Lately, the left has been decrying the Catholic Church's "crackdown" on the "poor sweet nuns" of the Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) saying that it is a war on all nuns in America in order to force them into submission to the heirarchy of "old men in robes" and to force sisters to "bow to the will of Rome". To top it all off, they *gasp* appointed a bishop (you know, one of those old men in robes") to beat these poor innocent women into submission. This is hardly true.
First of all, the LCWR only represents a small percentage of nuns in America. The vast majority of women religious are in no way affected (or targeted) by the renewal measures determined to be necessary by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Measures that were deemed necessary due to the flagrant disregard for Church teaching and outright public opposition to the US Council of Bishops (USCCB) when the bishops opposed Obamacare over it's funding of abortion by the leadership of the LCWR.
Second, the average person, frankly (including the average Catholic) wouldn't even recognize these women as Religious, since they tend to prance around in expensive business suits instead of the habits that (in my opinion) not only identify a Religious Sister's dedication to being a bride of Christ through love, charity, prayer and sacrifice but also inspire the respect due to them because of their selfless response to their call to vocation. Despite the claims to otherwise, the Leadership of the LCWR has ceased to be charitable and have become political lobbyists, consorting with Obama's ultra-liberal left-wing administration to cause confusion among Catholic voters by proclaiming liberal agenda items (abortion, same-sex marriage, etc.) as compatible with Church teachings when in truth, they aren't.
Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain was appointed as Archbishop Delegate to oversee this renewal, with the assistance of other bishops, women religious by working with the LCWR leadership. The mandate for the Delegate includes:
·Revision of LCWR statutes
·Review of LCWR plans and programs, including its General Assemblies
·Creation of programs for LCWR member congregations in initial and on-going formation
·Review LCWR’s application of liturgical norms and texts
·Review of LCWR affiliation with Network and the Resources Center for Religious Life.
In other words, renewing the truth of Catholic faith and doctrine among the upper echelons of the LCWR, where it is needed the most.
Sometimes I just long to return to those happy-go-lucky days when I didn't know squat about the realities of the world and could just indulge in my own personal pursuits. Like how I didn't know about the 54,000,000+ babies aborted since 1973, just that there was a case called Row v. Wade or how much people REALLY hated religion (because I didn't have any either) or how hard it was going to be to try to keep my kids (much less myself) sane in such a screwed-up and insane world. Ah, yes! The days of blissful ignorance.
Sadly, there is no returning. Once you have knowledge of something, there is no returning it. You can try to ignore things, but they are still there, knawing at the back of your brain like termites in the basement just waiting for the floor to cave in underneath you. You can accept things for what they are, but often, you're never happy about it and more often than not, you just build up a lot of resentment for it (I believe this is where angry old people come from) or you can try to change things. This is the hardest to do, but it can be the most rewarding. Sometimes though, you feel like no matter how much you do, it isn't enough, which can be frustrating or depressing. How some people deal with that, I don't know. For the rest of us though, there is Jesus.
Yep, when there's nothing else left for you to do about a situation, you take it up to Calvary, lay it at the foot of the cross, pray on it, and then walk away, leaving it there. Let Jesus take care of it from there. Since nothing is impossible for the Lord and he is more than willing to take up those burdens which are too much for us mere mortals to deal with, we can dump them on him. All he asks in return is the faithful devotion, worship and praise that is due to God the Son and adherance to his commandments. Adherance often feels like a burden too though. Why? Because there was a time when we didn't know any better and we liked it that way. As long as we got away with doing whatever we wanted, without immediate consequence and it "felt good", who cared if it went against God? After all, is there really a God to worry about? The answer is yes, and fortunately, while he is a just God, he is also a merciful and forgiving God.
That, boys and girls is the "good news", God forgives. Not only does he forgive, he grants us a path to that forgiveness up to the moment of our earthly death, no matter how many times we stumble. No matter how many times we screw up. No matter how much we rail against the apparent injustices in the world. as long as we make an honest and deliberate effort to repent, love and serve, we have hope. Hope, along with prayer, is a mighty powerful thing to have. When we pray to the Lord and place our hope in Him. We have nothing to worry about, not even death.
When I went into the hospital last summer with gangrene, I must admit I was a little nervous, but I wasn't afraid. I knew I was in God's hands. Before going into surgery, I received the sacrament of the anointing of the sick from my previous parish priest (he retired a few years ago, but he still gets calls) and I prayed the Lord's Prayer and a Hail Mary and I went in relaxed and comforted, for Jesus was carrying my cross so that I didn't have to, and I knew that in the off-chance that something went wrong, I would be in his presence soon enough, after a stint in purgatory I'm sure. Which brings up another topic. Why do some people try so hard to deny the existence of purgatory? For them it's either straight to heaven or straight to hell and you got a 50/50 shot of going either way. As for me, I expect to make it to heaven, but not right away. In the words of Wayne Campbell, "I'm not worthy!" I expect to go through a good long period of purification after my earthly passing before coming to the full presence of the One Holy Triune God.
Just a humorous little personal anecdote that I'd like to share.
Last weekend was fairly typical. Saturday morning I went to men's Bible study. Saturday night, the whole family went to Mass and Sunday morning I took Communion to an elderly home-bound parishioner. As I said, pretty typical.
When it came time to drop my oldest son off for the 11:30 Mass at which he sings in the choir, I informed my wife I would be staying for Mass. To which, she responded, "WHAT? You don't spend any time with ME! Good God! You spend all of your time with God! God! God! GOD!".
I knew she was being silly and wasn't serious (She likes me spending more time with God now, really) so I responded, "Honey....you and I are until "death do us part", but God is forever".
Good Friday is one of those days I truly look forward to each year. It is this day that the local Hispanic Ministries hosts the living Via Crucis (Way of The Cross) at St. Mary of The Annunciation Church. We had a little bit of rain tonight, but not enough to put a damper on the event.
Have a happy and blessed Easter!
What a glorious weekend! I spent it at Mount Saint Francis on the Mens ACTS Team. As with many retreat programs, there are faith-journey talks, and I had the privilege of giving the first.talk, the topic of which was "Values". I won't go into details as to the contents of my story includes those deep-dark secrets that you really hope to never reveal to anyone, but the main point is that it gives how my conversion to The Lord reshaped my values. Part of my presentation was a song of my choosing to be played after my talk was finished and I had left the room and while the retreatants mulled over what they had heard and reflected on how, if at all, it relates to their own faith journey. I chose "I Heard The Voice of Jesus Say".
I don't really know what their reactions were as I was not in the room while they shared among themselves, however I did have many thank me later for sharing my story, and the retreat director told me "it was perfect". I resigned myself to accepting that these would be the only signs that I had given a good talk.
As we had our final gathering before leaving the Mount on Sunday, the retreatants and team members received several gifts. One of those gifts was this months issue of Magnificat magazine. As I was preparing for bed, I sat down to read the evening reflection for that night, which was titled "The Gift of God", and what a gift it was! It was a reflection of my life-faith story that I had related to my Brothers in Christ at the Mount, the following Hymn was also the same song that I had chosen to be played after my talk!
There are NO accidents with God and for me this was affirmation from The Lord that I really had done well.
Thank you Father for this sign. While I did not ask for it, You know my heart and saw my inner desire for Your approval that my words gave glory to You.
This past weekend reports came out that the U.S. Bishops were holding a conference on how to perform exorcisms. More than 50 bishops and 60 priests signed up to attend in a time when there is a severe shortage of trained exorcists in the U.S. while the number of requests for exorcisms are increasing.
Wait a minute...requests for exorcisms are increasing? How can this be possible in the modern age of science and "enlightenment"? I'll tell you.
Because evil is just as real as good and disbelief does not negate reality. Or more simply put, just because you don't believe something exists, does not mean it doesn't exist.
In an era of desensitized populations who have grown up on a large dose of horror films and psycho-thrillers which have become more and more gory and "realistic" while at the same time told that such things really can't happen, we have been led to believe that the spirit world is a made up superstitious fantasy and that evil spirits (or good spirits for that matter) don't exist and can't interact with us living people.
I'm here to tell you that it's a lie. Spirits are real, demonic possessions can and do happen, and yes Virginia, we need trained exorcists to counter them. Granted, cases of ACTUAL possessions are very rare and most are really people with psychological illnesses (which is why psychological examinations of the "possessed" are usually performed before an exorcism is attempted) or experiencing other crisises of faith. But that still doesn't negate the few authentic cases.
My beloved wife was an impromptu witness to one such case recently. While it is not for me to provide details due to the circumstances under which she was present to witness a possession and exorcism occur within a total span of 5 minutes, I can say that she is a very rational person who despises tale-telling (read "lying").
But maybe the timing is such that this event needed to be witnessed at this time. Is it possible the Holy Spirit is guiding our bishops to train more exorcists and calling more priests to be trained because evil forces are beginning to move in a way that we will soon need them? I hope not, but better safe than sorry.
In a surprise move today, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops broke from tradition and elected Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York to a three year term as the Council President. Traditionally, the current Vice-President had been automatically elected to President.
The break form tradition was made amid recent outcry from orthodox Catholics that incumbent Vice-President, Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, AZ was too liberal in his stances on "progressive" issues to become President and for him to do so would have been a major set-back in the progress made in returning orthodoxy to the Church in America and would have resulted in a new crisis in the Church. The bishops though, have denied that this is the reason.
Rather, the implication made has been that the bishops wanted to remove the expectation that a President wouldn't be elected on his merits, but based on the office he held the last three years. The vote tally was 128-111, which is hardly a landslide, but diverts the "potential crisis" feared by some faithful.
I for one am happy that Abp. Dolan was elected. He has shown himself to not only be orthodox, but also compassionate and courageous especially in responding to the liberal media machine (such as the NY Times) which often villifies the Church.
*UPDATE* I am extatically happy to hear that Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, KY was elected Vice-President of the USCCB! He is a wonderful proponent of the Pro-Life movement and a stunch supporter of traditional marriage.
Congratulations to both Abps. Dolan and Kurtz!