It’s tough being a pastor – Catholic or otherwise

90% of pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week and 50% feel unable to meet the demands of the job.

And 70% of pastors feel grossly underpaid.

Most pastors feel unprepared.

90% feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands and 90% of pastors said the ministry was completely different than what they thought it would be like before they entered the ministry.

Many pastors struggle with depression and discouragement.

70% of pastors constantly fight depression and 50% of pastors feel so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.

Read more

Editor’s note: This article deals specifically with Protestant pastors. It seems to me that Catholic priests tend to be better prepared for ministry, even with the sad state of affairs that still exists in many of our seminaries and the shortage of priests. Does anyone know more about this?

Catholic writer analyzes Pope’s interview, takes exception

Is Pope Francis a wishy-washy spineless pope? Perhaps a pawn, to be used by the liberals inside and outside the Church? Does he see what others see happening in our Church? Does it bother him?

I have a very dear Catholic friend who is freaking out because I am “having issues” with Pope Francis. It’s not that I don’t WANT to like him and think highly of him, I do. I really, really do. But… it’s just not happening for me.

I tried to give it time after the whole “Holy Week Debacle”[Muslim women foot washing etc]… he was ‘new’, he was a “different kind of pope”… he “needed time”… Well he still hasn’t grown on me, instead I have more issues now with him than I did months ago! That is not to say, I’ve tossed in the towel, I haven’t. I will continue to pray for him, my Church and myself to come to some sort of peace with “my issues with Pope Francis”.

My most recent “issues” (like oh so many other Catholics out there) are from his interview. *sigh*. Here are my thoughts on what the Pope said in his recent American Magazine interview.

Read more

Rejecting and/or destroying the gifts of God can’t lead to anything good.

We began our discussion with the Papal theologian how the Catholic Church could defend its ‘hard teaching’ on contraception.

Fr. Giertych emphasized that the issue is about a reality that applies to everyone. He explained, “it’s not only a question of being in sync with Church teaching, it’s being in sync with reality, with the nature of the human person and the nature of love, which we received from God, whereas the Church’s teaching is showing us the way towards that supreme love.”

For Fr. Giertych there is nothing difficult about the answer of why the Catholic Church forbids contraception. “Because it distorts the human sexuality, and elevates the moment of sexual pleasure, whereas it denies the fundamental finality of sexuality, which is the transmission of life,” he said. “Sexual activity has been created, devised by God, as a way of transmitting life and expressing love, whereas contraception separates the transmission of life which it excludes, and then focuses uniquely on the pleasure, which generates, as a result, egoism.”

“The main reason why the Church says ‘no’ [to] contraception,” said Fr. Geirtych, “is that it destroys the quality of love, and marital love, which is a way of expressing the graces of the sacrament of matrimony, which is a way of living out the divine charity which is infused in the body and soul of the spouses.”

He explained that “marital love is to be of the supreme quality” but “contraception boils down to the saying of the spouse, ‘There’s something in you that I love, but there’s something in you that I hate, and I hate the fact that you can be a mother. So I require that this will be poisoned.’ Well, this is not love. It is not possible for a husband to say to his wife, ‘I love you truly,’ if at the same time he demands that she poisons in her body the capacity to transmit life, to be a mother.”

“That distortion of sexuality,” he said, “distorts human relationships, distorts the entire living-out of human sexuality.”

Read more

A Buenos Aires Catholic journalist paints a curious picture of Pope Francis, when he was still a Cardinal.

A sworn enemy of the Traditional Mass, he has only allowed imitations of it in the hands of declared enemies of the ancient liturgy. He has persecuted every single priest who made an effort to wear a cassock, preach with firmness, or that was simply interested in Summorum Pontificum.

Famous for his inconsistency (at times, for the unintelligibility of his addresses and homilies), accustomed to the use of coarse, demagogical, and ambiguous expressions, it cannot be said that his magisterium is heterodox, but rather non-existent for how confusing it is.
His entourage in the Buenos Aires Curia, with the exception of a few clerics, has not been characterized by the virtue of their actions. Several are under grave suspicion of moral misbehavior.
He has not missed any occasion for holding acts in which he lent his Cathedral to Protestants, Muslims, Jews, and even to partisan groups in the name of an impossible and unnecessary interreligious dialogue. He is famous for his meetings with protestants in the Luna Park arena where, together with preacher of the Pontifical House, Raniero Cantalamessa, he was “blessed” by Protestant ministers, in a common act of worship in which he, in practice, accepted the validity of the “powers” of the TV-pastors.
More text and photos
Editor’s note: And did we mention, he is a Jesuit?

Hindsight isn’t 20-20: Pope Benedict admits the disastrous consequences immediately following the second Vatican Council, but blames the media.

ratzingerrahner

Father Ratzinger in street clothes at Vatican II

His Holiness admits the disastrous consequences immediately following the Council: “this Council created many calamities, so many problems, so much misery, in reality: seminaries closed, convents closed, the liturgy was trivialized”

Yet, the “this Council” referred to by the Holy Father is not the real Second Vatican Council, the one that actually functioned in Rome for three years and produced documents.  No, Benedict XVI claims an imposter Council, the “Council of the Journalists” is the one that caused all these disastrous consequences.

If only the real “Council of the Fathers” had been allowed to do its job undistorted by the media all would be well for the Church!  “The world interpreted the Council through the eyes of the media instead of seeing the true Council of the Fathers and their key vision of faith”. “The journalists’ interpretation of the Council was political.”

Read more

Editor’s note: I’m no media fan, but it was the bishops … not the media … who instituted all the various “reforms” that subsequently “gutted” the Catholic Church … cheered on by radical theologians like Fr. Joseph Ratzinger.

Worried? Here’s a list of 10 saints you should know.

As Catholics, much can be gained by studying the lives of the saints. Far from living easy lives, these men and women have struggled with many of the same anxiety producing problems experienced by you and I. Furthermore, we know that they’ve ended up we all want to go – Heaven! Are you anxious or worried? Do you have serious problems in your life? Here are 10 saints that you should get to know. We can learn A LOT from their lives.

1. Saint Dymphna – Many Catholics who are anxious are familiar with Saint Dymphna, the patroness of those afflicted with nervous disorders and anxiety. According to tradition, she was born in Ireland (in the 7th century) to a pagan father and a Christian mother. When Dymphna’s mother died, her distraught father traveled in vain searching for a new wife. Eventually he reached the unimaginable conclusion that he would take Dymphna as his wife! At the urging of a priest, she took flight and was ultimately located and murdered by her father. It’s easy to see the kind of emotional stress that this young girl was under and equally understandable to see why she became known as the patron saint of those who suffer from anxiety. Many miracles are reported to have taken place at her shrine in Belgium, located near the place of her death.

9 more

Video explains serious problems linked with the use of chemical contraceptives

Watch the video

3-part video series addresses problems with Girl Scouts of America Organization

The video series provides an in-depth look at the facts behind the pro-life concerns over the Girl Scouts, including troubling content in the Journeys curriculum books and the Girl Scouts’ financial and mission-oriented relationships with pro-abortion groups like the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

The producers also put together an on-line documentation guide that accompanies the three-part series by providing screen shots and links from the Girl Scouts’ websites, page scans from the Girl Scouts’ curriculum, and copies of the Girl Scouts’ tax returns.

Read more/watch videos

A number of problematic erroneous concepts discovered in the official U.S. Catechism

For those who have followed the saga of the US Catechism since the exposure of its unorthodox treatment regarding the Jewish Mosaic covenant, there is more to reveal. In over two dozen places the US Catechism makes unorthodox or highly suspect statements. It thus becomes a spiritual minefield for the unsuspecting reader who does not know Catholic dogmatic theology and is not able to judge the veracity of the catechism’s assertions.

Read more

Explore the Catechism on-line

Editor’s note: I’ve had at least one bishop explain to me that the Catechism should be considered an infallible work, much like the Bible. I knew that could not be true … for a number of very good reasons. While this article deals with specific problems with the text, more extensive problems regarding various omissions also need to be addressed.

Having a bad day, Bunky? Writer explains why.

Chastisements or trials must never be seen outside of God’s attempts to save us and break cycles of sin so that we can be saved.  Human freedom is so powerful and key that not even God forces it or takes away our responsibility to make good choices.  If he did, then the union between us and God through the virtues, and the very purpose of freedom would not be real.

Read more

Pope criticizes attitude of indifference to religion in Europe, Middle East

The Catholic Church should seek to spread its message ‘particularly in countries with ancient Christian traditions that appear to have become indifferent or even hostile to the Word of God,’ Pope Benedict told the meeting.

‘Today’s world needs people who announce and testify that Christ can teach us how to live, can show us the path to true happiness,’ he said.

Link

Editor’s note: Holy Father, if only things were that simple! The message of modern Christianity (and even that of the Catholic Church itself) lacks unity and is often contradictory. It’s impossible to get a straight answer from those who should rightly be expected have them, and it’s even more difficult to find a second, confirming opinion.

Those who are supposed to act in the person of Christ have been widely discredited by scandal, and church assets have been sorely dissipated, while Christianity in general has been splintered into 40,000 different groups, with almost as many varying traditions and creeds, many of them at odds with the others.

Bishops are typically unreachable, showing themselves only at ceremonial events, where they are generally unwilling to take up and discuss the problems of the day with ordinary Catholics.

Priests are scarce, spread too thin, and don’t have the time. Even if they did, most wouldn’t want to take the risk. There’s a virtual minefield of scandal and corruption out there, and bishops have been known to routinely “ship out” priests who have the intestinal fortitude to preach the truth about important matters of the faith.

The People of God have often been poorly served. Traditional Catholics have been treated with outright hostility and scorn by their own Catholic church, for the last fifty years. Others have been sexually abused. Many, many others have been so badly catechized that they have no idea of what being Catholic really means, while still others are regularly spiritually assaulted by bogus, illicit liturgies.

People don’t see the benefit of being Catholic, these days. If they did, they would be lining up ten and twenty deep, at the doors of churches, all around the world, begging to be let inside.

It’s not because they are indifferent. People everywhere continue to vigorously act in what they perceive as their own best self-interest. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church has, as of late, done an exceptionally poor job of publicly preaching and demonstrating the eternal benefits of being Catholic.

Holy Father, the more precise term for the malaise of which you speak would be irrelevancy … not indifference. If people were merely indifferent to the church, there would be no reason for perceived or actual hostility. The Catholic Church has recently become irrelevant to many, by and through its own numerous and very public failings.

Until the Catholic Church can once again begin to clearly show the relevance of the divine truths it holds in trust for all mankind, people will continue to eschew God’s grace and prefer to seek happiness through other channels … typically sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, material possessions, electronic media and false religions.

Doug Kmiec, who made a deal with devil, is now paying the price.

Douglas Kmiec, the U.S. ambassador to Malta, believes he was charged by the White House with promoting interfaith initiatives. So why are bureaucrats seeking to silence him?

Link

Editor’s note: The Obama people bought and paid for Kmiec, who (successfully) shilled for radical pro-abort Obama in the last presidential election campaign, luring enough Catholics over to the dark side, to ensure Obama’s presidency. Now, Kmiec complains that his new masters are abusing him.

The professor probably should have read “The Devil and Daniel Webster” before he let himself get roped in.

It must be very lonely for Kmiec, all alone in Malta, with his own people against him, and only the L.A. Times on his side. Sounds a lot like hell, to me!

They don’t know what they don’t know.

There are many problems in the Catholic Church that might be thought to be the ‘smoke of Satan’ entering the church, but for my money one thing, above all others, has been the successful work of Satan, which has undermined the church, emasculated her ministry, sabotaged the aims of the Holy Spirit and captured a multitude of souls.

It is the modernist re-interpretation of the Catholic faith. The reductionist results of modern Biblical scholarship and the infiltration of a modernist, rationalistic and materialistic mindset meant that the supernatural was assumed to be impossible, and therefore the Bible stories (and also any supernatural elements of the faith) had to be ‘de-mythologized.’ Everything supernatural within the Biblical account and within the lives of the saints and within the teaching of the church were assumed to be impossible and had to be ‘re-interpreted’ so they would make sense to modern, scientifically minded people.

Read more from Fr. Dwight Longenecker

California Reflections on a Boston Book

faithful departed

What Ought the Bishops Do?

(Editor: the following email arrived on May 26 from California woman who has followed and interacted with the California bishops regularly.)

Forgive the length of this e-mail, but I just got through reading The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston’s Catholic Culture by Philip Lawler, and I have to unload on someone.

The book is very insightful. Although the exact subject matter (e.g. Boston’s loss of Catholicity, the sex abuse scandal) is now water under the bridge, nonetheless, IMHO, it contains considerable food for thought for bishops. In fact, I started making notes as I was reading it of the areas where the same problems and patterns of episcopal behavior keep cropping up.

1) Protecting church institutions, not church faithful. Lawler gives the example in his book of the American bishops responding to the push for taxpayer-funded birth control programs simply by seeking exemptions for hospitals and doctors operating under the auspices of the Church. This had several bad results. Most importantly, by so limiting their arguments, they confirmed the popular idea that the Church’s opposition to contraception is just a narrow sectarian doctrine, rather than a universal moral principle. Secondly, they left the Catholic laity hanging out to dry. We saw the same thing here in California with regard to the Women’s Contraceptive Equity Act, in which, rather than presenting a principled opposition to requiring employers to fund contraceptives in their health coverage, the Church just whined about getting (and failed to get) an exemption for church-run organizations.

2) Opting for face-saving compromises that embolden the opposition. Lawler gives several examples in his book, reminding me of similar cases here in California. For example, there was Abp. Levada and the domestic partners debacle, where he got around explicitly providing health coverage for domestic partners of employees by saying that every employee could designate some other person who would get coverage. And again, the contraceptive equity act. I asked Ned Dolesji what happened after they lost the challenge to that law, and he indicated that Catholic Charities had managed some work-around. Probably many Catholic entities have just given up and are complying, but even if they have come up with some work-around which allows them to ostensibly comply with the law while somehow not really doing so, they have in fact emboldened the Legislature to move on to the next steps. If they stood up and said, “Sorry, then we won’t provide prescription drug coverage,” they would have shown that there were lines they were not going to cross.

3) The perennial problem of pro-abort politicians. The lesson from Lawler’s book is not to wait till election time to take them on. But they must be taken on. Issuing periodic general statements condemning abortion is meaningless if at the same time, those responsible for protecting and promoting it – indeed, those actually providing abortions – incur no penalties, or even disapprobation, from church leaders. (Ever since I heard of Ted Kennedy’s terminal condition, I have been thinking about this. Presuming that he does not repent, if he were to be denied a Catholic funeral and burial, or at least a public one, it would be the single most pro-life action the relevant bishops could take in this decade. Contrariwise, if he is sent out with full Catholic honors, these same bishops might as well not even bother saying anything about abortion ever again.)

4) Shooting the messenger. Yes, there are cranks and malcontents in every diocese, but that is not an excuse for circling the wagons and shooting at anyone who comes forward with relevant information concerning the questionable behavior (or orthodoxy) of a priest.

5) Lying. I find it so disturbing that spokesmen for church officials seem to have adopted, and are only held to, the very lax standards of honesty that apply to politicians and their spokesmen. Thus, as long as one is not absolutely covering up scandalous or criminal activity, it is acceptable to tell a better story rather than the true one. If it happens to come out later that Mr. Smith was actually golfing rather than attending a briefing when he got the news about such-and-such, that is accepted merely as a “clarification.” Two examples: 1) there was a Catholic World Report article about JPII, ca. 2003, in which it said that everyone knew that the Pope had Parkinson’s, though of course Joaquin Navarro-Valls denied it. It was simply taken for granted the Navarro-Valls would lie about it. (That prompted me to write a letter to CWR, in which I pointed out that we used to call that “lying.”) 2) Around the time of the bishops’ meeting in Dallas in 2002, the head of the USCCB flew off to Rome to consult about some matters, and then flew back. While he was gone, reporters were asking if he had gone to Rome, and his press people denied it. When he got back, they said, yes, he had been in Rome. Nobody made a big deal about the lying, but all I could think is that the new era of honesty and accountability was not getting off to a good start. (I have to confess that my recollection of the details of this second example are sketchy. What sticks in my mind is the apparent unconcern with which the bishop’s representatives told a lie of convenience – and no one called them on it. It was simply to be expected that spokespeople say whatever is helpful. Truth is a secondary consideration.)

6) The rush to forgiveness. Lawler’s book is replete with examples of bishops giving wonderful send-offs to despicable people, thanking them for their years of devoted service, the gifts they brought to their ministry, etc. I can think of similar cases here in California, for example, Bishop Ziemann in Santa Rosa. Again, my recollection of the exact details is a little sketchy, but I recall an article in Catholic San Francisco in which we were basically called on to admire Ziemann because he drew the line at paying millions of dollars in hush money for his peccadilloes. A few hundred thou were doable, but he decided eight million was too much (from the diocese he had spent into a $16 million deficit). What a guy! Then there was the priest who was arrested for possession of child pornography after his rooms at the seminary were raided. (Was he the rector, or just the dean? I forget.) As quick as the next issue of Catholic SF could get out, as he was being held without bail after entering a not guilty plea, we were being reminded about the need to forgive, we’re all human, years of service, etc. My reaction was, “Hey, he’s pled not guilty. Can we at least wait till he pleads guilty before we forgive him?” Is it really necessary to give everyone, no matter what they have done, a glowing commendation? Aren’t there times where at least silence would be more appropriate?

Again, sorry for the length of this, but I feel better having put this all down. Believe it or not, I also have some positive thoughts about bishops, but I won’t try your patience any further.

Article courtesy of the California Catholic Daily

Why do Evangelicals have such a problem with the Blessed Virgin Mary?

marycororomartrin

Q: Why do Evangelicals have such a problem with the Blessed Virgin Mary?

A: For a bunch of guys who claim to believe only what they can read in scripture, they sure do come up with a lot of “facts” that can’t be found ANYWHERE in the Bible!

They also seem to be totally unable to make any accurate, logical conslusions, based on what the Bible actually says.

For example, in 1st Kings 2:19 we get to see the court of King Solomon at work.

In the Royal House of David, we see that the queen is the MOTHER of the king, and the official job of the queen is to intercede with the king, on behalf of the people.

The late King David’s mom, Bathsheba approaches King Solomon’s throne. Seeing her, Solomon rises, bows, and has a throne set at his right hand for his mom, the queen.

With great respect, he shows the queen to her throne. Then Solomon gives her his undivided attention, listening attentively to all her requests, since both the 4th commandment and the traditions of the royal house require it.

In Luke 1:30 we see Mary and Gabriel:

Luk 1:30 And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.
Luk 1:31 Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus.
Luk 1:32 He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.
Luk 1:33 And of his kingdom there shall be no end.

From this we know that Jesus is both the son of God and the son of David. King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And since Mary is Jesus’ mother, and under God’s rules the mother of the king is the queen, Mary is the authentic queen of the royal house of David, and also the AUTHENTIC queen of heaven.

As such, her official job as queen is to intercede with her son for the needs of people, while Jesus remains the one intercessor with God the Father.

There’s absolutely no conlict with authentic scripture (or authentic Christianity and even, Judaism) here!

The Catholic Church has always clearly understood and taught all of this, while protestants (of late) conveniently ignore it, or even flat out, lie about it.

The Bible does little good if it is not fully understood and properly applied.

Our protestant brethren suffer from a level of confusion that rivals the old Tower of Babel. And it’s their own fault, since even a protestant can see from both scripture and genuine world history that Jesus founded only one Church for the purpose of our salvation … the Catholic Church … and Jesuse promised that his Church would last until the end of time, and that the gates of hell would NEVER prevail against it.

Go figure!