Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Catholic Culture How?

If Catholic culture is important,then how are we to pass it on to the ones in our care as catechists?
It would be foolish to think that someone who was ignorant of carpentry could teach another the art of making a house. Or that someone who lacked knowledge of biology could teach another the metabolic processes of a shrimp. How could it be expected that a catechist who is not seeped in Catholic culture could pass the knowledge of the traditions and Traditions of the Church to their students?
It is fairly obvious that to be a devoted minister of the teaching of Church doctrine and Tradition the catechist must pray, and pray often and with real intent. The style of prayer is not terribly important. Each person will prefer a specific style of prayer. The catechist should be familiar with as many styles as possible but in their personal prayer they should use whichever is most comfortable to them.
Likewise it is necessary to be familiar with the Saints. Our elder brothers and sisters have much to teach us. Intercessory prayer to the Saints is a strong component of Catholic culture. We learn from the example of the Saint's lives. We hope for the response of God to the prayers we request of the Saints in our own prayers.
Especially the lives of the martyrs should be studied and read. Their stories give strength and hope to the faithful, as well as a warning of the possibilities to come if the culture of death gets too strong.
We can not know God unless we know Scripture. As St. Jerome said, "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of God." We must especially know salvation history as it is recounted in Scripture.
A knowledge of liturgy, especially of the general form of the Mass, the liturgical calendar, the significance of the specific seasons and High Holy days is vital. We, as Catholics live in according to a rhythm of prayer and sacrifice and feasting. Day by day we as a Church pray according to the Liturgy of the Hours. Church bells use to mark the passing of the hours. In many places the Angelus is still rung marking morning, noon and night. The seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter are still celebrated at the times set forth by the Church, even by those who deny her authority, even by those who fail to acknowledge the Lord's existence. The catechist should be familiar enough with the rhyme and reason of these facts, else how can they be passed on to the faithful.
Familiarity with the Sacraments is vital to the catechist. Not just theoretical knowledge, but also for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist a knowledge gain through the regular practice thereof.
It should go without say that regular Mass attendance on all of the Holy Days of Obligation, which includes every Sunday, is a given.
These activities will help prepare the catechist for their ministry. Only with the help and support of the Holy Spirit will success in the transmission of Catholic culture be accomplished. So of all of the above suggestions prayer is the most important.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


The use of fetal matter from aborted fetuses in the creation of vaccines is an immoral practice totally grounded in the wishes of vaccine companies to save money. Even they claim no therapeutic purpose for the practice.
Check out Mark Armstrong's article at Catholic Exchange.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Why Catholic Culture?

Over the weekend I had an interesting conversation with someone about why Catholics being apart from the prevailing culture is a good thing. The contrary position was that we should not try to isolate ourselves from the common culture. The argument was that Jesus did not isolate himself from sinners. That is true. It is also true that Christ always called sinners to repentance.
The point is that in this discussion this is a straw man. I could just as easily counter that Jesus said, as described in Matthew 18:15-17
"If your brother sins (against you), go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that 'every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.'
If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church.
If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector."
The inference of this passage is that Christians are expected to live apart. In 1 Corinthians 5:10-12 Paul writes:
I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people, not at all referring to the immoral of this world or the greedy and robbers or idolaters; for you would then have to leave the world.
But I now write to you not to associate with anyone named a brother, if he is immoral, greedy, an idolater, a slanderer, a drunkard, or a robber, not even to eat with such a person.
For why should I be judging outsiders? Is it not your business to judge those within?
As can be seen by Paul there is an assumption that there is a group of people who are within the Church and a group who are without. He assumes that our relationship to our brothers and sisters within the Church will be different than our relationship to those without.
As Christians it is our duty to Evangelize, that is to preach Christ to the world. We cannot do that if we don't know who we are. In a culture based on principles so apart from the principles of the Gospel it is almost impossible to be part of both worlds.
In 2009, in the wake of President Obama's ill conceived invitation to Notre Dame Jody Bottoms wrote impassioned essays on abortion and Catholic culture. Rod Dreher's response was to ask "What Catholic culture?" pointing out that a majority of "Catholics" in the United States help vote in the most pro-abortion president this country has ever had.
This is more a proof of why maintaining a Catholic culture is important that an indictment that it isn't.
It is incumbent on parents to instill Catholic culture on their children. They are the first teachers of their children. Unfortunately too many of them are themselves ignorant of authentic Catholic culture. So it fall to the catechist to introduce aspects of Catholic culture to their students, both child and adult.
For much of modern history the assumption has been that the catechist deals primarily with the child, the exception being those who are involved in RCIA. With an almost entire generation who have not been inculturated with the facts and Truths of Catholic culture it has fallen to the Church and its catechists to now look beyond their traditional students to the greater Church.
To stand against the modern culture of death we must be like the early Christians, who stood against the ancient culture of death that was the Roman Empire. We must, in some sense be apart. We must know who we are in order to stand in the modern marketplace of ideas.
In Isaiah God promises:

I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; when he opens, no one shall shut, when he shuts, no one shall open.
I will fix him like a peg in a sure spot, to be a place of honor for his family;
This passage is referring to the king's steward. In the Church that is Peter, for, as St. Jerome said:

Where is Peter there is the Church.
So guided by Peter, and the Magisterium of the Church, we must stand against the culture a peg in a sure spot. Catholic culture is our peg.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Insight Scoop | The Ignatius Press Blog: "St. Thomas More" by G. K. Chesterton

On this feast of St Thomas More who could more clearly teach on St Thomas than the intellectual giant of the modern age, who might himself one day be among the great doctors of the Church?

Insight Scoop | The Ignatius Press Blog: "St. Thomas More" by G. K. Chesterton

Sunday, June 13, 2010

CCHD and bishops

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is an organization which was founded by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1970. CCHD has always been controversial to some Catholics. The mandate of the CCHD prevents its grant money from going directly to the poor. Instead its suppose to support organizations which are working to eliminate poverty through social programs.
Most, if not all of its monies go to secular organizations, that is not to expressively Catholic or even Christian organizations. In its past monies which have passed through the national organization have gone to groups which do not support Catholic teaching.
The effectiveness and proper use of grants in individual diocese are very much a function of the level of oversight of the individual bishops. Where the bishop is orthodox and willing to take to time to ensure fund management is scrupulous in adherence to Catholic doctrine on the part of grantees funds donated to the CCHD can do much good. In cases where this is not so funds donated to the CCHD can at the least make possible the diversion of funds to support programs hostile to Catholic teaching and at worst actually support activities which are actually against Catholic teaching, such as abortion, contraception, homosexuality and hostility to the traditional family.
At least eight U.S. bishops have stopped taking donations for the CCHD in their diocese, instead using that same money to support charitable organizations locally, in some cases in programs which would not have been permitted under the CCHD program, such as support for a food pantry for the hungry.
One group Reform The Catholic Campaign for Human Development has sent a report to every bishop in the United States. It should be pointed out that this group is not calling for the elimination of the CCHD, but for meaningful reform. The information revealed in the report is chilling to any faithful Catholic. No less that 18 grantee organizations are revealed in the report to be supporters of abortion or same-sex "marriage." At least 31 are said to require further investigation. In many cases an even cursory look at the web sites or liturature of the offending grantees would show that they support positions at odds with Catholic teaching. No great amount of investigation needed.
It should be mentioned that CCHD has literally hundreds of grantees nationally and many more through the local diocese. One would hope that the vast majority of these groups are compatible with Catholic teaching, not involved in disallowed activities, such as political action or support of specific political candidates or parties and are compatible in their activities with Church teaching.
To count on more than hope, perhaps the USCCB should heed the call for an audit of grantee organizations.
CCHD was founded as a response to the plight of the poor in the United States, for it to fulfill its mission it must be grounded in authentic Catholic teaching.