Catholic priest in Middle East struggles to preserve what remains of the faith

Four Horsemen

He is rounding up ancient manuscripts and relics and hiding them in secure locations around Kurdistan, hoping to save them from the iconoclastic fury of the terror insurgency.

“If Daesh burns down a church we can rebuild it, but the manuscripts are our history. They trace back our roots, they are part of our civilization,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for the group. “If they get destroyed, then we are lost, and our culture will be forgotten.”

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Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt: Family as the foundation of culture.

Dear friends in Christ,

Since the beginning of man’s life on earth, the family has served as the cornerstone of society.  The integrity of the family set the standard for society from the beginning of time as the underpinning of our civilization, reflecting the beneficial differences between men and women and the complementarity of their hearts, minds, and bodies.

Aristotle argued that the natural progression of human beings flowed from the family via small communities out to the polisThe state itself, then, as a natural extension of the family, mirrors this critical institution.

Inspired by Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas writes, “man is by nature a social being since he stands in need of many vital things which he cannot come by through his own unaided effort. Hence he is naturally part of a group by which assistance is given him that he may live well.  He needs this assistance with a view to life as well as to the good life.”[1]  And Pope Leo XIII develops Aquinas’ thought further, recognizing that “man’s natural instinct moves him to live in civil society, for he cannot, if dwelling apart, provide himself with the necessary requirements of life, nor procure the means of developing his mental and moral faculties.”[2]  Indeed, just as our communities and the state itself imitate the structure of the family, our economy is also modeled after oikonomia—the Greek word for household management.

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Editor’s note: This is a fairly long piece, but it is worth a read. This is what good Catholic bishops are supposed to do – teach!

Fathering With Intentionality: The Importance of Creating a Family Culture.

familypic

My family preferred “Aqua-Culture”

Have you ever met one of those families that just seem to have it all together? Maybe you knew such a family growing up and loved hanging out over at their house – there was such a great atmosphere there that you kind of felt like you were coming home whenever you stopped over.

The parents were happy. The kids were all well-adjusted and generally did the right thing. Everyone in the family seemed to genuinely love, respect, and care about each other. They all truly enjoyed each other’s company and had a blast doing things together.

Sure, they had problems and struggles like any other family, but they supported each other and rallied together to take care of whatever they were going through. Maybe you joked about them being so good it was creepy – perhaps they were perfect aliens from another planet — but you envied them nonetheless.

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Editor’s note: The above photo is a self-portrait I took of my family while we were on a shipwreck diving trip beneath the chilly but clear waters of Lake Superior. It’s actually a composite of two different photos, shot using a wide-angle lens with good, old-fashioned “film”.

To avoid obscuring anyone with my exhaust bubbles it was necessary for me to break the cardinal rule of SCUBA diving, which is, “Never hold your breath.”

Warning: Don’t try this at home!

Here’s another wreck diving pic, shot at a different location, about 60 feet below the surface of Lake Michigan:

portholeenh

The “Fornication Pride” movement preceded the “Gay Pride” movement by about 40 years

The heterosexual equivalent of the “Gay Pride” movement occurred a generation or two ago in the so called sexual revolution of the sixties and seventies. The “free love” movement, epitomized by such cultural icons as Woodstock and Haight-Ashbury was as fundamentally challenging and shocking (if not more so), to the moral sensibilities of the Church and larger American culture when it occurred, as the “Gay Pride” movement has been more recently. Certainly it was at least as much a frontal attack on traditional norms and values.

Consider how quickly and thoroughly this revolution occurred. In the space of a few decades, America was transformed from a country where Elvis shaking his hips on TV created a national scandal to a country where TV shows like “Friends” depicted serial fornication among “friends” as harmless fun, indeed, as a charming and even hilarious indoor sport. And now it has gone to another level with shows like “Desperate Housewives” and “Mistresses.” What this shows I would suggest is that the “Fornication Pride” movement succeeded with extraordinary efficiency decades ago and is now so deeply woven into the fabric of our culture that we hardly ever notice it even occurred.

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The fatal mistake of Modernism

Every civilization has a theory about what man knows and how he knows it. The theory of a particular civilization will influence every area of human thought and action. Such fields as science, politics, economics, sociology, psychology, education, religion, and popular morality will be directly affected. Fields like art, music, poetry, and literature will be deeply, although indirectly, influenced, as well.

Theories about how man knows are found in a branch of metaphysics that philosophers callepistemology. Epistemology is a Greek compound word meaning the study of knowledge.

The intellectual leaders of the West took a sharp turn in the wrong direction in epistemology during the period 1750-1800, as a result of disillusionment with rationalism without understanding the fallacies of the rationalist philosophers. Empirical philosophy was offered as a substitute for rationalism, which had equally serious fallacies.

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) harmonized the two kinds of philosophy and temporarily curbed some of the fallacies. However, partly due Kant’s critique of metaphysics, the study of epistemology fell out of favor, and men lost their ability to detect epistemological errors. The dual errors of rationalism and empiricism have been steadily increasing in intensity since 1800.

After 1800, the general culture began to show the effects of this change in thought. The unraveling of Western culture in the twentieth century is in no small measure the cumulative effect of two centuries of bad epistemology.

Let us consider natural epistemology, or how every man thinks if they have not been corrupted with false epistemology, so that we can better understand the errors of Modernism.

Part one

Part two

Weigel: The days of Recreational Catholicism—Catholicism as a traditional, leisure-time activity absorbing perhaps ninety minutes of one’s time on a weekend—is over.

The challenge can be defined simply: Throughout the Western world, the culture no longer carries the faith, because the culture has become increasingly hostile to the faith. Catholicism can no longer be absorbed by osmosis from the environment, for the environment has become toxic. So we can no longer sit back and assume that decent lives lived in conformity with the prevailing cultural norms will somehow convey the faith to our children and grandchildren and invite others to consider entering the Church.

No, in our new situation, Catholicism has to be proposed, and Catholicism has to be lived in radical fidelity to Christ and the Gospel.

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Have we as pro-life Catholics been wrong to invest the lion’s share of our time, talent and energy in the political battle against abortion?

This question is forced upon us by the dramatic change in our social, cultural and political landscape over the past ten years or so, which has pushed problems every bit as important as abortion to the fore, for example the problems posed by the widespread breakdown of marriage and the family, the regularization of same-sex attraction and same-sex marriage, the triumph of a legal positivism utterly divorced from the natural law, our social dependence on a pagan bureaucratic State, the growing antipathy to Christianity, and the rapid erosion of religious liberty.

What we have learned in recent years is that we are not, as we have long thought, on the verge of winning the battle for human life. Rather, we must recognize that our culture as a whole has slipped into such darkness and error that addressing the problem of the sanctity of human life politically has become effectively impossible.

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Apt description of the clergy abuse crisis?: Not pedophiles, but swishing homosexuals in a target-rich environment.

But the left’s real target—its one obsession, the Moby Dick to its Ahab—is the Catholic Church. That is why the left so celebrated the shocking revelations about perverts in the collar, whom the media misrepresented as “pedophiles” instead of what they are: swishing homosexuals in a target-rich environment. It is the unspoken reason that Buchanan, who states Church teaching forthrightly and without apology, had to go.

The question, of course, is why the left is so obsessed with discrediting and ultimately destroying the Catholic Church. It isn’t because the hierarchy permitted the growth of a homosexual subculture in the priesthood and chanceries. Consider, for the left, what the Church represents. It is not the ineffable fountain Christendom and European civilization. Rather, it is the sewer pipe of white male oppression.

Europeans proselytized the Faith as missionaries, giving the world its artistic, musical, and literary treasures, not least the Mass. In planting the Church everywhere on the globe, those white missionaries “oppressed” the totem-worshiping “native peoples of color,” who in some cases were cannibals or willing participants in orgies of human sacrifice.

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Springsteen’s latest album demonstrates the practical benefits of a good Catholic education.

Bruce Springsteen’s latest album, “Wrecking Ball,” is an instant classic, said Word on Fire Blog contributor Father Damian Ference. It’s also a window into the Boss’s Catholic past, displaying an uncanny familiarity with tenets, themes and traditions of the faith.

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Triumph of faith: Lithuania’s awesome “Hill of Crosses”.


Lithuania’s national treasure, the Hill of Crosses, has a troubled and mysterious history. The Soviets repeatedly tried to destroy it. Now, it’s become a symbol of the nation’s struggle and spirituality.

The Hill of Crosses — a small mountain of approximately 100,000 crosses — is a curious phenomenon. No one manages or organises it — it just is. The Soviets razed it again and again, only to have the crosses reappear. As Prof Viatanis Rimkis explains: “During the struggle for our freedom, the crosses became a weapon that was invincible.”

Watch the video

Newly ordained priest tells it like it is. Let’s hope he doesn’t get in trouble for it!

Noting that seven of the 10 priests ordained that day were born outside the U.S., Owen blamed the dearth of home-grown priests partly on our affluent society.

“We don’t need God anymore,” he lamented. “Because we have money and material possessions, we can get along fine — that is until someone has a serious tragedy and then it’s ‘God help me!'” By contrast, he pointed out, there are 1,400 students enrolled in the Catholic seminary in Kenya.

He put the responsibility for the lack of U.S. vocations squarely on the shoulders of many older priests.

“I blame the priests here in Chicago and in the U.S.,” he said. “They’re not attractive. They are not leading a lifestyle that is authentic. Why would anyone want to give their life to that?”

Because it was instituted by Christ himself, he believes the Roman Catholic Church is doesn’t need to change. He argued that some want to make the church more like American society, i.e. to make it more democratic, but the Church exists to transform society, not the other way around.

“That’s part of the problem,” he contends. “We want to be part of the culture. Yes, we can take some elements from the culture, but that’s not the way Christ set it up. The church is not a democracy.”

Because the Catholic Church is a divine creation he believes he can maintain very firm boundaries without a hint of judgmentalism. When asked if he would give communion to a gay man living openly in a committed relationship, his answer was no. Would he allow a Lutheran pastor to preach the homily in a “mixed marriage” wedding in his church? No. Would he give communion to a Protestant at Mass? No again. Nothing personal, that’s just the way it is.

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Obama Plan: Destroying Christianity destroys the culture and civilization it spawned.

The modern left understands one fundamental reality: Destroying Christianity destroys the culture and civilization it spawned. They are inextricably linked. This is why socialists, such as Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Saul Alinsky and George Soros, have championed militant anti-Christianity, free love, contraception and abortion. Smash the family and traditional morality and the economic system they gave birth to – capitalism – will come crashing down. This is the Marxist project: Sweep the Christian West into the dustbin of history.

Mr. Obama is a Leninist – a committed revolutionary, who is embarked upon an ambitious project to transform America. He worships statism and secularism – the very antithesis of our Founding Fathers. He has put the United States on the path of civilizational decline and moral ruin. And Obamacare is his Trojan horse.

Link

Seen on the web: Time for a new Renaisance, perhaps?

Posted by pjthom81

…Catholicism created the West by its inheritance of the Classical culture and the Greco-Roman worldview, with its love for science and the arts.

Catholicism married this worldview to the Judeo-Christian ethos expressed in scripture.

Protestants deny one half, militant secularists the other. Put another way, the Reformation and the French Revolution both deny one half of the mixture that produced the West and are in a sense two sides of the same coin.

The Modern West is built upon the shattered fragments of the original Catholic synthesis. I suspect that only Catholicism could unite it again.

Time for a new Renaissance, perhaps?

Link

What happens when God grants us “all the desires of our hearts”?

Christianity withstood every assault leveled against it over two millennia–the Romans, the Barbarians, the Vikings, even Napoleon, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and Mao. But it’s having one ‘hell of a time’ with modern democracy.  Over the past half century the Christian surrender has been complete. And an anti-Christian society is no match for Islam.

Even the Catholic Church—the once great nemesis of Islam—has been busy Protestantizing its sacraments, discarding its sacramentals, and plundering its own sanctuaries.  Who’s fault is that?  The Muslims?

Catholic schools and universities routinely teach the mythification of Sacred Scripture, the  denial of Genesis, the promotion of evolution, and the recasting of  defenders of absolute truth as blood brothers to the fascists. Shall  we blame Islam for this, as well?

It may be fashionable to hate Muslims right now but it’s not right and it only exacerbates the problem. If we had any appreciation for history we’d be terrified of what’s in store for us, realizing along with Hilaire Belloc that “cultures spring from religions” and that ultimately the vital force which maintains any culture “is its philosophy, its attitude toward the universe”, and that the “decay of a religion involves the decay of the culture corresponding to it.” Belloc argued that the “bad work begun at the Reformation is bearing its final fruit in the dissolution of our ancestral doctrines—the very structure of our society is dissolving.”

Psalms 81:8-14 Hear, O my people, and I will testify to thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearken to me, There shall be no new god in thee: neither shalt thou adore a strange god. For I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. But my people heard not my voice: and Israel hearkened not to me. So I let them go according to the desires of their heart: they shall walk in their own inventions. If my people had heard me: if Israel had walked in my ways: I should soon have humbled their enemies, and laid my hand on them that troubled them.

Romans 1:22-25 For, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of a corruptible man and of birds, and of fourfooted beasts and of creeping things. Wherefore, God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness: to dishonour their own bodies among themselves. Who changed the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

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Submitted by Doria2

Pat Buchanan: Look at how far we have traveled.

We seem no longer able to balance our budgets, win our wars or secure our borders. Compared to what our culture was, it is a running sewer today. Working-class wages and middle-class incomes seem to have been stagnant for decades. Factories and jobs continue to hemorrhage to Asia. Company towns become ghost towns. Made in China has replaced Made in America. And as one drives through cities and suburbs, one encounters vast concentrations of people who speak some language other than our own.

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Whatever happened to well-read, theologically-knowledgeable heretics?

The modern heretic, all in all, is a different animal. If he has any interest in theology, it’s usually a negative interest; he wishes it would go away. It is an annoying fly in the ointment of his grand scheme to remake the Church in his likeness and image. He usually embraces heresy not because he makes a mistake while pondering theological nuances but because he has accepted the dominant cultural mores and social attitudes and is now intent on remolding Catholicism to fit them, rather than scrutinizing them in the light of Catholic teaching.

The ancient heretics eventually ran up against Church authority and, alas, made bad choices. Modern heretics make bad choices and then try to run over Church authority. “Minds no longer object to the Church,” wrote Abp. Fulton Sheen, “because of the way they think, but because of the way they live. They no longer have difficulty with the Creed, but with her Commandments … Briefly, the heresy of our day is not the heresy of thought; it is the heresy of action.”

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Catholics: What do you learn or do at church or home?

Q: Catholics: What do you learn or do at church or home?

I’m wondering, because I noticed that Catholics have a particular kind of spirit about them… and I like it.

A: Glad you noticed!

Catholics have a very rich and ancient Tradition based on Jesus, the apostles, and on the ultimate practicality of the authentic Christian faith, which never ceases to glorify God in spirit, and at the very same time, never fails to help perfect each faithful Catholic man and woman … body and soul … according to God’s abundant grace.

Whether practiced from infancy, or adopted later in life, it begins with Baptism, and it is fostered by a lifetime of full, faithful, and charitable participation in all of the work, worship, sacraments, and devotions of the Church.

The Catholic Church has always been known for superb theological scholarship and philosophy, available freely to all, which is easily translated into the types of cultural “norms” that ultimately define what every Catholic is called to be, by God.

The Catholic Church has also always been known for the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist, which provides every Catholic with the motive, the means, and the opportunity to come to know and love God, in the most intimate possible way.

The bottom line is this: The Catholic faith is the most authentic, consistent, truthful, and practical faith that ever was, or ever will be … courtesy of Jesus Christ, who founded, authorized, empowered, and personally guaranteed his Church until the end of time, for the purpose of our salvation.

It doesn’t get any better than that, this side of Heaven … until Jesus comes again.

Notes on a recent address by Professor Peter Kreeft – How to Win the Culture War

Dr. Peter Kreeft: “We are living in a spiritual Hiroshima”

“During World War II, I.G. Farben GmbH of Germany made Zyklon B, the gas used to kill so many in the gas chambers. Today, a French successor company to I.G. Farben makes the abortifacient RU-486. Either the face of evil has changed little, or the devil has a limited range of business contacts.”

“Since the Middle Ages, humanity has been on a slow, ever-ascending upward slope of becoming smarter, healthier, and more technologically advanced, while, at the same time, being on a slow, ever-descending slope of becoming weaker morally.”

From Notes By Joe Wemhoff -The Annual Parish Respect Life Coordinator Conference, Archdiocese of Chicago

How to Win the Culture War 

Submitted by Doria2