that we should never give someone a pamphlet on contraception the first time this person shows up asking about Catholicism.

Thanks to all of our catechists who are working so hard to hand on the Truths of our Faith.  Keep up the great work!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Democracy is Like Marriage

Pope’s Saint John Paul II and Benedict XVI both talked extensively about democracy and capitalism.  To sum it up briefly – democracy seems to be our best form of government, but just because you have a republic or a democracy, that does NOT mean that things are going to work out.


The Truth will not prevail automatically

First principles can be rejected and new ones enshrined and democracy can become totalitarian very quickly.

What are you doing to help shape our democratic system?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Catholic Mass and the Bible

Are We Not Smart Enough to Fix This?

People all the time - "The Catholic Church is a bunch of Republicans.  They should have their tax privilege revoked"

Well, here's the issue that has had me in the most hot water as a pastor - immigration - and I don't think the Church's stance on this issue is going to get a Catholic invited to speak at the Republican National Convention any time soon.

The behavior of our fellow citizens at the border recently has been sickening to watch.  The Church is for borders, and for sovereignty, but anyone with "eyes to see and ears to hear" knows that some of our fellow Americans have clearly been acting in the wrong.

We've got a lot of smart people in this country - we can surely figure out a way to help people live here who want to be here.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Euclid and Same Sex "Marriage"

As I've admitted on here elsewhere, I was a math major.

Euclid's Geometry is based on five axioms.  These axioms are used to build the whole system.  If you change one of the axioms (i.e. you say "two parallel lines CAN intersect") then the ENTIRE system changes, and it looks COMPLETELY different than Euclidean Geometry.

You can change one of the axioms, but the change echoes throughout the system, producing a completely new system.

Marriage between a man and a woman is an axiom of our society.  It is assumed to be true and everything hinges on that as a foundational principle.  There are a few other "axiomatic" principles that our society is founded on.  The Church notes that a just society is one in which:

1) the dignity of every human life, from conception to natural death, is honored
2) religious freedom is granted
3) the right to work is respected
4) marriage is between a man and a woman


Some people think the Church is against same-sex "marriage" because the Bible and the Church are against same-sex sex.  The Church is against same-sex "marriage" because the Church knows the types of decisions that bring societies crashing down - and one of those would be a redefinition of what marriage is.

That's why the Church says:

"If, from a legal standpoint, marriage between a man and a woman were to be considered just one possible form of marriage, the concept of marriage would undergo a radical transformation, with grave detriment to the common good." (Compendium of Social Teaching, paragraph 228).

Here's the point - we're not saying, as Catholics, that society needs to listen to us because God is great and "you all need to do what God says"...


If you change one of the foundational axioms, you change EVERYTHING...and when you change an axiom, what you soon have is a system that looks NOTHING like what you had before

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Indiana Bishops Issue Statement on Same-Sex Marriage

The dignity of the human person, rooted in his or her creation in the image and likeness of God, is a fundamental principle of Catholic social teaching. The Church upholds the dignity of every human person, including persons with same-sex attraction, whom we accept and love as our brothers and sisters.

At the same time, the Church upholds the dignity and sanctity of marriage as a natural union established by God between one man and one woman, intended towards the establishment of a family in which children are born, raised, and nurtured.  This is not simply a matter of belief. It is at the very heart of the nature of marriage. Thus, it is not within the power of any institution, religious or secular, to redefine marriage since it is God who is its author.

Today's decision by Richard L. Young, Chief Judge United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana,  to redefine the institution of marriage as an emotional partnership between two consenting adults regardless of gender ignores this fundamental and natural truth of marriage and opens its definition to the whims of public opinion.

With deep respect for all our brothers and sisters, we nevertheless see no basis in law or in nature for any definition of marriage that seeks to expand it beyond that of a covenant between one man and one woman.  Our position on this matter seeks only the common good of all men and women as well as the health and well being of families.

As pastors, we will continue to preach and teach the truth of marriage as it is ordered by God, encouraging all people to embrace the fullness of that truth, while upholding the dignity of all persons.  We will continue to work through the Indiana Catholic Conference to encourage our legislators and judges to uphold this truth as well.  We urge all involved in this issue to conduct themselves with mutual respect and civility in public discourse.

Most Reverend Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., D.D.
Archdiocese of Indianapolis 

Most Reverend Christopher J. Coyne, S.L.D.                                
Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Most Reverend Charles C. Thompson, D.D., J. C.L.
Diocese of Evansville              
Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades, D. D.    
Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend   

Most Reverend Dale J. Melczek, D.D.
Diocese  of Gary

Most Reverend Timothy L. Doherty, D.D., Ph.D.
Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana

Monday, July 7, 2014

Is God Like the "Force"?

People leave God because of false images they have of God.  Maybe we're part of the problem

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My Niece Olivia Serenades Her New Sister! AWESOME!

Now THIS is pro-life!!!

"You will be a beautiful as your mother takes care of you
Your feets are very small and your hand is very small
Everything is small because you're little
You always said v, you love Olivia the big sister
Your legs are little
You love your baby

Close your eyes and go to sleep
Go to sleep and you will be fine
Just go to sleep and I
Just go to sleep with your eyes closed and wide
Not open up, and you can't be
You can't be
You can be the beautiful word
You can't be a baby always, you're growing
You can't hold my finger or do that
Then you always hold my finger
Then you always hold everyone's finger
Because you love to suck on your thumb
Then you always do things all!!!

Here, you can have the baby back!"

Friday, June 27, 2014

Homily for My Grandma's Funeral

4 generations - Grandma, Dad, Matt, and Olivia

Reading: Proverbs 31:11-15, 20, 25-26, 28-30
A Reading from the Book of Proverbs
When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls. Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize. She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life. She rises while it is still night, and distributes food to her household. She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy. She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs at the days to come. She opens her mouth in wisdom, and on her tongue is kindly counsel. Her children rise up and praise her; her husband, too, extols her: "Many are the women of proven worth, but you have excelled them all." Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

In 1988, Saint John Paul II wrote a letter titled "On the Dignity of Women" which stated something that, in past generations, was quite obvious, but today is quite controversial.  St. John Paul II stated that men and women have different gifts.  Anyone who hears our first reading from today and thinks that it describes a life that is somehow subservient, weak or easy has simply never seen it lived out.

The gifts that men and women bring to the world were embodied in Grandma and Grandpa.  In fact, the two types of skill sets could be described as two different ways of "coaching" [Grandpa was a high school football coach for 50+ years].

Man's skill set involves toil, labor, defending the vulnerable, protecting the weak and needy.  It is embodied in soldiers, and, in times of relaxation and amusement, this spirit of sacrifice is embodied in games like football and so forth.

While Grandma knew more about "coaching football" than some men who coached state championship teams, Grandma "coached" in a different way, in a way that St. John Paul II called "The Feminine Genius."

This gift of the feminine genius is important, first of all, in marriage.  The Church says that marriage exists to help the man and woman who marry one another get to Heaven, and so the feminine genius helps counter-balance the rougher and less polished skill set that men bring to the table. 

It seemed to me that Grandma and Grandpa balanced each other out and inspired each other to holiness.  I'm sure Grandpa's love for Scripture and our Lord Jesus Christ undoubtedly inspired Grandma, Grandpa would also admit, in private moments, that Grandma's Catholicism inspired him as well, despite his razzing us about going to Mass on Holy Days and, as Cindy noted, despite Grandpa jokingly dodging sprinkled Holy Water at Mass in order to avoid "being captured by the Catholics."

The feminine genius is also important and can be tapped to help create a harbor and a safe-haven from the world.  First, this harbor is established in a climate where things and people are NOT torn down.  As Mom was relating to me today, she never heard Grandma utter ONE WORD of gossip.

The harbor is also established by building things up through love and care.  As grandkids, we experienced that harbor in what is probably, for most women, the crescendo of all their wisdom, love, and life…the home of a grandmother.  

Grandma's house was, for us, a magical cross between Alice's Wonderland and Narnia.  Hams, turkeys, cokes, ice-cream, cookies and candy provided nourishment between endless adventures outside, adventures on screen, slumber parties, presents, and hours and hours and days of board games.  Like any magical place, we never wanted to leave.  

In listening yesterday to Dad, Uncle Ty and Aunt Cindy talk, I get the strong impression that "Grandma's House" was not the first time Jeanette Hollowell poured her heart and soul and love into a home.

And finally a word on some of Grandma's last words - "The Hall's Y'alls"

Not everyone here speaks "Kentucky" and so the phrase, translated into Yankee, means "This hallway now belongs to all of you"

Grandma has left this hall, and, as Uncle Ty noted, we are the members of her team that she "coached"; we are still playing the game, and it is up to us to follow her coaching or not.  To love…or not.  To sacrifice…or not.

We are here to pray that she be welcomed into the banquet hall of Heaven where every tear is wiped away and there is no more sadness…only light and love.  Christ actually describes Heaven that way, as a great banquet hall for a wedding feast.  If Christ knows what He's doing, and if Heaven is a great banquet, then he'll do well to put Grandma in charge of the cookies!

May we live our lives in such a way that the King of Kings will one day greet us at the door of the great banquet hall with a plate of Grandma's cookies and say to us "come, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!"

"See you when we see you!"