Saturday, May 30, 2009

My new blog: View From the Domestic Church

Check out the new blog I started and pass the word! It's View From the Domestic Church

God bless your week end!


Statement on Christopher West from Fr. Jose Granados

From Fr. Jose Granados:

"It is highly inadequate and open to serious misunderstanding to say that John Paul II took the sexual revolution a step further. For the principles that were at work in Puritanism, with its negative vision of the body, are the same ones at work in pornography and in the sexual revolution. In both cases the body is seen without reference to the dignity of the person and to the plan of God for man; it is deprived of its symbolism and its language. Puritanism attempts this by silencing the body and its urges; the sexual revolution (as expressed for example in Hugh Hefner) by exalting it as an absolute. In both cases (but especially in the latter) the body, and with it the human person, are despised, because they are cut off from their ultimate origin and destiny. Pornography is in no sense an attempt to recover the beauty of the body and sexuality, but a sign of despair regarding this beauty and the possibility of finding meaning in human love.

The recovery of the meaning of the body, with reference to love and to the mystery of man and God, is the novelty brought about by John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. The Pope’s proposal is not about sexuality, but about the truth of love as the foundation of the person’s dignity and the meaning of reality; and about the family as the place where the person finds himself and his way towards happiness.

Moreover, one of the results of the sexual revolution is precisely the pansexualism that surrounds our society. We cannot respond with a different kind of pansexualism, with a sort of “Catholic sexual revolution,” which in the end promotes a similar obsession with sex, even if 'holy.'"

Fr. Jose Granados
Assistant Professor of Patrology and Systematic Theology at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family

Coauthor of "Called to Love: Approaching John Paul II's Theology of the Body"
(Source of article)

Friday, May 29, 2009

From the Dawn Patrol...

"In the last couple of days, Professor David L Schindler’s critique of Christopher West as come under attack by some heavy guns, namely, Professor Janet Smith and Professor Michael Waldstein. I would like to comment only relative to the main point I made here on The Dawn Patrol last week. That point is that the very effective popularization of the theology of the body (TOB) by West has a severe liability insofar as it promises too much: it is supposed to be the bombshell that will delivered us from the death-grip of that nasty Catholic Puritanism.

I am not a scholar; while my argument with West is theological, it is not academic. West is a popularizer. He is targeting the sex-saturated masses with arguments that are largely apologetical in style and substance. It seems to me that Schindler, dean of the John Paul II Institute, is addressing West on an academic level, and he does so fairly and accurately.

That being said, it is not true, as both Smith and Waldstein claim, that Schindler does not offer sources for his arguments. He gives precise instances of remarks made by West, which he documents, and then he summarizes the problem as follows (emphasis mine}:

I offer these examples not merely because they are vulgar and in bad taste, not to mention sometimes bordering on the just plain silly, but because they indicate a disordered approach to human sexuality. An objective distortion in approaching sexuality does not cease to be such simply because it is theologized. West to be sure will point toward the “orthodox” intentions and context of the examples, but my criticism bears on the substance of his preoccupation as reflected in the examples.
It seems that Schindler is arguing that to do things like advising young men to look at their naked bodies in a mirror in order to overcome shame is an example of a “disordered approach to sexuality.” Taken together with the other examples of West's teachings, Schindler indicates a “preoccupation” West holds which, from the many blog comments I have read over the last week, seems to be a common complaint about his approach. West justifies all he says on the basis of his knowledge of the corpus of John Paul II’s TOB, including the above advice. Schindler does not seem to be impressed by this extrapolation of the pope’s teaching--this theologizing that really has nothing to do with the John Paul’s corpus of writing..." (Continued here)

Dr. Janet Smith chimes in on the Christopher West discussion

"Christopher West’s interview on ABC’s Nightline has sparked some terrific discussion on the Internet. An impressive amount of the interaction is intelligent and illuminating, even some of that which is seriously wrong. One of the better responses is that by Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers and the follow-up comments to his blog.

Here, I want to offer a brief, partial, response to Prof. David Schindler’s assessment of West’s work. The fact that Nightline got a lot wrong about West’s work is not surprising. In fact, it is surprising how much it got right. Those of us who work with the media know that potential martyrdom awaits us at the hands of an editor. West has likely been suffering a kind of crucifixion over the past week. What is puzzling is that an influential scholar chose this moment to issue a sweeping, negative critique of West in such a public forum. I have great respect for the work and thought of Schindler and realize that it must be difficult to be on the receiving end of criticisms of the work of one of their most high profile graduates. I wish, however, he had found another occasion to express his reservations about West’s work.

I think we should be very careful in our evaluation of the work of someone who is on the front lines and who is doing pioneer work. Virtually every pioneering author and presenter has had severe detractors in his own time. Some of them have been disciplined by the Church and eventually exonerated. I would like to give examples and mention names, but I don’t want to ignite a firestorm of "how can you compare Christopher West to X, Y or Z?"!

I want to add my voice to those who are enthusiastic about the West/Theology of the Body phenomenon. I think it is important to keep in mind, as Akin does, who West’s audience is. It is largely the sexually wounded and confused who have been shaped by our..." (Continued here)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Face Book and the Pope

"Vatican City, May 26, 2009 / 09:41 am (CNA).- On its first day online, the new website enabling young people from around the world to get to know Pope Benedict XVI, received almost half a million visits.

According to webmaster Father Paolo Padrini of Vatican Radio, the website sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Laity is intended “to create a climate of belonging, of participating in the Church, through ever greater closeness with the Holy Father.”

The new site, which allows users to learn the teachings of Benedict XVI on Facebook, download tools for iPhones and have access to the Vatican on Youtube, sent out “almost ten thousand virtual postcards on its first day” and received almost “half a million visits.”

Father Padrini noted that what 'is on Facebook is not a profile, but rather a place to share, because the Pope obviously does not need a profile to introduce himself … Dialogue with him is dialogue based on our daily realities of school, work, and the parish. This is promoted by him and is later made concrete in the sharing of our friends on the internet.'"

In the news: Obama picks Miguel H. Diaz, Ph.D for US Ambassador to the Holy See

"Washington D.C., May 28, 2009 / 01:35 am (CNA).- In a surprising move, President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday evening that Miguel H. Diaz, Ph.D., a 45 year old lay Liberation theologian born in Havana (Cuba) is his pick to become the United States Ambassador to the Holy See.

An associate professor of theology at St. John's University and the College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota, Diaz, a strong Obama supporter and father of four, earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Thomas University in Miami, Fla., and his master’s and doctorate in theology from the University of Notre Dame at Notre Dame, Ind.

He taught previously at Barry University, Miami Shores, Fla.; St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, Boynton Beach, Fla.; University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio; and the University of Notre Dame. He also served as the academic dean at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary and is fluent in Italian, Spanish and French.

Diaz serves on the board of the Catholic Theological Society of America, is past president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States, and is a past member of the steering committee of the Karl Rahner Society.

He is also a theological consultant to the Catholic Association of Teachers of Homiletics and was appointed to the task force overseeing the review and revisions of the accrediting standards for the Association of Theological Schools.

Diaz is author of the book "On Being Human: U.S. Hispanic and Rahnerian Perspectives" (Orbis Books, 2001); Co-Editor of "From the Heart of Our People: Explorations in Catholic Systematic Theology" (Orbis Books, 1999;) and author of numerous articles and book chapters inspired in the Latino and Black liberation theology, such as the forthcoming “The Life-Giving Reality of God from Black, Latin-American, and U.S. Hispanic Theological Perspectives,” “Otherness in Black Catholic and Latino/a Catholic Theologies and the Otherness of God,” and “Outside the Survival of Community there is no Salvation,” in Building Bridges, Doing Justice: Constructing a Latino/a Ecumenical Theology (Orbis Press, 2009.)

Diaz is currently working on two future books: "Cuban-American Catholics" (Paulist Press) and “Migrating Across Theological Borders: The Essentials of Theology from U.S. Hispanic Theological Perspectives" (Orbis Books.)

His body of work, which includes some controvesial positions on “inclusivity,” has gained him significant praise from the Catholic left, and his nomination was immediately hailed by pro-Obama Catholics such as “Catholics United” and “Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good,” as well as Prof. Douglas Kmiec.

Diaz's election seems to be the first return that Catholics who have unconditionally supported Obama's policies and appointments have received for their investment in the ticket. Diaz, in fact, is listed as a member of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, although he explains his relationship with the pro-Obama group founded by Democratic activist Alexia Kelley as “a response to an invitation to become a theological advisor.”

In a brief statement, Diaz said that..." (Continued here

Monday, May 25, 2009

"Angels of God"

I am loving Mike Aquilina's new book: Angels of God: The Bible, the Church and the Heavenly Hosts. It's very fascinating. I have a particular love for the Angels and am intrigued by Mike's book. I especially love this author's style of writing. He brings us so much enlightenment on his subjects in a wonderful conversational way. Mike helps us to discover the reality and the power of our Angel friends, escorting them seemingly ever closer to us. I really feel like I'm sitting down with Mike and chatting about the Angels over a cup of coffee every time I pick up this book to read more. I know you'll love this book and learn much too, which is why I am highly recommending it. I'll be posting a review of it soon. Stay tuned!

Christopher West and Dr. Alice von Hildebrand

Link here about Dr. Alice von Hildebrand.

More on Christopher West...

This is from "Tea at Trianon."

"I have been following the various discussions around the internet about "theology of the body" and have wanted to stay out of the hullabaloo. Those involved have good intentions, no doubt. However, Dr. Alice von Hildebrand is absolutely correct in questioning the prudence of certain approaches to teaching and discussing marital intimacy. A crass and bombastic approach to a delicate subject does nothing but break down the already deteriorating veil of modesty and reticence which should exist between people who are not married to each other, especially between young men and young women.

The beauty of intimacy exists because it is private, to be shared only with the beloved. When the sense of privacy is destroyed, then the intimacy is destroyed. Is there then any hope for romance, when the mystery of physical love is constantly examined under a microscope, on television, on podcasts, everywhere? It is especially damaging, I think, when this occurs under the pretext of learning about chastity, under the cloak of religion. The fruit of the breakdown of modesty will ultimately be adultery, which Dr. von Hildebrand..." (Continued here)

Vatican's approval of bishop's criticism of President Obama

"Vatican City, May 24, 2009 / 12:40 pm (CNA).- For a second day in a row, the Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano echoed the U.S. bishops’ criticism of Barack Obama’s pro-abortion policies, which many pro-life Catholics have claimed to be missing from previous reports in the Vatican newspaper related to the U.S. President.

The front page article, signed by Marco Bellizi and titled "the U.S. Bishops Regarding Conscientious Objection," reports on Cardinal Francis George’s statement released last Friday by the USCCB. The statement requested that President Obama deliver on his alleged commitment to respect the right to conscientious objection, a right which, according to L’Osservatore, should include "the right not to finance abortions with taxes paid to the state."

"This is a relevant issue, since following the decisions made by the new administration on ethical issues, many health workers could find themselves providing services that they do not morally accept," Bellizi writes.

The front page article in the Sunday edition of the Vatican’s newspaper quotes extensively the President of the USCCB as well as Msgr. David Malloy, General Secretary of the USCCB, who recently urged the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to respect human life at all stages.

L’Osservatore quotes Msgr. Malloy’s claim that "President Obama’s executive order..." (Continued here)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pope: Bring the Gospel to the Internet

Pope: Bring the Gospel to the Internet

Posted using ShareThis
Click above link

His message…

..Be sure to announce the Gospel to your contemporaries with enthusiasm. You know their fears and their hopes, their aspirations and their disappointments: the greatest gift you can give to them is to share with them the “Good News” of a God who became man, who suffered, died and rose again to save all people. Human hearts are yearning for a world where love endures, where gifts are shared, where unity is built, where freedom finds meaning in truth, and where identity is found in respectful communion. Our faith can respond to these expectations: may you become its heralds! The Pope accompanies you with his prayers and his blessing…

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Christopher West's theology in question by theologian

This was found through the Catholic News Agency. A very enlightening article, revealing things and concerns that I have had but haven't had time to research enough about it to form an opinion. I am presently not voicing my opinion, but feel I should present this article for you to ponder yourselves. Fair warning for those who may blush - the continuation of the article contains graphic and explicit details about what should be an intimate subject between spouses and some of which may seem totally out of whack!

Here is the article by David L. Schindler
Provost/Dean and Gagnon Professor of Fundamental Theology at the Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family:

"Regarding his interview on Nightline, Christopher West says that his remarks were taken out of context. In some sense, this is surely true. However, the comments as aired are the latest in a long list of statements and actions not inconsistent with the context set by the Nightline editors.

Though occasioned by West’s Nightline appearance, the present statement addresses his theology as a whole.

Let me stress that I agree with those who vigorously defend West’s intention of fidelity to the Church. Certainly he has had positive results in drawing many Catholics into a deeper understanding of their faith. As for myself, I do not initiate anything about West in my classes, but only respond when asked a question. Then I begin by emphasizing West’s intention of orthodoxy. As I have often put it, "he would throw himself in front of a bus for the Church." It is important to understand, however, that good will is not synonymous with sound thought; and I must say, not without reluctance, that West’s work seems to me to misrepresent in significant ways the thought of John Paul II.

The following examples have been verified by persons directly involved or by things written by West himself (and I regret the necessary adoption of West’s own language).

West’s work has involved suggesting that a man and woman bless their..." (Continued here).

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pope Benedict and Face Book!

"Rome, Italy, May 20, 2009 / 12:06 pm (CNA).- The president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, announced on Thursday the launching of a new website,, to reach out to young people and bring them into contact with Pope Benedict XVI.

The archbishop told L’Osservatore Romano that the initiative is part of the activities surrounding World Communications Day, which will be celebrated on Sunday, May 24 under the theme, “New Technologies, New Relationships.”

The idea behind this website, the archbishop said, “is that in order to be able to enter into a fruitful, rich dialogue characterized by respect and friendship, we wanted to use the digital world, that is, the instrument most friendly to young people, through which they encounter each other daily and often without meeting each other in person.”

Commenting on Pope Benedict XVI's call to young people to use the internet to evangelize, Archbishop Celli said the Holy Father was encouraging them to participate in online social networks and “bear witness to the love of God for all mankind.”

The archbishop also said..." (Continued here)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bishop John M. D'Arcy and Notre Dame graduation

"South Bend, Ind., May 17, 2009 / 10:48 am (CNA).- As President Barack Obama’s commencement address approaches this Sunday, protests have been heating up on the campus of the University of Notre Dame and the local bishop has joined pro-life students in prayer.

On Friday and Saturday, as pre-graduation festivities began, a number of protestors were arrested for acts of civil disobedience and “the abortion plane,” a plane hired by the Center for Bioethical Reform to display images of aborted fetuses, continued to fly above campus.

Yet, in the midst of the brewing storm, the prayerful and dignified aura of commencement was present at an informal prayer service held at the campus’s iconic Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Bishop John M. D’Arcy of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, led a crowd of approximately 350 people in praying the Joyful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. Many of the crowd members were graduates and their families and fellow undergraduates. Before the Rosary began, Michele Sagala, a graduating senior, announced the three intentions for which the Rosary would be offered and joined to more than 100,000 Rosaries had been prayed thus far for those same intentions.

The intentions included: for a greater respect for the dignity of all human life, for the Catholic identity of Notre Dame and all Catholic universities, and for the pro-life conversion of President Barack Obama..."

(Continued here)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Fr. James's Sunday Homily

Many years ago in Dublin, Ireland, two women were spending the afternoon together shopping at their favorite clothing store. They had grown up together in the same neighborhood and were life long friends. As they left the store with their bundles, they began to cross a busy street in order to get to the parking lot where they had left their car.

One of the ladies was distracted with her bundles and could not see a rapidly approaching car. The other woman noticing the dilemma, pushed her friend forward and took the entire impact of the oncoming car. The woman was killed instantly.

This woman was the mother of a Catholic priest. I am sure that the woman was able to make this heroic sacrifice of her life because the pattern of her life had always been characterized by the qualities of a true mother and a true friend. I am sure that the priest was just as able to answer the call of God to love unconditionally because his mother taught him how to do so.

"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends" (John 15: 13). These words from this Sunday's gospel passage synthesize the whole meaning of the Paschal Mystery: Jesus died for us because of his unconditional love for all of us, and we are called to live this new life of unconditional love. "This is my commandment: love one another as I love you" (John 15: 12).

Anyone who wants to live true Christianity is called to live selflessly. Does a true mother complain when she must waken in the middle of the night to care for her sick child? What father who really loves his family will complain about the daily sacrifices that he must make to support his family? Will a Catholic priest, enamored of his priestly calling, not be filled with a profound joy as he gives himself untiringly to his parish family?

"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete" (John 15: 11).

Selfishness will prevent us from the giving of ourselves unconditionally. If we live selfish lives, we will not experience the profound joy of Christianity. True Christians are always laughing because they are men and women who are completely selfless. Despite the many challenges and sufferings of daily existence, a life of selfless love energizes the true Christian in such way that they are able to soar above every challenge.

This donation of our lives manifests itself in many concrete ways throughout the day. Simple little acts like saying hello to someone and being of good cheer, helping out in the kitchen during meal times, assisting a needy school friend with their homework, helping an elderly neighbor with the chores, and volunteering time in the parish are just a few of the numerous ways that the true disciple of Jesus can love in a very practical manner.

True mothers and fathers will understand that parenting goes far beyond simply feeding their children and filling their day with hours of mindless television. True priests will always devote large amounts of time each week to preparing good Sunday homilies; to being available to meet the needs of their people; and to taking the time to visit the homebound and the sick in the hospitals. But if homes are abandoned because parents are more concerned about their careers than their children, and if parishes are abandoned because the spiritual fathers are more concerned about their free time and entertainment than the souls entrusted to them, then it is no wonder that so many Americans wander aimlessly about seeking affection, love, direction, purpose, and companionship.

Married love and celibate love can only be understood within the dimension of total donation of self.

Mother Teresa gave the modern world a visible example of total donation. Everyone has been moved by her selflessness. She would always say, "Love, until it hurts". Here we find in her simple words the antidote for the crisis facing modern society

Daily, total giving of the self is not an easy enterprise. The tendencies of fallen human nature pull us into ourselves. This is why we need a daily encounter with the God of unconditional love hidden in the tabernacle of every Catholic Church.

Whether through daily Mass or a good visit to the perpetual adoration chapel, it is Jesus who will give us all of the graces that we need to love just like He loves you and me. "As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love" (John 15: 9).

During the height of the Vietnam War, an Afro-American second lieutenant led his small company on a patrol through the jungle. As they were making their way through the dense tangle of trees and vines, he suddenly noticed that a sniper had dropped a grenade in the middle of his men. Without hesitation the second lieutenant pounced on the grenade and saved his company by sacrificing his own life. Shortly after this incident, President Nixon awarded him the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously, which was presented to his mother.

Perhaps we will never be in a situation to sacrifice our lives as heroically as the sergeant did. However, it is quite possible that he was able to make the supreme sacrifice of himself, because his entire life was made up of many heroic moments of self-giving. This pattern thus established made it easy for him to give of himself without hesitation.

"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends".

Check out Fr. James's blog here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Free download: Answering Angels and Demons

"Angels & Demons is a thinly-veiled, but brutal attack on the Catholic Faith that will again shake the faith of potentially millions of people who know little about Catholic teaching and Catholic and Western history. It is full of half-truths, historical inaccuracies, and outright lies.

Answering Angels & Demons, by Mark Shea is an electronic book provided for free to help you answer the errors contained in the book and movie. Please feel free to download this resources and share it with your friends, family and neighbors."

Go here for the free download and to learn more.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fourteen million in donations being withheld from Notre Dame by alumni

"South Bend, Ind., May 14 (CNA).- Organizers of a group asking alumni and donors to withhold donations to the University of Notre Dame following its controversial commencement invitation to President Barack Obama claim to have confirmed nearly $14 million in donations have been withheld by those concerned about the university's Catholic identity.

The group,, said it had received over 1,400 pledges from alumni and donors promising to withhold future donations. was launched by alumni and financial supporters of the university who said they would withhold their contributions until Rev. Jenkins is replaced by someone who "is committed to the authentic identity of Notre Dame, grounded in the teachings of the Catholic Church."

Group spokesman David DiFranco, a 1995 graduate of Notre Dame, said the donors were "at least loosely aware" of what he called the university's "trend away from its Catholic identity."

"But the invitation of President Obama to speak and to receive an honorary degree, combined with the weak responses presented by Father Jenkins as a defense to those who have criticized the decision, is what drives most alumni to our site," he said.

Fr. Jenkins' action brought national attention to a problem "decades in the making," DiFranco said.

"A shrinking percentage of Catholic faculty and the efforts of secular-minded board members has long been eroding the Catholic heritage and foundation that makes Notre Dame great. President Obama's invitation represents the culminating scandal in this trend."

DiFranco said nearly all alumni who had contacted had already decided to cease supporting the school.

"Our website merely tallies the sum of their collective decision," he said."

Friday, May 8, 2009

Pope Benedict arrives in Jordan

Amman, Jordan, May 8, 2009 / 09:21 am (CNA).- Shepherd One touched down at Queen Alia airport on Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. as Pope Benedict XVI began his visit to the Holy Land. The Holy Father emphasized that he is coming as a pilgrim and that a downward spiral into violence is not the inevitable outcome for the region.

King Abdullah II and his wife Queen Rania met Pope Benedict on the tarmac accompanied by a smartly dressed honor guard and a military band.

After receiving the Pontiff, the king delivered a speech that surveyed the history of the peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims in Jordan, and welcomed the Pope's commitment to “dispel the misconceptions and divisions that have harmed relations between Christians and Muslims.”

The king also touched on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying, “Our shared values can make an important contribution in the Holy Land … where, together we must help lift the shadow of conflict, through a negotiated settlement, that fulfills the rights of Palestinians to freedom and statehood, and the right of Israelis to security.”

Pope Benedict then took the podium and spoke of his desire to “come to Jordan as a pilgrim, to venerate holy places that have played such an important part in some of the key events of Biblical history.” (Continued here)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Christopher West on ABC Nighline tonight!

From a press release...

"Christopher West, senior fellow of the Theology of the Body Institute, was interviewed last week for an in-depth feature segment on ABC's Nightline. The interview was filmed on location in North Carolina during one of his conferences and also in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, near the headquarters of the Theology of the Body Institute.

We were informed today that the piece will air tonight (May 7). ABC Nightline airs at 11:35 EST. Check your local listing for more information.

Nightline has an average nightly viewing audience of four million. Please pray for those who will be exposed to the message through this medium.

Over eight hours of taped interviews were edited down to seven minutes. We ask for your prayers through the intercession of John Paul II that the message of The Theology of the Body will be presented authentically.

God bless you,
TOB Institute Staff"