Friday, June 21, 2013

Diary from the real life case behind The Exorcist

From a news story occasioned by the 40th anniversary of the release of The Exorcist, a news station in St. Louis has provided an electronic copy of the diary/case study kept by Father Raymond J. Bishop, S.J who was part of the real-life 1949 exorcism case that became the basis for The Exorcist.

Read the diary.

Now, realize that there is profound evil in the world that effects all of us. Rarely, it manifests in dramatic ways such as this case. Its ordinary manifestations are far more banal: doubt, temptation, etc. Yet those more ordinary manifestations flow from the same praeternatural hatred and are just as dangerous, if not more so.

Yet the Lord is stronger still.

Remember that today is Friday and we recall in a special way the sacrifice of the cross that, once and for all, broke the power of death and hell forever. Live in that sacrifice today...and every day.
“Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last,the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I hold the keys to death and the netherworld." (Rev. 1:17-18)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

"If justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing."

God does not keep score.

Let me simply say that up front, lest anyone be confused. I meet too many Catholics who still envision God their Father with some kind of heavenly grade book keeping a tally of their good deeds and their bad deeds and checking the balance to see if they are O.K. They try to do good deeds in the hope of making up for the bad ones. They look at every downturn in their lives as a kind of divine punishment for their misdeeds.

This is the kind of thinking that Pope Francis apparently took issue with in his private remarks to representatives of CLAR. We are busy tallying our sins and tallying our prayers. We have replaced the 613 commandments of the Old Law with some new ones of our own creation.

Today, St. Paul says knock it off:

Friday, June 14, 2013

Obscure Saint of the Day: St. Joseph the Hymnographer

On days like today, when there is no particular saint being celebrated liturgically in the General Roman Calendar,I like to look up the more obscure saints whose feast falls today. The saints that we celebrate in the liturgy are only a small fraction of those recognized by the church and every day has many holy men and women associated with it. Today has no less than 26.

"We hold this treasure in earthen vessels..."

Today, St. Paul reminds us:
We hold this treasure in earthen vessels,
that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.
We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained;
perplexed, but not driven to despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed;
always carrying about in the Body the dying of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Pope Francis vs. Adolescent Progressivism

[via CNA]

The progress of the Church can be hindered by the dual temptations of wanting to remain in the past and “adolescent progressivism,” Pope Francis said.

The danger of a progressive approach to the Holy Spirit is that believers becomes “like teenagers who in their enthusiasm want to have everything, and in the end? You slip up…”

Pope Francis and Synodality

via Andrea Tornielli @ Vatican Insider, a 'heads up' on some forthcoming activity from Pope Francis.

While I'm sure that the biggest buzz will be regarding the forthcoming encyclical, the piece that I find most interesting and most hopeful is the discussion of increased synodality.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Today's Readings: "I have come not to abolish but to fulfill."

[Today's readings at USCCB]

In today's Gospel reading Jesus declares that he has not "come to abolish the law or the prophets", but to fulfill them. What exactly does this mean?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"I'll share two worries of mine...": Unverified, unscripted comments from Pope Francis

A yet to be verified post from the a Chilean website has reports of comments made by Francis during his private meeting with the Religious Confederation of Latin America and the Caribbean (CLAR). See Rocco Palmo's article at Whispers in the Loggia for more details, but the thing that really stuck out for me was the Holy Father's reported concerns for the Church.

Cardinal George: "The state has a right to supervise but not to redefine an institution it did not create"

Francis Cardinal George has a column up on Catholic New World with his reflections on the public debate over "same sex marriage." Some key thoughts from the Cardinal:

"The plausibility of the legislative proposal to create a marriage based on sexual relations between people of the same sex comes from a cultural shift regarding marriage. Many, unfortunately, now see marriage only as a private, two-person relationship based on love and sexual attraction rather than as a public social institution governing family life."

Monday, June 10, 2013

On a personal note

[Update 6/11/13: I was informed that the info I received last night was incorrect and that the camp closures below are only temporary for the repair of damage caused during the fires. They should reopen in a few months]

I just received news that, after being evacuated due to the Powerhouse fire, the two probation camps at which I have been ministering for the last eight years will likely be closing, with the populations consolidated at another facility. The closure likely has less to do with the fire than with budget and staff issues--the evacuation just provided a convenient moment to make it happen.

Of course, I know the chaplain at the facility to which the boys will be sent and I'll be in contact to offer up my services if he requires them. But, there is a sadness that the place where I first found my vocation as a preacher will now be only a memory...but life goes on.

On a different note: this blog has now reached its own milestone. I have had both my first supportive commenter and my first capital-letter-using-anonymous-troll commenter. That means that this place is officially open for business!

Archbishop Gomez's Statement on Immigration

As Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Committee on Migration, the Archbishop has released a new statement on immigration reform that is both concise and insightful.

The bottom line from the document:

Without positive change to our immigration laws, we cannot help our brothers and sisters. Simply put, the status quo is morally unacceptable. This suffering must end.

Against a culture of 'ritual purity'

Normally, when I see articles in the ongoing 'speaker wars' where various people are up in arms about the views of some speaker scheduled to appear at some Catholic institution I pass on with a shrug to other more pressing matters. However an article I saw today from LifeSiteNews (h/t Mark Shea) was different, not because of its content but because of the speaker it was referencing.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Pope Francis: "The mercy of Jesus is not just sentiment"

From today's Sunday Angelus address:

But the mercy of Jesus is not just sentiment: indeed it is a force that gives life, that raises man up! [This Sunday]’s Gospel tells us this as well, in the episode of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17). Jesus, with his disciples, is just arrived in Nain, a village in Galilee, at the very moment in which a funeral is taking place. a boy is buried, the only son of a widow. Jesus’ gaze immediately fixes itself on the weeping mother. The evangelist Luke says: “Seeing her, the Lord was moved with great compassion for her (v. 13).” This “compassion” is the love of God for man, it is mercy, i.e. the attitude of God in contact with human misery, with our poverty, our suffering, our anguish. The biblical term “compassion” recalls the maternal viscera: a mother, in fact, experiences a reaction all her own, to the pain of her children. In this way does God love us, the Scripture says.

Homily for Sunday June 9th

Did you know that some people miss Heaven by 18 inches?

That distance, 18 inches, is the average distance between the human head and the human heart. When we don't allow our faith to make that final journey of a foot and a half, to spill over from our minds into our hearts, we miss the Kingdom of Heaven—we miss the reality that “God has visited his people” and that He continues to visit his people in the real, concrete acts of love that we do for to one another.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Mary, Mother of Deacons

Today is the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Naturally enough, when we hear this title we immediately think of her Immaculate Conception--about Mary's freedom from sin from the moment of her conception. However for me, I think that the most important thing about the Immaculate Heart is not what it is free from, but with what it is filled...

A new identity and a new blog...

Today, June 8th, 2013, marks the culmination of a long journey and the start of a new one.

This morning I was ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacon for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. By the laying on of hands of our Archbishop, I have been given a new, permanent identity as a cleric in the Catholic Church. So, I thought that this moment of transition where one journey ends and another begins would be a good time to re-think my social media identity as well.