Christmas is a time to gather with family to celebrate the birth of Jesus. But for many of us, gathering with family is more than just a celebration. It is also an opportunity for evangelization -- which comes with a particular set of challenges.
Hay algo sumamente triste y desconcertante cuando descubres que has sido traicionado, independientemente de la gravedad de la situación. La amargura se intensifica si quien traiciona fue otro católico. En una protesta silenciosa, luchamos contra la verdad: “Pero los católicos no deberían tratarse así. ¿Cómo es posible?”.
In our own sinfulness, we all have grey areas that we don’t want to shine a spotlight on for fear that we may be asked to do something we don’t want to do, like St. Augustine who famously said, “Lord make me chaste, but not yet.” It is often easier to ignore these tough knots of our own weakness altogether without making a bold protest like Satan. But a weak “maybe he won’t see that I just hid that piece in my napkin” approach to the problem won’t work for long. With God, nothing remains hidden.
One of the patterns I have noticed among combox chatter when Latin, litanies and rich liturgy are discussed is the ever-present individual who chimes in with, “You just want to take the Church back to the 1950s.” This prevalent sentiment in the blogosphere and beyond (I assume it isn’t just one person repeating it over and over) seems to imply that Catholicism in the 1950s was bad and anything that came after it is good.
There is something strikingly sad and unnerving when you discover that you have been betrayed, regardless of the severity. The bitterness intensifies when it is at the hands of another Catholic. In silent protest we wrestle with the truth: “But Catholics aren’t supposed to treat each other like that! How can this be?”
There is, however, one program that hasn’t caved to the culture wars: Fixer Upper (shhhh, no one tell HGTV). As the name implies, it’s about renovating homes that are in less-than-ideal shape. A married couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines, serves as the realtors, contractors and interior designers. The hour-long program goes through the process of a family selecting, renovating and decorating a new home in the greater Waco, Texas, area.
I think Pope Francis sees that there is a crisis among women—he isn’t pandering to us—but recognizes that little has been done to clarify exactly what our vocation is. For the last four or five decades, the culture has pushed us in the direction of simply trying to be like men. As a result, if you ask most any woman, she would be very hard pressed to tell you what is specifically unique to women in their vocation in the world or spiritually in her relationship to God.
It has been a busy week for feminists. Glamour Magazine is celebrating ersatz womanhood by knighting Caitlyn Jenner as Woman of the Year and Gloria Steinem is out promoting her new book at all the familiar places: NPR, The Boston Globe, and Cosmopolitan (too awful to link). She talks everything from gender to politics to travel and a few winsome memories of her abortion.
Pilgrims making the journey to Krakow for World Youth Day should prepare for an encounter with two popes—Pope Francis, of course, but also St. John Paul II, whose legacy lives on in this Polish city.
With each passing year the memories of the first Polish pope are growing dimmer and dimmer. In an effort to keep his memory alive for both pilgrims and those who may not be making the long journey to Krakow, George Weigel and I, along with photographer Stephen Weigel, have chronicled the pope’s life in City of Saints: A Pilgrim’s Guide to John Paul II’s Krakow.
Learning the Catholic faith in the 1960s, 70s, 80s and much of the 90s was a tough business in the United States. Few Catholic schools and areas of parish life were left unaffected by the chaos that ensued after Vatican II. Since many members of the clergy, religious life, and educators felt liberated from the constraints of the old Church, the consensus seemed to be that new ideas of one’s own design would really make the Church relevant in the modern world.
As Catholics, it can be disheartening to feel like the deck is stacked against us all the time. But awareness of the media’s often concerted effort to mislead people about our faith and the things we hold dear doesn’t have to leave us in a state of despair, cynicism, or send us back to the confessional for acting in anger. Here are six things that can be done to pro-actively to stem the tide of the maligning media.
n a similar but even more horrifying way, abortion takes what had been a healthy heart and distorts it into something almost unrecognizable. This was made most clear when Wendy Davis— to national acclaim—sported her pink sneakers to filibuster a bill that would block late term abortions. When nearly the entire media class and a large portion of the population think it is permissible to kill a viable baby for any reason whatsoever, what is fashionable has definitely trumped what is rational.
This past week Pope Francis took the East Coast by storm. Our smug American cities turned them into pop-up World Youth Days, at least is spirit and numbers. Like Pope John Paul II’s first papal visit to communist Poland where the people chanted “We want God!”, similarly, the American people, under the soft oppression of radical secularism, are thirsting the same thing as evidenced by their turnout. There is clearly something to the “Francis Phenomenon"—but what is it?
Planned Parenthood has just launched a targeted media campaign against four Republican Senators up for reelection in 2016 who voted to defunding the embattled organization. The ads, which cost six figures, leave those of us who keep hearing how Planned Parenthood is actually “pro-women” wondering how it could possibly have that kind of money for attack ads. In fact, it is acting much more like a political action committee—which it is, operating under the name Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Inc. PAC—than grassroots clinics simply helping women.
It isn't every week that clear bookends of the culture war are so manifestly on display. Earlier this week the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled that the Little Sister’s of the Poor must comply with the Health and Human Services’ requirement that they pay for their employees to contraception and abortifacients. The Little Sisters have vowed to not comply with the requirements that would force them to choose between serving the poor and their faith.
While most people are familiar with Janet E. Smith because of her work to clarify the Church’s teaching on contraception, she has recently expanded her focus to include those with same-sex attraction and those who minister to them.
he face of the Catholic Church is often a masculine one, whether it be the pope, bishops, or local priests, and in recent decades this has been viewed by many as a bad thing. The widespread and wholesale effort to feminize the Church, through music, liturgical flourish, and more females on the altar has failed to produce the ecclesial popularity (particularly among men) promised by its promoters. Perhaps a better model than pastel streamers, saccharine hymns, and squishy homilies is closer at hand than Catholics might think: the Church as Mother.
Also recently in Rome, exorcist Fr. Gabriele Amorth said that “ISIS is Satan”. Beyond personal possession, the demonic is introduced into larger populations, Fr. Amorth explained, “because evil is disguised in various ways: political, religious, cultural, and it has one source of inspiration: the devil.”
Somewhere during their hasty effort to prove men wrong, modern-day feminists allowed a misconception to guide them: that children ensnare women and keep them from realizing their dreams, therefore women alone can determine when their very small children should live or die. As a result, it has never been harder to be a child. Feminists have encumbered children with so many restrictions and loopholes that it makes the head spin.
The idea of “breathing with both lungs of the Church” is taking on new meaning for young singers and musicians in Krakow, Poland. A unique initiative pulled together by the Polish Dominican Liturgical Center will host its third annual music workshop this summer, emphasizing the contributions both the West and the East offer to liturgical music.