Saturday, April 12, 2014

Thinking Beyond The Bare Minimum During Lent


I recently read a pastor's comments on the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion.  His comments reflected the Catholic Church's once-a-year requirement for both.

Why only ONCE a YEAR?  I don't know about you, but I can walk out of a confessional and see a beautiful woman in line, and have to immediately turn around and go back to confession.  I can also be cut off by a fellow parishioner while trying to leave the church parking lot and have to turn around and go back. Lastly, I can get home, get into an argument with my wife and have to turn around and go back to confession.

So, I decided to look it up and found this within the Canon Law:
Can. 920 p. 1. After being initiated into the Most Holy Eucharist, each of the faithful is obliged to receive holy communion at least once a year.
Can. 989. After having reached the age of discretion, each member  the faithful is obliged to confess faithfully his or her grave sins at least once a year.
p. 2. This precept must be fulfilled during the Easter season [Ash Wednesday through Trinity Sunday] unless it is fulfilled for a just cause at another time during the year.
Still curious about what Canon Law states the bare minimum, I "Asked a Priest" at www.RCSpirituality.com. Here's the response I received:

[Your "Ask a Priest" Question has been answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC.  God bless, RC Spirituality Center]
Dear Dan, The requirement for once-a-year confession and communion is a minimum standard. The ideal, as you mentioned, is for frequent confession and frequent communion. But it’s one thing to hold out an ideal, and another to require it. Put another way, the Church isn’t contradicting itself by recommending frequent confession and communion on one hand, but only legislating their reception once a year on the other. The Church in effect is leaving room for the faithful to voluntarily choose to make frequent use of the sacraments. Things done voluntarily are usually done with more genuine piety (not always, but often enough). I pray that you make frequent use of these great sacraments. God bless.  

The key here is "it’s one thing to hold out an ideal, and another to require it." 

Pope John Paull II said in his groundbreaking work "Theology of the Body" that "prayer, Eucharist, and Penance. These, he says, are the 'infallible and indispensable' means for living the truth of love that God has inscribed in the theology of our bodies (see TOB 126:5)."1 This is the reason why I try to take advantage of the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist, especially Confession.  It is the best self-improvement plan on earth!

http://www.tobinstitute.org/newsItem.asp?NewsID=88

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Year of Faith Resources Missed the Mark

Heavenly Father,

Pour forth your Holy Spirit to inspire me with these words from Holy Scripture.

Stir in my soul the desire to renew my faith and deepen my relationship with your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ so that I might truly believe in and live the Good News.   
Open my heart to hear the Gospel and grant me the confidence to proclaim the Good News to others.
Pour out your Spirit, so that I might be strengthened to go forth and witness to the Gospel in my everyday life through my words and actions.  
In moments of hesitation, remind me:
If not me, then who will proclaim the Gospel?
If not now, then when will the Gospel be proclaimed?
If not the truth of the Gospel, then what shall I proclaim?
God, our Father, I pray that through the Holy Spirit I might hear the call of the New Evangelization to deepen my faith, grow in confidence to proclaim the Gospel and boldly witness to the saving grace of your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.  
Prayer of New Evangelization, http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers/new-evangelization-prayer.cfm


We have completely lost our understanding of sin.  We look at the Ten Commandments and justify our behavior to meet our own made-up criteria for Heaven.  When I half-jokingly make references to the Sacrament of Confession to family and friends, the responses I hear are "Hey, I haven't killed anybody" or "I think I'm fine."

Over the past year during the Year of Faith, priests in the churches I have attended have had numerous occasions to more completely define sin in our modern culture.  I was rooting them on.  Many times they would get close - I was ready to stand and applaud! But, alas, they would back off, and I found myself shrinking in the pew.  I'm hungry to hear it.  I'm anxious for all of us to hear it.

Read carefully the Prayer of New Evangelization from the USCCB's web site above. There are plenty of theological truths that are worthy praying for.  But there's no mention of a better understanding of sin.  This is a huge, huge oversight.  In fact, it strongly demonstrates how progressive relativism has cannonball-ed into parishes and most unfortunately chanceries.

Sex  before marriage (fornication), co-habitation, adultery (looking lustfully at another is committing adultery in the heart; see Matt 5:28), contraception, abortion, drunkenness, poor church attendance, taking Jesus Christ's name in vain (blasphemy),  lying, cheating, and stealing (we all do it usually in very small ways) - do we ever, ever hear a priest remind us of these sins, with practical examples?

We are all lying, cheating, blaspheming, fornicating, drunken adulterers. We are raising our children this way.  We are catechizing this way.  We have to vigilantly present, be presented with, and be reminded of the realities of death, judgment, Heaven, and Hell.  And not our own made up definitions but the truths from the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.  Amen!
 

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Sign of No Peace




I absolutely cringe at the Sign of Peace.  Next to the "meet-and-greet" social before Mass starts (see General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM)  paragraph 45: http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/girm-45-silence/),  it is the most Protestant part of the Mass.  It seems to come at the worst time - just after the Doxology and the Our Father and right before the Lamb of God - solemn prayers at most solemn points.  I experience very little eye contact and flabby handshakes.  I get the occasional two-finger peace sign from folks who don't want to bother leaning forward or claim to have a cold.  I also get ignored. It's awkward and out of place.

GIRM 84 leaves it to the Conferences of Bishops to establish, in accordance with the culture and customs of the peoples, the manner in which the sign of peace is given.  Recall how during some of the worst flu seasons in the past where the handshake was suspended during the Rite of Peace?  How peaceful that was.




Sunday, November 11, 2012

Over-matched by Democrat "Poll Observers" on Election Day

I was over-matched, unprepared, and overcome as a Republican poll observer last Tuesday.  Along with two others, while we were working Project Orca for Romney, our Democrat "poll-observing" counterparts ignored the rules, kibitzed with voters, and even attested signatures on voter registration forms with their own signature.

I volunteered to work as a Republican poll observer for the Romney campaign.  I was trained to use a web-based application from my smartphone which tracked which supporter or independent had voted.  From my position behind ballot inspectors, I was to check off the names of voters as they stated their name - when I could here them.  Most voters handed the inspectors their license when approaching them.  When they did state their name, most of them leaned forward so only the inspector could hear.  The inspectors would repeat their name, but because they had their back to us, often times we couldn't hear them.

We were supposed to use the Project Orca website to log voter's names, but the website never became available.  Alternately, we had printed copies of the lists in order to check off names.  We would phone in the results throughout the day.

Our Democrat poll-observing counterparts sat with us but often left the poll-observing designated area to stand among themselves off to the side by the entrance to the polling place.  We later learned that our counterparts were all lawyers.  We wondered why and later got our answer.

One lawyer was profiling voters as they entered.  If a voter looked Hispanic or Latino and had a glazed look on their face when they walked in, she got up, approached the voter, and began to speak Spanish.  When we cried foul, she would sit down, but only briefly.

Around 6:00 p.m. the line to register to vote was very long (NH allows people to register to vote on the day of an election). Because the line was so long, there was significant concern among poll workers that they would not be able to register everyone in line. This is when our lawyer friends jumped into action.  They requested that they be deputized to be city clerks to assist with new voter registration.   Democrats were worried that people would either not bother to register because the line was so long or that they would leave the line.  The city's head clerk arrived and asked that everyone help.  Not wanting to leave the job entirely to the Democrats, we all joined in.  Next thing you know, I'm working for the city helping with voter registration handing out applications and pens.

The application required name, address, and either a NH driver's license or the last four digits of your social security number - no proof of citizenship. It also required three signatures: one by the application, another by a witness that the applicant's signature was theirs, and another by the city.   I was standing by the table where voters were being processed when I heard a city worker ask a Democrat poll observer where they were supposed to sign since he signed the line witnessing the applicant's signature.  Wait a minute!  Why was a city worker asking a Democrat-poll-observing-lawyer-now-deputized-to-process-voter-registrations where to sign?  I joined a discussion on the other side of the room and asked why was this guy signing voter registration forms?  I was told he was speeding up the process.  Really?  How?  By having all the paperwork signed when registrants were being processed.  I said that this guy has no business signing anything.  I didn't think signing up to help meant that someone could sign voter registration forms.

Then, a representative from the state's Attorney General's office arrived to sort out what city workers were to do with applications that were signed by this lawyer.  After making a few calls, she advised city workers to sign the line approving that voters be added to the checklist.

City workers were delighted that the the line wait went down from thirty minutes to fifteen minutes, and to no waiting around 7:40 p.m.  The poll closed promptly at 8:00 p.m.  The moderator was happy, city workers were happy, voters were happy, and the Democrat poll observers were no where to be found.  I then went back to become a poll observer - I guess.

During the initial training, we were advised to call a phone number where we could report any potential irregularities.  I made several calls during the day.  Overall, I was totally unprepared and completely over-matched.  While us Republican poll observers were checking off names so that potential supporters who had yet to vote could be called to urge to get to the polls, Democrats stretched (broke?) the rules, took advantage of  the chaos, and worked the voter crowd.  From a strategic perspective, it was a much better "plan."  This is what happened in one ward in one city in NH.  Imagine what was going on in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida.

Republicans must figure out a way to counter this strategy.  Otherwise, they will be out-matched on election day for the foreseeable future.




Monday, July 30, 2012

The Scarcity Mentality

There's a subplot at work in the world.  It's whether we have too much or not enough; whether we have all that we need or that we haven't got enough

Politically speaking, Democrats subscribe to the Scarcity Mentality while Republicans subscribe to the Abundance Mentality. Democrats think that stewardship means we need to limit ourselves because their isn't enough.  Republicans believe that stewardship is for protecting abundance.

Any policy that does not help people become "the best version of themselves" is a scarcity mentality. Saving trees and puppies is a scarcity mentality.  Developing resources, creating opportunities, and saving the unborn is the abundance mentality.

"Saving the middle class" is scarcity.  Ensuring that the middle class has access to the same opportunity as all Americans is abundance.

Entitlement is scarcity; accountability is abundance.

Universal healthcare is scarcity; a multiple-payer, market and value-based healthcare is abundance.

"Buy gold" is scarcity; investment in currency is abundance.

"I'll try" is scarcity' "I will" is abundance.

"Whatever" is scarcity; "Why not?" is abundance.

"They say" is scarcity;  "Says who?" is abundance.

This fall, listen to where each candidate is coming from.  Will they protect scarcity or abundance?