How many does it take to a bring a loved one to Christ?

A couple Sundays ago, the Gospel was Mark 2:1-12,

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them.

They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.”

Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?”

Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk?’ But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”-he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”

He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”

What’s remarkable is that there’s no mention of the paralytic’s faith at all.

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Editor’s note: This article certainly reinforces the concept of “church” and the importance of the Christian community … and it should be a source of hope for virtually every family.

The 4th of July, Human Dignity, and the Catholic Church

So what does the 4th of July have to do with the teaching of the Catholic Church?

To answer this question, we must remember that the Catholic Church is the original Bible Church.  Its official teaching is no more than interpretation and application of God’s Word.

So when we ask how the Church reaffirms the inherent dignity of human beings, we have to start with the Bible.  The various religions that existed in biblical times had gods who were made in man’s image and likeness – the pagan gods had all the foibles and vices that can be viewed in a soap opera. They play favorites, scheme to destroy their enemies, cheat on their spouses, and hold grudges.

The Bible proclaims that human beings are made in God’s image and likeness.  And the God of the Bible is a community of persons who give themselves to each other eternally in love.  And this God of love is a sublime artist who creates the world in love as a masterpiece of beauty and nobility.  In creating man and woman in his image and likeness, he invites them to an intimate personal relationship with himself and offers them the incredible privilege of being co-creators with him.

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News of Catholic school closing was met with a totally unexpected response

Multiple parishioners approached Donoghue and Father Stack, arguing that what the parish needed was a more rigorous curriculum and authentic Catholic spirit. One of the loudest of these voices was that of Michael Hanby, a professor at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. Hanby had lately been introduced to a local homeschooling community’s miniature school, known as the Crittenden Academy, which had inspired him to write an essay describing his philosophy on the subject. That November evening, attending the consultation and listening to the parish’s presentation, he recalls thinking, “I’m not sure that the school they just described is really worth saving.”

Following the meeting, Hanby sent a letter saying as much to Father Stack, including a copy of his essay on education and emphasizing that “a wonderful birthright [was] being denied” the children of the community. Students needed, he argued, “to love thinking and to have something noble to think about,” but Catholic schools had instead “drifted toward a public school model.” His essay, Donoghue recalls, presented “a good analysis of where Catholic education had gotten off track,” and she was impressed with its proposed remedies.

What was most amazing, though, was that it was a “beautiful fit” with a change she and Father Stack had already been contemplating since they’d attended a leadership consortium two weeks before the call from downtown: a school where rigorous curriculum was combined with authentic Catholicism without apology. “It was already clear,” Donoghue explains, “that [the old] model had run out of steam.” Hanby’s vision for education — along with other essays they read, including Dorothy Sayers’ “Lost Tools of Learning” — articulated a methodology for their goals “more fully and more completely” than she and Father Stack could do themselves.

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Insights into the sacred liturgy of the Mass

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by James Schall, S.J., who is a professor at Georgetown University, and one of the most prolific Catholic writers in America.

In his encyclical on the Eucharist (Ecclesia de Eucharistia), among other places, Pope John Paul II specified that neither the Mass nor the priest is a function of the community. Without the Mass, as it is in its integrity, no community exists. The community does not “ordain” its ministers. The Church is not a club or meeting hall or a political party.

All ministers in the Church testify to the truth as it is found in the Creed. This is why the Creed must be said every Sunday. It should begin, as in Latin and Greek, with “I believe,” not the present “we believe.” We stand at Mass attesting to our personal affirmation in the intelligibility of what we hold. We are a religion of intelligence.

At Mass, we are full of the Lord, not ourselves. What makes the community is the Mass, not vice versa. The priest is not an actor. He is a priest. He points beyond himself. What he does is not of his own making. He is a servant. He literally follows the books. He does not write them. With his people, he praises the Father through the Son in the unity of the Spirit, Whom he, along with them, worships. This worship is what goes on at Mass, nothing less.

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