Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My Friends are sober and lost their faith. Their parents did not, and enjoy a drink now and then.

In my little coastal town
there are no fewer than four Irish bars on the same block of our very short Main Street. I noticed lately that I seem to be making friends in these establishments with the parents of old friends of mine. During the folly of our youth, we drank too much and caused too much trouble, and so did our parents I imagine. Those of us still alive had to have help lest things got irreversibly out of control.
The main reason I only see my friends’ parents in these pubs is because their kids, if still alive, became sober turning to Alcoholics Anonymous or similar organizations, and they have all rejected the Catholic Church. So, what I have in common with their parents is that I did not reject the Church. I still see their parents at mass. Their parents never got to the point where they had to refrain from alcohol 100% but I assume they are like me, in that the Church and its teachings have instilled some kind of temperance that keeps us from going to the point of no return. We are admonished against gluttony and debauchery and with the help of our faith and our confessors, we somehow manage to stay on the right track.
I suppose it’s healthier to drink zero alcohol than to drink like an adult Irish Catholic but I’m grateful it’s a step I didn’t have to take. There’s no getting around it. My friends should have listened to their parents. That’s a given. This is probably too peculiar of an observation to justify an “anyone else notice this?” but I’ll try anyway. Anyone?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Aritficial and Assisted Means Of Getting Pregnant Are Not Just Sinful, They Are Faulty.

In-vitro fertilization is a sin. It's an expensive sin, and often an unhealthy-total-waste-of-money sin. Read this article and ponder the following question "When will modern science catch up with the doctrine of the Catholic Church?"

Monday, December 2, 2013

Why Follow The Rules Of The 2000 Year Old Catholic Church?

Why are there so many rules in the Catholic Church? Why must things be done a certain way to attain salvation? I don't know because I'm not a mystic.

But I get it. And personally, I'd rather it be tough and somewhat burdensome. Getting to heaven is important and it should take some hard work and discipline. This makes sense to me.

The Super Bowl is important. To get there it should take hard work and discipline. This makes sense to everyone. It's a life's work of doing things in a certain way on a grueling schedule. Why should attaining salvation be any different? Should you be able to phone it in?

Faith is always an issue, but so is drive on the road to athletic supremacy. It comes to some so easy but others must force themselves until they start to see results in their routine.

Some have the gift of faith. Others need to work at it. An evangelical might come to you and say "you must accept Jesus." You might know that this is probably a good idea, because you know the message is righteous, but you can't just blink your eyes and start feeling amazing about it. Maybe you can, but I can't.

What saves people like me is the rich tradition of the Catholic Church and the lives of the saints. Through tradition and revelation we are given a road map, or routine/workout, not unlike the path to the Super Bowl for the athlete. By studying the lives of the saints I know what to shoot for. This is my play book. A good congregation with holy priests is my team.

I have a workout, play book, and a dependable team. I'm not going to make it to the Super Bowl any other way.

People often say "I stopped going to church because I wasn't really getting anything out of it. I can pray on my own. Good luck with that. Try getting to the Super Bowl on your own. You may get fit (how many times have you heard the non-religious say "I am a spiritual person") but you won't make it to the final championship. You need more.

This was just a long and super cheesy way of saying that the only way to obtain what the Catholic Church promises is to follow the rules and study the play book. You're not going to get bonked on the head with joy just by showing up to mass willy-nilly.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Dismantle Your Parish's Alter Server Program Now

Looks cool to me!
If I could suggest one thing that each parish could do to improve everything about their Catholic experience, it would be to dismantle 99% of the existing alter server programs in the world. My parish is an exception, and that's why I go there obviously. Today, there was a mass for over 80 alter boys that were going on a hike together after a 3 day retreat where they met each morning for 4 hours with the vocations director from the order that serves our parish.

Not only was it moving, you had the sense that it was a mini-priest factory which is exactly what the alter server program should be. And it works. In the last three years where I've been paying attention,  at least two seminarians have entered studies with the same order that serves us, The Oblates Of The Virgin Mary. And the rest of them have a very strong record of staying with the Church to build families that also stay with the Church.

Many parishes face the possibility of no priests in the future, but even if you have a priest, wouldn't it be nice to have one from your own neighborhood? Do you want one from some far off third world country that you've never heard of where they happen to be a lot holier than the flock you run with? It's great that those priests exist, but wouldn't it be better if they served along side someone from someone homegrown?

So here's the plan. If you get the chance, suggest to your pastor that you scrap the current alter server program and start over from scratch. Then you start planning a new one. If there were girls in the old program, let them join in the effort to create a special girls group that will prepare them to be wives, mothers, and college students. Re-create your alter server program for boys only. This is the only way to increase participation among boys,  and to eventually create some priests. I repeat. This is the only way.

If there is one girl in it, most young boys wont want to do it. It has then become un-masculine, like a cheer leading squad.  Sure, you will get some boys who are forced, or some effeminate boys that like being in a girls group, but you wont get ever increasing numbers of strong boys who want to do it like you will if it is a boys only, masculine oriented club.

You can whine about how that's not modern or "p.c." but the point is to create priests and strong catholic boys, not placate anti-Catholic forces of the modern world. Most people that want girls to become priests wish that as a second choice. Their first choice is that the Catholic Church not exist at all.

You can name it something cool to get boys even more interested. At Holy Innocents in Long Beach they call it the "Knights" of something or other. Get it? It's so easy, it's sitting right in front of your face, but who's going to take the first step?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What Do You Think Of The New Pope?

People ask me this several times a week. I love him of course. However, Pope Francis is a Jesuit in Modern times, and I just got done reading a book called The Jesuits by Father Malachi Martin. It's scary and depressing. It details the change it the Jesuits from "The Pope's Men" of St. Ignatius, to the guys calling themselves priests but firing machine guns to over-throw governments in Central America in the 1980s.

What kind of Jesuit is Pope Francis? Well, his focus on the poor could go either way, right? Does he want us to give all our money to the poor and completely deconstruct Western capitalism, or just keep them in our hearts and share more with them?

Whatever the case, it's not going to hurt any of us to focus more on the poor both materially and spiritually. He's already inspired me to do little things like take the bus once in a while.

I think the best way to get to know him is to read his writings. He just released his first encyclical, Lumen Fidei,  co-authored by Benedict XVI. Read it. But since it's a co-authored thing, it might not give us a clear picture.

For a great picture of what he's like I would read this book of interviews he did as Cardinal Bergoglio; very hot item right now! I know I'm acting like I've read it, but I haven't. But I did order it from Amazon and it is sitting in front of me right now. That's something, right?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Benedict XVI's Resignation Announcement

Everybody I run into is asking me what I think of the recent announcement by the Holy Father that he will resign. The most ignorant comments I hear are that he is hiding something or that scandals in the church are forcing him out.

If you get all your information about what's going on in the Catholic Church from the Los Angeles Times, network news, or talk radio, you are ignorant of the papacy of Benedict XVI. You think it's all about scandals because that's all you hear about. I don't have time to explain everything to you. If you want to know the truth, study church doctrine, traditions, and papal encyclicals and letters that get issued all the time.

I don't have any inside information, or even any particularly well formed opinions, about the resignation but I do have a gut feeling. My feeling is that the Holy Father made a decision long ago that this was the best way to handle papal succession. He's a brilliant man. It's been said that he has the intellect of a great philosopher and the piety of a 1st communion candidate.

It makes sense to hand over the reigns while you still have all your faculties. AND he's right about the amount of energy that the papacy takes today. It takes more. The world is changing. Brilliant, divinely inspired, or just common sense, it matters little. He's a great pope that has done wonders to restore respect for traditional principles of the Catholic Church like faith, prayer, Eucharistic adoration, Latin mass, and strict adherence to the magisterium.

The mere fact that he is still alive is likely to influence how the college of cardinals vote for his successor. To me, that is the best news of all.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Ambassador of Daily Massador


What's this? I'm not exactly sure, but as a daily communicant, I know I'll find out someday.
I’ve been getting some interesting feedback from my Catholicism lately.

How do you do this with your background?
Do you take heat from people in the entertainment business who generally trivialize religion, or even work to attack it?

Is your church “culty?” (I'm like, "not enough, really.")

Given an opportunity to explain my Church, some people want to start taking notes because most have never heard someone explain the awesomeness of this ancient institution to them in a way that didn’t sound Jesus Freaky.

I have no special gifts. They just don’t get out much. I only have one secret. And that is daily mass. Some people don't even know that masses are offered every day. They are. They are short, sacred, and uncrowded. (You unusually get a bench all to yourself!)

Most people believe in God. And most Catholics will at least profess to believe his real presence is in the Eucharist handed out to the people during each mass.

Well, if you believe that this wafer contains the real presence of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the 2nd person of the Holy Trinity, why wouldn’t you make every effort to be there every day?

We all go through periods where this would be tough to impossible, but what I’m saying is that if you understood the benefits of being a Daily Communicant you would arrange your life to attend make it possible, the same way you arrange your life to make sure you have enough to eat some shelter. If God is truly in the tabernacle, what are we doing out here? Shouldn't we get back in there?

So what are the benefits of daily mass attendance?
Metaphysically, most of it is impossible to explain, at least for me, and it differs for everyone but I’ll list a few concrete things that happen to everyone, and will happen to you.

1.     Your marriage will improve. That should be enough, because nothing is more important, especially if you have kids. If you are a man this is especially true. A wife will not get very far complaining to her friends and sisters about her daily mass attending husband. Who cares if he leaves the toilent seat up if he’s at mass every day. Everyone will want to trade her for you. The only thing that compete with this habit would be to suddenly love shopping. That would be a conversion of a different time that soon she would regret. Although you would probably remain friends. As a father, the mere sight of dad on his knees praying is an image that will burn many things into a child's psyche, all of them good.
2.     If you are a married woman, your marriage will eventually improve. Improvement will come slower however because the reality is a wife attending daily mass is something many men would gladly complain about to their friends. Your rewards come from prayer and sacrifice. You are praying and sacrificing for a conversion. The conversion will eventually happen if you are faithful. I believe this. Ask St. Monica. And your children will be profoundly effected by this pious act. Everyone wants to believe that their mother is holy, and you will be. What a great gift to give your children.
3.      If you are single, you are going to find a mate that will last a life time. This you will not find by learning to salsa dance.You will either find one there, or be introduced outside of church as the "one who attends daily mass." This cuts out the riff-raff.
4.     You will quickly realize that you are not going to confession as much as you should. Even if this wasn’t your original intent, daily mass will do this to you and the benefits of the regular cleansing your soul of mortal and venial sins is so powerful, your spirituality will rise to new levels. New graces will befall you, and so on, and so on.
5.     You will surround yourself with other holy people praying for you. This is just a physical fact. You’re spending 30 or so minutes in a room with Jesus, a priest, and other daily communicants. This is the place to be. This is where you will find a peace each day unlike any other that you can hope to find in any other place. People do a lot of strange and dumb things to find some elusive peace they think might be out there. They follow gurus and yogis from cultures far from their own, when real peace is in their back yard. Don’t be like them. This is like trying to find a “smarter mother” because you are not satisfied with your own who loves you and is right in your home. Only a dumb kid would do that. Mary is your true mother. If you seek another, you are as dumb as a kid trying to find parents who will let it eat Skittles for dinner.
6.     You will learn your faith. By being exposed to the liturgy of the mass every day, you will eventually have most of the entire Bible read to you for free while you sit on your butt. Not only is that a good deal but it kind of makes you a biblical scholar. By hanging around you will eventually be exposed to traditional prayers that everyone else knows but you forgot, and other traditions like  The Catechism of the Catholic Church, The Liturgy Of The Hours, The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, or The Diary Of St. Faustina. Papal Encyclicals will be pointed out to you. The Glorious Communion of Saints will become your new BFFs. And I mean F. You will pray the Rosary, daily, eventually. This is huge. These things separate the pros from the amateurs. Why be a philistine about something so important as your role in the 2,000 year old Universal Catholic Church.
7.     You will learn how to defend the Church. This comes easy after experiencing some or all of the above. The Church was there for you when you and your family wanted to be baptized, confirmed, wed, and buried. Why not pay a little back by learning to defend it when jealous haters are on the attack?

The above is true, so what are you waiting for? And I’m just scratching the surface here. If you can think of any other benefits of daily mass attendance, or have any questions, please put them in the comment section.