Saturday, February 23, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
I noticed that I don't have an entry yet on who Jesus is for us - hence this entry. Jesus is obviously the reason for every other entry in this blog. In some special way that I cannot comprehend, the Word took flesh in Jesus, the natural born son of Joseph and Mary. Full humanity and full divinity found a place in one person.
Jesus came to remind us of God's grace, that is God's unending and ineffable love for us - most radically displayed in his crucifixion. In the resurrection of Jesus there is a radical hope - all things, however bad and gloomy, will be made new. It is made new because this is not a raising of the dead as with Lazarus, Jesus has a new body and even his own disciples do not readily recognize him.
On par with that love & hope that we find in the crucifixion and resurrection, is Jesus' example of a life lived in a truly human way. He teaches us what it is to be truly human. As the Eastern Churches say: God became human in order that humans may become divine. And as we are made in the image and likeness of God, it is truly divine to live out our humanity as Christ showed us. Jesus lived his message of the Kingdom of God. A Kingdom that reached out to all, no matter what a person's state in life. The only people we find Jesus regularly having a problem with are religious fanatics that think they have all the answers.
May God keep us humble.
-A Faithful Catholic
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Continuing my "Is it all Bad?" series, I wanted to focus on masturbation. The classic reason I always hear from religious persons for masturbation being wrong is that it is all about the person doing it, it's all inward - and therefore selfish and wrong. Catechism 2353, states that it is an intrinsic evil because it's making use of the genital region in a sexual way that is neither part of married love nor open to procreation.
First the Catechism, as I don't always believe that sex need take place inside of marriage or be open to procreation (see my Fornication entry), the "official" Catholic prohibitions are not persuasive. As given the reason that church people normally give (inward & selfish), would that not make watching TV, playing video games, reading, or any other activity we often do by ourselves wrong, especially if it is a little self-indulgent and not for learning purposes. What about eating ice cream late at night while watching bad television!? And as I couldn't find anything on the American Medical Association website concerning the harm done by masturbation, I can only conclude that under normal circumstance, masturbation is fine in the eyes of God. This an another "teaching" of the Catholic Church that obviously needs to be reevaluated.
Monday, February 4, 2008
According to Catholic News Service, Pope Benedict is amending the Tridentine Good Friday service with regard to its prayers for Jews. The 1962 version has been well publicized for its anti-Jewish character, but appears to be in the process of being completely rewritten. The 1962 version prayed for the conversion of the Jews and referred to their "blindness." The Vatican has not officially confirmed this report, but sources state that the Vatican should officially release this information soon.
Benedict continues to make a better mark on our Church than John Paul II, although it would be better if he could accommodate those lovers of the post-Vatican II liturgy as much as he accommodates pre-Vatican II liturgy lovers. But all in all, his greater tolerance towards thoughtful theologians with whom he disagrees (such as the Dutch Dominicans & Hans Kung) is extremely admirable and step in the right direction.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
A week and a half ago, Richard McBrien (theology professor at Notre Dame) wrote about Archbishop Marini, former master of ceremonies at the Vatican, and Marini's new book: A Challenging Reform: Realizing the Vision of the Liturgical Renewal, 1963-1975. As McBrien states: "[He] challenges those who would, some 40 years later, attempt to undermine those reforms, in opposition not only to Vatican II but to the expressed wishes of Pope Paul VI himself."
Marini, who should know, states that the resistance to the liturgical renewal of Vatican II has very little to do with changes to the vernacular and certain rituals and everything to do with the ecclesiology that these changes represent. This of course being an ecclesiology (theology of Church) of the People of God, priests & laity are equal - together. The old ecclesiology has the priest playing the part of a parent with the laity being the cared for, but simple-minded children. As McBrien states: "Communion is given in the hand because the laity should feed themselves rather than be fed like infants or very young children."
A Faithful Catholic